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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

71 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 71
Hads: 152
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.33%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Summit Black Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 71 | Hads: 152
Photo of momoagogo14
4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (753 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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 (639 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.02/5  rDev -23.9%
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. (700 characters)

Photo of jimmah120
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (503 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
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. (714 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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. (909 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (441 characters)

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. (656 characters)

Photo of samie85
3.06/5  rDev -22.9%
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. (377 characters)

Photo of THEFRANCH15E
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (737 characters)

Photo of djohnse
4.05/5  rDev +2%
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. (650 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.19/5  rDev -19.6%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of devinoconnor
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (272 characters)

Photo of BierStein711
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (323 characters)

Photo of Phocion
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (889 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (716 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -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. (916 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (632 characters)

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (1,075 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of wac9
2.7/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

too bad a great looking beer that the hops sticks in the back of your thoart, i tired but cant drink it too hoppy . wife thought the reviews sounded good and i gave it a shot too bad for me pours a great black in a glass but thats it , if you like black beer and hoppy then enjoy if not move on (294 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
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! (581 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (775 characters)

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, almost opaque black color, with two-finger, off-white, frothy head that lasted a few minutes. Nice lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Earthy pine hops. Floral and tea-like.

T: Light sweetness and strong hop bitterness. The hops are the first thing I notice, then the roasted characteristics start to pick up. Not as roasted as I would have liked, but still pretty good. This beer grows on me as I drink it.

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Silky smooth and slightly dry. Really nice mouthfeel.

O: This was my first Black Ale. I now know to expect an IPA with some roasted characteristics. I would say this is probably a good one as far as Black Ales go. (691 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.81/5  rDev -4%
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. (1,194 characters)

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Summit Black Ale from Summit Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.