Secret Spot Winter Ale | Evolution Craft Brewing Company

116 Ratings
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Secret Spot Winter AleSecret Spot Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by lackenhauser on 11-26-2010

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 |  Reviews: 24
Photo of pwoody11
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of 8ense1
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Evolution's new draft-only offering is a good one. I picked up a growler soon after the prototype was tapped and have been working on it a glass at a time ever since. It stands up well to other winter beer offerings, such as Anchor's 2010 Christmas Ale.

It pours a deep amber, with very modest foaming that clears quickly. The smell is pleasant, a floral scent from the hopping, but not very dominant. But from the first sip it comes across as a bigger beer than one would expect, with a lot of malt flavor. It is brown-sugary rather than chocolaty, and it goes down easily without cloying or building up.

What is interesting is that the hop "bite" is a delayed reaction. While you are still tasting the malt flavor, suddenly its IPA quality begins to tingle on your tongue, and then the herbal flavor of the hopping takes over. It's reminiscent of the impact that Dogfish Head got with its "Bitches Brew," which begins as a stout, but then changes to something more complex in your mouth.

"Secret Spot" doesn't at all taste like "Bitches Brew," but it works in the same hybrid way, an indication that the Evo folks are interested in combining beer types to see what happens. In this case, they get an interesting beer sipped in a beer-geeky way, and also a very good companion to a late-night pizza or other snack. Its bold impact belies its modest alcoholic content, so it is, like Evo's best offerings, quite sessionable.

I'd expect this to become a standard seasonal offering from Evo.

 1,496 characters

Photo of daliandragon
4.26/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown body with cool beige lace that doesn't last. Nose is heavy on the sweet malt, with dark fruit, caramel, and licorice notes. Unique, complex taste with plenty of malt but more balance than expected. Dry lemon hops temper the steady blast of chocolate and caramel malts. Pleasant in texture and solid finish. I see the comparison to Double Bag. Very well done winter seasonal.

 392 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A clear amber color with a two finger white head.

S- Floral hops, toasted malts, some toffee.

T- Follows the nose, hops give this beer a nice bitter finish, great toasted malts, some toffee.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A solid beer that I will be picking up again. Good beer for the colder months.

 348 characters

Photo of Beer4MyBrajs
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of Tavo2311
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of NumberNone
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of 2dogbrew
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of DeezJutz
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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

Photo of Gatordaddy
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of DrBass
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of siege06nd
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of mcphish22
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of confer
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had it on tap and from a bottle, preferred the tap but reviewing the bottle.
Dark gold in color with red tints at the light. Off white head that never fully goes away.
Smell is all malt. Reminds my of a doppel bock.
Slightly bitter hops are dominant in the taste, not to many just enough for little flavor.
Good alt beer. Evo is getting better all of the time.
As a bonus the tour guide brought a growler of Secret Spot along on the tour of the brewery and refreshed our glasses as he talked.

 494 characters

Photo of utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I loved this. It’s everything an IPA is without all the oil. I’m new to the style but here goes. Pours a cloudy copper amber with a decent head that fell fast to a thin film on top and a small ring. Good lace. Nose is heavenly with malt. It’s bread, it’s caramel, it’s deep and round with a sweetness that takes a backseat in the nicest way. The hops are herbal and pungent, earthy and offer just a hint of lemon. Dark fruits whisper from the nose as it warms but they never fully evince and it’s restrained. The taste is toast and breaddy malt with a nice fullness from the understated sweetness. The hops are bitter on the tip of the tongue but it’s like they hold it back until the finish and then they realize a full bitter without a lot of oil and without a lot of resin. Carbonation is medium and the body is deft and light.

I could compare this to an IPA or to a red ale. Positively enjoyable with plenty of toast but nothing burnt. The malt is outstanding and lasting throughout the drink. The balance is excellent and the hops hold their own without becoming fruity. It’s creamy but also strong and stately. What a treat.

 1,147 characters

Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best by Mar 2013 notched on side of label. Single received a a local beer exchange event.

A: Crystal clear dusky dark amber with a 1-finger foamy beige head with good retention which leaves a creamy but thin layer of lacing.

S: Dark malts with caramel and toffee met with strong earthy, herbal hopping.

T: The flavor is very on par with a strong red ale until the hops bitterness melts into an herbal noble flavor. The maltiness is very amber ale in content with a lot of toffee and smoky burnt caramel character. The hopping is "assertive" per the Evolution website, and that is putting it likely as the bitterness is very strong and carries all the way through the drink.

M: Very smooth and creamy although not as light as many alts, but I would consider this more of a red ale aggressively hopped with noble hops. Body is medium and carbonation is low-medium.

O: I enjoyed this beer, and Evolution Brewing has had several very good brews in their initial splash into VA (see Lot #3 IPA for the best of the bunch). Secret Spot is also a high quality brew that crosses style lines of WEst Coast style red ale with super-noble hopped altbier. Definitely this is a good one to check out.

 1,245 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Ommegang tulip. Best by Mar 2013 notched onto the side of the label. Picked by a friend at Stateline on the MD/DE border

A: Pours lightly hazed medium amber. Darker khaki cap, slow to fade, thick collar and film. Leaves some low sheeting.

S: Malts dominate the nose. Caramel and toast abound

T: Malty brew, dark toast, maple and more caramel. Also some moderate winter spicing and then moderate drying hops late.

M: Smooth and pleasant on the tongue and coating the mouth. The body is medium and the carbonation is on the lower side but fine for the style.

O: Enjoyable enough brew. Malty beer lovers will enjoy this one.

 668 characters

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

Review from notes. Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours an amber/copper color with a one finger white head that dissipates rather quickly to a ring on the top of the beer. Decent lacing.

S: A little bit of floral hops, but mostly malt driven. Some toffee and caramel dominate the rest of the aroma.

T: Toast malt, toffee, some nice caramelized sugar, and a surprising hop kick.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation, has a slightly sticky and dry finish.

O: Quite good, reminds of their ESB almost with more hops. Too bad it won't be around until next winter as this is a nice beer for the cold months.

 611 characters

Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Secret Spot Winter Ale from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 116 ratings.
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