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Summit Winter Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

268 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 268
Hads: 533
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 14.78%
Wants: 12
Gots: 65 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Summit Winter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 268 | Hads: 533
Photo of ncsutton
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

A - Rich dark amber color

S - Earthy undertones with some toffee and caramel scents

T - Tastes like a good winter ale should, it has some good caramel tastes and some good roasted malts as well

M - Medium bodied brew, some carbonation but not a ton

O - To me this is a good brew, it has the warming affect that a winter ale should it taste a lot like a normal ale with some caramel undertones

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Photo of bnes09
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with deep ruby hues when held to light. Pours a creamy head than recedes to a thin film and forms sticky lines of lace.

Mild roasted aroma of almonds, light roast coffee and grilled duck.

Flavor of beef stock is highly apparent. Some roasted flavor. Hint of molasses sweetness. No spices as some examples of the style have. Fairly well balanced.

Low carbonation. Smooth feel. Medium body.

Not bad. Beef flavor is a little weird but it is still pretty tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tea brown color with an impressive ecru head; leaves some dots of lacing behind

Smell: Earthy malt tones with a hint of caramel and chocolate; somewhat nutty

Taste: Caramel, up front, with a hint of malted milk underneath; by mid-palate, both nuts and earhty hops make an appearance; a bit more hops appear in the finish but this is primarily about the malt bill

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I have a hunch that the recipe for this might have changed as older reviews characterize this as an amped-up porter; this year's version is much more like a moderately-hopped nut brown ale; rather enjoyable, overall

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

Poured into an Irish pint glass.

The beer is a deep ruby mahogany. The head is off-white, and very thick and creamy. It slowly dissipates, leaving lots of sticky lacing.

The beer smells delicious -- sweet caramel, roasted malts, cinnamon and a hint of cherry?

The taste is complex with roasted malts, toffee, caramel all coming through with a slight bitter hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall I'm really impressed with this one. It has a great flavor profile, appearance, and it doesn't over use the spices.

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Photo of Vashtar
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pours without much head, but had nice lacing. The appearance is dark brown with a slight orange.

The smell is sweet with lightly roasted malts and strong presence of caramel and toffee.

It's a nice taste. It's bitter and isn't wintery, but it's okay.

The mouthfeel is like air.

Overall, it's an interesting beer. I think it would satisfy a party of people who only like light beers with the other half only liking dark beers. bleh

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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.

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

A: Looks like a pour of coke less the ice and bubbles. Dark rich color.

S: Nothing too over powering, some light coffer and chocate with some hints of roasted malts.

T: A little sweeter than I thought it would be. Chocolate is stronger than the scent would lead you to believe and adds a nice sweetness.

M: Medium bodym not to dark with a very light carbonation.

O: Nice winter ale, nothing too special here though.

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Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a tapered pub glass it pours a dark copper mahogany, fluffy tan foam layers on the surface and lasts for a bit. Spindly lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Thin skim across the surface lasts for the duration of the glass.

Initial aroma of cola or sarsaparilla, later some gingerbread, low key on the spice though thankfully. Not sweet, somewhat complex with some molasses too as it warms.

Mild malt toastiness, molasses, cocoa powder, light malty flavors, not sweet or bitter really. Light bodied, nearly watery but stops short. Easy going, nothing really stands out about it, but it has an autumnal character and is easy enough to drink.

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Photo of EmergingZymurgy
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle, a deep ruby color with minimal head and almost no lacing. Tastes dark and roasty with chocolate and some toffee tones. Smells of chocolate and caramel. Has a medium body, and dries out slightly at the end. It has a roasty, dry aftertaste and sits on the back of the palate.

It tastes very porter-ish. Not very winter warmery, but not a bad beer.

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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 SolipsismalCat
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed alongside RJ Rockers First Snow Ale.

A: Clear dark red-amber with two-finger, tan, creamy head that lasted a couple of minutes. Great lacing.

S: Dark fruit and roasted malt.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Very nice roasted flavor. Coffee and subtle dark fruit.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Smooth and warm.

O: This tastes and feels like a winter warmer to me. Roasted, malty, smooth, and warm. I liked this better than the First Snow Ale.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours dark brown with a bit of reddish hue. There is a good head and quite a bit of lace. The nose is sweet caramel and some mild spice as well as dark fruits. The taste is slightly sweet with a nice malt character. Good, light spice. Finish is a bit dry but, a nice balance between normal beer and an overspiced seasonal. A solid winter warmer!

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(A) Pours a really dark brown. When held to the light it has a brilliant ruby color. Somewhat thin head.

(S) Roasted grain and a bit of hops. Biscuit. Some sweetness. Weak fig.

(T) Decent amount of roasted malts paired with some other sweetness. Faint cinnamon. There's some decent hop bitters at the middle-end of the flavor.

(M) Kind of grainy. Medium body. It has some carbonation bite to it.

(O) It's a decent winter brew. Has some good flavor for a winter beer. Nor overly spicy or hefty on the cinnamon. Good, solid amber ale.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Brown-garnet with a one finger tan head that retains fairly well.
S- Sweet and slightly nutty. Just a touch of toffee.
T- At first it's got a brown sugar type flavor. Caramel and a nutty finish.
M- Medium light body and a smooth carbonation.
O- It's an ok tasting beer but there are enough better Winter Warmers out there I'd probably pass on this in the future.

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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.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown body, trace head floating, zero lacing

S: caramel, malt, toffee, nuts

T: mild malt, hint of chocolate, roasted flavor, mild bready finish

M: medium/light body, low carbonation

D: not bad, fine winter warmer newbie beer.


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Photo of dali27
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Dark brown in color, almost a cola-like. Really nice light tan head that lasts a while. The color combination is very good looking.

S: I smell caramel and mild roast. The smell is very subtle in this beer.

T: Mild malty taste, with also mild caramel/chocolate flavor. Ends with a bit of a boozy taste. There is nothing too overwhelming here about the taste.

M: Thin with mild carbonation.

D: Easy to drink with food, or using this as intended as a winter warmer.

Mild is the word that I would use to describe this beer. There is nothing spectacular about it, and at the same time I would not hesitate to try again. Really reminds me of a slightly muted version of Summit's Great Northern Porter, which is a beer that I love.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/11 notes.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with an inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, spices, bready malts, fruit, and toasted malts..

t - Tastes of caramel malts, roasted malts, tooasted malts, and light spice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A nice winter warmer with some nice caramel malts. Would have again.

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

A - Dark garnet brown color with a decent sized, foamy, light, frothy, off white head. Nice retention leaving a nice creamy lace.

S - Roasted barley and caramel are quite strong. Sweet but a good amount of spice. A touch of earthy and floral hops.

T - Roasted barley, caramel and some baker's chocolate. Quite porter like. Mid sip some earthy hops come out and maybe a touch of floral hops. A touch of nuttiness. Spice shows up later in the sip with an earthy and slightly wintery spice flavor. Similar to a hoppy porter.

M - Fuller side of thin body with average carbonation. Smooth, but a little thinner than I would like.

D - Goes down easy enough, but it isn't overly interesting. Doesn't quite do the warming job that I would really like in a winter warmer, but not a bad beer to sip on a couple on a cold night.

Notes: Reminds me of a slightly hoppy and spiced porter. Mayber a slight English taste (hops or yeast possibly). Not bad, but nothing really engaging or intriguing.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark red, almost brown with plenty of carbonation and a pleasant malty, coffee with cream sort of aroma. The caramel and roasted malts are the standout flavor in this beer, helping to create complexity with a distinct nuttiness and touch of toffee. The hop flavor and bitterness seems to be played down quite a bit, letting the malts express their flavors. the woody English hops express themselves a little better as the beer warms up. This is a beer best left to warm up quite a bit before that first sip, otherwise its complexity is far less evident. Toffee-ish malts in the finish and a hint of tannin. Overall, a pretty decent Winter Warmer but I think the drinkability would be better if it had a slightly more memorable finish.

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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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to NuBrewm for this brew. Served in a snifter.

Pours dark brown with a bit of reddish hue. There is a good head and quite a bit of lace. The nose is sweet caramel and some mild spice as well as dark fruits. The taste is slightly sweet with a nice malt character. Good, light spice. The age has treated this one well. Finish is a bit dry and the spice comes through a bit too much. Overall, a nice balance between normal beer and an overspiced seasonal.

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Photo of plfahey
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance-Brownish red with bright ruby highlights. Very clear. Moderate, very light tan, frothy head with fair retention, and light lacing.

Aroma-Rich malt complexity-toffee, roast, with hints of coffee and chocolate. Very low hop aroma. No apparent esters or other yeast character. Smells great.

Flavor-Bigger roast flavors here, with stronger notes of coffee in the finish. Light caramel/toffee sweetness up front. Some bittersweet chocolate is evident as well. Some low earthy hop flavors become apparent in the finish. Low hop bitterness, but moderate bitterness is contributed by the dark roasted malts. Just a hair astringent.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body, medium high carbonation. Slightly astringent from the dark malts, almost a bit chalky. It's not terrible, but it is notable.

Even with the slight astringency, I think this one's pretty tasty, and a great, malty wither ale.

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Photo of jera1350
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deepest of amber colors, approaching brown. A creamy mocha head that is thin, but leaves lace and has staying power.

Roasty malts with some toffee sweetness, spice and a bit of a hop presence.

A nice lightly roasted malt profile with light sweetness that is cola and toffee like. A little nutty. Mildly spiced with a light hop presence in the background. Nicely balanced and not overdone in any department.

Frothy and velvety smooth. Medium bodied which is a bit light for the style, but makes it more drinkable at the same time.

This has really strong drinkability. The flavors do not overwhelm like some winter warmers do and the alcohol is lower which also helps. This is a nice beer that I would actually prefer over the majority of others in the style I've had. Just another solid beer from Summit.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a becker glass. The color is a nice ruby brown. Two fingers of slightly tanned head developed and dissipated quickly, leaving foam along the glass, a spotted lacing, and a ring around the edge.

Smell: Hmm... Maybe Summit reverse engineered Goose Island's Mild Winter. At least that's what it smells like. Slightly toasted coffee, cocoa, and toffee malts. Smells like there is a little rye in there, too -- eerily similar to Mild Winter. The smell also has a nutty quality to it and a little smooth vanilla.

Taste: Pleasantly toasty. Toasted caramel, coffee, and cocoa malts; the notes of coffee bitterness stand out a head above the rest. Each sip leaves a slight bitterness lingering on the tongue and cheeks.

Drinkability: Someone call Summit and tell them Winter Ale is not a winter warmer, at least in the liquid Christmas tree sense. It is, instead, a solid and malty beer.

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.