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Festie - Starr Hill Brewery

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BA SCORE
73
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53 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 53
Hads: 144
rAvg: 3.09
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 0
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Proteus93 on 09-10-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 53 | Hads: 144
Photo of kylehay2004
3.17/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the brewery, reviewed from notes. The tap room bartender was great. Stayed open an extra 35 minutes to talk beer. I had a great time.

A: thin head on a clear dull golden with amber hues body.

S: very nice caramel malt sweetness, light fruitiness.

T: the flavor lets you down after that aroma with standard caramel malts however not quite hoppy or spicey for the style. almost no hops can be perceived

M: moderate to high carbonation and medium body.

Overall: drinkable but not memorable. (503 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Its getting to the end of the O-fest beer season so I figured I'd grab this one today.Poured a clear lighter shade of bronze with a nice one finger tight white head that was gone pretty quickly.Aromas of caramel/vanilla,and toasted grain mainly.A light sharp mouthfeel was kind of annoying,flaovrs were really mild with some residual caramel sweetness and that toasted grain again,the flavors were very light.A pretty average beer,not one to seek out. (451 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

This is the last sixer I bought before leaving the NoVa area. It pours a mostly clear pale apricot topped by about a half-finger or so of white foam. The nose comprises caramel, peanuts, buttercream, and a touch of orange. The taste seems to initially lean in the direction of an increased amount of orange, but this then dovetails into a heavy dose of buttery biscuit with a generous amount of sweetness tossed on top. What hurts this thing is that the orange doesn't really leave once the maltiness enters; what results is, in effect, a cupcake whose stump is an orange slice. Honestly, it would be fine if this were done in phases, but together it just doesn't seem right. The body is a heavy-ish light, with a moderate carbonation and a somewhat watery feel. Oddly enough, despite the slightly awkward flavors, this thing spitefully retains a decent amount of drinkability. It may not be the best O-Fest I've had, but it's certainly not the worst, either. (1,005 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - clear amber with a soft, thin cap of white, fizzy heaed that fades quickly

S - grains, caramel, apple, faint toast

T - bread, caramel, apple, sweet, sticky, clean bitter finish

M - crisp, medium bodied, a bit overcarbonated

This is a nice, easy to drink beer. the flavor is a bit unbalanced between malty and hoppy, bitter and sweet. It's also a bit overcarbonated. It's not bad, but at this time of year I'm looking for a more balanced Marzen. (452 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was so happy to find this beer in CANs during my recent visit to DC that it makes me want to break out in song! With apologies to Madonna, "You're a superStarr, yes, that's what you are, you know it"; to John Kander and Liza Minelli, "Life is a [CAN of] Carnival, old chum, Come to the CANival!" and to Arthur Miller's Willy Loman to his son, Biff, in I.vi, "You got all kinds of great beer!" Sure, the last is a play and not a musical, but when was the last time that a CANned beer was so inspiring?

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

The Crack & Glug was music to mine ears and produced two tawny fingers of dense, bubbling head with good retention. Color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very malty sweet, much more so than Yuengling Lager, to which a previous reviewer compared it. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy and with a pleasant melange of flavors on the tongue, ranging from an initial sugary sweetness to an herbal mintiness and back again. Finish was more sweet than anything else and I think that the constant onslaught of malt would be too much for me to CANsider inclusion in my cooler. (1,313 characters)

Photo of billab914
2.19/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. It poured a cloudy, dull, amber/copper color with a frothy white head filling about an inch of the glass.

The aroma shows some caramel, malty flavors to it but they are almost overshadowed by a tart, slightly fruity flavor to it.It had a bit of an apple cidery tartness to it that didn't fit at all.

The taste unfortunately picks up even more of what the aroma hinted at. A tart, fruity, apple cidery flavor dominates the flavors. It also has a very slight hint of sourness to it as well. There is a moderate caramel, maltyness to it but it's nearly hidden. The flavors just don't fit the style at all.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability isn't good, it was close to a drain pour. I thought it might be old but the bottle has a best by date 5 months from now so it must be pretty fresh. Something wasn't right at all with it though. The flavors were not what I expect for the style at all. (982 characters)

Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Judge's Bench the other day.

The beer pours a honey amber color with fairly good head retention and minimal lacing. The nose is lightly malty with a hint of ginger and pumpkin bread. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose pretty closely in this one dimensional, albeit inoffensive, lightly sweet beer. The flavors drop off pretty quickly in the finish, and the beer is almost watery at the end. Drinkability is OK, though a bit more flavor would be appreciated. Mehhh.... (488 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.75/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Once again a thanks to woodychandler for another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of caramel malts. Taste is also malty, refreshing, a touch of caramel. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable brew. (275 characters)

Photo of glid02
2.68/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle purchased from 1 West in Washington DC.

Pours a hazy copper-brown color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of slightly sour fruit, herbal hops, and light caramel malts.

Tastes not so great. Light caramel malt flavors up front fight to stay relevant after the sour fruit flavors enter into things midway through the sip. Right before a muddled and slightly bitter ending a small amount of leafy hop flavors come out.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability isn't so good. I didn't finish.

Overall this was not a very good beer and one I won't revisit again. (688 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours an orange-amber color with a two finger white head. The head has huge carbonation bubbles entrapped within, which pop over a short amount of time to leave some rather nice lacing.

Smell – The aroma is strongest of a roasted malt and caramel sweet smell. Mixed with this are lighter notes of a bready and light fruit aroma.

Taste – The taste begins of lightly roasted malt and some light fruit sweetness. The fruit flavors are a mix of citrus and some pear and peach. As it advances further some hop flavors of a citrus and earthy nature come to the tongue. The fruits other then the citrus fade more toward the end. While the other fruit flavors fade, the citrus flavors intensify and, when mixed with the hop flavors that came more toward the middle of the taste, a lightly hoped citrus and earthy malt flavor finish out the taste.

Mouthfeel – Quite light bodied with a average level of carbonation. Very easy drinking and god for the style and flavor profile.

Overall – A very easy to drink beer. While not super flavorful and rather light, it is a great choice for a nice session brew. (1,157 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.15/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A: Some head, about a finger and a half, with prefigures the great lacing to come. The colour is an off-putting orange. Clearish.

S: Buttery. Malts; hints of caramel.

T: Lots of malt, and butter appears here too. Decent. The endtaste is forgettable and generic. Nothing stands out in the taste except a biscuity breadiness.

M: Pretty okay. Full-bodied and compelling, even if it's not great.

O: Goodish beer, mediocre compared to some of Starr Hill's other offerings. *Very* drinkable. Not recommended, but I'd have another. (607 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
3.21/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz bottle brought to me from C'Ville by ol' Bro Artied2.

Poured into a nonic, this Märzen is, surprisingly, slightly cloudy though still a bright golden color. Carbonation is slow and scattered. The head is creamy and fine, slightly off-white and clings well in the glass. There's some bready malt here, but it's pretty mild overall. The body is almost in the medium range, and the feel is fairly smooth, with only light prickle on the tongue.

Has some mild sweetness and hint of bready, crackery malt. There's actually some light fruitness here, almost bordering on an off, sourish character. Floral hoppiness does make an appearance in the finish, and the aftertaste does suggest that this is, indeed, a Märzen. In the big scheme, though, this falls short of being even a decent Fest-type bier. It's still drinkable, but not what I was expecting. Thnx, Bro!

3.2 rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1408 (951 characters)

Photo of argock
3.28/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Freshness date notched on label.

A: Amber lager appearance with reasonable but quickly dissapating off white head with a few spittles of lace.

S: Sour leather smell with lots of grain.

T: Grain is the dominant flavor with a slightly sour, tart flavor that is not wholly unpleasant but is a bit strange for this style. It seems like an overly sharp marzen hops flavor with more grain than usual.

M: Medium and solid for a lager -- there is clearly a lot of malt in this brew. Carbonation is spicy. The aftertaste is very pleasant with sweet and tart aspects.

D: Not Starr Hill's best offering, but not a terrible take on a marzen-style lager. (702 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
2.47/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

My first taste of this East Coast O'fest and first from Starr Hill Brewery. A 12 oz. twist-capped bottle, notched at 'FEB' in the 'For Brewery-Fresh Taste, Purchase Before...' area.

'Life is a Carnival' proclaims the label.

A: Well, it's got a nice color: a fine-looking copper-acorn. Pours with a flourish of fizzy whitish head, dwindles in seconds, completely disappears within a couple minutes. Unfiltered haziness, a few streaking carbonation bubbles and a patch sticking at the base; only the smallest flecks of lace. A rather sad-looking brew to be honest...

S: A light touch of caramel, a wheaty spice and a trace of sweet fruit. Not the malty sweetness typical of better examples of the style - just some subdued floral honey.

T: Flavor-wise, not a bad O'Fest: decent maltiness (a wort-like grain), a round semi-sweetness, toasted bread, hint of orange candy. Spiced hop mellowness. If there's one positive note so far, flavor is it.

M: Bad - really bad. Slick and viscous, light body, barely any carbonation. Lifeless feel, drastically attenuation issues. A little dry spicing tingles for moments on the tongue, a dull grainy sweetness lasts longer.

D: Hardly a 'carnival': really didn't have much fun with any part this beer. Lackluster in most every category, it's not even worth a try. My sincere hope is that the 'Purchase Before FEB' was actually for 2009, not 2010, which would explain some things - though I know my buddy Metalmonk just picked this up weeks ago and I received earlier this week. Many thanks for the try, Jeff, but I'll pass next time...but thanks for the pre-written apologies below! :) (1,627 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
2.24/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy orange-rust color with a head that was big and billowy for about 10 seconds but then withered away to almost nothing (it's a clean glass!). A few dabs of lace slide slowly down the sides with each tilt of the glass.

Where I was hoping for that big bread-and-caramel nose of the great Oktoberfests, I was treated to a rather flat aroma that offers faint cooked veggies and tangy fruit. Only a ghost of what my nose was nosin' around for appears. "Judge it for what it is," right? Okay: it's severely lacking.

Flavor-wise it's no better. There might be a good beer here, but what I mostly get is a fruit-candy sweetness and a tart-to-sour jab middle, back, and into the finish. Luckily there's no real finish here at all, so the bad impressions don't last.

Mouthfeel is just fine, with zippy carbonation and a good slick glide. If I try and turn off the taste buds, it feels like a good example of the real deal.

This is all over the place, way off-style, and not a good beer in any category. The exact opposite of "spot-on." There's always a chance it's been ruined somehow since leaving the brewery, but I can only take it at face value.

[Threw a couple of these into a couple different trade boxes as a "bonus" the other day...they're already on the way! Good thing I've already traded with the recipients a few other times--they'll forgive me I hope--but guys: I AM SORRY.] (1,394 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
2.39/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to Metalmonk for this extra in our most recent trade!

FEB notched on the label.

A: Pours a hazy/cloudy gold with about 1 1/2 fingers of off white foam on top. Head retention is poor as it melts away in less than a minute. No lace is left behind.

S: Boiled vegetables, tangy fruit, and maybe (just maybe) a slight hint of sourdough bread. The smell is pretty off-puting.

T: More of the same as above. I too was hoping for bread and biscuits and instead got sweet tarts and fruit.

M: Decent enough. Restrained bitterness with a slightly dusty finish.

D: Hmmm. Seems like this beer wasn't totally thought through. Thanks Jeff :) (691 characters)

Photo of JayQue
3.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice session beer, not necessarily a great Marzen. Pours a slightly cloudy orange/amber with a small off white head that fades fast. Leaves some lacing on the glass. Mild malty aroma, pleasant enough.

Taste is crisp and malty. Marzen bitterness in the finish is lacking. The only bitterness is in the balance - the beer is not overall too sweet.

Mouthfeel is rich enough for the style. Drinkability is pretty good if you are looking for a nice crisp, malty beer. I wouldn't turn down a pitcher of this stuff, but wouldn't go looking for it as an Oktoberfest beer either. (575 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.28/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a reddish amber hue; the head is off-white and scant. No lace.

S - Not too much aroma here. Vaguely vegetal hops and sweet cracker-y malt is about all I can manage to dig out.

T - The brew is unusually flavored, evoking a certain flavor that is common to baked confections such as piroulina, wafer cookies, or almond bark. There is also a discernible hint of vanilla and hazelnut. A very slight bitterness is contributed by a subdued citric-piney hop.

M - Pretty average here. Decent, mediocre, common.

D - It is drinkable based on a certain very nice aspect of the flavor. It is not a complete or tremendously inspiring offering, but it has a serviceable quality (or two). (687 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.89/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my conical pint glass. Pours a light orange with a very thin whispy white head on top. No retention, and no lace. Smells of breads, roasted malts, and a sweet candy finish.

The feel is crisp and moderately carbonated. Decent body. It has some weak points, but the flavor is right where it needs to be. Nice filling bready taste, some mild hop bitterness in the middle, but it finishes with a touch of caramel and sweet malty goodness. There's a slight sour note on the back end, but it's not offensive in any way. I didn't have the highest expectations for this, but this was better than I thought. A nice go-to for the fall. (639 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
2.74/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer Run in Charlottesville, VA. Served in a 10 oz. glass.

Appearance: A clear orange amber beer, very appropriate to the style. A nice fine, quarter-finger tan bubbly head with average retention. Carbonation is sparse, and lacing is actually very full and attractive. Not a terrible start at all.

Aroma: See taste below.

Taste: Bleh. Very grainy and husky, with some light touches of roasted grainy bread and a mellow hop spiciness. It's all very artificial tasting, though.

Mouthfeel: Uneven, fairly thin, spritzy and bubbly.

Drinkability: A bit of a disappointment from Starr Hill. It's not that this is an undrinkable beer, it's just really, really average beer, and definitely won't be a go-to Marzen for me, despite my overwhelming obsession w/ local drinking. Shame. (789 characters)

Photo of farrago
2.01/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Moderate half finger head, eggshell white, larger bubbles interspersed throughout the foam, no real lacing, dissolves down swiftly. Light orange-brown in hue, while somewhat cloudy turns to a washed out zinc hue around the rims. Quiet nose of apricot/peach pits and skin, if you had to choose you'd say it's more malty than hoppy but really it's a wash, some mocha and bread, more than the nondescript white citrus and dried lawn grass notes, just not much going on. Light to medium-bodied, possesses a big carbonated swirl in the mouth, a handy way of disguising the fact that there's not much here either. Some bitters and brine, sun dried lemon peels and more dried out grass. The malts are like an aftershadow, you can just make out the general contour but no depth. In fact, watery would be one way of putting it. Even after focusing harder on each successive sip, it is not any easier to find a flavor to describe. Empty finish. (934 characters)

Photo of beer2day
3.28/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours gold with peach tints. 1-finger head fading quickly leaving very little trace behind. Laces well enough, though.

Nose is slightly fruity, with lemon and peach. Also picking up straw and roasted malt. I've not picked up fruit in an Octoberfest before. Not bad, but definitely different.

Hits light and sweet. Not nearly enough malt body here. I'm guessing from the label they were trying to make a lighter version of a fest beer and they succeded.

It's not too bad to drink and you could probably drink many of these, but I'm not sure you'd want to. (558 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - orangish/yellowish in color, very clean with a wispy head on top which fades rather quickly leaving a ring around the inside of the glass at the top level of the beer. Not a bad looking pour whatsoever.

Aroma - brown sugar, baking bread, steeped grains, honey, corn syrup and sweet tea. Some doughy/biscuity notes as well.

Taste - first sip is sweet on the tongue. Lots of honey and caramel flavors combine with some raisin and lemon tea with a sharp, crisp finish. Its a bit dry surprisingly in the finish with no real after taste which certainly makes for an easily sessionable beer. Nice malty flavors and easily approachable for any beer drinker from the uber-snob to the casual imbiber.

Overall - Not a ton of complexity, just a straightforward amber lager. However, when it comes to finding a decent canned version of just that it's not so easy. Certainly worth picking up and taking along with you wherever you're outdoors (or indoors) festivities may be happening.

Would I buy more of it? - not much of an option where I am. This is a pretty easy drinking lager and if it was more available I could definitely see myself putting some on ice once in awhile. (1,179 characters)

Photo of therica
3.97/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hard Times Cafe, Hagerstown MD, 20-ounce serving.

A= cloudy amber-brown, modest head and lacing when served.

S= plenty of hops florals and bitters evident, nice roasted malts, some apricot notes.

T= a rather hefty dose of hops bitters a la Starr's reputation, great! Decent hops florals, biscuity bready malts, complex, solid-bodied and enjoyable.

M= very nice, no astringency, lingering hops florals and bitters and bready malts.

D= we were saddened only that we couldn't stay longer to have a few more, went great with Hard Times Cafe's chili dishes and burgers & fries, even the large salad. (609 characters)

Photo of Clydesdale
2.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a somewhat hazy burnt orange color. The medium-sized head has a light orange hue and a somewhat thick, foamy texture. Retention is average, and a few foamy rings of lace deposit onto the glass as the head fades.

S: A sweet toasted aroma - light caramel notes, with some nuttiness. Lightly fruity, perhaps with a vague tartness. Some herbal hops are also detectable but primarily take a back seat.

T: Toasty malts up front. Sweetness is medium, with some light caramel character. An astringent, lightly tart presence also makes itself known. Light fruity notes. Hop bitterness is low, with some vague herbal flavor. A nutty aftertaste.

M: Medium-thin body. Carbonation is fine and crisp. As above, mouthfeel is surprisingly astringent.

D: A lackluster fall seasonal from a normally above average brewery. This is lightly flavored and too thin/astringent to be very enjoyable. You won't miss much by avoiding this one, although it's far from bad. (961 characters)

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Festie from Starr Hill Brewery
73 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.