Dark Starr Stout | Starr Hill Brewery

202 Reviews
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 BryanCarey
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pitch black in color, this stout emits a nice, fresh aroma of light roasted malt and a touch of coffee and nuts. The body is very dark with no transparency and a small head of foam that disintegrates in due time.

This beer has an appearance that demands some respect, but the flavor is not as ferocious as the appearance would lead you to believe. The flavors present include roasted malt, some coffee, and a touch of chocolate. The beer has a bitter finish, but not too bitter, and it is lighter than expected.

I love stout and Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout is certainly not a bad stout, but it isn’t as rich and flavorful as I expected. It seems like a good session stout and a nice option for beginners, but I found it somewhat of a letdown based on initial appearance. It seems like it is going to be something much greater, but it is still not a bad beer at all and is certainly deserving of a taste.

 908 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those "bridge the gap between macro-muck and craft beer" to me, so I'm a bit emotional.

Served in a FFF shaped glass.

A: Poured pretty much black as night, but the liquid moved pretty fast when I jiggled it, which led me to believe that it was kinda thin in texture. The head was massive, mocha-colored, and retentative.

S: I got more porter-esque char than anything, which wasn't in the "Irish Dry Stout" realm to my mind. Still, the aroma was quite good and fresh.

T: I like the char on the back side of this one. Man, this would go great with BBQ and a dark sauce! The flavor profile is definitely there for an Irish Stout overall though: Fresh cake batter, a hint of coffee, and prunes.

M: Pretty thin.... this was in desperate need of maltodexrin for sure, along with a bit less carbonation. The lacing was substantial, but this wasn't sweet in any way.

O: I will say this this would make a great summer, "around the pool" stout. Not many I would say that about.

 988 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
2.8/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at Dr. Ho's Humble Pie in Virginia. Poured from a 12oz bottle dated APR 13 to a pint glass.

(Appearance) Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head that doesn't last long. Appearance is average. 3

(Smell) Aroma consists of Sweet malts, dark caramel, earthy hop bitterness. Lacks in chocolate and coffee flavors. Aroma is slightly below average potency. A bit less aromatic than I had expected. 3

(Taste) Black bitter malts are plentiful and with a lesser brewed coffee essence, there's a lot of bitterness in this beer. A bit too much, It shadows the flavors of anything else in the beer. 2.5

(Mouthfeel) Perky and crisp stout, far too much for its style. It needs to tone down significantly in carbonation. Body is a medium, alcohol is a light presence. 3

(Overall) Not the finest representation of an Irish Dry Stout I've ever had but it's a decent take on the style. 3

 880 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at RFD, Washington, D.C. - March 2012:

The beer appeared a nice black color with a nice, 1 finger oatmeal colored head that receded into a very thin cap. Some lacing, bit overall less impressive than some others that I have had of this style.

The aroma was toasted malt, as expected, but overall, the aroma was lighter than expected.

The taste of the beer follows the aroma, with an ever so slight hop presence noted. The beer finishes with a nice, as expected, dry finish.

The beer had a lighter feel to it, which is typical for the style. The beer was very easy to drink and had low carbonation. Overall, not a bad attempt at the style, but I would still prefer a Beamish or even a Murphy's.

 704 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
2.63/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle, $1.49 from the Village Pump. I've seen this brewers beers on tap in the DMV, but never intrigued enough to pay $6+/pint for it. This seemed like a much better deal. Best by August 2012.

In my Founders 10th anniversary tulip pint, this beer is black with a dense, brown head with pretty good retention and lacing. The nose is pretty good! A nice, dry, roasted barley character is present up front, with coffee and dark chocolate. There is, however, what is perceived as a mild lactose sweetness, making this rounder than most dry stouts. Some earthy hops are also present, lending a mild resiny hop character in the back end. Pretty solid IMO.

The palate is where this suffers IMO. The roasted barley bitterness is a little too high in the mix, making this grainy, acidic and almost burnt, with stale coffee. None of the sweetness of the nose is present here, exacerbating the one-dimensional nature of this beer. Some hop bitterness is perceived as well, especially on the finish. While I know that dry stouts are, by definition, dry, they needn't be watery, which this one is. Moderately carbonated, this beer is too watery for its own good. I can't recommend it, but if it were cold and it were a hot day out, I might pound a couple.

 1,245 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of a mixed sampler pack:

Pours jet black with a nice, slightly tan frothy head. Roasty smell to it. Taste is medium bodied, some nice roasted malts come through with a decent hop presence as well. Taste finishes a bit dry, but overall this is a pretty good stout. Not my favorite of styles, but it's a notch above a Guinness that's for sure.

 347 characters

Photo of DCon
2.73/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Added a 12 FLUID OUNCE bottle of this to my Mix-A-Six Pack from Ingles in Asheville, NC for $8.88. Poured from the Black Labeled bottle w/ a Purple Start surrounded by Flames into a 12oz Snifter Glass.

Aroma- The aroma is very nutty and has a ton of malt present. Not much coffee or roast like I would normally want...

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger, dark brown head that dies quickly. Has a semi-clear body that is a deep brown color as well. Leaves suds behind.

Flavor- Light roast and tons of malt starts this one out. Almost no hops and the lightest bitterness is present.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium-High Carbonation, Smooth, tons of malt on the palate.

Overall Impression- A light black ale at most... Missed the mark for a Stout, even a dry version. Wish there was more body and character. However, I did go after this beer because of its label. I will most definitely be keeping it for a souvenir.

 917 characters

Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Not a bad looking stout--pitch black, with a light mocha two-finger head, and spotty lacing--but I hold it up to the true beauty of the style, Guinness Draught, which isn't the tastiest, but may be the best looking beer out there.

S: Slightly sweet roasted malts, backed by a touch of grassy hops.

T: Soapy, muted malts lead into a grassy hop body, and ending with a bitter roasted malt finish.

M: Low carb, dry. Thin.

 426 characters

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

Very dark amber in color, clear. Pours a nice creamy tan head with good retention.

Slightly roasty, almost metallic aroma initially. A bit of smoke character.

Big malt flavor at the start, fleeting sweetness before the roast and bitterness get going. Transitions to a gentle roasty bitterness. Very flavorful for an Irish Dry Stout, and for a 4.2% ABV beer.

Fairly light body, and moderate carbonation. A bit heavily carbonated for the style, but might just be the CO2 rather than the N2 gas. No astringency or warming.

Not my favorite style of beer, but really liked this flavorful interpretation.

 604 characters

Photo of bubseymour
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours dark brown/black with small brown/white head

Smell - roasted / burnt and malty

Taste - Tastes exactly like it smells. Light and malty with roasted flavors

Mouthfeel - a little watery for a stout

Overall - A decent stout but nothing really noteworthy. Easy to drink and could easily drink again.

 317 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a shaker pint. Beer is black with a brown head of small bubbles, some lacing, low retention, low carbonation.

Aroma is coffee and roast with a mild bitterness and some ash.

Beer is medium in body and quite bitter on the end, leaving an aftertaste of ash and roasted coffee, some nuts, forward minimal sweetness and a light yeastiness / biscuit feeling. It was fine.

 393 characters

Photo of sommersb
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 01-09-2012
Freshness: Best by 01-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Tulip pint
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

Color is black and mostly opaque, except for slight garnet showing on the edges of the glass. The head is frothy and tan, about a finger's height, but doesn't last very long. Lacing is good.

Aromas are crisp and mainly of roasted malts, with some chocolate as well.

The taste follows the aroma, with roasted malts and a coffee-like bitterness. Dry, not sweet, as expected, with also a slight sourdough breadiness.

Fairly thin body, with a medium amount of carbonation. Very dry finish, with an aftertaste of bitter chocolate.

An Irish dry stout is not a style I care much for, but overall I think Starr Hill did a good job on this interpretation.

 795 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was down in DC between Christmas and New Year's to visit my aunt and uncle and to take in a pair of Andy Warhol exhibits as well as some movies plus buy and drink beer. It is a double-plus bonus when a theatre sells you beer to drink during the movies (as opposed to sneaking it in, ahem) and both times that I went, both theatres offered good beer. It was a toss-up between this one or The Gift and I went with the latter. This is my opportunity to catch up.

My pour resulted in two fingers of deep-brown head with great retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown with ruby highlights and allowing light to penetrate only at the edges. Nose had a rich chocolatiness to accompany the roastiness of the malt. My mouth was watering by the time I took my first sip. Mouthfeel was medium with a unexpected smokiness initially, followed by a black coffee bitterness, ending with a wash of dark chocolate. Wow! Finish was dry, a little smoky and quite bitter. I really dig this sort of thing, but I may not be for everyone. Once more, worth a try.

 1,041 characters

Photo of WMEugene
4.33/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the brewery.

A - Pours a thick brown/black with a billowy tan head and thick lacing.

S - Smell of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate...somewhat sweet.

T - Dark roasted malt flavors, a little creamy and sweet. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Pretty fresh tasting as well.

M - Full-bodied, smooth and creamy...slight roasted aftertaste.

O - I found the Dark Starr Stout to be a very well done take on an Irish Dry Stout. It's tastier than Guinness (at least the stuff you can get in the US, it's been a while since I had it in Ireland) and a great example of the style. By the way, I've had this in the bottle before and would highly recommend having it on draft/growler - it's a beer that is best fresh.

 720 characters

Photo of fountainofyouth
2.79/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from a six-pack poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a two-finger khaki head that settles quickly. Dark, impenetrable brown.

Smell: Something's not quite right. I'm getting the standard malt scents, but it's battling with some vaguely "off" smell. It's not hops or anything, just kinda . . . off. The malt is mostly sweet, with a little bit of burn to it.

Taste: Very thin and watery for a stout. There's some roasted barley up front, a drop of hops in the background, but not much else: no coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and only traces of caramel. Disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Creamyish, medium-bodied. Little dryness and carbonation. I personally would enjoy this style in a beer with more flavor.

Overall: You'll get more flavor from a day-old Guinness. I recommend trying others.

 811 characters

Photo of fsvan
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into NB Globe.

A- Black. Jet black. Tons of tan head. Took a few minutes to get whole bottle in globe. Some sediment.

S- Dry roasted malts. Dark chocolate. A pretty big nose on this guy.

T- Follow the smell with the roasted malts, and dark chocolate, but an off-putting metallic flavor on the finish.

M- Lighter bodied than I'd like for a stout.

O- The bottle is a month and a half past it's date, but I usually assume a stout will hold out longer than advertised, so I decided to review it. Is that the cause of the metallic taste? I don't know. This beer has enough reviews that mine won't shift the grade, and I feel others may feel the same way about dates on stouts, so I think this could be useful information. I will revisit a fresher bottle and change accordingly (if needed.)

 797 characters

Photo of doughanson78
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to russwbeck for this one.

A: Very black. No light coming through. One finger, tight, fluffy mocha colored head, with great retention and beautiful lacing.

S: Big roasted dark malts, on the verge of burnt. Dark coffee and chocolate. The faintest hint of dark fruits.

T: Sweet dark chocolate upfront. Then the massive roasted/burnt coffee comes through with a touch of bitterness. A touch light in the aftertaste with a bit of smokiness coming through.

M: Medium bodied. Light carbonation. Medium creaminess. Thins out in the finish.

O: A pretty decent stout. Much better than the one iteration of Guinness that I had. I see that this style is supposed to be lighter in body. Personally I like a stout to be thick. Maybe the Irish style isn't for me. But this is decent.

 817 characters

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

Pours a dark brown nearly black, no head just a thin dull white ring with very little lacing.

Aroma of light roasted malt, coffee and a hint of sweet chocolate.

Taste begins a little sweet , milk chocolate, followed by grainy roasted malt, coffee and a sour finish.

Mouth Feel is light leaning medium body, low carbonation, thin, smooth with a sour after taste.

Overall an average stout, little thin and the sour after taste does not fit this beer.

 452 characters

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

12 oz bottle dated best by Jan. 2012 served in a pint glass.

A - (near) black and opaque with a 1 1/2 finger medium-dense tan head. The head reduces to large ring too soon, but leaves a moderate amount of lacing.

Aroma - Sweet medium and dark roasted malt, marred by hints of sour milk and way more alcohol esters than should emanate from a 4.8% beer.

T - A modest amount of dark roasted malt flavor with some chocolate notes. Balanced a bit towards sweet despite being slightly sour and bitter as well. There is a hint of coffee in the lightly dry finish.

M - smooth, with a rather light body (like Guinness) and a touch of dryness.

O - a decent Irish stout, despite the nose. Nearly on par with Guinness but certainly not up with the best versions of this style.

 772 characters

Photo of birchstick
2.82/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one came from JebediahScooter via the Feelin' Phishy BIF.

Shall we go,
you and I
While we can?
the transitive nightfall
of diamonds

A - "dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes" is a good description of how this one comes out the bottle - black without much of a head, albeit the one residing atop is a fainted cocoa chocolate color

S - smells of sweet grains and some chocolaty roasted malts

T - starts off with some sweet chocolate tones that are somewhat muted. This is followed up by a little it of burt malt and coffee flavor, however this is even more subtle than the chocolate notes. Not very flavorful overall.

M - creamy and full body makes for a great mouthfeel

D - the name on this beer made me really want to love this, just like a '69 Dark Star. However I was left a little disappointed with the taste as everything seemed very subtle and somewhat watery. Either way, enjoyable - just not something I would go out of my way to get in the future.

 986 characters

Photo of Merkur
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served in a pilsner glass on tap.

This beer pours very dark brown (almost black, but not quite) with very little head. The smell and taste are of coffee and chocolate. The beer is pours very thin and is not as thick as most stouts. With that said, this beer is pretty tasty and would definately try again.

 320 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is not especially dark. Brown hued with a thin cap that leaves faint traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists primarily of roast, and is subdued. The flavor is very roasty, with a subtle chocolate and smoke presence. The feel is thin and watery, with low carbonation. I wasn't particularly impressed, but I would be willing to try this again. Overall, an OK brew.

 381 characters

Photo of alleykatking
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color overall. One and a half finger beige head shows light retention. Nice light clumps of lace that mostly fall back into the glass.

S- Toasted malts linger on the border of being roasted in flavor but never get there. Caramel malts in the aroma act as a underbody to everything. Hints of coffee toward the middle of the beer. Light earthy hops seem to be a little muted.

T- Light roasted malts in the front along with a hint of toffee undertone. Light darker fruits although they never really come into the forefront and tend to have a watered down taste toward the middle. Hints of caramel malt and light roasted malt with faded bitter hops that actually balance out the flavor quite well. Alcohol is light and a little watered down overall.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light roasted malts and hints of bitter hops left on the palate. Aftertaste is watered down alcohol and piney hops that blend with some toasted malts. Overall the flavors were well balanced. No off flavors were present in the beer while drinking. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer for a stout is watered down and light. A more porter style than anything else. Alcohol is light meaning more than one is very do-able. A nice stab at the style but I would label this as a porter and I think the overall reviews would be better.

 1,388 characters

Photo of vandemonian
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout is a tasty, bitter dry stout. It's pretty good.

A: Black colour and a nice 1 cm head that fades to excellent lacing. 4.5

S: Bitter coffee smell with maltiness. 4

T: Bitter coffee flavour into a crisp dry finish. 3.5

M: Foamy. 4

O: Nice, but not enough going on. 3.5

 298 characters

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why everyone else has marked this one down so much. It may be because I sampled this beer at the Starr Hill brewery, maybe a beer that doesn't travel well.

A: dark brown to black with dark head, though not quite creamy.

S: Roasted barley really comes out in this one.

T: Again, roasted barley dominates. Not quite smoky, and with a touch of caramel.

M: Not so heavy as that I couldn't drink a fair bit of this, but definitely a good body.

O: Again, maybe it is just that this one needs to be on tap or fresh. I would encourage anyone who gave this beer poor marks to try one again if ever in the central VA area. Overall a good stout with one of the best roasted malt flavors I have ever experienced, without being overly heavy.

 746 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.