Fish (440) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - NOV 22, 2006
I too waited in the rain for my six jugs o’ imperial gaelic ale. This has actually been the first beer I’ve rated in a good long while. The only new stuff I was drinking this summer and fall was a bunch of Eastern European/ Russian lagers which were available all of the sudden at this slavic market in town. Nothing really impressive with those. This beer that I’m drinking now, however, is another story. This beer is a treat. Yes, I stood out in the rain for mine too (woot!) And it was well worth it. What a treat. And brewed locally. I would say, this brew holds its own with any of the rogues. Pours a deep ruddy amber color. With a fluffy tan head which left ok lacing behind. Burnt prune alcohol aroma. Strong, sticky palate fades to a substantial hop kick. Nice. This beer treads a fine line between strong ale and barleywine. If lacking in any way, it’s malt character. I could have used some more there. Otherwise a fantastic beer, Points for being the best NC brew I’ve had in a while. Asheville must be so proud of you, Imperial Gaelic! muenster (345) - Sevierville, Tennessee, USA - OCT 6, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 9, 2006 Liter bottle. Pours dark mahogany/burnt orange with a bubbly beige head. Aroma is hoppy, with notes of sweet malts and caramel. Flavor has a nice citrus/piney hop character similiar to a good IPA, and a sweet maltiness and alcohol finish like a barleywine. Thoroughly enjoyable. NicerInPerson (337) - North of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - FEB 27, 2007
The aroma was malty and nutty with a strong caramel impression and some toasty notes. A light spice was present and some dark fruits. The amber beer was lightly hazy and had a yellowish compact head which did last enough to lace the glass. The flavor was malty with a strong citrusy hop flavor and a substantial bittering to backup the malt presence. The citrus hop flavor was a bit of grapefruit and a smidge of orange and as the hop flavor faded on the palate a strong caramel presented itself coupled with a biscuity and toasty flavor. The malt and hop balance was well done and made for an enjoyable pint. The body was medium full and with a moderate level of carbonation the beer was creamy in mouthfeel. The beer went dry into the aftertaste with lasting biscuit and toast and the only hints of alcohol came in the flavor and in some light warming that occurred after consumption. A very nice beer to celebrate the last brew from Downtown Asheville. 1 liter flip top bottle purchased at the release party. Quixote18 (236) - Johnson City, Tennessee, USA - SEP 25, 2006
Sampled at Brewgrass Fest. Big grapefruity hop aroma, with some sweet caramel- like malts. I found the flavor to be rather harsh, especially in the finish. I know this is a new beer for Highland...maybe it will benefit from some aging. surffisher (198) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - JAN 1, 2008
This one’s been sitting for about a year and a half. Finally popped the cap to ring in 2008 (although I have sampled at a few tastings over the past year or so). Carbonation remained excellent even with the rubber stopper. Pours a cloudy reddish peach color with a thick stand of bone white head, which leaves spotty, sticky lace. Aroma is caramelly and sweet with candied sugar and a variety of fruits including peach, mango and some darker/pitted. Flavor is big and juicy, with bitter hops up front and in the finish with a dollop of sweet thick caramel and fruity notes in the middle, all surrounded by some fresh dry hops that have held up reasonably well with time. Very smooth with fine carbonation and full palate; just slightly warming with no alcohol noted. This was a delicious, complex treat - much more than just a big Gaelic Ale (which is a solid, but unexceptional red ale). Thanks to NachlamSie for the trade - would have hated to miss out on this limited edition beer from a fine brewery.
Cam501 (58) - Asheville, North Carolina, USA - OCT 2, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 25, 2007 While i can taste the alcohol in this brew, I don’t feel it is as obvious in the finish as others migjht think. thehead disssipates quickly leaving only the soapy finishing leftovers behind but that’s okay. Slightly sweet. Almost feels like a tascall mixed with a gaelic with an extra kick.