Grateful Pale Ale | Starr Hill Brewery

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59 Reviews
Grateful Pale AleGrateful Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Virginia, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
A strong citrusy, resinous aroma from the hops leads into a light body with subtle malt flavor.

Added by TheBigBoy on 04-10-2013

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 417
Photo of godlessape
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Samuel Smith Nonic. The body is light gold--almost as light as your average American lager. The head is white and thin and simmers down to a wee skim.
The aroma is intense with a combo of lemon, peach, raw cigarette tobacco, and white sugar. Nice.
The taste is everything above, finishing with a not so subtle, tiger out of the cage, hop bite.
This is right up there with all the great APA's. I hope this brewery expands to the point that they can market this brew in 12 packs as soon as possible.

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Photo of Byrnie-madoff
4.41/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer is perfect if you like tasteful simplicity. 100% pilsner malt gives it that classic crisp, clean slight biscuity malt character. The hop character is all floral grassy grapefruit-like resin. Perfect.

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Photo of MerkinMan
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Light gold and exceedingly clear. White frothy head with some staying power.

S: Citrus hops up front with a light pine / minty quality as well. Light cracker-like malt aroma in the back that is slightly husky rustic grainy. Some very faint fruity (peachy) esters, but way in the back.

T: Citrus and other fruit hop flavors up front followed by great balance with bready malt flavors (bread crust). Finish is bitter -- more reminiscent of a British bitter than an American pale ale. Finish is quite long with lingering bitterness. Very well balanced with the slight tip (aftertaste) toward hop bitterness. Fruity esters are restrained, but there (peachy, slightly apple-like). No diacetyl or DMS in the flavor.

MF: Medium light bodied, medium carbonation. Somewhat creamy with no alcohol heat. Slightly prickly on the tongue, but nicely so. Refreshing / quenching.

O: A great example of a straightforward-not-trying-to-kick-your-ass-or-melt-your-damn-face-off-your-frickin-skull pale ale. There needs to be more beers like this on the market. Highly drinkable, flavorful, and refreshing. I will keep coming back.

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Photo of Tim-reed
4.29/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

great pale ale here., start with a nice golden to amber color , hoppy aroma with citrus , wonderful blend of citrus with a bite of hopp afterbite that leaves you satsified and refreshed . smooth and yet dry finish . over all nice brew

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Photo of SliceofKimbo
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently rediscovered this beer, as it is readily available in Northern Virginia, but I had not sampled it for a few years. I don't know if I didn't give it a sufficient evaluation previously, if the recipe has been tweaked, or maybe my palate has shifted. Regardless, Grateful Pale Ale has become one of my go to selections. It has a really bright nose and despite its very sessionable ABV level, the taste holds up and isn't thin like a few of its IPA cousins offered by other breweries. Very easy drinking, very balanced and overall one that deserves recognition and recommendation.

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Photo of slusk
4.06/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a clear golden with a nice dense white head.

S: Floral hops up front with a bit of pine and grapefruit. Some mild citrus. Nice malt in the background

T: Nice floral hops and some grapefruit. A wee bit of caramel comes through in the malt profile. Nice balance, decent bitterness but not too far ahead of the malt.

F: Light body, moderate carbonation

O: Nice beer. Clean flavors, good floral hop presence with a decent but slightly weak malt backbone. Overall a good clean, crisp, drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of holtonwes
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft into a pint glass. Golden with an offwhite head, about two fingers. great retention and lacing. Smell was piney with a bit of ripe citrus or pineapple. Taste was more even of the same. Hops up front, peach or pineapple in the middle, and then more hop\orange zest bitterness at the finish. Juicy and delicious.

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Photo of Mantooth
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a cask at Duckworth's, Huntersville, NC, into an American pint glass.

Pours cloudy and golden with a viscous head and thick sticky lacing. There's a lot to like here, loads of piney citrus notes from the hops please both the nose and the mouth. There are also notes of bread, green tea and hints of onion. No idea how this compares to the kegged version, but this is a damn nice and creamy brew I could drink all day. I highly recommend you try this if you see it.

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Photo of citizencane
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A very good pale ale. Some fruit, some pine, and it blends together with a good mouthfeel to make a damn good beer. Mikeller Better Half takes piney and fruity flavors and blends them well; this takes them, blends them well, and adds a thirst-quenching not cloying mouthfeel. Would drink again, especially considering I love pale ales.

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Photo of everythingiszen
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Doesn't go overboard with the hops like some pales I could mention (looking at you, Sierra Nevada!). Solid pale, a great buy at the 7-11 around the corner.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed the winter variety pack by Starr Hill and this nice Grateful Pale Ale was among them. It sports a mild 4.7% ABV and is delicious.

Look-It pours a light golden yellow with a rich white head and sparse moist lacing on the glass.

Smell-It smells strongly of apricot and orange marmalade and some orchids. I get a touch of lemon peel zest and some Valencia oranges and maybe a tinge of honey suckle.

Taste-It tastes of floral hops and citrus delight much like the nose indicated: Valencia orange, orange marmalade, and apricot as well as lemon peel zest. The malts balance nicely the hoppiness which is mild and the alcohol is more noticeable than I would expect from a weak 4.7% brew.

Mouthfeel-The mouthfeel is smooth and moist as well as clean and crisp. It leaves a mild coating of hop oils on the tongue that are accompanied by the citrus flavors.

Overall-It has a slightly weak malt backbone which I think is nice, because it allows the relatively mild hop component to be more noticeable. This pale ale is refreshing and crisp and I was quite surprised by the flavor quality in this one. Great job, Starr Hill!

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pale yellow color with great clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Citrus, caramel, floral, earthy, grassy, and pine.

Taste: Same as above. Hops blend well with the light caramel malts. Nice tingly bitterness on the palate too.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, a little dry, low to medium carbonation, and a smooth drinking beer.

Overall: Pretty solid APA. Happy to have tried this at a beer tasting while attending a wedding in Harrisonburg, VA.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.99/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starr Hill "Grateful Pale Ale"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "PKG ON 03/10/15A"

What's to say here? It's a standard American Pale Ale with a good appearance, a slightly richer than usual malt base, and bright citrusy hops. The hops are fuller in the aroma than they are in the flavor, which is well-balanced and rounded to emphasis the lightly sweet grainy and biscuity malt. If there's any drawback it's that the head retention and lacing could be better, otherwise it's solidly drinkable and satiating. Nicely done.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.96/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #77 (June 2013):

LOOK: Bright clear gold, excellent head

SMELL: Piney, orange peel, blond tobacco, parsley, faint green onion, light resin, crackers

TASTE: Very crisp, hop resin, bread crust, hop oil, herbal, earthy, minty, lighter bodied, dry, ample hop bitterness, lychee fruit, green tea, faintly spicy, long-lasting hop finish

Hopping ranges from old school to popular, far-away to the usual, with the additions of Chinook, Centennial, Topaz and Cascade. A very sessionable APA for the hopheads; a whole lot of fun knocking this one back. Starr Hill should think about making this a year-round option.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep brass to bronze color, sparkling and crystal clear with some fast rising thin carbonation. Head is fluffy white bleach and bright, with some little bit of peak and valley retention. Settles slowly to an easy half finger tall head.

Good solid nose. Some hints of crispness, but some sweet faint caramel and lots of light toasty brown sugar. Very nice hop angle on this, hinting of citrus and a nice oily sensation. There's a little bit of muddy character though, but it doesn't detract too badly.

Palate hits the right notes. Very nice balanced between sweet malt and citrus hops. There's a tight palate to this on the feel with some sharp carbonation but it's not distracting. Giant minty hop finish and aftertaste mixing with some pine like bitterness. Good malt sweet backbone compliments nicely on the swallow bringing the brown sugar sensations.

Overall this is probably the most pleasant beer I've had from this brewery.

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Photo of ordybill
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Had a mix of hops and citrus, pretty good smelling.
Appearance- A clear yellow/orange with a small whitehead.
Taste- Has that citrus note mixed with hops, and a small biscuit flavor tossed in.
Palate- A light to medium bodied brew with medium carbonation.
Overall- A good beer, I enjoyed it and would drink it again.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3/19/13. Printed very boldly and clearly on the neck, so kudos to them for that. I always appreciate knowing the freshness of the beer I'm drinking. Also, it's a twist off! Not that that means anything. Poured into a tasting glass.

Grateful Pale Ale appears to have a pale gold body with decent clarity. The head is white and does an excellent job of leaving a trail of lacing all over the glass.

I can smell the hops from a mile away, and this beer is what? Five months old? Pretty amazed by this aroma. Notes of dank weed, pine sap, and bitter grapefruit all come to mind. Pretty dry underneath all that, so I'm not sure what to expect on the malt front. Appetizing hop aroma for sure though, and really fits the style profile.

Taste wise, it is very much in line with the aroma. Nothing too strong, as the body is light and dry, and the malts are extremely light, so the hops are allowed to steal the show. However, the bitterness is moderate for a beer that leans so much on its hops for its character. The flavor is also of piney hops, and the finish is a wonderfully balanced, smooth and dry hoppy end to this beer.

Very refreshing, and quite a treat for the hop lover. A nice departure from what I feel is the norm for APA's, and I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone as a great, cheap option for a quick, delicious hop fix. Love this!

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into 16-oz plastic cup (hey, I was at a ball game). Pours a clear goldish-amber with a modest white head. Initial impression is pine, citrus, and grapefruit rind. Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Pine resin lingers in the finish. Quite easy to drink and a good choice for a session IPA. I would definitely try it again.

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Photo of vabeerguy
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. A nice golden color. Floral hop smell and taste. A very easy to drink beer. Its low ABV makes it a contender with many of the low ABV IPAs and APAs on the market.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is crystal clear, pale, copper-gold coloring with a low profile, foamy, white head and very decent cling and lacing on the glass. Aromas of toasted grains, subtle pine pitch, wet grass, highlights of grapefruit, and subtle pepper spice. Flavors are fruity forward, with some tropical fruit notes joining the grapefruit, as well as grassy and piney hops notes, some sugary sweetness, and an herbal blend highlight towards the end of the palate. The body is light and smooth, with a dry, crisp foundation. The aftertaste is very vegetal, with grassy and piney hops and only a hint of citrus sweet. The finish is dry, crisp, and slightly effervesced. Solid brew. Very refreshing and highly drinkable.

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Photo of Pantalones
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second bottle of this one from the Loadout variety pack--I figured since I have three of each I'll be trying each one twice before doing a review. Bottling date is December 17th of 2014. Pours a light golden color; head foams up a good bit at first, but I'm able to keep it all (just barely!) in one glass by slowing down my pour a bit afterward. Beer is golden in color, fairly light and definitely clear (little bubbles can be clearly seen rising up from the bottom.) As the head recedes it leaves scattered trails around the edge of the glass. Looks pretty nice!

Smell is pretty much all hops. Not incredibly strong (I can smell the hops from several inches directly above the glass, but not from a foot away like with an IPA, or even a few inches away like more intensely hoppy pale ales) but definitely present--they're of the piney and citrusy variety (and while most of the hoppy beers I've had so far have been described as pine/citrus by others, here I'm actually picking up a nice little bit of "almost like lemon cleaning spray" citrusy-ness, rather than pure pine.)

Taste is similar, with the hops (piney and a bit of citrus) being the primary flavor here. A bit of bitterness near the end but far, far from IPA-strength levels... just enough to let you know that yep, hops add bitterness. Sometimes I'm picking up a bit of the breadiness from the malt on the end, too. Hop flavors don't seem quite as strong as in the other fresh pale ale I've had (Sweetwater 420), but this is definitely still a beer that leans to the hoppy side. Seems like the flavor comes out more as it warms up a little bit. I think I would like this more if the citrusy element of the hops came out more, but the fact that it's present at all (vs. pine, "maybe vague fruit," and occasional mint in other hoppy beers I've had before) is a plus. Another important note: like other pale ales I've had, this goes nicely with spicy and greasy food (in this case, a pizza)--neither the food or beer seem to have their flavors affected negatively by the other, which is great for a beer you're having with food.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice as well. Goes down pretty easy, just a tad bit of prickliness from the carbonation and bitter-feeling from the hops, doesn't feel watery or too thin at all but at the same time doesn't feel heavy or thick either.

Overall, this is pretty good. I think I would've liked the citrusy element of the hops to be a bit stronger, maybe edging out the pine as the primary flavor--I really like the citrus-like flavor in beer and while it's a nice change that I can pick it up in this one at all, it kind of leaves me wanting a bit more of it. Still, I enjoyed the beer as it is and will gladly drink the other bottle of it left in that variety pack!

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Photo of argock
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Bottled on 04/26/13 emblazoned cleared on neck above label. 6-pack purchased at Market Street WIneshop (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very light golden, excellent clarity, with 1-finger off-white frothy head with decent retention and a moderate cuff of lace.

S: American hops with a lot of lemon, grapefruit, orange, and melon with some pine resin dominate. THe malt component of the aroma is small with a little graininess but otherwise not a while lot else going on.

T: Very good delivery vehicle for citrus, pine, and honeysuckle hops flavors. They come through with a nice light malt base, just a touch of light caramel and a little more roasted grain, almost like they used pale ale malt rather than 2-row. Moderate bitterness but well-balanced for the light nature of this session beer. No significant yeast esters -- clean and drinkable.

M: The body is appropriately light-medium with a little too much carbonation for my taste but not way off either. Good solid dry finish helps keep this very drinkable.

O: A really nice summer session APA with a manageable ABV and a good splash of fruity American hoppiness. Definitely is one of the more solid beers from Starr Hill -- is a nice cousin to Northern LIghts and I think I enjoy Grateful a little more due to the more subdued caramel malt sweetness.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clean golden-amber, with a thick, frothy 2 fingers of head. Beautiful and detailed lace.

Nose is nice herbal and floral hops. Inviting.

Taste is well-hopped, but it's not an overwhelming nor bitter hops character. This one is nicely balanced with plenty of malt presence.

The body is medium to heavy, and this is a solid and enjoyable pale ale. Well-done!

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Photo of Jmalpha1
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

I find this to be my go-to beer when I go to the store. If there's nothing else that peaks my interest or that I want to try, I end up with a six-pack of this and then I wonder why I didn't get it in the first place! Super crisp and clean tasting. Very grassy, which was a little new to me at first but I found that I really liked it.

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Photo of KChristie87
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

For a Pale Ale, this beer is fantastic. Darker golden brown in color. Smell is phenomenal for a pale ale. Gives off some fruit and pine. Tastes great! A bit of bitterness with a crisp clean feeling goes a long way to make this beer one of the better pale ales I've had.

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Grateful Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 417 ratings.
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