SynergyXJ (510) - Blacksburg, Virginia, USA - JAN 14, 2007
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Draught Black pour with supprisingly light head. Light aroma, roasted malts, nothing much. Very light body, thin. Iím not terribly impressed.
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 7, 2006
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: MAY 17, 2009 On tap at the brewery on 05/09/2009. Clear dark brown body with ruby highlights and a medium creamy tan head. Sweet roast, chocolate and coffee aroma with fruity hints. Roast, coffee, and light fruity flavor. Medium light body with moderate carbonation, but a bit watery. 7/4/5/2/11 - 2.9
On tap at Devils Backbone on 01/17/2009. Clear dark black body with ruby highlights and a medium creamy tan head. Big chocolate and vanilla aroma with some coffee and roast. Coffee and chocolate flavor with some vanilla hints. Medium full body with moderate carbonation. 7/4/8/4/14 - 3.7
11/07/2006: Dark black body with a large creamy light brown head. Roasted malt, chocolate and some coffee aroma. Dark chocolate and a bit of coffee flavor. 6/5/7/4/14 - 3.6
alexanderj (3398) - Branson, Missouri, USA - SEP 21, 2006
3.7 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
On draught, Sept 2006. A nice thick head. Dark black/brown. Smell was not very strong. Aroma only of light chocolate. Taste was very smooth. Very creamy state. Standout flavors were chocolate, smoky, and caramel. Very good after taste. Not a strong hop presence. Very enjoyable.
bubbleflubber (1935) - Asheville, North Carolina, USA - JUL 19, 2006
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draught from the brewer. Pours almost opaque into the glass, with a medium head and thin-froth retention. Tiny amounts of choco roasts to the nose, which immediately transfer into the flavor. Along with these, I pick up a definitive raspberry on the tongue, along with intermixed smoke and tartness. The mouthfeel is very creamy, which is nice, but the finish brings on a weird tart hop that contrasts the milky palate. Interesting take on the stout, but minus the weird finish, it could be one of the better in its class. (Donít get me wrong, making a dry stout is honorable, but this just went a bit astray for achieving the "dry" character.)
hellomynameis (876) - Mayer, Minnesota, USA - APR 11, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 16/20
Fluffy thick nitrogen induced head. Dark, but not quite black. Dark roast coffee note with a mostly chocolate/smoke/roasted flavour. Not a hugely bitter beer, but a nice intro of hops helps make this beer good.
can8ianben (1387) - State College, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 12, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Good, full of dark complexity, itís got some very strong bittering notes, very smoky and rich, well balenced, maybe a little watery. Itís milky in consistancy, was served on tap at star hill, maybe a little too cold.
hershiser2 (1328) - Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - JAN 26, 2006
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: FEB 11, 2013 NOTE: my original rating was a 4.5 overall. That was from before Starr Hill moved out of Charlottesville and the quality dropped tremendously. Old review is below:
Draft at Blue Light, Charlottesville, VA. Black, thick, and only a dusting of a head. Aromas of roasted nutty malts, caramel, coffee, and chocolates. Flavor is striking: light chocolates, nuttiness, caramel, and toffee. Finishes nice and smooth. Reminds me a tiny bit of the Buckeye Vanilla Porter, without the vanilla.
TheBeerLover (1025) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 25, 2006
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The Starr Hill Brewing Company, is a really fantastic brewpub located in Charlottsville, VA, home of the University of Virginia, and of course Monticello, Thomas Jeffersonís estate, The first time I tried Dark Starr Stout I was floored by this beer. This beer won the 1999 Gold Medal in the dry stout category at the GABF, it is easy to see why. This beer is a dead ringer for Guinness. This beer has to be the most stylistically accurate domestic dry stout I have ever tasted. A title that was previously held by Portsmouth Brewing Companyís Black Cat Stout, of Portsmouth, NH in my opinion. If there is one beer style I know, and know well, it is stout. I belive I have drank more stout in more places over the years than any other beer. I have visited St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland, and have drank Guinness literally all over the world. So I donít easily compare a beer to the quality of Guinness, "beer for beer" probably my all time favorite brew. Dark Starr is just that, a star among stouts.
As this black nectar cascaded down my glass, it rose to a beautiful ebony color, with a dense, creamy, tan head, and a soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is wonderful. Aromas of roasted barley, coffee, and balancing hop aromas flood the nose. The palate delivers more of as they say in Ireland "the black". A firm dark malt palate of dark malt flavors, roast, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. The body on this beer is outstanding, it is rich and full. This beer finishes with an intense roasty, bitter, long, dry finish that lingers.
Truly a great example of dry stout, a tribute of Guinness. If your a stout drinker, you will love this beer. It is rich, complex, and flavorful. This beer is the perfect foil for shell fish. Match this with raw or fried oysters. This would also work well with a boiled dinner of ham, potatoes, and cabbage, and would make an outstanding desert beer. I would pair this with hot, buttered, Irish soda bread, or a nice thick piece of chocolate cake.
walter (359) - Staunton, Virginia, USA - AUG 6, 2005
2.8 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft, Luigiís, Harrisonburg VA. Impressive nitro pour, jet black with an inch of solid white head. Very little aroma, just some slight roasted sweet malts and a little astringency. Very light body. Tastes like Guinness, but thinner and weaker, which simply left me wanting a Guinness. Some very faint toasted chocolate and coffee flavors are present, but thereís not enough sourness for the style. Very watery finish.
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - JUN 27, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
05 OD Beerfest - Looked just like Guinness. Light aromas of chocolate malt, soft cocoa, and mild roasted coffee. Flavor is practically the same. Light bodied, soft creamy carbonation, dry, semi-bitter finish. A fairly weak rendition, yet still was not half bad. Easily a session brew in a pinch..