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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.

768 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 768
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 13
Gots: 72 | 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: 768 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

AgentZero, Dec 30, 2010
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.

dlmccabe1, Dec 24, 2010
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.

jsdunlop, Dec 22, 2010
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

Ego, Dec 20, 2010
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.

StoneTSR, Nov 25, 2010
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.

alkemy, Nov 10, 2010
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.

BarrytheBear, Nov 09, 2010
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.

beerdown77, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had tonight at Dave's Downtown Taverna in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a nice amber color with two inches of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, floral hops, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes of light citrus hops and light floral hops. Good but light in the taste.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent IPA. I wish the taste was a little stronger. Wouldn't seek out but would give another shot.

mdfb79, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a slightly hazy light copper with a chunky one finger off white head that has fair retention and leaves an admirable amount of lacing.

S-Floral/grassy and citrus hops are present, but don't make a huge impression. A slightly sweet bready malt scent is just as prominent.

T-Floral/grassy, citrus hops lead and are a bit more pronounced than in the nose. The malt backbone is there, but clearly takes a back seat to the hops lead.

M-Medium body, the carb bite is done just right. Not too much or too little. Slightly slick and oily.

D-Goes down easily enough and having another wouldn't be a problem

Lerxst, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color. Off white head and some lacing. The nose is grassy and floral with some light malt in the background. Bready malt and light hop bitterness ride underneath some light floral and grass characteristics in the flavor. Good body and carbonation. This is an easy-drinking IPA.

Thorpe429, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of aerozeppl
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very clear copper color. Some visible carbonation. A finger of white head with good lacing and head retention.

S: Very floral hop nose. Not that much of a malt backbone. Not offensive but nothing really compelling either.

T: A farily nice and balanced IPA. A little more on the bitter side. The hops are more floral and earthy than anything else. The malt has a nice sweetness to it that lingers in the finish.

M: Medium body. Good amount of carbonation.

D: A fairly easy and good drinker. Something that I would get if this were available in my area.

aerozeppl, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of chickenflea
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours an amber orange color with good head retention and lacing. Smell is light citrus and with a h hint of earthiness. Taste follows the nose. Very lightly malted. Overriding dimension is a dry hoppiness with some pepper, earthiness and light wet tobacco. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is average. It's dryness had me ready for another style after just one beer. A solid IPA. More in the English style.

chickenflea, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of mmmbeer
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, best by 12/09 - sampled a month before that. Brewed with two-row, caramel, Munich and wheat malts, and hopped with Cascade to 92 IBUs. Formerly called "Stinky" and my bottle states it's 5.8%. There are both chill and hop hazes in its amber body and its ample carbonation builds up a cream-colored, lightly-frothy head that leaves sheets of lacing. Lots of orange and grapefruit notes in the nose - a bit one-sided, but still smells good. Loads of grapefruit flavor and very bitter, with a light sweetness and a drop of caramel. Pretty damn tasty. Just a touch too much body, with low carbonation and a very long finish that ends dry. Nice, easy to drink hop bomb - well worth a try.

mmmbeer, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of LtCracker20
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Dogfish shaped pint glass.

A- Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a good 3 fingers of off white head. Head has great retention and the lace is also very good.

S- Grassy hops first, sugary sweet smell, then a little grain.

T- Bitter hops up front with a little grassy/floral taste to it. Sweetness is pretty limited as the bitterness pushes every thing else out of its way.

MF- Could use a little more body to it, but the carbonation level is good and it sure stays on your tongue for a while in between sips.

D- The all out bitterness really messes up the palate and I couldn't see myself having more than one in a sitting even though it's a solid beer overall.

LtCracker20, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of ralree
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Light amber, 2 fingers of head, good lacing and retention.

S: Lots of grain, good hops, brown sugar. Smells like a good IPA.

T: Pretty bitter, no detectable fruit, lots of good hops, not sweet at all. This is for the true hop lover. Toasted grains come in later - really nice charred flavor. Very plain - not going to blow your mind with flavor. Good to have with food, not worth it alone.

M: A bit overcarbonated, dry, thin, light-medium bodied. Astringent.

D: Goes down alright.

ralree, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of klikger
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Goose Island IPA tulip

A - A moderate shade of amber with a ton of head and superb lacing.

S - Orange and some floral hops

T - Bitter citrus hops up front, with honey and a nice malty element soon following. This taste isn't overly complex, but it's better than most east coast IPAs which I've tried. The end is bitter, but there's a fresh grain taste hitting at the same time. Pretty distinctive, really, and it lingers on the mouth for minutes.

M - Light-bodied, with good carbonation.

D - Has most of the qualities I like in a drinkable IPA, but it's actually a bit boozy for 6.5%. Interesting.

I was pleasantly surprised with this beer. It's not the best IPA I've had, but there's not much wrong with it. Count me a fan...I look forward to cracking another of these in the next few days.

klikger, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of Vdubb86
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for sharing this bottle from his stash.

Normally not an IPA man so keep that in mind as a caveat. This one pours a nice hazy golden orange color, with nice white foam head that is quickly fleeting. The smell is actually a nice balance of hops and malts. Either that or the hop aroma is weak enough that I can smell the pale malts. The hops in the aroma are stronger on the floral notes than on the citrus, but both are there. The malt smell is rich and sweet in the back with an orange zest kicker. The taste is of hops mainly with an orange citrus flavor. The are backed up by the weak flavor of clove and a malty sweetness. All of that is followed up by the bitter hop flavor that I don't particularly prefer. On the positive side this may actually be the smoothest IPA that I've ever tasted. The problem is the more I drink it the more the bitterness grows on the tongue and I wouldn't necessarily go for another bottle though it tastes pretty darn good for an IPA.

Vdubb86, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of wallaceandvomit
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

first off, at this point i had consumed a few american piss beverages (busch) and a couple cream ales (little kings), so my taste buds are a little diminished.
A- golden brownish orange, foamy white head but nothing to brag about or complain about for that matter.
S- kinda sweet, kinda malty, kinda hoppy, maybe a little citrus. nothing amazing but nothing to bitch about.
T- starts out a tiny bit bitter and maybe a dash of grapefruit and finishes more mellow and malty.
M- good enough mouthfeel. medium thick, good enough carbonation and leaves me slightly cottonmouthed.
D- very drinkable, overall an above average beer in a class of above to above above average. there are better beers for this price but giving this a random shot wont be regretted.

wallaceandvomit, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of KidsDoc
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottled poured into a Dogfish Head nonic glass

Appearance. Deep orange to golden brown, opaque. Foamy white
head at least one finger. Slowly recedes and lacing clings to glass all around

Nose. Sweet, very sweet. Grapefruit and some strong malt scent

Taste. Malted goodness up front as expected from the nose.
Hops starts to come through in the middle with more piney taste
than I expected. Finish is bitter hops and quite dry/sticky

Mouthfeel. Medium thickness. A noticeable amount of carbonation
but does not distract from taste. Finishes sticky - a good thing

Drinkability. Good sipping beer. Filling but could easily do 2-3
in the right setting.

Overall a beer I feel many will think doesn't quite hit the mark for
an IPA because the malt profile but this a good balance for my
preferences. A solid beer from a small brewery in my college
town. I look forward to enjoying more these next summer

KidsDoc, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of Mosstrooper
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours golden in color with slight amber/orange hues and a good-sized, thick, off-white head that dissipates very slowly and leaves many spots of lace behind.

Smell: As with most IPAs, this one is dominated by hops. Pine and citrus seem to be the most prevalent aromas, but this also has a slight earthiness and a touch of sweet buttery malt.

Taste: Begins bitter and a bit citrusy, finishing with a piney flavor and some sweet malt that balances the beer out. Very hoppy in flavor, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with balanced carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: A very drinkable, sessionable, and balanced IPA. I could see this being good for both hopheads (maybe not the most extreme, though) and hop noobs alike. This beer is definitely worth a try, and I'd be happy to drink it again.

Mosstrooper, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of vtfan77
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Golden orange with a decent head that dissipates quickly, leaving some sticky lace along the sides of the glass.

S- Very nice. Sweet grapefruit and mandarin orange with a piney sharpness. A touch of sweet caramel backs up the citrusy hops.

T- The citrus takes a bit of a backseat to the piney and leafy hop flavors. Biscuity malt provides a good backing to the hop character. The flavor is mostly dry and the moderate to high bitterness dries it out even more. A touch of alcohol is evident on the finish as well. Overall, not particularly strong; the bright citrus flavors that were so enticing in the aroma don't come through in the taste. A bit of a disappointment. Produces nice hop burps, though.

M- Medium-bodied with a nice dose of prickly carbonation.

D- The alcohol comes through a little on the taste and the bitterness, while not particularly high, wears down the palate after a while. I'd probably have another, but that's all.

Overall this is a good IPA. The aroma is great and makes up for some of the beer's deficiencies, particularly in the taste category. I might get it again to support a local brewery, although there are others I like better. Definitely worth a try for IPA lovers.

vtfan77, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.45/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured a bottle into a standard White Hawk IPA pint glass.

A: Hazy dark golden with an overall orange tint. Decent head that leaves lots of lacing down the glass.

S: Exceptionally fragrant but not overpowering. Subtle notes of vanilla and honey hiding within the expected hoppy nose. Hops are floral here. Balanced nicely with a malt presence.

T: One of the nicest, most balanced IPA's I've had so far. Goes down smooth with very little bitter aftertaste. Lots of hops on the front with a decent malty wave in the middle and toward the end. I get mild grapefruit and a hint of pine.

D: As someone who finds it hard to consume more than 3 or 4 IPA's in a sitting usually, I'm hard-pressed to think of a more drinkable IPA. I killed 5 of these a little too easily...

Value: Regularly $8.99 a sixer by me, but I picked it up on sale for $6.99. At that price, forget about it, that's a total steal.

WeezyBoPeep, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of thekanna
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Clyde's Tower Oak Lodge in Rockville, MD.

A: Slightly dark gold with a bit of haze and almost no head.

S: Somewhat indiscernible... some faint sweet malts and a bit of hops, but overall just a generic freshness.

T/M: Medium-bodied and juicy. Medium to strong hop bitterness which hits the palate and continues into the aftertaste. Malts followed by slight citrus afterward.

D: Pretty drinkable IPA with a nice albeit biting hoppiness.

thekanna, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of Gavage
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: light orange in color with a 1/2" head that broke down quickly. No lace developed.

Smell: some soft caramel tones and a hint of hop bitterness came through but were tough to detect.

Taste: bready malt profile with a moderate but slightly harsh bitterness, caramel, lemon, and a bit of ripe fruit sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late.

Drinkability: a somewhat slower quaffing beer, as the refreshment level was reduce with some of the harsh bitterness.

Gavage, Aug 17, 2010
Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 768 ratings.