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Summit Black Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summit Black AleSummit Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

151 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 151
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 16
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jera1350 on 10-31-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 70
Photo of LCB_Hostage
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass

A: Deep, dark black with so much head I thought it might be infected. Even with a glass giving and extra 8 oz. of space, it took me 10 minutes to pour this all in the glass. strong lacing throughout.

S: Had precisely the effect you want a beer's aroma to have -- an instant desire to tip it back and taste some more. A rich, heady combination of coffee, vanilla and caramel.

T: Glorious. So rich it transcended an ale and jumped straight to stout. A marvelously complex blend of coffee, vanilla and caramel with a bitter bite on the back end.

M: The head did not eat all the carbonation, which made the amazingly rich taste of this brew refreshing and surprisingly light. A heavy tingle on the tongue and a clean, crisp aftertaste.

O: I'm thoroughly disappointed to learn that this was a one-off and won't be available again. A thoroughly unique and tremendously enjoyable beer. If you happen to stumble across some left on a shelf, snap it up. The carbonation and complexity indicate it should survive some age and it's well worth trying if you haven't already had the pleasure of doing so.

Photo of matjack85
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this as part of a build-your own six pack for $9.99 at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL. No freshness date.

The beer poured a very dark brown color with a huge 4-finger fast rising tan head, so be careful with the pour. Frustratingly long retention with an incredible amount of lacing on the glass.

Nice roasted malt aroma with some orange citrus in the background.

Dry cocoa powder flavor along with roasted malt and lots of citrusy orange hops.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. More on the dry side than sweet.

A very hoppy and bitter black ale. Decent, but not my favorite beer of this style.

Photo of happygnome
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from tasting notes dated March 3, 2012

A: Pours a nice jet black color with about a half inch of creamy tan head that disappears slowly leaving a good amount of lacing around the edge of the glass

S: Roasted nutty and cocoa malts, piny hops balance the aroma

T: Cocoa/caramel malt sweetness in the backbone, nice piny hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied beer with good carbonation

Overall, a real tasty brew

Photo of bnes09
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Translucent black color with brilliant ruby hues. Mountainous ivory colored head which coats the glass in creamy waves of lacing. Gorgeous beer!

Bitter pine and floral hop aroma with just a hint of roasted character.

Toasty malt in the background with a touch of roastiness. Pine and grapefruit bitterness. Great balance.

Medium bodied, dry feel, well carbonated.

Solid black ale. True to the style.

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: even with a very ginger pour this one yielded a large 5+ finger frothy off white head on a slightly hazy deep amber brown body.

S: toffee, toasted and caramel malts, with earthy hops and light coffee notes.

T: a lot sweeter than I was expecting. Caramel, toffee, some candy sugar and milk chocolate provide the sweetness while a smokey and coffee ground flavor provides bitterness in the flavor. If you want to search out some hops they mostly provide earthy notes.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: this one is pretty complex with extremes of sweetness and bitterness coming together to make a surprisingly well balanced beer.

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Pours out a very dark brown color with two fingers of tan head that lasts for about two minutes, and leaves behind medium amounts of lacing. Medium body and somewhat higher carbonation levels.

Smells and tastes of medium levels of straightforward resinous hopping, some roasted and caramel malts, and a garnish of smokiness. It could stand a bit more dryness towards the finish to be balanced closer to my personal palate preferences.

Photo of barczar
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque deep brown with amber highlights and a solid, half glass full of beige head that dissipates slowly, leaving spotty lacing.

Aroma is fairly complex, with chocolate, roast malt, rubber, and floral hops surfacing initially. There's a hint of hairspray.

Flavor is strange. Hairspray is again evident, perfumey, with bitter roast malt in the background, finishing fairly bitter due to hops. There's some subtle chocolate that is overpowered by the bitterness present. Grapefruit pith emerges as it warms, and more citrus and piney hops surface.

Body is moderate, with high carbonation and a fairly astringent, harsh grainy finish. Carbonation lifts the flavor right off the palate.

Originally thought this may have been a bad bottle. Took 10 minutes to pour the full beer. But it opened up as it sat for a bit. Not one I'll revisit.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Friar Tuck's in Savoy, IL
No bottled on date, but "13011108" stamped on label
Poured into a standard US pint glass

Pours a fairly huge head, more than 4cm even with a modest pour, of very light tan bubbles. The head has excellent retention, reducing to a 2cm cap atop the beer and leaving excellent, thick lacing. The body is an impenetrable brown-black color with amber highlights. Carbonation is visible streaking along the sides of the glass.

Pleasantly hoppy aroma with pine resin and grapefruit atop a backbone of roasted, chocolate, and caramel malts.

Flavor is roasted malt upfront, with hop bitterness present in the back. At this point, hop flavors are a bit blurred, but when more fresh, I suspect they were pine and grapefruit influenced. Chocolate seeps through from mid-palate onwards, perhaps being most obvious between mid and late-palate. Closes out a bit watery, but leaves a solid aftertaste of bitterness and some acridness from roasted malt.

Beer is medium-bodied with medium to medium-high carbonation and a bit of wateriness around the edges. At first, this drinks too carbonated, but the levels calm down after a few minutes of resting. Resultant mouthfeel is: generally smooth and slightly watery. Closes out medium-bodied with a bit of wateriness, leading to a very dry finish.

Photo of bmike86
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a 6 pack from M&M Wine & Spirits in Maple Plain.

Appearance --- a dark, dark brown, potentially black in color… with about 1 finger worth of a light golden brown head, with a very minimal amount of suds left lacing the glass while drinking.

Smell --- can notice the aroma of hops & roasted malts, a bit of citrus, and some sort of earthy herbal

Taste --- more complex than aroma would lead… a bit of the citrus & earthy herbal… although I could not smell it, had a taste of some sort of caramel, chocolate and/or coffee roasted blend.

Mouth feel --- medium bodied… surprisingly less hoppy taste than the aroma, which I do not mind. Not very bitter, definitely smooth & crisp with a clean finish

Overall --- I was fortunate enough to find a 6 pack of this stored in their coolers, so thankfully it hasn’t aged as much as it would have if it were to have been stored on a store shelf. This is one of my more favorite Summit’s… I would clearly rate the Summit’s Oatmeal Stout higher than this offering from them. I would recommend keeping this one around, but I would not know how it would fit in with the new Saga IPA being released, and this style does not quite strike me as a seasonal. It will likely be the end, but it was a pleasure to try… and would be open to trying similar black ales in the future.

Photo of momoagogo14
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, almost black. Thick, creamy tan head that lasts. Strong retention

Smell: Dark, roasted malts; piney; some faint hop aromas, not as smell-icious as I was hoping

Taste: More dark malts; herbal with distinct pine, maybe even mint...tastes foresty. Hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thick with some carbonation and a dry mouthfeel. It might have had more carbonation if I had drank it sooner. I have a feeling this is past its prime since it’s off most liquor store shelves and Summit’s next Unchained Series beer has been available for a long time.

Overall: I would have loved to have tried this back at its peak freshness, though it’s still a very good beer. Good balance of malt and hops and a fun, herbal taste.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big ups to andrenaline for including this in our last trade
A - a dark yet clear black/brown, tower of tan head retained endlessly leaving lots of sticky lacing
S - big malty aromas up front of roasty and chocolate, resiny and piney hops come through later
T - much like the nose with roasty, chocolate, and smoky malts, backed up with resin and grapefruit rind hoppiness, with malty flavours lasting stronger through finish
M - more than medium body, slightly creamy start moving to a balanced hop dryness
O - a very solid brew all around that adds up to something great, hoping this style continues to gain favour with brewers everywhere

Photo of maximum12
3.02/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Finally found a 'black ale' that knocked me on my ass (in a good way), so back to the hunt. Picked up a single of this in a good Unchained series, 12 oz. bottle.

Pour is black, though a lighter black, probably nineteen minutes before midnight. Evident carbonation. Sehr schon roast & chocolate up the nose, drift-sock into porter territory.

Black Ale Unchained #8 is another gender-confused beer in the black ale vein. The hops & the roast clash like Atari 2600 graphics. Hard roasted coffee pine ash malt? Yes! Someone made this work, but here, it's just unsettling. Not bad, the sum of the parts just doesn't work.

Glad I only bought a single. Not bad, not good, just kind of a mess. Mediocre.

Photo of jimmah120
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, enjoy by 3/18/12 printed on side

Pours an almost black, dark mahogany color with a 2cm mocha head. Smell is toasty malt, grain, wet resinous hops, and a slight chocolate or caramel scent. Taste is bitter hops, dry cocoa powder, stale bread, caramel malt, with a toasted burnt feeling. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, but with a slightly unpleasant lingering bitterness.

Really enjoy what's going on with this black ale. It's dark and roasted, yet piney and tangy. Deep flavor, great brew.

Photo of cjgator3
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a pint glass. Poured about an ounce in the glass and the head swelled up to the top of the glass. I gave it a few minutes to simmer down a little and continued to pour slow and carefully. Pours a dark black color with a huge light tan head with lacing all over the glass.
 
S- The aroma is dark malts and some hops. The aroma seems a little diluted, I was hoping for a little more in the nose.

T- The taste is dark roasted malts with a nice amount of hops in the finish. The taste is definitely more flavorful than the weaker aroma would suggest.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, a decent brew but not something I would purchase again.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blackness indeed, so much so that you can't make out the Summit logo on the Unchained Series pint glass. Sizeable muddy brown head, slips down to a tidy ring with quickness.

Aroma: grassy hops on top, with chocolate malt below. An odd combination at times, but this one makes it work.

Taste: Sweet dark malt dominates the flavor at first, with hops shining bright on top. Some piney-ness along with grassy hop character, holding ground in the forefront of the palate, with the rich, dark malty flavor hanging on right behind it.

Tasty stuff here. My complaints about the India Black Ale/ Black IPA/ CDA style are swiftly fading into history, as I find more and more of them that I like. Or maybe I'm just getting used to this new mix of grassy/piney/citric hops and dark malt? In any case, this latest Unchained entry works on every level. Great consumability, excellent balance, top-notch flavor delivery.

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Opaque, nearly pitch black with a great looking tan lacing

SMELL: Dank hops, hemp seed, resin, pine, faint smoke, mild char, burnt raisins, plums

TASTE: Very smooth, medium body, brown malt, toasted bread, hop resin, spice, slightly bitter, burnt sugar, minty, drying semi-charred finish

Excellent job, this one really helps define this beer style. They should brew this one up more often.

Photo of andrenaline
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark ruby red colour, crystal clear, finger of soapy tan head, solid retention and sporadic lacing.

S - Leafy citrus, earthy cedar and pine notes, hints of burnt cocoa and chocolate malts.

T - Nice hop presence, though somewhat subdued. The flavourful roasted malt follows with burnt caramel, chocolate and hints of espresso. The earthy hops bring in a nice bitterness that nicely complements the malts.

M - Medium bodied, though a tad prickly going down and a lip smacking dryness.

O - Quite tasty and nicely balanced, though could easily amp up the hop flavours. Definitely drinkable and at 6.5% you could make a good night out of a 6-er.

Photo of samie85
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown with red edges and two fingers of light brown head.

Smells of orange with some cocoa and light roasted notes.

Light roasted and cocoa notes with some light hints of orange and pine.

A little thin and moderate carbonation with a drying, dark chocolate finish.

Falls with the characteristics of the style but not my thing... I'd prefer a heavier body.

Photo of THEFRANCH15E
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer: Summit Black Ale (Unchained Series)

Serving Type: Bottle (12 oz) (poured into pint glass)

Appearance: Very dark brown body with a finger's width tan frothy head.

Smell: I was expecting a stronger smell as I was pouring it but it has a really soft, subtle aroma to it. A bit of a malty aroma.

Taste: It has a strong bitter flavor to it and lingers a bit on the tongue. There's a nice balance to the hops and malt flavor and a bit of dark roast to it. Very well done.

Mouthfeel: Creamy yet dry on the tongue.

Overall: After hearing about a new Summit "Unchained Series" released this week I tried finding it and found this instead. I must say it is a very drinkable Black Ale and glad I was able to try it before it disappears.

Photo of djohnse
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I always have a thing for Summit's offerings and found this their limited release Black Ale so here goes.

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - Very dark, held up to a light some dark brown but mostly light just can't get through.

Smell - Not getting a huge aroma, some maltiness and a wiff of hop. Get a bit of spice as well.

Taste - Strong bitterness as it sits on the tongue. Definite get the roasted malts coming through at the end.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish, my tongue feels like it's completed coated from the beer.

If I see it come up again I'd definitely pick up another, nice way to break free from a pale and amber ales.

Photo of zeledonia
3.19/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 18 October 2011. Enjoyed 4 Feb 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark brown, clear at the edges but nearly black in the center. One finger of medium tan head, decent retention and lacing.

Smell is faint. Not much hop presence - the dark roasted malts come through clearly. But I want more; more hops, more vibrancy, more something.

Taste is a step up, but still rather flat. I get bitter coffee in the back end, boosting the mild bitterness of the hops.

Mouthfeel is decent. Medium body, enough carbonation. Not bad, not great.

I find this beer totally drinkable, but not much more than that. I don't get much from the hops, other than a medium bitterness in the taste. I'm just lukewarm about it all around.

Photo of devinoconnor
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown / black color from the keg with little to no head.

Smell is hoppy as expected, but it doesn't overpower. Grass and chocolate on the nose as well.

Taste is citrus and spice, with some chocolate once again. Rather complex brew but balanced. Enjoyable.

Photo of BierStein711
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught in shaker pint glasses

A: Four finger head, jet black with white head
light carbonation

S: See taste below

T: Herbal, piney, malty, and boozy=pure pleasure

M: Heavy, filling, and a tad overwhelming.

Overall, this is an excellent beer that is well worth trying. I hope this is made available in six packs soon.

Photo of Phocion
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours jet black with a huge, frothy light-brown head and excellent retention. Thick, sticky lacing.

Roasted and chocolate malts are at the forefront of the aroma. Piney and citrus hops as well as a subtle rye-like spiciness.

The aroma was malt-forward, but the flavor is definitely more hoppy. Pine with a slight citrus background. The malts are still here, of course, and provide an excellent contrast, balance, and complexity. Roasted, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Interestingly, it almost tastes like there's a bit of wheat used in the malt bill as well.

Medium body and carbonation. Finishes dry.

Overall, this is an incredible beer. Balanced, drinkable, and full of flavor. I'm sure it won't score that amazingly on here since it's not a DIPA, Quad, sour, or RIS, but I really wish this could be added to Summit's year-round line-up.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of SurlyTwinsFan pours a near-black color with a few reddish highlights. Head is nice and rich, creamy and dense. Great lacing.

Nose is roasty and orange-pithy with some pine and chocolate aromas in tow. Smells good.

Taste is not as bitter as I was expecting, which is nice. The hops kinda flow all the way from flavoring to a sharp middle and lingers long on the back of the tongue. Roast is the main malty component and could use a little depth and boost...maybe some chocolate or caramel flavors would be nice? The malt side of the beer is a little flabby, but not a bad brew. Solid but does not have any 'zing' factor that makes some of the other Black IPAs keep you coming back for more.

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Summit Black Ale from Summit Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.