The Gift (WinterBock Lager) | Starr Hill Brewery

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The Gift (WinterBock Lager)The Gift (WinterBock Lager)
148 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 66
Photo of thatguy3579
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, orange, little head, steady beads of carbonation rising to the top.

S: Smells crisp - grassy hops and cracker sweetness.

T: Surprising hit of flavor up front. Grassy with light cracker sweetness, with mild lingering tart.

M: Lots of carbonation, and decent body for a lager.

D: Tasty but light. Not a bad brew.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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 WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears honey golden with white frothing head fine speckled lacing left unevenly. Aroma sweet tart apples with hints of honey and biscuit malt sweetness. Herbal hops are minimal but evident. Flavors hit the sides of the palate with the sweetness, juicy fruit and honey tones. Ripened apples, spicy herbal background. Mouthfeel is medium bodied a bit of residual sugars could become cloying at times. Carbonation is soft even goes down easily. Drinkability overall is something I will look forward to each winter season, nice to see a Maibock that early in the season.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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 Onenote81
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
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 beer2day
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 Clydesdale
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
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 afausser
4.22/5  rDev +19.5%
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 ktrillionaire
4.47/5  rDev +26.6%
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 dirtylou
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 soupyman10
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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 advill88
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear auburn gold with great carbonation that leads to a solid head. A veggie-hop like smell, pils-like, with hints of sweet malt. Nice, clean, smooth, light; passes with a hoppy bitterness and some minor malty sweetness. Good finish to an alright beer.

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Photo of unclejimbay
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Gift (WinterBock Lager)
Starr Hill Brewery
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV: 6.50 %
reviewed 11/17/09, thanks for SR of AB Craft for the Starr Hill samples...

Appereance has a solid 2 finger head with lace collar, dark honey in color.
Smell is light aromas of malt and spices.
Taste reminds me of a Yeungling amber-like Lager, lightly malty, semi sweet with a dash of spicy character sneaks in.
Mouthfeel is light-medium body, with medium to high carbonation.
Drinkability is acceptable for the style, but not my preference to date.

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Photo of argock
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
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 BillyBroas
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearence - dense. tight 2 finger head. Somewhat hazy bronze color. Very active carbonation

Aroma is grainy malt, crisp hop presence, and a little corn-like scent reminiscent of american light lagers.

My first reaction is that this has a very pleasant mouthfeel. Very creamy and soft, it coats every part of the mouth. The taste is fairly subdued. No dominating flavor at all. There's some toasted malt action, and some light fruits, but nothing crazy. The strongest flavor is the crisp hop bite at the end, which results in a very dry finish.

This is a great session beer even at 6%. Very simple, but highly refreshing and drinkable. Plus it is brewed right down the road from me, which rocks.

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
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 chilly460
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
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 blackie
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: deep honey-amber in color with a light head

s: cleanly sweet, malty nose, various lighter fruits, herbal noble hops

m: low-medium carbonation and a medium body, a bit flat and dull on the tongue

t: malts of slightly higher potency than your standard german lager with a light honeyed barley sweetness, light fruits, barley lingers with a crisp herbal and dried citrus finish

d: a simple yet flavorful malty lager, easy drinkability

pint at Taphouse on Queensway, Hampton, VA

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Photo of soupermirl
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 TheMistler
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brighter and lighter than I expected, this pours a clear orange / amber. What started off as millet-y, "sequestered" bubble head (a pinky of two) becomes a creamy cap. Pretty good retention, also pretty good lacing. Lots of CO2 comin' up the sides, continuously.

Grain malt on the nose, somewhat muted, befitting a lager. I think I detect some light hop citrus as well.

Sweet and "firm," grain malts intermingle on the palate. This is not an un-spicy bock, but everything is well balanced. Roasted characteristics, and even hints of smokiness left on the palate. Some grass notes.

Crisp, light to medium in body. Very drinkable.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
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 Bierman9
3.98/5  rDev +12.7%
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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The Gift (WinterBock Lager) from Starr Hill Brewery
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 148 ratings