Auld Asheville Vintage Ale | Highland Brewing

Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
Liked This Beer
3.97 w/ 72 ratings
Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CampusCrew on 12-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 61
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head murky mahagony with a lavender hue. Nice lacing.

S: sweet dark fruit, mostly cherry and strawberry. Mild caramel malts.

T: tart and slightly sour dark fruit with more plum and raisin differing from the aroma. Chocolate malts, sherry wine notes and some toffee.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: More like a Belgian dark strong but less yeasty. Fairly complex and nicely drinkable.

 433 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hard pour produces a caramel color topped only by a scant head - doesn't have much staying power, either, though it does leave a fireworks-like trace of spots behind

Smell: Dried dark fruit, with prune, fig and date elements and a hint of burnt caramel

Taste: Dried dark fruit, up front, with the burnt caramel arriving by mid-palate; somewhat oxidized, at this stage, but there is an intriguing hint of woody bitterness on the finish, though the fruit and caramel shine through

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, with moderate carbonation and a bit of warmth

Overall: Drinking just a little past its peak, right now, but has a wonderful range of dried fruit flavor

 680 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left soapy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very malty and sweet. Notes of toffee and caramel dominate with some mild citrusy hop presence.

T - Good toasty malts with a biscuit flavor. It has a good deal of dark fruit flavors, too, like plum and raisin. There was a subtle grapefruit hop kick.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a warming alcohol heat.

D - This is a very nice old ale. I'd like to try one with some more age on it.

 542 characters

Photo of mothman
2.73/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into duck rabbit snifter.

Pours 1/4 of khaki head. Color is a rustic burnt brown.

Aroma: Caramel and bready malts. Some toffee. Dried fruits, plums, and raisins. Some sweetness. A bit of cherries. Not to bad, but not warming like an old ale should be.

Taste: Very barlywine like. All malt. Toffee, bready, caramel. Dark fruits, plums, raisins, dark cherries. A lot like the aroma. Not boozy or warming.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and fizzy. A bit high carbonation for an old ale. Medium to full bodied. Ends dry with some booze finally showing.

Overall, not a very good old ale. No where near hair of the dog style. Not to drinkable. A bit let down with this one. It tastes more like a barlywine than an old ale.

 716 characters

Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great to see this arrive in Greensboro,I snatched a few of these up today.Poured into a snifter a deep mahogany with a sticky one finger off white head that held well.Wow big juicy fruit in the nose along with some port-like fortified notes,there is a slight woodsy element that comes thru that compliment the sweetness well.Sweet dark fruit and alcohol play a big part in the flavor profile,there is also a woodsy/spicey flavor that really comes out as the beer warms along with some leather.Its warming,chewy,and a sipper,everything a Old Ale should be.A fantastic Fifteenth Anniversary beer,perfect for a cold winter day like today.

 635 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmanning for opening up this bottle. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours crimson with a nice light tan head and good lacing. Good retention as well. The nose is really nice with of touch of sherry-like oxidation. Dark fruits and a nice sweetness there as well. Caramel and cherry notes in there, too. The taste is not quite as complex and there is a good amount of bitterness. Medium body and a touch of booze. Slightly creamy. Really nice overall with an incredible nose.

 482 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely day up in the mountains that let me try a huge sample of some new NC locals. Always thrilled when a day works out like this one did.

Finally had a chance to try this one, and on tap none the less. Could not have been happier!

Nice pour, a good caramel color to it with a moderate amount of creamy off white head that capped the top rather nicely. Smooth, even settling produced a decent amount of lacing now as well. The aroma was caramel, toffee, touches of grasses and herbal hop notes, mellow and subdued. As it warmed a touch of butterscotch and roasted malt comes through as well. Carries over into the flavor nearly identically. Rich caramel and toffee, touches of sweetness and a light hop taste that just ever so slightly dries it out on the final sips. ABV seems well in check and does not really because any concerns either way.

Overall a pretty solid offering here. Nice to see them delve into this category as it is truly one of my favorites. Don't really see much aging potential here though, I would say get it now seems to be drinking about the best I could picture.

 1,096 characters

Photo of dvmin98
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From 2009. Color is caramel. Smell is mild oxidation. Caramel. Taste follows along. Mild oxidation and caramelly. Thin to medium bodied. Overall, this aged pretty well. Glad to have tried it

 198 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer served in a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin brown head. Wispy head. Low retention, low lacing. 

Aroma is sweet and biscuit malt with a strong yeast aroma. Odd aroma though. 

Beer is sweet and big in body. Decent I guess. Odd on the finish. Not a great beer. It is OK but not really loving it. 

 315 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber to an imperial pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of sweet malts, a little caramel and hops.

T: Tasted like it smelled. Sweet malt, a more pronounced caramel note and an underplayed hoppy finish. The alcohol wasn't as prevalent as I thought it might be.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A drinkable Old Ale. Very well-balanced.

 494 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ROBORB for sending a bomber of this Highland brew to the flatlands of Minnesota; this is the last bottle from a springtime brew swap.

Pour is a deep, verdant red, though I don't actually know what verdant means, it seems to fit. Smell is rich with dark fruit hearts, sweet malts...almost exactly how I'd imagine a fermented plum might smell on my countertop.

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale mixes genres oddly. Fruits are abundant, figs, raisins, plums, perhaps a hint of cherry & pear. Deep, sweet malts accent the fruity sweetness, but are offset nicely with a backdraft of bittering hops on the downside. The overall impression is of a fast, hard-hitting ale. Alcohol, hidden so well in these fast times, is out of the closet here.

Good, solid, beer. I feel like I should be enjoying this more than I am, because all the pieces are in place to make this a serious winner...but I just like it, don't love it. Why? Good question. No clue. Huh.

 955 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, big thanks to grub for sharing.

Pousr a cloudy orange/light brown, a bit muddy looking, some light reddish hues, medium sized light tan head forms and settles down to a thick and chunky ring, some big lacing on the glass.

Smell is nice, sweet and malty, lots of toffee, brown sugar, raisin, dark fruit, a bit of floral, alcohol, biscuit, very complex maltiness going on, good stuff.

Taste is similar, light sour fruit, brown sugar, toffee, sugary and fruity, candi, big malty middle, some alcohol, big grapefruit bitterness in the finish, good but not as nice as the aroma.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very smooth, alcohol is well hidden. A pretty nice old ale. Thanks Russ!

 713 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle thanks to SincereNC, I always enjoy a good old ale or barleywine. This was definitely an old ale and the abv made it very easy to drink. Ruby color, smells fruity and tastes liek old ale should. Not quite thick enough for my taste as I prefer something like Old Stock but this was easy to kill the entire bomber. Overall, not a bad old ale at all and I was glad to have tried it.

 391 characters

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of mild caramel, indistinct spices, and earthy hops, in that order. As it warms the nose sweetens just a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Muted caramel malt flavors up front give way to earthy spices and hop flavors midway through the sip. A bitterness kicks in right afterwards and intensifies through the ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall one of the better beers I've had from Highland. A nice, solid beer that doesn't have any real flaws. Worth a shot.

 771 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - split and shared on christmas day

purchased up at brawleys in charlotte

appearance: poured into a pint - murky, muddy amber-mahogany body, light beige head with light retention

smell: interesting mix of tropical and passion fruits, caramel, piney hops, booze

taste: bright tropical fruits, passion fruit, chewy caramel, lingering booze/bourbon, piney and tropical hops. very interesting beer - honestly dont see what age will do to this. i like it, but think the reviews will level out a little over time

mouthfeel: smooth and creamy, lingering hop bite

drinkability: good

 592 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
2.98/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Re-review April of 2011

Pours a slightly hazy ruby red with a creamy light tan head. The nose has a bright bruit flavor of apple and pear with some herbal spice but a hint of a metallic twang. The taste falls off hard, the fruitiness is still there but clear oxidation creates a strong note of paper and cardboard. Carmalized brown sugar adds the malt balance on a medium body falling off with a light carb in the back. Too sweet and a bit heavily oxidized.

Review 3/5/10

A-pours a deep reddish mahogany color. A tanned head with one finger of it. Little retention and head

S-the nose is very sweet but a little light. A light caramel and bready malt seems to set a foundation for malty sweetness in the form of dark fruits. Some dark cherries, ripe plum, notes of rum raisin.

T-this is a malt explosion. Hint of toasted biscuit and caramel are the foundation in which the malt sweetness builds off of. Some cherries start off, ripe plums, rum soaked raisins. There is actually a light hop presence with a touch of citric and bitter hops at the finish.

M-very smooth and syrupy with a nice medium to full body. Its wet and juicy with very low carbonation in an absolutely perfect way. It finishes wet and firm not giving in.

D-this is a very solid old ale. This is actually becoming a favorite style, although they all are, right? It’s a little boozy but had some great balance for the style. Great dark fruitiness and a nice little hop presence.

 1,459 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of cmurren25. Pours a hazed copper color with a small sheen of light tan bubbles.

Nose is very sweet and caramely malty. Some toffee and light smoke as it warms.

Taste is very caramely - almost burnt. Salty hop remnants at the end with another pop of smoke. Pretty soft on the palate. A bit of oxidation is here and the hops have long since faded. Seems like it is kinda stuck somewhere in between a Scotch Ale and an Old Ale, just does not quite do it for me. Highland brews seem to be either a love it or 'meh' experience for me and Auld Asheville definitely falls in the latter category. A bit too sweet for me.

 638 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a shaker. Pours a hazy deep reddish brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of malt and caramel. The flavor was of malt, subtle hop, and spices. It was light on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. I have been looking for this one for quite awhile and found it in the 'Bargain Bin' at Duckworth's and had to have it. The hop note present was a very welcome palate change from the spices and malt which made this one quite enjoyable. A must try if you can find it.

 587 characters

Photo of wedge
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a totally cloudy dark mahogany under a short, but nicely creamy beige head. Spiced dark fruit aroma - raisin, plum, apple, black cherry - with a toffee and toasted caramel sweetness. Some bread and earthy hops too. Rich malt and fruitcake flavor. Toffee, faint grapefruit, raisins, spice, and a slick molasses sweetness. Full, beautifully smooth, chewy mouthfeel. I quite like this one...happy slightly-belated 15th!

 422 characters

Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of buckyp
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

consumed on the eve of "Snowpocalypse" '10

a: tulip snifter serving, pours a nice little off-white head on a hazy reddish brown ale, average retention

s: toffee malt nose with an undertone of sour cherries and red wine tannins, tart apples and plum, nice earthy hop nose with a glance of spiciness and an intriguing tropical edge, sweet alcohol, brown sugars, delicate esters, great nose - not incredibly complex at first sniff, but there's much to be found upon further inspection

m: carbonation on the lower end of medium, body smooth and full with an almost buttery feel towards the middle

t: same toffeelike malt from the nose found here with sweet and sour fruits rolling around inside, brown sugars and butter join British malts in the middle with a powerful but welcome booze sting, a good dose of woody nutshell and an earthy hop flavor precede a delicate but lasting bitterness

d: quite easy for the elevated alcohol content

1/3 picked up from Bruisin'

6.28.2013 - One of two bottles remaining in the cellar, first since my original tasting. This one, to my astonishment, has held up very, very well. Lush flavors of plum, raisin, and caramel. Oxidation doesn't seem to have hit very much at all, and the carbonation remains intact. Pecan and traces of alcohol. A papery hop flavor and mild bitterness come deep into the finish. Very settled and well meshed. May give my remaining bottle a year or two more, until it can be shared. No scores changed.

 1,466 characters

Photo of mhaugo
2.5/5  rDev -37%

Photo of merlin48
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle pours a hazy, almost murky, deep chestnut brown with a small tan head that quickly drops into a cap. Some spotty lace is left on the snifter.

Aroma is malty caramel,molasses, and toffee, highlighted by a distinct fruity character that seems to be dark berries. Earthy hops and some darker fruits add a nice touch.

Body is between medium and full, the carbonation moderate.

Taste opens with malty brown sugar and caramel. Fruity dark berry segues into darker fruits like raisins and joins with the earthy hop bitterness and peppery alcohol to provide a rather tasty ale. Finishes with a lasting earthiness.

Very drinkable old ale, and somehow suggests to me some characteristics of Highland's Tasgall and Gaelic ales.

 736 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 80.6% out of 100 with 72 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.