Highland Wild Ale | The Olde Burnside Brewing Company

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 laymansbeerfan
4.75/5  rDev +12%

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 sailorastro
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of raythealeman
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of OatmattStout
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mahogany in color with nice head and subtle lacing.

esthery fruits in the nose

taste with a nice malt sweetness which is immediately taken over by a great tartness. Big chocolate covered cherry element to this beer that makes it unique and delicious. toffee and vanilla flavors abound with a lingering tart drying finish leaving you waiting for next sip. The bourbon barrels really impart a nice woody dryness and finish i love in good bourbons.

So much going on here but really works together very well.

overall an incredible beer no doubt.

 547 characters

Photo of thegerm87
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of Winslow
5/5  rDev +17.9%

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 CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of KevSal
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of rmaste6282
4/5  rDev -5.7%

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 Gfunk720
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Adrian for this share. Reviewed from notes, 500ml bottle.

A - A cloudy reddish brown, pours with a nice white head that fades quickly.

S - A pretty malty but funky sour smell. I get some oak, vinegar, and some caramel smells. Quite nice!

T- The initial flavor is pretty smooth and malty with a bit of oak, quickly transitioning to some lactic sourness and a prounounced dry vinegar funk. Aftertaste is quite tart and vinegary, with more oak.

M - Good body for a sour, with slighly lower carbonation, Nothing wrong here.

D - My expectations were low for this beer, but it really was quite good. I've had plenty of the base beer, but never thought it would become a sour. Gonna have to find some more of these. Without a doubt the best sour beer made in CT.


 779 characters

Photo of LtCracker20
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep amber/brown body with a thin 1-finger head that receds to a thin cap.

S- Musty funk up front, some tartness, apples, pears, some sweetness as well. Some woodiness.

T- Very nice. Tartness up front, woodiness, a touch of sweetness, and more sourness.

MF- Feels light on the palate, but more of a moderate body on this one.

O- A very good beer that I'm very happy I got to try. Glad to see a good sour from a CT brewery! This would be my go-to sour if they kept making it.

 489 characters

Photo of steveslow
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Thads324
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found this at the store!
A : pours a deep copper with reddish tones. A good light tan head of tiny bubbles. Sticks around much longer than most sours. Pretty good lacing. Nice looking blue swing top bottle.
S : smells of a bit of bread and yeast. Tart berries and old fruit juice sitting on a table. A bit of sweet vinegar. A bit of woody earthy dirt aromas, but I'm not sure if that's the barrel or hops.
T : starts sweet and a bit smokey. The tartness starts off early and hits hard. The flavor reminds of the candy shock tarts. It's a little fruity, tart more than lip puckering sour. There's a little sweetness like butterscotch beneath the whole tart flavor. Finishes with a bubbly and sharp sourness with cherry and oak vanilla flavors beaneath the sour bite. The flavors are very pronounced, and the depth and complexity between sour and malty sweet are enjoyable. As the beer warms you start to taste even more oak and cherry vanilla sourness.
M : medium body and vibrant but not overbearing carbonation.

A deeply complex flavor and wide ranging aromatic beer. While its less sour than most I really enjoy the solid flavor and drinkability. Very little alcohol present here. Very nice.

 1,204 characters

Photo of GimmeGumballHead
5/5  rDev +17.9%

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 Sam21
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Olde Burnside, Highland Wild
500ml bottle purchased for $8. No bottle date. Poured into snifter.

Appearance - Deep ruby red body with a creamy, yet short lived off-white head. Really beautiful.

Smell - Deep thick caramel coated citrus fruit. There are acidy fruit notes dripping in gooey malt sweetness. Sour cherries are most prominent. A touch of bourbon adds to the overall complexity.

Taste - Sour fruit notes, reminiscent of tart raspberries, blast the tastebuds. The caramel is present, but kept to the background. As the beer continues to warm, notes of caramel and bourbon sneak there way into the picture. Initially, this beer had close to no balance, as the acidy fruit notes overwhelmed everything else. The finish features a touch of caramel, oaky bourbon warmth, and a bready note that seems to appear out of thin air. Sour fruit notes linger at the back of the mouth.

Mouthfeel - An effervescent punch of carbonation fades into a light zippy body. Really refreshing character.

Drinkability - This is a really interesting beer. A wee heavy aged in infected bourbon barrels. It's everything one would expect and then some. Sour top notes with deep and complex base notes. Simply wonderful.

 1,206 characters

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 sideshowe
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of davey101
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml cobalt blue swing top bottle into an over sized wine glass.

A - Hazy dark red/brown body with some creamy off white edging and lacing. The initial pour produced a sizable head.

S - Grapes, lactic acid, vinegar, caramel malts, woody oak, and some spices. Smells like a slightly soured malt heavy beer. Fairly tame and one layered.

T - You can definitely taste the scotch ale base in this beer. Malty rich caramel and toffee. This is followed by some sour red grapes and lactic acid notes. The finish is smooth with some hints of oak and vanilla/spice. Alcohol is noticeable, but the sour and tart flavors work to mask it pretty well. This really reminds me of a flanders oud bruin. Really tasty and refreshing.

M - Medium mouth feel, silky and smooth with a nice high level of carbonation.

O - This was an excellent american wild ale. Very unique and tasty. I'm surprised that Olde Burnside was able to make such a great sour on their first try. I think the only fault this beer has is the fact that its sold in swing top bottles. Not sure how well this will age as my bottle had some brown residue coming up through the seal.

 1,137 characters

Photo of Adrianized
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz swingtop.

Pours a brown with copper tones.  Head quickly disappears to leave behind only a thin ring of an offwhite head.

Lots of soured red grapes, some apple cider, and a hint of oak and bourbon.  Plenty of funk, too.

Wow this has a lot going on.  Ripe and sour tart grapes, big funk, oak and a touch of bourbon.  You can get the scotch ale base in the background.  The 10% ABV is totally hidden to me.  Finishes very sour. This is Olde Burnside Brewing Co.'s first sour, and it's hugely successful. The best Connecticut brewed sour I've had.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with a wonderful, light effervesce.

Overall with was a hugely pleasant surprise.  I didn't know this existed and now I'll need to look for more.

 748 characters

Photo of Stigs
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz swingtop bottle - served in a small tulip

A - pours with a short lived layer of fuzzy, offwhite foam, settling to a filmy ring. slightly cloudy, deep ruby in color.

S - oddish sort of vinegary, grape and wine like fruitiness. additional hints of raisin, plum, vanilla, and a funky mustiness.

T - sweet and biscuity off the bat, turning slowly to a more lactic sourness, led by crushed red grapes and tart green apples. hints of purple sweet tarts, caramel, and pressed green apples. finishes rather clean, with a faint bit of bourbon and smoke. real nice!

M - medium bodied with a nice creaminess, aided by moderate yet prickly carbonation. finishes on the tart and puckering side, with a pleasant stickiness that cleans up nicely after itself.

O - solid beer. hope to see more like this from Olde Burnside in the future - pulled off quite well. a lovely sipper...seek this out.

 890 characters

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