The Gift (WinterBock Lager) | Starr Hill Brewery

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The Gift (WinterBock Lager)The Gift (WinterBock Lager)

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Maibock / Helles Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 11-19-2008

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 149
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.47/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing beer. Grab one if you see it. It is so well-crafted.

A - Slightly hazy golden amber with a two inch white head, and good retention.

S - Clean, bready, with herbal aromatics.

T - Dank, resinous and herbal hops are the star of this wonderfully crafted beer. Slightly sweet pale malt, and succinctly flavorful hop.

M - Sharp carbonation counters medium-heavy body

D - As drinkable as it gets.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the helles bock. Seemingly a tough style for an American brewery to make well. I've had mostly bad ones over the past year. This, however, is one of the best.

Poured into a 16 oz glass mug, the head swells high, a gold-tinged white, before settling into a thin collar. Glowing hazy yellowish amber color. Looks alright to me. Going in for a whiff - appropriately and reservedly spicy and touch hoppy in the back, sweet light malt poking through and faint coppery scent as well. Decent depth. Alcohol? Hidden, transparent - thus appealing.

Malty sweet, delicately toasty, mild-moderately spicy flavors, and I swear a little bit of banana or pear fruitiness in the finish. All nicely balanced and situated at ideal intensity. Actually, the malt comes off an edge more toffee-caramel-cookie than I'm used to. But then again I've grown accustomed to having the strong presence of medicinal booze rudely cutting through the characteristic aromas/flavors of this style, so this overall taste is a much welcome thing.

There's no reason to go overboard with the ABV on this style, and Starr Hill did quite a magnificent job putting it in a safe range. The presence of alcohol in the taste, as in the aroma, is far in the background. It's effects though make this an inspired selection for a winter offering - wonderfully-gradually-deeply warming.

They hit a home run with this for sure. Great job!

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Photo of 160Shillings
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Moderate malt aroma with faint Pils malt. A hint of spicy noble hops. A very faint touch of alcohol.
Appearance: The color is a very deep gold bordering on amber. It pours to a half inch head of fine bubbles that falls into a firm cap on top.
Flavor: Very rich and full flavor of Pils, melanoidin and toast malt. Attenuated, but only slightly dry. Low spicy noble hop flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium-high body. Smooth and round mouthfeel. Light warmth from alcohol. Moderate carbonation.
Overall Impression: A strong malty lager with a light amber color, pleasant to drink with enough hops to add more dimension to the experience.
Comments: A fine beer for winter weather for those of us that aren’t hop heads.

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A helles bock is probably my favorite lager style of beer,and this beer is everything I like in the style.Pours a clear lighter bronze color with a nice lacey,tight white head that settles slowly.Alcohol infused fruit,toasted grain,and a sharp spice comes through in the nose.Really nice flaovrs going on,somewhat sweet up front with some caramel and sweetish alcohol infused white grape flavors,melding into a crisp cracker-like finish.A decent amount of hops are used for the style and it gives it a nice finish.In my opinion easily Starr Hill's best brew,not overly heavy and or sweet,a good warming winter brew.

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Photo of afausser
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at a tasting by Proteus93. Thanks!

A: Pours a nice pale orange with some hints of amber. The head is about average and quickly disappears, leaving slow moving carbonation bubbles and a thin ring of lacing around the glass.

S: Very, very, sweet, which I hadn't noticed the first time I drank it on tap. There's an element to it that's sort of like smelling sugar syrup. There's also a bit of clove spice, and it's bready, grainy, and malty as well, reminding me of light, yeasty dessert bread or sweet biscuits. There's even a floral scent, particularly stargazer lilies.

T: The first element i notice in the taste is the spice. Nice cinnamon and cloves as well as the floral hint carrying over from the nose. Again, doughy, even apply, maybe like apple fritters, or a hint of apple pie. Plenty of grain here, as well.

M: Very fine carbonation that adds nicely to the spice.

D: Quite drinkable, and a lot lighter than the ABV would lead me to believe. This may be my favorite Starr Hill (though it's in serious competition with The Love.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. This pours a murky dark honey gold. A good-sized white head rests on top. This leaves lots of sticky lace on the glass side. Scents of sugary malts, honey biscuits, and a light pop of lemon zest on the back end.

Great smooth and creamy body. Carbonation level is moderate. Flavors of honey, grass, some fresh bread, and has a finish of sourdough. Wow. I think this may be my favorite SH offering to date. I could drink this all year round. I like that it's not a typical spicy winter release. I like this style. Good work, Starr Hill!

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Photo of chilly460
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle iinto a chalice.

A - Nice orange/copper color with off white head. Quickly dissipated.

S - Not particularly strong, a bit of malt or toffee type smell.

T - Very very nice. Clean on the front of the mouth, then a malty, toffee flavor comes through. A little hint of cinammon maybe. Nice clean finish with little hops to make it crisp.

D - Excellent, very balanced, malt is not overpowering. Enough flavors to keep it interesting as it warms up. Medium carbonation and a smooth feel to it.

Nice solid beer, easy beer to serve to non-beer nuts.

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Photo of argock
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Purchased as 6-pack at Harris Teeter (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.99.

A: Appealing chestnut brown with 1-finger light beige head which retains well and leaves a thin ring of lace.

S: Sweet caramelly malt aromas with a light herbal and spice edge. A little more sweet forward than most bocks.

T: The flavor could use a little more subtlety but it's still very enjoyable in its bold caramel maltiness. The light spice note and herbal hops work very nicely. No alcohol is detectable.

M: Medium-bodied with smooth feel and even carbonation. Aftertaste is cardboard malty.

D: A really good bock which, while a little two-dimensional, is still really enjoyable, especially if you like malty brews.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a glowing, hazy bronze-golden color. The tall, ivory colored head has a densely frothy texture and persistent retention. A sticky web of lacing clings nicely to the sides of the glass.

S: A sweet, fruity nose. Some bready graininess is accompanied by a dried apple character. There's also a bit of honey, along with a definite noble hop presence. A bit of alcohol is also evident.

T: A doughy, bready malt presence that is more than a little sweet, with notes of honey. Some definite fruitiness, again recalling dried apples , this time accompanied by a subtle citrus flavor that gives way to an herbal hop bitterness. A bit of a spicy flavor and alcohol into the finish.

M: A fairly full body. The carbonation is extremely well-done, with a soft, pleasant creaminess that adds considerably to this beer's enjoyability. The finish is slightly dry.

D: A bready, fruity, pleasant winter Helles bock. This has an interesting flavor profile, managing an appealing balance and a great mouthfeel. If you're in the area, Starr Hill is an unheralded option that you won't be disappointed by.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours amber, with a towering golden-cream head (thanks, perhaps, to an over-aggressive pour) that lingered well, and left a small amount of lacing.

S: Very pleasant, although not too powerful. It included tart fruit, bready grain, and faint, spicy pepper.

T: A nice, sweet malt at first, that quickly yielded to a nectarine tang, which in turn yielded to a balancing bitterness of hops. Not a complex mix of flavors, but clean and to the point.

M: Crisp, with good carbonation as it first washes over the tongue, but with a late, creamy smoothness.

O: A good, solid lager, worthy of the winter season, but able to hold its own any time of year. Worth picking up a few more the next time I'm at the store.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Slightly copper appearance semi-clear. No head at all.

Smell - reminds me somewhat of a Belgian strong Ale is smell

Taste - This is one unique flavored beer unlike anything else I've sampled to date. Very well balanced beer with maltiness/hops cancelling out leaving just a pleasant flavoring aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - nothing noteworthy, kindy fizzy in the mouth

Drinkability - at 6.5% this is a very easy drinker and seems less than 5%

Overall - I am VERY impressed with this unique concoction. Starr Hill struck gold with this one. I highly recommend trying this one out.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- Pours a cloudy orange, decent one finger head that dissolves into a thin lace fairly quickly

S-smells grainy, hints of banana and bread, with some biscuit notes

T-Taste also had some bread like qualities, the malt with a slight bitterness hits the back of the tongue on each sip. Not much to it other than that. There is some hop and slight alcohol presence, but not much.

M - very good, great carbonation, has great fullness for a lager, slightly chewy. Not like nougat chewy, but chewy nonetheless.

D- Very drinkable, even at 6.5%. Could be a session beer, though it's probably better used for a two beer buzz. I enjoyed the beer, and will probably buy it again. However, I can say that my wife does not enjoy the slightly "bitter" beer breath the beer leaves behind.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, shipped by Bort - my source for winter lagers

appearance: poured into a great dane imperial pint glass - nice bright straw-copper body, frothy beige cap with some spotty retention

smell: fresh southern biscuits, lightly toasted malts, grain, sweet apple

taste: Haven't had a straight-up bock like this in a while - pleasantly surprised by the doughy biscuit and toasted malt flavor profile, sweet apple, barley provides lots of flavor

mouthfeel: creamy and medium body

drinkability: good

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Photo of soupermirl
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid. Try it when you're in VA. I had it at the Taphouse in Hampton, VA and must say that this is a very good, what I would call Golden Ale, but I think it isn't an ale at all. Nice color with a great beer scent and just right on hops and malt. I would drink it more if it were available in Mississippi. Solid. Golden color, great aroma, and very good taste. Nice beer.

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Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper gold pour with frothy unforced 2 and 1/2 finger head. Nice, thick lacing.

Honey comes through at first in the nose. Biscuit and plum are there too, but deeper. Also getting a little alcohol. Lots of malt.

Sweet, thick, syrupy hit on the tongue. Surprising for a beer this light in color. There is a slight tartness mid-swallow, but this beer really is all about malty sweetness. Not overly so, but very true to the bock style. Not much to report on the hop side, but that too is not surprising. A little alcohol burn develops after the first couple of gulps.

Feel is thicker than expected, but not disappointing.

The thickness might wear on some, but I find this a pretty drinkable beer on a cold night.

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Photo of advill88
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange amber color, with a 1/2 inch white head.

Smell is a light, fruity, malt sweetness with some yeast.

The taste has the same prominent fruity malt sweetness up front, with a bit of hop bitterness and carbonation cutting in at the back end to balance.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Very nice winter brew from Starr Hill...kind of strange to say, but it almost reminds me of a Belgian wit in some ways. Almost like a cross between a winter warmer and a wheat beer, even though there isn't any wheat in it. Good beer, nonetheless.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My old "Bro" Artied2 scored a 6-pack of The Gift while recently down in Charlottesville, and he dropped it on my doorstep on my 50th.... Vielen Dank!!

I poured a couple of the 12oz bottles into an Imperial Pint glass... The Gift was a clear, medium golden offering, with a bit of steady carbo here and there... Head was thin and white, mainly just a simply layer of fine bubbles on top of things. Lacing was here and there at best. The aroma came across as part Maibock, part Munich Helles. There was some bready malt in there, with subtle hints of fruitiness. The body fell nicely in the middle of the medium range, and despite some bubbliness on the tongue, it was mostly smooth across the palate.

Flavor has some bready malt sweetness laying a foundation here. The fruitiness present touches on a bit of apple, though it's a tad more sweetish than on the sour side, which I like here. Hoppage here is firmly entrenched in the floral category, lingering nicely down the throat. I found it somewhat odd that a bier in the Maibock/Hellbock category would be released as a "WinterBock", since it is not overly high in ABV, or not especially heavy or complex. Regardless, it's pretty tasty and eminently quaffable. Thnx, Bro!!

Zum Wohl!!

look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5


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Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy copper, with about a finger or so of bright-white head. This retains with a thin and fizzy, yet still sturdy, layer of froth, which leaves a smattering of spotty foam behind. Malts are thick and sweet in the nose (and a bit buttery), with a touch of fruit and just enough fresh spicy hop character to help pulls things back a notch.

The taste is beefy in the mouth with sweet, bready, and honeyed malts. There is a touch of fruity citric notes here as well, along with plenty of spice and earthy bitterness from the Noble hops. Buttery and sticky sweetness carries over in the finish, before a long lingering and steady dryness from the hops takes over. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a big smooth creaminess to it that spreads out in the mouth and sits on top of all that beefy sweetness.

This was tasty little Bock from Starr Hill that had just enough hop character to nicely balance out all of those heavy malts. This was very smooth for the size which kept the overall drinkibility of this pretty good.

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Photo of jsdunlop
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light, golden color with decent head that manages to hang around on top of the brew fairly well with minimal lacing. Very sweet aromas of honey, crystal malts, candied apples and a flurry of spices with a bit of an alcohol scent that makes its way in the nose. Taste is quite solid, malty and sweet up front, nice bitter hop character, apples, cinnamon, some faint citrus notes manage to come through as well. Mouthfeel is medium with a nice carbonation presence that's not too overwhelming. Overall, a great winter lager.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Whole Foods, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a filtered orange amber with a great deal of active, medium-bubbled carbonation. An aggressive pour yields a big, two-finger, fairly solid looking head of above-average retention that leaves fingers and dollops of lacing as it recedes. One of the better looking beers I've had from Starr Hill.

Aroma: Fairly pungent toasted malts make up the bulk of the aromatics here, with caramel, toffee, and an overarching breadiness all being detectable. Agitation releases a few spicy, grassy hop notes, but it's really just a pleasant collection of standard malt notes.

Taste: Similar to the nose, with a number of fairly subtle yet well-balanced malt notes. Caramelized, doughy sugars, faint toffee, perhaps a slight hint of something more roasted still. There's a splash of bitterness and a nice grassy, lightly citrusy twinge from the hop addition to top things off, and a few light spicy notes emerge as things warm. Doesn't go over the top - thoroughly pleasant.

Mouthfeel: This beer's best quality, in my opinion. Definitely the softest, best-carbonated beer I've had from Starr Hill. The thickness of the body and carbonation level combine very, very well to give a smooth, delicate, even, and creamy feel, and the creaminess works well in conjunction with the maltiness of this one. Good job.

Drinkability: This beer doesn't try to be anything that it's not, and in so doing succeeds at being precisely what it is and then some. Right up there with the Pale Ale as being my favorite Starr Hill brew, this one's simply a well-crafted, malty, winter brew that I could easily toss back a sixer of around the fire with family or friends. Cheers Starr Hill.

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Photo of Meerkey
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Thick white head. Clear copper with lots bubbles.

S: Grains, faint hops. Maybe a little honey. Banana? Little sour.

T: Grainy. Malty. Slightly hoppy finish.

M: Fizzy, clean finish. Pleasantly lingering taste.

D: Delicious. One of my favorite Starr Hill beers.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. 6.5% ABV, Purchase before May notched on label.

Thanks to Onenote81 for this winter brewski!

A - Totally clear golden yellow with a fluffy white head with superb retention. Thin legs left on the glass hover above a bit of clingy lace.

S - Strangely, this has a very pilsner-like aroma. Crisp and clean lager attributes with pilsner malt and a light honey-drizzled toast. Noble hops are unmistakable giving the aroma a crisp floral hint. Nothing about it signifies winter.

T - While not noticeable in the nose, the flavor carries an interesting light yeast hint and mellow but pronounced spice. A touch of nutmeg perhaps? The honey comes out a bit stronger with the pilsner malts. Noble hops add a little to the flavor but give the finish a nice light, dry and bitter touch.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth with a soft feel and sweet, lightly carbonated finish. Light dry and bitter hints give a small bit of complexity to this beer.

D - It pulled through with the winter feel. A good "lighter" winter beer in a season bogged down (not a bad thing most of the time!) by rich, thick brews. I could do a six-pack of this on a session beer night.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought a sixer of these over. A tasty beer, if not the most exciting thing ever brewed. Amber color with a smallish head and fairly weak lacing. Nose and flavor are fairly well balanced, fruity and some cookies and caramel malt. Nice. Body is fine, appropriate for the style. Better than the other Starr Hill efforts I've tried.

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Photo of Dave1999
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light orange colour with a thin white head.

Smells of sweet malts not especially strong.

The taste is pretty sweet can taste the malts and even a bit of alcohol. A strong flavour, some caramel and fruits, berries and prunes.

Feels nice on the mouth well carbonated and refreshing.

I haven't tried this style of beer before and thought it was pretty good. Maybe a bit of the sweet side though.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Casbah Cafe in straight-edged glass

A: clear copper, good carb action; creamy, thin head; good lacing
S: pleasant, light aroma; malty
T: not sweet; not very hoppy; lighter form of a bock--bass notes missing
M: foamy, light

Not bad; far better than some of the others I've had from this brewery.

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The Gift (WinterBock Lager) from Starr Hill Brewery
3.61 out of 5 based on 149 ratings.
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