Summit Winter Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

523 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 523
Reviews: 269
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 10.48%
Wants: 11
Gots: 60 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 12-08-2001

OG 14.6° Plato
36 IBUs
Malts: Harrington, Caramel, Carafa II
Hops: Willamette, Fuggle, Tettenanger
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 523 | Reviews: 269
Reviews by ShwarzAl3r:
More User Reviews:
Photo of digital952
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Good seasonal with balanced taste. On tap at Crooked Pint Ale House in Apple Valley...nice place.

Photo of PintPiner
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slight aroma of chocolate and roasted malt.

Initial big foamy tan head that quickly subsides to nice small layer of foam with good lacing.

Clear, dark mahogany when held up to the sun.

Mild carbonation.

Medium-light body.

Slight tangy spice up front, chocolate and roasted nut with a hint of coffee and burnt carmel.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Dark mahogany color, nearly black. Roasty nose of coffee and dark chocolate cookies with minty citric hops and a ripe fruitiness in the back. Heavy toasted malt flavor is coated with a layer of roasted grain. Hop bitterness sneaks in with a sharpness and minty citric flavor. Very nutty throughout. Some coffee and unsweetened chocolate meet the fruitiness. Beefy? Suggestions of raisins and ripe plums. Burnt sugar and more lingering coffee bean flavors middle to end.

While not the boldest or most drinkable winter seasonal, it does compensate with its own unique complexities. The wintry flavors are there, probably best enjoyed with holiday chocolates or other nutty confections.

Photo of blackearth
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. Pours a dark reddish brown body with a thick light-tan head and leave good lacing. Aroma is of chocolate malt and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Flavor is dominated by nutty sweet malts. Good drinkability, but this is really a nut brown ale and not what I would call a winter ale.

Photo of skybluewater
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep garnet color. Chocolate milk colored head recedes and leaves minimal lace. Smell isn't very pronounced, caramelly malt mostly. Taste is very nice, soothing, with some caramelly flavors at first. Like a brown ale, there's some chocolate here, but unlike a brown, there's also a bit of spice.

I really like this brew. It's actually the one that finally got me into drinking craft beer (last winter). This one's sure too warm the soul on a howling winter night.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ahhh..Winter Ale. Pours a deep brown with hints of red and a thin head that leaves some lacing in its wake. Raisins...chocolate covered at that, hints of caramel and pine as well. Nice.

First taste is a mix of caramel and chocolate maltiness infused with hints of cherries, raisins, spices and a mellow piney hopiness as well. Roastiness hits the back of the palate. A tasty brew on a cold day.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, could you some more body on this one. However, it goes down smooth and easy and this would definetly be a good winter session brew. Worth a try!

Photo of bsp77
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Reddish chestnut brown with small off-white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Toffee, spicy English hops, molasses, cherry and plum. A rich sweet malty smell that only somewhat remains throughout.

Taste: Somewhat sweet toffee and fruit malt backbone, with notes of molasses, nuts and spicy hops. Could have used a little more spicy hops, but overall a nice malt character.

Feel: Relatively low carbonation, smooth and creamy somewhat full body.

Drinkability: Despite being called a Winter Warmer here, this is really a rich, sweet and malty Brown Ale. Summit also calls it a Brown Ale. Quite nice overall, but a little dull for a Winter Ale.

Photo of NilocRellim
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer came on-tap in a tall glass, and appeared cloudy brown in colour with a tannish tinge to the head. Ale smelled malty, toasty and nutty, very much in line with a standard winter ale. It tasted richly malty upfront, and then smoothly transitioned into a roasty flavour and slight hop finish. Lingering bitter aftertaste on the palate, but overall smooth and flavourful.

Would I buy this beer again? Probably.

Photo of ryanocerus
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby/near black in color with a thin, quickly dissipating head. The aroma was chocolate with slight roasted malt. The initial chocolate flavor was replaced by roasty aftertones towards the end. The mouthfeel was smooth as velvet on the tongue and the flavor lasted forever. Another excellent offering from the folks at Summit.

Photo of MattyG85
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown that is almost black with a tint of ruby red and orange. Lots of rising bubbles and a big five finger lightly tan head with good retention. Lots of sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Big aroma of sweet and lightly roasted malts with lots of caramel and toffee. Has some nuts and a subtle spiced quality. Also some hints of chocolate and dark fruit. Some light hints of earthy hops in the background.

Taste: Very malt forward like the nose leads. Sweet biscuity and lightly roasted malts with caramel and toffee. Hints of nuts, chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a bit of dark fruit. A moderate taste of earthy and grassy hops peaks through in the finish. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Somewhat sweet but finishes a bit on the dryer side. Very smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid winter warmer. Very good use of malts. Sweet but balanced.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my Minnesota bro Nick for turning me on to this beer. A good winter warmer appearance, a light brown, thin head.

Taste, muted sweetness, kinda like a thin porter, but also with aspects of a red. A very enjoyable not quite maltbomb kind of beer, which is rare for me to like.

Mouthfeel, makes me think I'm getting a little cherry and tree in my beer. Very little, but its neat its there. Enjoyable to drink, relatively inexpensive. Exceeded expectations.

Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well, its out, just in time for another snowfall...

Deep clear dark reddish brown, 1/4 inch pillow floats on top. Sweet malt aroma, spiked with a little cinnamon impression. Thick malty mouthfeel, starts heavy with a little honey/maple-like flavor, takes an upward kick into an orange pekoe, and finishes with a paprika-like hop pepperiness. Didn't notice a caramel or chocolate sensation. Body is nice, seems to me that Summit does more interesting things with its malt bill on other beers. Balance is good. Decent, not groundbreaking -- I might be in a minority but this brew has never been a huge favorite for me.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a deep ruby brown forms a nice tan bubbly head leaves behind specks of scattered lace. Aroma has a touch of chocolate with herbal grassy hop components and an overall sense of creaminess comes to me. Taste has a solid tight flavor milk chocolate, dark roasted malts herbal bitterness touch of pine bready tones in the finish winter warmer a bit under six percent seems pretty tame overall but nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated smooth and creamy textured. Drinkability, pleasant winter ale once again just a bit mild for me to truely dig, dig.

Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, a few months past BB date, served in a snifter.

Pours clear but nearly opaque ruby-brown. The light tan head settles down to a thick ring and partial top coat but leaves full coating on a robust looking the side of the glass.
Aroma: rather floral and unlike the flavor, a little boozy. Also more spicy than the taste.,
T: Nicely rich with chocolate, dark bread, dark fruit and a touch of coffee. More coffee in the lingering dark roasted malt aftertaste. Very good use of light spicing but a touch too sweet before the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied; very smooth with soft, medium carbonation. Semi-dry finish sometimes felt just a little too thin.

O: very enjoyable and flavorful that resembles a Belgian porter. Recommended.

Photo of frankiepop
2.91/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, this ale looks like what a winter ale> Winter ale supposed to look like. Darker richer color, but I could not really get an aroma from this ale. taste was a lttle weak. I did not detect any real spices. I do detect some spearmint. Ok texture but a little watery. Theres a bit of a well roasted maltiness.

Underwhelming beer. Goes with underwhelming music. Try Wynton Marsalis' J Mood cd or Joe Walsh - Ordinary Average Guy .Maybe a recording of the radio show Prarie Home Companion by Garrison Keillor who writes about a small town in Minnesota where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the kids are ALL ...ABOVE AVERAGE...

Photo of hughesm4
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The initial poor and smell i thought this would be a really good winter beer. Then I started to drink and I thought the taste was alright. Then I got to the aftertaste in the mouth and there was really nothing special about it. No hops, chocolate or coffee taste, or spices. I was dissappointed.

Photo of LXIXME
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown head just sort of sits on top of a deep red amber colored ale.

Slight hoppy nose with maybe a little malt in the background leads into a pretty decent rich but light coffee taste.

This beer has a nice medium body that leads into a smooth and slightly bitter aftertaste.

A pretty decent beer, worthy a spot on your to do list.

Photo of ggaughan
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got a variety case of Summit right before Christmas at Westy's near Harrisburg and this was the first one I tried.

The Winter Ale pours a nice dark deep brown color, very chocolately looking. The smell has some very nice toasted malty character to it. Coffee aromas.

The taste is very much like the smell, toasted, coffee flavor. This beer is easy to drink and nice at temp above what the frig keeps it at. I could see having a few of these on a cold winter night, or day, or morning.

Photo of dacrza1
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: April 25, 2015... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... OCCASION: saying goodbye to the last of the winter bees in the fridge... APPEARANCE: dark mahogany body; effervescence is tough to gauge; thick, creamy off-white head holds firm long after pouring; tracings are symmetrical and clear... AROMA: an alluring mix of bright, citric scents, nutty malts and floral aromas--caught me off-guard with its complex array; some damp berry and ... PALATE: begins with an ESB's smoothness, but returns to the teeth with a whiplash bite; medium-bodied, creamy, soft,, and flirting with a porter's cola-like presence... TASTE: a reasonable blend of malts and fruits---cranberry, pear especially--merge with vanilla, some playful hops, pepper and cola... OVERALL: not as warming as the aroma suggests; the profile overall is useful but not memorable--finishes with rocky malts and the enjoyably creamy aspects of root beer...

Photo of SMark
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 53° from a 12 ounce bottle. No date information was located on the bottle or label. Close to 3 fingers of beige head appeared with lacing. The beer was a medium to dark brown in color.

A slightly robust malt bouquet was the predominant aroma. Coffee and caramel smells were apparent with some hop sensation undertones.

This was a smooth tasting and somewhat lighter beer than I was expecting. The aromatics seemed to overshadow the taste as the malt did not come through robustly as expected.

The beer took a nice straight shot through the lips, over the gums and so on. Traces of coffee were left to enjoy for a little longer. Breathing in through the nose helped amplify the aftertaste.

The lacing on this one did pretty well. It had good aromatics and mouthfeel with the taste being more subtle.

Photo of Dave128
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at a Fridays at the MSP airport while connecting to Seattle. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark amber in color. A rigorous pour yields a 2 to 3 finger of brownish foam. Lacing is pretty good.

S - Nothing special. Grainy and slightly hoppy.

T - I don't know if I would consider this a winter warmer, the taste is like a well hopped dark amber ale. Good though.

O - It's a good ale to have in the cold, but doesn't quite live up to my winter warmer standards.

Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rerate 2003: I am far less impressed with this than I have been in the past. More roasty and more chocolately, but shallower flavorwise. Remarkably similar to a American brown ale. Lightly spicy hopping. Quite drinkable, but where did all the nuance go?
Run of the mill winter seasonal. Not one I'll go looking for any more.

As winter winds to a close, I saved the review one of my favorite winter seasonals until the very end.
Pours the deepest scarlet imaginable. Small off-white head doesn't stay long, but never fully vanishes. Great full malt smell.
Complex malts. Chocolate, raisins, caramel, and (to a lesser extent) vanilla, and maybe even some cherries. Not highly hopped for compared to some Summit's (I believe last year's had a bigger hop profile). Nonetheless, you wouldn't want anything to compete with the rich malt textures.
It is also not as potent as some other winter brews in terms of ABV%. This is all the better as it leaves you wanting more.
As the last drop of this exceptional winter brew disappears from my glass, I can't help but feel just a little saddened that I will have to wait another year to have this treat again.
Then again...I guess it is a neccessary sacrifice for some warmer temps.
Still, this beer makes you embrace the cold months of the year.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahhh, spring. Time to kill off those winter warmers and stock up on pilseners, wits, and hefes.

A - This one has one hell of a head! Four fingers plus and threatening to spill over the sides of my glass. The head is khaki in color, and it gets honeycombed as it slowly settles to a fat fluffy finger. Lots of really sticky lace is left in it's wake. The beer is a deeply bronzed purplish brown. Pretty beer.

S - Candied apples, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and other spices are apparent. I like the fruitcake and thanksgiving notes going on here.

T - Brown sugar, maple syrup, milk chocolate, chocolate malt, marshmallows, cream cheese. Dang! This is a complex brew! It's like a seven course thanksgiving dinner rolled up into one beer. Like the full dinner gum from Willy Wonka.

M - Full bodied and heavy. This is moderately carbonated, and has some really heft on the palate. The finish is barky and woody, which complements the flavors well.

D - An excellent winter warmer! This category is very hit or miss, and this is a definite hit. I love all of the flavors, and the mouthfeel is reallyl nice. Quality, quality beer.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, ruby-tinted mahogany beneath a short lid of creamy off white foam that drops shortly but maintains a wide collar, whispy surface covering, and leaves some craggy streaks and spots of lace with each sip. The nose is limited but clean; and it offers a touch of roastiness above some mild, grainy malt. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, restrained carbonation leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. In fact, it's very similar to a engine-pulled cask ale or a nitro-pour. It really needs to warm a bit before its flavors come out, but when they do some dark caramel with an almost burnt-sugar edge and some subtle chocolatey notes join with its mild roastiness in the flavor. A touch of fruitiness and some sublime spice lend a bit of additional character; and its firm bitterness also combines with its roastiness to leave it dry in the finish. Quite interesting. It's very much like a blend of a toned-down stout and some richly malty, caramelish ale. Very nice!

Photo of dirtylou
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz single, Woodman's west side

appearance: a deep garnet pour, bubbly beige head, not a whole lot of lacing...looks a tad thin

smell: light and sweet, lightly toasted malt, plum, cherry, a touch of chocolate, mild coffee ground, a little caramel, earthy aromas

taste: lightly toasted sweet malt, caramel, dry chocolate, very faint coffee, some nice fruit...cherry, plum, a little raisin. Not a whole lot going on but an easy drinking brew

mouthfeel: somewhat creamy, but very light, light acidity feel to it

drinkability: very much so

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 523 ratings.