Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

275 Reviews
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Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
OG 14.6° Plato
36 IBUs
Malts: Harrington, Caramel, Carafa II
Hops: Willamette, Fuggle, Tettenanger

Added by Todd on 12-08-2001

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Reviews: 275 | Ratings: 566
Photo of schellsbeer
2.35/5  rDev -37%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Really disappointed this year. I had this last year and it was awesome. Did they change the recipe? Very Bland tasting. Not the Winter Warmer that I remembered. Overall, Not impressed at all....and this comes from one of my favorite brewers. What happened?

Dark brown in color but nothing to write home about conderning the taste, smell, mouthfeel.

I will try another bottle here in the next week or so but then will wait until next year. Sure hope this is just a fluke and a bad year for this brew.

Over and out...

 518 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.71/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a bottle into stemware in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over Thanksgiving holiday. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice cream lacing, good thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a solid black. Nontransparent.

Sm: Nuts and cream. That's it. A mild strength aroma.

T: A nutty body with some pleasant cream up front. No spice is present which is a bit awkward for a winter ale. Some very light candied sugar comes through - more toward the climax. The caramel is well handled. All around, it's a bit too simple. I'd like to see more boldness or inspiration, maybe some toasted malt and spice would do it well. It's well balanced, all things considered. The build is just boring.

Mf: Smooth with just enough coarseness to bring out the flavour, and rather wet. Suits the flavours to an extent, but certainly isn't tailored to them.

Dr: Drinkable but forgettable. As my first Summit beer, it makes me want to try other brews, but I won't be getting this again unless it's on draught and there's nothing better.


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Photo of kmpitz2
2.76/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep mahagony color with ruby hues. A finger of tan head falls moderately slow to a full coat over top. Very pretty brew. Nose is not as great. There is a breadyness that borders on what I associate with sock-like aromas. I also get some molasses, but I really do not like the aroma of this beer. Flavor is pretty well the same as the aroma. It has a sort of fruity-spice...almost like cherry, but not in a good way, with molasses. It just rubs me the wrong way. The feel is a very light moderate with a moderate carbonation. I am very underimpressed with this brew. It does nothing to draw me in with the nose or flavor. The feel is weak and its just not all that good.

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Photo of winomark
2.79/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a deep brown, almost black with a small off-white head.

Aroma: Dark roasted malt that is quite muted. Almost on aroma.

Taste: Roasted, slightly smoky malt is dominating. Some coffee tones and hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation lends to a lightness on the palate. Flavorful, lingering finish.

Drinkability: Not a favorite of mine. Not enough sweet malt for a winter brew, IMO. Won't try again.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.8/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12/15/2008 (bottle):

Pours a dark red color body. Average cream-colored head, somewhat diminishing. Malty aroma, some strawberry. Some hoppiness and English maltIness. Not a strong aroma. Hoppy dark chocolately malt taste. Some alcohol and some toffee. Okay body, somewhat watery. Very porterish/stouty taste and palate.

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Photo of botham
2.87/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a tumbler. Pours a deep chestnut/chocolate brown color with rich garnet highlights and one and a half fingers of dense tan head after a hard pour. No lacings on the glass and good retention.

There is little for the nose, with the only notes being a touch of caramel and spice, with a metallic tinge. Not promising.

Taste is much better than the aroma would suggest, with caramel and roasted malts up front, along with light notes of chocolate and light spice. Well proportioned with a filling and warming quality. Could use a bit more roasted malt quality, but still good.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a malty and bready texture, along with a smooth finish.

Drinkability is decent. For a winter brew this gets the job done, but it is easily forgotten due to the base quality of the overall pour. It lacks any defining qualities.

 868 characters

Photo of lester619
2.9/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a thick dark blackish brown. Light brown head that settles to a thin film quickly. The smell is rather understated and bland. A little sour with some burnt toast notes but mostly just kind of bland. The tasted follows suit. A hint of a sweet malty body with some smokey roasted grain flavors followed by a hint of sour at the finish. A few herbal hop flavors come out but very few. This beer just need more of something. Either more of a sweet malty taste or more of a bitter herbal hop taste or more of a burnt roasted grain coffee taste, just more of something. I usually don't like spiced beers, but maybe that's what it is missing. It was just kind of forgettable.

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Photo of frankiepop
2.91/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, this ale looks like what a winter ale> Winter ale supposed to look like. Darker richer color, but I could not really get an aroma from this ale. taste was a lttle weak. I did not detect any real spices. I do detect some spearmint. Ok texture but a little watery. Theres a bit of a well roasted maltiness.

Underwhelming beer. Goes with underwhelming music. Try Wynton Marsalis' J Mood cd or Joe Walsh - Ordinary Average Guy .Maybe a recording of the radio show Prarie Home Companion by Garrison Keillor who writes about a small town in Minnesota where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the kids are ALL ...ABOVE AVERAGE...

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
2.93/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a dark, deep mohagany brown color with very little head. A little light barely seeps through the edges of the glass. The nose is a little weak. I notice roasted malt smells paired with maybe a slight berry smell. Nothing too strong. The taste is malty and a bit sweet with adjuncts. I've had better. The mouthfeel is also quite thin for the style. Drinkability is okay, I wont have any trouble with it, but it wont be hard to pick something else instead of this one next time.

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Photo of nick76
2.96/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is very toasted and almost smokey with coffee, toffee, and a touch of spice. The appearance is dark red brown with a foamy head. The flavor is like the aroma but too tangy and acidic. The palate is average for the style. Overall its OK but not that good.

 264 characters

Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at the legendary Bennett's in St. Paul MN. After my pleasant encounter with the Summit Octoberfest, I was happy to have a crack at their Winter Ale.

I have nothing further to say. This beer defines mediocrity. OK to drink, look at, inhale. Nothing stands out. A completely forgettable beer.

 308 characters

Photo of hughesm4
3.02/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The initial poor and smell i thought this would be a really good winter beer. Then I started to drink and I thought the taste was alright. Then I got to the aftertaste in the mouth and there was really nothing special about it. No hops, chocolate or coffee taste, or spices. I was dissappointed.

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Photo of jahred
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this (thanks to incongruity, again!) at my recent winter beer tasting. Pours a dark brown color with a medium head and a nice malty, hoppy (and somehow minty) scent.

Tastes of orange and piney hops, with a chalky aftertaste. I'm not quite sure what it is, but something didn't quite fit together in this beer. The beer is rather thin, and perhaps I was expecting something else from a winter/old ale (and something unknown that I can't quite describe).

 459 characters

Photo of ManekiNeko
3.09/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle served at cellarish temperatures in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Dark clear maroon topped with a small and creamy ecru head that pretty much doesn't go away. Thick fingers of lacing are left on the glass.

Smell: Nutty roasted toffee malts dominate the nose. Kind of a one note wonder.

Taste: Toasted bready malts and not much else. Mildly sweet with some apply kinda thangs going on.

Mouthfeel: Creamy thick medium body.

Drinkability: A study in toasted malt flavor. Gets sort of tiring after awhile. This really didn't do much for me.

Thanks to feloniousmonk for the sample.

 615 characters

Photo of coalcracker
3.1/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours dark amber, good head and head retention.
Smell: Aroma of light spices, some dark fruits. Overall has a sweet quality.
Taste: Taste most pronounced at the middle of the first sip- chocolate and/or light coffee noted along with some spices- such as nutmeg, coriander perhaps. Hops pull through towards the end and are very mildly bitter. A bit of astringency arises at the finish as the beer warms.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light mouthfeel. Fairly smooth.
Drinkability: Average. ABV seems a little high for the body.

Overall- an ok winter warmer. It seems as if every winter warmer I've had this season have had completely different taste profiles. I guess each brewer has their own interpretations of this style. Nothing offensive here- nothing outstanding.

 774 characters

Photo of OnThenIn
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It is a darker brown with an off white head of about a finger that dissipates quickly.

Smell: It smells of sweet malt and spices. A little bit of caramel.

Taste: The majority of the flavor seems to be coming from a roasty flavor, with a bit of sweetness and caramel. It is a little nutty, but there really isn't much spice going on here. Just a tiny bit of bitterness in the finish, which feels almost a touch chalky.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is good and the it has a medium body, but I really don't like the finish here.

Drinkability: I don't plan on buying this beer again. It wasn't really offensive, but it just didn't seem to bring anything special to the table. However, I wouldn't object to drinking it if offered.

 739 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.19/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark reddish-brown. There was a light tan head which was retained well.

This beer smelled faintly of dark malt and coffee.

When I took a sip, I got faint coffee notes with an aftertaste of chocolate. It is a bit subtle, but quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel of this beer is (like the taste) understated. It isn't watery; its substantial without being overly sticky.

Drinkability is OK; I'd have another two of these.

 439 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice deep dark cherrywood color with a deep ruby red glow, head starts about a finger high of dark tannish color, fades fast to a lighter almost ivory colored skim and lace which is in stringy sheets. Aroma is mild of light roasted coffee or old coffee lightly burnt-like roasted malts, notes of dry hops, dried wood, and plastic-like ethonal/alcohol notes. Taste is mild and plain with light notes of burnt roasted malts, a touch of old coffee and nutty dryness mixes over the top and in the finish. Has some woodish, dry hop notes. Nothing stands out but the dryness, which is a bit uneven and not all that good as it goes down. Feel is a bit thin with a drying texture midway through to the finish which coats the mouth and tongue with a dry spongy, spiked, lightly harsh cotton mouth. A slightly weak, boring, and a pretty unpleasant glass of beer. Smooth this out, get rid of the harsh dryness and texture and i might be interested in it again. Was hoping they changed this one much like the O-fest. But now I remember why I always skip by this one every year. I'll stick with the porter.

 1,093 characters

Photo of hellbilly
3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

bottle by way of moelikebeer...

the pour is very porter-esque... ruby dark brown with a creamy off white to grayish head. sporadic drippy lacing noticed.

the aroma also reminds me of a porter... without a whole bunch of character... coffee, lactose, mild sourness, brown sugar and faint pepper.

there's a light sourness on the palate as well... especially toward the finish. flavors of chocolate, coffee nuttiness, brown sugar, malt and mild spice are noted. light to medium bodied with prickly carbonation and a somewhat harsh mouth feel. this seems to me a weak porter masked as a winter warmer?

 619 characters

Photo of purplehops
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This Winter Ale pours a deep chestnut brown with a rich volcanic tan head that last for a while and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is a pleasing balance of chocolate, black malt, and macerated fruit. The taste starts with a weak blend of caramel malt and black malt. Then finishes with a better balance of malt sweetness, black malt bitterness, and an earthiness from the Willamette and Fuggle hops. The aftertaste is earthy, slightly sweet and just a hint of alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium to weak and out of place for a winter ale IMHO.
Overall an ok ale but I think there are better and bolder versions of winter ale out there. Perhaps this would make a nice cross over or first time beer for someone having the style for the first time.

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Photo of hiikeeba
3.26/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours up dark brown with a dense light tan head.

S - Faint aroma of roast malt

T - Subtle malty flavor, hint of chocolate in the background, with some hop bitterness in the finish.

M - A little thin, with a creamy feel and moderate carbonation

D - Moderately drinkable. The malt flavor could easily overwhelm the palate.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.26/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 12 September 2012, per the code on the bottle. Tasted 19 January 2013.

Pours a deep rusty reddish brown. I can just see through it at the edges, where it's quite red. One finger of cream-colored head, good retention. Lacing is fantastic. Gobs of it ringing the surface, reaching up the inside of the glass.

Smell is warm and woody, toasted and nutty. It's all about the malts, with little obvious spice presence. As I continue to smell it, I get more wood and nuts, like sniffing the outside of a walnut. A bit of ripe dark stone fruit (plums or cherries) tries to sneak in from the back, but it's about 10% of the smell.

Taste is meh. Blah, blah. Woody malts (very woody actually, a bit like chewing on bark). A mild bitterness throughout, that doesn't feel like it belongs. But really, not much flavor at all. Odd.

Mouthfeel is better. Medium-bodied, mouth-filling, with carbonation that fizzles and sizzles. Warming, and perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the beer.

Not one I'll be seeking out again. Not bad, but not really good either, IMO. Just doesn't have much flavor, or much aroma. Woody, nutty, but in faint ways that don't do it for me.

 1,163 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my Minnesota bro Nick for turning me on to this beer. A good winter warmer appearance, a light brown, thin head.

Taste, muted sweetness, kinda like a thin porter, but also with aspects of a red. A very enjoyable not quite maltbomb kind of beer, which is rare for me to like.

Mouthfeel, makes me think I'm getting a little cherry and tree in my beer. Very little, but its neat its there. Enjoyable to drink, relatively inexpensive. Exceeded expectations.

 467 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark brown with reddish background. White foam sits and is fluffy. Caramel nose. Other light winter spices. Taste is a light malt, with dark fruit infused caramel. Getting some raisin hints in there. Plums. Medium body, maybe a touch too sweet. Above average.

 315 characters

Photo of TheSSG
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a soapy, tan head that laces madly. Citric hops and toasted malt aroma. Deep, deep burnt umber color. Starts with a toasted malt, a touch of sweet malt, and a little citric hop bitterness. A flash of more citrus as it builds to a low medium bitterness. Then toasted malt comes back to meld with the hops i the finish.

This is pretty good. A nice subtle version of the style; sweet, hoppy, toasted flavors are balanced off one another pretty well. The only thing that really surprises me is the slightly thin mouthfeel.

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 566 ratings.
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