Festie | Starr Hill Brewery

53 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

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.

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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 144
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a reddish amber hue; the head is off-white and scant. No lace.

S - Not too much aroma here. Vaguely vegetal hops and sweet cracker-y malt is about all I can manage to dig out.

T - The brew is unusually flavored, evoking a certain flavor that is common to baked confections such as piroulina, wafer cookies, or almond bark. There is also a discernible hint of vanilla and hazelnut. A very slight bitterness is contributed by a subdued citric-piney hop.

M - Pretty average here. Decent, mediocre, common.

D - It is drinkable based on a certain very nice aspect of the flavor. It is not a complete or tremendously inspiring offering, but it has a serviceable quality (or two).

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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 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 TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

This is the last sixer I bought before leaving the NoVa area. It pours a mostly clear pale apricot topped by about a half-finger or so of white foam. The nose comprises caramel, peanuts, buttercream, and a touch of orange. The taste seems to initially lean in the direction of an increased amount of orange, but this then dovetails into a heavy dose of buttery biscuit with a generous amount of sweetness tossed on top. What hurts this thing is that the orange doesn't really leave once the maltiness enters; what results is, in effect, a cupcake whose stump is an orange slice. Honestly, it would be fine if this were done in phases, but together it just doesn't seem right. The body is a heavy-ish light, with a moderate carbonation and a somewhat watery feel. Oddly enough, despite the slightly awkward flavors, this thing spitefully retains a decent amount of drinkability. It may not be the best O-Fest I've had, but it's certainly not the worst, either.

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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 therica
3.97/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hard Times Cafe, Hagerstown MD, 20-ounce serving.

A= cloudy amber-brown, modest head and lacing when served.

S= plenty of hops florals and bitters evident, nice roasted malts, some apricot notes.

T= a rather hefty dose of hops bitters a la Starr's reputation, great! Decent hops florals, biscuity bready malts, complex, solid-bodied and enjoyable.

M= very nice, no astringency, lingering hops florals and bitters and bready malts.

D= we were saddened only that we couldn't stay longer to have a few more, went great with Hard Times Cafe's chili dishes and burgers & fries, even the large salad.

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Photo of thekanna
3.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Hard Times Cafe in College Park, MD.

A: Clear, darker amber with a decent amount of effervescence and almost no head.

S: Mostly sweet malts, a bit of biscuitiness

T: Some sweet malts, hints of toffee and caramel to start off with, then devolves into an almost lager-like aftertaste. A toasted malt / cream biscuit taste which is present at the beginning is practically nonexistent at the end.

M: Somewhat thin but has good carbonation.

D: Can't quite call this an Oktoberfest, but it's refreshing nonetheless.

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Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Judge's Bench the other day.

The beer pours a honey amber color with fairly good head retention and minimal lacing. The nose is lightly malty with a hint of ginger and pumpkin bread. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose pretty closely in this one dimensional, albeit inoffensive, lightly sweet beer. The flavors drop off pretty quickly in the finish, and the beer is almost watery at the end. Drinkability is OK, though a bit more flavor would be appreciated. Mehhh....

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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 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 Mosstrooper
3.29/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into 400mL Radeberger seidel.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy golden-orange color with a large white head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind heavy spots of lace. There are many visible bubbles rising through the beer, and overall this one looks very appetizing.

Smell: Weak smell- buttery sweetness is predominant with a bit of an apple hint.

Taste: Begins with a candy-apple sweetness, finishing with a biscuity flavor and a touch of bitterness. This tastes a bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light body with sharp carbonation and a refreshing finish.

Drinkability: An okay O-fest beer overall. Definitely not the first one I would pick out, but it's still drinkable enough.

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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.

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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 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.

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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 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 Onenote81
3.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my conical pint glass. Pours a light orange with a very thin whispy white head on top. No retention, and no lace. Smells of breads, roasted malts, and a sweet candy finish.

The feel is crisp and moderately carbonated. Decent body. It has some weak points, but the flavor is right where it needs to be. Nice filling bready taste, some mild hop bitterness in the middle, but it finishes with a touch of caramel and sweet malty goodness. There's a slight sour note on the back end, but it's not offensive in any way. I didn't have the highest expectations for this, but this was better than I thought. A nice go-to for the fall.

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Photo of beer2day
3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours gold with peach tints. 1-finger head fading quickly leaving very little trace behind. Laces well enough, though.

Nose is slightly fruity, with lemon and peach. Also picking up straw and roasted malt. I've not picked up fruit in an Octoberfest before. Not bad, but definitely different.

Hits light and sweet. Not nearly enough malt body here. I'm guessing from the label they were trying to make a lighter version of a fest beer and they succeded.

It's not too bad to drink and you could probably drink many of these, but I'm not sure you'd want to.

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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 kshankar
3.33/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with plenty of carbonation and a foam cap. Head is thick with decent retention

Aroma is malty, toasted and sweet

Some grains, malts. There is a bit of a sourness that is in there somewhere..I"m unsure about this one.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Drinkability is okay. It tastes fine..but not excellent. Try it out. Not the best marzen, but I could have another one.

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Photo of ectomorph
3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle well within its' prime poured into a pint glass.

A - Hazy copper tries to hide the carbonation that forms the finger thick white head that lingers.

S - Floral with a banana bread sweetness. Very clean, nothing overpowering here.

T - Faint banana and caramel with a honey sweetness that gives way to what tastes like pilsner malt backbone. The light sour lager bitterness shows in the finish.

M - Light body with good carbonation and crisp finish.

D - Moderate to high. I prefer a more flavorful Octoberfest, but this one could be had over and over again.

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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 droomyster
3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Festie pours a beautiful clear amber with a medium sized white head with decent retention. Lot of bubble action visible. Smells of sweet malts, toffee. Tastes good but nothing in particular stands out except biscuity malts. To be honest it's a bit bland for Oktoberfest but it's medium body is perfectly carbonated; definitely drinkable.

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Photo of rabsten
4.02/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle snagged at the Bramwell Oktoberfest.

Pours light red-tinted brown/amber into a pint glass, light tan two finger head with some lacing and decent but not spectacular retention. Some big carbonation bubbles percolate throughout.

Crisp aroma, mild hoppiness and lightly toasted malt. Can't I.D. the hop variety. Pretty good for a Marzen, though.

Aroma is duplicated in the flavor. Well balanced between sweet/toasty malt and solid bitterness. Not hoppy per se but they're there.

Smooth drinking with a well balanced mouthfeel: enough crispness to refresh and enough roundness to soothe.

Good all around beer and just what I'm looking for in this style. I could drink it all day.

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Photo of mralphabet
4.1/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12oz bottle into chilled pint glass.

A: Clear Orange Amber lager in appearance about 1 finger head that disapates quickly with nice lacing.

S: Smells of Grain and malt with a sweetness...

T: Mix of grain & sweet malt.... Very bread like... Taste is very well balanced, crisp with a little sweetness not over powering. Nice aftertaste.

M: : Medium bodied, very nice carbonation with a very clean finish. The alcohol is well hidden.

D: To me this is another very nice beer from Starr Hill.... a good Fall follow up to their Summer of LOVE... Will be buying more very soon...

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Festie from Starr Hill Brewery
3.11 out of 5 based on 144 ratings.
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