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 chrispoint
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Arenbeer
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of pjs234
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of BrewtifulMind
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of mmcnaughton
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of dayan
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500ml blue swingtop into a Duvel tulip.

A: Big frothy head that dissolves quickly. A little lacing atop a cloudy chestnut body.

S: Citrus, cedar, tobacco, a little smoke - not totally surprising given the base beer, but a little misleading as to the eventual taste of the product.

T: A bold, lactic oud bruin, with increasing levels of malt and oak as the beer warms up; the Scotch ale character takes some time to develop, and provides an interesting counterpoint to the initial tartness. As it warms, some really complex interplay develops between the sourness and the oaky backbone.

M: Lightly carbonated and a little creamy, finishing very dry and crisp. Very smooth drinking considering the ABV. Not nearly as much of a palate-killer as it could be, which might be its best trick of all.

O: A surprisingly well-crafted beer overall, considering it's the brewer's first attempt at a sour. There isn't much to compare it to in terms of sour Scotch ales - it's a strikingly unique and forward-thinking beer, one of my favorite out-of-nowhere finds of 2011, and a beer I'll be happy to revisit again.

This is really worth seeking out if you like unusual American sours; Olde Burnside's distribution is very limited, and I've only seen this at a couple bottle shops around Hartford. I recall having this on tap at BCTC11 and being pleasantly surprised; it should only get better with age.

 1,396 characters

Photo of Racnee
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of shufon
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of ghamel
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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 cadaugherty
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of HopStoopid120
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of phorestfreak
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Pahn
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml swing top bottle into a snifter.

I've been waiting anxiously for this beer to be bottled since hitting it hard at the Burnside beer fest this Summer. Wasn't disappointed with this version at all.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a one inch frothy and popping offwhite head that dissipates steadily, leaving a tight but short lasting ring of lacing. Pours a hazy red brown. Leaves a wall of lacing that rides back to the liquid on the beer's legs.

Smell: Sweet, fruity malts (like in a really fruity strong ale like Founders Curmudgeon or Brooklyn Monster, sort of hard candy sweet), some tartness, and a large grape presence. Mild vanilla cake and faint woodiness underneath. Some caramel starts to show up after a few minutes.

With time and warmth, the aroma really opens up. The grape and hard candy stay, but the oak gets a lot more pronounced and some molasses and heavy malt from the base beer come out. The blends produced are great... it's less like different notes than different chords. The elevated sourness and grape go surprisingly well together with the different pastry and oak notes.

Taste: Sour up front, with a creamy finish. Mild pucker, oaky aftertaste. Sugariness not so nice with the sourness up front, and a bit of a watery character. Second sip brings more noticeable (but not abrasive) booze up front, and some nice complexities within the sourness.

Any doubts or qualms I had disappear as the beer warms--let this beer warm up. There's a lot going on here. Some smoke and leather come out, along with the bold and balanced malts of the base beer (Ten Penny Reserve, a great beer in its own right), which taste surprisingly natural and complimentary with the mild grape, lactic sourness, and occasional acetic flavors. Long oaky finish that coats the mouth... this is something I love in a wild ale, though I know some others consider it a flaw. Not really any bourbon influence to be found.

This is the sort of adventurous flavor you want from a wild ale. Sometimes it's dry, smoky, roasty, but the next thing you know it's powerful tartness, fruit notes, sugary pastries, all well served by an oaky vanilla background. I'm loving every sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, sometimes sugary, often puckeringly tart, mild alcohol heat, moderate to high carbonation. Sometimes very dry, sometimes very juicy. As interesting as the flavor, though not as consistently excellent.

Overall: I have a real soft spot for dark, malty beers put in barrels with wild yeast or bacteria. This is that kind of beer done really well. Every whiff and sip gives you a new balance of several flavors, and they're all good.

Also, I really like sour beers that can deliver tons of depth and distinct flavors without being so acidic that drinking them feels like having heartburn on purpose. This beer is sour while still being soft enough. Very enjoyable.

My hometown brewery really went above and beyond on this one. Will be grabbing as much of this as I can.

 2,978 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this yesterday and decided I would give it a shot even without being able to find any information on it. I thought it may have just come out, and apparently I was right.

1pint, .9 oz in a blue swing-top poured into a tulip a dark scotch ale color with a healthy white head that is soon just white lacing around the glass.

Aroma of sour grapes , butterscotch and lactose. This was really much more sour in aroma than I had thought it might be. Also picking up heavy roasted malts and a good dosing of caramel and toffee.

Taste is great. I had also probably underestimated the flavor
due to nobody having even reviewed this when I purchased it.
Tons of toffee, caramel and roasted malts along with a heavy tasting scotch ale mixed with tons of lacto. I am thinking maybe a sour mash might have had something to do with it.

M: thick mouthfeel and a light carbonation.

O: A well done wild ale from a scotch ale base. I don't know of any wild scotch ales but would have to presume that there is another somewhere.

 1,025 characters

Photo of Robtobfest
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz blue swingtop into a Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a deep chestnut/amber color with a bit more head than a typical sour.

S- Smells tart. Some funk, grapes as well as some malts poking thru. This is one of the best smelling sours I have had the pleasure of. The scottish ale/sour combo here is amazing, though please do not think this is not sour, it is!

T- Wow! this is way above my expectations. Much the same as the nose but there is a ton of tartness to this.. Very well done. The carbonation is spot on here, prickly. Not a hint of the 10% in the taste, and I mean at all.

M- a bit heavier than the sours that i am used to but that is to be expected when the base beer is essentially a scottish ale. This beer is great.

O- I have to give this an A+. Not perfect in all aspects but for me, this is just the perfect beer. I could seriously drink this everyday. Sounds like a homer reveiw here being from CT, I know but get your hands on this it's the real deal IMO. Cheers!

 985 characters

Photo of jimmy82063
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally found this

Poured into a brandy snifter....

A) Nice golden hue, slight head a bit of lacing.

S) Grapes and Funk...thats great!

T) For those who like sours (me) this is pretty damn good. The brewer is pretty well known for their scotch ales, that said you get the malts to follow up on the yeast.

O) Would really like to know how this ages...

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