Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

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232 Reviews
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Reviews: 232
Hads: 841
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 13
Gots: 117 | 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
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Reviews: 232 | Hads: 841
Photo of cyclonece09
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
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. (440 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
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 Dave1999
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an opaque orange with a thin white head.

The smell is grapefruit and pine needles.

The taste is extremely hopy and bitter with a little honey sweetness.The bitterness on the tongue lasted a long time.

The mouth feel is medium in both body and carbonation.

Not a terrible ipa just a bit one dimensional.This beer is all about the hops nothing else. (358 characters)

Photo of KajII
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Shaker glass]

The pour was a hazy medium orange amber with an average sized (1-2 finger) off white frothy head that lasted throughout and had some excellent sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma was of floral and pine hops, a straw malt and a soapy yeast with notes of caramel, honey, and citrus (grapefruit and orange).

The taste was a bit sweet and acidic with a decent note of caramel from the onset then progressed with a nice bitter hoppy flavor that possessed a hint of citrus and a drop of honey towards the end. The flavor lasted a ridiculously long time, which was great for it allowed one to enjoy the nice bold hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel was about half way between light and medium in body with a nice distinct dry texture and a good lively carbonation.

Overall a brew with a mild sweetness and a kickin' hoppiness that are blended extremely well making this a very enjoyable beer... (911 characters)

Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Starr Hill pint.

A - Pours a hazy amber color with a one finger white head. Head dies quickly to a thin layer, which lingers for a while. Splotchy lacing down the glass.

S - Very fruity and floral. I would guess cascade hops. Not very bitter smelling, with a solid biscuity malt backbone.

T - Follows the nose from the start with a real flowery burst followed by a bit of citrus. Drying, slightly bitter hops on the finish. Very well balanced; it never gets overwhelmingly bitter or sweet.

M - Nice medium feel with good carbonation. Easy drinking and refreshing.

O - A solid IPA from a great brewery that I love to visit and support whenever I can. Northern Lights is one of the beers that opened my eyes to IPA's during my college years in the Shenandoah Valley. There are better IPAs out there, but this is a good one and comes at a very reasonable price. Also comes in cans now, which is pretty cool. (938 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Hazy orange with a solid lingering one-finger head
S: Nice hop/malt balance. Simple and straightforward, mostly orange peel.
T: Similar notes to the nose; the hops come through up front with the malt following through to the finish. Pine and orange peel up front then yeast/bread to finish.
M: Medium-bodied and crisp.
O: By all means a decent beer, just nothing in particular stands above and beyond a typical IPA. (455 characters)

Photo of rhartogsq
3.39/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at American Tap Room, Ballston Location in pint glass

A. Gold, lighter than most IPAs Almost no head, however, out waitress was super slow and the head probably dissipated before she brought it out to my table.
S. Nice, floral scent. Pretty average smell for and IPA, but I like that.
T. Not bad, a nice hoppy note, finishes a little dry.
M. Refreshing, the a little dry. Decent balance.
O. Halfway through this beer, I had a sip of Lil' Sumpin Sumpin, and that ruined the Northen Lights for me. As Lil S.S. is awesome. But Give Northern Lights a shot and decide for yourself. (588 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.16/5  rDev -13.7%
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 TechTriumph
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/26/11:
Best by: April 2012; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - One inch off-white fluffy head; Slightly murky appearance with a light orange tinted copper color; Moderate lacing

S - Not an overly strong smell here; Citrusy orange and floral hop aroma with some caramel sweetness

T - Nice citrusy, piney, and floral hops in the beginning half of the taste; Burnt toffee comes afterwards and lingers in the finish; Nice dose of bitterness present that lasts from start to finish

M - Moderate carbonation; Medium bodied; Somewhat dry finish

O - This is a solid IPA overall with a nice showing of hops in the flavor. The bitterness does overshadow the citrus and pine flavors a bit, but is still enjoyable. I've been told that this is the best selling Virginia brewed IPA, and while I'm not sure I'd call it the best in the state, I think it's closer to the top than the bottom for sure. I definitely need to try this beer again and look forward to having it in a can as well. (1,005 characters)

Photo of gopens44
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (875 characters)

Photo of ocelot2500
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden color with a tight, white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of a little malt with grassy hops.

Tastes of the grassy hops with decent malt base. Grassy and flora hops with some pine character lead off. Malts come through with biscuit notes and some sweet grains. Leans towards bitter, which is a little misleading based upon the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium with a crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, a pretty good attempt that falls in line with all of the other beers from Starr Hill. (517 characters)

Photo of CaptCleveland
2.87/5  rDev -21.6%
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 WoodBrew
2.97/5  rDev -18.9%
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)

Photo of Bierman9
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz bottle gifted to me from "bro" Artied2, which he procured on his last trip to C'Ville. Best before March 2012 is notched on the label.

My pint glass was filled with a slightly cloudy, medium golden brew. Head was white, creamy and fine, with nice stick in the glass. Carbo was scattered and slow. Aroma showed some solid citrussy hopping, with some underlying toasty malt. Body is medium-plus, almost chewy, and it is silky asmooth on the tongue.

There is indeed a little toasty malt present in the flavor, with some subtle, light sweetness. Following that is a healthy dose of resiny, pithy hops. Yes, a verrry healthy dose! Some grapefruit and rindy bitterness coats the palate, and lingers quite nicely!! Thnx for the good stuff cheap, Bro! Prosit!!

4.28 rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1405 (851 characters)

Photo of cavedave
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (926 characters)

Photo of smerrell
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sam Adams tulip glass

Appearance - Pours clear, a slight head that dissipates quickly

Smell - not too strong (honestly, I would like a bit stronger hop aroma)

Taste - Up front the taste is nothing remarkable, but this beer comes into its own in the middle of the tongue - there is a nice hop flavor, and a moderate amount of bitterness. the finish id pleasant and bitter.

Mouthfeel - carbonation carries this one, and it acts as a nice palate cleanser

Overall, I enjoyed this one, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again. (546 characters)

Photo of Aberration
3.34/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip

Long lasting, fluffy head. Amber-red Body. Looks very nice in the glass!

Smell: Not much here, malty for the most part with a faded hop characteristic. Can't pick out any individual hop characteristics.

Taste: Not bad, a bit better than the smell would lead one to believe. It is malty and bitter. Like a very good esb. Smooths out quickly after the initial bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel. Bitter up front to grab attention and silky smooth at the end.

All in all a solid IPA, I'd buy a 6pack. (527 characters)

Photo of Crossmd
3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 41 degrees Fahrenheit into a tulip glass.

Pours a lucid red-copper with a gorgeous pillowy, 3 finger eggshell head that never leaves.

Smells of a faint orange rind and some slight candied grapefruit. Just barely projected.

Taste is a strong initial attack of grapefruit hops in terms of flavor and acidity, but it really falls out relatively quickly. It feels as if the malts that were suppose to provide a lasting structure were of a cheaper or lesser quality.

Mouthfeel supports this, relatively thin, feels empty almost. Awkwardly structured.

Overall, I really wanted to like it, being from Richmond..but this guy is really pretty forgettable. It may work as a more food friendly IPA, not one that's really going to fight for attention, but this is yet to be determined by me.

81. (797 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a rocks glass at Mellow Mushroom. From notes. Reviewed 2 July 2011.

A: Nice head, fades fast. Good lacing. Clear golden-orange.

S: Hoppy and fun. Powerful, vegetal hops. IPAish.

T: A bit sweet. A tad bitter on the endtaste. Goodish aftertaste. Decent, if underwhelming, IPA.

M: It's there, but a bit dry. Not great.

O: Again, it's an okay IPA, and, although I'd drink more, I probably wouldn't recommend it. (422 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark golden, cream colored head. Smells of hops, lots of them, floral, citrus and spice notes.

Tastes very bitter, but not overpowering. Slight citrus on the backend, overall well balanced.

Overall a solid IPA, nothing overpowering and pretty smooth! (258 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (295 characters)

Photo of jifigz
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle poured into a mug.

A: The appearance is pretty average for an American IPA. The beer is a typical color with a nice lasting head and a little bit of lacing.

S: A very mild citrus aroma is evident with a little sweetness. This smells closer to a pale ale than an IPA.

T: The taste is very light for an American IPA and not aggressive at all. The flavors are mild and subdued and certainly not in your face. A light hop flavor with a little bit of lasting bitterness. Ripe fruit and a decent malt flavor are quite evident in the beginning of the flavor.

M: An average mouthfeel is here. Medium bodied and lightly carbed.

O: This is not a bad beer at all, but it certainly not a great one. It seems pretty generic and boring but it's not a bad beer. This is my first offering from this brewery and actually the first time I have ever heard of them. (860 characters)

Photo of YumYumGumGum
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (689 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
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 woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
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)

Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 232 ratings.