Monticello Reserve Ale
Starr Hill Brewery

Monticello Reserve AleMonticello Reserve Ale
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Pale Wheat Ale
Ranked #481
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
79
Ranked #44,135
Avg:
3.45 | pDev: 14.2%
Reviews:
28
Ratings:
91
From:
Starr Hill Brewery
 
Virginia, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  1
Gots
  11
SCORE
79
Okay
Monticello Reserve AleMonticello Reserve Ale
Notes:
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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 91
Reviews by maxwellboh:
Photo of maxwellboh
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Living in Charlottesville I am partial to TJ's home brew. Since its first availability I have shared a bottle (750ml) almost every month with someone. Yes the appearance is exactly the appearance of an adjunct pale ale, straw color, minimal lacing and lots of carbonation. The smell is of rising wheat bread with a touch of coriander. And you can envision TJ brewing this in the kitchen below the house at Monticello. The taste is summertime but drinkable year round. Lemon, floral, orange all come to mind. With a mouthfeel of smooth crisp carbonation this is a beer that is only disappointing when the bottle is empty.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of jdhilt
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a five+ finger off-white head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Light lemon wheat nose and flavor is tart lemon and wheat with a dry tart finish. Not worth $12.95 for a 750ml bottle from Monticello Gift Shop Charlottesville, VA.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This 750ml bottle was a gift from old "bro" Artied2. No freshness dating and/or bottling info found on the bottle.

Poured about 2/3s of the container into a nonic pint glass. It is a pale golden color, clear throughout, with very little carbo or head to be found. Aroma has tart, sourish notes, along with some crisp wheaty qualities. Given the paucity of carbo, the smoothness is not surprising, but it is a touch thinner than medium.

The flavor has some wheat right off, dry and crisp. Citrus shows up, with light rindiness and hints of green apple. The sweetness, attributed by the brewer to the corn in the recipe, seems more honeyish to me. Was a little put-off at the start, but this is growing on me the more I drink, albeit by small increments. Not bad, but I reckon the palate 200 years ago was a bit less discerning and selective. Prosit!!!

3.3/5 rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1482

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Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think of Hillary Clinton hmmm....nevermind sorry.Pours into a large tulip glass a light lemon color with a bone white head atop.Mainly toasted grain on the nose with some tart lemon.Flavors are lightly tart with a bit of butteriness,toasted grain in the aftertaste.It's ok and I know something mind blowing isn't gonna be sold at the Monticello gift shop but TH was a brewer,take a recipe from him and sell it.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.32/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Starr Hill "Monticello Reserve Ale"
25.4 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, no freshness dating
$12.95 @ Monticello

Based on the brightness of the aromas and flavors I'm tasting, this beer is clearly still being brewed (although currently listed as "retired" on BA).

It pours a hazy light straw-gold body beneath a finger-thick head of bright white foam that holds fairly well before dropping to an average collar and whispy surface covering. Broken sheets of lace are left behind, branching out into wide splashes and smaller patches of tiny spots - quite nice!

The aroma is quite surprising. It displays a herbal and floral character that goes well beyond the wheat, corn, and East Kent Goldings that supposedly make it up, including notes of lemon, crushed granite, coriander seed, mint, grass, lavender, and spice. Perhaps it's coming from the yeast? Or perhaps not.

The flavor follows suit but without any real lemon (it's not tart), and with the addition of some more mineralish, earthy, and leafy character. The wheat is clear, and along with the grassy spiciness (very much like coriander seed) it's almost like rye. A firm bitterness lies beneath it, and it finishes dry and spicy/grassy/woody with a touch of crushed granite and some earthy, wet and trodden leaves.

I'm wondering if Starr Hill has changed the recipe since they first brewed this in 2011 as it's really a fairly complex beer, despite the fact that it initially appears as a delicate, basically light, golden wheat ale.

I'm not sure what I paid for this (although I'm sure it was at a premium as it came from the gift shop at Monticello), but I'd gladly buy it again at even $20 per bottle. Charming and unique!

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Photo of Zraly
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pale gold with a two finger, white head. Subtle notes of grain and wheat husk.

Predominate note is wheat with a touch corn. Interesting finish with a toasted coconut and marshmallow flavor. Hints of citrus along with the wheat note. Hops are hidden and if a bit more present, this ale would be much more balanced and the powdery finish would be rounded out. Fairly light-bodied, easy to drink.

Interesting coming from notes kept by Thomas Jefferson. I'd highly recommend this as a session ale (if fresh and on tap) with some good southern BBQ.

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Photo of mentor
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin layer of sticky off-white head over a slightly cloudy light straw colored liquid. Looks like a cloudy American Premium Lager, but the head is more sticky. Smells mild overall. Lemon and sweet-tart, wheat and earthy. Oranges from hops and a woody character like English hops.

Tastes crisp, with a zing a a lemony tartness. The crisp comes across like a czech pils, spicy noble hop, though not quite the tin-like flavor associated with Saaz hops. The lemony sharp is not sour like I'd expect from a lacto ferment, though there may have been a short sour mash. Flavors are metallic, lemon, drying woody, herbal, rye bite. Cottony and woody in the mouth. Not much wheat character to this one.

Light in the mouth with heavy sharp carbonation. This strikes me as a summer quencher.

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Photo of DrJay
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of 67cuda
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of rootbeerman
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clear initially but a hefeweizen like swirl of the bottle turns this into a cloudy yellow beer. With a finger or so of white, lightly frothy head. Head does lace in large chunks.
S: a slight yeast spice with very obvious wheat and light corn.
T: mostly a light citrus with wheat malt and corn.
M: not thick, but not thin either. OK carbonation
O: I do like historic beer recipes regardless of the ingredients used.

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Photo of depechemode1983
3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a slightly cloudy golden wheat color. Head is white, frothy and very thick with excellent retention. Lacing is minimal and randomly sectioned.

S - Soft delicate nose. Some soft wheat. Candy surgar and sweet milk with distant floral hops. Actually fairly complex when you dig deep.

T - Sweet and lots of caramel flavors. Just a mild hop bitterness coupled with some maple syrup flavors. Finish is mostly clean with a slight bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied. Soft and with mild carbonation.

O - I dig it. Nothing special but not a bad beer. Happy to give it a shot.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml poured into pint glass

A: Poured golden orange in color and cloudy. About 1 1/2 fingers worth of white foamy head.. nice lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Strange mix of wheat with a little citrus, yeast, malt and a hint of hops. Little Wit little Pale Ale... Smells pretty good.

T: Just like the smell.... Everything I love about wheat beer and pale ales is here in the taste.. Notes of wheat, citrus, a mild earthiness, followed by slight hoppyness. Finish is clean and smooth.

M: The beer is light but smooth. Good carbonation it fits this style very nicely.

D: Very drinkable beer here.... Starr Hill has produced a great beer based on a Thomas Jefferson recipe.... So you get an idea of beer from another time... Could be a great session beer, but I think this maybe a limited run.. Next time I'm in Charlottesville I will grabbing another one of these. Another good beer from the fine folks at Starr Hill.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Interesting little beer. Reminded me of Yards Tavern Ale in Jefferson origin and pale, golden-ish color only. This was a much different brew. Yellow-gold and fairly clear, with a curiously fleeting head (considering the touting of its wheat-ness), it had a snappy, almost ginger and lemon zest zip to it. Fairly light-bodied and I felt it was a fortunate choice to compliment the flavors of and cut through the greasiness of the plumped-up, American-style Banh Mi I ordered with it. It did the job well, despite packing more burpy, nearly soda-pop carbonation than I would've liked.

On a side note - I loved how the tap handle had a drawing of Monticello on it, yet they felt the need to affix a beefed-up, Monopoly-style, 3D model of Monticello atop the handle - just odd, yet highly amusing to me...

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of axman
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of SLeffler27
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of billab914
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a pale golden color with a modest, frothy white head covering the top. The head faded rather quickly.

The aroma has a lot of pale, grainy malts and corn to it. I get some crisp, slightly fruity, grape like flavors to it as well as some some tart, zesty lemon. Decent aroma for the style.

The taste shows zesty lemon, crisp fruits, pale grainy malts and some bready wheat flavors to it. It's pretty light, crisp and easy drinking.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall it was a decent beer, but didn't really stand out in any category for me.

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Photo of papajohn56
2/5  rDev -42%

Photo of cwd
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Gatordaddy
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/22/11
*From notes

This bottle was purchased at the Monticello gift shop where from what I understand, is the only place you can get it.

A: It looks like a pale Martzen. Slightly hazy, though it does appear to be at least somewhat filtered. A good pour yields a big, 2.5 finger pale white head and quality lacing.

S: Molasses and honey, with heavy yeasty wheat and lemony acid.

T: Extreme amounts of clarified butter. A heavy dose of liquid smoke and lemon scone. Hardly a trace of hops. This is a different brew to be sure, as I can't even begin to think of another beer to compare it to.

M: Oily as hell, though it really does suit the beer well.

O: Such a unique, "old timey" brew. Starr Hill's Monticello Reserve is incomparable and unclassifiable. It's also one of the best beers that Starr Hill has ever produced. If you're visiting Charlottesville, be sure to stop by Monticello and pick up a bottle, as it's absolutely worth quaffing this piece of brewing history.

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Photo of seanchai
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of PreacherBrewer
3.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Capped 750ml purchased from the brewery. This beer is only available at Star Hill Brewery in Cozet, VA or at Monticello. No ABV% labeled on bottle. No freshness dating of any kind.

A - Pours a hazy golden color with a generous white head. Looks intriguing.

S - Earthy and grassy, as well as citrusy. More nose than expected on this one. Makes you want to dive right in and taste.

T - Notes of wheat, grain, lemon & citrus, a mild earthiness, followed by a slight corn sweetness.

M - Light and smooth. Nice ticklish carbonation fits in nicely.

D - This brew impressed me. I wasn't expecting much from Star Hill since i've been very underwhelmed in the past. They've managed to produce a very tasty session beer. It has flavor, and character. I really hope this beer means that they are making changes and are starting to move in a better direction. Assuming they can stay consistent in the production, It should rightfully take its place as a truly unique and truly "Charlottesville" beer. Good job Star Hill. Bravo.

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Photo of lillitnn92
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%

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Monticello Reserve Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 91 ratings