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Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

817 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 817
Reviews: 242
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 13
Gots: 98 | 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:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 09-19-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 817 | Reviews: 242
Photo of smerrell
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sam Adams tulip glass

Appearance - Pours clear, a slight head that dissipates quickly

Smell - not too strong (honestly, I would like a bit stronger hop aroma)

Taste - Up front the taste is nothing remarkable, but this beer comes into its own in the middle of the tongue - there is a nice hop flavor, and a moderate amount of bitterness. the finish id pleasant and bitter.

Mouthfeel - carbonation carries this one, and it acts as a nice palate cleanser

Overall, I enjoyed this one, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again.

Photo of Aberration
3.34/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip

Long lasting, fluffy head. Amber-red Body. Looks very nice in the glass!

Smell: Not much here, malty for the most part with a faded hop characteristic. Can't pick out any individual hop characteristics.

Taste: Not bad, a bit better than the smell would lead one to believe. It is malty and bitter. Like a very good esb. Smooths out quickly after the initial bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel. Bitter up front to grab attention and silky smooth at the end.

All in all a solid IPA, I'd buy a 6pack.

Photo of Crossmd
3.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 41 degrees Fahrenheit into a tulip glass.

Pours a lucid red-copper with a gorgeous pillowy, 3 finger eggshell head that never leaves.

Smells of a faint orange rind and some slight candied grapefruit. Just barely projected.

Taste is a strong initial attack of grapefruit hops in terms of flavor and acidity, but it really falls out relatively quickly. It feels as if the malts that were suppose to provide a lasting structure were of a cheaper or lesser quality.

Mouthfeel supports this, relatively thin, feels empty almost. Awkwardly structured.

Overall, I really wanted to like it, being from Richmond..but this guy is really pretty forgettable. It may work as a more food friendly IPA, not one that's really going to fight for attention, but this is yet to be determined by me.


Photo of AgentMunky
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a rocks glass at Mellow Mushroom. From notes. Reviewed 2 July 2011.

A: Nice head, fades fast. Good lacing. Clear golden-orange.

S: Hoppy and fun. Powerful, vegetal hops. IPAish.

T: A bit sweet. A tad bitter on the endtaste. Goodish aftertaste. Decent, if underwhelming, IPA.

M: It's there, but a bit dry. Not great.

O: Again, it's an okay IPA, and, although I'd drink more, I probably wouldn't recommend it.

Photo of Treyliff
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark golden, cream colored head. Smells of hops, lots of them, floral, citrus and spice notes.

Tastes very bitter, but not overpowering. Slight citrus on the backend, overall well balanced.

Overall a solid IPA, nothing overpowering and pretty smooth!

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to woodychandler for providing this beer in can form. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a brownish/orange color with a 1.5 inch head. Smell is very hoppy. Taste is also dominated by hops, very bitter, not much else going on. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Photo of jifigz
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle poured into a mug.

A: The appearance is pretty average for an American IPA. The beer is a typical color with a nice lasting head and a little bit of lacing.

S: A very mild citrus aroma is evident with a little sweetness. This smells closer to a pale ale than an IPA.

T: The taste is very light for an American IPA and not aggressive at all. The flavors are mild and subdued and certainly not in your face. A light hop flavor with a little bit of lasting bitterness. Ripe fruit and a decent malt flavor are quite evident in the beginning of the flavor.

M: An average mouthfeel is here. Medium bodied and lightly carbed.

O: This is not a bad beer at all, but it certainly not a great one. It seems pretty generic and boring but it's not a bad beer. This is my first offering from this brewery and actually the first time I have ever heard of them.

Photo of YumYumGumGum
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Starr Hill's best beer.

This brewery hasn't made a lot of concoctions that make me proud to be a Virginia beer drinker, but Northern lights is always a safe bet when fresh. I got a fresh sixer of cans and mixed them into a tasting with a very nice selection of IPAs and DIPAs. This is great out of the can. Foamed up great when opening the can with a strong off white head and with a light scent of bitter hops. Poured a few glasses and the taste for the money is a 9 out of 10. This beat out Hop Juice by a slight edge at nearly half the price. Overall, this is a strong IPA which I've had on draft from which I got more of the floral notes.

O: Great day drinking beer. Worth the money.

Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated best by Nov. 2011 served in a pint glass.

Light orange/amber; hazy with a generous off-white head that looks both sudsy and creamy. Lots of irregular sticky lacing.

Aroma is mainly hoppy citrus with some malt, grass and pine underneath. Somewhat herbal. Alcohols esters appear upon warming.

T - The taste features a citrus-tinged but mainly bitter hop bite. Plenty of white grapefruit bitterness in the lasting finish ... more than warranted by the mid-taste hop level.

M: medium body; very good carbonation level.

O - bolder than average, but lacking the balance and complexity of a world-class IPA.

Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow, I found this one less musically inspiring than its CANival counterpart. I suppose, like JenRay, I take my IPAs too seriously to be frivolous and capricious. Still, I found it in a CAN and that counts for a whole lot in my book. Let The CANQuest (TM) CANtinue!

From the CAN: "Starr Hill founded in Charlottesville, VA (but I founded it at Whole Foods in DC)"; "The Gift of Great Beer"; and undersigned by "Mark A. Thompson Master Brewer".

The Crack & Glug was another success! I had two tawny fingers of thick, dense head (besides my own) and the smell ... The color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose was so grassy and minty that I thought perhaps someone had seen fit to mow my lawn! I had the back door open on this very pleasant afternoon on the eve of my return to school so it was not out of the realm of possibility. Whoops! It is only Friday and the weather report generally only goes in a New Beer Sunday review. I have never been known as much of a CANformist, so I should be okay. Mouthfeel was medium and the mintiness of the hops was just understated enough that I had downed over half of it without even thinking. Easy drinking? Too f'in' easy! Finish had a clean, minty aftertaste like I had just finished with mouthwash (although the cops would probably disagree). Heavy lacing throughout and I began to despair that I might have to fire up the jackhammer to get it all off. I would definitely want some in the cooler at any given time, but especially on Hula in the Coola Day (01 Feb, annually)! Yum.

Photo of theghost3
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light copper with a 2-finger off-white head that quickly dissipates. Minimal lacing.

The smell is orange and pine, rather subtle. Taste is citrus, mainly lemon and orange with some floral and pine notes. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, smooth, right amount of crispness.

This is sessionable for an IPA. Nothing stands out, but still refreshing and tasty enough.

Photo of gc4hokies
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice American IPA out of Charlottesville, VA (my home state!).

Pours a slightly hazy golden color. White head dissipates quickly. Aroma is grassy, nothing strong. Taste is earthy, bitter - this doesn't have any sweetness. Decent malt backbone.

Overall, this is a nice regular IPA. Good session beer. I'm glad they carry this at most supermarkets here in NoVa. Have and will buy again.

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

Pours a fairly hazy orange with a nice head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some sloppy lacing. Nice piney aroma with a fair dose of malt to sweeten things up, and a bit of citrus in the finish. The taste is fairly mellow, with a citrusy light bitterness that fades fairly quickly. Orange and lemon notes supported by some soft malt, with some late grapefruit. A little on the sweeter side, but refreshing, not sticky at all. A quencher of an IPA- a little too soft for my taste, but not bad- the flavors are clean and pleasant.

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

Northern Lights pours a nice reddish-amber color, with a substantial head and good lacing. The smell is hoppy for sure, mostly a citrus and floral character with some sweet malt in there. The taste compliments the aroma very well. It's not overwhelmingly bitter. The floral and citrus notes give way to a slight malty sweetness that you might expect from an amber or red ale. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated on the tongue and foam on the swallow.

A good IPA, a great blend of hops and malt.

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This time I had the chance to taste this beer on Tab, while waiting for a train at Union Station in Washington.
It was served in a pint glass and had a nice clear meduim gold color, with half a finger of white head, which dissipated very fast.
The smell was fruity, with hints of peach. Malt and caramel are also present.
The Taste was according to the smell. Fruity up front, sweet and malty in the middle and a nice hop finish. I liked the "on Tab" version of this beer better than the bottled version. Could be that the bottle was much warmer served, or the fact that I just was more thirstier.

Photo of indiapaleale
3.16/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour - nice looking amber to dark golden in appearance with some nice rubyish highlights and an inch or so of foamy white head on top. Some lacing present in the glass before I can manage a sip. Not a bad looking pour.

Aroma - the first things I get from sniffing the glass are lemon juice and caramel malt. Some other sweet citrus aroma are present but not a whole lot of hops going on here. More on the sweet to malty side in the nose.

Taste - following suit with the aroma, the first taste on my tongue is that of sweet malt. Not overly cloying but definitely sweet. There is some decent bitterness hitting the back and sides of the tongue but not a defined hop flavor, just bitter. A couple sips in and I begin to enjoy this beer. The flavors begin to melt together and that sweetness begins to balance out with the hop/bitter flavors that are present.

Overall - Sure, this is more on the malty side when it comes to IPAs but you can't hold anything against it for that. Creative license is the name of the game when it comes to making beer. Style guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Drinkable and tasty at that.

Would I buy more of it? - if I find myself in Virginia again for work sometime in the forese eable future I'd certainly pick some more of these up. Having visited the brewpub in Charlottesville a few years back I'd also be happy to check that place out again too.

Photo of sendsilk
2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a single 12 oz. bottle of this on a recent trip in NC. Best by November 2011.

A- Looks decent, nothing to write home about. Dark yellow to a light orange color.

S- Not too much going on. Totally typical IPA smell, but a little weaker.

T- This is pretty weak. Nothin great by any means. Nothing I would seek out again. Not nearly enough hops for me. Very sweet and malty, not a great version of an IPA.

M- Doesn't matter, the best mouthfeel in the world won't make up for the lack of hops and over malty flavor of this one.

O- Seek you refreshment elsewhere.

Photo of Nay
4.23/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in non- beer geek bar, good session ipa. Hoppy and bitter, malt subdued, but there. Fresh tasting but not a lot of aroma, still good what was there: some malt yeast and hop aromas. Hop bitterness tasted like a blend of american hops leaning toward pine, not candy or bubblegum thankfully. Nice dry finish.

A tasty session ipa: not overly bitter or malty or alcoholic; dry.

Photo of PhageLab
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a weizen glass.

A - Deep amber colored brew which created a big sticky layer of froth. Retention was moderate and some washy lace was left behind.

S - Hmmm, some muted citrus notes, but not much else. Where are the hops?

T - Bitter, but not overly hoppy. More of a raw bitterness. Some floral hops show through in areas, but there just isn't much here.

M - Light body, dry, with a medium carbonation level.

D - I've liked some of their other beers, but this one just can't hold it's own. There is nothing bad or offensive about it, and perhaps it could be a good gateway IPA, but it just doesn't have enough flavor to hold my attention.

Photo of pzrhsau
3.17/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer is a nice clear copper color with a decent sized head that doesn't last very long and sticks to the glass.
S: There is a very strong pine resin aroma with some hints of sweetness.
T: The beer has a crisp light bready malt flavor and some slight bitterness to the body. The hops really hit you at the end where the bitter pine resiny hop flavor comes through.
M/O: Very crisp and drinkable beer but the flavor seems very unbalanced. The scent is strong but the strong hop flavor only comes through in the finish. It doesn't deviate much from what we expect from the style.

Photo of thain709
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a semi-clear, golden orange body...visible carbonation...two fingers worth of creamy, white head...full retention but only light lacing

S - Balanced...sweet caramel malt mixed with bitter, piney hops

T - Again balanced...it follows the nose and is a bit more pronounced than the nose...the flavors start off with a blast of sweetness from the caramel malt...it transitions nicely into a piney hop flavor...which the hops are more pronounced than the nose suggests...the hops finish bitter but are cut down by the sweet malts

M - Medium bodied...can I say it again?...balanced...sweet-hoppy-sweet

O - I've been wanting to try this one from Starr Hill for a while and I had the chance to grab a bottle while in Maryland...overall it's a decent IPA...not the best and not the worst...very balanced with no flavors overpowering each other

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

Pours a nice copper tinted amber, minimal cap of barely off white froth, nice sticky lacing. Scent is firmly malty and nutty with a bite of grapefruity hops. Taste follows scent, firm grapefruity hop presence but clouded by large biscuty, nutty and lightly carmel malts. Smooth creamy body from cask, still dry despite maltyness. Decent IPA that's a touch too malt forward. Nice presentation on cask.

Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant coppered-amber with a 1.5 finger off white head. Good retention and lace.

As evidenced from the color, this is an IPA with a bit more of a malty backbone. The bigger, malty aromas of caramel, honeyed biscuit and toasted malt tame the hoppiness a bit, which contributes some floral, grapefruity tones as well. Although I'm not a huge fan of these maltier IPAs, at least the aromas here are decently balanced, although sacrificing some overall complexity. The malt could be completely overpowering the hops though, which it isn't.

The palate keeps on with the same vibe as the nose. The maltiness is big and bready and slightly outweighs the moderate hop bitterness- almost English in style if it weren't for those grapefruity flavors. The finish is mild with some lingering bitterness.

Overall, as I've said, not particularly my style when I'm in dire need of an IPA, but it is nicely balanced and tasty, and I would certainly order this at a bar if the pickins were slim. And if I'm in need of a can of high-grav, it's one of the better values for an IPA here in TN.

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured at room temp in a tall glass

A: clear copper with robust 2-finger head and hopping carbonation--not bad!
S: pleasant but nondescript hoppy aroma
T: very slight soapy flavor (hope it's not my glass!) up front but immediately segues into rich hop land; not sweet; quite bitter; there's a slight tang at the end of the mouthful to a metallic character, but it's not pronounced; very solid hop flavor, but not distinctiv.

Overall, a solid, decent IPA.

Photo of goblue3509
3.27/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with a two finger white head which recedes to skim and leaves very little lace. The aroma is of a slight citrus smell, there are hints of grapefruit and orange as well as a slight hop bite. The taste follows the nose a lot of citrus..grapefruits and oranges with some lemons. There is a decent hop bite but it is not over the top hoppy. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated but it is a little watery. Overall it is an average ipa there is no big smell or big taste, a good starter ipa but not something for hop heads.

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Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 817 ratings.