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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Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 163
Photo of Risser09
2.61/5  rDev -22.8%
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 wahhmaster
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
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 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 Gavage
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear amber color with a one finger head that breaks apart quickly. Some spots of lace paints the glass duirng the session.

Smell: caramel sweetness is all that could be detected and was hard to pull from the glass.

Taste: slightly bready profile with some caramel, red apples, and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start and smooth at the finish. Medium bodied beer. Very brief aftertaste.

Drinkability: decent but not an overly exciting beer. Stick with Starr Hill's Pale Ale instead.

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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 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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Photo of rye726
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber/bronze color with a decent tan head. Nose has some bready malts, caramel and grassy hops. Taste is also nice and malty with mellow hops. Lightish body is a bit over carbonated. Nice session beer from these guys. Well balanced, but light.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.64/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of TLove
2.71/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap last night at Union Station Public House in Old Town, Alexandria. Pretty mediocre across the board, but certainly beats out a Stella or Heineken for grabbing a drink if no other locals are available.

Amber/brownish. Ample head, but not much lacing.

Smell does not take one too far, but the taste is a bit more distinct, with hints of cherries and birch bark.

Does not finish particularly well, but holds the flavor in the mouth long enough to warrant another few sips.

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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 iceball585
3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
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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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark for an amber: dark ruby to a brown. Large tan head with some lace and retention.

Smells like fall fruit and whole wheat toast in the toaster. Faint.

The taste is faint like the smell. Relies more on fall fruit than toasted malt. Hints of smoke with swallow.

Not bad but the smell and taste need to be more pronounced.

via brentk56

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Photo of oberon
3.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at NOMA in W-S,poured a clear darker shade of amber with a clingy 1/2 finger slight off white head.Clean aromas,mainly slightly roasted malt and caramel sweetness but its light and fading,flavors are toasty and lightly sweet with caramel and grain sticking out most.Its a basic amber but it is done well,not bad and quaffable.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.71/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Starr Hill- Amber

A- Deep dark amber red with a thick tight foamy head. Good head retention and nice lacing.
S- A bit light on the nose?! Sweet caramel malt with a touch of sugar and toasted malt.
T- Very light toasted grain/ caramel malt with a touch of sweet marzipan and sugar.
M- Very light sweet malt with a decent dry finish.

Overall- Flavors are too light. Easy to drink but just to simple.

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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 Onenote81
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer on tap at First Street Draught House here in Winston.

Came out a deep amber color with a pretty small head. Fairly good retention and minimal lacing along the edges.

Smell of deep floral hops. Sweet smelling brew.

Good carmel-esque taste going on here. Slight bitter hops on the finish. Malt sweetness balances this out well.

I guess this is an English Pale, but labeled an Amber. Doesn't come across with the common Amber characteristics. Pretty good pale ale that I would get again if offered.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.21/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from ... well, from somewhere. Starr Hill is so ubiquitous in Charlottesville, it's hard to tell. Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a transparent ... well, amber body with a tan, one-finger head with average retention and some nice lacing, in places. Nice colors all around. A medium amount of carbonation, and it rises to the top at a fair pace.

Aroma: Pale roasted malts, dry toasted notes, little hop presence.

Taste: Crisp and relatively dry, with some residual roasted sweetness, toast, light nuttiness, a mellow, low-level bitterness, and a few faint leafy hop notes. Pretty standard.

Mouthfeel: Crisp but still pretty creamy, uneven, a little thin, with a lot of spritzy effervescence - too much, I think.

Drinkability: I've had this beer more times than I can count, so it can't be too undrinkable, I suppose. That being said, it's a pretty standard, low abv% ale and it's consumption is more a factor of its immense availability rather than anything particular about its quality.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A rather dark, almost brown ale looking appearance; raspberry chocolate colored. Thin white head, no lacing, no retention.

Aroma is basically nonexistent. Perhaps some light spiciness. I guess it is kind of "fall seasonal" like in its aroma but there really isnt much to smell.

More fall flavors. A little spicy. Some black pepper flavors. Slightly toasty. Thin on the mouthfeel. This wasnt a bad beer but it just didnt taste like much, smell like much, or leaving any lasting impressions. This is probably the best worst beer I have had because there arent any real flaws (although the style is a bit debatable). I will not have again.

Style: This isnt an Englsih PA, not and Amber. Perhaps a brown or more likely, an Oktoberfest type beer. If this is an English Pale Ale, it may be the worst "to style" EPA I have tasted.

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Photo of blackie
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: poured into a standard pint, gives a 2 finger khaki head with quality retention and lacing, the beer is a stained-wood brown in color

s: notes of fall leaves, toasted butternut squash, and nutty Munich grain, papery English hops give dried lemon, lightly sweet, a little oktoberfest-ish, on the malty side but pretty well balanced

m: carbonation just under medium, medium body

t: notes of butternut squash and soggy nuts supposedly from the Munich malt, dried leaves, toasted grain sweetness, English hops give a moderate flavoring of dry herbs and a light bitterness, only big detractor is a little butter lingering after the swallow

d: whatever the style is, it's not a bad beer, but I won't likely purchase another

my first Starr Hill, single bottle from Fresh Farm in Hampton, VA while in town working for the week...notched as best by November (2008?)

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Photo of Cresant
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic glass. Consumed months before the best by date. The body was clear, dark copper/leather colored. A half inch of khaki head faded quickly.

Smell was somewhat metallic. Toasted malts.

Taste was molasses-like. Bittersweet. Bitterness seems to be from roasted malts more so than hops. Light nutiness. Drying.

Mouthfeel was medium in body, with medium carbonation.

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Photo of oelergud
3.48/5  rDev +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 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 Hojaminbag
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown body with ruby highlights and an off white head with decent retention. Leaves some sticky lacing.

A sweet and roasted malt aroma.

Taste similar to aroma. Very slight hop taste with some sweet malts in the middle. Finishes with a dry roasted flavor. Mouthfeel is almost creamy.

Average drinkability.

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