Northern Lights IPA | Starr Hill Brewery

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Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA
1,002 Ratings
Northern Lights IPANorthern Lights IPA

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 09-19-2004

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,002 |  Reviews: 268
Reviews by beerdown77:
Photo of beerdown77
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank From: bottle, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: caramel, orange, two fingers of head, good lacing
Smell: slightly fruity, floral, hops
Taste: extra bitter, not very sweet
Mouth feel: light body, carbonation
Drinkability: easy to drink

Summary: I went to this brewery once last year. Their brat pizza is what I remember most. The flight of beers that I had was overshadowed by a longer pre-game at Devil's Backbone Brewing Co. down the road. I ended up settling on a cask ale the day I visited Starr Hill, so I was happy to give the IPA another try when I saw it on a build your own sixer display. The extreme bitterness and big hop presence reminds me of Ranger IPA, especially with its limited sweetness.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Pantalones
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Second bottle of this one from the Starr Hill Loadout variety pack; bottling date is December 15th, 2014.

[most of old review trimmed to make room for the new one.]

Overall, while this isn't *bad* by any means it's also definitely my least-favorite from the Loadout variety pack. While the Grateful pale ale grew on me quite a bit between my first and second glass, my opinion on this one hasn't shifted much (though letting the beer warm a bit so that "leaf/grass" sort of flavor began to blend in with the bitter and more of the toasty grain sort of flavor came out was a slight improvement over drinking it right out of the fridge.) I won't have trouble finishing my last bottle of this one, but I'd still rather just have another bottle of the pale ale instead.


July 27th 2015: New version of this beer means new review. This is the 5th bottle out of the current six-pack, bottled-on date of June 18th, 2015. (For reference, previous version's scores -- Look: 4, Smell: 3.25, Taste: 3.5, Feel: 3.5, Overal: 3.5)

Look is similar to the older version -- dark golden/orange color, with lots of bubbles visibly rising up from the bottom when I shine a light through. Nice fluffy-looking white head on top, shrinking into a fairly substantial coating with a thick ring around the inside of the glass. As noted in the old review, a good bit of lacing is left behind around the edges as the beer level in the glass gets lower and lower. As appearance goes, it's a nice-looking but not a drastic change from the previous version, so I'll be leaving this at a 4.

Smell is a significant step up from what I remember of the old version. There's still a definite pine element present, but there's a stronger "something fruity" going on (I almost want to say pineapple... definitely something tropical-ish) and also a bit of a caramel-like sweetness in the background that blends in very nicely with the hoppy smells. A nice step up from the relatively faint smell of the previous version.

Taste is a bit different -- the pine isn't as immediately apparent, instead I'm getting a nice malt flavor at first and then the piney and fruity flavors coming in afterward, with the sweetish pineapple-like flavor being the last to arrive and then everything fading into a blend of almost caramel-like malt and leafy bitterness on the end. Very piney burps coming up after drinking just a little of this one. Seems to play nicely with food as well, not changing too much after I've had a few bites of my fettucini. Not as drastic of a change as the smell was, but still an improvement over the old version.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice but doesn't stand out in any particular way, so I'll leave my score as-is there.

Overall: I've got to say that I prefer this new recipe over the old version, though I'm not 100% sure how much of that can be attributed to the changes to the beer and how much is my taste buds being more fond of IPAs now than they were the last time I had the old recipe. Either way, this is a pretty nice beer and I'm finding myself enjoying it much more than I did the last time I had it (before the recipe change.) The smell of the new recipe is especially nice -- the old version came across as a little weak in that area to me, while this one had me sniffing it for several minutes before I started drinking because it just smelled so good.

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good to see this brew show up in my local area.Poured into a nonic a dull slightly hazed full golden with a large tight wthite head that left broken rows of lace as it settled slowly.If I did a blind test on aroma I would never think this was an American IPA,mainly caramel malt with just a passing herbal hop note,not to impressed with that.Flavors regain a little of the hop character but still mild in my mind,light citric and herbal hop mixed with some biscuit malt.A little thin and not the most complex IPA but its not awful.

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Photo of Turbo
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Cvillebogey
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of TTripp725
3.02/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of TimoP
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of petewheeler
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of HerbMeowing
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of merlin48
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pours a hazy amber body with a medium offwhite head. Abundant patch lacing adorns the glass.

Aroma has lots of grassy/earthy hops with a hint of grapefruit. Biscuity caramel malt underneath.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and carbonation with a mild hops bite.

Taste begins with a grapefruit hoppiness which quickly turns to a bitter and grainy earthiness. Maltiness is grainy and biscuity. Finishes with some citrus rind with a grassy hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

A decent American IPA but the grainy bitterness detracts. Not as good as the other Starr Hill brews I've sampled.

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Photo of tripelz
1.25/5  rDev -65%

Photo of KolbMarley
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of avitallo
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of cbradio
3.46/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Unclevince
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the two cask offerings at the downtown Capital Ale House. Major kudos to the wife for suggesting CAH as a dinner location to celebrate Anniversary #5.

Light amber in color. Clear, with a nice layer of off-white head. Sticky lacing of the glass all the way down. Aromas are somewhat small. There are notes of bitter hops, mostly grassy/citrus and a smidgen of sweetness. Flavor is more of the same. A cask-mellowed flavor of bitterness up front. Nothing brash. Middle allows the honey sweetness to stand center stage. Finishes with a well-balanced bitterness that is attenutated by a caramel sweetness. Good mouthfeel and drinkability. Just beind the Big Daddy in my book.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber color with a thin white head.

Smell: Light hops and pine notes with citrus.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of bitter hops and pine. Mild citrus.

Overall: This was an ok IPA, but not the best I've had.

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

Photo of deanwilson
4.06/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this beer-six-pack of 12 oz.bottles at at the Broadway Deli in Richmond, Va

A. Sightly hazy when first poured cold into a glass. It almost gives the appearance of being non filtered. It soon clears into a nice amber-copper color.

S. The smell is the only drawback to this beer. It doesnt smell nearly as good as it looks or tastes.

T Very smoothe and extremey hoppy. The hops hang around on the front-sides then back of the tongue for a long time. If you like hops, this beer will definitley give you your fix.

M. Appropriately carbonated and surprisingly rich for an IPA with an ABV of only 5.8% (this is what it says on the label, contrary to the information above)

D. Very drinkable. Great with spicy food. The reasonable ABV makes this a beer you can sit down with and enjoy a few.

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Photo of Bike2work
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of KOP_Beer_OUtlet
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of MisterMoore
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a tulip glass, carbonation bubbles climb up the glass moderately.. finger and a half head I would say

A: Foggy copper color....some good lacing but the head fizzles away before you know it

S: Slight hop smell... It's very subtle but you pick it up. As far as an IPA goes i think this smell won't turn away any newcomers from trying it.

T: Hops... it's kinda watered down though, good intro beer to this style since it wont overwhelm your palate.

MF: The taste lingers in your mouth like all IPA's but it's not as strong as others that I've had. Drinkability is very high on this one, but it doesn't knock my socks off.

O: I like this beer... but I don't love it. Nothing is wrong with it, just saying that i want more from an IPA. I encourage people who haven't had an IPA before to try this's a fabulous intro to this style.

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Photo of ryser2k
3.75/5  rDev +5%

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Northern Lights IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 1,002 ratings