Starr Hill Brewery Announces 2017 Lineup & New Releases

Starr Hill Brewery is heading out on tour in 2017 with a setlist of beers featuring nine new brands across three rotating series. The New Year will also see the return of some old favorites, along with several limited release variety packs.

All Access Series showcases some of the Starr Hill’s most unique and inspired beers. Each release in this series will be available in 4-packs and on draft.


  • Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout (January) is brewed with generous cocoa additions for a mocha aroma with a bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit finish.
  • Hop Buzz Coffee IPA (April) is dry-hopped with whole coffee beans for a roasty aroma with subtle coffee flavor and citrus hops on the finish.
  • Resinate Imperial Red IPA (July) is brewed with specialty malts for a ruby-red hue and firm maltiness, with American hops imparting citrus aroma and flavor.
  • Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout (October) is a full-bodied milk stout with chocolate, caramel and coffee notes from beans roasted by Red Rooster in Floyd, VA.

Heavy Rotation Series spins an ongoing playlist of new beer and music with something fresh available in 6-packs and on draft every three months.

  • Warehouse Pils (March), a draft-only release in 2016, is a German Pilsner dry-hopped with German hops, golden in color with a mildly floral flavor and a crisp malt finish.
  • Sublime Citrus Wit (June) is a juicy Belgian-style witbier with real lemon and lime zest that repeats after winning a gold medal at the 2016 Virginia Brewers Cup.
  • Festie Oktoberfest Lager (September), a smooth and malty tribute to the great German Märzen, makes its awaited return to 6-packs for the first time in over four years.
  • Two-Tone Vanilla Porter (December) melds the aroma and flavor of real vanilla beans with the sweetness of chocolate, malt and subtle caramel notes.

Debut Series represents the first time in the spotlight for each release in this draft-only lineup, showcasing the brewing team’s passion for creating full-bodied, high-gravity beers.

  • Scotch Ale (January) is characterized by its huge malty nose and features a full, sweet palate with very little hop bitterness.
  • Denali Double IPA (April) highlights the fruity aroma of Denali hops.
  • Farmhouse IPA (July) blends American hops with spicy notes from the French yeast.
  • Russian Imperial Stout (October) for the holidays with special ingredients to be announced.


Starr Hill will release its first Spring Tour Variety Pack in 2017, joining the brewery’s lineup of seasonal variety 12-packs of bottles. Spring Tour’s debut will feature Grateful Pale Ale, Reviver Red IPA, The Love Wheat Beer, and Warehouse Pils and kicks off February 1. Several limited release variety packs will follow throughout 2017, including the return of the Four Kings IPA Pack with all-new variants of King of Hop Imperial IPA.

To find where Starr Hill beers are available, visit


Born in a Charlottesville music hall in 1999, Starr Hill is an independent, regional craft brewery founded out of a passion for great beer and live music. Among the most award-winning craft breweries on the East Coast, Starr Hill has won 22 Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup and Great British Beer Festival medals. Starr Hill beer is distributed throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions.


Starr Hill Brewery Announces 2017 Lineup & New Releases

Specialty Malts and You

Before getting too deep into the waters, let’s first discuss what makes a specialty grain, well, special. Any brewer would probably admit that all malts are pretty special, given they are usually beer by the time we finish with them. However, when you want to branch out into certain styles, you need something a little different. Something a bit … special-er.

Specialty malts are created by the maltster, by kilning or roasting the grains at varying times and temperatures. The two main categories being caramelized malts and roasted malts.

Caramelized malts are created when the maltster mashes uncrushed malt in the kernel to hydrate it. When the water is heated to around 150°F the malt enzymes begin to break down the starch. Much of the starch will convert into simple sugars. From this point, the maltster will dry the mashed malt kernels at varying degrees between 180°F and 350°F, causing the sugars to crystalize. This also causes the acids and proteins to undergo a reaction that forms melanoidin, which is what gives crystal/caramel malts their red or brown hue.  The higher the drying temperature, the darker the resulting malt.

Roasted malts are not kettle mashed like caramelized malts, and get its color and flavors from the heat of the kilning process. Roasted malts can vary from as low as Vienna malt (around 4° Lovibond) to roasted barley (around 575° Lovibond).


Specialty malts provide a lot of flavor and mouthfeel, in a surprisingly small package. Many people start out with specialty malts adding a lot more than necessary, thinking it will provide them a deeper range of flavors. Don’t go for 40% Chocolate malt in that stout, it’s not going to taste more like a candy bar because of it. What you’ll be left with is an under-attenuated, unbalanced, tannin filled mess. 5-15% is generally the safe range you’ll want to stick with.  At only 10% of a grain bill, 1 lb of roasted barley will take your SRM from 2, all the way to 37. Imagine what it’ll do to your flavor. Always heir on the side of less is more when designing a recipe. You can always tweak it the next time if you think it needs more.



People often forget that specialty grains will provide less fermentable sugars than base malts. Keep this in mind when building your recipe and planning for your final gravity. The higher the percentage of specialty malts, the higher your final gravity after fermentation.



Caramelized Malts

Crystal malts are a great way to add some sweetness to your beer. They are also a great way to add mouthfeel and head-retention. Depending on the style, this is where many people turn to when they are looking to add some red or brown coloring to their beers.

Low levels of caramel malts such as 10L will mostly add light sweetness and caramel flavors (such a pale ales and mild ales), while darker versions like 120L will begin to bring out notes of burnt sugar and raisins (think Belgian Dubbel). With many variants between these two polar opposites, you are sure to find something that works for your style.

Like crystal malts, there are many other caramelized malts such as Cara-Munich, Cara-Vienne and Cara-Pils that do a great job of adding body, head retention and varying flavors and colors to your beer. I’ve been known to throw a handful of Cara-Pils in most of my recipes due to its very light color (less than 2°L) and almost devoid flavor. It adds great head retention, mountain like foam, and a smooth mouthfeel.

Roasted Malts

Roasted malts also vary in color and flavor and definitely pack a punch.  Most have little to no enzymatic activity and rely on your base malts for starch conversion. On the low side, you will find malts such as aromatic malt and biscuit malt. Aromatic malt will provide a clean, yet intense malt flavor; while biscuit malt, true to its name, will give more of a bread or cracker like aroma. When you want to go darker, think Chocolate, Black or Roasted. These provide a lot of color and flavor, but when overused can also add astringency, which can be very off putting. Save these for your stouts and porters.


Other Specialty Grains

Now that we’ve discussed malts, we should address the other specialty grain options. These are non-barley malts or unmalted grains. These include your wheats, oats, ryes, corns and rices.

Want a dryer, more crisp beer? Consider wheat or rye as a major player in your grain bill. Replacing around 60% of your base malt with these options is a nice twist on some classic recipes.

Making an oatmeal stout? You’re going to need flaked oats, up to 10% sometimes. This will give your stout a sweeter smoother finish.

Whatever you are doing, remember that making beer is a lot like getting a haircut. Once you’ve gone too far, it’s not always something you can fix. So best to stay on the lighter side at first until you are comfortable and adjust your notes for next time.

Below is my go to Black IPA. I’ve made this a few times and I absolutely love it. It’s got the perfect balance of hops to roasted malts. I think it’s a great example of what a Black IPA should be. Not to roasty, very hop forward, and goes down easy.

Man in Black IPAblackipa

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.9%
IBU: 81
SRM: 31
Batch Size: 5.5 Gallons
Mash: Single Temp. Infusion – 150°F for 60 min.

Grain Bill
11 lb. – Pale 2-Row
.75 lb – Crystal 80L
.4 lb – Special B
.3 lb – Black Malt
.3 lb. – Chocolate Malt
.3 lb. – Victory Malt
.3 lb – Roasted Barley

1 oz – Northern Brewer @ 60 min.
.75 oz – CTZ @ 30 min.
.75 oz – Cascade @ 30 min.
.75 oz – CTZ @ 10 min.
.75 oz – Cascade @ 10 min.
2 oz – Cascade @ 5 Days Dry Hop

Safale S-05 (Fermented @ 68°F)