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Summit Black Ale - Summit Brewing Company

Summit Black AleSummit Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

148 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.96%


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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jera1350 on 10-31-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 70 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2012 22:25:16 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of devinoconnor
devinoconnor

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2012 00:06:11 | More by devinoconnor
Photo of BierStein711
BierStein711

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2012 22:15:42 | More by BierStein711
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a generic glass in St. Paul, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high.

A: Pours a one finger head of lovely soft cream lacing, fairly good thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Nice chocolate and roast, with some coffee and cream. Hoppy above all else, which is surprising.

T: Hoppy. Very hoppy. But delightfully creamy on the finish. Very light roast is also present. A nicely built, surprisingly balanced black ale.

Mf: Very smooth and wet, suiting the flavour generally. Wonderfully soft.

Dr: Very drinkable for how hoppy it is. As a black ale, it's a success. I'd have it again. It hides its ABV well.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2011 23:56:34 | More by kojevergas
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bacio in Minnetonka.

Glass of beer arrived with a half inch of dark khaki foam over a translucent dark brown/black body. As the foam receded it left nice rings of lace.

Taste was roasted malt, caramel, orange pith, raisin and citric elements. Taste was grapefruit citric hop, even a bit tropical, nice. Very tasty IPA like until a mild wash of sweetness and firmly roasted malt notes appeared late. Mouthfeel is medium, finish is dry and mildly bitter, lingering, and unexpectedly refreshing for a dark ale.

Overall the one is tasty and I'll definitely keep buying until its no longer available. I'd like to see summit bring all of their unchained series back for round two.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2011 15:23:37 | More by JackieTH
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

2.65/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

on tap at devils den

Pours a nearly blacked out color with some almost reddish hues. Heavy, frothy tanned head sits on top, retaining well with layers of lacing on the glass.

Soft scents of citrus hops with roasted malts. Hint of light smoke and dark chocolate. A bit sweet, fairly muted though.

Really light touch of hoppiness up front with a touch of grapefruit. Unusual metallic smokiness wrapped up in roasted dark malts. Touches of dark chocolate and caramel. Light dryness towards the finish with lingering off-putting smoke.

Lighter medium body, high carbonation, prickly and watery on the tongue. Drinks terribly. The smokiness wasn't enjoyable at all, and I struggled to detect hops in both the nose and taste. A-?? We must not be experiencing the same beer at all here.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2011 17:38:03 | More by xnicknj
Photo of sonata2008
sonata2008

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The beer was very dark in color, almost black. There wasn't much foam, but an adequate amount. The little bit of lacing didn't stay around very long.

Smell: I found the aroma to be very interesting - some roasted grain, perhaps roasted barley, a hint of coffee, and a bit of hops

Taste: The coffee was definitely there along with some nice chocolate. The beer was nicely balanced between roasted grain flavors and hops.

Mouthfeel: This black ale had a smooth but dry mouthfeel. There was a little bit of carbonation, just about right for the style.

Overall: Very high drinkability. Wonderful flavors. Would go well with hearty winter foods like stew, but would also be great with popcorn, chips, and pretzels.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2011 21:53:50 | More by sonata2008
Photo of OleJohnnieAle
OleJohnnieAle

Minnesota

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

A: Rich darm brown with nice creamy head that left some great lacing

S: Not much hops coming from this but a little cocoa and chocolate scent come through.

T: Little bit of bitterness and citrus cent but primarly the dark roast and chocolate.

M: Medium bodies, not too rich, went down really well!

O: Great dark flavors but not too overpowering with the roasted malts or chocolate. Would definately order up again!

Serving style: On tap at the Blue Door Pub, St. Paul, MN

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2011 03:43:47 | More by OleJohnnieAle
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

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

Served at Cheese Cave in Faribault.
Fruity, spicy aroma in a hops sort of way. Pleasant with minimal malt background.
Very dark with 1/2 inch off-white head (not really tan, more grey). Held in light showed dark red highlights and seemed quite clear.
Interestingly hopped with again a spicy and fruity (but not citrus) quality with an earthy green herbal plant quality. Roast flavors in an ample malt foundation. Roast flavor comes and goes, but strong enough when present to be clearly known (don't have to search for it). Bitterness is known, but actually kinda' subdued for an IPA of sorts. Drying was on the mild side too.
Smoothly and fully carbonated. Moderately light body.
This is a nice beer. Reasonably high drinkability with full flavors and mild alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2011 01:20:54 | More by garymuchow
Photo of LCB_Hostage
LCB_Hostage

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2013 02:12:39 | More by LCB_Hostage
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 01:56:22 | More by matjack85
Photo of happygnome
happygnome

Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev 0%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2012 01:47:55 | More by happygnome
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2012 02:35:09 | More by bnes09
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 23:52:14 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of WastingFreetime
WastingFreetime

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 20:08:53 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 05:49:08 | More by barczar
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 23:10:21 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of bmike86
bmike86

Iowa

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 19:51:31 | More by bmike86
Photo of momoagogo14
momoagogo14

Iowa

4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 19:18:12 | More by momoagogo14
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

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

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 04:07:58 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 03:01:06 | More by maximum12
Photo of jimmah120
jimmah120

Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 07:45:26 | More by jimmah120
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 02:42:39 | More by cjgator3
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 02:24:16 | More by Jason
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 18:36:47 | More by andrenaline
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Summit Black Ale from Summit Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.