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Summit Winter Ale - Summit Brewing Company

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Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

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516 Ratings

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Ratings: 516
Reviews: 268
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 10.48%
Wants: 12
Gots: 52 | 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: 516 | Reviews: 268
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
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
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
3.83/5  rDev +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
3.87/5  rDev +4%
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
4.14/5  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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of beveritt
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 1 inch of tan head. This settles into a thin layer and some lacing. The beer itslef is a brown, with a slight hint of red or mahogany.

Smell: Sweet, caramel malt. Hints of brown sugar and molasses.

Taste: Roasted barley like bitterness upfront mixes with a little taste of sweet, caramel malt. Reminds me of a porter in many ways. Medium level of hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: Not as spicy or high ABV as I normally expect from a winter warmer, but a good beer nonetheless.

Photo of shadow1961
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Summit Winter Ale pours out a thin white head over a coffee colored
brew. The nose reveals coffee and vanilla notes. The flavor is dark
malt, caramel, and coffee up front, with a bit of hop in the finish. The
mouthfeel is light, clean, and a bit astringent. Altogether a nice take
on the British Winter Warmer style- dark, but not so heavy as a porter.
Good stuff.

Photo of happygnome
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark brown kinda hazy color with about a half inch worth of head that dissapears fast and leaves a little lacing very inviting
s: aroma is not overpowering but i can percieve nuts and chocolate
t: nuts and chocolate the sweet malts are represented much more than the hops not really balanced but deffinatly nice
m: medium to full bodied carbonated but not overly

overall this is a very good beer that i really enjoyed

Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brew, with a nice tan head that disappears a bit too quickly, but leaves some nice lacing.
Nose is good but not overpowering, mostly malty, with notes of caramel, chocolate and coffee.
Smooth and medium bodied, it is "maltier" than Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome that I had the same night, it has some hops to balance, but it is still heavier on the malts, and perhaps more noticeable alcohol making it a lot more "winter warmer" than the other.
Easy to drink, not spectacular, but a good beer indeed, definitely better (and cheaper) than Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome.

Photo of pweis909
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, cloudy/hazy, with a bit of white frothy head that had no lasting power.

S: No too aromatic, but if I try hard, I perceive nuts and cocoa.

T: Yeah. I still get nuts. I want to say pistachio. And chocolate. More sweet than bitter. A little metallic at first.

This beer has some interesting traits, but none of them totally wowed me, and I hate the way I always get metallic tastes from Summit bottles.

Photo of nortmand
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby brown pour, with a tan head that leaves some lace.

The aroma is dominated by cocoa, figs and nutmeg.

Ripe plums, caramel, some chocolate and a wee bit of hop bitterness. Some what buttery, also.

This is probably the best beer I've from Summit. Pretty clean, and fairly drinkable, although there seems to be some alcohol warmth, despite the (relatively) low alcohol.

Photo of afinepilsner
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle

Summit Winter Ale was a dark red-brown color with good clarity. The off-white head was short and creamy, leaving some nice lacing behind. The aroma was malty and toasty. The taste was sweet malt, roasted grain, and some bitterness with a dry finish. The body was medium with plenty of carbonation. Drinkability was good. It's a nice winter warmer that's not overloaded all of the spices.

Photo of bruachan
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

she's roasty smelling. is this going to be a porter?

it's fairly dark; chestnut or mahogany. the head mostly comes to an end but i still the glint of lacing in its eye

the aroma is laden with roasty coffee or mocha aromas (which i can't help but think smell peripherally of vomit). nothing burnt, just roasty. there's a hint of hop, too. sweet

ooh...nice. somewhat sweet with some hop overlaying hoppy chocolately brown ale. good balance. i must comment that sub-6% hardly seems very warming, though i enjoy this beer

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

Into a pint glass, pours a dark blackish color with ruby hues, a decent sized off-white head thats shrinks pretty quick and some pretty nice lacing. Aroma is spicy, if anything, pretty tame. Taste is better, spiced nicely with a nice malting, a little roasty with some brown sugars perhaps, light hopping, and a nice caramel/toffee/coffee through the middle. A good medium body and nicely carbonated, while still smooth and slightly creamy. A good MN beer, a yearly partaking, a good winter warmer.

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

A - Quarter inch head, good retention. Deep brown color. Good lacing.

S - Smell is fairly faint but it's mostly caramel with hints of cinnamon and cloves.

T - Roasted malts with a hint of cinnamon, cocoa, cloves. Lots of spiciness going on here.

M - Fairly uniform mix of creamy and crispness from sipping to swallowing.

D - I like this beer a lot and I would recommend it to anyone.

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

pours a slightly burnt amber with a thin beige head that disappears in an instant.
the aroma is maltynot much in the hop aroma dept.
the flavor is malty but not to heavy, has a good hop spice but not over powering, nice full flavored brew. this beer is on style.

Photo of dfried
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown toffee like color with some red highlights, thin off white head that is mainly a ring and film. Malty aroma, quite sweet, caramel and brown sugar. Some almost sherry like qualities, a touch of dark fruit. The taste is pretty sweet as well, a bit cloying. A lot of caramel and brown sugar again. Some bitterness from hops, but not all that noticeable.

Verdict: I would like to see a more rich body, it is a bit too sweet, and the flavors didn't meld all that well. Not a pour outer or turn downer, but I was not impressed.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.19/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark reddish-brown. There was a light tan head which was retained well.

This beer smelled faintly of dark malt and coffee.

When I took a sip, I got faint coffee notes with an aftertaste of chocolate. It is a bit subtle, but quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel of this beer is (like the taste) understated. It isn't watery; its substantial without being overly sticky.

Drinkability is OK; I'd have another two of these.

Photo of Chaz
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been drinking this beer too long now to be disappointed, but a funky off-flavor in the tap pour I had last night made me wonder. Pours the same crimson-amber I remember so well, with a rocky dark tan head. Nose is pungent, verily oozing the contents of its unctious nut-brown-on-steroids self into the air that surrounds my tiny head: so far so good! Lace that stretches from here to next year, really impressive when poured into the right glass (bulb in this case) and speaking of right glass did anyone else notice the new logo-embossed bottles? I thought so . . . nice touch in the packaging department and definitely adds to an already great beer and solid brewery. The nose offers toffee, rum, and some dates, along with a fair amount of bitterness and carmalized/roasted malts ala the Great Northern Porter (and that's a good thing as GNP has been my favorite Summit brand since day 1.) The diacetyl doesn't bother me here and never has, as I've found it to be a consistent part of Summit's stylistic interpretation for years. A bit creamy on the tongue, with evidence of the alcohol both present and welcoming. Not a "thin" brew . . . if anyone ever calls this beer thin please give them a bowl of oatmeal to go with it! It *can* be a bit sweet for some, in fact I'd go so far as to say treacly-sweet at one moment, but offset by a slightly-smokey, roasted malt bitterness the next. This bitterness lingers quite a bit, the way a nice hop bitterness does, and acts as the counterpoint to the fruity notes (cherry, plum, and cocoa as it warms a bit . . . ) Fruity in the right way, roasty and toasty in the right ways (malt and alcohol), Summit Winter is a great beer that has probably been outshined by other beers-of-the-moment in the past ten years or so, but it's been consistent, year after year, for almost as long as I can remember - reason enough for me to buy a case every winter!

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 516 ratings.