Highland Wild Ale | The Olde Burnside Brewing Company

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Highland Wild AleHighland Wild Ale
70 Ratings
Highland Wild AleHighland Wild Ale

Brewed by:
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian breweries have made Scottish Ales for years. Beginning during World War I, the breweries in Belgium made beers for Scottish troops stationed in their country and continue to do so today. We here at Olde Burnside Brewing have decided to return the favor by brewing a Belgian style sour. The Belgians have always allowed nature to help "brew" their beers by utilizing the natural yeast and bacteria present in the air to impart the wonderful tastes and aromas that Belgian beers have to this day.

Our Highland Wild Ale starts as our award winning Ten Penny Reserve that we made "wild" by aging it in some bourbon barrels that had some "helpful" bacteria. These bacteria added a wonderful tartness and acidity to an already spectacular ale. Almost ruby red, the beer is unlike anything we’ve made at Olde Burnside and we hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we did making it.


Added by jimmy82063 on 11-05-2011

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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 24
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.68/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this bottle last weekend. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a muddy amber color with a thin off-white head and not much in the way of lacing. Thin collar. The nose brings forward plenty of heavy malts with sourness in the background. Lactic and acetic both make an appearance along with some dark fruits and cherries. Flavor is pretty powerful in terms of sourness with too much acetic character for my tastes. Same for the feel. Not too bad, but not something I really enjoyed.

 513 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/15/12 notes. Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this one. 500ml bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a hazy reddish amber color with one inch of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour fruits, brett, spices, fruity malts, oak, and caramel malts. Nice and sour, I like it.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, brett, oak, sour fruits, light spices, yeast. Taste is not too sour, a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate caronation.

o - Overall a decent wild ale, and pretty cool for $8 off the shelf. Nose is nice and sour, though the taste isn't quite as sour. Worth checking out.

 607 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chad for sharing this oddity. Served in a Cigar City tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving thing white foam settles to a thin ring, leaving behind wispy patches and no lace. Hazy amber-brown body.

S - Musky, sweaty funk, tobacco, leather, caramel, malts, oak, and faint bourbon presence. Kind of like a bourbon oud bruin, as there's still a hefty amount of malt present.

T - The taste is again a mixture of toffee, caramel, and lightly smoked malts, lactic sourness, oak, and a bit of vinegar. Again, the wild and sour character is is well-balanced with the strong malty backbone.

M - Medium-full body, smooth texture, lower carbonation, very dry and tannic, and surprisingly little alcohol presence for a 10% beer.

D - This was surprisingly good. When I read the description I expected a mess, but the wild flavors integrated well with the base beer to create something in the vein of Oerbier Reserva. I'm hoping that Three Floyds SoBro is similar to this beer.

 967 characters

Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of mltobin
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of corby112
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to sideshowe for sharing.

Pours a dark ruby/caramel brown color with a one finger off white head that quickly settles into lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy aroma with lots of funky bugs, lactic funk, dark fruit and caramel malts.  Herbal with a subtle oak character.

Tart, puckering medium body with acetic vinegar, dark fruit, caramel and sweet malt with a lingering, overpowering diaceytl flavor.  Hints of sour cream, ranch dressing and vegetable oil.  Starts off strong but finishes really with a really weird dairy feel. Buttery, tangy diaceytl pretty much ruins things.  Everyone else said that the aftertaste reminded them of cool ranch doritos  Not much bourbon but there is some oak and funk up front.  

 746 characters

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had the opportunity to try this beer back in 2011 and was quite impressed by the complexity. My tick at the time was a 4.0 and my overall rating remains the same; however, I recall enjoying it a little more back then and it's definitely starting to show signs of decline; however, it's still quite good in my opinion. That said ...

Pours a mahogany hue with a loose head that disperses into a tight band around the edges. Nose expresses caramel, an acetic quality and dark fruits. Taste consistent with nose. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to medium) with a carbonation just shy of lively - quite impressive considering it was bottled in a swing top. The acetic quality present in the nose and flavor profile leaves a residual burn at the back of the throat between quaffs. Overall, still quite solid despite being about four years old; however, the complexity I recall at the advent is starting to get a little muddled.

 948 characters

Photo of jaxon53
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of thegerm87
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of popery
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip. Big thanks to SteveFinny for this. Swing-top bottle, 1/2 liter.

3.5 A: Swing-top opened with a loud POP! First pour gave me just about all head. Several minutes later I got a full glass. Lightly hazed deep amber color. Three fingers of foamy off-white head. Retention is super good, but some of that might come from maintenance bubbles. A short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: This maintains a lot of the base beer (which I haven't had, but it's a reasonable assumption) and it smells great. Lots of caramel with toffee underneath. Plum, prune, and some raisin fruitiness. Bourbon is complementary, but adds a pleasant earthiness. The wild portion is mainly funk (in the nose at least). Musty basement, dry-rotten wood, and hay.

4.5 T: The taste introduces some acid and sourness. It's not overbearing and it works well within the context of the other flavors. It's mainly a tangy lactic acid, but there is some acetic in there as well. The bourbon earthiness and leather mixes extremely well. The base still offers plenty of caramel with lesser amounts of toffee and molasses. Lots of plum, raisin, prune, and dates. Oak and vanilla. This is pretty sweet for a wild and it works out to be quite enjoyable. I have no doubt that the excess carbonation is from this beer not being fully done, but the result is probably better than with the extra time it'd take to ferment it out. Very tasty.

4.0 M: Medium body. The carbonation level is fine. It seems like the beer itself doesn't hold much of the excess. Not that creamy, but somewhat velvety if you can understand the differences I mean between the two words. Super smooth.

5.0 D: Very tasty wild. Well developed with tons of awesome flavors. So easy to drink and the alcohol never becomes an issues at all.

 1,783 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml swingtop into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Shared with friends.

A: Clear mahogany body topped by a half inch of frothy eggshell head. Ok retention, spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Somehow both harsh and weak simultaneously, with some lemony lactic acidity atop butterscotch and vanilla. Meh.

T: Better here - much better - with caramel malt up front, followed by a slow, steady crescendo of lemony sourness on the way to a rich, vanilla-drenched finish. A bit of overripe citrus as well. It actually coheres beautifully, and is nothing but tasty. No trace of booze. Really impressive.

M: Soft, nicely carbonated medium body. Quite nice.

O: This was a strangely bifurcated beer, with a rather unpleasant aroma giving way to a truly delicious flavor. The sweetness and sourness ultimately balanced each other quite nicely, although the sweetness started to seem a bit over the top after side-by-side comparison with the piercingly dry, complexly flavorful Fancy Pants; the best result was actually a blend of the two, with the vinous fruitiness of NEBCO's sour going wonderfully with the greater body and sweetness of Burnside's. If you've got bottles of both, I highly recommend comparing and then combining the two CT sours.


 1,236 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a 2 year old cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with rich garnet highlights and just a little bit of misty sediment floating in the middle of the glass. A large creamy and spongy beige head foams up 3 cm even with a gentle pour. The head fades gradually to a thick edge layer and thin surface layer across the top of the beer.
The aroma is tart cherry and vinegar with a bit of musty blanket and stale bread. Quite a complex and funky nose. Appropriate for a wild ale, and appealing for this sampling.
The first sip reveals an average body and fine fizzy carbonation that tingles on each sip.
Flavor is what would be expected from the nose with some sweet cherry for a second that then roles to tart and bitey vinegar and some funky yeast notes. The finish is very dry and tart with a bit of chalk and stale bread again. IT is a mix of complex flavors and the dry finish encourages further sips.
The beer is enjoyable and the 10-11% is hidden the entire time. Funky well made beer.

 1,028 characters

Photo of baybum
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of JohnK17
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of ucsbmullet
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of HopStoopid120
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of AdamP
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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Highland Wild Ale from The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 70 ratings