Dark Starr Stout | Starr Hill Brewery

462 Ratings
no score
Send samples
Dark Starr StoutDark Starr Stout

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Murph on 07-06-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 462
Photo of Traquairlover
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Dark stained mahogany, small tan head, light lacing.

S = Whipped milk, chocolate, toasted white bread, good balance in the nose.

T = Very dry and bitter, the bitterness hits the front of the tongue and immediately moves to mid-palate, accompanying tastes are of flowers, dark chocolate, strong coffee, burnt toast. It is a decent taste for the style but surprising because the smell was so sweet while the taste is so bitter. Very interesting combination.

M = Too much sting from the carbonation, medium-light body, fair mouthcoating. The sting was just too much for me to enjoy the feel.

D = Other than the carbonation, this is a pretty drinkable beer and I could imagine using it for session drinking.

 751 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown/black body with small coffee colored head. Not very good retention, no lacing.

Smells of some burnt malts, a little bit of fruit.

Taste follows the smell. Some maltiness, a little bit of fruit and some dryness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Not too bad to drink. Light body and low abv (for a stout).

 326 characters

Photo of oelergud
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

classic tall 12oz brown glass bottle with a twist-off cap. Dark label with a purple star.
Opaque black body with a tan head of small bubbles, good retention and lace.
Fresh burnt coffee bean with a bit of smoke, burnt wood and dark mulch.
Smoked dark mulch malty flavor with a bit of semisweet cocoa and peat. The aftertaste is full of smoke, dry hops and peat.
Medium body with some coating and a dry slightly harsh finish.
Good drinkability.


 454 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a dark brown/leather brown body w/ one-finger head that died quickly. An alright malty smell with some light fruit notes. A medium-bodied beer that had an alright malt flavor, not really able to key on a specific malt as it was somewhat bland. A light-dry finish as it goes down a tad slick for a stout. Mild fruit flavor also. Not a bad stout, but nothing spectacular.

 378 characters

Photo of maestrotmbg
3.29/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Out of the bottle the beer pours with quite a good lingering head. The color quite dark, perhaps black without the roasty shades of some beers in this style. I like the taste that was more bitter than I was expecting from even a dry Irish Stout. The mouthfeel is disappointingly watery as is the finish. Chestnut tones in the flavor and a light smokiness build cumulatively as you drink the beer.

 396 characters

Photo of Riverwarrior
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S = A mixture of mocha and roasted coffee beans.

T = Slight initial sweetness with a roasted bitterness taking over in the finish.

MF = Medium body, moderate carbonation, and creamy.

Overall, this was a very drinkable Irish Dry Stout. I don't usually drink this style, but if I do, it will be the Dark Starr Stout.

 318 characters

Photo of dedrinker
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quite a dark stout with only a thin glint of reddish-brown at the edges when held to the light. Great aroma of whole coffee beans and chocolate. Flavor is lighter than the aroma, but adds some charred pipe character to the bitter roasted malt. Mouth feel is medium-to-full bodied, but I sensed a little thinness that made me want the creaminess of a nitro pour. Finishes with some burnt malt/ toast flavors with a mild reprise of the aroma. Good stuff.

 452 characters

Photo of hops4me
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours black with a tiny bit of brown around the edges. Thin head quickly falls leaving a decent amount of lace.

S - mocha. Roasted notes and chocolate are all over it. Very pleasant.

T - bitterness from the coffee and chocolate. Slight sweetness in the middle. The aftertaste is dominated by the mocha flavor.

M - Smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

D - very drinkable. Flavorful but goes down easy. Nice beer indeed. I would definitely buy again.

 449 characters

Photo of codyw
3.24/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black. 1/2 finger small head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Not much smell. Slight bitter chocolate. Some roasted malts. Not much

T: I feel like there could be more flavor. There are some roasted malts and bitter chocolate, but nothing that makes me say wow.

M: I feel like it is a little light for a stout, but not unpleasant.

D: You could drink a lot of these in a sitting, but I would want something with a little more flavor. Maybe dry stouts aren't my thing.

 480 characters

Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Guinness pint glass a near opaque black but for a bit of ruby tint when held to the light a thinner light mocha colored head is gone quickly leaving no tace of lace.The roastiness is more subdued in the nose than the palate it shows thru with some vanilla,char, and cocoa.Highly roasted on the palate like dark French roast coffee and bitter unsweetened chocolate with a hint of molasses the only sweetness this brew shows.This is one style of beer I like on nitro it rounds the beer out better,Iam sure this would be very good on nitro as is pretty good.

 569 characters

Photo of PhageLab
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Nice opaque black brew with a brown head of froth that stuck around for a while. Laced very well.

S - Nice unsweetened aroma of chocolate, with a roasted malt touch. Quite enticing.

T - Subtle coffee flavors and chocolate bitterness make the body of this roasty and malty brew. What's nice here is that nothing is overpowering the other, this displays an excellent level of balance.

M - Surprisingly light bodied, dry, smooth carbonation and feel, smoke in the aftertaste.

D - Outstanding, this is a tasty and extremely sessionable brew. A definite revisit for myself, as well as a reco for you.

 637 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black body with ruby highlights, topped by a generous four fingers of slightly dark tan froth which looks like a mountain range. Excellent lacing.

Good coffee nose, hints of chocolate and milk. Guess that makes the whole thing mocha. Just wish it was a bit more assertive.

Taste features nice roasted coffee notes, bits of chocolate, and an earthy hop signature at the swallow.

Smooth medium mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability, definitely sessionable.

Good example of an Irish Dry Stout. Saving the remaining bottles for St. Patrick's Day.

 542 characters

Photo of argock
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Freshness notch on left side of label.

A: Gorgeous dark ruby-brown and massive two-to-three finger tan head that dissipates to a soft clumpy layer with tons of lacing.

S: Heavy on the dark chocolate, coffee, and sweet dark fruits like grape, raisin, and plum.

T: Delicious melding of sweeter dark fruit flavors with bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. Hops lend the dryness and some leafy, tobacco quality to the flavor. Malty with fruit and chocolate accents.

M: Body is medium for a stout and it improves as it warms with a more coating quality. The aftertaste is bitter and slightly but pleasantly acrid dark chocolate with a bite of coffee thrown in.

D: Because of its medium body, this is a very drinkable dry stout that is has plenty of fruitiness that is balanced with bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. A really enjoyable stout.

 905 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3.14/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Yeah, we all know: stouts are pitch-black, stouts are impenetrable to light, stouts are completely obsidian, ebony and opaque, et al. Well, this one really is all that. Damn. A huge, fluffy light-tan head lasts a good few minutes in its initial state before halving...and leaving a nice bit of lace wallpaper in its wake.

Mild lactic sweetness dominates the aroma; not a whole lot else getting in, other than faint dark berry and even fainter espresso.

Despite ample carbonation, this hits the mouth with a softness that, while probably true to style, seems even a tad too watery. Predominant flavor is that of charred coffee grounds, with a nice milky sweetness for balance. Finish keeps an ashy, burnt flavor in the mouth.

I've had Starr Hill stuff on two other occasions, once at a festival (Microfestivus, Roanoke, VA) and once on tap (Depot, Charlottesville, VA). Neither were this Dark Star Stout, and neither were that impressive. If Irish dry stouts are your thing, this probably won't qualify as an all-time favorite but it'll probably be worth trying once or twice. It's really not to my tastes, and it's got some good traits, but amongst others in the style I've had better. It sure looks hot though.

 1,215 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly black color with a nice tan head that retains and laces well

Smell: Mild coffee aroma with a hint of mocha

Taste: Starts out with a mild coffee flavor that doesn't develop significantly; after the swallow, there is a touch of drying bitterness and then a nice coffee finish, but also an odd phenolic touch of plastic

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink but not particularly memorable

 461 characters

Photo of garcia2a
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another I-81 find. Poured a deep caramel brown tone with a slight head that remained whispy at the rim of my pint. Hints of chocolate, light hop and malt on the palate. Hints of chocolate and malt in the bouquet.

Mouthfeel on this one was nice, as it is a lighter bodied stout. Easy drinking in the heat of summer. Quite nice and highly recommended.

 350 characters

Photo of rowew
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, twist off. Best before date notched on the side (month only). Label is a nice homage to the Dead.

Appearance: Very dark with just a hint of ruby around the edges. Large dark tan colored head. Good retention.

Smell: Roasty malt, a bit of coffee. Just a hint of hops in the finish. Reminiscent of Guiness, but a bit more going on.

Taste: Quite a bit more chocolate in the flavor than I expected since I didn't notice it in the aroma. Light to medium bodied

Overall impression: Nice beer - but I think this should be classified as a dry stout. Very drinkable, interesting flavors.

 619 characters

Photo of jbramley
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep black with a very thick and fluffy head that sat around waiting to be enjoyed. Grat malt characteristics in this stout. Nothing that really stood out for me. A little bit of coffee here and maybe some dark chocolates, but overall just a balance of flavors made this enjoyable.

Had this paired with a strip steak with bleu cheese, and I couldn't ask for a better pairing. The beer had warmed up enough that it became silky smooth in my mouth and throat following the excellent food.

A very drinkable stout. Despite its heaviness, it felt like I could have knocked back a few of them without tiring.

 621 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark Starr arrives at the table a bit too cold in a pint glass, with a black body and a small, light brown head that reduces to a collar. It smells of sweet blue/blackberry jelly, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts, raisins, and maybe even strawberry. On the palate there are all these flavors along with leather, tobacco, apple?, lactose?, smoke, and green, almost piney/spicy hops that impart a mild bitterness. It has a light to medium body with equal carbonation, and leaves a medium finish. Overall it's a good stout, one I've had before and will have again, but I wish this particular pint weren't served so cold.

 620 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
3.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I got this pint at Malones in Lexington, Va. It poured a very dark color. The head was small and very coffee orianted. The lacing that did appear left fast and the retention wasn't much better. The smell was essentially absent, but what I could sense was sweet. The tast was a really good coffee flavor. The mouthfeel was exceptional. It was rigid yet smooth and not thick. This was a great brew.

 396 characters

Photo of karst
4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winner of Gold Medal at the 1999 GABF, Dark Starr pours black with thick rich nitrogen head. Its velvety soft taste similar but superior to Guiness.

Roasted Barley flavor from a malt bill of 2-row Pale, Roasted Barley, Wheat, Chocolate, Crystal malts. It has a correct to style light body.
Balanced with Magnum (Bittering hops) and a clean tasting English Ale yeast OG 1.048 and a mild 4.75% abv make for a good session beer.

 430 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on tap at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA

14oz glass presentation. After the nitro effect settled down, there was a pleasing 3/4" mocha/latte head over the dark brown/black opaque brew. Aroma of dark malts and coffee, and the flavor follows along these lines, with a somewhat sedate coffee character. Mouthfeel okay, albeit a bit thin, and the drinkability acceptable as well.

 442 characters

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Capital Ale House Innsbrook location.

Color is an inky blackness. Single-finger thick layer of dense tan-colored head. Thick lacing of the glass with distinct rings. Aromas are yummy, with all sorts of chocolate and espresso with a toasty malt base to it. Flavor is classic dry irish stout. Great mix of roasty, toasty malt base with a dash of bitter baking chocolate. Smoky middle, followed by a long-lasting and slightly bitter finish. On the thick side in terms of mouthfeel, with a decent creamy factor. Quite drinkable and one I'd not hesitate to ask for again.

 583 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived at the table black with a tan head. The head never, ever went away.

The aroma was slightly sour and had slight aromas of coffe and chocolate. No real powerful aromas.

The flavor was chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. The beer was not sweet in the least.

The finish was very coffee and quite bitter. The aftertaste was very dry. The body was medium-light.

On tap at the brewpub. On the first taste I thought WOW, but my impression lessed over time and consumption of the beer.

 507 characters

Photo of philipt
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer really strikes the senses. It is what I would call an extroverted beer.

Both the aroma and taste are controlled by a coffee and chocolate quality. In fact, when I was drinking this beer, I was looking around for the person drinking an incredible smelling coffee, no kidding. The aroma is that powerful. The taste follows very similarly to the aroma. It is dictated by coffee and chocolate. There is very little burnt, or typical dry flavors associated with many dry stouts (as the restaurant/brewery classifies it). Incredibly easy to drink. Very smooth and silky. This is the perfect after dinner beer.

 616 characters

Dark Starr Stout from Starr Hill Brewery
3.54 out of 5 based on 462 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.