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Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

274 Reviews
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Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
OG 14.6° Plato
36 IBUs
Malts: Harrington, Caramel, Carafa II
Hops: Willamette, Fuggle, Tettenanger

Added by Todd on 12-08-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 274 | Ratings: 555
Photo of ctylinebeer
4.63/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

12 oz can poured into a bow-tie Holland America lager glass

L - Rich dark brown with two finger head. Nice tight lacing that moves down the glass at a good pace

S - Notes of chocolate, nutmeg, caramel. Not too strong on the nose, could be due to the glass, but it is not too aromatic.

T - Chocolate cake, nutmeg, bready notes. Dark flavors dominate, not overly aggressive. Smooth as silk.

F - Smooth texture, kind of a translated Oktoberfest winter beer. Slight alcohol after taste. Soft texture with a good solid beer feel.

O - I am a bit biased because this is brewed right down the street of my grandparents, but Summit makes phenomenal beer. I have never heard of a winter warmer style until I had this and it is a very good example of the style. Nothing too fancy done to this beer, so if you just want a plain old beer for the winter time, look for further than this. Merry Cheersmas!!!!

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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.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a solid black color. The head is small and white, and recedes quickly, leaving lacing on the edges of the glass. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, with some ginger in the background. The taste is full of roasted malt, more so than the aroma. It is like a good porter with some spicey tones. Flavorful, yet mellow. The mouthfeel is slightly fuller than medium bodied, and there is enough carbonation to make thing interesting. Overall, this is yet another wonderful brew from Summit. This one will make a great session beer for the long winter ahead.

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Photo of callmeclemens
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured From bottle to mug.

Nice brown color, inch think head, smelled nicely of coffee, with hints of chocolate and hops, and just a pinch of malty goodness. Laced nicely down the side of my glass as I worked through it. Did the perfect job for a winter warmer, warmed me up and went down nice and smooth. great Brew.

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, dark brown with a slight reddish tint. Medium sized tan tead.
Smell roasty and sweet, quiet coffee and heavy caramel. Taste is toasted, slightly sweet at first, then bitter with hints of chocolate (but always mellow, never rich) - followed by a nice coffee aftertaste that lingers but isn't overpowering. Very smooth, not overly thick. toasted, but not all that bitter.

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Photo of MikeAAL
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very good beer. Very sweet.

Dark brown colored body with a tan creamy head.

Smells like caramel, nut and malts.

Tastes malty, nutty, some chocolate and coffee.

Thick mouthfeel with light carbonation and very creamy.

It'll definately warm you up on a cold day.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled tonight also on 5/18/14. Bought this bottle in the clearance section for just 50 cents! Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F and poured into a handled glass stein.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black in color with a small off-white head. Lots of ring lacing was seen with each sip. Sediment was left in the bottom of the bottle after the pour. The aroma is of roasted malt, cocoa, caramel and some spice. The taste even has more going on with a slight nutty finish. Very smooth to drink with low carbonation. Very tasty brew! Really liked this one.

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Photo of Wingman65
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe it. I just bought a 6-pack last night (August 5th) for $2.49. NEVER HAD A BETTER DEAL IN MY LIFE! This has kept very well. As I was watching the thunderstorms pass I enjoyed 2 bottles - and I must say REALLY enjoyed! I was surprised at how dark and beautifully it poured. A firm, but not long-lasting creamy caramel head. A complex, malty aroma that teased me with subtle wiffs of everything I was about to taste. Very smooth taste. A flavor of chocolate, a bit of coffee roast and spice notes made this very enjoyable. It had a smooth feel around my mouth and tickled with the roasted spice hints on the way down. Very drinkable -I will savor the last 4 bottles, and hope that last 6 pack I saw at the store will still be there in a few days!

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Photo of ZAP
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Rich chocolate malt taste...sweet malty aroma...minimal hops...not overthick or oversweet, but very tasty..not as much hop as previous years...creamy...one of my favorites...could drink this every night for the length of the winter...my type of beer...highly recommended...and outstanding seasonal from an outstanding brewery.

Additional Note..I am readjusting this rating after enjoying many this winter...It is still outstanding and my comments stand but not a "5"

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.31/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
6.1% ABV, 36 IBUs, numbers on label.

A - Beautiful caramel amber highlights shine through the deeper brown body in the more volumetric center. A pillowy ivory head billows up from a vigorous pour which shrouds the pint in lave as the well-retained head plateaus to a lumpy pile.

S - The aroma has an interesting blend of both crisp toasted malts and some more hearty bread-like Munich sweetness. Just a pinch of spice accompanies a muted grassy hop nose that works well with this beer. A lingering metallic scent which comes in and out of the background doesn't help this beer though.

T - Crisp, inviting toasted wheat bread greets a doughy caramel-drizzled sweetness that lingers through the finish where lightly roasted notes add light coffee blend hints and a touch of chocolate the beer. Herbal spice comes from the European hops which add a nicely balanced grassy flavor. A fine winter warmer with fantastic complexities.

M - This medium-bodied ale carries a wonderfully smooth, almost creamy nature and crisp, dry bite that accompanies a faintly earthy, herbal spiciness that lurks long after the swallow.

O - Summit's Winter Ale provides a smooth body with moderate heft for a satisfying cold-day brew that incorporates English hops wonderfully for a balanced flavor and touch of spiciness. This beer avoids being lumped with the over-spiced and sometimes overplayed holiday beers but manages a subtle nod to them for a nice winter treat!

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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.

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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.

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

This pours a very dark amber. The head is minimal, but good lacing on the glass indicates ample amounts of malt used. The smell is fruity with burnt malt. The taste is rich and plummy, with a hint of pure malt and cherry. Not a lot of hop presence is felt. The mouthfeel has that characteristic Summit crispness. This is one of my favorite winter ales.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant dark chestnut under a 1” rocky light tan foam collar that provides intricate lace. S: Malty aromas with coffee and chocolate. T: Tastes drier than it smells. The foamy liquid enters the mouth and dissolves into a light chocolate with a pinch of roast. Just the right mix of chocolate and light coffee. F: Creamy smooth, a marvelous soft texture with fine soft carbonation. O: A good winter warmer. With more alcohol it could be a great one.

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Photo of BioBilly
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I will drink many more of these this winter. it is one of my favorite Winters. I usually not a big brown ale guy but something with the spice just makes it work for me. I live right next to Blu Max in Burnsville but I decided that to stick to an old favorite tonight rather then somethig new.

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Photo of nghab
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Note that this is a 2006 bottle (20th anniversary neck label) consumed in 2009. I like to hold a few bottles of various potentially "age-able" beers to see how they are years later. Bottle reads "enjoy by 031007"

AROMA: Rich and malty, chocolatey, smooth, inviting, no notable hop character. Oxidation, if any, is minimal

APPEARANCE: Dark brown colour, good clarity, delicate espresso crema-like head that eventually dissipates.

FLAVOUR: Malty, smooth chocolatey flavour, not much grain bitterness, a bit of "coffee and cream," hop bitterness has fallen over time but the beer is still nicely balanced, some cherry-and-chocolate notes in the background possibly as a result of some slight oxidation.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body, maybe a little warming but not really very alcoholic, carbonation medium or lower

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A very nice porter-like winter warmer that has held up quite well in my basement and may have gained a little complexity. I'm (so far) resisting the temptation to go downstairs and open another one.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark burgandy/mohagony hue. Some very nice roasted notes in this brew. A warming presence is also noticed. Chocolate notes accent this malty brew.

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Photo of ryantupy
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a well bold spiced beer that poured a deep brown color with small head. Its smell was of roasted malts, bold spices, and dark fruits. It's amazingly smooth for its stlye of beer and yet it is still on the bitter side. The finish kinda lingers of drak fruits and spice. Its is a very drinkable beer since it is so smooth and tasty.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger espresso foam colored head with some retention, not much lacing. Body is deep, deep brown.

Smell - malt bread, chocolate, nutty.

Taste - much like the smell. Hearty malt bread with chocolate and nuts, with black pepper on the spicy finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, and smooth.

Drinkability - this is a very hearty and very good beer and is very sessionable. This shoud be available year-round.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once upon a time, this was my winter long staple brew, deviating only for other seasonal specialties, ie Anchor et al. Nowadays, variety is my everyday spice of life, but I have to pay homage to this brew, every year.
Dark as a Minnesota night, with a small brownish head that leaves too soon. Aroma is light, delicate, with no dominant flavors. Toffee, chocolate, roasted coffee and spice are all hinted at.Texture is smooth with a little hop bite. Balance is excellent; malt stands up, but doesn't stick out.

Spicy and warm, but still mellow and soothing. Seems to lack an "oomph " from years ago, or maybe my tongue has tempered.

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Photo of becktone
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Eye: Very dark red in color with garnet highlights. Head is a tea-stain tan color. Pretty good retention and lacing.

Nose: Big malty sweet presence. A little bit of alcohol sneaks through. Strong notes of chocolate and roasted malts are present.

Tongue: Very very good. I had a few of these last night but didn't notice the very very good chocolate flavor in here...almost like a vanilla chocolate flavor-real refreshing. Also a roasted flavor that I noticed right away. Warms a bit as it goes down, just right there on the back of the throat. Taste really reminds me of cappuccino.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Lighter carbonation with a bit of a heavier body and a nice warming sensation give this brew a good mouthfeel. The body seems to be just right for the style. This is a brew that I'll definitely be buying in the future; however I'll prolly not buy it till the winter rolls round again. And even then I'll try some other warmers before I come back to it, but I definitely will come back. It just tastes so good.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head with excellent retention on a dark brown body with a little light passing through. Thick, circumferential lacing. Aroma is very malty with dark fruit, chocolate and sugary notes. Flavor is also malty with strong smokey sense, toffee and nutty. Medium to thick body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Overall a nice member of the genre, one of the more flavorful and full bodied.

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Photo of morimech
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with red highlights. A large tan head forms with excellant retention. Thick lacing is left behind. Really impressed with this as other Summit beers seem to fail in the head department.

The smell is sweet malt with just a hint of roasted malt and hop bitterness.

The taste consists of roasted malt, nuts, white chocolate, with just a slight bit of hop bitterness on finish. All this blends together nicely for a nice winter warming flavors. Something I have noticed circa 2015 is some fruitiness like cherries and plums.There are no added spices like most other winter beers. I actually prefer this type of beer. This beer may have hid a higher ABV as it is I don't sense any alcohol warming.

It has a creamy mouthfeel brought on by its low carbonation and heavy body. A very nice cold day beer and I definately will be buying more of this during the winter months. Recommended.

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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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Is Summit CANning everything that they make? As the founder of The CANQuest (TM), a CANcerted effort to drink and review EVERY CANned beers in existence, I certainly hope so!

From the CAN: "Proudly Brewed in St. Paul, Minnesota"; "Cozy Up to a Dark, Nutty Brew with Hints of Cocoa and Spice"; "Mother Nature doesn't want your empties. Please recycle."

I am watching the inaugural College Bowl Championship Game tonight in the grip of a Winter day. The tab fought me, briefly, but the Crack! was deafening. I got a light spritz as a result and now my curiosity was piqued to CANduct an inverted Glug. The pseudo-cascade came up pretty quickly, requiring that I back off, but not before the formation of three fingers of dense, rocky, light-tan head with good retention. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with obvious clarity and garnet highlights. Nose had a definite cocoa/chocolate bent, underlain by a light cinnamon spiciness. Interesting. Mouthfeel was medium with a softness approaching creaminess. Interesting x 2. The taste was cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon and infused with peppermint. I had one of these recently at Starbucks! I am not trying to be funny or ironic, but this reminded me very much of their Winter Peppermint Mocha. Finish was semi-dry, thanks to its inherent spiciness, but I could also called it semi-sweet just as easily. A brilliant way to wrap up the day just as the first quarter ends!

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.