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Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

599 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 599
Reviews: 223
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%


Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 09-19-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 599 | Reviews: 223 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pacino77
pacino77

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a lot of people say negative things about new jersey. there's traffic, they insist, and whitetrash, and it's just a suburb of new york. i rode this train for a while as a result of peer pressure--i overlooked a lot of the simple charms of this eastern seaboard state because of the reputation it had in my mind on account of everyone else. the real fact is that there's a lot to be charmed by here, simple undeniable charms like when cat stevens sings, "take your time, think a lot," and you sort of hum along and bob your head in agreement. new jersey is a great place. now, have you ever heard anyone speak negatively about charlottesville, virginia? likely not. because it, too, is a nice place, but one that happens to be slightly more removed from interstate ninety-five. and like new jersey, it has its annoyances, like record shops that still charge $5 for michael jackson thriller and too many dudes in seersucker suits with polo shirts on underneath. charlottesville also, however, hosts and is home to the starr hill brewery, whose men and women are responsible for the creation of this fine, reasonably priced india pale ale. it comes in a can and more than once i've been glad that i'm not forced to find a half dollar with which to pry the cap off. i'm also a little bit interested in the recyclability of aluminum over glass. but i digress. the simple fact is that a hot august night goes better with a bag of utz potato chips and a cold can of northern lights.

Serving type: can

08-21-2013 12:41:50 | More by pacino77
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with several fingers of foamy off-white head. This settle down into a rich dollop of froth in the middle of the glass, coating the sides with a sticky latticework of lacing. The aroma smells of floral tones, spice, earth, and some light metallic notes, with an underlying mix of citrus and a rather prominent grainy sweetness that pushes upward.

The taste has a fairly assertive citric bite to it that is undercut by some earthy and herbal character but stills leaves some rather stiff bitter pith and spice lingering on the tongue. Like the nose, the malts here have a strong toasted grainy presence to them that is nearly as forceful here as the hops are. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft crispness in the mouth that intertwines with those more mellow herbal textures to keep this relatively smooth feeling despite the presence of some alcohol here.

Just based on the malt presence here, I could tell that this can must be getting up there in age yet those citric hops still had a bit of fresh life left to them in spots as well. I think that there was enough here for me to want to investigate this one again.

Serving type: can

06-19-2012 14:35:30 | More by Kegatron
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A frothy three fingered head sits on top of a dark copper colored body with moderate carbonation.

S - Bready caramel malt along with much weaker grapefruit and pine aroma. The nose is very subdued, mellow, and smells balanced.

T - Bready and watery caramel malt up front that lays a solid foundation for the hops that join the party midway through. After the mid point, and out of nowhere, comes a crisp snap of grapefruit and pine bitterness that rides it through for a dry finish. The mouth is left with a coating of toasted caramel malt and predominantly pine bitterness with a little grapefruit struggling to get through.

M - Thin medium body, almost watery at times, too thin for my liking.

O - The only thing I really dig about this beer is the bitter bite but at the same time, the malt is dialed up to balance things out. Somewhat balanced but too much toasted caramel for my liking. This beer reminds me of a British style IPA I brewed.

Serving type: can

04-11-2012 20:14:32 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of cyclonece09
cyclonece09

Maryland

4.23/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a nice orangish amber with a nice 1 finger white head. Has a nice flowery and citrusy aroma, well balanced and with a slight malt aroma. The taste of the hops, kind of an earthy tone, dominates this light-medium bodied beer. The malt adds some interesting notes. Carbonation is perfect and it is definitely a beer that you can throw down all night. Overall, a very good IPA and beer.

Serving type: can

04-07-2012 02:02:24 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of gopens44
gopens44

Virginia

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Translucent orange brown with a fairly decent off white head at the pour, but the head quickly recedes to a thin layer of fizz and bubbles contributing to a classy residual lacing thing.

S - Big malt smell with a little hop bite. Truth be told, my brain is likely suggesting more hop aggression than reality offers.

T - First taste yields a nice grapefruit bitterness that has been muted ever so lightly by a sweet thick maltiness. Finish is more nondescript in it's bitterness.

M - Full bodied with a fairly decent amount of carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and slightly fruity.

O - I bought this as a six pack of cans to take to a gathering, and for this purpose the beer was perfect. Quenching, tasty enough and a conversation starter of sorts. I'd her it again for the same purpose, but I can likely find something a bit more "hop-a-rific" for home drinking fun.

Serving type: can

01-01-2012 21:33:22 | More by gopens44
Photo of cavedave
cavedave

New York

4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to woolyb for this can of goodnes from the Thrice as Nice BIF

A finger of off white head tops a dark amber and almost clear beer. The head is slow to go finally settling to a well knit skim. Nice lace arms hug the glass.

Dank and pine are the lead players in a med/high potency aroma. Caramel sweet, and citrus play support roles, and hidden light and deep within even some floral lurks. Nice.

Very clean pine leads the sip, resiny and bitter, joined quickly by some grainy sweet, caramel, ganja goodness, and it ends with some righteously balanced bitter jousting with citrus hints and deep drying pine for control into the finish. Alcohol spice adds nice complexity.

Very representative of the style, viscous without syrup, low carb. but plenty lively, med. body, exc. finish.

This is really nice beer that got more enjoyable as I drank. Not in the league of Flower Power or Sculpin, but tasty. Recommended.

Serving type: can

10-02-2011 22:01:04 | More by cavedave
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to woodychandler for providing this beer in can form. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a brownish/orange color with a 1.5 inch head. Smell is very hoppy. Taste is also dominated by hops, very bitter, not much else going on. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Serving type: can

08-23-2011 15:16:33 | More by tone77
Photo of YumYumGumGum
YumYumGumGum

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Starr Hill's best beer.

This brewery hasn't made a lot of concoctions that make me proud to be a Virginia beer drinker, but Northern lights is always a safe bet when fresh. I got a fresh sixer of cans and mixed them into a tasting with a very nice selection of IPAs and DIPAs. This is great out of the can. Foamed up great when opening the can with a strong off white head and with a light scent of bitter hops. Poured a few glasses and the taste for the money is a 9 out of 10. This beat out Hop Juice by a slight edge at nearly half the price. Overall, this is a strong IPA which I've had on draft from which I got more of the floral notes.

O: Great day drinking beer. Worth the money.

Serving type: can

08-22-2011 15:47:18 | More by YumYumGumGum
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow, I found this one less musically inspiring than its CANival counterpart. I suppose, like JenRay, I take my IPAs too seriously to be frivolous and capricious. Still, I found it in a CAN and that counts for a whole lot in my book. Let The CANQuest (TM) CANtinue!

From the CAN: "Starr Hill founded in Charlottesville, VA (but I founded it at Whole Foods in DC)"; "The Gift of Great Beer"; and undersigned by "Mark A. Thompson Master Brewer".

The Crack & Glug was another success! I had two tawny fingers of thick, dense head (besides my own) and the smell ... The color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose was so grassy and minty that I thought perhaps someone had seen fit to mow my lawn! I had the back door open on this very pleasant afternoon on the eve of my return to school so it was not out of the realm of possibility. Whoops! It is only Friday and the weather report generally only goes in a New Beer Sunday review. I have never been known as much of a CANformist, so I should be okay. Mouthfeel was medium and the mintiness of the hops was just understated enough that I had downed over half of it without even thinking. Easy drinking? Too f'in' easy! Finish had a clean, minty aftertaste like I had just finished with mouthwash (although the cops would probably disagree). Heavy lacing throughout and I began to despair that I might have to fire up the jackhammer to get it all off. I would definitely want some in the cooler at any given time, but especially on Hula in the Coola Day (01 Feb, annually)! Yum.

Serving type: can

08-12-2011 20:38:20 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly hazy orange with a nice head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some sloppy lacing. Nice piney aroma with a fair dose of malt to sweeten things up, and a bit of citrus in the finish. The taste is fairly mellow, with a citrusy light bitterness that fades fairly quickly. Orange and lemon notes supported by some soft malt, with some late grapefruit. A little on the sweeter side, but refreshing, not sticky at all. A quencher of an IPA- a little too soft for my taste, but not bad- the flavors are clean and pleasant.

Serving type: can

08-05-2011 03:25:26 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of indiapaleale
indiapaleale

Massachusetts

3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour - nice looking amber to dark golden in appearance with some nice rubyish highlights and an inch or so of foamy white head on top. Some lacing present in the glass before I can manage a sip. Not a bad looking pour.

Aroma - the first things I get from sniffing the glass are lemon juice and caramel malt. Some other sweet citrus aroma are present but not a whole lot of hops going on here. More on the sweet to malty side in the nose.

Taste - following suit with the aroma, the first taste on my tongue is that of sweet malt. Not overly cloying but definitely sweet. There is some decent bitterness hitting the back and sides of the tongue but not a defined hop flavor, just bitter. A couple sips in and I begin to enjoy this beer. The flavors begin to melt together and that sweetness begins to balance out with the hop/bitter flavors that are present.

Overall - Sure, this is more on the malty side when it comes to IPAs but you can't hold anything against it for that. Creative license is the name of the game when it comes to making beer. Style guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Drinkable and tasty at that.

Would I buy more of it? - if I find myself in Virginia again for work sometime in the forese eable future I'd certainly pick some more of these up. Having visited the brewpub in Charlottesville a few years back I'd also be happy to check that place out again too.

Serving type: can

07-21-2011 02:42:30 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
TheWhiskerReview

Tennessee

3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant coppered-amber with a 1.5 finger off white head. Good retention and lace.

As evidenced from the color, this is an IPA with a bit more of a malty backbone. The bigger, malty aromas of caramel, honeyed biscuit and toasted malt tame the hoppiness a bit, which contributes some floral, grapefruity tones as well. Although I'm not a huge fan of these maltier IPAs, at least the aromas here are decently balanced, although sacrificing some overall complexity. The malt could be completely overpowering the hops though, which it isn't.

The palate keeps on with the same vibe as the nose. The maltiness is big and bready and slightly outweighs the moderate hop bitterness- almost English in style if it weren't for those grapefruity flavors. The finish is mild with some lingering bitterness.

Overall, as I've said, not particularly my style when I'm in dire need of an IPA, but it is nicely balanced and tasty, and I would certainly order this at a bar if the pickins were slim. And if I'm in need of a can of high-grav, it's one of the better values for an IPA here in TN.

Serving type: can

07-03-2011 22:44:22 | More by TheWhiskerReview
Photo of godlessape
godlessape

Georgia

3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA
The body has a light clear amber hue to it topped off with a thin but creamy white head.
The aroma is somewhat floral and grassy, with some sweet fruitiness, finishing off with just a little grapefruit.
As far as taste goes everything seems rather subtle. Nothing jumps out and slaps you on the kisser. The caramel malt is there, as is the expected hop bitterness on the tail end. The balance in this is great.
The Mouthfeel is high in carbonation, with a juicy aftertaste.
Overall this is a decent brew, a solid IPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 02:38:55 | More by godlessape
Photo of ThePaintedGrey
ThePaintedGrey

Pennsylvania

3.39/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a rich copper color with a creamy tan head that starts out two-fingers in height after an aggressive pour. Dwindles pretty quickly, leaving an acceptable amount of lacing down the sides. A roughly 1/4" creamy cap retains like a champion.

S: Floral hops with some citrus fruit. Grapefruit dominates the citric aspect with some tangerines floating around. A little bit of grassiness and some bready malts lingering. Aroma is intense, but lacks in complexity. Nothing astounding, but nothing that can be scored too harshly.

T: Those bready malts up front. A little bit of caramel malt maybe? There's a lot of malt presence in the initial sip. Some weak hop bitterness cuts through, but doesn't really do a great job of taking the driver's seat on the flavor bus. A little bit of medicinal-like bitterness in the end that's still overshadowed by the lingering malt presence. None of these flavors are bad, by any means, but they're very disappointing for an IPA.

M: Medium body, maybe slightly above, I'd say. Crisp carbonation. A bit chewy in the mouth, likely due to the strong malt presence. This one feels great and definitely has some session potential. It's overall a bit too chewy and clean in the finish for me though, given the style.

O: I want to clear up that even though my score for this infers mediocrity, that's not particularly the case. Starr Hill's Northern Lights is a quite enjoyable brew. It's flavorful, it's smooth, it's a great grab for sessioning, BUT it's not a good example of what I look for in an IPA, and I scored accordingly. The malt presence is too dominant and the hops, for the most part, take the backseat. Like I said, this brew is enjoyable and sessionable, but not what I look for in an IPA. This would serve better as perhaps an American Amber Ale, perhaps?

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 19:31:34 | More by ThePaintedGrey
Photo of Edward-Nipplebrew
Edward-Nipplebrew

Pennsylvania

2.85/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 20:36:30 | More by Edward-Nipplebrew
Photo of delta490
delta490

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a nice clear deep amber with a creamy white head which provides nice lacing

S- Mild bread with some light citrus hops and a faint sweetness at the end

T- Very similar in profile to the aroma. Nothing really stands out with this one, but it's not bad, either

M- a little watery, given the nature of American IPA

O- it's a decent IPA, worthy trying once for the sake of it

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 01:05:21 | More by delta490
Photo of Dodo2step
Dodo2step

Pennsylvania

3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Westy's Beer Distributor

A- a copper orange color that is in the middle between clear and opaque. The head is a frothy white that leaves a straight circular lacing on my pint.

S- citrus/grapefruit hops nose with faint malt hints.

F- a strong sharp and tart grapefruit/citrus flavor. not much else in the flavor.

M-light bodied but the tartness of the hops is overpowering and takes away from the other notes that should be in in IPA. It is not as dry or hoppy either.

O- an average IPA. the tartness is too over powering but a good brew all the same from Starr Hill.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 23:51:03 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance is a copper color with a finger of fluffy white head. The head sticks around for quite awhile and leaves some nice sticky lace behind. The nose has notes of both hops and grapefruit. The flavor profile is somewhat balanced, but I’d say the malt slightly overwhelms the hops. There is also a trace of citrus taste. The finish is milder than most top shelf IPAs.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2014 03:57:54 | More by 57md
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a very bright, slightly hazy, orange-gold coloring with a frothy, tall, foamy, dense, off-white head that clings all over the glass as you drink. Good looking beer. Aromas of tropical fruits, pepper and tobacco spice, and subtle grass and pine. Flavors are roast forward, with a more subdued fruit character and a solid tart grapefruit profile providing tart and bitterness. Subtle caramel backbone, and with some grass and cedar hops characteristics coming forward towards the tail-end of the palate. Smooth, light body with a tart and roasted sweet aftertaste, with hops bitterness to clean everything up at the end. The finish is dry, with a subtle resinous linger. Solid beer, and easy to drink. Tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 19:07:49 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Kendo
Kendo

New York

3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is clear, golden-copper in color with a small ivory-colored head. Decent amount of lace.

S: Some citrusy and piney hops, though not big and in-your-face.

T: Surprisingly malt-centric for an IPA; first impression is the caramel malt & toffee of the malt. It loses flavor generally mid-sip, seeming almost watery, but then on the finish there's a mild amount of hop bitterness (think weak grapefruit), along with some green hops (grassy and piney). Decent lingering piney bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: A bit slick in feel. Lighter than medium in heft. Carbonation is modest.

O: OK; reminds me more of an APA than an IPA, but it's not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 03:53:14 | More by Kendo
Photo of Steff_Wantz
Steff_Wantz

Maryland

4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautifully copper colored, can clearly see carbonation, nice head of foam

S: smells a bit musty, definitely has a strong hop aroma to it, hints of floral

T: a bit bitter at the start but a crisp IPA finish at the end, some sweetness to it

M: this brew covers your whole palate and leaves a coating on your tongue after

O: Overall this is a very enjoyable IPA, I would like to try this on draft. I typically forget about Starr Hill but this beer made me remember that this brewery is nothing to forget about. I am going to make sure I put some emphasis on trying more from this brewery in the future.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 01:54:15 | More by Steff_Wantz
Photo of Altrurian
Altrurian

New York

3.46/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried this as a "premium" selection at the United Club near C-18 at IAD.

A right viscous pour, with noticeable churn as a one-finger, yellow-shaded head takes shape. The head disappears, but cling lingers. The aroma is alluring, with citrus and toffee on an unidentifiable floral base.

The beer's taste is hard and hoppy; no citrus--metallic instead, but with a clean finish. No nonsense, which, I guess, is a generous way of saying it's lacking in complexity and not much fun. But there's something there. Texture is just a touch too prickly. Sure beats the Miller Genuine Draft that preceded it.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 18:08:57 | More by Altrurian
Photo of TheMultiYeast
TheMultiYeast

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazy burnt yellow. Small white head.

Nose is grassy, mildly hoppy, tropical notes, C-hops predominate, herbal.

Mild herbal notes, grapefruit hoppiness, decent balance, bitterness is pretty strong.

Feel is a little thin, a bit seltzer-like, but good for a session.

My first beer from Starr hill and although it's not an outstanding IPA, I'm willing to try more of what the brewery offers.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 01:09:18 | More by TheMultiYeast
Photo of obywan59
obywan59

Virginia

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours crystal clear and golden orange to light amber in color with a 3 finger near white head that recedes slowly leaving some lasting sticky lacing.

Fresh, vibrant, and redolent in aroma with grassy, over ripe citrus, and caramel components. Yeasty dough at times.

Straight out of the fridge, the front forward bitter aspect was a bit much, but it quickly settled down as the beer warmed. Sweet light caramel from the malts and grassy and bitter hops. Occasional spice in the back of the mouth.

Medium to medium thick in body. Plenty of bite, especially early on. Bordering on creamy, however. Decent warmth from the alcohol.

From the initial smell of it, I thought this might approach the quality of a Stone brew, but the flavor didn't quite hold up. Nonetheless, as it warmed, the flavor was greatly improved and became more than passable. This ranks among the better of the Virginia brews.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 01:53:43 | More by obywan59
Photo of ElderBeagle
ElderBeagle

Maryland

3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 17:58:42 | More by ElderBeagle
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Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 599 ratings.