Starr Hill Amber Ale | Starr Hill Brewery

Starr Hill Amber AleStarr Hill Amber Ale
Liked This Beer
3.37 w/ 163 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of CarolinaKev
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of oelergud
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Standard tall brown 12oz glass bottle with a twist-off cap. Red five point star on a purple background.
Beautiful ruby maple translucent body with a large off-white pillowy head with great retention and clumpy lace.
Mildly sweet malts with a touch of nuts and hay. Faint grassy hops and a bit of syrup.
Sweet up front malty flavor. Vegetable, hops and caramel mixed in a modest flavor combo. Good hoppy aftertaste almost with a resin character.
Medium body with a somewhat dry finish.
Good drinkability, not all that interesting though.


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Photo of godawgs
3.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of karst
4.1/5  rDev +21.7%
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 Risser09
2.61/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet - fridge - best by august 2009

Appearance: A transparent, garnet, very slightly carbonated beer yields a 2" tan head that shows decent retention. The head is cakey with deep, penetrating craters. Some spotty lace remains behind after drinking.

Smell: Malt nose of caramel and Munich malts combined with cereal grains. No hop aroma. Basic.

Taste: A cereal, oat flavor is bland and on the verge of recycled cardboard. A gritty aftertaste is kind of chalky. Slight hop bitterness. Not too good.

Mouthfeel: Easy drinking smoothness and well attenuated out, this beer has not much to offer. A lingering bitterness and some alcohol burn.

Drinkability: This beer lacks complexity and balance. There isn't much to it, and is underdeveloped for a craft beer. A mediocre amber ale.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
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 Shilt
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

Photo of dmamiano
3.64/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark, polished bronze color. Decent head and nice carbonation. Ample lacing left on the sides of the glass.
Really not a big nose IMO, lihght traces of roasted malts, earty and homey. Bread, maybe waterbreads come to mind.
Taste is nice and smooth, slightly bitter in the end but nicely balanced. A hint of roastyness and grainy.
Very smooth and semi-full mouthfeel.
Great session beer.

 391 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Funny smell (not bad), very unique, not sure I've ever smelled this smell before. Actually when I was like 15, there was a fluoride flavor they used to put on my teeth and this smells like that. Maybe the smell is similar to caramel malts. Head is over and done with pretty quickly and some soapy lacing slides into the body of the beer. Malt sweetness apparent on the taste and this one is very smooth going down. Very pleasant beer overall.

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Photo of jp312
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of bucklemyshoe
2.75/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 04/18/2010: Brought back from a trip to Virginia.

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass.

A: It pours a transluscent dark red color with a half finger of white head that dissipates quickly leaving behind small trails of lace.

S: Some skunkiness, cereal malts, caramel, and some nuttiness.

T: More nuttiness, toffee, apricot, and some slightly sour cereal grains.

M: It has a weak and watery body altogether with medium-low carbonation.

D: This is a run-of-the-mill Irish Red. Nothing special.

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Photo of Lothore
3.76/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brentk56 for adding this one as an extra in one of our trades!

A- Pours an auburn hue with a nice little eggshell head which dissipates fairly quickly leaving some lacing. Very clear with few carbonation bubbles present.

S- Smell is sweet maltiness with hints of indistinct fruit and spices (maybe cinnamon).

T- Taste is slighty roasted maltiness with a hint of coffee at the back end. A bit of a metallic tinge also reveals itself.

M- Smooth with about medium viscosity and carbonation is just perfect, not too fizzy but also not undercarbonated.

D- This would be an easy session beer. Nothing really stands out about it but I enjoyed this brew for its simplicity which is something that seems to be getting rarer and rarer as people are in search of the most off the wall beers possible it seems.

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Photo of tugdriver7
3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
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 neil2me
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of wahhmaster
3.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a bit of a reddish tint. The head is small and fizzy and dissipates quickly leaving little lacing.

Smell: Hoppy notes come through strong here. Some sweet malty smells also come through.

Taste: Nicely balanced between malts and hops. Leave a nice hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A little on the thin and carbonated side, but not overwhelmingly so.

Drinkability: Meh. Not the worst amber ale I've had but nothing I would go out of my way to find.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Clear brownish red coloration which produced a two tip head. Froth settled to a thin layer and rode the rest of the way down. Lacing was attractive as well.

S - Unpleasant. I don't know what it is, but something smells way off, like old coffee filters.

T - Luckily it tastes a hundred times better than it smells. Slightly bitter, nice malt backing, sort of watery and not too complex, goes down easily.

M - Body was thin, carbonation level was decent, light crisp finish, little to no aftertaste present.

D - Inoffensive, so I'd say it's quite drinkable. Could serve as a gateway to both American craft and English styles. Worth a try.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The most noticeable thing about this one is a rich and fairly tasty coffee-like roastiness that balances nicely with some of the other sweeter malt flavors and firmly leaves its mark in the finish. Some nice caramel and grain make their way through as well. Recommended.

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Photo of EFR94
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of dugly2ugly
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of bshiban
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of bigbutter
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of sweethome
3.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light brown - darker than most amber beers. Very big malty nose. A hint of smoke, sweet and nutty. The mouthfeel is a little less than what I expected from the nose. Starts out with a fruity character, followed by a nutty/husky flavor. The sweetness comes back with a dried apple flavor, but is finally balanced by a pleasant hop bittering. Fails to integrate well.

I like the beer and would certainly drink it again. It has plenty of flavor (rich malts, a hint of smoke, chocolate, and dried apples). It has potential to be a great beer, just didn't quite come together. A good beer from a brewer I had not heard of previously.

Thanks JG for the sample.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.21/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a mahogany color with red highlights and a tan head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: This beer has a very closed nose for me. What I can get is some floral notes, caramel and bready malts, but that's pushing it.

T: Not an amazing flavor. Taste like regular joe beer. I get some hops and malts, but nothing amazing.

M: Decent carbonation and medium to light body. Juicy texture.

D: I don't think I'll ever drink this again. Not very good IMO.

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Photo of ghirsh
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of iceball585
3.42/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark reddish brown color, semi-transparent, thin head that faded quickly

S- Caramel malts, sugary, toasted grain, light hops, hint of fruit

T- Nutty, toasted malts, caramel, herbal hops, fairly sweet, slight buttery flavor

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, starts oily then turns to a dry finish

D- Not bad

Not really a favorite of mine but still worth giving it a try. It just seems very plain to me.

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Starr Hill Amber Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
Beer rating: 23.3% out of 100 with 163 ratings
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