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 Great Northern Porter - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Great Northern PorterSummit Great Northern Porter

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

506 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 506
Reviews: 286
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 11
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ADR on 03-04-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 506 | Reviews: 286 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bminus


3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark, deep brown with a somewhat undersized beige head.
Smell is of burnt, toasty malt. A bit of coffee and even less of chocolate.
Taste is initially of strong burnt chocolate malt, but smoothes out in the finish.
Really smooth feel, not too light, but not too heavy.
It's a big beer, great for a sipper on a cold day while bundled up in the icehouse or cabin. More than one gets to be overkill, though.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2007 21:14:53 | More by bminus
Photo of morimech


4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a nice one fingered off white head. It quickly settles to a ring after leaving some nice sticky lacing. The head retention sure could be better but overall it looks like an appetizing porter.

The smell is burnt and chocolate malt with a hint of roasted coffee. No hint of any sweetness or hops in the aroma.

I have to wait a little bit for the beer to warm up to the proper temp...The first impression is roasted malt. It almost tastes like burnt coffee in its intensity. It is not overly complex in its malt character but what it does it does well. It might be a little thin compared to other porters but it has a nice consistancy.

This is a good cold weather beer. This and the Summit Winter Ale makes a good 1-2 punch in battling off Old Man Winter.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2007 22:33:49 | More by morimech
Photo of Slatetank


3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cool into a DFH shaped pint. Purchased at Thirsty's in York, PA.

A - Deep cola brown w/ a glimpse of caramel brown at the base of the pint. A spectacular full 3 fingers of fluffed up tan foam that appears rocky and leaves moderate lace is produced from a slightly vigorous pour.

S - A nice yeasty fruit ester and mineral scent of an English style porter w/ plenty of roasted notes and a hint of cocoa.

M - Slightly on the thin side, but nice dry textures and moderate carbonation make it better than average.

T - Crisp, spicy hops awaken the tongue as the smooth cocoa creamy malt notes follow w/ a nice charred edge. The hops are piney and fit the style w/ just a bit more than you might find traditionally. A bitterness that is earthy w/ a bit of pepper in the flavor that goes well w/ the slightly smokey, darkly roasted malts.

D - A fabulous example of the porter style w/ nods to American flavor characteristics. Restrained, yet enticing w/ notes of roastiness that make this creamy smokey porter very drinkable

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 12:30:30 | More by Slatetank
Photo of sweetkness


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured into pint mug. Nice creamy head which settled quickly. Dark brown color common of style.

Smell - Slight bitter malt aroma. I had trouble distinguishing much as far as aroma.

Taste - Wonderful taste for this style. Strong malt flavor at first, changing to bittersweet barley/caramel flavor and finishing with a slight smokiness.

Mouthfeel - Watery going into mouth, becoming more complex across tongue. (if that makes sense)

Drinkability - I drank this very quickly. Not too filling like some porters/stouts can be.

This is a wonderful example of a porter. It is my favorite Summit beer that I have had thus far and I would rate this above more popular versions such as Anchor or Sierra Nevada Porter.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2007 21:48:21 | More by sweetkness
Photo of daaru


3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a very attractive beer in the glass. pours darker than my soul, with a firm head which holds for a while (though only about an inch of it tops). aroma also very nice: creamy with hints of sour malt. however, the flavour is pedestrian. nothing special about the mouthfeel or finish. if i couldn't find a 6 pk of bell's kalamazoo stout i'd buy this again, but nothing i'd specially look for.

on the head: my second pour was a bad one and yielded a monster head with a little bit of beer still left in the bottle (pouring into a pint glass)--it quickly dissipated to the 1 inch head of the first pour, confirming my sense that that is the more accurate estimation of the head. i can't say i can account for the enthusiastic descriptions of the range of flavours. maybe it's a lot better on tap.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2007 05:01:34 | More by daaru
Photo of cdkrenz


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$1.49 / Bottle
JR Liquor
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Appearance - Very dark brown, near black. The pale brown head pours about 3/8 of an inch thick. The head fades away after a few minutes leaving lacey glassware.

Smell - The scent of burnt malt fills my nose. This is a lovely scent. There's no sweetness or hoppy aroma here.

Taste - It starts out with a smooth malt flavor to get you started. Slowly it moves on to a bitterness not expected judging by the smell. The taste is very good. At first I thought this beer was simple but after a few sips this is a complex brew with a wide range of flavor.

Mouthfeel - Watery smooth at first take. It moves from the front middle of my tongue to the middle sides and then finishes toward the top of my mouth near the back. Interesting array of textures and points of flavor.

~ All in all this is a good beer. I would certainly recommend it to my friends. Tonight I wish I had at least one more to enjoy on my own.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2007 03:01:38 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of mooseisloose


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on vacation up in "da woods". Earthy chocolate smell. Poured into a tankard to a black color and a huge tan head, very clingy head. Mouthfeel is well carbonated. Taste is a dry sweetness with a slighty bitter hoppiness. The sweetness carries throughout the finish. This is a very drinkable brew. The head is very long-lasting. Upon further review the taste is almost 3 stage: initial roasted malt taste followed by hoppy bitterness, then an aftertaste of roasted malt. A very dynamic brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2007 00:21:07 | More by mooseisloose
Photo of benito


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've had Summit's GNP plenty of times over the last few years, and it remains a solid beer for me to turn to. Only now have I had the chance to review it...

A: Cola colored with a creamy, thin head and low carbonation. Though thin, the head stays in tact, a feat that earns some bonus points for good looks in my book.

S: Coffee and cream with a hint of chocolate. Very enticing.

T: The aromas pull are present in full force as flavors, so there's a good bit of chocolate, chicory, and sweet cream. There's a light alcohol undertone and an oddly bitter finish that detract from an otherwise stellar flavor.

M: The alcohol tinge and bitter finish take away from the beer's overall balance, but it has good length and gains complexity over the course of a pint (both positives). The aftertaste is overpoweringly bitter and seems inconsistent with the rest of the character of the beer.

D: Medium-bodied and moderate in alcohol, GNP is a good choice for a "session" porter. Despite the bitter aftertaste, this does go down quite well.

Overall, Great Northern Porter is a solid--almost amazing--porter with a few high profile flaws. It's a solid model of the style and makes for a good "intro" beer for folks who are trying dark beers for the first time.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2007 04:22:05 | More by benito
Photo of Vancer


3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cola brown pour, tan head, minimal lace rings. Light aroma of chocolate malt, pops in there for the taste too, but somewhat wimpy. Body and finish are average at best. The crispy burnt toast help, but don’t push this one up the ladder, it stays muddled on the lower rungs, decent – but not a powerful porter performer.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2007 02:49:35 | More by Vancer
Photo of smurphy77


3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour this beer in a coffee mug and you could pass it off as an au bon pain french roast. That is, after the head subsides anyway. Light coffee color, but a really rich, nutty coffee taste. Aromas accented the flavors, with strong dark maltiness predominating.

Mouthfeel of this beer is relatively light. Aftertaste that lingers is a microcosm of the same flavors during the swallow, rather than a maturation into something different, although a slight bitterness is evident. Light, bubbly carbonation carry the flavors through nicely.

Overall it's decent porter.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 01:15:35 | More by smurphy77
Photo of emerge077


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola brown with a billowing head of foam. Four fingers high, is slowly diminishes to a cratered lunar surface woth honeycomb lacing.

Aroma has a lactic sweet edge to it, alongside roasty malt.

Taste is mainly roasted malt with a hint of coffee. Good roastiness remains in the aftertaste. A touch of sweetness is there, and residual earthy coffee also in the finish.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery. Think Schwarzbier light. Sessionable, but a fairly average porter. Probably would improve if it was fresh off tap.

Trying this alongside a few other porters, all straggling singles from the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2007 23:38:27 | More by emerge077
Photo of bigdeuce


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

You know I must say the more Summit's I drink, the better off I am. This is a nice enterpretation of the style. A little light but a nice rocky head with great lacing and extremely drinkable. Some nice toffee and chocolate coffee notes. It all goes down smoothly. And as usual, reasonably priced.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2007 00:38:00 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While in St. Paul, wanted to try something local. Summit Pale Ale is by far the most popular, but was lucky enough to find the porter on tap.
Deep, dark brown (almost black) color with a nice light tan foam. Thin head that shrinks to a floating cap, and left some thin lacing.
Smells of roasted malt, chocolate and a touch of smokiness. Good flavors with some chocolate malt sweetness, also could taste some coffee, and dried fruits. Enough bitterness in the finish to balance. Medium bodied mouthfeel with decent carbonation. A very well put together porter, now that I have had it, will probably search out again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2007 13:43:02 | More by BigBry
Photo of happygnome


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark brown color with about a inch of tan head that has decent retention time leaving a good amount of lace
s: roasted malt presence sweet aroma and little hop presence
t: roasted malts deffinate nice hop presence very well balanced
m: a medium bodied beer that has decent carbonation not too much but just enough to really make it nice

overall this is a very good brew, very refreshing and very sessionable

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2007 06:06:27 | More by happygnome
Photo of Cresant


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip. Neck label notes that this is the 20th Anniversary 2006 Edition. Dark brwon body with cola highlights. Tan, 1/2" of head faded to a cap which continued to regenerate after each swallow.

Smell was molasses sweet. Leafy. Percolated coffee and dark bread.

Taste was bittersweet chocolate and toasty malts. There was a nice balance of leafy bitterness to counter the sweet dustiness.

Mouthfeel was appropriately medium/thin. Zesty carbonation. I liked this one more than I anticipated.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2007 03:28:07 | More by Cresant
Photo of shadow1961


3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Summit's Great Northern Porter pours out a fluffy tan head over black brew.
The nose is toasted malt. The flavor is toasted malt too, with a sharp hop
finish. Aftertaste is coffee and hops. Mouthfeel is crisp and dry. This is a good
porter if you're looking for a bit more than your basic winter warmer. There's a
nice sharpness to it too. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 18:44:53 | More by shadow1961
Photo of Chaz


3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Soft, subdued malt on the nose, a bit dense, but somehow "buttery." The malt profile seems to have a much more grainy quality to it than either tap or bottled version. The subdued malt on the nose plays out on the palate and tongue, and there's a good deal more bitterness coming through in this on cask that in bottle or on draught. Citric notes from the hops are floral, expressive, and almost biting. Bitter and astringent, yet somehow 'juicy' - must be the hops playing off the grainy malt texture. Seems a lot thinner than normal, and that detracts a bit from the overall impression and drinkability, as does the astringency. Drinkability improves considerably as it warms (or warms further : ), but it still seems like a thin, wan interpretation. There's a touch of smokiness alongside a touch of the roasted dark malts that stand out in its more familiar formats, but this ain't what I'd call a mind-blower in this serving. Sessionable? Sure. Either way I was pleasantly surprised to find this on cask at Grumpy's Northeast. It was good at $4, got got a lot better when the barkeep thought it had become 'too warm' and dropped the price to $2!

Serving type: cask

03-16-2007 23:18:59 | More by Chaz
Photo of gmfessen


3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer appears brown with a dark ruby hue on the pour, but looks almost black in the glass. Beer has a nice soapy-looking, tan head. Smell is of very much of smoked malt, slightly burnt chocolate. The taste is very similar to the nose, with the smoked notes coming through as the most prevalent, no real hop presence. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a viscous carbonation. This is a decently drinkable porter, if porter is your beer, I'd try this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2007 06:48:41 | More by gmfessen
Photo of xav33


3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Summit Great Northern Porter
12 oz bottle
Recent brewing, reached 02/07
Medium pour in an English pint

Poured black with mahogany highlights with an average light brown somewhat lasting frothy head with fair lacing.

Smelt of strong coffee with moderate cola or root beer, anise, dark chocolate and burnt grain.

Taste was upfront moderate bitter burnt grain and soy bean followed by a strong coffee and burnt grain taste on a long finish. Palate was light to medium bodied, watery to creamy, lively carbonated and moderately astringent.

Overall, this beer tastes black. Nothing poetic here.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2007 05:50:54 | More by xav33
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color with a nice light tan head that sticks well and leaves some nice lacing

Smell: Roasty malt, coffee and a touch of tobacco

Taste: Starts out with a nice coffee flavor that builds in sweetness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the roasty bitterness, laced with tobacco, adds complexity; quite a bit of sweetened coffee on the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice mainstream porter, although the residual sweetness limits the drinkability

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2007 01:27:42 | More by brentk56
Photo of kimcgolf


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I actually enjoyed this porter a lot. Poured to an opaque dark brown color, with thick tan head that lingered throughout the glass and left good lacing. Aroma was nuts, chocolate and caramel, and taste followed suit exactly. Body was meidum thickness, and this beer had a warm tingling mouthfeel, all of which led to a long, smooth pleasant finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 02:54:12 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of hylton44


4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite Summit! (or, right up there with the short-lived ESB, anyway) Big head on the thing; my "standard pour" left me furiously sucking the sudden, surprising, thick, brown foam that bubbled up and threatened to run down the side of the mug. Smell was dark & complex, yet only hinted as to what I was about to experience: a sublime, nutty concoction of toasted coffee, burnt bread crusts, syrup, and lemongrass. A thick, sultry taste with a surprisingly clean finish. Wow. I will buy this again and again, as the opportunity presents. Thanks, Summit!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2007 22:26:04 | More by hylton44
Photo of treedoctor5002


4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

20006 20th Anniversary Edition.
Poured into my faithful S.S. pint glass with a huge tan head. Plenty of lacing all around my glass and oh yeah this beer is very dark.
Smell is sweeter and maltier than other porters that I have tried.
This beer is VERY smooth and creamy with lots of chocolate and malted milk flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium and like I said before very smooth. I could drink lots of this. There is just a hint of that burnt coffee flavor left in your mouth after you drink most porters or stouts.
This beer would make a great session beer. I'd love to try it on tap some time.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2007 22:51:54 | More by treedoctor5002
Photo of malty


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

20th anniversary 2006 edition.

Pours a dark, dark brown with ruby highlights. Fluffy and sturdy 1" beige head. Nice lace rings all the way down.

Fresh and simple dark roasted malts. Delicious burnt edges with a beautiful blend of rich dark coffee and dark bitter bakers chocolate. There's a faint but intriguing malted milk scent towards the end - very nice.

A burst of prickly hops stoke the fire of burnt roasted chocolate malts. There's the coffee I smelled a minute ago, very dark and fresh. The hops make an encore towards the end ushering a bitey dryness that embellishes the burnt dryness of the dark roasted flavors that are so plentiful from this porter.

Mouthfeel is nice. The carbonation is just a tad finer than I expected really which makes it very drinkable. Medium bodied with a long and flavorful dry finish.

Overall a no-frills excellent porter. I really dig the dry, burnt character of this ale. There is a somewhat milky malted flavor that's reminiscent of New Belgium’s 1554, which I truly love. A fine porter from the northern Mid-West.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 22:49:41 | More by malty
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Living in WI, I've developed an interest in exploring the offerings of this brewery, whch offers a number of fine products. In my opinion, this is not their best work.

Appearance is a dark, but not opaque, brown.

Smell is purely chocolate, and delightful without being overpowering.

Taste is slightly weak, relative to its aroma. It has the dark malt/coffee/chocolate notes one expects from a porter, but it s too faint for my taste.

Mouthfeel is watery, particularly for this style. This beer feels thin in my mouth from start to finish, again particularly for a porter.

This beer is very drinkable for a porter (perhaps too much so!).

All in all, this beer is decent, but there are many better porters.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2006 01:38:42 | More by BeerBelcher
Summit Great Northern Porter from Summit Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 506 ratings.