Starr Hill Brewery – Star Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale – 12 oz. bottle poured into specialty glassware – 6.1% abv.
Product description: A classic English Brown Ale brewed with several different malts, hopped with East Kent Goldings, and real Virginia maple syrup. The maple aroma, with subtle vanilla notes, leads into a rich and smooth body with a malty character.
This review is from a 12oz bottle (packaging date 8/8/16) poured into a specialty flute. The beer is fairly clear deep amber to brown in color with minimal tan foam that dissipates quickly.
The aroma is assertive sweet maple syrup and breakfast pancake. There are hints of a toasted malt base beer in the background, so it isn’t all adjunct-derived. The maple comes across as integrated instead of forced or artificial.
Flavors here match the aroma: integrated and well-done maple blended with a solid base beer. Though the first smack of flavor is pretty in-your-face maple, the mid-palate and finish are straightforward brown ale with excellent balance and decent dark bread crust character. The beer is not really sweet thankfully with a slightly oily, rich mouthfeel that gives it quite the impressive body and overall stance for its modest alcohol content.
Overall, I thought this one was well put together and very enjoyable. This isn’t a gimmicky beer with over-the-top maple character relying on sugary sweetness to make a point. Instead, it seems to have taken a solid base beer and added a touch of rich maple character to add a pop of flavor allowing it stand apart from its competition. For this fall season, Starr Hill has a winner.