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Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

242 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 242
Hads: 880
Avg: 3.64
pDev: 25.82%
Wants: 15
Gots: 137 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 09-19-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 242 | Hads: 880
Photo of rustynosebleed
1.66/5  rDev -54.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

this is the most bland and crappy ipa i have ever tried. i made the mistake of buying a case, thinking that it would be at least decent. it's not. i would never get this again. it barely tastes of hops, it more or less just tastes like dirty water. disgusting. i can barely drink one or two in a sitting, and for the price, there are a lot better beers that one can buy, such as victory hopdevil or smuttynose finestkind.

 421 characters

Photo of bmeehan
1.72/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

This beer is awful. Just dreadful. I bought it hoping it would be an IPA that could get me liking IPAs (don't worry, that mantle was taken up by another beer and it was successful), but this is garbage. Its bitterness is overwhelming, its aroma is forgettable, and if given the choice between drinking it and eating my own toenails, I'd go get the clippers myself.

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Photo of ryanwaltz
1.88/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

New arrival on shelves. Took a whiff of the opened bottle and inhaled an aroma of over ripe fruit, esters gone wild. Poured to pint glass where aroma increased. Good color, mouthfeel, and hop taste overwhelmed by bad fruit flavors. Discontinued consumption.

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Photo of smakawhat
2.37/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass giving a very good white head of two fingers with somewhat soap like bubbles. Some carbonation from the bottom in a dark clear brown apple/gold color. Some retention and some lacing but not much. Decent looking beer this is a good start.

What the heck is that smell???. oh my lord I know what it is.. this thing smells exclusively of DISHWASHING SOAP! Are you kidding me? no hops no biscuit or citrus... this is not looking good.

Taste really does not improve at all by much. Extremely wet bodied and I can't get past that smell it feels like I am having Palmolive. Bitter hop finish at least but leaving a soap bitterness which just lingers.

I am never having this again and will never drink it anymore. I can drink it and get past and find some hop bitters on the finish but this whole soapy fake detergent/perfume thing is a killer. Nope never again thank god this was on sale and it didn't cost me an arm or a leg.

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Photo of Bacardi222
2.4/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a chilled Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Look: A clear amber color which appears pale upon inspection up to a light source. Minimal, lazy head which quickly dissipates. Light carbonation rising steady and slow through consumption. Little to no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Generally underwhelming and not full of character. Slight pine with some overtones of citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit.

Taste: Entirely average taste which reflects the underwhelming aromas. Pine is immediate and persistent through the course of consumption. Slight citrus elements coming through primarily from grapefruit. Slightly bitter and balanced by light malt. While balanced, I find the flavor to be dull and almost one-note.

Feel: Mouth-feel is thin and watery with little body. Carbonation is minimal.

Overall: I give this a completely average rating of 2.5. Clean and smooth with little to upset newcomers to the category, but almost nothing to make it stand out from the over-saturated category of IPAs. Mouth-feel is the most offensive part of this beer. Loose and watery with a slight lingering taste of pure bitterness after swallowing. Improving this aspect of the beer would likely boost its overall rating.

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Photo of mikereaser
2.53/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - pours a rust orange color with just a fine layer of bubbles on top

S - some citrus hops are fighting to get through a wet dog smell

T - hints of citrus & pine start you out, then a caramel malt flavor that ends in some bitterness

M/D - mouthfeel is decent, a bit too much of a zip to enjoy fully, but the taste isn't there either so overall, its just not that good.

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Photo of DosBeerigos
2.57/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

C. Clear
H. Golden Orange
N. Hops; citrus notes

This is probably my favorite Starr Hill out of them all. That said it is just ok. Sorta overly bitter, and not complex enough for me. Good beer, worth a try if you like big hoppy beers, but nothing that I would recommend on a regular basis. Sorta easy to drink, but don't give this to someone that hasn't had an IPA before, she just may scare them.

 397 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
2.61/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Quick paced micro-effervesce passes through an orange body with a good clarity. Rigid foam works of 2 inches is sturdy, with a buff coloring showing a generous lace amount on the vessel.

S: Small dry citrus flower, none to complex, none to strong, none to appealing.

T: Coarse hopping, prickly flower bitterness, dry citrus. All bitterness hops, plus some dry hopping, but no flavor aspect. Dull tasting, dull hoping with some toasted sweetness upfront that gets overcome by the coarse, mono-tone hopping that finishes with some dry flour and chalkiness.

M: Light bodied, chalky, dry barley stalks, with a small moderate sweetness off the tongue.

O: Overall early hop bitterness additions leaves no room for flavor aspect. Blunt, dry and unfocused hop and flavor wise with a coarse finish that even zombie junkie hop heads will have a hard time likeing. Pass, hesitant finish.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this hoppy beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer poured a amber sort of dirty blonde color. The head was gone really fast but lacing hung on for a little while. The smell and taste was certainly IPA, but too much for me. The beer was very dry with a bitter finish. Not for me and I will not buy again.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.69/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle notched with a best by July 11 (sampled May 11)

Appearance: Clear bright amber glass shows a snowstorm of tiny bubbles that feed a full finger white cap.

Smell: Main smell is a worty (under-attenuated) malt, not a good first impression for an IPA. An earthy English hop is in there somewhere as well.

Taste: Starts off fairly balanced with a flash of juicy hops and then a long and lasting bitter hop oil flavor sets in and stays until the next sip. The wortiness in the nose isn't tasted, but the bitter hops keep just about every other flavor well buried. A little orange pith starts to show as it warms a bit.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, fizzy in fact, with an oily hop acid burn for a finish

Overall: Not my cup of tea. I like my hops on the front end of the boil giving lots of aroma, and west coast citric/pine. This is the opposite with the earthy hops giving a lot of bitterness in the finish. Nothing horribly wrong here, but a bit off for an American IPA, an English Double IPA? Odd bird this one.

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Photo of sendsilk
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a single 12 oz. bottle of this on a recent trip in NC. Best by November 2011.

A- Looks decent, nothing to write home about. Dark yellow to a light orange color.

S- Not too much going on. Totally typical IPA smell, but a little weaker.

T- This is pretty weak. Nothin great by any means. Nothing I would seek out again. Not nearly enough hops for me. Very sweet and malty, not a great version of an IPA.

M- Doesn't matter, the best mouthfeel in the world won't make up for the lack of hops and over malty flavor of this one.

O- Seek you refreshment elsewhere.

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Photo of Onenote81
2.81/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was excited to find this in my local grocery. Poured into my pint glass a very deep copper amber with a frothy off-white head on top. Retention is fair, and there's some nice lacing rings after each sip. Smells of funk, yeast, and caramelly malts. No hops in the nose at all.

The mouth is creamy and smooth, with little crispness. The flavor is a little different as well. Some tart yeasty presence and sweet malts. There's a nice bitter finish, but it's spicy rather than citrusy. This reminds me more of a Belgian IPA, rather than American. This was alright, but I was disappointed overall. I've really liked the rest of their offerings, but this fell short.

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Photo of Edward-Nipplebrew
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice copper color not a bad IPA. Average in taste and quality. Good drinkability. A fine run-of-the-mill IPA nothing wrong but nothing to write home about. Strawberry fields forever. This would be a good choice for novice IPA drinkers as an introduction to get you into trying IPA's.

 283 characters

Photo of CaptCleveland
2.87/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle dated best by 01/2012 as an extra in an excellent trade with wino47--thanks.
Clear honey-gold elixir poured into SA glass. Copious, tight bubbles, thick one finger head, beautiful lacing throughout.
Very subtle hop aroma, flowery, old lady soap smell (dove?).
Taste is better--a bit. Hop bitterness, mild resin, malt.
Bump it up for the nice carbonation and medium body.
Must me better representations of the style in NC.

 435 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From tap to shaker glass at Clyde's in NW DC on 2/24/11
*From notes

A: Light golden amber with a good looking two finger head and sub-standard lacing.

S: Simple nose of malt and bread with trace bitterness.

T: Earthy grains up front, with a heavy dose of malt and bitterness on the back end.

M: Blase. It's nothing special, though it certainly isn't awful. It's just average.

O: It is what it is - a drinkable east coast IPA. Starr Hill has yet to really impress me, and though this one is passable, I can't say I'll be making a point of tracking down the rest of their suds.

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Photo of mralphabet
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Light copper colored, slightly hazy but you could see the carbination, 1/2 a fingers worth of head... Very nice lacing...

S: Hops, Hops Hops... very IPA. There is a citrus note here u maybe grapefruit.... very little malt sweetness to speak of.

T: Just like the smell... Hops Hops Hops.... pretty bitter... there is a little malt here that tames the aftertaste just a touch.. But over all a little to bitter for me, (but I'm not the biggest Hop Head).

M: Light to med bodied with a good carbonation, pretty crisp on the tongue.

D: It is a IPA, not my favor but if you are a hop head I think you could drink a few of these. Worth a shot for IPA fans.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.97/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Starr Hill Brewery Northern Lights IPA is decent. The beer poured golden/light copper clear with frothy white head that is lacing. The smell is weak....some floral notes along some bitter citrus. The casscade and wilmette hops provide a combination of bitter citrus and slight pine. The mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation. Overall it is a decent beer. Not as good as some other IPAs I have tried however.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber color with a thin white head.

Smell: Light hops and pine notes with citrus.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of bitter hops and pine. Mild citrus.

Overall: This was an ok IPA, but not the best I've had.

 276 characters

Photo of Ryanm1
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Run of the mill IPA. Sucked this one down straight from the bottle. Hoppy taste nothign really to comment about this beer. I got this out of the mixed packed that Star Hill makes and this was a marginal IPA which was on par with the Red Ale, and Imperial Stout in the case.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly orange yellow golden color with a thick white head and a little lacing. Smells of a little hops and a little citrus and some caramel malts. Tastes of some little hops and some orange flavor and then tons of malts. Not very much like an IPA. Mouthfeel is medium and it has tons of carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

 331 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear amber color with a bit of ruby highlighting around the sides of the glass. Eggshell white head foams up 1 cm and fades quickly to a sturdy edge layer with a few lazy streams of bubbles rising to the surface. Aroma is mild overall with some grainy caramel up front. This rolls to a mild hoppy nose that features some rindy citrus and hits of general herbal tea. Very mild nose overall, nothing offensive.
First sip reveals an average body and gentle carbonation. the flavor is as the nose advertises with some grainy malt and a bit of toffee. This rolls to some astringent hops with rindy grapefruit and bitter tea leaves. Not too strong of a hop bite and a bit drying on the finish.
The alcohol is hidden very well and the beer is easy to drink. Not an incredibly interesting beer but not tragically flawed either.
I think there are better IPAs out there but dont hate this beer.

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Photo of ElderBeagle
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Obtained in the sampler pack

Really strange looking IPA. Clear dark amber color with very little head.

Smells very sweet for an IPA. Caramel maltiness, with the piny, citrus hops as well.

The taste is very sweet just like the nose, then the back of the tongue is the dry piny hops. Not much depth to the hops here which is disappointing, as I like complex hop flavor (citrus, tropical fruit, etc). Mostly just a dry piny, resinous flavor which is almost bulled over by the malt sweetness.

Its like an amber ale that was dry hopped or something. Overall, not the IPA for me. I actually think their pale ale is more complex and hoppy than this, and therefore more enjoyable.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Belly up at Old Ebbits after an awesome foot tour some of the city's finest

Reddish-orange pour with a thin coating and a steady tiny stream of bubbles. A nice lace follows the beer's demise.

The nose and taste follow the same script, so I'll comment as such. Quite malty with some spicy hops leave a snappy, bitter finish. Overall, rather clean and more malty than hoppy, which fits the east coast modus opernadus.

I had doubled back through town because this is a cool bar and I wanted to try this beer on tap. A cool overall experience, but the beer is not overly worth seeking out.

 589 characters

Photo of PhageLab
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a weizen glass.

A - Deep amber colored brew which created a big sticky layer of froth. Retention was moderate and some washy lace was left behind.

S - Hmmm, some muted citrus notes, but not much else. Where are the hops?

T - Bitter, but not overly hoppy. More of a raw bitterness. Some floral hops show through in areas, but there just isn't much here.

M - Light body, dry, with a medium carbonation level.

D - I've liked some of their other beers, but this one just can't hold it's own. There is nothing bad or offensive about it, and perhaps it could be a good gateway IPA, but it just doesn't have enough flavor to hold my attention.

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Photo of tdm168
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orangish amber with a mountain of soft, dense, foamy, white head that has great retention. The nose is lightly bready and has a nice citrusy hop aroma. There's a soap aroma as well which fades with the head. The flavor is malt forward with nice bready, doughy character. The hop character is faint for the style with notes of faint citrus and pine. The hops clash a little with the malt character which throws the flavor off a little. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and smooth.

This isn't an awful beer, but the balance just isn't there. Ultimately, it's just a little too mediocre.

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Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 242 ratings.