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Summit Winter Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

460 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 460
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 11
Gots: 26 | 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
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Ratings: 460 | Reviews: 255 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jamesdergen
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice, dark amber color with a minimal fizzy off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Some roasty malt notes, but I can barely smell anything on this one.

Taste: A nice balance of roasty malts, coffee and bitter chocolate. The alcohol comes in nicely at the end and leaves a nice understated aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full, but not too heavy. Nicely carbonated, not too fizzy.

Drinkability: I would probably stop at one of these brews, they are a meal in a bottle. I'm sipping this one.

Overall, a nice offering from Summit. The flavor balance is nice and the darker notes are not overwhelming. Pick it up in the mix pack if you want to sample this one.

jamesdergen, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of mac56
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep black in color. Quickly receding head with slight lace. Slightly spicy, gingery aroma. Full flavor, just slightly sweet with chocolate and cherry (or currant?) notes. Full mouthfeel that gently recedes. Easy drinking, not overpowering, but I think I'd stop at one. Drinking this in early November 05 from a Summit sampler pack. I think this'll be great by the fire on a winter night.

mac56, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

KarlHungus, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy dark chestnut. The tight-bubbled ecru cap looks good atop the dark beer, giving it a sort of black-and-tan look. The head is reasonably long-lived and there's a good bit of lace when it finally relents. A wide, nearly unbroken band is present at midglass eventually.

Although the nose is nice and malty, it lacks power and depth. Other than roasted barley and a bit of dark caramel, there are very few aromas to be had. There may be a slight hoppiness in there somewhere, it's hard to say for sure.

Winter Ale tastes like a porter to me. At least there are more facets on the palate than there are in the nose. Now, in addition to roasted barley, I can appreciate carob and weak coffee. The beer is modestly sweet with a mild bitter nip. Hop flavor is in short supply until the finish, when it's still on the subtle side. There's no hint of alcohol; hardly surprising at only 5.9%.

The mouthfeel is appropriate for a porter, but is lighter than I expect for a true winter warmer. In fact, for reasons of both flavor density and mouthfeel, I don't consider this to be a winter warmer at all. It's still a decent beer, though, and is an easy drinker on a hot summer day like today.

Winter Ale is okay if you like your winter brews to be on the lighter side. Summit puts out a wonderful porter (Great Northern), so I'm not sure what purpose this one serves. It may be enjoyable, but it's far from outstanding.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of slyke
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Summit Winter pours a deep ruby color with a pale tan head. The head quickly falls, but decent lacing is left as the beer is enjoyed.

A pleasing aroma, but one that does not have any distinctive notes other than perhaps a coffee bouquet.

Taste is pretty balanced with a malty initial flavor that finishes with hoppy crispness.

Mouthfeel is heavier than some other the other Summit offerings, but this is a winter warmer, so it is expected.

This is a very drinkable beer - nearing sessionable, as long as the sessions don't last all evening at the 5.9% ABV listed for this beer. Alright, I admit it, I've had a few sessions with this one. :-)

Another great beer from brewery bearing the name of the best known street in my state capital.

slyke, Mar 30, 2005
Photo of RushLimbmalt
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color and has a thin tan head. The aroma is all malt, chocolate being the most prominent feature. It's taste is like a very mellow porter, with a spicy hop finish. A little more bitter than the BBC's Holiday Porter. A very nice mellow winter beer. Nothing special, but a very solid beer.

RushLimbmalt, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of BigRedN
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a sampler twelve pack. I can't believe this is the first winter seasonal I have reviewed this year, and its March.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. Very dark ruby red. Thin (about 1/4-inch) off white head, dissipated to a ring around the glass. Lacing to the finish.

Smell: Most noticeable is the slight malty aroma, mostly of roasted malt and barley. Slight hint of hops.

Taste: Nothing overpowering nor outstanding, a good balance of malt with a slight bit of hops mixed in to provide a bitterness to the sweetness of the malt. As I mentioned, I was braced for big winter beer, but was slightly underwhelmed.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in body than expected, low carbonation. This one does hide the alcohol well though, for a beer with close to 6%.

Drinkable: Very good for a winter warmer, typically I can not do too many, as winter seasonals tend to bombard the senses with many scents and flavors. A well done if somewhat understated beer.

BigRedN, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of brownbottlehall
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is similar to a Porter, with a very dark amber color to it. A very clear roasted aroma to it which is followed by the same roasted taste: barley, chocolate, coffee etc. Great mouthfeel accompanied by a slightly bitter malty aftertaste on the way down. It would be nice if it were a little more potent, especially since it is classified as a 'Winter Warmer".

brownbottlehall, Feb 15, 2005
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Secret Santa 2004 #2

Dark brown-red, think dried blood, body (maybe I shouldn't review after CSI), topped by a fluffy, very light tan, couple fingers of foam. Some lacing.

Nice cocoa notes in the aroma, bit of coffee too, but not roasty.

Mocha rolls over the tongue first, followed by slather of malt. A sheen of herbal and earthy hops arrive to balance it all out, giving the whole mouth a quick brushing over, they slowly fading off into the horizon.

Mouthfeel is good, if a bit light. C'mon, it's a winter ale, it could be a bit chewier. Goes down smoothly.

I would peg it as a porter, as opposed to the strong ales I think of as winter warmers. A darn nice porter at that. If it was available, I could drink quite a few of these in a winter.

RonfromJersey, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of Mitchster
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed with 2-row Harrington, Caramel, and Black patent malts. Hopped with Williamette, Fuggle, and Tettnager.

OG=14.5P, 38 IBU, 48 Lovibond, 5.9% ABV.

Pours out to a clear deep mahogany, forming a modest dark beige/yellow tinted head with average retention and sparse lacing. The aroma is very nice with notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, light roast coffee, black walnut, pleasantly balanced hops. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Mouthfeel begins wet and watery and opens up towards the middle with the roasted highlights. Medium-light bodied. Taste begins with pleasant roasted malts, a nice chalkiness, mild caramel, milk chocolate and coffee, and slightly sour malts. The hops are herbaceous and are nicely balanced in flavor with a well-balanced spicy bitterness. I generally don't like English Hops, but these are rounded out by the Tett. The finish is astringent from the roast, and the finish is emphasized with tobacco and leather. No off-flavors and alcohol is imperceptable. Perhaps little lingering bits of smoke hang in the aftertaste.

This is very close to a porter. Not an Olde Ale as expected, and if this is spiced, I'm sure not tasting it. A solid brew from a very good brewery. All their brews have impressed me, and this one is another testament to their skill.

Mitchster, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of LuckySevens82
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubby bottle.
Pours a dark mahogony with absolutely no head. There is a small collar but the carbonation appears to be lacking.
Smell is kind of hard to discern on this one. There is definitely slight hops, figs or other fruits and some sort of spice (perhaps cinnamon)
Taste is nice, a little hops, caramel, a biscuity aftertaste, some coffee, and spices
Mouthfeel isn't as bad as I thought it would be with the apperent lack of carbonation...I think this one may just be too dark to see the carbonation well.
Overall, I'd say that this is a pretty standard winter warmer, i've had better, I've had worse, this one falls somewhere in the middle.

Thanks to garymuchow for letting me try this one

LuckySevens82, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown body was clear and porter-ish , and the head very small and fleeting. The smell was that of powdered cocoa, roasted and burnt grains, and faint grassy hops. The taste was as anticipated, with chocolate, weak coffee, dark skinned fruits, brown sugar, and roasted cracked grains. Mouthfeel was medium-thin, and the aftertaste was slightly sticky. A decent porter released for the season where it is appropriate.

rajendra82, Dec 12, 2004
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decent looking brew. Nice deep red color. Sparse but significant head.

Nose isn't the best thing in the whole world. Get kind of a mildewy smell honestly. Definately get some crystal malts. Some thin caramel type notes.

Taste is ok. Its certainly passable. Get some special B in there for sure. Rich maltyness. Not very much like raisins like I think of special B, but I'm pretty sure this is special B malt. That would account for the deep color too. Just a touch of hops in the finish. Maybe some chocolate malt in there too? But very thin, clean finish. I'd prefer a little something more in a winter ale.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for me.

Quite drinkable. Its a fairly light beer and could definately be a nice winter session beer.

cerevisiaephilus, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of Redrover
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Jaks Tavern in Chicago. They offer a nice selection of 40 taps.

The beer was a dark brown with some reddish highlights. No real head or lacing.

The nose is of plum, some grains and a bit of molasses. Not a huge amount of aroma, but what there is, is good.

The taste was of fruit (plum again), some slightly roasted malt and quite a bit of alcohol. Not much in the way of spicing or hoping. Alcohol became more pronounced as the beer warmed. Some hints of hard candy as you get near the end.

The mouthfeel was fine and the carbonation level seemed well suited to this beer. One was enough for me and I'm glad I tried it.

Redrover, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of chilidog
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The Winter Ale, my first thought was along the lines of a watery porter. As I took time with this beer, I grew to its mild likeing. Not a heavy, over spiced, high abv. But rather a thin bodied easy winter drinker. It poured a deep mahogany with a fair tan head with good lace. The aroma was spice & pine with hints of malt. The taste also carries the same trends with more spice, raisin and chocolate malt. Over-all a nice easy winter anytime drink with a thinner than normal body, for a winter warmer.

chilidog, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.88/5  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!

orbitalr0x, Nov 25, 2004
Photo of skybluewater
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

skybluewater, Nov 01, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of tan head over the reddish mahogany brew. Head hangs around for awhile, and lacing is excellent. Aroma is mainly dark malts. Taste is also darker malts, mainly caramel I think, with some coffee and chocolate for added enjoyment. Mouthfeel is good, albeit a bit thin-seeming. Drinkability is enhanced by the somewhat thin body, and the malty flavor keeps me wanting more. Not sure how much of a wamer during the winter this is, but I like it as a brew, and that's what counts.

ppoitras, Sep 02, 2004
Photo of GreenWBush
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A diamond in the rough plucked from the .75 cent barrel - amongst Skyy Light and Huber Bock, my expectations were quite low but this beer trumped my low-set bar...

Summit Winter Ale evacuates a dark amber that comes off black in common household/bar lighting. It has a frighteningly white head for the color of the body of the beer, and a polite amount of lacing.

The nose is sour grapes, hints of raisin, soggy fudge, chocolately wet paper.

This beer tiptoes the line betwixt a sludgy porter, light stout, and respectable dark ale. There is a nice amalgam of roasty malts, twangy cocoa, tummy warming alcohol, and a crisp and substantial nuttiness imparted from the hops.

A brilliant winter drink with somewhat of a Guinness mouthfeel. Lingering roastiness will keep you warm on a winter night, and this one even survived with flying colors into the hot summer months.

GreenWBush, Jul 06, 2004
Photo of marburg
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very clear, color of oxidized iron and glare off of varnished wood. Smallish head.

Crisp nose of allspice slathered in wet malty goodness. Oven-crisped sugar.

Gooey malt flavors; ripe, juicy plum; caramelized sugars; allspice; moderate bitterness. A dark, roasted ale -- certainly short of a stout or porter but lacking the extreme (though good) spiciness of some other Christmas or Winter ales.

marburg, Apr 19, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a lacey tan head receding over clear dark maroon liquid hinting at brownish highlights. The nose is pleasantly roasty with light coffeeish notes, lightly fruity too. Taste starts sweet with underlying dryness felt, yet a little thin in the mouthfeel dept. Some nuttiness tasted also. Moderate hoppiness. Finishes with little in the way of "oomph"...nice, but nothing to shout about.

Thanks CRJM.

beerluvr, Mar 14, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour a deep maroon with a relatively large tan head. Thick rings of lace are deposited to the glass.
Aroma of caramel, toffe and some nuts.
Flavors or toasted dark wheat bread, caramel and hint of peanut (?) and maybe some sour green apple hit.
Mouthfeel is thick, creamy and smooth with a lightly bittered finish.
Drinkability is very, love to get this one of draught.

CRJMellor, Mar 09, 2004
Photo of alexgash
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brick-red with a creamy off-white head. Not much going on with the nose; caramel, some vanilla, trace elements, slight hops--it's hard to tell. Taste starts with toasty caramel malts with slight fruitiness. Hops are minimal but do the job. I wouldn't mind it if Summit beefed this up a touch; it might really help it gain some complexity. Creamy, medium bodied, and not a bad session winter ale.

alexgash, Feb 14, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks darker than I remembered it. Almost looks like a stout, with it's black opacity. This is a very heavily spiced beer, which makes me wonder why it isn't in the Herbed/Spiced beer category. It tastes strongly of cinnamon and nutmeg, in fact, they pretty much dominate this beer. Covers up any traces of alcohol or hops (I don't know if that is a good thing). Not a beer to session, would make you feel sick to your stomache in no time. It would be good on a cold winter night, though.

TastyTaste, Jan 26, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Squat looking brown glass 12 ouncer which arrived in a rather nice beer parcel from Oakdale’s finest BA, BigHuge. A plain looking label with not much in the way of appeal, the basics are there: Brewery, Beer Name and the legal Government Warning bollocks. But no strength or freshness date.

Appearance: Deep brown body with a ruby hue when backlit. Dark cherrywood hints peak through the broken creamy looking light tan head which formed a nice ½” thick uniform covering at first, but this soon faded leaving a thin looking lacing. Finely dissolved bubble carbonation quickly joins the underside of the head when the glass is tilted, and the head replenished when the beer is gently swirled.

Nose: Earthy malts with a smoked caramel aroma. Wholemeal bread and some yeast at the back end.

Taste: Light roasted whisky malt beginning that has a smoked feel that is somewhat short lived and fades by the middle. I can’t help but think of Single Malt Scotch Whisky when I immediately taste and swallow this beer. The middle has a creamy feel and the ending is lightly warming with that gullet-peat-malt punch you get from a good Scotia Whisky. Nice.

Mouthfeel: This has a very smooth velvet feel when in the mouth, so much so that you retain the beer just that bit longer than you normally would before swallowing. A creamy feel pervades the middle of the beer, a good drinking beer that wraps the tongue with mild warmth, whilst coating the cheeks with smoked earthy peat like malts.

Drinkability: Easily taken down, another one of those 12 ounce bottles that I had all but drunk by the time I got to the Drinkability part of my Review, which I guess speaks for itself, so I’ll stop rambling.

Overall: I really enjoyed the warming Scotch Whisky-like alcoholic malts and the earthy organic peat malt feel in the ending that this Winter Ale has. Very nice. Lovers of Single Malt Whisky should try this one. Cheers Joe!

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 22, 2004
Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 460 ratings.