Starr Hill Pale Ale - Starr Hill Brewery

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Starr Hill Pale AleStarr Hill Pale Ale

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85 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 85
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 2
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  6.08% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 07-04-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 85 | Reviews: 70
Reviews by swfeidt:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 12-15-05,Pours a lighter copper with a fizzy-like white head that is gone pretty quickly this seems a bit spritzy and highly carbonated.Quite floral in the nose over top of carmal malt nice mingling of hops an malt,I dont really like the mouthfeel of this one seems watery and fizzy to an extent not what I want in my pale for sure.Others noted a bigger hop presence in this beer I dont get it seems more malt tilted,biscuity and lightly caramaly sweet with just a hint of hops to dry it up a bit in the finish.Well not one I would come back to the beers seems to be a bit one sided and to thin for me.

Photo of boston2bburg
3.01/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a basic pint glass. NIce finger of head, dense white foam lingers for a while, leaving an impressive thick lacing; body of beer is translucent light golden amber. Smell is very strong and not overly pleasant but I can't seem to place it. Grassy, cheesy? Some light lemon or grapefruit. Maybe some off flavors (dare i say diaper?). Freshness dated for October, so shouldn't be a problem there. Drank day of purchase, and refridgerated at store. Odd.

The taste makes up for it a bit; clean, spicy...a little sweet, a little bitter, but refreshing for a summer afternoon. Hops (fuggles, Noble?) pull forward with a light but nondestinct malt balance. Mouthfeel is about right for an APA, some sharpness and a clean finish. Easily drinkable on a summer afternoon, just don't smell it.

Photo of cynicgiraffe
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a big frothy white head that has moderate retention and lacing. Very hoppy aroma that oddly still smells lager-like. Mostly pine in the hops notes, but some underlying citrus. Moderately thick palette. Moderate carbonation. Malty and hoppy, intense pine but some caramel on the finish. Almost tastes like an Irish red. Pretty good.

Photo of merlin48
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a radiantly clear amber body that is alive with carbonation. Medium offwhite head leaves behind lots of patchy lacing.

Aroma features grassy and herbal hops underneath a prominent citrusy hoppiness. A hint of grainy barley.

Medium body and carbonation.

Taste has a prevailing grassy hop bitterness. Malt is biscuity and grainy. A hint of citrusy lemon. Finishes dry and bitter.

Almost more of an IPA than a APA. No obvious flaws. Very drinkable.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brewery has been around a while but I am seeing their brews a little more frequently, so bravo for their ditribution and marketing!

This pale ale pours a darker straw yellow.

Grassy hoppy aroma, not pungent but plentiful with some cereal grain notes. And after a few sips, GREAT lacing left behind.

Mouthfeel- pale malt, hops, a little sticky on the finish-yes! Nothing mind-blowing but a great APA flavor profile and the finish leaves you wanting another quaff. I have been impressed with Starr Hill's offerings and this pale ale is highly sessionable, solid. Cheers to this one!

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Starr Hill- Pale Ale

A- Clear bright copper orange with a thick billowy head. Good lacing and carbonation.
S- Sappy pine resin with a mild caramel malt aroma.
T- Bitter oily pine hops up front with a creamy caramel malt body. Oily resin finish.
M- Oily and bitter hops overpower the malt.

Overall- Not bad, just not as balanced as it should be.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a dated, contract brewed bottle out of Old Dominion. It pours a slightly hazy amber body with golden highlights and a frothy off-white head that holds well initially and leaves walls of transient spotty lace throughout the glass. Bright, citrusy and floral hops combine with a sweet biscuity malt in a nose that's fresh and inviting. The body is medium and its very fine, median carbonation is lightly crisp in the mouth before warming to become somewhat creamy. The flavor is well-rounded with it's sugary biscuit malt working with, but standing apart from its citrusy and piney hop flavors. The bitterness is solid but not overdone; and it finishes drying with some residual malt and lingering piney and floral hops. Quite nice!

Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Chips' Wine and Beer in Kill Devil Hills, NC. I had this shortly after the Carolina Pale Ale, and this is a much hoppier, richer beer. The hops bring a big piney, grapefruit flavor and builds and finishes with a healthy bite (for the style). There's a hint of dry barley, but for the most part, this is a tasty, crisp pale ale.

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask at the Capital Ale House Innsbrook.

Pours a somewhat murky golden orange with a finger of creamy eggshell colored head. Retains well into a thick, full layer that leaves sticky lacing behind. The aroma is a little subdued at first but then hop bitterness and citrus come out, along with hints of light sweet malt.

The taste is a biting hop bitterness up front that runs the whole way through, with a nice balance coming from crisp citrus and caramel malts. Finishes with a bitter feel. The mouthfeel is a light medium with an easy going smooth and creamy consistency.

Not bad. This well balanced and very easy drinking Pale Ale is even better served on cask. This is one of those local VA beers that I also keep an eye out for on the beer engine when we're visiting one of the CAH locations.

Photo of output01x
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dan3279 for this trade.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Best Before May 2011) into a pint glass.

A moderate pour yields a 2-finger off-white fluffy head that slowly recedes after a few minutes to a thick coating. The body is a hazy honey amber color with rogue carbonation bubbles racing toward the surface from everywhere. Great lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout consumption.

Grassy hops with notes of citrus create an enjoyable nose. Grapefruit, orange peel, and honey can all be found deep within the bouqet of smells. While the aromas are certainly pleasing and inviting, they unfortunately lack strength.

Floral, spicy hops are nicely balanced by sweet, bready malts. An odd grassy acidity finishes each sip as an aftertaste.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is may be a little thick for the style, but the carbonation really helps to move this beer along. It has great drinkability that makes this beer a decent thirst-quencher.

Photo of morimech
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a large head that has good retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Has a hoppy aroma with floral, citrus, and mint hints. Has a bit of an English influence in both aroma and flavor. Has a nice flavor but it lacks a suitable malt base. The hops lend flavors of citrus, mint, and herbs. It just lacks malt flavor. I think this is part of the problem with the body as well. The body seems thin. Has nice carbonation that gives a good soft texture to this beer. Easy drinking but it lacks enough malt to make it one of the better APAs. Also the ABV seems a little high for what flavor you are getting from the beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy opaque orangish copper color. A two finger head that will stick around and not a lot of lacing, but enough.

Smells of citrus hops mostly, a little malt can be picked up.

Taste is mostly of the citrus hops followed by a grassy spiciness. Not much malt sweetness, but the hops don't run wild.

Mouthfeel is pretty light with a fair amount of carbonation. Crisp, dry aftertaste.

This is very drinkable. If it had a lowers ABV I would think about making this a session beer.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. Purchase befpre JAN notched on the label.

Thanks go out to Onenote81 for this brewski!

A - Poured fairly moderately leaving sediment behind, this Pale is almost crystal clear. An orange hue brightens up the golden yellow color. A low white head is like the icing on the beer; sudsy and decently retained with foamy lace left on the glass. The foam layer stayed til the last drop.

S - While the hops aren't necessarily strong in presence, they're the highlight of the aroma. It's got an immediate citrus punch right off the bat complete with lemon and hints of grapefruit that combines well with an open floral nose. Hints of grass line the edges with the subtle malt backing landing in between.

T - It's evident the focus on this beer is purely on hops. The flavor has a well-balanced floral and citrus one-two combo that's laced with a hint of honey sweetness to the pale malts. A pinch of skunkiness came up from a burp. Interesting. It could use some more in the malt area though. It seems a little bit thin there.

M - While it's medium-bodied it still feels a bit thin from lack of malts. A refreshing pale to be sure, this beer goes down on the dry side with a low hop bitterness and a crisp, fully carbonate finish.

D - Probably a bit old to get a firm gauge on this one, the idea is sound and executed pretty well. I like the hop balance but it could use a little more malt backing. An overall easy drinking lawnmower pale.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Clear light amber with small bone white head made of small bubbles, fairly rapid dissipation.

S = Good strong smells of grapefruit rinds, white bread dough, pine needles, well balanced.

T = Fair doughy malt flavors up front, bitterness really hits at mid-palate as does the taste of pine needles and citrus rinds, fades into medium long finish. Pretty good, but also pretty standard APA.

M = Medium-light body with fair mouthcoating and good active but not too biting a carbonation level.

D = Decent drinkability, good APA for a relaxing evening.

Photo of mntlover
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker golden color with a thumb sized off white head falls slowly to a cap and laces well.

Aroma is some light hop notes on a toasted bread malt base.

Taste is more hoppy then the nose some green vegetables mingle with a herbal minty note. Favorable even though its hoppy seems more English in flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is medium with light pep from the carbonation.

Drinkability is good an enjoyable enough pale ale once i had a sip. Thanks to merlin48 for the sample.

Photo of marc77
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brilliantly clear light copper hue. Pitted, thin but persistent head leaves tattered, rough lace. Sweetened spruce tips and mild tangerine dominate the aroma, and are accompanied by mellow, grainy biscuit and light lovibond caramel. Soft, airy, angel food cake like sweetness initially in flavor in ensued by rounded, lightly candied lemon zest and mellow, simple light caramel malt. Caramel malt presence is then partially offset by moderate hop bitterness, which attempts dominance and dryness, but residual sweetness is just pronounced enough to lend well executed, albeit one dimensional balance. Stately biscuit surfaces late and reinforces the fleeting psedosweet dextrins and provides token depth. Well calculated attenuation leaves sufficient unfermentables to lend an agreeably soft mouthfeel. Finishes lightly sweet, with mild notes of ripe citrus and orange candy. Almost an excellent pale, but perhaps a hair shy in hop bitterness for adequate support. A flavorful, malt driven example.

Photo of jbone78
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked a sixer up because I have never had it. Pours a nice hazy/yellow Pale Ale color with a nice head. Smells American which explains why it is an APA. Taste is very mild. I like Pale Ales with a bit more hop flavor, but that's me. Nice carbonation and not a terrible aftertaste. Not Bad.


Photo of cptnjck101
2.43/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm a huge fan of the Starr Hill Amber, but the Pale was not up too par. I carelessly grabbed a sixer off the Hill stack thinking it was the Amber and was terribly disappointed when I got home. Bitter going down and left an odd aftertaste. Not the worst Pale Ale I've ever had, but I'de expect more from the boys at Starr Hill.

Photo of Clydesdale
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright, translucent, somewhat radiant orange color. The off-white head is tall, foamy, and frothy, with nice retention and a solid spattering of lacing along the glass.

S: Equal parts pale and toasted/caramel malt aromas provide some sweetness. Some sweet citric hops bring to mind orange pulp. A light floral touch as well.

T: Malt flavor is mostly pale, with some sweet caramel notes. A tasty hop bill. Citrus - orange rind and grapefruit pith are tangy and reasonably flavorful. The bitterness comes from a late dash of floral hops. A nicely balanced one-two punch from the hops.

M: Medium-bodied, with lightish carbonation lending a fairly creamy mouthfeel. A bit of dryness fades into the finish.

D: A drinkable, flavorful, balanced pale ale from Starr Hill. This would be a versatile beer that I wouldn't mind having in my fridge on a regular basis.

Photo of wangbruins
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Brownish, burnt orange with a one inch head that broke down to a nice cover with decent lacing

S- Cherry, raspberry, and some flower with nice hops

T- Cherry again and a bit of orange as well as some smokey pine

M- Slightly bitter, not too heavy, not much of an aftertaste but with a nice bite on the tongue at first sip

D- It's pretty good for a pale ale, not too heavy...I'd have a couple

Photo of RBorsato
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Cask Conditioned version contracted brewed by Old Dominion Brewing Co., Ashburn, VA at the OD Brewpub.

Hazy bright light gold with a low but lasting off-white head. Light non-descript hop aroma with buttery tones. Balanced malt-hop brew but also buttery enough to be unpleasant. Light bodied and not nearly creamy enough for a cask conditioned ale.

Nothing like the bottled version I tasted recently. Preferred the bottled version hands-down... would not order on cask again.

Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pleasantly surprised by my first beer from this Hoo-ville brewery.
A pale ale tru to style with more malt than mosst, reminded me slightly of a German lager with a West Coast finish.
Good color and laced the glass with Cascade goodness.
Solid malt sweetness which transitioned nicely to the citrus/grassy hop finish. I'd easily quaff a bunch of these with nachos and tailgate fare.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starr Hill Pale Ale was an unexpected pleasure. It poured dark orangy copper with a thick sticky two finger tan head. A wall of lace was left throughout the glass.

The smell and taste were heavy with citric and floral hops. There was a bit of funk in the flavor. The feel was extremely aggressive for a Pale Ale. It had a very thick bitter bite and was very pleasurable.

Starr Hill Pale Ale blurs the line between Pale and India Pale. For me, most pales are bland and too easy. Too many India Pales I've had this year are bland, for that matter. This Pale Ale, however, is full of flavor and bitterness.

Photo of Reaper16
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a Sierra Nevada nucleated pint glass
Thanks to my friend Colin for bringing down a sixer of this beer!

Pours a conventional, SAC Amber color. It was pretty clear until the little bit of yeast sediment poured out, leaving a very slight haze. One finger of eggshell head quickly dissipates to a thin ring, but it leaves behind some well-structured walls of lacing. All in all, this pale ale from Starr Hill looks line your run-of-the-mill pale.

Starr Hill Pale Ale has a pretty tight nose. Some distant grains and a nervous kiss of caramel. There's a small orange zing to the hops but mostly the lupulin comes across as grass clippings. A trace amount of diacetyl comes through. It's a little below-average, frankly. Though it'd be good for an English IPA.

The taste follows the nose. It's pretty balanced, but in the way that is kind of boring. The hops are sort of lemony, with a component that's like grapefruit that has sat out on the kitchen table for 12 hours. The finish is sort of soapy, like a pine-scented bar of Dial. the malt is lightly bread, very lightly caramelly, and a bit buttery. There's nothing wrong with the flavor profile, it's just not very lively.

Starr Hill Pale is on the lighter side of medium-bodied. Appropriate carbonation. Decent ABV%. Balanced flavor profile. Sound good right? Not quite. It sounds average. This is about the most average pale ale I've ever had. Not that that is a bad thing. I would never scoff at this beer. But I don't see myself buying it if it were available in my area. This would make a very good introductory craft beer for friends, or a good general-purpose party beer.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

How is it I never visited Starr Hill when I lived in VA? Oh well, at least I still have some bottles left. This one pours an ever-so-slightly hazed orange juice-auburn topped by nearly a finger of white foam. The nose comprises light pine, off-spearmint, and a healthy dose of buttery caramel. The taste pushes the caramel to the background, focusing on a combination of grapefruit and honeydew instead up front. The body is a rather light medium, with a slightly active carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a straight okay brew, something I'm glad I got to try (not ecstatic, mind you) but not necessarily saddened by its absence.

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Starr Hill Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.