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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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 163
Photo of ByTor2112
3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amazing, I was going to comment that the color of this brew looks like a true Red Ale or Irish red, and low and behold....on to the review:

Pours up a beautiful red color, barely amber in color and looks great. Aroma, very mild hops with some sweeter, malty notes.

Mouthfeel-Lively carbonation delivers mild hops and a grainy cereal malt texture. Tasty, but would have liked to feel a little more malty backbone. A few tannin-like flavors from the roasted malt. Label says Amber and before I even looked this one up, my palate was like this is an Irish ale or Irish Red Ale. Finishes clean, very tasty and very drinkable. I bet fresh on tap this would really satisfy. I am liking Sarr Hill's offerings. More basic styles in the bottles and they are consistently good. They are doing major justice with their Lager!
Cheers to them!

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Photo of wedgie9
2.94/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes. Tasted in August 2010 from a bottle given to me as a trade extra. Pours clear, dark amber with a very thick off white head that recedes quickly, but leaves heavy lace. Nose is toasted bread malt with some earthiness, hops, and something unmistakably metallic smelling. The taste is a nice blend of the toasty bread malts and a nice hoppiness along with a bit of nuttiness and that metallic thing. The body is light with a somewhat oily texture, average carbonation, and a medium bitter and nutty finish.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours fizzy with good head retention. Presents with a cola-like color that is without any trace of cloudiness.
Smell: Lager-like aroma with a little hop presence as well. Nothing really stands out.
Taste: A good balance between a nutty maltiness and a balancing dose of hops. Sweetness strikes halfway through the tasting, though this not reach cloying level. Does taste a bit more like a nut brown ale than an amber, though this is more of a hybrid in general. Aftertaste is pretty darn clean and just a touch dry.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied.
Overall: Unique in construction-doesn't strike me as an irish red. Either way, clean and drinakble.

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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 Ryanm1
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sipped straight from the bottle as should be when enjoying a true session ale. At the get together I was at I didn't feel it was appropriate to specially request a pint glass. Can't really comment on the color or appearance. The taste didn't hold too much wait and there wasn't a ton of notes or flavors jumping out. This seemed like a standard run of the mill Red Ale maybe on par with a Killians. Below average beer from a below average microbrewery.

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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 Scooter77
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber/brown color with a very thin, bubbly head that dissipates very quick leaving no lace. Aroma is of sweet malt and with some hints earthy undertones. Upon tasting I detected hint of mild sourness mixed with the sweetness of the malt. There was also a sharp bitterness that came through in the flavor. There was a bit of a pungent and astringent aftertaste left in my mouth. This was a decent beer, but nothing to write home about.

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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 hellomcfly
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark amber, nearly brown. Just over a 1 finger tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Good rings of lacing down the glass appear as I drink this.

S - Toasted and caramel malts, maybe a hint of chocolate. Hop spice becomes apparent in the nose as this warms.

T - Toasted malt up front with caramel malts, hops, chocolate, and a slight metallic flavor in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

D - Pretty drinkable but a pretty average beer overall.

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Photo of whtguitarguy
3.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a light amber color. Has a nice malty aroma with a little bit of hops in the nose. The taste is a little hoppy, more so than the aroma but is smooth and pleasant. Smooth finish with a bit of a bitter aftertaste from the hops but it is not to overwhelming or unpleasant.

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Photo of paulginva
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

APPEARANCE: This beer, poured from a bottle into a pint glass, produced soft carbonation and a 3/4" frothy light tan head with thin lacing that dissipated quickly. The body was a somewhat cloudy deep amber with brown highlights.

AROMA: Moderate aroma of baked bread with caramel notes lightly evident and a light scent of floral and spicy hops. Nice.

TASTE: Pretty much like aroma. Moderate baked bread taste with very light notes of caramel and toffee and a light, spicy hops tang. Also, a hint of metallic taste. Not sure where that came from.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a smooth texture, lively carbonation and thin body lacing that had very little retention. Initial flavor was lightly bitter with the finish being a light bitterness with just a hint of dryness

DRINKABILITY: This was a decent Irish red and would make a good session beer. It's easy to drink, easy on the wallet, and I'd probably buy it again to serve around the picnic table.

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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 FuzzyGuy84
3.14/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Very beautiful red/brown color, though not much of a smell. Taste is very dark, burnt toast undertones come through strongly. Reccomended for a try, particularly if you find yourself in the Charlottesville area, though I wouldn't want to drink it every day.

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Photo of ElGeordie
2.69/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a 6 pack ($8.99) at about 45 Deg F.
I'm trying to give Starr Hill a second chance.
Their Northern Lights Cask was a very good pint, and I'm trying a few of their other beers.
Out of the bottle the Amber ale looks as it should dark and reddish with an off white head.
The problem is the flavour: There's not enough malt and nowhere near enough hops to make this an interesting drink. I really don't know what to make of this one. I don't think I'd go looking for this again but it is drinjkable in an unremarkable way.

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Photo of streetcommander
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks ok pouring from a glass bottle. Little hazy. But that's ok.

Smells really good. Malty. Toasty. Touch of burnt caramel. no hop standout at all. ...I'm concerned I smell an adjunct, corn or rice.

First sip is very pleasing. Nothing harsh. Remarkably drinkable character, and taste like it smells. Finish has a mildly bland and light astringent bitterness. Again, I absolutely taste an adjunct, but it not terrible. It lightens it up and improves drinkability.

Nicely carbonated and crisp. Nothing heavy or syrupy.

Package it as a macroswill competitor, and they would take the market segment.

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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.

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Photo of pablot71
2.82/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Floral and spicy hops in the aroma. A little woody or earthy aroma as well as I go back. Brown color with reddish hues. Clear with a head that quickly settles into a thin film. Some lacing that quickly disappears. Medium body. Subtle malty taste with some bitterness. Over all drinkable beer with some flavor.

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Photo of anneseg
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper color with good head retention. Lacing was consistent throughout drinking. Low amounts of bitterness with an upfront malt character. Thin mouthfeel with a light body that doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. There is a definite sweet caramel taste that dominates the taste. The taste is pleasant but is mostly one note that doesn't develop much over the course of drinking the beer.

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Photo of stonewall2
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a noob.

Bottle is freshness dated for June, so we are OK there. Citrus and malt nose. Color is medium / deeper ...amber. Very little reddishness.

Well balanced taste, nothing screams "Me! Me!". I taste malt and very little hops (n.b., I am a hophead big time.) Very nice easy dryness on the end. Flavor continues to deliver for a few seconds if you hold on to it, and this is a characteristic I learned to prefer from my wine days. Leaves my mouth feeling fresh, not wiped out like the hoppy beers I prefer. I don't taste alcohol at all.

This is a very drinkable ale for those who like more than a thin American lager. Not exactly the style I prefer, I wouldn't go the extra mile for this, but if I saw it in the display case I would buy it. If you like this style this is worth a try.

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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 ryolz
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle to beer mug
Dark amber color
light brown, good amount of head but did not stay,
not much lacing afterwards
medium bodied
very good drink-ability
tastes and flavors are very subtle and very little length afterwards
sweet flavored finish with dull malty aftertaste

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

So the guy at the tasting room tells me this is their second most popular beer, an Irish Red Ale which is smooth, nicely balanced between caramel maltiness and hoppiness.

Again it is easy drinking, something you could drink plenty off during a session without really needing to think about it.

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Photo of erkaneva
3.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Interesting beer. Bottled Feb. 2, 2006 so it was fresh.
Tasted at 51 degrees.
A nice dark amber color, nice carbonation. The head quickly disappeared with absolutely no "Brussels Lace." A little flat on the tongue.
The taste is sharp with some lager yeast charactoristics. Good malt overtones and carmel flavors. Hop balance good for the style.

Definately a good beer, I would have another.

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