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
Reviews by Bighuge:
Photo of Bighuge
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark clear auburn body. Very little light transmits through, but it does shine a nice auburn hue in the light. Thin light brown head leaves patchwork, spiderweb like lace about the glass walls as I drink. Awesome aroma of rye, chocolate malt, and grundgey pungent hops. (This is the closest aroma I've smelled to the original black IPA that was so incredible that I had 6 or so years ago...Alpha Klaus). The taste follows suit with the nose....very, very nice. Perfect blend of hop bitterness, hop flavor and roasted chocolate malt notes. This is a great one. Take note, Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA lovers.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wrycon
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite attractive. Very dark, near-pitch black with a healthy header of pearl-white foam. Solid lacing as the foam recedes. Smell is good and standard for a black ale - roasted malt with a piney, hop underpinning. Very smooth at the start, velvety with just a touch of bitterness. The mid is dominated by a robust, roasted malt fullness. Tastes almost smoky. Final third is hops, which blunts the roast and creates a clean, but flavorful mouthfeel. This is a great black ale. Strong character and tasty throughout.

Like It? Yes I Do

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 bsp77
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown (not quite black) with a moderate, light tan head and a single lacing ring.

Smell: Very tropical hops over caramel, chocolate, molasses and light smoke.

Taste: Definitely tastes more IPA than Black. The hops are fairly tropical (grapefruit, mango) but are more spicy and metallic than the aroma indicated. The malt body is relatively light with bittersweet chocolate, caramel and a touch of coffee and smoke. Fairly bitter on the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a medium body. Very dry. Feels like an IPA. Not as smooth as some American Black Ales.

Overall: Another winner from Summit's Unchained series, who are about 6 for 8 in my book. For a moderate alcohol Black Ale (many are really Doubles), this is among the best. I also appreciate the use of unorthodox Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand) hops.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: A dark brownish black with a tint of ruby red at the edges of the glass. Lots of rising bubbles and a big five finger light tan foamy head with very good retention. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of citrus and pine hops with notes of grapefruit, orange, and pine resin. Very noticeable smell of dark roasted malts with hints of caramel, toffee, burnt coffee, and dark chocolate. Smells bold and balanced.

Taste: Like the smell leads, a very good combination of bold hops and dark malts. Big taste of citrus hops upfront with notes of grapefruit, orange, and mango is followed by a solid presence of pine resin. Midway the dark elements come with some roasted malts. Hints of caramel, toffee, bitter dark chocolate, and burnt coffee. The malts add a little sweetness to help balance the bitterness. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Somewhat bitter but still pretty creamy and smooth. Finishes fairly dry.

Overall: A very good black ale and another great beer from Summit's Unchained series. Flavors are bold and very well balanced.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 12 oz. brown bottle into a clear Summit pint glass.

Appearance: Deep opaque brown, almost black, in color. A slight deep ruby tint when held to the light. A one and a half finger brown foam head faded slowly and left some good sticky lacing.

Smell: Malty and a good grapefruit-pine hops aroma blend well to make it an inviting aroma.

Taste: A good hoppy bitterness up front with pine and grapefruit flavors, then it smooths out quickly with a good dark roasted malt flavor that brings our some dark roast coffee and licorice flavors. Finishes very well balanced. This is a good disappearing act for the blast of hops and bitterness that greets you right up front.

Mouth feel: Medium body. Very bitter to start, less bitter in the middle, and mellow to finish.

Overall: A good Black IPA that delivers with the hops and the blend of dark roasted malts. Another good entry in the Summit Unchained series.

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 tempest
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is a good. A little research shows this is the same brewer that made up the very very tasty India Rye Ale last year. This beer does what many dark ales fail, or at least fail to master, the balancing the lighter upfront hoppy notes with the rich dark malts. This beer smells like fresh grapefruit and citrus fruit sitting on top of toasty cocoa barley. Yum. The flavor follows up with a bigger malt kick and hint of wheat and caramel sneaking in as the pine and orange peel build on the chocolate malt throughout the finish. This is one of the best black IPAs I've had, right up with, maybe above, Deschutes' Hop in the Dark.

Photo of mobius387
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from bottle into a pint glass

appearance: pours a dark brown thats actually slightly transluscent, medium sized brown head that dissipates shortly after.

aroma: i dont get much hop scent, but a nice malty chocolate thats on the lighter side of smells

palate: you feel the hop presences as this stings your mouth, not too carbonated and the flavor is strong while its sits inside. medium-full body

taste: nice roasty flavors, slight chocolate taste, and it would be very very good except for a lignering irony after taste that kind of brings things down

overall: a solid beer thats worth a pick up it you like roasty flavors. the iron after taste keeps this from being a top beer for me, but its still a nice choice with some good dark flavors.

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 morimech
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by Date 03/18/12 on neck of bottle. Dark color and appears black in the glass. Not so dark that light cannot find its way through. Two fingers of head forms and has excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma is something I am becoming accustomed to in Black Ales. Sort of a resiny, herbal mix with some citrus thrown in. Cannot really come up with any dark malt.

Flavor is quite hop forward. Hops dominant the front end with citrus and herbal bite. The malt finally makes its presence known in the finish with some nice roasted qualities. Quite bitter and relatively dry.

Solid body with a fine carbonation. Feels like it carries the ABV nicely.

One of my requirements of a Black Ale is that I can taste the black. I can in this beer but I would of liked more. Some chocolate and a little more roast would of set this in the exceptional range. As is it is better than most in this style.

Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single from somewhere, wish I had another now...
Poured into a pint, it's a dark mahogany in the light, glinting brown highlights in a black body. Creamy layer of lighter tan foam that leaves dripping arcs of lace inside the glass. Retention is good.

Piney aroma, light malt sweetness, some yeast, a little bit muted.

Medium bodied and plenty bitter, dark roast, charred black malt and coffee. Some piney hop notes, somewhat resiny, dry feel. It has a moderate level of hoppy bitterness that meshes well with the bitter roast malt flavors. Dark bakers chocolate. Overall a good Black Ale, fairly standard and well put together, but not quite as unique in the hop department as some others. Sublimely Self Righteous and New Glarus Black Top are still my personal favorites.

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 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.

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 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 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 gatornation
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoy by 032812 on neck of bottle

A- pours a dark mahogany color that is clear with some black cherry highlights a tan 1 finger head that fades to some sticky lacing

S- is earth and malty with dirt smells ,roasted malts and toffee with citrus hops

T- starts with strong hops citrus and bold,mix in roasted malts and some herbs and spice ,toffee and toasted bread

M- smooth and brisk with hop flavor, a creamy texture

O- hoppy and malty robust malts its a porter, an ipa a black ipa you choose ,it is however tasty and i enjoyed it

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 AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by spycow.

A - A brownish black colored beer with a bit of a tan head that rose up a couple of fingers and had moderate retention. Some minor lace on the glass.

S - Roasted malts, unsweetened chocolate, some citrus and herbal notes. A little bit of smoke. Smells pretty solid for the style.

T - More hops than in the nose, with citrus and herbal being the predominant varieties. There is some good roasted malts and a tannic bite on the end.

M - Medium bodied, a little creamy, moderate carbonation. Had a bit of a dry finish.

O - Nice beer, fairly easy to drink with some good "Black Ale" flavors. Would drink it again.

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 TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The faint “ENJOY BY” date printed on the shoulder of the bottle is “03/28/12.”

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is non-opaque black; light passed through with a red tint. Lots o’ thick, lightly tanned head on this one: about three fingers worth stopped me mid-pour. It settled very slowly, dissipating first in the center, and a thick ring of foam lingered around the edge.

Smell: The grapefruit citrus was noticeable as I was pouring. Up close and in the glass, it offers an enticing hybrid of citrus hops and dark malts. Grapefruit citrus is most prominent, but lurking in the background are roasted caramel, chocolate, toffee, and coffee.

Taste: The hops are dialed up a notch, providing a nice grapefruit tinge that tickles the cheeks and tonsils. As with the smell, the citrus dominates the dark malt chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

Drinkability: I thoroughly enjoy this one. It is a fairly balanced marriage between two styles, though the hops too tend to overpower the “Black” aspect of the beer.

Photo of 57md
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a ruby hue. There was a thick finger of tan head that did not last long, but left some nice lacing remnants behind. A little smokey nose. Roasted malt upfront with distinct hop bitterness at the end. This is an excellent example of this new tasty style we like to call black ale/IPA.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Always nice to see the Unchained brews at Bliss tastings. Good man, Scott. This stuff pours a dark garnet-brown topped by a finger of dusty dark tan foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light dark chocolate, light orange zest, and a touch of vague tropical fruit (can't quite tell which one just yet...). The taste alters the program slightly: the roast and chocolate are kept static, but the hops shift from fruity to pine-y, with some decent resin and light leek notes really coming through hard. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a solid CDA, another strong effort from the Unchained series. Now why couldn't the standard brews hold up this well?

Photo of Beerdregs
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours into a pint glass with moderate amount of head forming as I pour. Color is a very dark brown (not quite black). light brown creamy/frothy head.

Smell: coffee and chocolate first then picking up faint fruity hops .

Taste: Good malty sweetness which accentuates the chocolate and coffee aroma but the hops seems to be playing hide and seek with the malt and then making a strong showing at the back end. The hops leave a bitterness on the back of the tongue revealing plenty of bittering hops in this beer.

Mouthfeel: The is a well balanced beer (in terms of hops and roasty maltiness. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall: This is a great beer and probably the best unchained series beer to date. I would definitely buy this again.

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