Starr Hill Amber Ale | Starr Hill Brewery

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Starr Hill Amber AleStarr Hill Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 07-04-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of bcchimp
5/5  rDev +47.9%

Photo of wahooman
4.11/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Local favorite at the University of Virginia since the brewery is 20 minutes away. Beer is always fresh and delicious.
A- Perfect color and tinted head. Lacing through out.
S- Slightly floral
T- Perfect balance of maltiness balanced by hoppiness
M- Very clean finish would go well with steak or burgers
D- Have had a whole 6 pack at a time and enjoyed everyone of them

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Photo of karst
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a draft from a cask of Stinky that I tried at Rich O's near Louisville, Ky, we resolved to find this brewery and thank the brewers for their fine work. After waiting for Mark and Matt to arrive at the brewery ( former Cargil food plant on Three Notch Rd in Cozet, Va just west of Chalottesville, Va)

After a tour of the brewery and a couple of photos I headed back to Mid Missouri with a couple of cases - one a fresh bottled 12 pack of Starr Hills amber. The Alström Bros describe Amber ales as a catch all for beer lighter than Dark Ale (amber to deep reds ). Style often focuses on malts hopped from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness. Ranging from a basic ale, to American ale. Brewers who brew faux-Oktoberfest style beers that are actually ales instead of lagers.

I wanted to emphazie that Starr Hill Amber fits well into that last sentence. The flavor of Munich and a blend of crystal 20 and crystal 60 with 2% chocolate malt combine with the 88% American 2-row and clean tasting American ale yeast to yeild a fine tasting malt base that is topped off with Fuggles aroma hops and Pearl hop bitterness that drys the finish and crystal malt sweetness. Carbonated at about 1.5 - 1.75 atmosphers the head rises quickly and does not linger long. Medium body and crisp tingling mouthfeel similar to a bock. I poured this in a 0.4 L rastal tulip sniffer to concentrate the aroma and let it warm to 50 -55°F. Sunday morning looking into my woods and watching my yellow Lab Daisy sniff new mole hills, with Lynyrd Skynyrd singing "All I Can Do Is Write About It" Starr Hill's amber goes down easy and takes me back to the peidmont west of Charlottesville - wishing I had a 5.15 gallon keg fresh from the brewery ( or the 15.5 if all my roudy friends came over for the session).

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of NormLobstah
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of jhtipton
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a convenience store near Farmville. Surprisingly good taste for an Amber Ale. I think its better than the one that has a bicycle on it. Poured it into a pilsner glass. Nice dark coppery color. It gave me some great head, about 2 inches that disipated to about 3/4 inch in 45 seconds while leaving some lacing. Smooth, not too full bodied, and suitable for session beer.
Slightly metallic smell but did not affect the taste. I'd hunt these down again.

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Photo of Gitboxer09
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this beer across the street from the Starr Hill brewery at a wings place in Charlottesville, Virginia about a week ago. I had heard of Starr Hill but did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, as the light brown, reddish ale displayed a nice balance between malt and hop. It hit me first with a hop flavor, then finished strong on the malt side, and maintained nice lacing along the way. Very refreshing, and served as a great session beer as I devoured very unique "pepper and lemon" wings like a hippo swallowing plastic marbles. I would recommend the beer to anyone looking for something relatively light but also interesting, and would also recommend having it on tap if you happen to be in Charlottesville. I hear the brewery has a great music venue as well.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz., bottled on 1/6/05 and reviewed on 3/7/05. Pours into the nonic a dark amber/red with a half inch light tan head that doesn't leave much lacing. Smell is buttery with caramel and molasses. The flavors are roasted with molasses and nuts followed by floral/slightly citric hops. The carbonation is a bit prickly at first but becomes smooth. A good session beer - not too complicated yet flavorful.

 402 characters

Photo of WMEugene
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of cptnjck101
3.96/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Pizza Bella in Charlottesville. Pours a deep amber red with a nice head. A very strong flavor, one of the better Ambers I've ever had. Mouthfeel was a little bitter for my tastes, but a great beer all the same. A friend of mine who works there let me and my buddy sit at the bar and drank this stuff after closing for free and a couple hours later we ended up floating the keg, it's that good.

 412 characters

Photo of RobH
3.96/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in late June with a September "drink by" date.

This is definitely an English-style ale and I think it should be classified as an English Brown Ale instead of Pale Ale based of its overall profile:

Beautiful tawny-brown color when held up to the light, with a nice tan head.

Smells of malts on the nose leading to a lovely, almost creamy mouthfeel of pleasant maltiness on the palate, with very little hops burning through to take over the malt, allowing the maltiness to linger nicely -- yet there are enough hops to keep it well balanced.

I like this style of ale and find this particular one to be very drinkable and refreshing. I will buy more of this one.

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Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a hazed copper body that is topped by a medium sized tan head. Good retention and lots of sticky patch lacing.

Aroma is malty toffee and caramel with a spicy/floral hoppiness that is more prominent than expected.

Medium body and carbonation.

Taste is nicely balanced, but on the malty side. Caramel has a slight toastiness. Floral hop bitterness balances well. Clean finish.

A very well executed Irish red ale. Pleasantly drinkable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, very dark amber/copper body is capped by a short lid of off-white foam that drops shortly and leaves little lace (but that could have been due to a dirty bar glass). The nose is restrained with a delicate maltiness and light touch of grassy/floral hops. The medium body combines with a crisp, very fine carbonation that tickles the tongue. Initially, delicate malt mingles with some spicy hops in the flavor. As it warms in the mouth, however, a sweetish and toffee-like malt becomes unveiled before its solid bitterness overcomes it in the swallow - leaving it dry with a light touch of spicy and herbal hops, gently toasted biscuity/caramelish malt, and lingering bitterness. Very nice.

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Photo of tugdriver7
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Number 777 on my overall list, but would be ranked near the top. Gorgeous red/brown in the glass, nice foamy head that laced all the way down. Soft malt with subtle hint of hops in the nose, and initial taste was at first a touch sweet, caramel malt with a hint of bitterness and (at first) a bit of metallic overtones that softened as the beer warmed. Extremely drinkable, smooth and enjoyable. Would be a very easy session choice.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer arrived at the table a medium amber color. The head was tan, persistent and laced the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt with floral and citrus hop aromas.

The flavor begins with a slight caramel/crystal malt sweetness and then a well achieved bittering component takes over.

The finish is just every so slightly caramel sweet, but quickly fades into dryness with just a very slight bitterness in the aftertaste. The body is medium light.

On tap at the brewpub.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby amber brown with a nice carmel tinged off white head leaves a great amount of lacing. Aroma: Toasted nuts and caramel malts with the addition of a woody herbal tea hop finish here very nice solid scent. Taste: Even better with a sweet upfront caramel maltiness coats the palate and soothes the sweet tone with the a nice balancing bitterness from the hops has an herbal woody tone to it solid brew all around well balanced. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied amber ale nice carbonation nothing bad to say here. Drinkability: Quite the session amber ale just bottled in December very fresh, I could chill with this beer without thinking about it thanks to my roomates Jeff and Dan who brought back a bottle after the brake from skiing trip down in VA.

 758 characters

Photo of Riverwarrior
3.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S = This had a "doppelbock" aroma (very malty).

T = Semi-sweet maltiness upfront with a hint of caramel in the middle. A hint of hops bitterness round out the flavor, but the bitterness doesn't last and I was left with a slight "doppelbock" sweetness.

MF = Medium body with moderate carbonation.

I wasn't expecting this to be full of flavor, but turns out, it was just that...full of malty sweetness that really shines through for a great, easy to drink beer. Recommended.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I discovered this one during a recent visit to Capital Ale House in Richmond (See My Review). This expression pays homage to the classic British ale, possessing a deep caramel color - certainly not amber - through which no light can penetrate. The vanilla head is as thin as a razor and creates a glossy, but splotchy, lacing.

The nose detects a subtle hint of cocoa powder while the palate receives a crisp mouthfeel of buttered toast that finishes with a barely perceptible maltiness. An interesting micro brewed in Crozet, Virginia. No. I have no idea where it is, either.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.87/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a clearish, light amber-brown body with a thin, wispy, bone white head.

Smell: Nose of toasted bread crusts lightly sprinkled with brown sugar. Minuscule notes of fruit and spice.

Taste: Lightly toasty, sweetish malts yield to a small hint of orchard fruit and a slight minerally tone. Pint-sized pinch of brown sugar. Modestly spicy hops with just a bit of complimentary bitterness. Somewhat crisp, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice, light ale that makes for smooth, easy drinking and one I could probably down a fair amount of in a sitting.

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Photo of redneckchugger
3.86/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, fizzy tan head.
nose of dark grains, some caramel and even a touch of mocha.
Taste is very brown ale-esque with a lot of toffee and chocolate , its thinner than a brownale, but the taste is close.
All in all this is a good beer, style confusion aside.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
3.86/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-brown color with a smooth, medium-sized head that stays a while with lots of lacing.

Smell: Toasty malt with floral and citric hop aromas- well-rounded smell overall.

Taste: Starts with a sweet apple-like flavor, and finishes bitter with hints of toastiness and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with a medium body, also a bit dry. Slightly heavy on carbonation.

Drinkability: A solid, well-rounded beer overall. Nothing oustanding, but makes for a nice drink.

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy, bold amber with frothy head. Malty aroma. Much more malt than hops in flavor with a touch of vanilla. Nice feel and balance. The aftertaste is what impressed me - kind of a burnt chocolate, maybe even smores. Head persisted and left lacing in empty glass. A teriffic ale.

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Photo of mntlover
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with brown notes, head is thumb sized tan colored head that falls with some light lace.

Aroma is soft bready malt with some caramel hints, some light floral notes.

Taste is malty bready with hints of toffee, caramel and metallic notes. Nice Irish Red, the flavor reminds me of my favorite some what.

Mouthfeel is almost medium nice lightly peppy carbonation, goes well with the style.

Drinkability is pretty good a decent Irish Red.

 461 characters

Photo of Durge
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a dark brown color, quite thick with a modest light tan head and decent lacing. The aroma shows some chocolatey grass and brown bread/rye. The flavor brings out a charcoal and tangy herbal hops. The body is on the thin side but it is very lively in carbonation and quite drinkable. The carbonation really drives home the bitter "rhubarb" qualities but there is some bready sweetness beneath it. It seems a bit more toward a brown ale than most ambers but it is pretty good and plenty drinkable.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, reddish-brown with some visible carbonation. The tall head has a mild, light brown tint with a thick, foamy, frothy texture. Retention is nice, with some decent lacing.

S: Some caramel and light chocolate malt in the nose. Toasty, bready, slightly nutty. A bit of hop spice as well.

T: Again, solid doses of caramel and chocolate malt, at least for the style. Some nutty and tealike notes, along with a spicy hop twang. Overall, something of a pumpernickel bread flavor.

M: On the light side of medium. Carbonation is soft, lending a slight creaminess.

D: A pretty flavorful Irish red from Starr Hill. Nothing world-beating, but just a nice, drinkable beer. Some others have mentioned that it's close to a brown ale, which is on the mark in my opinion. Definitely somewhere in the middle, although it's a nice middle ground.

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Starr Hill Amber Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
3.38 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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