1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

717 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 717
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 11
Gots: 54 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 717 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
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 29, 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
Photo of jacobseyb
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter a nice, deep amber orange color with a one finger tan head that laces well. Aroma has some initial sweetness of caramel malts with a definite bitter undertone of piney hops. Seems like there might be a hint of floral in there as well. Taste is malty in the beginning with bitterness ruling the roost after the sweetness subsides. Primary bitter flavors are pine and floral. Feels smooth, I usually prefer a bit more carbonation, though there is nothing wrong with the level in this beer. Overall a good representative of the style and one I will have again I am sure.

jacobseyb, May 14, 2011
Photo of u2carew
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz longneck
A) Pours with a big head then settles to a finger thick head with sticky lacing. Clear body, copper in color.
S) Earthy sweet hop aroma. Grassy.
T) A balanced profile from the start. Caramel. Citrus notes. Then finishes with a hop bite.
M) Fizzy. Medium-light body. Slightly dry in the finish.
O) A pleasant IPA. Drinkable with a good flavor profile.

u2carew, May 14, 2011
Photo of HardTarget
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle notched with a best by July 11 (sampled May 11)

Appearance: Clear bright amber glass shows a snowstorm of tiny bubbles that feed a full finger white cap.

Smell: Main smell is a worty (under-attenuated) malt, not a good first impression for an IPA. An earthy English hop is in there somewhere as well.

Taste: Starts off fairly balanced with a flash of juicy hops and then a long and lasting bitter hop oil flavor sets in and stays until the next sip. The wortiness in the nose isn't tasted, but the bitter hops keep just about every other flavor well buried. A little orange pith starts to show as it warms a bit.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, fizzy in fact, with an oily hop acid burn for a finish

Overall: Not my cup of tea. I like my hops on the front end of the boil giving lots of aroma, and west coast citric/pine. This is the opposite with the earthy hops giving a lot of bitterness in the finish. Nothing horribly wrong here, but a bit off for an American IPA, an English Double IPA? Odd bird this one.

HardTarget, May 02, 2011
Photo of engagechad
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at the Boathouse in Richmond, VA - pint glass - fresh keg

Pours yellow amber with a perfect head, carb and lacing. Smells of bitter hops, earthy and dirty in a way. Tastes extremely bitter for the ibus. I feel that they must have used a lot of bittering and not as much dry on this one. The mouthfeel is a little to puckery for my tastes however I do like really bitter IPAs..

Overall this is a good brew and I would absolutely buy it again.

engagechad, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of colts9016
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic at 45 degrees.

Appearance: The head is one finger from a hard pour and has good retention; furthermore, the head is foamy and creamy with an off with color. The color of the beer is copper with amber hues. The clarity of the beer is clear with some yeast floaters. The head left a little lacing on the glass.

Nose: A fresh pine aroma along side grapefruit and floral ester. The malt is toasty with biscuit notes. The other aromas are diatcyle, solvent, and yeast.

Taste: The hop profile is typical East Coast there but slightly muted. The flavors are pine, grapefruit, fruity esters, toasty malt, biscuit, solvent, diacetyls, and yeast.

The mouth feel is carbonated, astringent, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and finish is medium full. This is a decent IPA and it has good flavors. I like my IPA to have a bit more punch in them.

colts9016, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of SauceBoss
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: I poured this into a tulip glass and it poured a nice golden orange color with a thing white head that had decent retention. I didn't get much lace but the head did hold.

Smell: Fresh scent of pine with a sweet citrus undertone.

Taste: Nothing too overbearing. Much more mild on the hops than I would think it would have had based on the smell. Finishes clean.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. After taste didnt stick around that long.

Over all it was decent.

SauceBoss, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of WJVII
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you to BA Bud Cdkrenz who brought back from a trip he took.

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a orange wheat color, very cloudy with a creamy thick off white head. There was nice lacing left on the glass with a thin cap. The aroma is strong of pine and spicy hops. The taste is a little greasy in texture with a nice hop presence up front but nothing more to speak of. It really hits but then leaves more to be desired. Not much balance to the brew but the carbonation and hops. A little more malt would go a long way to balance this and carry the brew. Good spice but leaves more to be desired.

WJVII, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of Meerkey
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bubbles. Looks like a bright penny -clear with some white head.

S: Hops, grapefruit, soy sauce and grain. A little grainy. Not impressive. A little skunky.

T: Bitter -piney hops. A little sour and grainy. Not that bad, meh.

M: Bitter, lingering. Alright.

D: Not bad. Rather disappointing as far as IPAs are concerned. The most disappointing beer I had that night.

Meerkey, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of jsprain1
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear orange. One finger head retains itself pretty well. Little lacing.
S- Bread dough and citrus hops.
T- Initially it seems caramelly and bread doughy but mid sip it releases a lemon and grapefruit hop flavor on the tongue. This comes earlier and earlier the more it warms up. Not extreme hoppiness, but the way it emerges on the palate is unexpected.
M- Moderate body, slightly low carbonation, but it worked well.
D- A decent IPA but nothing that particularly stands out from the pack.

jsprain1, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of cdkrenz
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice orange-red body with a fair amount of rising carbonation. Hea is minimal and quick-lived to leave wisps of what it once was.

S - Citrusy hop smell with a slight cherry, almost medacine aroma.

T - Leafy and mildly grassy hop taste.

M - Watery with a mild coarse feel. There's a slight stick on the lips when all is swallowed.

~ This beer goes down well and offers a tasty hop flavor along with a nice easy going brew. I'm glad to have a six pack 'cause I'm sure I'll want another one.

cdkrenz, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this an extra with trade with BA smakawhat, so a big thanks to him.

Poured into pint glass a clear golden yellow-orange, fairly light in color for an IPA, but retains a respectable, white creamy head, leaving a good dose of sticky,thick white lacing.

Malt,grains,grassiness dominate the nose. Average standard IPA aroma without the citrus.

Upon sipping, I can detect grains,malts then the hops come in. Hops a little more faint than I wanted, but still meets the standard for American IPA. Body is medium,maybe a little light,with mild carbonation. Hops do linger on afterward, for a good reasonable while, which I like a lot in my IPAs, so it all adds up to being a good,standard American IPA.

Easy to drink several in a setting, it's nothing special,but makes a good standard American IPA to sessionize.

happy4hoppybeer, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

Rhettroactive, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of shand
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic.

This beer pours a hazy copper colour with two fingers of head that retain and lace quite nicely. The nose has bright hops, tons of fruits, a touch of citrus, and some bready malts. The taste is quite interesting. The fruits and citrus interact with the slightly spiky hops in a very interesting way. The aftertaste is bitter and bready, and doesn't come together just as well as I hoped it would, but is otherwise nice.

The mouthfeel is solid, it's medium-bodied and very drying. The drinkability is also quite good, this glass disappeared right before my eyes. Another solid and unconventional brew from Starr Hill, these guys are on my watch list for sure.

shand, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of goldbot
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchase by July '11 notched on the label.

Pours clear copper to amber with lots of carbonation and thin head that dissipates quickly. Fruity aromas of citrus, cherry, pineapple, mango, etc. Lots of fruit. Some caramel malt. Flavor is more malty, more caramel and some bread or biscuit. Sweet and lots more fruitiness. Citrus, tropical fruits, etc. with some floral notes. Aftertaste of pretzels. Light to moderate bitterness. Good balance.

goldbot, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dating: Best before June 2011

Northern Lights pours a golden amber in the glass, lightly cloudy, with a fluffy white head leaving nice lacing as it falls.

The aroma has fresh bright hops and fresh baked bread with hints of caramel and citrus.

The flavor has lightly toasted fresh baked bread, caramel and bright grassy hops with orange, lemon and grapefruit as well as a general fruitiness with a bit of piney resin. The general malt sweetness is backed by a bitterness that comes through nicely in the finish.

Carbonation is abundant but not excessive, the mouthfeel is medium and lightly creamy. Smooth but with a light bite from the carbonation.

A very good IPA and one I'm glad to be able to add to my everyday arsenal of drinkable pale ales.

BlackBearForge, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of PhatAtUT
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from a bottle into a pint. thanks to smakawhat for this extra.

A: light amber. very translucent. not much head but some decent lacing left behind.

S: pretty muted. not picking up on much of an aroma at all. faint hoppiness.

T: very dry. bitter. not picking up on the malts. not sure when it was bottled, but perhaps its not new. hops give the bitter, but not too flavorful.

M: mouthfeel is fine. not too thin. somewhat sticky which is nice in this style.

D: dry and bitter, but fairly easy to drink.

overall: very average. certainly not a bad beer, but not something i would seek out at the store on my own accord.

PhatAtUT, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.95/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly orange yellow golden color with a thick white head and a little lacing. Smells of a little hops and a little citrus and some caramel malts. Tastes of some little hops and some orange flavor and then tons of malts. Not very much like an IPA. Mouthfeel is medium and it has tons of carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

TheKingofWichita, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with good carbonation and a tiny off white head. Aroma is of light citrus and floral hops and some slightly sweet caramel malt notes. Taste is floral hops, some citrus, caramel and a little bit of a grainy note in the background, light bitterness on the finish. Well balanced IPA and rather solid with lacking some punch.

CuriousMonk, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
2.38/5  rDev -33%
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.

smakawhat, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Burnt amber color, little bit cloudy. Small white head, little bit of lacing.

S - Light citrus hops, little bit of pine, sweet malts, and corn syrup.

T - Sweet malts, some citrus hops, little bit of resin finish. Little bit of grass and floral notes, but a little too watery.

M - Light body, decently carbonated, little bit watery.

D - Not bad, fairly drinkable, not a ton of taste.

AgentZero, Dec 30, 2010
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 717 ratings.