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Northern Lights Ale - South Shore Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights Ale
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40 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 40
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 20.96%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-01-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of botham

New York

1.88/5  rDev -46.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2009 17:34:58 | More by botham
Photo of dav2080


2/5  rDev -43.3%

09-01-2012 22:18:39 | More by dav2080
Photo of d5001986


2/5  rDev -43.3%

04-19-2014 02:24:15 | More by d5001986
Photo of Chokobo


2/5  rDev -43.3%

05-15-2013 09:18:14 | More by Chokobo
Photo of XmnwildX12


2.25/5  rDev -36.3%

07-30-2014 23:43:20 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of ChopperSmith


2.75/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 00:00:12 | More by ChopperSmith
Photo of zeledonia


2.78/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 03:43:36 | More by zeledonia
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

2.95/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed April 9, 2005. On tap at the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest 2005. The aroma made me think of being in a spice store with all the various blend of musky spices, but it was all downhill from there. The color was light golden and boring. The flavor tasted like bandaids and medicine, although I'm downright certain it was not infected, but nonetheless was obviously unpleasent. No depth and a VERY watery finish.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2006 18:58:33 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of TastyIsBeer


3/5  rDev -15%

07-10-2013 23:27:19 | More by TastyIsBeer
Photo of majorbase2


3/5  rDev -15%

08-25-2013 22:48:17 | More by majorbase2
Photo of dragomni


3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

09-29-2013 22:33:15 | More by dragomni
Photo of pweis909


3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Unusual beer with lavender scent and maybe another herb that I cannot name right now. I could see how the herbal spices might be offputting to someone who just wants to drink a beer. I was pretty skeptical, but the taste and aroma did grow on me.

This review reflects thoughts on a 6 pack of bottles consumed over the course of several days.

A-Looks like a yellow ale. No remarkable head characteristics.

S-Doesn't really smell like beer, does it? Strong lavender. Still, a little credit for being different.

T-The traditional beer characteristics (hops/malt) are unremarkable. About what I expect for a cream ale. It comes down to weather you like the herbal qualities.

M-A bit thin.

D-After my first bottle, I thought I had wasted $8, but this grew on me and I found myself looking forward to the herbal taste. Still, it reminds me of medicine more than beer. Probably not for everyone.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2005 14:50:04 | More by pweis909
Photo of tavernjef


3.45/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

OK, this is a weird one, had two 10 oz glasses of this cuz this first one was awesome, but for some reason the second glass fell short.

Light pale yellow with a thin white head, faded quickly and leaves minimum lace. Smell is faint of wheat, slightly fruity and fresh with a hint of cinnamon. Taste is light and a touch of cinnamon with wheat and malt flavors present. Feel is light bodied and a bit watery.

The first glass was much better with more prominant cinnamon and lavendar where as the second glass was much lighter all around. This disappointed me cuz the first intrigued me enough to track down Bo the brew master and ask whats in it. Apparently made with lavender flowers and the malted barley is soaked in whisky beforehand. Pretty cool. We tried to figure out why the taste changed and it even prompted him to check on the gages, pressure, and brew type things he was mentioning, but no reason came forth and stumped us both. Now its just a fading memory of a once interesting flavored beer. Majorly bummed, I was about to go growler crazy but the second glass clinched it as 'no thanks.'
I'm pretty sure, if going by the first glass, I would have rated the taste and smell as 4.5, but the second glass just left me wondering to much.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2003 18:12:36 | More by tavernjef
Photo of beckje01


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2008 14:52:05 | More by beckje01
Photo of rocklibster


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

06-12-2012 02:39:40 | More by rocklibster
Photo of Pbomb


3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2008 21:43:18 | More by Pbomb
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy, even murky appearance, dull yellow hue, very nice cap of milky white foam.
Unusual aroma, very odd mixture of yeast, cream, and citrus scents, quite a funky affair, not sure how to place this queer duck, ...lemon cream pie, that's pretty close...
How's it taste, though? Very light on the tongue, fairly smooth, minor hop play, with citrus and cream still at large in the flavor. The "herbal" part of the name I'm trying to figure out...
Thin body, short finish, but it goes down with ease...I can pass a few of these past the lips, but after a while it would get annoying, I think.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 10:16:14 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of cokes


3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hmmm....I think I've had this other places, only it was called ginger ale.
And in many ways, that is exactly what it sets out to be.
Pours a semi-hazy golden with a edging of white suds.
The nose is really the ringer here, with its thick blanket of lavender, crystallized ginger, rosewater, and spearmint. It smells absolutely intoxicating, it just doesn't smell anything like "beer".
Onto the taste, malt and hops exist only in chaperoning amounts. The basest of white breads and dry leaves, with a dollop of corn syrup. The herbal contributions loom obviously large, with vanilla pod, ginger, cardamon, mace, clover honey, and loudest of all, jasmine and lavender. This is akin to drinking perfume without all that smell-incongruent astringency.
The body is soda-thin, highly carbonated, but just shoves itself down the throat.
Difficult as hell to rate, as this veers mighty close to the leper malternative. But there is certainly a place for this.
Seems like the best soft drink I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2005 07:12:48 | More by cokes
Photo of orbitalr0x


3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up in Milwaukee at Murray's awhile back. Pours from the 12oz bottle into my glass a light sunshine/straw yellow hue that's a bit hazy along with a nice half inch of creamy white head. Aromas of really light pale malts with a nice helping of coriander and lavender. Herbal, citric and slightly spicy in the nose as well. Mellow and intriguing.

First sip brings a light sundried maltiness that's quickly met by a sweet herbal tones, especially coriander and lavender yet again. A touch of citrus, floral notes and spice in the middle, it flows down with a soft bitterness. Pretty light, refreshing and tasty really.

A light body and fast paced carbonation makes this one go down incredibly easily with a touch of creaminess as well. Nothing earth shattering here, but this would make a good brew on a hot day. I'll have to try some other South Shore brews next time I'm in Wiscosin.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2006 02:49:36 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. South Shore Herbal Cream Ale pours out a hazy, light yellow color with little head. Ginger and herbs in the aroma. Reminds me of the aroma of Heavyweight Two Druids. Ginger flavor with mint and herbs. A little sour. Zesty lemon. Doesn't taste much like beer, but the flavor is interesting and refreshing. Light to medium mouthfeel. I enjoyed this beer, but some drinkers may be put off by the odd herbal flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2005 00:30:35 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of atone315


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

04-08-2013 14:14:49 | More by atone315
Photo of KeefD


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a variety sixer from Amy's Cheese and Wine in Stanley, Wisconsin. It was one of 6 Wisconsin beers I've never had, sampled over the weekend. Review is from notes I took Friday and Saturday May 9th and 10th

I noticed there were some nice remnants in the bottle so I poured 3/4 of this ale slowly into a pint glass, swished the remaining 1/4 in the bottle and topped it off creating a marvelous head.

Hazy golden-yellow in color. Much like a Heffe.

Smell is sweet, citrusy, and malty and taste is the same. It starts out dry but get fruity and spicy as it warms. No alcohol can be detected at all, as the ABV is quite low. At the end, the flavor turns citric, mostly orange and definite hints of coriander, probably the main "spice" added to this beer. Mouthfeel is totally creamy, very little carbonation but a delicate, nice body.

This thing is so easy to drink, goes down smooth, taste is good, and it's an all around good beer... yet somewhat average. It's nothing that would blow your mind, but would be a great sixer to have on a hot summer's day. There are some interesting things going on in this beer that I haven't been used to. I like it, but I'm not sure why. Just an interesting flavor and good balance.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 02:09:04 | More by KeefD
Photo of tgraven


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

10-09-2012 21:39:01 | More by tgraven
Photo of Bighuge


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy pale golden tone. Slow moving carbonation noted. Very slight off white head that leaves sparse lace. Nose is really an experience. Very minty. And chocolatey. Almost like smelling mint chocolate chip ice cream. Vanilla as well. Quite sweet on the nose. Not quite as sweet on the buds as it is on the nose. There are some dry herbal leaf like tones. Maybe sage, thyme, rosemary...stuff like that. Just reminds me of herbs like that. Not saying they're all in here. A little minty and perfumey as well. Light pils like maltiness in the background. Hops provide a dryness I believe. A slight bit of a CO2 prick on the tongue. Body is about medium. A bit of an astringent aftertaste. A lingering bitterness and dryness. Not bad. Better than what I was expecting, but my opinion is that there's a little too much Herbaction going on here.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2004 04:07:44 | More by Bighuge
Photo of murrayswine


3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had my apprehensions at first, but what the hell.

Color is a basic amber gold with a mild greasy head. the spice goes right to your head and sticks hard.

The taste is mild and creamy with a lavender finish that oddly enough, is rather good.

The mouthfeel is weird the way the spice plays right with the carbonation. All in all not a bad beer to try. It's kind of girl-ish with the packaging, but that's never prevented me from drinking a beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2005 04:23:38 | More by murrayswine
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Northern Lights Ale from South Shore Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.