Highland Bourbon Barrel Aged Gaelic Ale | Highland Brewing

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Very Good
16 Ratings

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by akorsak on 05-29-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 4
Reviews by akorsak:
Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A surprise tap offering at the Highland Tasting Room - shared with a motley crew that included my extra exclusive VIP hostess.

A: The Gaelic, normally a tawny red color, doesn't lose a step in the barrel aging. If anything, it picks up a bit of darkness but not enough to change the complexion. The biggest eye-draw is the relative lack of carbonation - not much head here to console me.

S: Sweet bourbon overruns the full caramel aromas that normally exist. Vanilla and coconut, a bit of booziness, and firm oak are the stand-outs, a rich environment that transforms the Gaelic into something nearly unrecognizable.

T: The bourbon strongly influences every aspect of the ale, adding sweet vanilla and strength to the caramel base. The wood aging adds a rich, buttery flavor that draws out more of the vanilla. Despite the aging, the ale doesn't feel big (at least until the second pint, yes these beers were served in pint glasses). Instead the sweet booziness is comforting, not in your face. A real treat to find this on tap. I'm sure it didn't last the weekend.

M: Smooth, bold mouthfeel. I ended up with two glasses - a win-win at the time but nearly horrendous the next morning.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of chinchill
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of VeganUndead
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jsanford
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of blackie
3.59/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Draft at the brewery. Served in a short pint, the color is the same reddish hued amber as the standard version, with a low khaki head. The underlying rich toffee and caramel base of the original is still there, but the bourbon and wood overwhelm the rich malty flavors that make Gaelic a classic. The vanilla is, however, a nice touch at times. Some flavors of citrus hops, and a mild bitterness to finish. Medium in body with a low, smooth carbonation. I’d take the original over this, but was glad to find it on draft.

 543 characters

Photo of chrismattlin
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rtrasr
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Falcone
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Brewsed
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of humuloner22
4.11/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Assuming this is the correct beer, no one has done a review on this one for sometime now, so this may or may not be the correct place. However the beer store I purchased this from stated that it was a leftover keg from an exclusive Highland tasting and it was definitely barrel aged and some kind of whiskey but maybe not bourbon. It was actually just listed as Barrel Aged Gaelic Ale. Anyway on to the review.

Damn this was a good beer! I have had Highland Gaelic a number of times but this one was a huge step up from the regular stuff. It was bourbon and sweet on the nose.

Color: Nice reddish brown color, totally like the original in that respect.

Smell: You could smell the barrel the oakey bourbon wonderfulness of this beer. It was sweet but not cloying, but a nice caramel aroma.

Taste: Basically what you get from the nose. Nice bit of carbonation which was pleasant considering barrel aging, you also detect vanilla, almost reminiscent of Cold Mountain in a way, I bet Cold Mountain would be amazing barrel aged! A lot of barrel aged beers I have had were pretty flat, although I will say that those were stouts and not as carbonated to begin with. This one had a nice balance.

Overall: By far the best the best version of Gaelic Ale I have ever had hands down. Its not a bad beer to begin with, but the barrel aging really steps it up.

 1,352 characters

Photo of plinythederek
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Eziel
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of camartin27
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of bigrzman
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this in a six pack in South Carolina.

Pours out nut red/brow with an off white head that is thick and creamy. The beer has little carbonation.

The beer has an aroma of black and caramel malts, grass, and citrus.

The beer has a caramel and earthy fuggle hop front with a back note of grass, lemon rind, and other citrus oils.

The texture is oily and silky and is overall drying.

Very pleasnt easy drinking beer. It leaves good lace in the glass and looks great. The taste is complex but i wish it had some peaty notes. Good beer all aound.

 552 characters

Photo of Wessoms
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev +1%

Highland Bourbon Barrel Aged Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 16 ratings