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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale | Highland Brewing

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Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
Very Good
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 61
Photo of aubuc1
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap

Poured a deep brown with a thin off white head.

Big roasty yeasty sweet with strong malt sweetness.
Taste is a somewhat sharp roasty smoky

Very good mouthfeel and very good drinkability.

I was excited to try this today at the lost kangaroo. It is a very good and different beer.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a malty burnt amber with a small tan head that fades to a small collar and light film of microbubbles

S - Nice and malty, but not roasted - just clean dark malts. Smells alot like a barleywine (Behemoth esp.) Could do for a stronger aroma. Some dark fruits come through as it warms - raisins mainly.

T - Very similar to the nose. Strong malt backbone, without much spice or nuttyness, or dark fruits. Some raisins, and figs but not much.

M - Pretty typical for the style, maybe a bit light

D - Not a great old ale, but nice to see whats out there

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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.

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Photo of callisbeers
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my trusty chalice. Nice reddish/brown color, small head, very little lacing. I was expecting to be blown away by the "I am a high alcohol beer, smell my alcohol" smell but that was not the case. As everyone else has mentioned, flavors of caramel, hops, blah, blah, blah... they all just worked well together. I don't know if it was the 3 days of school being cancelled due to the 5 inches of snow we received 4 days ago but I just loved this beer. Everything seemed just right.

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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.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Highland's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale has brewed to celebrate our tradition of brewing fine quality ales and lagers. This version of an English Olde Ale has a bold profile from fine British Malts, woodsy and estery aromas from traditional British Ale yeast, and bittering from Styrian Bobeck hops. The addition of Sterling hops provides a hint of spiciness in the nose. These flavors combined with a bright cheery redolence create a savory "Auld Ale" that will warm the dreareiest of winter nights."

A 22oz bottle is dispensed into a snifter. Cloudy and murky sort of raspberry chocolate colored beer emerges and is topped with a very small and slight, dirty brown head. This one almost looks like some sort of liquid chocolate drink one would find at a trendy nightspot.

Aroma was alcoholic and malty. Not much going on here.

Kind of sweet up front but followed with some hop bitterness. Big and chewy on the tongue. Full bodied like nobody's business. Not my favorite Highland beer but I can see the appeal.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to cdflem!

pours deep deep ruby red with brown accents. light cocoa cream head that quickly gives way, light retention. beautiful color.

deep cherry up front. floral and citrus hops. deep sweet caramelized malts in the thick. a hint of booze.

again, deep, and complex. hints of zesty hops, crisp citrus and light floral notes through out. very hoppy! deep malts with a sweet twist that although is sweet, not once becomes overwhelming. hints of dark cherry and dark fruits.

pretty middle of the road. not too thick, not dry, nice balanced carbonation.

i would drink his over and over. the ABV is a bit high but there is really no trace of booze. so far everything i have had from highland, has been pretty amazing.

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Photo of farrago
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head gets to about a full finger then drops down swiftly to an aggregation of larger bubbles around the rims, has enough stickiness to create broad, thin webs of lacing. Super-cloudy amber-brown with a semi-brightening copper tinge, mild switch to orange rust around the rims. The nose has a natural denseness to it, like sediment which has settled over time. Mix of Italian plum, blackberry, pear, red apple scents, allspice and nutmeg as well, violets, no real super-sweet notes, by the same token, nothing that comes close to attack of the hops from outer space, maybe some pepperiness as it drifts off. Medium to full-bodied, which is a way of saying it manages to stay limber given its inherent density. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg spice there but it's really the honey, molasses which gets it to cling to the mouth. The citrus and flowers are mute, more cola and cocoa powder. Not estery, fresh with clearly defined peach, pear, plum, cherry fruit and a certain raw nuttiness. Molasses, beeswax, brown sugar frame the finish but it's never too sweet. When you account for what is present as well as what is absent, this is a very competent beer which made a clear decision to err to the side of safety over planting a flag in the sand.

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Photo of Epicedion
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a big Sam Adams Octoberfest mug.

A: It looks like a very strong, mostly opaque tea. Brown and muddy. Thin head and little lacing.

S: Very deep, rich malt. Spicy and strong. It's kind of like pipe or cigar smoke in character, but cleaner.

T: Just amazing. There's that rich malt mixing with hints of bitter and spicy hops, a little citrus upswing here and there, and bitter and sweet fighting it out on the long finish. The flavors play extremely well as different aspects hit different taste buds at different times. There's zero trace of alcohol in this beer. It's pure goodness in a glass.

M: Just right.

D: Potent, but you'll wonder where it went.

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Photo of drperm
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tend to go for anniversary releases from my favorite breweries: they usually pull out all the stops, up the production care, and release a solidly enjoyable product.
Highland's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale is no exception: an Old Ale right up there with the best of them, I'm sure this one would age quite handsomely, but it's quite tasty young, too.

Ap: Strikingly resplendent: it looks just like an oloroso or a madeira, with just a mite of bubbles on the very top.

S: Rich malt. Very rich. Graham, vanilla, burnt caramel, dark hops, and a touch of something that makes me think of Christmas.

T: Wondrous depth here. Biscuit, pipe tobacco, spicy hops, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and a sweet-sour port finish.

M: Twangy, oily, not too syrupy.

D: A lovely in-front-of-the-fire evening sip. The large pint bottle is best split with friends, or over the course of a couple of nights. It's very rich and heady.

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Photo of scifan
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby brown with amber highlights when held to the light. Has a nice tall tan head on this one that leaves some real nice lacing as it calms.
Caramel and toffee dominate the nose with a nice woodiness in the background. Just a hint of spicy hops help to balance.
Taste is similar to the nose. Caramel, toffee, and a touch of smokiness start things off. But this is no malt bomb there are quite a bit of spicy hops to balance things out here. Not a hint of the 9.5% alcohol, its very well hidden. Nice full mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. Great beer and a super way to celebrate 15 years of brewing in NC.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, dark mahogany, with thin, sticky head. Smells great - rich malts, raisins, hints of chocolate, rum and alcohol. Tastes the same with an added dimension of hops in the finish. Nice balance. With a delicate carbonation, the it very sippable. Nice by the fire on these cold nights. A unique, and appealing twist on the old ale style - another notable offering from Highland Brewery.

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Photo of atsprings
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel snifter pours a crisp dark copper with a decent lasting eggshell head that very slowly diminishes to a ring as I let the beer warm. Aroma is loads of burnt caramel malts, molasses and slight dried fruits. The taste is a very complex blend of caramel, molasses, bitter cocoa, dried fruits, leather and cinnamon among many others. The beer is somewhat heavy bodied, but a very enjoyable sipper, especially as it warms close to room temperature, a meal in of itself. This is a very enjoyable beer, a worthy release for their 15th anniversary!

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tartan-printed bomber bottle is presented cellar-cool accompanied by a small Duck-Rabbit snifter, and upon the decrowning and the ensuing pouring, the dark brown vessel yields a brew that is brightly-clear and fiery cherry-amber in color. A short collar of self-replenishing pale ecru foam decorates the surface of the liquid and freckles the sides of my glass with sticky dots of lacing.

The aroma is quite fruity, with floral notes of pear blossoms, ripe plums, and fresh red apples mixed into a melange. The juicy fruitiness is backed with a savory, roasted-nutty, medium-dark kilned maltiness that is well-grounded by dry, earthy woodiness and highlighted with a dash of spicy green hops.

The taste is sweetly fruity with a notion of apple brandy-infused caramels drizzled with mild molasses. More tangy treefruit notes coupled with a palpable and warming alcohol presence offer a highly aromatic evaporative one-two punch that contributes to Auld Asheville Vintage Ale's savory liquoriness, and the effect fits the drink just perfectly. A darkly toasted quality reminiscent of the wonderfully mellow nuttiness detected in the aroma provides a firm, balancing backbone to the apple-and-pear-infused-spirit character. As the brew approaches room temperature, the fruit-factor fades quite a bit, leaving a note of muted caramel softening the sherry-like booze factor and pushing the nuttiness into a lesser role in the flavor profile.

The drink is on the lighter side of full-bodied and is graced with exceptionally fine carbonation. The 9.5% ABV brings quite a bit of belly-warming with it, making AAVA a super-fine sipper for a chilly early winter afternoon. A highly worthy brew from a crew I've come to expect nothing less from; excellent job Highland, and happy Anniversary to you!

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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.

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Photo of vertigelt1
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Travelling through Asheville, NC, had lunch at The Mellow Mushroom, and enjoyed a number of local brews. Had the Highland 15th Anniversary "Auld Asheville Vintage Ale" on draft, best selection of the afternoon.

It pours muddy and murky into the pint glass with barely a half finger of sandy head, leaving spotty lacing as it goes down. On the table, it's ruddy brown, against filtered sunlight, it reveals highlights of mohagany and burundy leather.

The nose carries sweet malts, dried dark fruits, alcohol, and some sort of nut, with a slight hint of grassy hops.

The nuttiness Is borne out in he taste. Somewhere between an English strong ale and a Scottish/red ale. The grassy hops definitely come out in the finish. Alcohol is there but not overpowering in the taste.

Mouthfeel is all over the tongue with the tingle of alcohol and slight fizz. A little thin but definitely not weak or watery.

Surprisingly smooth for a 9.5 ABV, this strong ale could easily deceive one into drinkIng more than one ought. I feel like I could drink more than a couple of these in succession. But the richness in taste belies it's alcoholic origins, to a pleasant warmng end.

The t

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Photo of stoutfiend27
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber chilled into 10oz glass

a-deep amber color topped off with a tight white cap no head really..zero bubbles present..the graduation of color from bottom to top of glass is quite nice...

s-fairly neutral to be honest..a slight nose of sweet malts and a rustic smell...no hops present...

t-nice subtle dry fruits and sweet malts...a vinous character is there...a very slight bit grassy and finishes a bit dry on the palate..

m-oily and coats the mouth well..the hops really stand out to me in the mouthfeel with their resiny character...taste lingers for a while..carbonation is low but is what i expected with a beer of this style.

d-drinkability is excellent...the overall package is enough to satisfy and not make this a challenge to drink or think about all the complexities while drinking... just a good drink

overall i am impressed with this release from highland...they are a brewery that is hit or miss with me...but the $5.50 a bomber price and the abv and the whole package make this a hit ...will pick up a few more to cellar for a while and see how this one progresses..

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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

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Photo of CWiggins
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Sam's Quik Stop in Durham this week. Earth Fare in Brier Creek just received a case and should have in on the shelf in a day or so. At $4.99 a bomber it seems like a good deal, especially for 9.5% ABV ale.

It pours a dark brown with reddish highlights, and a decent head formed at first although it quickly dissipated into a rim-sticking group of dense bubbles with a few streams crossing the surface. The aroma is a bit stunted, but I notice hints of wood and spices; it's quite similar to many winter warmers I've enountered. The flavor is really superb; there is a nice fruity front that gives way to a woody, malty center, and the whole thing is capped off with a mildly bitter (but still malty) finish. The lingering aftertaste is chock full of the main flavors. It's not overly carbonated, and feels great on the tongue. At 9.5% it may not the best choice for indulging, but it's hard not to gulp it down.

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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.

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Photo of carolinahophead
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Highland Brewing Company's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale.

Appearance : Poured a lovely brown color. Reminded me of a British brown ale.

Aroma : This brew has a winter woodsy bouquet with some light roast malt present. Nice spices are there along with some european hop aromas.

Taste : What a wonderful smooth taste with holiday red fruit combined with a long finish.
Nice bitterness leading to the balance of this ale, can't even notice the 9.5 % alc.

Mouthfeel : Medium body and well balanced. This would be great with a hearty meal during the long winter nights. It gets better the longer you leave in your mouth.

Oveall : This is definitely a holiday treat. Get one to drink now and then another one to let age. Thanks Highland for 15 years and hope there more to come. Congrats !

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Kickbacks

appearance: deep dark dark brown, but not nearly ebony.

smell: liqour aroma, much like a brandy with strong alcohol aroma

taste: not how it smells at all. heavy hopped and zero alcohol taste, very smooth and almost sessionable. at 9.5 I was surprised....

mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and one of kind. Stlye was difficult. I would ahve put it an english barleywine but I had to respect their label. Maybe an Imperial Old ale. new BA stlye?

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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 72 ratings
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