1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Summit Winter Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

482 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 482
Reviews: 257
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 10.48%
Wants: 11
Gots: 35 | 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:
OG 14.6° Plato
36 IBUs
Malts: Harrington, Caramel, Carafa II
Hops: Willamette, Fuggle, Tettenanger

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-08-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Summit Winter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 482 | Reviews: 257 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Fatduck
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark red, with a small tan head that dissipates quickly, common for Summit. A little lacing.

S - Spicy and malty. I cant tell what in this, but I can tell that I like it.

T - Sweet and malty, mild spice notes. They call it a winter warmer, and at 5.9 ABV it sure does work. This is one of my standard drinks after a nice cold winter bike ride.

M - It tastes sweet and heavy, but the carbonation is nearly perfect, keeps the feeling light, but doesn't take away from the smoothness of this beer

D - I love this beer, Its one of the first beers that got me into really LOVING beer. I have and will in the future drink a 6er by myself

This is one of my favorite 'winter' beers. I love summit, and I love winter, so its a perfect combo. When I found this beer at Hum's I did a little dance in the isle, because this beer represents the start of the winter beer season, and that is a wonderful thing.

Photo of cdkrenz
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark, dark brown body with minimal off-white almost tan head. The head fades quick leaving a ring where the body and the glass meet.

S - From the second this beer exited it's bottle the aroma was in the air. Black licorice, dark chocolate and a hint at clove.

T - It has a smokey tone over subtle dark chocolate. This brew comes from a long roasted malt making a solid attempt at a nice ripe ale.

M - The feel of the brew leaves a bit to be desired. It's flat at the lips but has an uncomfortable coarseness over my tongue. When it hits the back of my throat I'm discouraged.

~ I will recommend this brew to others despite the issues I have with the appearance and texture. I'm thinking the sight and feel may be better when sampled from draught.

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

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a dark amber color with a deep red when held to the light. There was a 1/2 cream color head that left a nice line on the glass as it thinned. The smell of this brew is somewhat light with mild hints of malt, some oatmeal smell and some caramel. The taste is a little better with some chocolate and coffee notes but is a little thin and slightly watered down in the finish. This is a solid brew that was a nice surprise.

Photo of number1bum
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark scarlet red/brown, good clarity and about a finger and a half of tan head. Keeps a pretty thin but full lace all the way to the bottom of the glass and leaves a bit of stick.

Smell is quite chocolaty and I like it. Milk chocolate, cocoa powder, a pleasant sweetness. Nice.

Taste also has some chocolate but not as much as the nose. There is a tobacco like and earthy hop flavor and also a moderate level of hop bitterness. There is a roasty flavor that seems to be a combo of some roasted malt and also some tobacco like hops. The substantial hop presence is reminiscent of a porter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, quite smooth with a nice creaminess to it. Carbonation is a bit more active than I'd like - could be softer.

This is a nice beer and I love the nose in particular. Many beers have dark, bittersweet chocolate characteristics but this one has a great milk chocolate/cocoa powder nose that is somewhat unique. I wish there was more of that in the flavor, but nevertheless this is a very enjoyable beer.

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 mobyfann
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid $1.79 for a single at Jungle Jim's...

The beer pours a clear chocolate base, small white head, nice 1/8" head retention for the hour drank, and a few specs of lacing. It smells like a porter at first, robust smoky malt notes, finished with a sweet caramel tone.

The taste is similar to its smell, except it's more balanced and adds a touch of spice: something like ginger and anise, moderate carbonation and no sign of alcohol, very mellow and full flavored, yet not heavy. Creamy in the mouth compliments to the creamy head and drinkable at 5.9% abv. I would opt to have another beer after two, or maybe only one.

Final Thought: A very nice winter brew from the Twin cities, definitely will have one next season.

Photo of HardTarget
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Summit Winter Ale
Bottle Inspection: Brown 12 oz. twisty, lists ingredients "Water, Barley Malt, Hops, Yeast", nothing else. Website lists Williamette, Fuggle, Tettenanger hops, and Harrington, Caramel and Carafa II malts, 36 IBU, 6.2% abv, 42 L.

Aroma: Nutty gingerbread, mild toasted grain, sweet dark malt, really nice.

Appearance: Dark brown with great clarity when held to the light. Tan head collars quickly and leaves some clinging lace.

Flavor: Nice malty beer with some complexity. Some coffee flavor, dark toasted malt, mild bubblegum, comes off as a porter base, I'm guessing that's the Fuggles talking more than anything. I normally don't like Fuggles, but the amount used here is pretty good. I'm really impressed with the spiced notes here given they claim Reinheitsgebot.

Mouthfeel: On the edge of too carbonated, but doesn't go fizzy. Medium body, slick texture, little warmth

Overall Impression: A solid beer. Great craftsmanship here is obvious as they get a lot of interesting flavors out of basic ingredients. My favorite Summit beer yet

Photo of pumarocks
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up a sixer of this at the jungle in fairfield, oh for 3.99! wow what a steal!

for a winter ale it is surprisingly light and drinkable. it has a fresh warmth that i find very appealing. it has a nice malty flavor that lingers. the hop finish dances breifly on the tongue and dissapears as fast as it showed up. i could easily knock down 2 or 3 of these bad boys on a cold winters night or even a cold spring night for all you buckeyes who feel my pain.

Photo of Greggy
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- very dark color, nice thick 1 finger head with decent lacing. No signs of yeast sediment.

S- Dark chocolate, cherries, light coffee.

T- Dark chocolate, a little thin, coffee, touch of caramel, dry, nutty, walnut, nut goody, bourbon.

M- A bit thin for how big and complex the smell and taste is. I expected more body.

D- A nice low alcohol complex winter ale I look forward to for next year.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. brown bottle served in a shaker pint glass. Poured a deep brown with less than a finger of white head. Deep malty aroma, molasses and caramelized sugar. Rich malty flavor and mouthfeel. Plenty of caramel malt. Not a lot of hop bitterness, but enough to balance out the malt sweetness. Very easy drinking, solid beer.

Photo of JMBSH
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer from the seasonal sample pack. I decided to open this beer first since I don't remember having it before. Ruby in color with a scent of molasses. A coating of lace remains after the head recedes after a hard pour. A rich taste with a slight hoppy aftertaste that lingers in the mouth.

I like it but it is not a beer that I could enjoy more then once a session.

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 Bobikel
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep brown with red edges when held to light. A smallish off-white head dissipates rather slowly leaving almost no lacing in it's wake.

Smell - Deep caramel malts combine with a toasted/biscuity flavor. Alchohol is present in the back of the nose, with a slight hopping rounding things out. Very slightly fruity.

Taste - heavy on the malt with just a touch of hops in the background. Very close to what a winter warmer should be. Or at least how it should be in my eyes. Chocolate, caramel, toasty buiscuts, and alchohol warmth combine very nicely.

Mouthfeel - Slick and smooth with a low level of carbonation. A touch watery.

Drinkability - Could stand to be a little bigger in all respects to make it a better winter ale. But as such does alright for its self.

Photo of hustlesworth
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- dark brown with mahogany and garnet highs, creamy beige head has good retention and seems kinda light for such a dark beer, which is also pretty dark for a winter warmer. anyway, there was a decent amount of sticky lace and the head looked cool as it settled into a pitted soapy disk.

S- nutty malty and roasty toasty. very malty chocolate, coffee, hazelnut, much like an india brown ale, but little on the hop side.

T- deep bock taste, molasses, toasted caramel, dark fruit, dates, fig, prune, currant, merlot, and a faint smokiness from the roasted malts.

MF- thick, rich, and full bodied, medium low carbonation, a pretty hearty brew.

D- it's ok, but seems more like a porter.

Photo of Mdog
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep red, good head.

Smell: Not much, some toasted bread and grain.

Taste: Dark bread, a kind of earthy feel to it. Some very mild sweetness as it warms. Slightly bitter finish.

Drinkability: Probably could have a couple but doesn't really stand out.

I figured I better start reviewing the "old school" local brewery a little more and picked up a sampler. The winter ale hasn't stood out in my mind among Summit's offerings. It's better than their Octoberfest but not too special. It's a decent beer though.

Photo of Rayek
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good accompaniment for a cold winter evening.

A: Deep mahogany color. Dense, but thin cream colored head. I had to pour pretty vigorously to get much to form. Head does leave a nice lace behind on the glass.

A: A mixture of cocoa, coffee and floral hops. A touch of cinnamon. A nice variety of aromas.

T: Quite bitter, almost spicy. Tawney port flavor augmented with dark cherry rounds things out. Alcohol doesn't play much of a roll, which strikes me as odd for this type of beer.

M: Medium body. Just the right amount of carbonation.

D: A nice winter warmer. I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, however. I was happy to have picked this up as a single, but might not want an entire six-pack.

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

Man...I like this beer. I'm a big fan of brown ale and Summit's Winter Ale with it's dark appearance, roasted malt, hint of coffee, and hop flavors come together to create what I feel a well balanced beer. Doesn't have a lot of spice flavors like other winter warmers (which is alright by me). Reminds me of Big Sky's Moose Drool.

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

Summit Winter Ale is a very nice-looking, decent tasting beer different from many Warmers with its prominent roasted coffee and chocolate aromas and taste. The pour produces a nice walnut body, with a finger of mocha foam. The smell and taste are pretty good, but the roasted flavor is one I find a bit overpowering relative to the modest spiciness. There is a bitter finish to this that would be better served if there were more sweetness, such as caramel.

All in all, worth a try. Be prepared for a different kind of Warmer with this, one a little shy on sweetness and spice, but original in its stout-porter leanings.

Photo of patsalvaggio
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark, Indigo when held up to the light. Not much head.

Aroma: Toasted oak, Clove, Toffee, nutty, cocoa, Coffee, a lot of great smells in this beer.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the heavy side, full body, rich

Taste: Cranberry, and coffee, a little bitter on the palate,slightly burnt or smoky tasting.

Drinkability: I am glad i reviewed this beer because it opened me up to some smells and flavors that i have not experienced before in beer, being that i am new at this, that being said i dont think i could drink more than one in a sitting.

Photo of snilsen13
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank plenty of this during Xmas in MN, 2007. Summit just keeps getting better at brewing their offerings, or so it seems to me. This particular offering has finally made me smile.

A - dark, opaque, a deep brown, not quite black. thin brown head. no trails. I like the color and how easily this pours out and I'm not a big fan of large heads, unless they're rocky.

S - mild breadiness

T - bready with earthy hop smack followed by a very mild chocolate flavor - this grew on me. At first seeming like they left the yeast with the beer too long but this is is actually just below that threshold. Alcohol is completely disguised.

M - solid, but not sticky

D - really drinkable.

Perhaps the best beer I've every had from Summit. However, I didn't use to like their Grand and a few bottles sitting in the basement fridge (aged a few months I guess) were much better than I ever remembered too.

Photo of zeff80
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cola-brown color with a slight reddish hue. It was highly carbonated with a one to two-finger, light brown head that left behind some soapy lace.

S - It smelled of malt and caramel. Also, a grassy quality to the aroma. Maybe a little nutmeg nose, as well.

T - It tasted of caramel roasted malts. It had subtle bitter hops. Its flavor was reminiscent of a porter of oatmeal stout.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is one of the better brews I've had from Summit. All in all, a nice winter warmer.

Photo of MMAJYK
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark, dark brown, almost black in color with nice ruby hues. Head is 1 finger of soft, tan head after an agressive pour into my pint glass. The head consisted of mostly small microbubbles, but had some inconsistant larger bubbles too. Kind of funny structure to me. Lacing on the glass is nothing to mention.

S- Some nice aromas going on here. The first thing I think is chocolate. Then it settles down into some nutty smells, creamy smells, then a hoppy scent follows too. Also, subtle scents of caramel mixed with cocoa are floating around. It is very sweet and rich on the nose.

T- Up front-CHOCOLATE! This is a surprise from a winter warmer. It almost tastes to me like a chocolate stout. I sense some cream, cocoa and a roasted malt backbone. There are sme of the nutty characteristics that carry over from the nose in there too.

M- Medium thickness and is malty and creamy. Carbonation is right in the middle of the spectrum. There is a little bit of sting on the tip of the tongue, then the finish holds a slight sting on the back.

D- Very drinkable beer. I wish I had more of these to sip on. You could session these easily by the fire or the grill.

Overall- I think that this carries alot of the characteristics of a chocolate stout, not a winter warmer. It has a low ABV and alot of the same aromas and tastes. Usually winter warmers will have a spicy taste. This one does not have that. That being said, I do really like this brew. Too bad it requires me to travel to Minnesota for work (yuk!) to get some more of it. It makes a great session beer as well. I will have to say that it was greatly enjoyable.

Photo of phrygian68
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a suprisingly dark color for a winter ale! nice 2 finger head,the lasts a nice while! nice caramel malt aroma! with hint of coffee! reminds me of a light stout both in flavor and taste! very drinkable! not much of a warmer due to a low Alcohol content ,a great addition to my winter mix!

Photo of morimech
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
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. There are no added spices or sweetness 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.

Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer starts with a robust porter like aroma from black malts combined with a dark fruit sweetness. These carry over into the taste and are similar but smoother than you'd get in an American robust porter. It's more like a nut brown ale with a roasted edge to it. I should mention there's a little bitterness at the end of the taste, but it's really an afterthought. Overall, this is a fairly clean winter warmer with a nice use of black malts.

Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 482 ratings.