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Northern Lights IPA - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

801 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 801
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 13
Gots: 91 | 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: 801 | Reviews: 238 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of nickthetick
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

Photo of bobutt
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
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!

Photo of MisterMoore
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of output01x
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of jacobseyb
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of u2carew
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of HardTarget
2.69/5  rDev -24.4%
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
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
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
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
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
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
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
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
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
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
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
3.41/5  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.

Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 801 ratings.