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The Gift (WinterBock Lager) - Starr Hill Brewery

Not Rated.
The Gift (WinterBock Lager)The Gift (WinterBock Lager)

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BA SCORE
80
good

149 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Maibock / Helles Bock |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 11-19-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 67
Reviews by jricharc:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A helles bock is probably my favorite lager style of beer,and this beer is everything I like in the style.Pours a clear lighter bronze color with a nice lacey,tight white head that settles slowly.Alcohol infused fruit,toasted grain,and a sharp spice comes through in the nose.Really nice flaovrs going on,somewhat sweet up front with some caramel and sweetish alcohol infused white grape flavors,melding into a crisp cracker-like finish.A decent amount of hops are used for the style and it gives it a nice finish.In my opinion easily Starr Hill's best brew,not overly heavy and or sweet,a good warming winter brew.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears honey golden with white frothing head fine speckled lacing left unevenly. Aroma sweet tart apples with hints of honey and biscuit malt sweetness. Herbal hops are minimal but evident. Flavors hit the sides of the palate with the sweetness, juicy fruit and honey tones. Ripened apples, spicy herbal background. Mouthfeel is medium bodied a bit of residual sugars could become cloying at times. Carbonation is soft even goes down easily. Drinkability overall is something I will look forward to each winter season, nice to see a Maibock that early in the season.

Photo of Ryanm1
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Swigged this one straight from the bottle at a holiday party. Apparently, this varietal is actually a special seasonal, but couldn't really pick that up from the label nor the taste. This came in a regular variety pack along with the northern lights, red ale and imperial stout. By the time I got to this one I didn't holdout much hope. In addition to the I don't think Maibocks bring much to the table in general. It was surprisingly light, with a sweet finish. The website states that is uses munich malts helping pacify my taste buds into thinking this is a german original. Seemed like a typical lager. Descent beer, best of the mixed case.

Photo of tdm168
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - dark copper with a short, fizzy, bubbly head that fades fast

S - grainy, faintly metallic

T - caramel, grains, metal

M - medium bodied, crisp, a bit overcarbonated

This tastes much like an adjunct lager. It has off flavors presumably from poor temperature management during the lagering process. I definitely won't have this again.

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, shipped by Bort - my source for winter lagers

appearance: poured into a great dane imperial pint glass - nice bright straw-copper body, frothy beige cap with some spotty retention

smell: fresh southern biscuits, lightly toasted malts, grain, sweet apple

taste: Haven't had a straight-up bock like this in a while - pleasantly surprised by the doughy biscuit and toasted malt flavor profile, sweet apple, barley provides lots of flavor

mouthfeel: creamy and medium body

drinkability: good

Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy copper, with about a finger or so of bright-white head. This retains with a thin and fizzy, yet still sturdy, layer of froth, which leaves a smattering of spotty foam behind. Malts are thick and sweet in the nose (and a bit buttery), with a touch of fruit and just enough fresh spicy hop character to help pulls things back a notch.

The taste is beefy in the mouth with sweet, bready, and honeyed malts. There is a touch of fruity citric notes here as well, along with plenty of spice and earthy bitterness from the Noble hops. Buttery and sticky sweetness carries over in the finish, before a long lingering and steady dryness from the hops takes over. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a big smooth creaminess to it that spreads out in the mouth and sits on top of all that beefy sweetness.

This was tasty little Bock from Starr Hill that had just enough hop character to nicely balance out all of those heavy malts. This was very smooth for the size which kept the overall drinkibility of this pretty good.

Photo of goldbot
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchase before July 2011 notched on the label. Pours hazy copper, medium off-white head. Good head retention with a bit of lacing. Aroma is muted malt, bready with a touch of floral hops. Some more floral hop flavor up front, changing quickly to an intensely nutty, bready malt flavor. Not entirely pleasant actually. Some chocolate but lots of nutty flavor. On the sweet side, medium bodied.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange, slightly golden color with a small, white head that leaves little lacing.

Smells of fruit notes and toasted malts.

Tastes of the fruits with some grainy sweetness. Apple and apricot notes lead off with a bit of tartness to them that leads to some citrus notes. Some grainy malts add in with a toasted bread character as well. Fairly sweet, but ends in a little hops with some herbal notes.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, nothing special, but it is another solid part of the Starr Hill lineup.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. 6.5% ABV, Purchase before May notched on label.

Thanks to Onenote81 for this winter brewski!

A - Totally clear golden yellow with a fluffy white head with superb retention. Thin legs left on the glass hover above a bit of clingy lace.

S - Strangely, this has a very pilsner-like aroma. Crisp and clean lager attributes with pilsner malt and a light honey-drizzled toast. Noble hops are unmistakable giving the aroma a crisp floral hint. Nothing about it signifies winter.

T - While not noticeable in the nose, the flavor carries an interesting light yeast hint and mellow but pronounced spice. A touch of nutmeg perhaps? The honey comes out a bit stronger with the pilsner malts. Noble hops add a little to the flavor but give the finish a nice light, dry and bitter touch.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth with a soft feel and sweet, lightly carbonated finish. Light dry and bitter hints give a small bit of complexity to this beer.

D - It pulled through with the winter feel. A good "lighter" winter beer in a season bogged down (not a bad thing most of the time!) by rich, thick brews. I could do a six-pack of this on a session beer night.

Photo of smakawhat
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pilsner style glass. Good till April 2012.

A very foamy off tan head is presented but falls fairly quickly, not much retention on this. Lots of rising carbonation, and LOTS of cola sized bubbles sticking to the glass.

Nose is nice small sticky malts and fiant crispness. Some slight spicy character as well. Not too bad.

Taste is kind of flat. On the palate are some soft malts, but some syrupy sugars. Mouthfeel also feels quite syrupy as well. There is no sense of crispness or carbonation at all, which seems surprising since it looks so carbonated in appearance.

Overall I am usually not a big fan of this brewery, but the Platinum made me want to try them again. This is not a dismal failure, it is certainly drinkable, but nothing I would want to have again.

Photo of blackie
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: deep honey-amber in color with a light head

s: cleanly sweet, malty nose, various lighter fruits, herbal noble hops

m: low-medium carbonation and a medium body, a bit flat and dull on the tongue

t: malts of slightly higher potency than your standard german lager with a light honeyed barley sweetness, light fruits, barley lingers with a crisp herbal and dried citrus finish

d: a simple yet flavorful malty lager, easy drinkability

pint at Taphouse on Queensway, Hampton, VA

Photo of wowbagger
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, pretty yellow. Thick head dissipates quickly. There are a number of flavors going on here. A little spice, a little sweet, some nutmeggy notes. It's both a blessing and a curse then that these flavors are very well balanced, so that it goes together well but also makes it difficult to detect any one. It finishes sweet and lingers.

Photo of bubseymour
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Slightly copper appearance semi-clear. No head at all.

Smell - reminds me somewhat of a Belgian strong Ale is smell

Taste - This is one unique flavored beer unlike anything else I've sampled to date. Very well balanced beer with maltiness/hops cancelling out leaving just a pleasant flavoring aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - nothing noteworthy, kindy fizzy in the mouth

Drinkability - at 6.5% this is a very easy drinker and seems less than 5%

Overall - I am VERY impressed with this unique concoction. Starr Hill struck gold with this one. I highly recommend trying this one out.

Photo of soupyman10
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought a sixer of these over. A tasty beer, if not the most exciting thing ever brewed. Amber color with a smallish head and fairly weak lacing. Nose and flavor are fairly well balanced, fruity and some cookies and caramel malt. Nice. Body is fine, appropriate for the style. Better than the other Starr Hill efforts I've tried.

Photo of Clydesdale
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a glowing, hazy bronze-golden color. The tall, ivory colored head has a densely frothy texture and persistent retention. A sticky web of lacing clings nicely to the sides of the glass.

S: A sweet, fruity nose. Some bready graininess is accompanied by a dried apple character. There's also a bit of honey, along with a definite noble hop presence. A bit of alcohol is also evident.

T: A doughy, bready malt presence that is more than a little sweet, with notes of honey. Some definite fruitiness, again recalling dried apples , this time accompanied by a subtle citrus flavor that gives way to an herbal hop bitterness. A bit of a spicy flavor and alcohol into the finish.

M: A fairly full body. The carbonation is extremely well-done, with a soft, pleasant creaminess that adds considerably to this beer's enjoyability. The finish is slightly dry.

D: A bready, fruity, pleasant winter Helles bock. This has an interesting flavor profile, managing an appealing balance and a great mouthfeel. If you're in the area, Starr Hill is an unheralded option that you won't be disappointed by.

Photo of cyclonece09
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a semi-cloudy dark straw, a little lighter than expected for a bock, but still good, with a small white head. Smells of nice grain, very sweet. Tastes of sweet grain, with hints of a fruity aftertaste. Beer is carbonated correctly and finishes really nice for its light body, good carbonation. Overall an above average beer.

Photo of chilly460
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle iinto a chalice.

A - Nice orange/copper color with off white head. Quickly dissipated.

S - Not particularly strong, a bit of malt or toffee type smell.

T - Very very nice. Clean on the front of the mouth, then a malty, toffee flavor comes through. A little hint of cinammon maybe. Nice clean finish with little hops to make it crisp.

D - Excellent, very balanced, malt is not overpowering. Enough flavors to keep it interesting as it warms up. Medium carbonation and a smooth feel to it.

Nice solid beer, easy beer to serve to non-beer nuts.

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): pours a hazy amber orange with a foamy, off-white head. Decent head retention. The nose has notes of citrus, grass, wet paper, a bit of hay, and green apple. The flavor profile is light with notes of bread, a subtle fruity-honey sweetness, a bit of dough, and a slight earthiness. Not much in the way of bitterness. Medium to rich body that coats the mouth. The carbonation is minimal and soft. The finish is medium with a sort of odd maltiness lingering.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.47/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing beer. Grab one if you see it. It is so well-crafted.

A - Slightly hazy golden amber with a two inch white head, and good retention.

S - Clean, bready, with herbal aromatics.

T - Dank, resinous and herbal hops are the star of this wonderfully crafted beer. Slightly sweet pale malt, and succinctly flavorful hop.

M - Sharp carbonation counters medium-heavy body

D - As drinkable as it gets.

Photo of BillyBroas
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearence - dense. tight 2 finger head. Somewhat hazy bronze color. Very active carbonation

Aroma is grainy malt, crisp hop presence, and a little corn-like scent reminiscent of american light lagers.

My first reaction is that this has a very pleasant mouthfeel. Very creamy and soft, it coats every part of the mouth. The taste is fairly subdued. No dominating flavor at all. There's some toasted malt action, and some light fruits, but nothing crazy. The strongest flavor is the crisp hop bite at the end, which results in a very dry finish.

This is a great session beer even at 6%. Very simple, but highly refreshing and drinkable. Plus it is brewed right down the road from me, which rocks.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.35/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the helles bock. Seemingly a tough style for an American brewery to make well. I've had mostly bad ones over the past year. This, however, is one of the best.

Poured into a 16 oz glass mug, the head swells high, a gold-tinged white, before settling into a thin collar. Glowing hazy yellowish amber color. Looks alright to me. Going in for a whiff - appropriately and reservedly spicy and touch hoppy in the back, sweet light malt poking through and faint coppery scent as well. Decent depth. Alcohol? Hidden, transparent - thus appealing.

Malty sweet, delicately toasty, mild-moderately spicy flavors, and I swear a little bit of banana or pear fruitiness in the finish. All nicely balanced and situated at ideal intensity. Actually, the malt comes off an edge more toffee-caramel-cookie than I'm used to. But then again I've grown accustomed to having the strong presence of medicinal booze rudely cutting through the characteristic aromas/flavors of this style, so this overall taste is a much welcome thing.

There's no reason to go overboard with the ABV on this style, and Starr Hill did quite a magnificent job putting it in a safe range. The presence of alcohol in the taste, as in the aroma, is far in the background. It's effects though make this an inspired selection for a winter offering - wonderfully-gradually-deeply warming.

They hit a home run with this for sure. Great job!

Photo of mvanaskie13
2.76/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a standard pint glass, color is gold to copper, head is bright white, presenting about 1/2 inch thick.

Smell is of honey (?), pretty sweet smelling, malts may be a touch caramelly, but the sweet note is powerful.

Taste is way too sweet for maibock/hellles bock - sweetness is similar to a beer with honey added, maybe its caramel malt plus age? Matlt flavor is difficult to distinguish, but there appear to be some biscuit or breadyi flavors, the base malt seems to be over fermented and producing some sweeter off flavors. hops are hard to distinguish, but come through as muddled grass and earthy notes.

Mouthfeel is a touch crisp, may be overcarbonated, sweetness flavor is lingering and overpowering. Hops dont seem to balance.

Overall, this is not a good representation of a bock, helles or maibock. It is way too sweet. There are some spring bock features, maybe a touch of biscuit, but the hops are not balancing.

Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sweet and simple pale bock.

Nice pale amber in the glass and a better head and mouthfeel than many. Clean and very drinkable. Fruity malt bomb flavors at first slurp. Pleasant nose of wintergreen and malt. Some sugary flavors that keep it from being really drinkable. A touch of hops but definitely the Maibock style.

Creamy and pleasant for a few sips, but perfumey flavor gets old. A little hot, a little touch of soapiness. Not one for a big glassful.

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours amber, with a towering golden-cream head (thanks, perhaps, to an over-aggressive pour) that lingered well, and left a small amount of lacing.

S: Very pleasant, although not too powerful. It included tart fruit, bready grain, and faint, spicy pepper.

T: A nice, sweet malt at first, that quickly yielded to a nectarine tang, which in turn yielded to a balancing bitterness of hops. Not a complex mix of flavors, but clean and to the point.

M: Crisp, with good carbonation as it first washes over the tongue, but with a late, creamy smoothness.

O: A good, solid lager, worthy of the winter season, but able to hold its own any time of year. Worth picking up a few more the next time I'm at the store.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice, somewhat orange in appearance. Some floaters going on in there. Malty, mild sulfur aroma. Decent malt flavor with enough hops to be noticed. Sulfury, bready with a mild lingering sweetness. Decent body-the malty sweetness really tends to hold this together. A decent enough beer. Maybe a tad to sulfury and yeasty-could be cleaner for my liking. Still worth a try.

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The Gift (WinterBock Lager) from Starr Hill Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.