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Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

737 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 737
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 11
Gots: 61 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 09-19-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 737 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

tone77, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of jifigz
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

jifigz, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of YumYumGumGum
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

YumYumGumGum, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | 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.

chinchill, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

woodychandler, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of theghost3
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light copper with a 2-finger off-white head that quickly dissipates. Minimal lacing.

The smell is orange and pine, rather subtle. Taste is citrus, mainly lemon and orange with some floral and pine notes. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, smooth, right amount of crispness.

This is sessionable for an IPA. Nothing stands out, but still refreshing and tasty enough.

theghost3, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of gc4hokies
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice American IPA out of Charlottesville, VA (my home state!).

Pours a slightly hazy golden color. White head dissipates quickly. Aroma is grassy, nothing strong. Taste is earthy, bitter - this doesn't have any sweetness. Decent malt backbone.

Overall, this is a nice regular IPA. Good session beer. I'm glad they carry this at most supermarkets here in NoVa. Have and will buy again.

gc4hokies, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Georgiabeer, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of ackleydg
4.45/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Northern Lights pours a nice reddish-amber color, with a substantial head and good lacing. The smell is hoppy for sure, mostly a citrus and floral character with some sweet malt in there. The taste compliments the aroma very well. It's not overwhelmingly bitter. The floral and citrus notes give way to a slight malty sweetness that you might expect from an amber or red ale. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated on the tongue and foam on the swallow.

A good IPA, a great blend of hops and malt.

ackleydg, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This time I had the chance to taste this beer on Tab, while waiting for a train at Union Station in Washington.
It was served in a pint glass and had a nice clear meduim gold color, with half a finger of white head, which dissipated very fast.
The smell was fruity, with hints of peach. Malt and caramel are also present.
The Taste was according to the smell. Fruity up front, sweet and malty in the middle and a nice hop finish. I liked the "on Tab" version of this beer better than the bottled version. Could be that the bottle was much warmer served, or the fact that I just was more thirstier.

Hopfenpeter, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of indiapaleale
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

indiapaleale, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of sendsilk
2.7/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

sendsilk, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of Nay
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in non- beer geek bar, good session ipa. Hoppy and bitter, malt subdued, but there. Fresh tasting but not a lot of aroma, still good what was there: some malt yeast and hop aromas. Hop bitterness tasted like a blend of american hops leaning toward pine, not candy or bubblegum thankfully. Nice dry finish.

A tasty session ipa: not overly bitter or malty or alcoholic; dry.

Nay, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of PhageLab
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

PhageLab, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of pzrhsau
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer is a nice clear copper color with a decent sized head that doesn't last very long and sticks to the glass.
S: There is a very strong pine resin aroma with some hints of sweetness.
T: The beer has a crisp light bready malt flavor and some slight bitterness to the body. The hops really hit you at the end where the bitter pine resiny hop flavor comes through.
M/O: Very crisp and drinkable beer but the flavor seems very unbalanced. The scent is strong but the strong hop flavor only comes through in the finish. It doesn't deviate much from what we expect from the style.

pzrhsau, Jul 10, 2011
Photo of thain709
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a semi-clear, golden orange body...visible carbonation...two fingers worth of creamy, white head...full retention but only light lacing

S - Balanced...sweet caramel malt mixed with bitter, piney hops

T - Again balanced...it follows the nose and is a bit more pronounced than the nose...the flavors start off with a blast of sweetness from the caramel malt...it transitions nicely into a piney hop flavor...which the hops are more pronounced than the nose suggests...the hops finish bitter but are cut down by the sweet malts

M - Medium bodied...can I say it again?...balanced...sweet-hoppy-sweet

O - I've been wanting to try this one from Starr Hill for a while and I had the chance to grab a bottle while in Maryland...overall it's a decent IPA...not the best and not the worst...very balanced with no flavors overpowering each other

thain709, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of rfgetz
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper tinted amber, minimal cap of barely off white froth, nice sticky lacing. Scent is firmly malty and nutty with a bite of grapefruity hops. Taste follows scent, firm grapefruity hop presence but clouded by large biscuty, nutty and lightly carmel malts. Smooth creamy body from cask, still dry despite maltyness. Decent IPA that's a touch too malt forward. Nice presentation on cask.

rfgetz, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

TheWhiskerReview, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of Arithmeticus
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured at room temp in a tall glass

A: clear copper with robust 2-finger head and hopping carbonation--not bad!
S: pleasant but nondescript hoppy aroma
T: very slight soapy flavor (hope it's not my glass!) up front but immediately segues into rich hop land; not sweet; quite bitter; there's a slight tang at the end of the mouthful to a metallic character, but it's not pronounced; very solid hop flavor, but not distinctiv.

Overall, a solid, decent IPA.

Arithmeticus, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with a two finger white head which recedes to skim and leaves very little lace. The aroma is of a slight citrus smell, there are hints of grapefruit and orange as well as a slight hop bite. The taste follows the nose a lot of citrus..grapefruits and oranges with some lemons. There is a decent hop bite but it is not over the top hoppy. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated but it is a little watery. Overall it is an average ipa there is no big smell or big taste, a good starter ipa but not something for hop heads.

goblue3509, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of nickthetick
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear golden yellow in to an American shaker with a finger of light khaki head that leaves very little spotty lacing.

S: Grapefruit, oranges, strong citrus and even a bit minty.

T: Deep flavorfull citrus; lemons, tangerines and grapefruits. Good balanced malt sweetness keeps the bitterness from being cloying.

MF: Light, a bit watered down. Great effervescence.

O: This would be a great IPA for starters but it isn't my favorite.

nickthetick, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of BeerMarshall
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on tap at Starr Hill and from bottle in the past.

A: golden, thin head
S: piney hop aroma with citrus hints, high on the cascade
T: Again, high on the cascade hop aroma but not in your face.
M: Appropriate to style.
O: A good IPA. Not the best, but definitely a go to of mine for a hoppy beer.

BeerMarshall, May 30, 2011
Photo of bobutt
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - light gold with good foam.
S - Hop mash smell
M- smooth good IPA mouth with a strong start, slit after taste
T- hops, butter, sugars, earthy
O - A good IPA, drinkable and enjoyable. Not the best ipa, but not bad. Would get a six pack from time to time.

Go Buffs!

bobutt, May 27, 2011
Photo of MisterMoore
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a tulip glass, carbonation bubbles climb up the glass moderately.. finger and a half head I would say

A: Foggy copper color....some good lacing but the head fizzles away before you know it

S: Slight hop smell... It's very subtle but you pick it up. As far as an IPA goes i think this smell won't turn away any newcomers from trying it.

T: Hops... it's kinda watered down though, good intro beer to this style since it wont overwhelm your palate.

MF: The taste lingers in your mouth like all IPA's but it's not as strong as others that I've had. Drinkability is very high on this one, but it doesn't knock my socks off.

O: I like this beer... but I don't love it. Nothing is wrong with it, just saying that i want more from an IPA. I encourage people who haven't had an IPA before to try this one...it's a fabulous intro to this style.

MisterMoore, May 22, 2011
Photo of output01x
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dan3279 for this trade.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Best Before September 2011) into a pint glass.

A moderate pour yields a 2-finger white head that slowly recedes to a thin coating. The body is a hazy golden amber color with decent carbonation bubbles slowly rising toward the surface. Thick spongy lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout consumption.

Citrus hops aromas dominate with grassy and pine hops aromas coming through. Notes of lemon zest and orange peel are detectable. A sweet, bready malt backbone adds a decent balance to the nose.

Light and sweet bready malts wash over the tongue while a citrusy sharpness stings the tip of the tongue. Floral and grassy hops flavors then wrap around the tongue until a grassy, acidic, bitter aftertaste lingers on the back of the tongue.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer has decent drinkability but is a little too thick to be thirst-quenching.

output01x, May 21, 2011
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 737 ratings.