The Gift (WinterBock Lager) | Starr Hill Brewery

148 Ratings
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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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 66
Photo of wowbagger
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, pretty yellow. Thick head dissipates quickly. There are a number of flavors going on here. A little spice, a little sweet, some nutmeggy notes. It's both a blessing and a curse then that these flavors are very well balanced, so that it goes together well but also makes it difficult to detect any one. It finishes sweet and lingers.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass. Best before April 2012.

A: Very short-lived head fizzes out atop a honey-golden beer that has light bubbles floating through it. Pellucid.

S: It smells almost spiced amidst the sweetness and light grain.

T/M: Tasty, if lagery and light. A beery sweetness isn't entirely pleasant, but only due to the grain. The mouthfeel is gentle and mostly smooth, but with a bit of carbonated kick. The aftertaste hints at fruit without quite managing to bring it to the fore. Oh well.

O: While this particular experience was mediocre, I know for a fact this is a great beer, even from the bottle. I bought four cases in one go when they went on sale and regretted it only slightly. Definitely recommended. It does not taste near its strength and is likely to be popular even with non 'beer geeks.'

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Photo of hyoung41
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of nh2032
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Barrchon
5/5  rDev +38.5%

Photo of cfinch2
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of droomyster
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a honeyish amber colored body with a small white head. Aromas are predominantly toasty with a good amount of brown sugary sweetness and noticeable alcohol. Hops are minimal. Taste reminiscent of a pancakes and syrup, with a big toastiness. Full bodied with a warmi alcohol finish. Not really my cup of tea, but I can appreciate why a lot of people like it.

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Photo of WMEugene
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sweet and simple pale bock.

Nice pale amber in the glass and a better head and mouthfeel than many. Clean and very drinkable. Fruity malt bomb flavors at first slurp. Pleasant nose of wintergreen and malt. Some sugary flavors that keep it from being really drinkable. A touch of hops but definitely the Maibock style.

Creamy and pleasant for a few sips, but perfumey flavor gets old. A little hot, a little touch of soapiness. Not one for a big glassful.

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

Nice, somewhat orange in appearance. Some floaters going on in there. Malty, mild sulfur aroma. Decent malt flavor with enough hops to be noticed. Sulfury, bready with a mild lingering sweetness. Decent body-the malty sweetness really tends to hold this together. A decent enough beer. Maybe a tad to sulfury and yeasty-could be cleaner for my liking. Still worth a try.

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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 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 Mosstrooper
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into 400ml Radeberger seidel.

Appearance: Golden color with a large off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves behind a few tiny spots of lace.

Smell: Citrusy hop aromas with some alcoholic notes.

Taste: Begins citric with a bit of a buttery flavor, rounding out to sweet butteriness and finishing with some more citrus and a slight banana note alongside some bittersweet alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lighter carbonation and a slightly alcoholic finish.

Drinkability: A fairly good brew overall, but nothing great. I would enjoy drinking this brew again, but I don't think I would necessarily get too excited about it.

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Photo of goldbot
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchase before July 2011 notched on the label. Pours hazy copper, medium off-white head. Good head retention with a bit of lacing. Aroma is muted malt, bready with a touch of floral hops. Some more floral hop flavor up front, changing quickly to an intensely nutty, bready malt flavor. Not entirely pleasant actually. Some chocolate but lots of nutty flavor. On the sweet side, medium bodied.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): pours a hazy amber orange with a foamy, off-white head. Decent head retention. The nose has notes of citrus, grass, wet paper, a bit of hay, and green apple. The flavor profile is light with notes of bread, a subtle fruity-honey sweetness, a bit of dough, and a slight earthiness. Not much in the way of bitterness. Medium to rich body that coats the mouth. The carbonation is minimal and soft. The finish is medium with a sort of odd maltiness lingering.

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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 mmmbeer
2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. twist-off longneck with clearly marked freshness date. Brewed with two-row, Munich, pilsner and caramel malts; hopped to 25 IBUs with Hallertau, and fermented with German lager yeast. Pours a nice amber color, fairly clear, with lots of carbonation and an off-white head that reduces to a dense cap and leaves a bit of lacing. Smells malty and toasty, with a few hop notes and yeast artifacts, and some distracting DMS. The flavor follows through, lightly sweet and bitter, with a breath of ethanol and some vegetal tones on top of a dry, highly-carbonated, moreish body. Definitely some off flavors on this one. It's a few months past the best-by date, but it isn't even a year old, and a beer like this should last at least as long fairly intact. However, the sulfury flavors don't necessarily develop during aging so it may have tasted like this from the get-go. I'd pass on this one.

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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 mattsdenney
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into NB globe glass.

A: Slightly cloudy amber/dark orange in color. One finger of head with moderate lacing and retention.

S: Smells sweet, slightly bready and malty.

T: Malty with tastes of honey, spices, and some dried fruit. Good flavor. Not sure what makes it a "WinterBock". Marketing I guess.

M: Medium body, not too light, not too heavy. Moderate carbonation.

D: A nice tasting bock that has high drinkability at any time of the year. The ABV is just right.

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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 dlmccabe1
3.17/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I didn't love this beer. It's a darker straw color, but I'd put it just shy of golden. The aroma put off a little bit of banana and I also felt like there was a tinge of Belgian yeastiness or bready notes. The taste was a bit too sweet for my liking. The flavors were dominated by sweetness and I thought it could use a touch more of the noble hop to balance it out. It was close to a nice clean lager flavor, but not quite there.

I realize that a slightly heftier malt bill with additional sweetness is probably what makes this a winter appropriate lager, but it seemed slightly out of balance to me.

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Photo of sommersb
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce brown bottle with a best before date of May, 2011 poured into a nonic pint glass

Appearance is a clear, golden color with a creamy 2-finger off-white head. Little to no lacing. I get a lot of bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass.

The smell is fairly muted - malt aromas with some unidentified spices plus a small amount of hop aroma.

Taste is a clean lager with moderate malt sweetness balanced with a low amount of bitterness. More bitterness than with other bocks, which is expected from this style. I also get some nice alcohol warming. I think the taste improved as the beer warmed up to room temperatures.

Mouthfeel has a moderate amount of carbonation with a dry, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability is good. This is an unusual choice it seems for a winter offering, given that the style is of a spring beer, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Appearance: Pours a pale golden color with brownish edges. Has a small, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

Smell: Has a faint, biscuity, grainy smell backed by a bit of sweet maltiness.

Taste: Nicely hopped throughout. Has a biscuity, grainy flavor backed by a bit of sweet maltiness at the back. Pretty typical bock territory here.

Mouthfeel: Has that crisp, lager feel to it.

Drinkability: A pretty average bock. Nothing great but nothing offensive. An interesting choice for a winter seasonal but still pretty tasty.

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

A: A decent slightly cloudy golden color with a lace of white head.
S: Malty sweet aroma with hints of cinnamon and all spice. Slightly bready.
T: Nice crisp malty flavor that finishes with a bready flavor that has a good spicy kick to it.
D/M: Very simple drinkable bock beer. Doesn't overwhelm the palate with spice but lacks a lot of the strong body that you would want with this kind of beer. Surprising but nothing too extreme

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Photo of kneeland
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I like Starr Hill's beers, and I like winter lagers. So I was excited when I found this on tap.

It was a nice copper golden color, with a pretty good head. It stuck around long enough.

Definitely had the traditional winter taste. Flavored with wheat, hops, grass, the mouthfeel was excellent.

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The Gift (WinterBock Lager) from Starr Hill Brewery
3.61 out of 5 based on 148 ratings.
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