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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 TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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?

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2011 21:21:05 | More by TMoney2591
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 MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

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

Another oddball shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Tan foam quickly settles to a few wispy patches, thin collar, and tiny spots of lace. Very dark brown body with a few lighter glints here and there.

S - Plenty of sugary malts, light roast, black patent malt, and earthy and herbal hops. As it warms there's a touch of smoke and citrus as well.

T - Perhaps a tad chalky, but otherwise a solid blend of roast, black patent, and light chocolate malts. Hop flavor imparts some light citrus character, and there's surprisingly low bitterness for the style. This grew on me the more it warmed up.

M - Medium body, lower carbonation, lightly grainy texture, and a fairly clean and dry finish.

D - I was a tad disappointed with the aroma, but this is one of the better takes on this style that I've had recently. If you dig Black IPAs grab a sixer, or check this out if it shows up on draft.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 07:48:33 | More by MasterSki
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 02:16:30 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of chocolate and roasted malts. A touch of resiny pine aromas, too.

T - It tasted of bitter piney hops with a nice chocolate and toffee backbone. Some sweet caramel, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a tasty Black Ale. I haven't been disappointed by any of the Unchained beers from Summit.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 05:00:19 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a huge 3" merangue like head that lasts forever. Thick lace paints the glass.

Smell: roasted malts, some grapefruit and a bit of pine are picked up by the nose.

Taste: roasted malts, prunes, a bit of licorice, soft grapefruit, a bit of pine, and some earthy bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Very crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late.

Overall: an easy drinking ale, and one could have a few of these in a session. Well balanced and has a nice flavor profile.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 21:23:08 | More by Gavage
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 00:34:09 | More by tempest
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 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 Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 05:51:08 | More by Bighuge
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 twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 23:13:44 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of ZAP
ZAP

Minnesota

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

A-Black with brown hues...nice tannish fluffy head..

S-Roasty....some java notes...a bit of dark cocoa...

T-Roasty again...more of a milk chocolate impression on the taste rather than the dark cocoa noticed on the aroma...hops lend a light juicy dimension...

M-Medium bodied...creamy feel..

O-Quality brew...I love the use of the new obscure hops in this but they are bit overshadowed by the dark notes....still for what this is meant to be this is great....well done..

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 07:38:19 | More by ZAP
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

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

12 oz. bottle.

Dark cola brown body. Clear. Two fingers of thick, fluffy, light sandy brown head. Great lacing. Nose of roasted barley, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, tobacco, and some herbal hops.

Nutty, toasty malts up front. Roasted barley and coffee bitterness follow. Bitterness becomes woodier, with herbal tendencies. Singed caramel, cocoa, light molasses, and winy fruit notes provide a malty backbone to balance the bitterness. Dryish finish, with lingering herbal and coffee bitterness. Medium-bodied with a nice, creamy feel. Another very good Unchained beer from Summit!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 03:02:11 | More by alexgash
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 20:50:08 | More by AgentZero
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 KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

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

This beer pours a clear black color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into a qaurter inch cap of solid foam that lingers. The aroma is of roasted malt, grapefruit, pine resin, and chocolate. The taste is similar to the aroma. There is a nice balance of roasted and chocolatey malt, and citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth texture, and light carbonation. Overall, this is a really well crafted beer that I will be drinking a lot of while it is around.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 03:24:49 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 21:49:43 | More by morimech
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 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 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 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
Photo of budgood1
budgood1

Minnesota

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

pours out a very deep and dark brown colour with mahoghany highlights. rich creamy head reduces down to a sticky film and sticky lace. dark roasted malt aroma showing some java and cocoa notes with a very pronounced hop aroma of the fruity variety...sort of a peachy/apricot/mango/spicy thing going on. very unique smelling. upon tasting the first thing that hits me is the malt profile which immediately reminded me of their great northern porter. a few more sips and the subtle nuances of a layered malt profile appear...dark unsweetened chocolate, a bit of coffee and char, hints of caramel and toffee, etc. all cloaked underneath an earthy, woody hoppiness that also is a bit complex in its uniqueness. a good deal of bitterness from both the hop profile and the charred malts compliment each other quite nicely. body and mouthfeel ying and yang each other in that the body seems full and well rounded while the mouthfeel gives it a lighter feel while retaining a smoothness and drinkability reminiscent their porter. it finishes quite dry and surprisingly clean.

overall this unchained offering of the CDA/BIPA variety comes across as well balanced and understatedly complex. recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 23:01:49 | More by budgood1
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

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

From Summit:

The rich, dark color. Exotic hops from Australia and New Zealand for pronounced citrus, passion fruit and pepper character. Toasty and dark malts. Summit Black Ale takes you on quite a journey. Batch 8 in our Unchained Series from brewer Mike Lundell, this medium bodied, hoppy ale should be a hit with adventurous beer lovers.

Pours a solid brown of the darkest shade. The head appears creamy and is taupe colored and leaves curtains of sticky lacing.

Getting grassy fresh hops, like a fresh hopped beer, along with dusty cocoa and milk chocolate. A nice little combo that sounds like it fits the style profile.

Big bitterness coming from the hops. Lots of grapefruit peel and related citrus flavors. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee coming from the malt side of the beer. This is a very, very hop forward version of the style, but has a nice roasty malt balance behind it.

Very soft carbonation, about medium bodied. Has a bite to it form the hops and finishes dusty and dry. Not quite as rich and malty feeling as others in the style.

This is a bold take on the style. Loads of hops which will satisfy hopheads. I really wish there was more of a malt presence to balance it and add some sweetness. This is still a solid brew that is worth trying out.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2011 23:18:38 | More by jera1350
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 06:57:25 | More by MattyG85
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Summit Black Ale from Summit Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.