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Secret Spot Winter Ale - Evolution Craft Brewing Company

Secret Spot Winter AleSecret Spot Winter Ale

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59 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 59
Reviews: 14
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.02%

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: lackenhauser on 11-26-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 | Reviews: 14 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of 8ense1


4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Evolution's new draft-only offering is a good one. I picked up a growler soon after the prototype was tapped and have been working on it a glass at a time ever since. It stands up well to other winter beer offerings, such as Anchor's 2010 Christmas Ale.

It pours a deep amber, with very modest foaming that clears quickly. The smell is pleasant, a floral scent from the hopping, but not very dominant. But from the first sip it comes across as a bigger beer than one would expect, with a lot of malt flavor. It is brown-sugary rather than chocolaty, and it goes down easily without cloying or building up.

What is interesting is that the hop "bite" is a delayed reaction. While you are still tasting the malt flavor, suddenly its IPA quality begins to tingle on your tongue, and then the herbal flavor of the hopping takes over. It's reminiscent of the impact that Dogfish Head got with its "Bitches Brew," which begins as a stout, but then changes to something more complex in your mouth.

"Secret Spot" doesn't at all taste like "Bitches Brew," but it works in the same hybrid way, an indication that the Evo folks are interested in combining beer types to see what happens. In this case, they get an interesting beer sipped in a beer-geeky way, and also a very good companion to a late-night pizza or other snack. Its bold impact belies its modest alcoholic content, so it is, like Evo's best offerings, quite sessionable.

I'd expect this to become a standard seasonal offering from Evo.

Serving type: growler

12-02-2010 03:47:56 | More by 8ense1
Photo of lackenhauser


3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was told this is a double alt or a sticke alt-that being said-Very nice coppery color. Sweet caramel and malt aroma with a touch of floral hoppiness. Very solid malty flavors upfront. Definate hop presence-more so then any other alt beer I have had. Lingering caramel presence. Great residual sweetness going on. Has a nice bite in the finish. Soft, almost a creamy body. Goes down quite easy. Very enjoyable. Nice beer for the colder months.

Serving type: growler

11-26-2010 04:03:34 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of HarryPotHead


3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into vintage Gunther Brewing hollow stem goblet.

A - cloudy, semi-opaque, amber to brown with an off white head and some light lacing.

S - waaay understated....one could say barely there. Not bad, just not there. Some malt, some citrus, but not enough of either.

T - heavy malt backbone with an IPA finish. Better than expected and pretty easy to drink. Again, pretty nondescript....nothing really over the top for sure. As a winter seasonal I expected more spice. Decent.

M - a little watery, slightly dry, with just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

O - i read back through the above and I feel like I'm not giving this brew enough credit. It's pretty darn good. Not world class....not award winning, but decent in its own right. My first go round with Evolution brewing and I'll be keeping an eye out for them in my travels. Cheers! [ii]D

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:29:38 | More by HarryPotHead
Photo of Ryanm1


2.89/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Take a generic IPA and then toss in a few spices. Presto... you have this beer. Brown in color carries a large amount of head on a violent pour from the bottle, so much so that it ran over the glass. Within a minute or two the white foam was gone. I couldn't pick up that much on the aroma but the taste is sour. Yeah you can sugar coat it and say bitter but the lack of sweetness comes off as if you are sucking on a bag of buckles. Nothing to write home about, but good to taste in a comparison of winter beers. Def taste like a backyard brewer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 00:01:04 | More by Ryanm1
Photo of Profchaos20


3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed 3/8/13 12 oz bottle in a nonic pint glass

A - Pours a clean amber with a half finger head that dissipates immediately. Very little lacing.

S - Sweet bready malt upfront. A fruity yeast aroma a little deeper. Hints of caramel and maple syrup.

T - Sweet and malty, fruity esters, hint of hops, and a slightly bitter finish.

M - Medium body, light to medium carbonation, smooth.

O - Decent beer, not going to see it out again.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2013 02:06:53 | More by Profchaos20
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.89/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I loved this. It’s everything an IPA is without all the oil. I’m new to the style but here goes. Pours a cloudy copper amber with a decent head that fell fast to a thin film on top and a small ring. Good lace. Nose is heavenly with malt. It’s bread, it’s caramel, it’s deep and round with a sweetness that takes a backseat in the nicest way. The hops are herbal and pungent, earthy and offer just a hint of lemon. Dark fruits whisper from the nose as it warms but they never fully evince and it’s restrained. The taste is toast and breaddy malt with a nice fullness from the understated sweetness. The hops are bitter on the tip of the tongue but it’s like they hold it back until the finish and then they realize a full bitter without a lot of oil and without a lot of resin. Carbonation is medium and the body is deft and light.

I could compare this to an IPA or to a red ale. Positively enjoyable with plenty of toast but nothing burnt. The malt is outstanding and lasting throughout the drink. The balance is excellent and the hops hold their own without becoming fruity. It’s creamy but also strong and stately. What a treat.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 14:05:07 | More by utopiajane
Photo of confer


3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had it on tap and from a bottle, preferred the tap but reviewing the bottle.
Dark gold in color with red tints at the light. Off white head that never fully goes away.
Smell is all malt. Reminds my of a doppel bock.
Slightly bitter hops are dominant in the taste, not to many just enough for little flavor.
Good alt beer. Evo is getting better all of the time.
As a bonus the tour guide brought a growler of Secret Spot along on the tour of the brewery and refreshed our glasses as he talked.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 00:17:58 | More by confer
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Ommegang tulip. Best by Mar 2013 notched onto the side of the label. Picked by a friend at Stateline on the MD/DE border

A: Pours lightly hazed medium amber. Darker khaki cap, slow to fade, thick collar and film. Leaves some low sheeting.

S: Malts dominate the nose. Caramel and toast abound

T: Malty brew, dark toast, maple and more caramel. Also some moderate winter spicing and then moderate drying hops late.

M: Smooth and pleasant on the tongue and coating the mouth. The body is medium and the carbonation is on the lower side but fine for the style.

O: Enjoyable enough brew. Malty beer lovers will enjoy this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 01:20:25 | More by Billolick
Photo of argock


3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best by Mar 2013 notched on side of label. Single received a a local beer exchange event.

A: Crystal clear dusky dark amber with a 1-finger foamy beige head with good retention which leaves a creamy but thin layer of lacing.

S: Dark malts with caramel and toffee met with strong earthy, herbal hopping.

T: The flavor is very on par with a strong red ale until the hops bitterness melts into an herbal noble flavor. The maltiness is very amber ale in content with a lot of toffee and smoky burnt caramel character. The hopping is "assertive" per the Evolution website, and that is putting it likely as the bitterness is very strong and carries all the way through the drink.

M: Very smooth and creamy although not as light as many alts, but I would consider this more of a red ale aggressively hopped with noble hops. Body is medium and carbonation is low-medium.

O: I enjoyed this beer, and Evolution Brewing has had several very good brews in their initial splash into VA (see Lot #3 IPA for the best of the bunch). Secret Spot is also a high quality brew that crosses style lines of WEst Coast style red ale with super-noble hopped altbier. Definitely this is a good one to check out.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 02:41:47 | More by argock
Photo of AdamBear


3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've some altbiers before, but still I really never know what to expect from them...one of the more mysterious styles for me still.

A-decent amber with a thin, barely noticeable cream colored head

S-altbier...? I'm thinking IPA!!! creamy nice hops and a sweet buttercream note to it. smells awesome! Altbier??? no. i'm excited for this one. decent strength.

T-okay well all the IPAness just left the building. it comes in with a creamy, grainy taste of sweet buttercream...only slightly. some sort of a taste of muted herbal hops...some what. it does have the slightest touch of bitterness to it. has a decent quality.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a semi-dry finish

O-once again the altbier is beyond me. At first I was like IPA? but then i was like nahhh. it certainly has the nose of an IPA, but the taste of a muted IPA that is somewhat more dignified and stable. It is what it is, and its proud, and it won't change. it is...worth a try I'll say. it's really just an easy drinker, much like an APA.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2012 02:19:54 | More by AdamBear
Photo of larryi86


4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A clear amber color with a two finger white head.

S- Floral hops, toasted malts, some toffee.

T- Follows the nose, hops give this beer a nice bitter finish, great toasted malts, some toffee.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A solid beer that I will be picking up again. Good beer for the colder months.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 01:02:25 | More by larryi86
Photo of Rifugium


3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Clear honey-amber pour, topped with a small bubbly off-white head; minimal retention, and a few streaks of lacing. Caramel malts in the nose, some floral and citrus hops. Taste of caramel malts, toasted grains, toffee backbone, quickly giving way to a crisp hoppiness, orange peel and floral notes, fairly bitter from mid-palate onward. Hoppier than I'd expect for an altbier, maybe even closer to an APA, but still good either way. Medium body and pretty good overall.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2012 00:36:35 | More by Rifugium
Photo of mdaschaf


3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours an amber/copper color with a one finger white head that dissipates rather quickly to a ring on the top of the beer. Decent lacing.

S: A little bit of floral hops, but mostly malt driven. Some toffee and caramel dominate the rest of the aroma.

T: Toast malt, toffee, some nice caramelized sugar, and a surprising hop kick.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation, has a slightly sticky and dry finish.

O: Quite good, reminds of their ESB almost with more hops. Too bad it won't be around until next winter as this is a nice beer for the cold months.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2011 01:46:39 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Jaynuze

District of Columbia

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A crisp finishing beer with a nicely rounded malt finish.
A: golden with nice light brown tinge
S: light notes of malt, mild hops, and light spice
T: light and biscuity with light hop notes
M: smooth finish and a solid mf. Light but carriea some heft with a bicuity malt finish
D: A great draft beer worth sipping at the bar with a nove salad and burger. Easy drinking and a light hop/malt finish

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2011 21:22:41 | More by Jaynuze
Secret Spot Winter Ale from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.