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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.

663 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 663
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 8
Gots: 37 | 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: 663 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CampusCrew


4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: red-amberish tone. decent lacing and head retention.

smell: decent hop aroma and citrus notes

taste: a solid IPA with a full flavor of hops giving off some citrus notes.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: overall a solid IPA and if I see it fresh I will grab it

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 03:12:31 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of redneckchugger


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

Pours a light amber, off white head, sheet of lacing.
More pine than citrus on the nose.
Nice piney body , with a bit of caramel malt peeking around in there.
This is a decent IPA, not much else to say really, its good, not great, but not horrible either. A solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 18:12:57 | More by redneckchugger
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a rocky head that leaves plenty of lace behind

Smell: Pithy bitter aroma with an undertone of cracker malt

Taste: Bready, up front, with a big blast of pithy aspirin-like bitterness arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, the malt adds a sweeter balancing dimension but the flavors don't come together particulary well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Lacks the fruity element I find in my favorite IPAs but it is certainly on style and will suit those who like their pith to be dominant

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2009 20:59:16 | More by brentk56
Photo of cjgator3


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

A- Pours a golden amber color with an off-white head with good lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is malt and hints of caramel, with a good dose of citrusy hops.

T- The taste like the aroma starts out with smooth caramel malts and finishes with a nice citrusy hop bitterness in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, not a bad IPA. It is a little lighter bodied and less ABV than most IPAs so it is a bit more sessionable as well.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 03:46:47 | More by cjgator3
Photo of scottyshades


4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six of these at Ingles in South Carolina for $7.69, very smart buy.

A: Pours a hazy golden/amber/copper color that is barely transparent. The head is eggshell colored, very fluffy and airy, and retains throughout the entire beer. A real plus for sealing in all those delicious flavors and notes. The lacing along the glass is sticky.

S/T: Starts out very piney, bitter hoppy, and floral. Very nice nose, has a little bite to it, but not as intense as I had imagined. The hop aromas are medium in intensity, and as the beer warms they decline into a very balanced bready and malty note. I must say, this beer is very balanced. There is slight citrus peel on the nose. So all of the fundamentals are here: both a floral and a bitter hop presence, slight citrus (lemon & orange), and a strong (equally impressive) malt backbone to balance everything out.

MF/D: Pretty viscous and thick for an IPA, sticky lips effect from the hops, and a nice pine finish.

Overall, I was pretty impressed by this brew, although it has to compete with Sweetwater for my go-to IPA, which is virtually a losing battle. Just a nicely done example of an IPA

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 22:05:02 | More by scottyshades
Photo of rustynosebleed


1.63/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

this is the most bland and crappy ipa i have ever tried. i made the mistake of buying a case, thinking that it would be at least decent. it's not. i would never get this again. it barely tastes of hops, it more or less just tastes like dirty water. disgusting. i can barely drink one or two in a sitting, and for the price, there are a lot better beers that one can buy, such as victory hopdevil or smuttynose finestkind.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 22:49:18 | More by rustynosebleed
Photo of afausser


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very clear, deep golden pumpkin orange. A few streams of fine bubbles are present. Very large head and decent retention. Soapy, glittery lacing.

Smell: Caramel, honey, white grapefruit. Very little hops scent at all.

Taste: Hops taste, as expected, but also very light. Earthy and bitter. Spicy pine finish.

Mouthfeel: The only complaints I have here are the slight gassiness of the beer as well as a long-lasting aftertaste. Other than that, decent mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not my favorite so far from Starr Hill, but not their worst either. This one is nice, light, and pretty well balanced, and definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2009 19:24:32 | More by afausser
Photo of plaid75

New York

4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light citrus hop and a soft doughiness.

The taste consisted of a soft biscuity malt and lightly sweet citrus hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a soft carbonation.

Overall a subtle AIPA - very mellow.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2009 02:18:07 | More by plaid75
Photo of mpyle


3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App - Deep golden color, a bit cloudy (unfiltered?) Pours a rocking white head, quite large and creamy with phenomenal retention.

Aroma - Hop aroma is surprisingly subdued - some earthy hops and a touch of malt, but nothing overpowering.

Flav - Brief but distinct caramelly malt flavor up front - then the hops kick. Hop flavor is a bit earthy, not distinctly "west coast". Bitterness dominates from midmouth right through the finish. Intense, but not out of line for an IPA.

MF - Medium body, and moderately high carbonation. Carbonation/bitterness combo gives it a prickliness on the tongue, but not overly harsh. A little bit of alcohol warming.

D'ability - The body is light enough to make this fairly quaffable, but the gassiness and lingering bitterness might make it a bit less so. Definitely would be hard to down one of these and move on to something else - a real tongue-coater.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 20:49:12 | More by mpyle
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super-whipped up head of microfoam, close to three fingers on the pour, extremely dimpled with peaks and valleys, the lacing shows above average stickiness. Murky amber, pumpkin orange in color, slightly lighter around the rims, traps light inside it well enough to maintain a luminous glow. Smooth hoppy nose of pink grapefruit, clove and ginger spice and pine oil, turning to malted milk balls, caramel, scone as well as a peppery kick, good thrust into your nostrils. Medium-bodied, the carbonation tends to add fluffiness rather than lift. As a result, also clings to the tongue and mouth pores rather than scrub. This in spite of a semi-bitter herbaceousness which, along with the white grapefruit to lemon citrus and pine notes, would make you think it should be more edgy. Accents of dark maduro cigar wrapper present. White grape, apricot, peach fruit sweet, however, balanced by that clove spice. Not very bready here, the malt and cocoa powder tones also subdued. Lengthy finish, lasts about as long as you'd want it to. No problem holding your interest.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2009 01:01:57 | More by farrago
Photo of wangbruins


4.78/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Light copper color with two finger head with great staying power and all over the place lacing

S- Piney and earthy, your typical IPA scents, but pretty strong with a bit of caramel

T- Earthy with some citrus flavors- lots of lemon and a bit of orange

M- A bit of a bite on the tongue at first with a little sting after but a good aftertaste that stays with you for a minute or two

D- I was impressed- I got this at work from the promoters trying to get my boss to carry it and wasn't expecting much but was pretty surprised- it's pretty damn good

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 17:10:46 | More by wangbruins
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starr Hill- Northern Lights IPA

A- Light copper reddish brown with a thick messy lacing head.
S- Sugary and bitter grapefruit hops with a sweet caramel candy malt.
T- Very sweet sugary caramel malt that quickly succombs to a big sugary sweet red grapefruit hoppiness. Slightly sugary but bitter finish.
M- Very sugary sweet and malty to start off but the grapefruit sweetness and bitterness takes over and finishes this 1 off.

Overall- Wow, big juicy red grapefruit hops make this quite a surprise beer! I'll be getting more next time in VA Beach.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2009 23:55:17 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of skulk001

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This report is an average over three people. All of us liked the appearance, smell, and feel. One of us liked the taste and drinkability from the beginning. Two of us really disliked it at first, but after cleansing/dirtying our pallets with salty food, the taste was totally changed and it tasted pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2009 21:31:35 | More by skulk001
Photo of hdofu


4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice plain crisp ipa. The smell is intensely hoppy. The taste is basicly malt and hop. The color was redish with an off white head. The beer was really crisp. It not really exciting but a good ipa none the less with nothing detracting from drinkability

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 05:49:02 | More by hdofu
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was excited to find this in my local grocery. Poured into my pint glass a very deep copper amber with a frothy off-white head on top. Retention is fair, and there's some nice lacing rings after each sip. Smells of funk, yeast, and caramelly malts. No hops in the nose at all.

The mouth is creamy and smooth, with little crispness. The flavor is a little different as well. Some tart yeasty presence and sweet malts. There's a nice bitter finish, but it's spicy rather than citrusy. This reminds me more of a Belgian IPA, rather than American. This was alright, but I was disappointed overall. I've really liked the rest of their offerings, but this fell short.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2009 17:24:18 | More by Onenote81
Photo of peterittenhouse


4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sipping on vacation in OBX.

Big hoppy IPA. Not your normal Summer seasonal brew but still very good nonetheless.

Very sharp hop bitterness with tons of malt. Bitter hops hang on the palate throughout the session.Very good IPA.worth a try. Much better served in winter. Hats off to Starr Hill for a Summer Seasonal "hop bomb."

GO Fightins

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2009 01:15:41 | More by peterittenhouse
Photo of ectomorph


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

12 oz bottle with a best by date of December '09 into a pint glass.

A - Murky copper body with light golden borders hides any carbonation. Small tan fades quickly leaving only a small ring against the edge.

S - Pineapple hops and a bit grassy. Faint biscuit and spice.

T - Strong bitterness (Cascade out the wahoo). MUCH hoppier than expected from the floral scent. The IBU's must be above 80 here. Looking for a malt presence, I find more hops. Not balanced, but IPA's shouldn't be. I like this very much.

M - Hazy with a bigger body than most IPA's and a hops aftertaste that any hophead would love.

D - Personally, pretty high. For most though, mid to low.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2009 22:47:15 | More by ectomorph
Photo of John_M


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

It's especially difficult to know which "northern lights" IPA you're drinking whne the beer bar in question (Red Star in Baltimore) simply lists the beer as the Starr Hill IPA. Oh well...

The beer pours an amber orange color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose I get some light citrus and earthiness, suggesting this will be a fairly dry IPA. On the palate, sure enough, this is a dry IPA, albeit a pretty flavorful one. I get considerably dry hoppiness on the palate, with some pepper, earthiness and light wet tobacco. There is almost a slight grittiness to this beer, which is in no way a detraction. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is pretty good. Not sure I'd want to drink a lot of this, given how many good IPA's are out there, but this was not bad.

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2009 16:28:56 | More by John_M
Photo of hooliganlife


3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours copper with a fluffy white head, nice lacing and slow retention.

not much hops here but strong malts. a bit of an earthy tone. slight scents of caramel.

quite bitter all the way through with a very strong earthy flavor, slight caramel and strong malts. there is a slight funk going on. a bit dry.

nice bold carbonation that doesnt sting. very defined and compliments the beer

a good ipa for sure although funky flavors make this a 1 at a time. a great twist on an IPA and not what i was expecting at all. kind of has a lemon zest in it, xrazy.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 01:15:25 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of HoosBrews

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has this on draft at Custom Home Pubs in Charlotte, NC. Appearance was a clear amber-orange with plenty of carbonation. Slightly floral aroma, but nothingreally big in the nose. Tastes piney and malty with the hops winning out in the finish. Slightly dry taste, with no alcohol burn. Decent mouthfeel and definitely a drinkable IPA. A really good American IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2009 22:01:27 | More by HoosBrews
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

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

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic

Pours a translucent honey golden amber with a fluffy off white head that has great retention and some specks of lacing. Always impressed by the aroma of this on tap, not quite as strong from this bottle, but still surprisingly rich. Nice mix of pungent and sweet pine and citrus hops. Body has nice medium, chewy feel with sharp carbonation. Bottled version is missing a little sweetness I remember from the draft version, very resiny, pungent taste, like citrus rind and a lingering grain flavor. Nothing exceptional, but a very nice affordable local IPA.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2009 21:29:46 | More by yourefragile
Photo of eljefe21


3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Light copper in color. Billowy, fluffy three-finger head.

S: Piney hop and malt smell.

T: Hop flavor balanced by the malts. Slightly sour finish.

M: Some slight carbonation up front. Light to medium over the tongue. Dry, crisp and sour finish.

D: Good drink for the warm months. Not the best IPA I've had, but I will definitely get this again as Star Hill is about is local as I can get.

Served: in an imperial pint glass.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 00:26:45 | More by eljefe21
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pungent and resinous hops greet you in the nose as your pour this slightly hazy amber ale. It's almost like opening a bag of fresh hops! It brings up a full-sized head, and then maintains an inch thick cap for quite some time. (Lacing is good as well).

The flavor is just as hoppy, but balanced by a bit of yeasty fruitiness and lots of crusty, toasty bread... the kind that's just on the edge of burning at a few small points. It's floral, grassy, gently citrusy, leafy, and a touch piney - very much like East Kent Goldings, but with something else going on in there as well. Kind of a hybrid... It's interesting though, that they've stuck with mainly English hops though, as everyone seems to be making really hoppy beers with all American hops these days. I really like the blend. And I'd say, although it's not massive, that this is a really hoppy beer! And it's got the bitterness to prove it too! It's backed by a bold bitterness that clocks in at probably more than 80-85 IBU's, but at the same time, the rich, kind of luxurious bready-sweet and grainy malt keeps it from getting out of hand.

I've had a few Starr Hill beers before and enjoyed them greatly, but I've never really been impressed until this one. It's really a unique IPA in a sea of IPA's. And superbly balanced, but still with a lot of girth. You don't even know you're getting a hop slam at first - it takes a few sips for the massive oily hop resins and bitterness to set in. Really nicely done. Superb! Worth seeking out for fans of IPA.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2009 10:18:09 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of therica


4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Killer amazing uber IPA by this exciting new brewery.

A= copper-amber, dense white foamy head.

S= hops florals out the wazoo, with bready-dough depth.

T= mega-bitter hops with plenty of good taste and quality. Much less in the citrus-hops (Chinook et al) category than many of the recent uber-hops micro offerings the past few years. Outstanding IPA. Great depth, boldness, and also nicely bready balanced.

M= bitter bitter and florals. Somewhat astringent (and numb?!?!? ha ha).

D= only the uber-bitters keep me from rating this higher than "just a 4.0" on the scale.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2009 04:04:31 | More by therica
Photo of birchstick


3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired this in the parking lot after a Phish show in Alpine

A - poured a copperish yellow, with a gorgeous, bready, white head.

S - Piney hops with a kick of citrus. You know this one is an IPA.

T - Starts of with some sweet malt, and then the hops makes an entrance. The hops are definately there, but are present without too much bitterness on the finish. Pretty solid IPA.

M - nice feel to it. Smooth with a little bit of carbonation. Goes down nicely.

D - I was really impressed by this offering. Glad I picked it up in the parking lot. A solid IPA that isn't too bitter or too offensive.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 03:36:03 | More by birchstick
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.