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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.

671 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 671
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 9
Gots: 43 | 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: 671 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WeezyBoPeep


4.45/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured a bottle into a standard White Hawk IPA pint glass.

A: Hazy dark golden with an overall orange tint. Decent head that leaves lots of lacing down the glass.

S: Exceptionally fragrant but not overpowering. Subtle notes of vanilla and honey hiding within the expected hoppy nose. Hops are floral here. Balanced nicely with a malt presence.

T: One of the nicest, most balanced IPA's I've had so far. Goes down smooth with very little bitter aftertaste. Lots of hops on the front with a decent malty wave in the middle and toward the end. I get mild grapefruit and a hint of pine.

D: As someone who finds it hard to consume more than 3 or 4 IPA's in a sitting usually, I'm hard-pressed to think of a more drinkable IPA. I killed 5 of these a little too easily...

Value: Regularly $8.99 a sixer by me, but I picked it up on sale for $6.99. At that price, forget about it, that's a total steal.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2010 13:47:24 | More by WeezyBoPeep
Photo of thekanna


3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Clyde's Tower Oak Lodge in Rockville, MD.

A: Slightly dark gold with a bit of haze and almost no head.

S: Somewhat indiscernible... some faint sweet malts and a bit of hops, but overall just a generic freshness.

T/M: Medium-bodied and juicy. Medium to strong hop bitterness which hits the palate and continues into the aftertaste. Malts followed by slight citrus afterward.

D: Pretty drinkable IPA with a nice albeit biting hoppiness.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2010 05:28:04 | More by thekanna
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2010 17:39:00 | More by Gavage
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Opaque orange brown color. One finger of frothy off-white head with average retention and lacing.

4.0 S: Grassy hops with some orangy citrus as well. Malts are full of toffee. Overall pretty clean and pleasant.

3.5 T: Hops are even more grassy in the taste than the nose. Good balance between hops and malts, with neither emerging victorious. Caramel and toffee sweetness, formitable yeastiness, and a balancing mild bitterness that lingers. Not too complex or clean, but alright.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. A bit drying and chalky on finish.

3.5 D: Not bad, but I wish they would clean it up a bit.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 23:43:16 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of FickleBeast

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Reviewed on my droid.

Pours a clear orangish color with a finger of foam. Some light lacing. ARoma is hoppy, with lemony aromas prominent.

Bitterness is harsh, it really stands out. Also picking up a metallic twang with lingering aftertaste. Bitterness overwhelms any residual sweetness. The beer does grow on you after a while, but I've had many better ipas.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 01:55:03 | More by FickleBeast
Photo of zeff80


3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2010 21:49:51 | More by zeff80
Photo of adam42381


3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy caramel color with a 2 finger foamy white head. Decent head retention. Minimal lacing throughout.

Smell: Citrus and pine are the dominant aromas but there are hints of caramel and light florals.

Taste: Bitter pine up front followed quickly by semi-sweet citrus flavors. Finishes with citrus rind. Very light bitter aftertaste with a hint of floral sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Feels quite wet up front, similar to eating a fresh grapefruit, but finishes dry with a hoppy oiliness.

Drinkability: High drinkability. This one goes down smooth.

Overall: Solid IPA. Not the best I've ever had but you can do much worse. I would definitely drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 22:02:16 | More by adam42381
Photo of drabmuh


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2010 18:13:39 | More by drabmuh
Photo of deereless


3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A decent layer of head on a hard pour, lots of sticky spots of foam along the interior of the glass, dirty gold in color with a reddish tint - 3.50, S: Perceptibly biscuity, noticeable pine and slight solvent, a bit timid for an American IPA and malts play a larger role on the nose than what I am accustomed to though it is still an enjoyable nose - 3.00, T: Medium to strong hop bitterness, lots of grapefruit pith and orange zest, tastes of bread crust, mildly earthy and with some faint floral flavors - 3.75, M: Medium bodied, delicate tanginess on the tongue - 3.50, D: All in all a good IPA, edges a little on the American / English border of IPAs based on the malt and hop build - 3.50

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 00:39:03 | More by deereless
Photo of Norfawkers


3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at a beer festival and knocked my socks off. We bought the bottle and were let down yet again. Virginia beer and wine can be quite unpredictable.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, golden, minimal head

Smell: Malty with some citrus

Taste: Earthy with some citrus and a malt back

Mouthfeel: CO2 noticable but smooth

Drinkability: A swilling IPA to be sure; try to find this one on tap though

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2010 15:06:16 | More by Norfawkers
Photo of nickd717


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade thanks to ben4321. My first VA beer, which is crazy considering I've ticked off over 1700 beers on RB and lived in VA for 8 years.

Pours clear copper with a small white head.

Aroma is floral and citrusy hops, sweet malt, and something that strikes me as a little strange, maybe wet dog.

Flavor is a little better: Munich malt, citrusy hops, and a little spice. Well-balanced.

Nice palate, with lots of hop bitterness and good crispness with medium body.

A good IPA overall, if not quite as assertive as I'd like. Drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 17:33:09 | More by nickd717
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty solid American IPA, a bit shy on the nose but other than that rather pleasing.

Presentation: 16 oz draft serving. Menu only notes the name of the brew. Tap handle with the logo of the brewery in the distance. Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Medium to deep amber pour, 1/2" inch frothy head, good retention, nice and persistent surface memory, and rather rich lacing. This is probably as good as an IPA can look on a pint shaker glass.

S - A touch of a hoppy citrus sense on a lightly fruity and fresh aroma.

T - Citrus and grapefruit hop notes, with a nice malty touch lingering in the background.

M - Medium-light body and carbonation, in fact if it were not for the hoppy bite it could feel a tad watery luckily it is really not the case and balances itself out rather nicely.

D - Pleasing IPA, solid within the style and a nice regional offering.

Notes: First Starr Hill brew I have an opportunity to try and this is rather worthy... Glad to be remembered with a brew like this that regional does not only mean looking up north.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2010 02:49:50 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of chickencoop


4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on a trade, thanks for spreading the word on locals. The pour was amber with a frothy lacing head. Taste was a biting hoppy front that smooths out into a nice malty balance. The hop bitterness carries the whole beer but nothing overwhelming because this is a very crisp and refreshing beer, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 03:14:09 | More by chickencoop
Photo of DosBeerigos


2.55/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

C. Clear
H. Golden Orange
N. Hops; citrus notes

This is probably my favorite Starr Hill out of them all. That said it is just ok. Sorta overly bitter, and not complex enough for me. Good beer, worth a try if you like big hoppy beers, but nothing that I would recommend on a regular basis. Sorta easy to drink, but don't give this to someone that hasn't had an IPA before, she just may scare them.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2010 20:25:20 | More by DosBeerigos
Photo of TMoney2591


3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2010 22:18:10 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of Deuane


3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased local at the Whole Foods--Charlottesville, VA. Best by date of June 2010 on bottle.

A-Bright golden copper with a medium white head that reduced to a thin cap and left attractive lace.

S-Light citrus, some caramel and a bit of mustiness. Rather light overall and I wish it were a bit "brighter.

T-Much like the aroma there is a nice citrus hop presence but it's too light and gets washed away by the sweet caramel malt. Bitterness becomes a bit harsh with an herbal quality with warming.

M-Medium-light bodied sharp and crisp with good lingering bitterness and a drying astringency.

D-Certainly decent but doesn't light my world a fire. I wish the hops popped more and had a more enjoyable bitterness profile.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 23:54:47 | More by Deuane
Photo of Seanibus


3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours clear coppery with a decent head that falls to scattered lacing. The smell is unimpressive - slightly malty with a pronounced metallic twang. It improves as it warms, with some sourish citrus hop character opening in the glass. The flavor is better, however, with a little caramel and some citric hops, like a mild grapefruit. The bitterness is fairly satisfying, however, rich and round with a grapefruit-rind impression. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth, but not impressive.

Not terrible.

UPDATE, Dec. 11, 2010: I am reconsidering this. A second sixpack has me much more impressed - the aroma is hoppy with a crisp, almost spicy malt, and the flavor is satisfyingly hoppy and crisp. I don't know if this batch is better, or I am just in a better space with it. Who knows. Whatever it is, I am bumping this from B- to B+

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 23:07:26 | More by Seanibus
Photo of timrosenblatt


4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good beer. I don't think anyone should ever complain about this beer being on tap. I have no idea what the previous reviewer meant when they said it had a solvent scent to it. mine doesn't smell like much of anything, which is ok. I buy beer for drinking.

Delightfully hoppy. Tastes low key when you drink, but the aftertaste says "yo I've got all kinds of hop up in here". I could drink a few of these, it's no one drink wonder.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2010 01:02:13 | More by timrosenblatt
Photo of babaracas


3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid orange with a bit of sediment, a nice looking white foam cap leaving clumps of lace. Smell: pine and toasted sweetness in background, weak orangey citrus upfront. Taste: there's a definite progression here, starting sweet with a splash of lemon, then on to herbal tea midsip, and finishing with tangelo aftertaste and a lingering grassy/citrus rind bitterness. Not really appealing at first, but it quickly made friends. Light-medium bodied with a fairly creamy feel, ending in a lingering oily hop bitterness. This was decent, reminded me of SN Anniversary but sweeter and with a much brasher finish (a lot of IBUs in this one). This one was best by either Feb or Mar '10, notched right down the middle...

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 05:42:01 | More by babaracas
Photo of alleykatking


3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Almost looks like apple cider. Pours a very hazy brown copper color with orange hues to it. Nice one and a half finger light tan head that dies down leaving great lacing all over the glass.

S- There is a nice caramel sweet backbone to this beer...maybe a touch of honey added to it. Citrus and light floral hops make this beer really appeal to me in the aroma.

T- Alcohol taste I think shoots right through the heart of everything in the taste. Bitter hop bite right off the bat stays around for the entire beer. This calms down a little bit with a light sweet malt taste. Mostly just a bitter alcohol taste throughout.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Bitter hops and light alcohol left on the palate and in the aftertaste. Medium hop resin left on the tongue creating a light slickness to it. Little drying as well from the alcohol.

D- This was a alright beer. The aroma had me to believe it was going to taste like something else. Nice surprise for the most part. Would like to try this a little more fresh.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 05:48:29 | More by alleykatking
Photo of StarlightSeraph

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy orange-yellow, with two fingers of white head that sits for awhile, leaving tons of lacing.

Smell: Citrusy and grassy hops right away (I believe Cascade?), backed by a honey malt sweetness.

Taste: A bitter hop bite right away - little flavor, and mostly just bitterness, that fades to a mild sweetness. The bitterness lingers on the back of the throat for awhile.

Mouthfeel: A little bit thin. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Went down quickly, and it'd be easy to have a couple of these. Not my favorite IPA, but a solid beer. Nothing spectacular about it, either.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 03:40:31 | More by StarlightSeraph
Photo of Ryan011235


3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass on 11/19/09
Additional notes from 12/9/09 are capitalized

Best by February, presumably 2010

A - Cloudy burnt orange, Hazy & murky. Poured a one finger head. Ok retention - thins out. Lacing is solid throughout.

S - Toward the faint side. Light citrus hops, orange & tangerine. Grassy notes. Not much in the way of distinguishable malt. SOLVENT-LIKE AROMA.

T - Something of a step up from the nose. Modest pine bitterness is enveloped with muted citrus: orange, hints of grapefruit & maybe pineapple. CITRUS NOTES COME ACROSS AS OVER-RIPE. JUICY WITH A MURKY BENT. Dry, toasted backbone, likely pale malts.

M - Medium body with reasonable carbonation. I'm all for resin or grit but here it seems to further the muddiness. Some lingering bitterness.

D - Drinkability is ok. In my opinion, the hop profile could be improved upon & the whole beer could have better clarity. Still, it could be a lot worse.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 02:03:51 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of jonziefle

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured a honey amber color, slightly cloudy (a very fine micro suspension). Two finger foamy/pillowy head with very good retention. Some visible carbonation. Excellent lacing all the way down.

Smell: Smells strongly of citrusy hops. Strong grapefruit and pine scents. Moderate sweetness, with a hint of malts (but not much). Very appealing overall.

Taste: A nice bitter and sweet hop bite right up front. Strong pine flavors, with general citrus afterward. A darker sweetness afterward, but not syrupy. Enough malts to make the beer easy to drink. The hops are strong and flavorful, but not harsh.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a nice hop bite and minimally carbonated.

Drinkability: An excellent example of an American IPA. Good hop flavor and sweetness, without being overall harsh or syrupy. Good body and alcohol levels. Incredibly drinkable (easy to drink several) while being a good sipper as well (savoring one is great as well).

Buy Again? Yes. As long as I'm in the distribution range of Starr Hill, this could be my go to IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 02:27:04 | More by jonziefle
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a somewhat cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of foamy head and some OK lacing.

S: Smelled of citrus, hops and malt. Not overpowering, but nice.

T: Tasted of citrus, bready malt and some bitter hops. A decent combination of flavors, but not overly inspired.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Light-bodied.

D: A drinkable IPA, though not awe-inspiring.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 15:17:34 | More by avalon07
Photo of Blitzstyle


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a SA glass. Golden orange in color, 2 fingers of head, ok retention and laceing.

Mild hop scent citrusy, bready malts.

Nice caramell maltyness to start strong hop finish. Like a good ipa should.

light medium body, good carb, a little lighter than I prefer but overall worth picking up. Enjoyed another right after this one. Good session beer low abv and high ibu's!

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 22:42:33 | More by Blitzstyle
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.