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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.

785 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 233
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 13
Gots: 77 | 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: 785 | Reviews: 233 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HardTarget
2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Photo of engagechad
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of colts9016
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of SauceBoss
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of WJVII
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of Meerkey
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of jsprain1
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of cdkrenz
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
2.93/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Photo of shand
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of goldbot
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Photo of PhatAtUT
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.95/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of smakawhat
2.38/5  rDev -33.1%
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.

Photo of AgentZero
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of dlmccabe1
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice golden color, a little darker than some other IPA's we've tasted. Looks like the color of early autumn. Not a very foamy head, light lacing that died down quickly. Aromas are slightly piney with a bit of citrus and a bit of funk.

Hoppy, but not overly bitter, particularly on the front end. The bitterness comes through at the end more than anywhere else. The hope flavor and aroma dissipates quickly. Pairs well with these deliciously spicy fajitas I'm eating.

This is a very drinkable IPA. It's pretty well balanced, but not overly intriguing.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Light amber, great head retention, depth, and lacing
S: Pine, sweet, citrus, soapy
T: Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits tossed into a bath full of pine sap with pine needles scattered throughout. Once you get through that initial blast of flavor, the slight sweetness of the malt makes it's way into your taste buds and lingers around on the tongue until the next sip.
M: bready, heavy on the carbonation, a bit oily, medium bodied
D: A good beer, easily drinkable, but very similar to all the other IPA's.

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

from my trip down to the obx...

bottle notched for November.

2 fingers of white head on a careful pour, cloudy burnt orange, hazy with carbonation struggling through the fog to reach the sweet freedom of the top of the glass, head retention is ok and lacing is evident.

juicy fruity hops, like liquid juicy fruit gum (so what if that was slightly redundant, it was for effect), a little pine, some caramel/honey lurking on the back alleys, this is definitely inviting.

taste etc...
this almost wants to turn ugly bitter, as in too much, but there is an orange peel flavor in the finish that halts it (barely) from crossing the line, the body is somewhere in the medium range, perhaps a touch too light but it packs a lot of flavor, your first sense is the malt sweetness and then the bitterness really settles in for a linger, the alcohol is slightly sensed in some warming in the ole belly,

this surprised me, has quite a kick, worth checking out especially if you dig bitter bombs, it didn't have enough alcohol in it to make me forget about the Giants game today...grrr

Photo of StoneTSR
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a 16oz. pint glass. The month of February was notched out in the label for freshness.

APPEARANCE: Very thick, three-quarter-inch head with big, light bubbles. Dissipated very quickly, but this beer seemed to be overly carbonated with bubbles still flying from the bottom of the glass to the top minutes after the pour. Orange and hazy in color. Also, as a side note, the bottle's art work is gorgeous. In fact, it is what first attracted my attention to the Northern Lights. Red, yellow and green bottle that just simple looks appetizing. Aside from the excessive carbonation, Starr Hill presents this beer very well.

SMELL: Typical floral IPA nose, strong on the malt. Again, just like with the appearance, the smell is very appetizing. I am ready to drink this beer.

TASTE: This is an IPA for those that want a bite. Not much balance, just straight forward bitter hops from start to finish, which is both literally and figuratively quite refreshing. Towards the back end a metallic flavor is detectable and becomes stronger with the aftertaste.

MOUTHFEEL: This beer is still bubbling half-way through the glass giving it an intensely carbonated and bubbly feel. Don't drink this beer if you have a ticklish palate. Actually, I will have to post an update to this after drinking another one in a few days to determine whether this was just a freak bottle or something, but this is nuts.

OVERALL: Carbonation should not be the star of the show. That said, I would much prefer a beer to be a little over carbonated than under. Drinkable beer for sure, and an excellent choice if you find yourself in Richmond, VA.

Photo of alkemy
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium golden/burnt orange hue with a slightly off-white fluffy head of about three fingers after a fairly vigorous pour. This beer was labeled best before August, which would likely account for a very tamed hops presence. I got a lot of buttery caramel malts in the nose along with some faint citrus and pine. Malt is most dominant in the taste and comes as a buttery caramel just like the nose. There's some pine in the middle, but not a lot of bitterness. Really, not much of an aftertaste. Moderate carbonation and very easy drinking. This reminded me more of an English IPA, but as I said, this could be a product of the age. I'll have to try a fresh one and compare, but as it stands, this is a solid beer.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Belly up at Old Ebbits after an awesome foot tour some of the city's finest

Reddish-orange pour with a thin coating and a steady tiny stream of bubbles. A nice lace follows the beer's demise.

The nose and taste follow the same script, so I'll comment as such. Quite malty with some spicy hops leave a snappy, bitter finish. Overall, rather clean and more malty than hoppy, which fits the east coast modus opernadus.

I had doubled back through town because this is a cool bar and I wanted to try this beer on tap. A cool overall experience, but the beer is not overly worth seeking out.

Photo of beerdown77
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank From: bottle, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: caramel, orange, two fingers of head, good lacing
Smell: slightly fruity, floral, hops
Taste: extra bitter, not very sweet
Mouth feel: light body, carbonation
Drinkability: easy to drink

Summary: I went to this brewery once last year. Their brat pizza is what I remember most. The flight of beers that I had was overshadowed by a longer pre-game at Devil's Backbone Brewing Co. down the road. I ended up settling on a cask ale the day I visited Starr Hill, so I was happy to give the IPA another try when I saw it on a build your own sixer display. The extreme bitterness and big hop presence reminds me of Ranger IPA, especially with its limited sweetness.

Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.