Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

237 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 237
Hads: 858
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 14
Gots: 127 | FT: 1
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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 237 | Hads: 858
Photo of kylehay2004
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewery.

A: single finger head on a hazy golden body and crimson hues.

S: very nice aroma with candied citrus, mostly tangerine, pineapple and orange. Nice malt presence.

T: well balanced but still too lightly hopped. Hops mostly provide citrus notes, minimally floral. Nice malts presence.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: like so many of their brews, drinkable, nothing stands out and therefore not much memorable. (453 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color. Off white head and some lacing. The nose is grassy and floral with some light malt in the background. Bready malt and light hop bitterness ride underneath some light floral and grass characteristics in the flavor. Good body and carbonation. This is an easy-drinking IPA. (322 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a rocky head that leaves plenty of lace behind

Smell: Pithy bitter aroma with an undertone of cracker malt

Taste: Bready, up front, with a big blast of pithy aspirin-like bitterness arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, the malt adds a sweeter balancing dimension but the flavors don't come together particulary well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Lacks the fruity element I find in my favorite IPAs but it is certainly on style and will suit those who like their pith to be dominant (567 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, orange color with a deeper amber color at the top of the glass. It had a one-finger, tan head with small bubbles. It left minimal lacing.

S - Good aroma of orange and some grapefruit. Also, some grasses present.

T - This one has a sweet bready malt backbone with some orange and other citrus fruits. Good bittersweet mix of malt and hops.

M - It was crisp, sharp and had a dry finish. A medium bodied beer that goes down easy.

D - This is my first brew from the state of Virginia and I really enjoyed it. It is a good IPA. (550 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good to see this brew show up in my local area.Poured into a nonic a dull slightly hazed full golden with a large tight wthite head that left broken rows of lace as it settled slowly.If I did a blind test on aroma I would never think this was an American IPA,mainly caramel malt with just a passing herbal hop note,not to impressed with that.Flavors regain a little of the hop character but still mild in my mind,light citric and herbal hop mixed with some biscuit malt.A little thin and not the most complex IPA but its not awful. (531 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a chilled mug at The Tombs.

Pours a light amber-ish straw with about a finger or so of light ecru head. The latter has good retention and produces some nice rings of lacing. A constant stream of bubbly bubbles flows from the base. The smell is pretty heavy on the hop citrus, with a lesser turn by the pine and not much else there at all. The taste generally follows, though the pine is more pronounced than the citrus, and an overall bitterness pervading throughout. In the back, though, is a strongly bitter bite that lingers into the aftertaste. The body is at the lightest notch on the moderate ladder, and the carbonation is fairly pronounced. In sum, this is a pretty drinkable brew, but that last strike of hoppy bitterness keeps it from a very high drinkability. (781 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pungent and resinous hops greet you in the nose as your pour this slightly hazy amber ale. It's almost like opening a bag of fresh hops! It brings up a full-sized head, and then maintains an inch thick cap for quite some time. (Lacing is good as well).

The flavor is just as hoppy, but balanced by a bit of yeasty fruitiness and lots of crusty, toasty bread... the kind that's just on the edge of burning at a few small points. It's floral, grassy, gently citrusy, leafy, and a touch piney - very much like East Kent Goldings, but with something else going on in there as well. Kind of a hybrid... It's interesting though, that they've stuck with mainly English hops though, as everyone seems to be making really hoppy beers with all American hops these days. I really like the blend. And I'd say, although it's not massive, that this is a really hoppy beer! And it's got the bitterness to prove it too! It's backed by a bold bitterness that clocks in at probably more than 80-85 IBU's, but at the same time, the rich, kind of luxurious bready-sweet and grainy malt keeps it from getting out of hand.

I've had a few Starr Hill beers before and enjoyed them greatly, but I've never really been impressed until this one. It's really a unique IPA in a sea of IPA's. And superbly balanced, but still with a lot of girth. You don't even know you're getting a hop slam at first - it takes a few sips for the massive oily hop resins and bitterness to set in. Really nicely done. Superb! Worth seeking out for fans of IPA. (1,517 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.43/5  rDev -6%
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. (1,180 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the mixed sampler 12 pack. Pours a copper color, smallish head to it. Smell is of grapefruit and hops.. fantastic aroma. Mouthfeel is good, beer is a light to medium bodied. Nice hoppiness, but very little to no maltiness. A very one-sided beer, not bad but just not balanced enough to be a good IPA. Solid, but in terms of IPA's just an average one... still manages a great aroma throughout though, kind of weird. (422 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had tonight at Dave's Downtown Taverna in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a nice amber color with two inches of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, floral hops, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes of light citrus hops and light floral hops. Good but light in the taste.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent IPA. I wish the taste was a little stronger. Wouldn't seek out but would give another shot. (487 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated best by Nov. 2011 served in a pint glass.

Light orange/amber; hazy with a generous off-white head that looks both sudsy and creamy. Lots of irregular sticky lacing.

Aroma is mainly hoppy citrus with some malt, grass and pine underneath. Somewhat herbal. Alcohols esters appear upon warming.

T - The taste features a citrus-tinged but mainly bitter hop bite. Plenty of white grapefruit bitterness in the lasting finish ... more than warranted by the mid-taste hop level.

M: medium body; very good carbonation level.

O - bolder than average, but lacking the balance and complexity of a world-class IPA. (628 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at some crappy bar in downtown DC. Served in an odd glass closest to a shaker pint glass. Beer is clear as far as I can tell and kind of amber / red. Forms a one finger head of small off white bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Looks OK.

Aroma is a little weak. Mostly piny with some malt notes.

Beer is medium body and kind of smooth. Overall its just an OK IPA. Minimal sweetness up front, minimal bitterness in the back. Overall I enjoyed it but there are better IPAs out there. (501 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy dark golden color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex malt scent that boasts of pale, Munich, and biscuit malts. It's light with a touch of sweetness and a bit of bread-like character. The hop aroma is mild at best with just enough to sneak out of it's malt forward character. The taste is decent. It has a crisp hop bitterness up front along with a solid malt taste. It goes down easy with a refreshing hop character that runs through to the finish. The malts that were so pronounced in the aroma are merely a balancing agent in the taste. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a pretty solid IPA. It's complex, yet easy drinking with good hop flavor. (796 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (614 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (1,552 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: light orange in color with a 1/2" head that broke down quickly. No lace developed.

Smell: some soft caramel tones and a hint of hop bitterness came through but were tough to detect.

Taste: bready malt profile with a moderate but slightly harsh bitterness, caramel, lemon, and a bit of ripe fruit sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late.

Drinkability: a somewhat slower quaffing beer, as the refreshment level was reduce with some of the harsh bitterness. (520 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
2.37/5  rDev -35.1%
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. (946 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic

Pours a translucent honey golden amber with a fluffy off white head that has great retention and some specks of lacing. Always impressed by the aroma of this on tap, not quite as strong from this bottle, but still surprisingly rich. Nice mix of pungent and sweet pine and citrus hops. Body has nice medium, chewy feel with sharp carbonation. Bottled version is missing a little sweetness I remember from the draft version, very resiny, pungent taste, like citrus rind and a lingering grain flavor. Nothing exceptional, but a very nice affordable local IPA. (590 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (532 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (759 characters)

Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's especially difficult to know which "northern lights" IPA you're drinking whne the beer bar in question (Red Star in Baltimore) simply lists the beer as the Starr Hill IPA. Oh well...

The beer pours an amber orange color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose I get some light citrus and earthiness, suggesting this will be a fairly dry IPA. On the palate, sure enough, this is a dry IPA, albeit a pretty flavorful one. I get considerably dry hoppiness on the palate, with some pepper, earthiness and light wet tobacco. There is almost a slight grittiness to this beer, which is in no way a detraction. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is pretty good. Not sure I'd want to drink a lot of this, given how many good IPA's are out there, but this was not bad. (782 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light citrus hop and a soft doughiness.

The taste consisted of a soft biscuity malt and lightly sweet citrus hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a soft carbonation.

Overall a subtle AIPA - very mellow. (339 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on tap at hard times in Arlington VA. pours an amber color with a nice head. smell is malty and sweet. not bad but not what I was expecting from an IPA. taste is more of the same. hard to call this an IPA. medium body with light carbonation.

overall its decent but wouldn't call this an IPA. (292 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
2.91/5  rDev -20.3%
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. (580 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
2.97/5  rDev -18.6%
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. (420 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 237 ratings.