1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

545 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 545
Reviews: 290
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 11
Gots: 24 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 545 | Reviews: 290 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Not much taste and the thick syrupy consistency of a slushy. Nice color. A bit of hops and a mid-sip chocolate roast. Otherwise, low in the flavour department. Hope I did not mistreat this in the cellar.

Tip of cap to feloniousmonk for this and a full line of Summit samples.

Sammy, May 23, 2004
Photo of granger10
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a solid all around porter. A really good example of the style. Dark brown color with a nice tan brown head. Aroma is coffee with chocolate in the background and some floral bitterness. Taste has a grainy base to it. Dark coffee upfront with cocoa in hiding behind it. There is a bittersweet taste there, the hops provide a straight forward bitterness and not much flavoring. The finish is acidic and has a hop twang to it. A solid porter.

granger10, Apr 22, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Voluminous light brown head. Nearly opaque blackish brown liquid. Nice coffee nose with sweet chocolate backdrop. A dry roasty maltiness comes thru loud and clear, marred only by a somewhat thinnish body and mouthfeel. Good bitterness. Finishes dry, drinkable in quantity no problemo.
Thanks to CRJM for this one.

beerluvr, Apr 18, 2004
Photo of Bierman9
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Bier has a very deep, dark brown color, with some glimmers of garnet showing up when the sun shines through it. Lovely! Head is frothy and mocha-colored, but thins fairly rapidly. Still leaves nice lacing in the glass. Aroma is a healthy, roasty chocolate one, with a bit of decent sweetness. Medium bodied, this porter also goes over the tongue in an easy fashion. Flavor is roasty and rich, with loads of chocolate/coffee notes. Floral hoppiness at the finish makes for a great aftertaste, with dryness throughout as well. All-in-all this is a verrry nice porter! Oh yeah! Thnx to Jeffboo for the sample!


overall: 4.15
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Apr 17, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OG 13.3 plato. 37 IBU. 4.8% ABV. 48 Lovibond.
Brewed with 2-row Harrington, Caramel, and Black Patent malts. Horizon, Fuggle, and Cascade hops.

Pours out to a clear, very-dark brown, forming a medium-sized light-tan head with average retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate, perhaps just a bit too much for the style considering the medium body. Aroma is very interesting and quite unique...initially musk and cologne, a brief sourness, followed by floral, perfumy hops and pleasantly roasted grains. This one catches me by surprise each time I smell it. Taste begins nicely with a floral hoppiness, followed by a spicy hop flavor perfectly mingling with chewy malts and a very nice balance of deeply roasted grain. Espresso and bittersweet chocolate mingle. I love the abundance of black patent in here, as it adds a unique oily smokiness. There is certainly Cascade in here, but so much more. The black patent and chocolate malt don't add any astringency which is a testament to the brewers skills. There is a pleasing chalky note towards the end, and the finish has notes of peanut-butter and wood-chips. The malt body add a nice lingering sweetness, perfectly in balance with the hops. There is a pleasant astringency which makes me want to drink more.

This porter completely blew me away. It's a much better take on the Sierra Nevada-style porter (which is overly bitter, hoppy, and out of balance in my book), with a pronounced but well-balanced hop flavor and lots of black patent. The malt and hop levels are perfectly in unison. A brew of this balance is awfully difficult to make. Very impressive!

Mitchster, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of marburg
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a porter, smells like a porter, tastes like a porter.

But holy shit -- this thing goes down easier than almost any other porter I've ever had.

High level of carbonation in my bottle lead to a biggish head. Aromatic assertions of barley flambé, smores, and an espresso bean or two. Medium body. Roasty flavors all over the place. Hints of the usual suspects -- chocolate, coffee, et cetera. While it's not especially bitter, there's a definite burnt, charred characteristic to this brew that really gives the impression of roasted flavor.

And again, I can't stress how fast I wanted to drink this. Incredibly drinkable. I loved it.

marburg, Mar 30, 2004
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with inverted label.
It pours a ruby-tinted midnight black with a small, but lasting beige/tan head.
A strong smell of malt with dark chocolate and coffee aromas is just behind.
The rich smoky malt is lightly sweet with a hint of rye flavors in the background.
Grapefruity and lemon zest bitterness is equal to the malt characteristics. A mild piney taste rounds out the flavors.
Thanks Feloniousmonk!

BeerResearcher, Mar 16, 2004
Photo of Morris729
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, almost black, color with some ruby highlights and a fluffy tan head. Lots of sweet roasted malts and dark chocolate in the nose along with some fainter aromas of fresh brewed coffee. Medium to full in body that becomes a bit powdery in the finish. Taste begins with notes of unsweetened chocolate and espresso that turns a bit acidic leading to some notes of tobacco and burnt coffee. An all-around nice porter that doesn’t necessarily stand out in any particular area. Thanks to feloniousmonk for the sample!

Morris729, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of jtfest
2.98/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an extremely dark brown -- opaque in the glass -- with a small brown head. The aroma is sweet and toasted. The taste, however, is somewhat lacking -- bitter aftertaste, in an unpleasant kind of way. The thinnish mouthfeel initially hits you with a sweet maltyness that quickly turns sour on the palate. Not undrinkable -- interesting in its own way -- but not a beer I'd recommend, either.

jtfest, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of jwilli7122
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick brown/black. zero transparency. thick medium sized tan head. slowly dissapates in an erratic fashion

smell: much roasty chocolate, slightly sweet and alchoholic.

taste: roasty but hoppy with a good dose of sweetness. The chocolate is not as pronounced as the smell would suggest. Medium body

Decent, but not my favorite Summit. has some similarities to all of summit's other ales. almost as hoppy as the pale ales, almost as roasty and chocolately as the winter ale, sweet, but not as sweet as the oktoberfest. tastes just right today.

jwilli7122, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown head sits atop this dark brown to black beer.
Aroma of dark, roasty malt. Hops. Some chocolate. An overall earthy character.

Taste is earthy and slightly smokey. Roasty malt bitterness plays big. Some chocolate and coffee notes. Solid hop balance. More bitter than most porters.

Good mouthfeel, although a little more body would be good.
Good drinkability.

Overall, a good porter.
Big thanks to Jeffboo for the sample!

PhantomVodoo, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of drewbage
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz stubby brown bottle provided courtesy of tavernjef. Thanks!

Beer pours into the glass pitch black with the barest hints of a brown highlight where the beer meets the glass bottom. (in a stemmed glass). Tan head is vigorous at first, but quickly falls away.

Slightly metallic note behind a plummy chocolate malt nose.

Flavor initally appears as a fruity coffee before a long sweeping hop bitterness combines with the acrid bite of the roasted malts for a powerfully bitter mid section. The malt briefly rises to ease the transition to an intensely bitter finish that holds through to the next sip.

drewbage, Jan 02, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours solid black with no light coming through. A large tan creamy head foams up easily. The head very slowly dissipates leaving tight latticework on the glass.
THe aromas are roasty malt and faint underlying hops as well.
The first sip reveals average carbonation and medium body.
The flavors are similar to the aroma. Very roasty, with bittersweet chocolate and some coffee notes too.
The beer is nice and smooth from start to finish. Leaving a very pleasant roast flavor in my mouth. This is incredibly drinkable and I am glad that I have another bottle waiting for me! Thanks Bditty for sharing this one with me!

sulldaddy, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of Brent
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coal black pour with mocha head, quickly retreated to a ring around the glass with very nice lace. A robust porter, somewhat to the milder side of the scale. Dark roasted malt flavors with some black coffee notes. A slightly acidic bitterness rests across the tongue at the finish, and then gradually fades away. Very nice drinkability. Not head and shoulders above its peers in the style, but well ahead of the middle of the pack.

Brent, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour delivers a full, rocky head of tan foam over a black body that reveals gleaming hints of dark mahogany and ruby. The head retention is excellent and it leaves thin rings of sticky lace with each sip from the glass.The nose is quite welcoming with its rich, roasty, espresso-like, tobaccoish, and chocolatey notes. A touch of cherry-like fruit lends a light but sharp counterbalance that flits in and out. The body is decidedly medium and its fine, moderate carbonation leaves it creamy and smooth across the palate. In the flavor more yeasty fruitiness appears alongside its deep but not overly acidic coffee-like roastiness and subtle chocolate tones. It's rich but not overwhelming - simply satisfying - and it's well balanced with a solid bitterness that leads to a dry and roasty finish. Very well done! It's flavorful, complex, and highly drinkable!

NeroFiddled, Dec 04, 2003
Photo of BeerAngel
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with garnet highlights nested beneath a nice 1-½ finger fluffy tan head that reminds me of the head on a root beer float. The aroma consists of nice roasted malt and a hint of chocolate and hops poking through. The taste mimics the aroma but with a tartness that slides right into the hops. This is a medium bodied brew that finishes a tad try with a bitter end. It is a very nice porter in my opinion. Thanks to budgood1 for the opportunity! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of hotstuff
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Porters are not one of my favorite beer styles, but this one was actually pretty good. It poured a medium sized light brown frothy head and it had fine-medium sized bubbles. The body was uncarbonated and the hue was dark brown. The nose was that of coffee and the flavor was roasted coffee that left an aftertaste. The mouthfeel was smooth on the palate and medium bodied. This beer left a good lacing on the sides of my glass.

hotstuff, Oct 29, 2003
Photo of maxpower
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black in color, nice lasting creamy off white head that leaves a good lacing, roasty chocolaty malty aroma. Roasted malty burnt coffee flavors, nice dry burnt and hoppy bitterness in the finish. Medium body with a full and round mouthfeel, a good porter.

maxpower, Oct 17, 2003
Photo of bditty187
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown/deep ruddy highlights, brunette head, a little less than a finger at its apex. Fair retention. Unorganized spotty lace. Very pleasant nose, coffee beans, dry chocolate notes, roasted malts, with intermediate hints of hops… well done. Good potency. Inviting. Ah, Porter! What a lovely taste! Dry coffee beans, chocolate, roasted malts, plus it is well hopped! Piney. The bitterness is perfectly blended for balance. It’s very rich in flavor. Medium-full body and meager carbonation produces a very satisfying mouthfeel. Drinkable to the utmost! Summit makes some quality brews… don’t neglect them. This one is recommended. This is a great Porter!

Thanks ZAP!

bditty187, Oct 17, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served at cellar temperature in a pint glass.

Appearance: Inky black liquid topped by a good sized (3/4") brown head. The head eventually forms a nice thick film of bubbles at the surface of the beer. Nice globules of lacing cling to the side of the glass.

Smell: Smoky coffee and bittersweet chocolate mostly. Nice piney hoppiness in the background. Faint whiffs of prune.

Taste: Coffee coffee coffee. Slight hoppy bitterness. More stoutlike than porter, IMSO, but wow this is a great example of coffee flavors in beer without using coffee. Nice and bittersweet. I'll not begrudge the deviation since it's very well done and the two styles are kissing cousins.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer, this is a meal in a bottle. One of the heavier porter/stouts that I've had in awhile.

Drinkabilty: Yummy. If you like porters/stouts, I think you'll love this one. A burlier beer than Anchor Porter, this would make an ok session beer (read: good for the price) if dark beers are your bag.

Thanks for feloniousmonk for the sample!

ManekiNeko, Oct 07, 2003
Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma has a strong shot of hops associated with a dark roasted malt and a slight sweetness.
Shows mostly black with reddish hues. Big full brownish head that laces pretty well.
Six-pack holder comes with the following description "medium to light bodied with roasted flavors that hint of chocolate and good coffee." One of the few times a package nailed the description. There is also a nice sweetness that has a toffee quality. Slight malt bitterness.
Really nice grainy feel that adds texture.
A very good basic porter with all good qualities.
One of Summits best.

garymuchow, Sep 14, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid porter. It pours a nice dark brown/black colour, with an ample beige head. The aromas are all dark roasted malts, chocolate, hops, and carmel. The taste is very roasty, toasty and warm. Chocolate hits you up front and in the back, with caramel and malt in the middle and hops in the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and the drinkability is good.

A solid porter.


francisweizen, Sep 05, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Squat looking 12 ounce bottle, with a dark brown neck and main labels. Titled as ‘Great Northern Porter’, and lists the ingredients as ‘Water, Barley Malt, Hops & Yeast’.

Appearance: Dark chocolate brown color with a chestnut/auburn hint at times when back-lit. Huge brown head when first poured settles to a comfortable ½” – which in turn breaks down to a thick ring collar. Smattered brown lacing coats the glass walls. Good levels of inherent carbonation.

Nose: Roasted Coffee beans, dark chocolate and burnt malts.

Taste: Starts with a dark chocolate beginning that builds into a roasted coffee middle and a strong bitter, burnt malt finish. The hop bitterness that rises in the last two-thirds is well placed and even better balanced. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Solid and very wholesome. The ending has a mix of powdered cocoa whisked in smooth milk base, but not creamy. Definitive.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this offering, but I am not sure I could drink too many of these to be honest. Make a nice couple of Pints at the end of the night though.

Overall: I really enjoyed this, straight after the excellent Summit Extra Pale Ale; I must remember to keep an eye out for these Summit beers. A very nice Porter indeed. Thanks to BigHuge for this one.

TheLongBeachBum, Aug 30, 2003
Photo of Fabric8r
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this porter. I just loved the coffee flavor, and the brown/tan head that seemed to fade, but hung around the rim enough to really enjoy it all the way thru. Not too complex, like so many porters, this one seems to be simpler, yet taylored just right. One to look for if in the Minn. area.
Thanks to tavernjef for sending it to me!

Fabric8r, Aug 11, 2003
Photo of Loki
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle.

Poured pitch black with a big, beige head. The bubbly head fades to a thin covering and leaves great lacing throughout.

Aromas of toasted malt, smoke, coffee, and chocolate pour from the nose.

The taste is of slowly roasted malt, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee. Very creamy and slighlty chewy with medium-full body that goes down smoothly and leaves a bitter chocolate coffee after taste. Very drinkable and quite tasty.

Loki, Jul 05, 2003
Summit Great Northern Porter from Summit Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 545 ratings.