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Northern Lights Ale - South Shore Brewery

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Northern Lights Ale
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40 Ratings
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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 granger10


3.8/5  rDev +7.6%

Semi hazy blondish color with a larger fluffy head that rises quick and fades quicker. Small layer of foam across the top of the liquid and tons of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma is honeyish in sweetness with floral qualities and some fresh herbs. Very nature oriented, garden like, fresh.

Taste is similar. Honey sweet with a pale malt touch. A bit of some fresh floral hoppiness. Then lots of herbs. Maybe ginseng, maybe coriander, maybe rosemary, I'm not sure but there's a good presence there mid-palate. Finish is sweeter but very abrupt.

Body is light but holds the flavors well and the transition and level of liveliness are about right.

This was fairly drinkable and a nice beer to sip on while working on my new place. I really felt a bit energized after drinking it. I wonder what's all in this?

08-06-2006 03:24:38 | More by granger10
Photo of emerge077


3.81/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

06-09-2013 22:12:39 | More by emerge077
Photo of Strix


3.9/5  rDev +10.5%

Pale color, little head.

Aroma is flowery and spicey.

Taste is citrusy, flowery, and spicey, quite nice. A lot of coriander in there. A cream ale with flavor.

Light mouthfeel.

I kind of like it. It finishes kind of plain, but it's well balanced with a blend of pleasant, light tastes. This beer is among South Shore's more interesting selections (interesting in a good way, that is).

09-21-2007 04:33:08 | More by Strix
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.93/5  rDev +11.3%

Sun-splashed buttercup gold with a storm of fine particles swirling within. I can't think of any colorless herbs, so I must be looking at yeast. The wool white cap is small and firm and isn't the world's best lace maker. A sudsy sheet is seen on the glass opposite once the beer falls with drinking.

There's no question that 'ale with herbs added' is an accurate description. The unidentified herbs and spices don't overpower the nose, but mingle well with the beer itself. Coriander is definitely present, and I'll go with ginger and maybe even a tiny pinch of cardamom. I like the way this one smells. It's both different and good.

The same could be said for the flavor, although the underlying amber ale is nothing to shout about. Good points are a delicious mix of spices and a perfect balance between spices and beer. The only bad point is a grainy base beer that could stand a little more malty sweetness, especially if it hopes to be taken seriously as a cream ale.

Hops provide a fair amount of bitterness without providing much flavor. That's okay, Herbal Cream Ale was brewed to be a showcase for the herbs and spices anyway. I have to give South Shore credit for brewing outside the box and for pulling off a beer that most would never attempt. The flavor is growing on me as the ounces pass and I'm now comfortable choosing the taste score that popped into my head after the first sip.

The mouthfeel is decent without being a standout. More malt would fill it out even more and would give it that lush creaminess that would put it over the top. The carbonation is lightly sparkly and, in that sense, matches the zestiness of the added spices.

Prior to today, I wasn't thrilled with South Shore beer. Herbal Cream Ale is an adventurous offering that does many more things right than wrong. I had a great time with it. And so should you... provided you like coriander.

05-02-2007 12:13:26 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of wallrock


4/5  rDev +13.3%

11-23-2011 16:45:43 | More by wallrock
Photo of Savan


4/5  rDev +13.3%

07-02-2014 06:31:10 | More by Savan
Photo of tjkurz


4/5  rDev +13.3%

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.

10-28-2008 23:59:28 | More by tjkurz
Photo of Rennpferd


4.08/5  rDev +15.6%

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.

09-09-2008 21:11:34 | More by Rennpferd
Photo of ZAP


4.2/5  rDev +19%

The best of the South Shore lot I have tired...pours a hazy yellowish/gold similar to a hefe...excellent nose....nutmeg...ginger..cinnamon....flavor is wheat...some orange peel adds a citrus touch...creamy mouthfeel..almost has a wheat-lcracker like maltiness to it....

Very tasty and drinkable...not oversweet or spicy but loaded with flavor...like I siad the best I've had from South Shore..

01-10-2005 04:27:43 | More by ZAP
Photo of scruffwhor


4.28/5  rDev +21.2%

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.

11-14-2008 05:51:48 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of KI9A


4.3/5  rDev +21.8%


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.

05-19-2009 00:47:41 | More by KI9A
Photo of DaPeculierDane


4.33/5  rDev +22.7%

There is nothing particularly special about the appearance of this beer but it only takes one whiff to know that you are dealing with something special.

South Shore’s Cream is definitely not for everyone but I think that it is pretty darn neat.

Its aroma smacks you upside the head with lavender, boat loads of lavender. Hints of other herbs follow including basal, coriander, a touch of cinnamon, and wheat.

The taste is as bold and unique as the nose. My overall impression is of sun dried tomatoes and basal. This beer tastes similar to the flavor of a sun dried tomato-basal cracker that I once had. I think it was a Trisket.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin but the carbonation is well balanced and it’s creamy enough to work.

Drinkability: High. They go down like popcorn at a matinee.

10-24-2005 04:29:12 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of deebo


4.5/5  rDev +27.5%

10-13-2012 22:37:50 | More by deebo
Photo of Skidz


4.58/5  rDev +29.7%

Pours out a bright crystal pale straw and sits a hazy light gold in the glass with a nice sized white head, fading to a light skim.

Smells nice and malty, plenty of sweets. Dashing of spice builds up around the nose; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Almost pumpkin-pie like aroma. Sweet whipped topping glazes the surface....absoutely delicious.

Tastes lightly sweet up front, good malt character. Moves into a mild dosage of herbs and spices. Cinnamon, rosemary and sage all come to mind. Falls into a blend of malts and herbal hops and finshes lightly bitter with plenty of lingering spices.

Quite smooth and creamy in the mouth with soft and pleasing carbonation. Built on a medium-light body, this beer has a lot going for it.

One bottle is sucked down like a bag of candy...if it were liquid candy. Aroma is top notch and has a body that's tough to beat. I haven't had many good cream ales, but this one is a fine offering.

11-10-2004 22:23:12 | More by Skidz
Photo of dosrojos


5/5  rDev +41.6%

05-11-2012 20:58:22 | More by dosrojos
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Northern Lights Ale from South Shore Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.