Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

239 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 239
Hads: 867
Avg: 3.64
pDev: 25.82%
Wants: 15
Gots: 130 | 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
Reviews: 239 | Hads: 867
Photo of Altrurian
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 599 characters

Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

 407 characters

Photo of obywan59
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 897 characters

Photo of pacino77
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

 1,475 characters

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.

 679 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.

 886 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Bottleneck says 02/06/13

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 3/4 inch light tan head that bears good retention time before eventually becoming an 1/8 inch head. Resilient lacing trickles slowly down the glass.

S- Sweet malt combines with earthy hops to create an almost maple-like bouquet. Notes of brown sugar, caramel and some wet grass. Slightly musty.

T- Decent hop bite with more of the sugary malt coming through and a bit of booze. Not necessarily balanced as the hops create more of a standard bitterness and the malt provides most of the actual flavor. Easy to drink nonetheless.

M- A bit dry and plenty sharp from the booze and hops. Medium carbonation and a surprisingly hefty body.

O- Pretty decent IPA by an otherwise lackluster brewery.

 795 characters

Photo of Oakenator
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice copper color with some head. Decent head retention and spotted lacing.

S: Fresh smelling but not much going on here for an IPA. Malts present.

T: Nice mixture of mild hopping with a sweetener from the decent dose of malts.

M: Solid - has a good bit of body but still refreshing.

O: Good brew.

 312 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
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 BeerLover99
3.32/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: dirty orange/shiny body, finger khaki head, spotty lacing

S: sugary biscuit, citrus, mild grass

T: kiwi/grapefruit, big sweet biscuit malt middle, earthy grass
bitter finish

M: med body, creamy/oily balanced mouth

O: Sweet Malty IPA? Interesting, usually not
my style at all, but enjoyed it, none the less.


 348 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.29/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Single purchased at the Pennington Circle SuperSaver.

A striking amber, with a slight haze. Two fingers of level dense white foam.

Inviting, assertive aroma of pine and pineapple.

Low level malt foundation. A flash of juicy fruit. Nuclear blast of bitterness. It's good bitter, but there is a whole lot of it. Big time tooth scraper.

Medium mouthfeel flows along.

If you are looking for a hugely bitter IPA, this beer is for you.

 435 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.27/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Pour is fairly dark amber with a 1/2 inch of head that leaves a pretty sweet lace ring throughout.
S - Smell is subdued hop bitterness, old malt, and some cracker crust.
T - A very lackluster IPA with more malty base than standard hop bitterness. Slightly below average.
M - Malty medium bodied with a not very "crisp" finish.

Overall a very forgettable IPA that is worth passing for the single reason of no bottling date. Guaranteed to be old.

 449 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Nice orange tinted gold, one finger head, average lacing
S - Not a bad smell, some fresh fruits, citrus and a hint of peach, flowers, and a slight scent of dankness.
T - Some decent hop bitterness here, a little citrus taste, as well as a little sweet malty finish, some dried flowers, and a hair of pine.
M - Lighter on feel, medium carbonization, but the bittereness hangs on more than it should
O - Average IPA, but its drinkable and is a decent style of single IPA, there's much better picks out there for singles, but its not bad.

 562 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much an average brew. Didn't notice a bottle date but suspect it's old. I tend to believe that 75% of most beer sold in a bottle store is out of date anyway.

Not picking up really any hop notes either in aroma or taste in this orange amber brew.
Mostly malts here and a metalic aftertaste.
Drinks harsh not smooth at all.
I'll revisit these guys latter on.

 364 characters

Photo of ALBuff
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid "gateway IPA" for those individuals who may not yet appreciate the finer things in life hops can offer. Not overpowering by any stretch, the subtle citrus and herbal hops sit quietly in the background without imposing themselves too harshly onto the palate. Light, crisp, & refreshing, but I think Star Hill just missed the mark of a true IPA.

 359 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Twist off bottle dated 11/30/12. Let's hope it's a brewed on date.

A - Nice, clear, orangey body with a finger of white foam. It leaves a decent lace.

S - Caramel malts, earthy aromas, a touch of vanilla, oddly. It smells like an old ipa.

T - bitter grapefruit rind, light malty roasted flavors. Citrus begins to come to the front. It tastes much better than it smells.

M - dry, medium body. Foams up pretty well.

O - this is pretty bitter, a little bit old, and not very remarkable. If this were local to me, I'd probably grab a six pack every now and again if it was in the $8 range as it's fairly easy drinking, but not a go-to IPA.

 640 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.

 273 characters

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decent IPA. Pours a dark amber color with a foamy-off white head, leaving some lacing along the glass as you finish it. Smell is very hoppy, slightly sweet, a hint of fruit/orange peel. Carbonation for me was just a little too strong, which made it hard to want to have more than one of. Has a dry finish. Overall, this was just OK.

 332 characters

Photo of MDDMD
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-slightly hazy amber color with a decent white head and some lacing

S-citrus, malt, nice floral aromas, hints of pine

T-citrusy upfront with a solid malt backbone and floral notes, very light pine and mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, thick and smooth mouthfeel

O-a decent IPA, but would prefer a bigger hop presence here, easy drinking beer

 372 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Lots of froth on this clear, golden brew. the large bubbles were quite sticky and clung to the glass quite a bit.

S: Are my senses dead? I honestly didn't get much here. Maybe a bit of yeast and grainy citrus.

T: The taste was pleasant and with no pine cone whatsoever. Very East Coast and subdued. Sure, the orange was in there, but this was played right down the middle.

M: Prickly and with lots of lacing.

O: I found this to be very drinkable, but ultimately not very memorable.

 488 characters

Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle was given to me by Mark, the GM at the Keswick Tavern in Glenside, PA. Thanks for the sample, Mark!

Poured and sampled from a DFH Pint Glass

A - The beer pours an opaque, slightly hazy, golden orange color. A foamy, one-finger head on the initial pour. Lots of sticky lacing left after drinking.

S - An average smelling IPA with a mix of pine, grapefruit and hops.

T - A sweet, malty taste yet it still has a nice hoppy bitterness to it. A mixture of the standard IPA tastes of pine and citrus (grapefruit ). A earthy, grassy taste as well. There is a tangy, caramel-like aftertaste. The ABV is well hidden. A very sessionable beer, in my opinion.

M - medium consistency. Good amount of carbonation.

O - A good IPA and a beer that I would definitely have again. That being said, nothing really sets it apart from the multitude of IPA's out there so I can't say it was the best I ever had by any means. It is what it is...an easy drinking, middle of the road IPA that is worth a try if you see it.


 1,022 characters

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.

 317 characters

Photo of mckenziac
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Starr Hill "Road Show" mixed pack.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, golden brown color. Has a large, frothy head that dissipates quickly and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell: Has a nice floral hop aroma with a hint of citrus. I would guess it's Cascade hops but I'm not sure.

Taste: Starts bitter but with a nice balancing maltiness. Finishes strongly bitter with a grassy, piney Cascade hop flavor. All in all, a well-balanced, but typical, American IPA.

Mouthfeel: Well-carbonated and full-bodied.

Overall: Again, a well-balanced, slightly better than average IPA. Starr Hill is one of my sentimental favorites because it's fairly local and this is one of their better brews.

 765 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a brew I've been meaning to try for a while so this seems like a good time. Pours a bright orange brown with an opaque body and a solid cream colored head. Nose has varied citrus and floral notes and a general spicy hoppiness.

The flavor is rounded throughout the sip and features an impressive balance and some late hops in the aftertaste. Citrus, grimy floral and a hit of pine. Carbonation is maybe a little high but seems to fit this beer. Somewhat creamy in texture.

Not a beer to go across state lines for but well worth trying. Nice balance, medium bitterness, and fairly easy to quaff several.

 613 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
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

Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.