Never Summer Ale | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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Never Summer AleNever Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by comat0se on 04-28-2003

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Reviews: 345 | Ratings: 572
Photo of cokes
2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Auburn-shaded copper with a thin beige skim.
Nose of caramel malt and light piney-floral hops.
Taste is much of the same. Begins heavily caramelized, then shifts more towards toastedness. Maybe even some vague cocoa hues. Graininess is noted, and joins with a big salty, astringent blast. The astringency lingers through the remainder, not hidden in the least by the floral hops.
Light bodied.
I sort of liked this intially, but the astringency proved to be too much. By the end, it was difficult to drink, and even worse with food.

Thanks anyway, Huge

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Photo of ElGordo
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep reddish amber with a creamy, off-white head. Aroma of malt and light astringency. Foams up pretty big in the mouth. Palate of deep malt, light hoppiness, and light spice (nutmeg, clove). Decent, but not really what I look for in a winter ale.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Tall 12 ounce brown glass bottle with a cold looking ice-blue and white label depicting an empty chairlift. Described as the 3rd release in the Looking Glass series, it has no listed strength but a Best By Date of FE1604.

Appearance: Dark amber copper body, clear. Off white smooth uniform head descends from ½” to a broken covering at first, but once topped up the head has superb staying power and looks good. When held to the light the tan collar a top the rubidicous body looks very good. Below average carbonation levels.

Nose: Bready aroma mix with some toasted malts and a strong yeast profile at first. The ending has a strong hoppy kick in the aroma.

Taste: Malty beginning with a light spicy malt feel that builds to a crisp, distinct hoppy twang in the middle. The hops are slightly biting but not bitter, nor are they “aggressive” as advertised on the left of the obverse label. Maybe aggressively hopped is a phrase that means something different in So. Cal., I could be spoilt. The hoppiness is a nice balance to the malts, spicy pine feel and caramel malts all wrapped in a yeasty wholemeal bread roll. Not so much a meal in itself, but more a Sandwich. Has a light cloying caramel feel at the back end, thanks to the hops, this never becomes annoying, but more of a distraction.

Mouthfeel: Caramel feel in the mouth aids the body and lends a decent strength to the average feel. Can feel a wee thin at times though, strange that?

Drinkability: Started reasonably easy at first, but as I worked the last third it became a little staid and one-dimensional. Spritzy carbonation is a little spiky in the mouth, but the creamy finish aids your forgiveness of this trait.

Overall: Well imagine my surprise! I mistakenly thought that this was Michael Jackson’s Late Night drink! I mis-read this one; I thought it said ‘Never-land Summer Ale’. But unlike Wacko’s favorite Bedtime Beer, this was close to its stated expiration and probably 12 months older than the Moonwalker would have enjoyed. That said, I enjoyed the beer, the hops balanced the malts well, and the glutinous caramel feel in the ending was nice, but it somehow lacked something to make it a well-rounded offering. More hops perhaps??

Thanks to BigHuge for this Boulder, Colorado offering, much appreciated.

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Photo of Beaver13
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The Never Summer poured a ruby red, with a thin head that dissipated quickly to a collar. It had a pleasing sweet malt smell with a hints of spices. It has a sweet malt start with a spicy, hoppy finish. The tastes are well balanced. The palate was a little on the thin side. Overall, a nice winter brew...great tasting, and very drinkable.

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Photo of maxpower
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark and clear amber-copper color, nice foamy off white head that leaves some lace in the glass, malty caramel aroma, sweet malty nutty flavors, medium bodied with a soft and light mouthfeel. It does finish with a nice and clean dryness , not bad at all.

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Photo of BigRedN
2.98/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark ruby red, thin off-white head which soon faded. Traces of lace down the glass to the finish.
Smell: Hoppy, spiced yet slightly sweet with a touch of caramel.
Taste: Nothing exciting. One dimensional. Hoppy, bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Slightly carbonated. Light to medium bodied. Relatively easy going down.
Drinkability: Not the best seasonal beer I have had.

Final Thoughts: Part of a mixed six, this was not the most enjoyable beer of the bunch. Would have guessed by its one-dimensional profile that it was a strong/old ale, not a herb/spiced beer. Slightly disappointing. I guess I expected too much.

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Photo of ZAP
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear cherrywood color...nice 1/4 inch creamy tan head...nose is sweet caramel...I like the way it smells..body a little light for a winter...medium body but leans toward the lighter side of medium...nice sweet flavor..caramel notes...surprisingly finishes dry and tight...theres some strategic hopping here...overall an enjoyable beer...not a top tier winter beer but decent enough...I wish this had more body, but enjoyable to drink...

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Photo of tavernjef
3.22/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hazen deep ruby brownish color with a soft tannish head about a finger high that sits briefly, lace gets some spots sticking as it goes. Smell is inticing with a nice mingling of dark caramel malts and spicy/herbal hops that has a touch of pineyness to it and woodish notes. Taste is all together bland and characterless, lacks depth, richness, and above all taste. The front is upheld in some light mild maltyness and roasty tones, thin, with metallic notes, the hops come through in the finish which were nice and had some spicy hints and pine but had a watery taste that always seemed to keep getting in the way. Which didn't help the feel at all, very thin and watery. There's nothing warming or "assertively hopped" as it states about it. Its got hops, thats for sure, assertively? Nah...another look in the looking glass series they need to do with this one. Never Summer is never good. Average all the way, borderline boring.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby hue; thin off-white ring, minor carbonation. Some winter spices and malts, even some hops graze the nose, most pleasantly. Sharp malts off the cuff, some cinammon and even caramel notes. Hop-dominated palate, decent amount of carbonation. Spicy notes in patches, decently hopped, fresh fruit finish, a throat grabber. Decent winter beverage.

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Photo of Gusler
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

The beer departs the 12-ounce brown bottle a deep garnet color with the head modest, creamy in texture and a nice light tan, as it slowly dissolves; the lace forms a tight sheet to conceal the glass. Malt dominated nose, just a hint of spice, fresh, clean and sweet with the start nicely malted and lightly sweet, top was a bit thin for my liking which detracts much, just not enough body,. Finish is well hopped, spicy and pleasing to the palate, very dry aftertaste and a drinkable brew, maybe just a tad above average, if it only had more body?

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Photo of garymuchow
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is a mix of hops (primarily) and some malt backing.
Good looking beer, esp. initially, but full head settles pretty quickly. Reddish hue (mahogany) and clear.
Hoppy bitterness is first noticeable, but a little too bitter and doesn't mellow enough as warms. Malt backing present with slight caramel notes. Bitterness on the finish has slightly citrus notes, esp. in the dryness.
Too biting and doesn't mellow to a nice ale smoothness. Feels a little too thin for a winter warmer. Nicely carbonated.
Something seems lacking. Somewhat bold, esp. in the hops, but somehow still not full or firm enough. Doesn't get smooth enough. Drinkable, but doesn't separate itself from the pack.

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Photo of Crosling
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very nice looking beer. Pours like a dark red gemstone with darkness shining through the beer at all angles but once the light hits the right spot this beer shines with brilliance. The head is rather lackluster. It falls and forms a ring around the glass with islands of bubbles floating towards the center. A poor lace left on the glass.

The nose was full of malts and a spicyness possibly from the hops or possibly from the brewer's secret ingredient. The suspense...

The initial sip tasted poor. Then this brew grew on me a little. It went from a 2.5 to a 3.5 during the sitting. A very well hopped beer considering this is supposed to be a winter warmer. Nothing about this beer seemed to warm me up though. I didn't pick up much flavor besides some nutmeg and some spices that I couldn't identify.

The "looking glass series" hasn't impressed me very much.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: bright, clear crimson color, with a decent, cream-colored thinnish head.
Aroma: very mild, but sweet, malty, notes of caramel, nuts, a touch of toffee.
Taste: very minor hops, large malt, recurrent sweetness, almost treacly, the further we sip into it. Body is medium at most, texture/ mouthfeel sticky and sweet, and brief. I think I had this before when it was called Big Sky Powder Hound. That's the closest thing I can conjure to this...certainly not in the league of Young's Winter Warmer, though not too far away from Samuel Smith's in the flavor, now that I think of it.
"Herbed/Spiced Beer", though? Not out of this bottle!
I thought that since this was in their Looking Glass Series, it would be a bit on the wilder, not the milder side, and I was wrong. Not a bad beer, very drinkable, with an appreciable taste, but certainly a far cry from what I was thirsting for...

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Photo of Bighuge
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear deep ruby. Nice looking beer. A bubbly beige head laces with sufficiency. Nose is spicy... dark spices and spicy hop tones. Add some dark caramel maltiness and you have an inviting nose. They peg this beer to be "assertively hopped" and " a more aggressive winter seasonal." I beg to differ. This isn't bad, but it's just not that bold. The underlying dark caramel malts lay down a nice maltiness. And working on top of that is some spicy hops. Somewhat tasty, but nothing real "warming" about this one. A good try, but not one of the big boys.

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Photo of ADR
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part three of the "Looking Glass" series...

Clear dark copper color, yellowish head of two bubble sizes but not much height. Vertical dot and string lace. Neutral aroma, leans toward maple syrup with some black pepper background. Mouthfeel is medium as is carbonation, malt is heavy on cinnamon and brown sugar, some black cherry, but hauled back by floral and somewhat ashy hopping. Hits the back of the throat thickly, with a little bit of heat. Overall, a better-than-average beer, but a little too tight and underspiced for my expectations, came off almost as an ESB...

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Photo of bditty187
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Clear bronzy-auburn hue, the slightly off-white head reached a very modest half-finger in height before fading to a scummy, soapy collar rather quickly. Spotty lace. Looks decent enough. Good aromas, hoppy with pine and citrus influences, malty goodness too, a kiss of fruit. Fair potency, a little more authority would be welcomed; it is inviting. The palate is pleasantly hoppy, very unexpected actually. The outright bitterness is solid but the hops add flavorful depth (largely piney… a hint of citrus) that can be found squarely on top of the sweet, slightly toffee-like malts. The spiciness is mild, hot candy-like. This is a mighty tasty beverage and yet another reason to take note of the Looking Glass Series. Medium-full body, modest and appropriate carbonation that produces a pleasant, effortless, mouthfeel. This is a beer I am impressed with and something I need to quaff again. Lovely stuff. Try one.

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Photo of winomark
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, medium copper with a thin white head.

Aroma: Sweet malt and slightly spicy. Hop citrus gives a good backbone.

Taste: Malt and hops all throughout the palate. The malt controls the front and back, with good bitterness and spiciness in the mid-palate.

Mouthfeel: Rich and coating, but not too thick. Good sweet malt and hop bitterness balance nicely.

Drinkability: A good winter "warmer" that is worth a try.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: This beer had a nice ruby, slightly caramel hue to it. The light tan head rose up to two fingers with a little coaxing and settled down slowly. It left some nice, sticky lace on the side of the glass. Overall, it looked good sitting in the glass.

Smell: The smells that drifted up from my glass were wonderful. There was a cracker-like toastiness that was reminiscent of baked goods. There might have been just a touch of spice in the nose, but to me it seemed that the warm aromas came mostly from the malt. On top of all this was a spicy hoppiness that blended well and balanced out the aroma nicely.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth in the mouth, becoming velvety on the back of the tongue. It was a little too thin for a winter beer, though, being on the thin side of the medium-bodied catagory.

Taste: I was extremely impressed with this beer until I took a drink. The flavor was thin and metallic. Very sharp and acidic. On the finish there was a litte bit of spice and the metalic taste dissipated enough to expose a sharp hops flavor. It was drinkable, but not overly enjoyable.

The aroma of this brew reminded me exactly of the old Igloo ale. But the similarities stopped there. Where the Igloo was full and malty, this beer is thin and acidic, and not in a good way. Maybe it is too fresh. I will put away the two bombers that I have left and see how they taste at the end of the season.

In my opinion, this is the first dud in the Looking Glass Series of beers.

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Photo of marc77
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 release:
Tawny copper hue, with a slight mirk. Thick, pitted, light beige head yields rough, frothy lace. Aroma of citrusy hop, mellow dark toffee and cinnamon. Swirling releases banana esters and a heaty ethanol tinge. Assertive hop bitterness dominates, without a noteable hop flavor. Malt character is mostly of a sharp, dry, cocao nature, with a burnt caramel undertone. Slight tannic astringency competes with subtle cinnamon bite. Well attenuated and mostly dry, but with sufficient dextrins and passable viscosity in mouthfeel. Finishes with a flash of banana and chocolate, but otherwise with a lingering, quinine like bitterness. A bit rough around the edges, but far superior and totally different than last year's release. This probably could be cellared and mellowed.

2002 release:
Ap: 3.5 Ar: 3.5 T: 2.5 M: 3.0 D: 3.0 overall: 3.0
Clear blonde hue, with a faint murk. Thin, but dense, persistent, porcelain white head leaves diffuse lace. Soft, doughy malt accompanied by a floral hop and grainy tart wheat combination upfront in aroma. Bated hint of clove phenol and honeyish sweetness add an herbally sweet contrast. Unique, but not well rounded aromawise. Transient wash of white bread sweetness incipient on flavor is ensued by a drying, yet lingering suggestion of lightly astringent wheat chaff and orange pith. Mellows mid palate, and notes of underbaked lemon cookie surface to provide token, but welcome malt character. Lightly bodied, with a functional, forgettable mouthfeel conducive to easy quaffing. Finishes concomitantly dry, metallic and tartly citric. An odd brew that attempted to stand out from the typically insipid filtered American wheat, but failed. Never Summer Ale is a decent brew overall, but no more. I realize now that this is a winter seasonal... this could be much better fresh.

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Photo of comat0se
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a winter spiced ale... No category for that anymore so, I guess it'll get lumped with all the others.

Pours a medium brown with red highlights. Large, foamy, creamy off-white head with crazy retention leaving large hunks of foam on the glass. Aroma is sweet and fruity with passing thoughts of spices.

Taste is sweet up front, and you notice the thick viscosity of this beer with foam left in your mouth after you swallow. Then it dries out with an almost metallic taste, followed quickly by a lightly sweet, slight spiced finish, light alcohol. Spices taste of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon... but are non-obtrusive. Better as this beer warms up...

The metallic flavor is somewhat annoying, but overall this is a decent beer with subtle spicing. Rockies Looking Glass Series are definitely a step above their previous offerings. Overall, this is my least favorite Looking Glass beer as compared to the Killer Penguin, and Hazed and Infused.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming <something> Spider which they are currently developing.... I think it's going to be an Imperial IPA.

From the Rockies Brewing Company website:

Never Summer Ale is a bold new look at winter beers: gutsy, full-bodied and an aggressive fusion of secret spices. Like the first run of the day, this ale is deep and clean, crisp and drinkable, perfectly blended for a smooth ride... through the Looking Glass

British Dark Caramel Malt, U.S. 2-row Barley.

Nugget, Willamette, Cascade and Top-Secret Brewmaster's Spice.
Original Gravity:15.2
Alcohol by Volume: 5.94%.

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Never Summer Ale from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
3.62 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
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