1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

689 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 689
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.52%
Wants: 9
Gots: 47 | 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: 689 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh


3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

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


3.4/5  rDev -4.2%

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

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


3.53/5  rDev -0.6%

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

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


3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

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

District of Columbia

3.93/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

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


4.1/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

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


2.55/5  rDev -28.2%

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.

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


3.55/5  rDev 0%

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.

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


3.58/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

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


3.85/5  rDev +8.5%

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+

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


4.05/5  rDev +14.1%

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.

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


3.9/5  rDev +9.9%

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...

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


3.4/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

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


3.35/5  rDev -5.6%

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.

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

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +25.4%

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.

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

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

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


3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

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!

12-06-2009 22:42:33 | More by Blitzstyle
Photo of Reagan1984


4/5  rDev +12.7%

Enjoyed this at the Frisco Grill in Maryland.

Pint came with a finger of white head that faded fairly quickly, but left wonderful rings of lacing all the way down the glass. Orange/Amber in color and slightly hazy.

The aroma was a nice mix of toasted malt/cracker notes and a lot of spice & black pepper. Slight citrus

Flavor was quite nice. Bready, peppery and again a toasted/cracker flavor. A decent amount of lingering hop bitterness, but certainly not a hop bomb.

Medium bodied, light carbonation

I could enjoy several of these and it was quite drinkable. A more than decent IPA.

12-05-2009 20:09:30 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of JayQue


3.65/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured a clear amber/copper color into a pint glass. Medium, pillowy white head, decent retention and a little lacing. Smell was a hint of piney hops and bready malt.

Malts win out in the taste. There is a little piney hops taste up front. Then the malts kick in, some bready then caramel. Comes close to being sweet, but there is enough hops balance to cut it short of being too sweet.

Mouthfeel is plenty rich. Drinkability is good, especially if you don't require every IPA to be a hop bomb. I would drink this again.

11-23-2009 19:32:48 | More by JayQue
Photo of unclejimbay


3.8/5  rDev +7%

Northern Lights IPA
Starr Hill Brewery
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.00 %, reviewed 11/13 c/o SR from AB craft

Appearance was darker golden honey in color, with overall above par lacing, head and retention.
Smell is hop evident but a bit more mild in aroma than most IPAs.
Taste is a nice citurs hop profile on a medium malt base. This is a more mellow hopped IPA, but still very enjoyable indeed.
Mouthfeel is medium/light body, medium/high carbonation.
I enjoyed the drinkability of this brew, it is a good example of a more "mellow" IPA if that is what you may be looking for. Hops are evident but a bit more mellow and balnced with this thinner but sessionable body.

Starr Hill is a new brew to our area. Overall all their brews seem to be satisfactory at minimum, and I have enjoyed this IPA as thier best offering to date. They seem consistnetly "decent" but just nothing to "exceptional" to date. I will continue further personal research....

11-23-2009 16:09:14 | More by unclejimbay
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev +13.5%

A: Pours a mildly hazy burnt orange color. The tall, off-white head has a dense, frothy, meringue texture. Retention is very strong, with nice, persistent lacing.

S: Some pale, biscuity malt is present, with a faint touch of caramel. Hop aromas are vibrant and mostly citric (grapefruit), floral, and somewhat earthy.

T: A firm biscuit malt backbone, again with mild caramel notes. Subtle, but well done for an IPA. Hop flavors are floral, citric, and earthy, in that order. A biting grapefruit bitterness makes its presence known.

M: A medium-bodied IPA. Carbonation is perky. Some hoppy oiliness is noticeable before a dry, fading finish.

D: A good, solid IPA. On my first bottle, I felt it was a bit dominated by floral hop flavors, but as I've had a couple more over the last few days, I've started to appreciate a more subtle citrus flavor as well. This is a good example of an American IPA that isn't a one-dimensionally citric hop load. Worth picking up if it's in your area.

11-18-2009 22:22:06 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of KickbacksSteve


4/5  rDev +12.7%

12 ounce bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Pinky thick head lingers atop a golden body for a good length of time. Aroma is grapefruit and citrus. Taste follows suit with a creamy mouthfeel, hoppy grapefruity bitterness and solid malty sweetness. Should be satisfying to those in need of a hop fix and to those looking for good balance. Very solid IPA. Paired well with pork ribs with spicy bbq sauce.

11-15-2009 09:14:20 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of thecarster1


3.73/5  rDev +5.1%

a- bottle poured into a pint, one finger head, orangey brown color with a nice covering of lace.

s- smooth, bit of malt meets a citusy, tangy hop.

t- nice bit of bitterness on the backend, lemon rind, slight grapefruit, maybe an ever so slight tang of alcohol which suprised me with the 6% abv.

m- solid medium body with a bit of hop coating.

d- good, i got this through a trade and am glad to have tried it, it's not the best ipa i've had but it was certainly drinkable.

11-06-2009 02:18:18 | More by thecarster1
Photo of wahhmaster


3.95/5  rDev +11.3%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a golden-brown color with a thick foamy head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Has a the strong hoppy smells typical of American IPAs backed by strong citric fruit smells.

Taste: Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. Has a very dry hoppy bitterness with strong citric notes. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and dry. The hops make it very bitter but it goes down surprisingly easy.

Drinkability: A surprisingly good American IPA. Hoppy and bitter as all get out and deceivingly drinkable.

11-05-2009 00:03:49 | More by wahhmaster
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.