Highland Fling Spring Ale
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company

Highland Fling Spring AleHighland Fling Spring Ale
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The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States
American Pale Ale
Not listed
3.73 | pDev: 17.43%
Feb 19, 2012
May 03, 2003
Very Good
Highland Fling Spring AleHighland Fling Spring Ale
Notes: None
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Ratings by krantul:
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Reviewed by krantul from Massachusetts

2.62/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5
I'll preface this review by saying that I am impressed with the way Olde Burnside has made it across the Massachusetts border, with growlers showing up regularly at Austin Liquors and Julio's. Unfortunately, I don't think this particular beer stands up very well against their regular offerings. What is a spring ale, really? Summer and winter have accepted "styles" these days, but I'm not sure what they were going for here.

Appearance: Comes in a big, badass, blue swing-top bottle, the usefulness of which will probably long outlast the beer it originally held (I homebrew). Pours a somewhat murky golden color with a decent head.

Smell: Whew. Smells grassy and skunky to me. It occurs to me that I have no idea if blue glass prevents beers from getting lightstruck. I can't really smell anything else. It doesn't reek like a Corona that's been sitting on the beach for four hours, but it's definitely off-putting.

Taste: It's pretty mediocre. I have a really hard time quantifying the taste of this beer. I'm not quite sure what it's trying to be. It's fairly light-bodied, and my sampling (despite the initial head) did not strike me as being highly carbonated, which really exposes that fact that the beer is very light in both malt flavor and hop bitterness. There is a residual floral character that I can't quite identify, that isn't too bad, but its all by its lonesome on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Kinda thin and weak. There just isn't enough character to support this light-bodied beer.

Drinkability: It's just too boring to drink much of. It was tolerable enough to finish... I didn't dash off to dump it in the sink or anything... but there's not much going on here.

What is a spring ale, really? Summer and winter have accepted "styles" these days, but I'm not sure what they were going for here. I can't help but think that some work could be done to find this beer's identity, perhaps by adjusting the malt flavors and perhaps capitalizing on the vaguely floral tastes by making this into a full-fledged gruit beer?
Jun 07, 2006
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3 by jfcaa193 from Canada (QC)

Feb 19, 2012
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Reviewed by RedChrome from Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pour produced a very nice medium golden color. A huge stark white, thick, fluffy head retained for a goodly long amount of time. Small amount of almost microscopic carbonation bubbles floated to the top. Clumpy, watery lacing.

A very strong aroma blended malt and floral scents as the major smell. A second not brings a hops blend. There are some citrus notes in the edges that invoke tangerine images.

The taste had a very hops flavor. The crisp bite blends nicely with a subtle blend of tangering and lemon flavors. Taste also has a light floral aftertaste. A nice balance for a spring season offering.

A very nice consistancy. Not watery, with a decent amount of carbonation to help flavor coat all surfaces.

A very nice beer offering for the spring. Would be a fantastic contrast to a meal involving cheese. I would enjoy this with quesadillas or potato skins. If you see it and have never had it I highly recommend you give it a taste.
Aug 14, 2006
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Reviewed by GratefulBeerGuy from New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
swing top bottle,Very light bodied, golden in color, straw and wheaty nose with slight hints of fruityness. Feels really light and airy on the palate, exceptionally refreshng first hit feels very fresh. A really good tasteful spring time brew. t was purchased from "the Bug Y" in Northampton,MA, which has a fine selection of craft brews from around the New England area.
May 21, 2006
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Reviewed by Todd from California

1.98/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1
1 quart, 1.82 fluid oz blue bottle with plastic swing top closure.

Loads of carbonation with this one. Hazy pale amber color, with a dense white foam head that sticks and trails the glass. Nice retention.

Major hay in the nose. Pleasant note of floral rind. Herbal aroma, with some dimethyl sulfide (DMS) followed by a fresh sweet grist aroma and underlying pith twang. Overly grainy at times.

Extremely light-bodied, thin and watery. A very dry beer with very little malt sweetness, but there's a touch that's mixed in with an herbal flavor and hint of sweet-n-bitter clover nectar. Grain tannins run amok as a result. Grassy hop character provides an initial bitterness, then falls to the grain tannins while slapping down coarseness on the palate on its way out. Light citric note with a salty-mineral backing. A milky pith flavor rises, overpowering the palate as there's nothing there to balance. Dry finish, full of tannins and a hay-like coarse edge.

There's simply no balance with this brew. It's lacking malt character and body, which allows the flaws that might otherwise be masked / smoothed in with the balance ... rule. Tannins are just way too dominant and harsh in this brew.
Apr 23, 2005
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Reviewed by ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
1L swing-top bottle from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" beige head above the clear golden brew. Head fades slightly, but lots of froth hangs around, leaving hunks of white foam all over. Aroma is doughy, with a hops scent noticeable. Taste is like the nose, with the malt upfront giving way quickly to a pervasive but somewhat generic bitterness, and closes with a heightened aftertaste of same. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh with the bitterness, but overall acceptable for the style, and drinkability is as well acceptable. Wish this one presented it's parts with a bit more flair, but worth a try if you find it.
Apr 18, 2005
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Reviewed by FLAbeergutinMASS from Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Very cool bottle presentation. It had been sitting in my fridge eyeball'n me for a couple of days. I got a little nervous when I poured the beer, it looked to be flat, as the beer came to the edge a small head formed then quickly dissipated. Now the big moment-did I waste my money or is this going to be some type of revelation. Not quite a revelation but a nice addition to the New England family of beers.

Copper penny colored, kind of on the lighter side. This beer is defiantly fruity, couldn’t pass for a summer ale, but close. Hints of some semi-sour fruit, blueberries acidic lemon. Definitely has a pronounced hop characteristics, finishes a little biter.

I like this beer but I cannot find any outstanding characteristics. Very anonymous taste. It is a nice tasting beer, I would recommend not commend.
Apr 05, 2005
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Reviewed by necoadam from Connecticut

3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Nice 1 liter cobalt blue bottle. 2004 edition, bottle number 1634. Shared this with some family members. Pours out a copper/amber color with a nice amount of carbonation visible. Stays a little bit with you as well. Smell consisted of hops mostly with some bitter fruit in the backround for some balancing. Taste seemed nice and fresh at least. Citrus/pine hops go all over the palate with some slight caramel and malts come in to balance it out. Not bad at all. But it did seem a little thin and watery at times. But a nice pale ale all around.
Aug 09, 2004
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Reviewed by beergeek279 from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Bottle #1851, served in the 750 mL cobalt blue swingtop bottle into a pint glass. The color is a dark copper, with a foamy white head. The smell is an Amarillo-ish hoppiness. The taste is a nice mix of a slight citrus and very piney hop, with a good solid caramel-ish malt in the background. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, this is a very nice one to have several of.

Thanks to counselor and BIF 7.0 for this beer. At first, I was expecting a Wee Heavy, what with the thistle of Scotland and all, but was surprised to see that this was a pale ale. Still, this is a fine pale ale, with the good Amarillo-ish hoppiness. Quite good, and one I'd like to enjoy again!
Jul 15, 2004
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Reviewed by nixhecks from Rhode Island

4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Out of a mini-keg, this can't be beat. Tap comes in an old WWII ammo case, adding plenty of character. Poured a light brown, hazy color with a pillowy white head that had excellent retention. More chocolatey flavor than out of the flip top. Seems more of a irish red than a pale ale. Much more malt aroma and flavor, although the hops do play a major role in the finish and the balance. So far this is the best TPA that they make, buy it if you see it. ABV seems to be above average also, which is surely a good thing this time of year.
May 29, 2004
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Reviewed by marc77 from California

4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
1L swingtop blue bottle. Deep copper hue with a light haze. Covered by a Belgianesque, mountainous, dogged, pitted cream white head that yields frothy lace. Juicy grapefruit flesh with lemon zest hints upfront in aroma. Secondary are mellow notes of ripe pineapple along with medium toffee hints. The subtle tropical ester twang makes the aroma quite unique and welcoming. In flavor, the initial snap of sharp quinine like hop bitterness subsides almost immediately into a static citrus pith and zest combination. Well integrated, vibrant, pink grapefruit hop flavor. Simple medium lovibond caramel malt presence along with bready pale malt provide ample malt backbone and contrast to the hop presence. Dries significantly as it warms, with cracker hints adding additional grainy tones. Lightly bodied overall, but with ample dextrins in mouthfeel. Understated pear ester hints add fruit character complementary to obviously citrusy hop flavor. Finishes with a lingering impression of hopped orange julius balanced agreeably with bread crust tones. Definitely an outstanding pale ale, with hop bitterness on the upper end for style. Superbly balanced overall, and superlative in drinkability. Oddly reminescent of a lighter version of Stone's 7th Anniversary Ale. Big thanks to Mikeys01 for the delivery!
May 17, 2004
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Reviewed by Billolick from New York

4.37/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
This beer gets style points for an awesome bottle and label. Brew inside is top notch as well. Creamy, hoppy pale. Almond and abit cloudy. Very fine bubble head, leaving great lace. Great mouthfeel. Obviously a classy creation, gonna seek out more from this brewery.
Apr 04, 2004
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Reviewed by mikeys01 from Colorado

4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Served from a 1L Cobalt Blue swingtop bottle, with a numbered tag as per most of the seasonal Burnside brews. Color is a nice penny copper, no visible head, only slight bubbles. Carbonation is on the medium side. Aroma is a mix of fruit scents, and quite hoppy as well, but just enough to appreciate without dominating. The flavor is at first blessed with a very well blended mix of floral and citrus hops, then some nice malt sweetness creeps in, just a hint of biscuity flavor too. Body is fairly light and mouthfeel is very smooth, this is a very easy drinking Spring Ale. Finish is just a little bitter and reminiscent of fresh hop flowers. Good job on this one Olde Burnside!
Mar 25, 2004
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Reviewed by UnionMade from New York

3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
Awesome packaging, with a giant liter sized blue clamp top.
Beer pours golden amber and crystal clear, with a thick white head and lively carbonation. Great lacing, creating a cobweb effect on the glass.
Aroma is very hoppy, with some high alpha goodness, and a bit of estery maltiness in the background. I'm liking this already.
Flavor is awesome. Very hoppy and bold, with a touch of breadiness. Malts compliment and support the agressive hopping well, but definitely let it hog the attention. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. I'd maybe like a bit more body to it, as I prefer heavier pale ales, but this one worked out just fine, especially towards the end of the bottle.
Aug 22, 2003
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Reviewed by OatmattStout from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottle # 1576. This ale pours a realydeep golden color with a nice thick white head that hangs around long enough to get a few good nose fulls on your first sips. The smell is of sweet malt and flowery and grassy hops. The flavors follow suit with a very unique and great hop blend. There is a distinct peaty presence to this beer as in ten penny and it really makes this beer unique and delicious. I can't think of any other beer that has these similar hop/yeast characteristics but they are excellent and a favorite of mine. There is less of a malt presence but in a minute you will taste a sweetness come through in the after taste through a substantial hoppyness. The hops do have a grapefruit quality bitterness and almost a dry hopped quality as well.

I love this brew and wished it was a year round offering to drink between my half gallons of ten penny.
Jun 01, 2003
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Reviewed by Thrasher from Oregon

4.11/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Handsome blue swingtop bottle, card on string with beer details. No. 0156. Pours golden with slight unfiltered haze, bright white head climbs high and leaves suds down the glass. Aroma peculiarly sharp and grassy... when I say grassy I mean like grass. Herb. Weed. Reefer. You get the idea. Flavor of smooth, honeyed malt bolstered by piney, herbal hops, with elements of flowers, heather, lavender. Like Burnside's 10 Penny Ale, this is a bizarrely hopped beer, flowery, spiky, sharp, unlike any other hoppy beer out there for reasons I am not cognizant enough to explain - it's not bitter, or at least not bitter in the same way. Perhaps the malts here are a bit too delicate to support the prominent hops. Still it's interesting and tasty, with a killer aftertaste. Hops scrub the tongue clean for a velvety, thinnish mouthfeel. A Scottish ale for hopheads. It's a treat to come across a beer like this, especially one so local.
May 30, 2003
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Reviewed by far333 from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Deep amber color with a high beige head with tight bubbles. The head leaves quickly. Light aroma, mostly of hop. Very crisp flavor with tasty hop bitterness from start to finish, but not overpowering. Hints of honey, citrus, and apricot. Carbonation felt firmly on the tongue. Slight bitter hop aftertaste. Very drinkable.

The bottle is a blue swing-top 1 liter, 13 inches tall. A string is tied around the neck with a card on it. The front of the card reads "Here's to a long life, and a merry one; a quick death, and an easy one; a pretty girl, and an honest one; a cold ale, and another one." The inside of the card introduces the spring ale, talks about spring in Scotland, and says to watch for Olde Burnside Saint Andrews Summer Ale. The back of the card promotes the 2nd Annual "Pipes In The Valley" celtic music festival. Card is numbered 2028.
May 03, 2003
Highland Fling Spring Ale from The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 17 ratings