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Festie | Starr Hill Brewery

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BA SCORE
74
okay
53 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Proteus93 on 09-10-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
53
Ratings:
144
Avg:
3.11
pDev:
17.68%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
10
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 144
Photo of Guden
1.74/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Very clear light copper with a one inch white head of small bubbles than fades slowly leaving nice lacing. Little light in color but good other than that.

S- Weird smell of sweet corn, caramel and Italian herb mix. Definitely something funky and off about this.

T- Whoa, that off smell is in the flavor too. Tannic and puckering with a flavor of bark and tomatoes.

M- Dry and astringent. Not very pleasant.

O- There is something wrong with this beer. I can't put my finger on it, maybe an infection, maybe just a combination of an old poorly made beer with some DMS, either way this is down there with some of the least enjoyable ones I've had. This was a dumper.

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Photo of farrago
2.01/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Moderate half finger head, eggshell white, larger bubbles interspersed throughout the foam, no real lacing, dissolves down swiftly. Light orange-brown in hue, while somewhat cloudy turns to a washed out zinc hue around the rims. Quiet nose of apricot/peach pits and skin, if you had to choose you'd say it's more malty than hoppy but really it's a wash, some mocha and bread, more than the nondescript white citrus and dried lawn grass notes, just not much going on. Light to medium-bodied, possesses a big carbonated swirl in the mouth, a handy way of disguising the fact that there's not much here either. Some bitters and brine, sun dried lemon peels and more dried out grass. The malts are like an aftershadow, you can just make out the general contour but no depth. In fact, watery would be one way of putting it. Even after focusing harder on each successive sip, it is not any easier to find a flavor to describe. Empty finish.

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Photo of mckenziac
2.18/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Starr Hill "Road Show" variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a light brown, slightly reddish color. Has a small, fizzy head that dissipates down to next to nothing.

Smell: Has a light, slightly sweet, grainy aroma.

Taste: Has a slightly bitter, spicy hoppiness. Finishes sweet and grainy with a slight caramel flavor. A lot lighter on flavor then I was expecting.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and well-carbonated with a light body.

Overall: I'm really disappointed with this one. Starr Hill is a sentimental favorite since it's fairly local but this one just isn't that good. I think they would have been better off brewing a more traditional Marzen/Oktoberfest style rather than a kind of generic amber lager.

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Photo of billab914
2.19/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. It poured a cloudy, dull, amber/copper color with a frothy white head filling about an inch of the glass.

The aroma shows some caramel, malty flavors to it but they are almost overshadowed by a tart, slightly fruity flavor to it.It had a bit of an apple cidery tartness to it that didn't fit at all.

The taste unfortunately picks up even more of what the aroma hinted at. A tart, fruity, apple cidery flavor dominates the flavors. It also has a very slight hint of sourness to it as well. There is a moderate caramel, maltyness to it but it's nearly hidden. The flavors just don't fit the style at all.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability isn't good, it was close to a drain pour. I thought it might be old but the bottle has a best by date 5 months from now so it must be pretty fresh. Something wasn't right at all with it though. The flavors were not what I expect for the style at all.

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Photo of Metalmonk
2.24/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy orange-rust color with a head that was big and billowy for about 10 seconds but then withered away to almost nothing (it's a clean glass!). A few dabs of lace slide slowly down the sides with each tilt of the glass.

Where I was hoping for that big bread-and-caramel nose of the great Oktoberfests, I was treated to a rather flat aroma that offers faint cooked veggies and tangy fruit. Only a ghost of what my nose was nosin' around for appears. "Judge it for what it is," right? Okay: it's severely lacking.

Flavor-wise it's no better. There might be a good beer here, but what I mostly get is a fruit-candy sweetness and a tart-to-sour jab middle, back, and into the finish. Luckily there's no real finish here at all, so the bad impressions don't last.

Mouthfeel is just fine, with zippy carbonation and a good slick glide. If I try and turn off the taste buds, it feels like a good example of the real deal.

This is all over the place, way off-style, and not a good beer in any category. The exact opposite of "spot-on." There's always a chance it's been ruined somehow since leaving the brewery, but I can only take it at face value.

[Threw a couple of these into a couple different trade boxes as a "bonus" the other day...they're already on the way! Good thing I've already traded with the recipients a few other times--they'll forgive me I hope--but guys: I AM SORRY.]

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Photo of KomodoDragon
2.36/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Stopped pouring after a 3" white head appeared. Cloudy orange coloring, smells of corn and musty grass is not welcomed.

Some caramel malt flavors with hints of grapefruit and light fruits in the yeast.

Little hop finish.

Not sure what this beer is trying to be. Average Lager? Odd Amber?

For Starr Hills sake, I'm hoping I just had a bad bottle.

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Photo of GbVDave
2.39/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to Metalmonk for this extra in our most recent trade!

FEB notched on the label.

A: Pours a hazy/cloudy gold with about 1 1/2 fingers of off white foam on top. Head retention is poor as it melts away in less than a minute. No lace is left behind.

S: Boiled vegetables, tangy fruit, and maybe (just maybe) a slight hint of sourdough bread. The smell is pretty off-puting.

T: More of the same as above. I too was hoping for bread and biscuits and instead got sweet tarts and fruit.

M: Decent enough. Restrained bitterness with a slightly dusty finish.

D: Hmmm. Seems like this beer wasn't totally thought through. Thanks Jeff :)

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Photo of sweethome
2.41/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour is hazy golden - looks a little light for a fest - also has fizzy head that continues to ring the glass.

Vegetable/solvent nose. Off putting.

Flavors follow the nose - vegetable, sweet, rubber.

Not up to the competition I tasted this with. (Victory Fest; Dogtoberfest; Dominion Fest)

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Photo of msubulldog25
2.47/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

My first taste of this East Coast O'fest and first from Starr Hill Brewery. A 12 oz. twist-capped bottle, notched at 'FEB' in the 'For Brewery-Fresh Taste, Purchase Before...' area.

'Life is a Carnival' proclaims the label.

A: Well, it's got a nice color: a fine-looking copper-acorn. Pours with a flourish of fizzy whitish head, dwindles in seconds, completely disappears within a couple minutes. Unfiltered haziness, a few streaking carbonation bubbles and a patch sticking at the base; only the smallest flecks of lace. A rather sad-looking brew to be honest...

S: A light touch of caramel, a wheaty spice and a trace of sweet fruit. Not the malty sweetness typical of better examples of the style - just some subdued floral honey.

T: Flavor-wise, not a bad O'Fest: decent maltiness (a wort-like grain), a round semi-sweetness, toasted bread, hint of orange candy. Spiced hop mellowness. If there's one positive note so far, flavor is it.

M: Bad - really bad. Slick and viscous, light body, barely any carbonation. Lifeless feel, drastically attenuation issues. A little dry spicing tingles for moments on the tongue, a dull grainy sweetness lasts longer.

D: Hardly a 'carnival': really didn't have much fun with any part this beer. Lackluster in most every category, it's not even worth a try. My sincere hope is that the 'Purchase Before FEB' was actually for 2009, not 2010, which would explain some things - though I know my buddy Metalmonk just picked this up weeks ago and I received earlier this week. Many thanks for the try, Jeff, but I'll pass next time...but thanks for the pre-written apologies below! :)

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Photo of tlazaroff
2.62/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Hazy, because unbeknownst to me this beer is bottle conditioned, which is strange for a lager. Bright white head which only lasts seconds and falls back into the amber beer.

S: Has a slight kind of lemon aroma sitting on top of a very bright sort of cereal grain note.

T: A bit biscuity with a kind of orange marmalade aftertaste. Not much else going on here.

M: A bit thin on the palate, almost watery. Moderate carbonation.

D: Its very drinkable, unfortunately it's just not very good.

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Photo of glid02
2.68/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle purchased from 1 West in Washington DC.

Pours a hazy copper-brown color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of slightly sour fruit, herbal hops, and light caramel malts.

Tastes not so great. Light caramel malt flavors up front fight to stay relevant after the sour fruit flavors enter into things midway through the sip. Right before a muddled and slightly bitter ending a small amount of leafy hop flavors come out.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability isn't so good. I didn't finish.

Overall this was not a very good beer and one I won't revisit again.

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Photo of PumaSaysRawrr
2.68/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Let me get this out of the way....I have a Starr Hill Tattoo. I also have 1/2 a case of Festie aging in a closet from 2011 but that didn't stop me from picking up this bottle a few weeks ago on clearance for $1. My therapist may call it compulsive buying and hoarding but I call it bargain shopping and aging! AND don't bother trying to tell me you can't age a 4.5% beer because there ain't enough time in her hour to discuss how you all are unsupportive of me....

I am drinking it out of A Samuel Smith pint glass. It has nice amber color. Very little carbonation and no lacing....Which I don't mind cause I hate scrubbing my glass. It has a bit of a skunked smell with just a hint of that fermented smell a Belgian would have. It tastes like almost nothing...I don't know how to describe this but it tastes almost like any old amber then nothing...not after taste at all. You know how if you drink diet coke the taste goes away so you drink more then no taste so more and then more until you know it the bottle is gone? I need another beer...

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Photo of wahhmaster
2.69/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

Appearance: Pours a light, nutty brown color. Disappointingly, this beer has almost no head or lacing to speak of. Something seems wrong here; an Oktoberfest with no head?

Smell: Has a sweet malty smell and a bit of butteriness to it.

Taste: Starts pretty sweet and finishes with a bit of bitterness and a slight tartness. This beer seems a bit too sweet for an Oktoberfest.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean.

Drinkability: A below-average Oktoberfest. With Starr Hill being a fairly local brewery for me, I was hoping for more from this beer. This really isn't that good. I'll have to hold off on getting more of these until next year to see if it gets any better. Pity...

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Photo of rebel1771
2.7/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a honey color with a bright white head that leaves no lacing.

S: Subtle sweet malt aroma with a bit of fruitiness. Metallic note in the end.

T: Not much flavor. Subtle sweet malt with a bit of cooked corn thrown in. Kind of a sour pucker in the end.

O: Not my favorite marzen. Just kind of misses the mark on this one. A little less sweetness and a stronger malt presence is what this brew needs.

 408 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
2.74/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer Run in Charlottesville, VA. Served in a 10 oz. glass.

Appearance: A clear orange amber beer, very appropriate to the style. A nice fine, quarter-finger tan bubbly head with average retention. Carbonation is sparse, and lacing is actually very full and attractive. Not a terrible start at all.

Aroma: See taste below.

Taste: Bleh. Very grainy and husky, with some light touches of roasted grainy bread and a mellow hop spiciness. It's all very artificial tasting, though.

Mouthfeel: Uneven, fairly thin, spritzy and bubbly.

Drinkability: A bit of a disappointment from Starr Hill. It's not that this is an undrinkable beer, it's just really, really average beer, and definitely won't be a go-to Marzen for me, despite my overwhelming obsession w/ local drinking. Shame.

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Photo of Vdubb86
2.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for this one from VA

This one pours a hazy light orange color with a fast fading half finger of ecru foam. The smell is a bit sour as if any hops that were in this beer had already gone wrong. I think it may be the burnt biscuit flavor in there. There are hints of orange zest fronting the slight malt aroma. The flavor is of orange zest and not a fresh one at that. The maltiness that I expect to see in an Oktoberfest is totally not here until the aftertaste. This isn't the worst Oktoberfest, but it sure as hell isn't the best. The mouthfeel and drinkability do it some justice but overall I'd go elsewhere for my Fest beers.

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Photo of Clydesdale
2.97/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a somewhat hazy burnt orange color. The medium-sized head has a light orange hue and a somewhat thick, foamy texture. Retention is average, and a few foamy rings of lace deposit onto the glass as the head fades.

S: A sweet toasted aroma - light caramel notes, with some nuttiness. Lightly fruity, perhaps with a vague tartness. Some herbal hops are also detectable but primarily take a back seat.

T: Toasty malts up front. Sweetness is medium, with some light caramel character. An astringent, lightly tart presence also makes itself known. Light fruity notes. Hop bitterness is low, with some vague herbal flavor. A nutty aftertaste.

M: Medium-thin body. Carbonation is fine and crisp. As above, mouthfeel is surprisingly astringent.

D: A lackluster fall seasonal from a normally above average brewery. This is lightly flavored and too thin/astringent to be very enjoyable. You won't miss much by avoiding this one, although it's far from bad.

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Photo of klikger
2.98/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Sam Adams perfect pint

A - Beautiful shade of amber with visible carbonation, thick white foam (which shrinks quickly), and below-average lacing.

S - Sugary sweet malt

T - A watery start gives way to a bit of marzen-style maltiness, but without the yeast. The end is somewhat-lemony sugar water and not much else. This isn't the worst beer ever made, but it's not a good representation of the style by a long shot.

M - Light bodied; good carbonation

D - I could drink more, I just have other stuff I'd rather drink right now.

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Photo of obywan59
2.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Born on date 7/31/13

Pours a crystal clear amber with a 2 1/2 finger off white head that recedes leaving thick sticky lacing.

A nice fresh aroma of grassy, fruity hops and sweet grain.

Not much taste at all. Faintly sweet malt with light tart citrus and some faint, slightly harsh bitter hops.

Light bodied, with a light carbonation and a bit sticky with a little warmth on the way down.

An okay beer, I guess. The taste is the main downfall. I think it's past it's prime. The aroma is holding up pretty well, but the tasty is pretty nondescript. An easy drinker.

 568 characters

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

I expected this beer to be much better than it is. If packaging was a scoring category I would have given this beer at least one high mark. It is over priced for what you get. I think I would have rated it higher if it was priced like it tastes. I'd pick a can of Yuengling over this beer and would compare them fairly equally. It is not bad just made to make you think it's a craft micro brew and it's a boring lager.

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

Bottle: Purchase by Sept. 2011

Festie looks like a straightfoward amber lager with a golden amber body and a foamy white head that subsides quickly. Lacing is oily and slips down the side of the glass.

The aroma is fresh baked malts with an earthy grassy hop aroma.

The flavor is a bit tart/sour noticeably up front with a lightly sweet biscuity malt behind it, with an astringent graininessl, and a mild tingle of hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light and a touch harshly carbonated.

Well I have to say I was expecting better from this Starr Hill offering but then lagers are harder to dial in than the average ale. They have a way to go with this Fest beer and I hope they are in the process of tweaking it.

 726 characters

Photo of ebby82
3.01/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color into a pint glass. There is a two finger head which quickly dissipates. The smell is nothing special.

There is a slight hint of malt, but otherwise just the standard lager smell.

The taste is light, perhaps a note of caramel, but overall it tastes like a more malty version of Starr Hill's Jomo lager. Although the taste is nothing special, it is enjoyable, and very easy to drink. It bill's itself as an Oktoberfest, but I'm not sure how accurate that may be.

I'd drink it again, although I wouldn't go out of my way to do so.

 558 characters

Photo of oberon
3.06/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Its getting to the end of the O-fest beer season so I figured I'd grab this one today.Poured a clear lighter shade of bronze with a nice one finger tight white head that was gone pretty quickly.Aromas of caramel/vanilla,and toasted grain mainly.A light sharp mouthfeel was kind of annoying,flaovrs were really mild with some residual caramel sweetness and that toasted grain again,the flavors were very light.A pretty average beer,not one to seek out.

 451 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
3.06/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: An Amber Brew with a finger's width of head that lasts for a while and leaves a light swirl on the surface. It clings slightly to the edges of the glass from when the head first recedes until the bottom of the glass.

S: Bready, slightly spicy with some sweet malts, but it is particularly grainy smelling.

T: The taste is light, once again with a rather grainy taste, slightly biscuity. There's something in the taste that's a little bit like white grape as well, but that is hidden behind the overwhelming taste of cereal grains.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation and a little bit sticky, both in the mouth and especially at the back of the throat.

O: The more beers that I have from Starr Hill the less I think of them as a brewery. There is nothing especially exceptional about this beer, the sticky mouthfeel makes it not particularly drinkable and the taste of cereal grains is reminiscent of a mass produced lager. It's not necessarily a bad beer, but neither the taste or smell stand out as anything special.

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Photo of paulginva
3.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

APPEARANCE: This beer, poured from a tap into a pint glass, produced a 1-1/2" fizzy off-white head that dissipated quickly with virtually no head lacing. Body was a slightly hazy deep amber color with little carbonation.

AROMA: A light spicy caramel and wheat scent and just a little floral hops -- not the sweetness that I've come to expect from an Oktoberfest.

TASTE: A moderate toasted bread and malt taste mixed with a light hops mellowness and some spices.

MOUTHFEEL: Light body, slick texture, nearly no carbonation or head lacing and what there is dissipates quickly. A rounded light semi-sweet flavor to begin with followed shortly by a very light hop bitterness.

DRINKABILITY: Well, an Oktoberfest should be repeatable for a good part of the day, right. I could do that but other than that, there's not all that much to recommend it. The price is okay but there are equally worthy beers of the same style that are less expensive. I doubt that I'd buy this again.

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Festie from Starr Hill Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.
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