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Northern Lights Ale - South Shore Brewery

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Northern Lights Ale
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41 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 23.63%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
South Shore Brewery visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Cream Ale |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-01-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 26
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1.08/5  rDev -68.9%

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2.25/5  rDev -35.2%

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4/5  rDev +15.3%

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2/5  rDev -42.4%

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3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

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3/5  rDev -13.5%

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3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of emerge077
3.79/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure if this a new recipe or just a rebranding. The Northern Lights label says "ale with herbs added".

Dark tawny reddish orange, visible carb trails, long lasting head retention, it pours with a few fingers of foam at first, and the skim never breaks on the surface. Not much lace, just a few spotty bits.

Aroma is mild, light toasty malt, vaguely sweet.

Taste is an unusual combo of toasted barley and most likely sage, a light sweetness at first, then drying in the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carb levels. Lingering toastiness in the aftertaste, the herb addition is only a flash in the middle. Overall not bad, i'll admit I avoided this beer before when it was named "Herbal Cream Ale", but it's not a bad beer at all.

Photo of Chokobo
2/5  rDev -42.4%

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3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

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4.5/5  rDev +29.7%

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3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

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2/5  rDev -42.4%

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3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

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5/5  rDev +44.1%

Photo of zeledonia
2.84/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy golden wheaty yellow color. Little head, gone in a second, and little lacing.

Smell is an amalgam of grains, with a hint of lavender and a touch of apple. Wheat, some light sweetness that feels like corn, but I don't think it is. Interesting, and very different. It's a soft aroma, but full and varied.

Taste is again interesting, though I'm not liking it as much as the smell. Has a very adjuncty feel, with some flavors sitting back there that just don't seem like they belong in beer. Is there corn in this? Has a faint herb-like flavor as well (maybe that's the label working on me). A weak almost-bitter spiciness comes in late. A real mishmash, but none of it great, and it doesn't come together for me.

Light body, just enough carbonation that I'm not irritated, but not enough to make me happy. Finish is blah.

This beer has some highs and lows, but all around, I just find it kinda odd. The flavor is strangely cluttered with hops, adjuncts, and herbs. I'm often meh about cream ales, and this one does nothing to change that.

Photo of wallrock
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of ChopperSmith
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy and cloudy light yellow/golden. Very little foamy head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Faintly sweet and grainy/grassy. No noticeable hops aroma detected. Smells like an average cream ale/adjunct lager.

Taste: Fairly thin, weak and sweet. Not the worst cream ale I've tried, but far from the best. Everything about this cream ale is fairly average.

Mouthfeel: Thin, light and highly carbonated. Not so great.

Drinkability: This brew is light on just about everything, as far as cream ales go. It's closer to a light beer than a cream ale. Not a lot of flavor, and not one I'd seek out again. For Wisconsin beers, New Glarus does a better cream ale with their "Spotted Cow" brand.

Photo of botham
1.91/5  rDev -45%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a light golden color with a half finger of white head that has poor retention and leaves light lacings.

aroma is lightly fruity and a touch spicy, with notes of light bready malts and some herbs in the background. a light note of citrusy hops comes through as the brew warms a bit.

taste is more of the same with a watered down character and a general lack of character. a lightly herbed note that comes off a bit medicinal is the only real distinct flavor, albeit still subtle.

mouthfeel is light bodied and watery, with a crisp finish of little to no flavor.

drinkability is bad. this brew contains elements that could be good if they were more concentrated, but the end product is flabby and hardly drinkable. this begs the question of whether or not the brew is fresh (the price tag was placed two months before it was drank), but not much about the beer suggests that it would be much better if it was. not recommended

Photo of KI9A
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


First exposure to this brewery, and I'm in lust with this beer.

A: Hazy, medium golden, not much head, not much lace

S: sweet malts, cream corn, and yes, herbs. Can't put a finger on what they are yet.

T: Ugh. Awesome. sweet corn, sweet malts, although not cloying, and obviously, umm, herbs. Again, can't put a finger on it. There is something that pops in the middle of the quaff, maybe corrinder, grains of paradise (?), some light black pepper. Finishes with a citric hit, orange/tangerine.

M: Very light body, medium carbonation.

D: Perfect beer for times you just don't want anything heavy, or over complex. Refreshing as hell, tough not to take down in several quaffs. Kudos for the brewery to try something light bodied, but just plain good.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.29/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks a million lukaski for the Brat Stop beer run.

Pours a nutty, medium amber haze. Very bubbly, straight white head that recedes rather quickly. Herbal-like sediment settles at the bottom. Grains of paradise, chammomile, and caracao orange peel are very prevelant in this lighty toasted malt nose. Along with other undefined herbs. Great hebal character to this beer. Not overwhelming or cloying. Light toasted malt gives off some light bready flavors. And the yeast adds a little fruit to the mix. Add the creamy, dry, and effervescant plate ake ths one great, sessionable cream ale.

Photo of beckje01
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

This beer has a cloudy gold look somewhat see through but hazy, nice floral nose. Lots of herb in the taste with a clean nice taste in the end. Very light but in a rather good way. Would be very nice in the summer time, but this tasting is in the winter.

Photo of tjkurz
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My buddy brought one of these over for me. Bottle poured into pint glass big head, nice lacing. Yellow murky - sediment suspends. Smells citrus - lemon - clean. Tastes as advertised herb - spice highlights on an otherwise clean tasting beer. Mouthfeel lots of carb, not really creamy. This is a nice change of pace - something different - the spice wasn't overpowering so I found it very drinkable but really kept my interest. Pleasant surprise.

Photo of Rennpferd
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a pale straw color. It was fairly clear with very little activity. It started with a nice frothy one finger head that quickly shrank away.

It had a very subtle smell. Light undertones that mixed well. Malt with buttery aspects and a nice mild mix of some herb, perhaps lavender or something similar.

A perfectly balanced taste of buttery malt, corn adjunct and whatever that herb is (perhaps all-spice). The herbal part really cuts down the buttery taste and makes this a beer worth savoring. It had a nice light body that had an alcohol tang in the finish.

This is a really drinkable beer. Everything about it tied together well. I could sit around and drink two or three of these in a sitting.

Photo of Pbomb
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color is golden and a bit cloudy. There is a small white head after you pour. The beer has a light hoppy/floral, citrus, and ginger scent along with some other unidentifiable herbs. The taste is the same, but not very powerful. There is a little carbonation, and some bitter endnotes. Overall, the beer is not complex, nor is it spectacular...but it's good and drinkable.

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Northern Lights Ale from South Shore Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.