Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

277 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: 277 | Ratings: 573
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unfortunately, the season has passed for this one, but even if it hadnt, it still wouldnt be my favorite. this is sort of the craft beer of the old school, malty amber ale, brewed with just a little more body and hops for the cold months, but the craft beer movement has evolved beyond this now i think. deep amber in color, brick red even, with a short lived white head. some nice toasted grain and nutty malt sweetness to this, fairly earthy and substantial in both nose and taste, without as much overall caramelized sweet weight as anticipated. a hint of maple, coffee cake, and toffee, all without spices or adjuncts from what i can gather. sort of english, also sort of hoppy, with a little more bitterness than we usually see in amber ale types, its hoppy as it goes down for sure. medium body, relaxed carbonation, sturdy beer and likely someones favorite, but i look for a little more in my winter beers these days. summit is near and dear to me because they often embody and preserve the old school in their beer, but this one seems tired to me. not the best of their seasonal offerings, but still quite satisfying and enjoyable in the right context, which will next occur sometime in november...

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Photo of ThorSon
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very interesting beer. Its like nothing I have ever had. I had it poured in a glass at Toasted Frog in Fargo. Summit is a great brand by a great Brewmaster, who started making Summit before craft beer really took off. I had it with a chicken risotto and it was great. Its hard to identify all the tastes that are going on, coffee, toffee, caramel, and malts. Just because of the taste alone, you gotta try it, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Dms844
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look, dark amber with a thin head.

Good, interesting smell, toffee and caramel.

Add subtle coffee notes to the taste.

The feel is refreshing, not to heavy, good beer to sip on and enjoy the different flavors.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.34/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rich toasty malts, and piney hops. Sweet smelling. Hints of darker fruits. Cinnamon raisin bread. Out of season, but hops are still present. Piney and almost minty. Cracker basemalt is noticeable.

Pours dark ruby/brown. Good clarity. Decent sized off white head with good lacing and retention.

Juicy malts. Pumpernickel bread. Caramel and brown sugar. Some raisin but less present in the flavor than the nose. Less hop character on the palate, but still some balancing bitterness. Complex malt character. Juicy and full with a nice cracker base.

Medium full body with medium carbonation. I know I've said juicy twice already...but fairly dry finish. Lingering hop bitterness and toasted bread.

Complex and rich but surprisingly drinkable. Has held up quite well.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.34/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Has all the hallmarks of a winter warmer appearance, light brown, lesser brown head 1/2". Aroma was nutty, mildly boozy, some brown malt.

Taste mildly sweet, mildly boozy, mildly hoppy. Plenty of malt, smooth. Even some tree like dark fruit note. Good format, cheap, solid option here.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in color with minimal light penetration. There's a half inch of tightly packed beige resting on top. Light lacing on the glass. Aroma is comprised of caramel and chocolate. I taste plenty of dark chocolate and light malt. The mouth is lightly silky and smooth.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

summit winter ale
amber edged, clear medium brown with a light tan head of fine bubbles, lacing evident as it begins to drop.
smells of toasty malts, pretty reserved while the beer is cold.
flavors of chicory, just enough sweetness to balance, and a little astringency in the finish. quite clean and crisp for an ale. nearly schwartzbier like.
the body and carbonation are very middle of the road in a pleasing sort of way.
not as dark, mysterious, or complex as I expected but solid and serviceable.
4, 3.75, 3.75, 4, 4

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.63/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

12 oz can poured into a bow-tie Holland America lager glass

L - Rich dark brown with two finger head. Nice tight lacing that moves down the glass at a good pace

S - Notes of chocolate, nutmeg, caramel. Not too strong on the nose, could be due to the glass, but it is not too aromatic.

T - Chocolate cake, nutmeg, bready notes. Dark flavors dominate, not overly aggressive. Smooth as silk.

F - Smooth texture, kind of a translated Oktoberfest winter beer. Slight alcohol after taste. Soft texture with a good solid beer feel.

O - I am a bit biased because this is brewed right down the street of my grandparents, but Summit makes phenomenal beer. I have never heard of a winter warmer style until I had this and it is a very good example of the style. Nothing too fancy done to this beer, so if you just want a plain old beer for the winter time, look for further than this. Merry Cheersmas!!!!

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Photo of 57md
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with ruby edges. The nose is nutty and malty. The flavor profile follows teh nose fairly well. The finish is semi-dry and bitter and the body is on-point.

Despite an ABV into the 6s, this is a beer that can be sessioned by the fire (as long as one is not driving anywhere afterward).

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Photo of matcris
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by date of : 3/24/16. Reviewing on 11/28/15.

LOOKS: Aggressive pour into Nonic pint glass. Three fingers+ of tan head that lingers forever. Lacing down glass is superb. Very dark ruby up to the light in color. Some very small bubbles streaming up glass.

AROMA: Smells like fruit and cake. Fruitcake! I'm getting a bready, rum or sherry soaked sweet bread. Nutty, dried dark cherries or plums. And the spices you would get in a holiday cake, cinnamon and nutmeg.

TASTE: Basically the exact same qualities in the flavor. Bready and sweet, with just enough of slight bitterness that it isn't cloyingly sweet. Very malt forward brew. The beer that comes closest to this would be Deschutes Jubelale, although I don't get any chocolate in this.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to full body. Carbonation is on the lighter side, probably because of pour. Not a sticky sweet beer, but definitely not a dry beer. Probably not great for chugging.
Overall, very nice full body beer that would be at home next to the fire on a snowy night. I would recommend pouring less aggressively to retain a bit more carbonation.

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Photo of tone77
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A thanks goes out to the commander of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits, spices. Taste is malts, cocoa, spices, hints of fruits. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant dark chestnut under a 1” rocky light tan foam collar that provides intricate lace. S: Malty aromas with coffee and chocolate. T: Tastes drier than it smells. The foamy liquid enters the mouth and dissolves into a light chocolate with a pinch of roast. Just the right mix of chocolate and light coffee. F: Creamy smooth, a marvelous soft texture with fine soft carbonation. O: A good winter warmer. With more alcohol it could be a great one.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: April 25, 2015... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... OCCASION: saying goodbye to the last of the winter bees in the fridge... APPEARANCE: dark mahogany body; effervescence is tough to gauge; thick, creamy off-white head holds firm long after pouring; tracings are symmetrical and clear... AROMA: an alluring mix of bright, citric scents, nutty malts and floral aromas--caught me off-guard with its complex array; some damp berry and ... PALATE: begins with an ESB's smoothness, but returns to the teeth with a whiplash bite; medium-bodied, creamy, soft,, and flirting with a porter's cola-like presence... TASTE: a reasonable blend of malts and fruits---cranberry, pear especially--merge with vanilla, some playful hops, pepper and cola... OVERALL: not as warming as the aroma suggests; the profile overall is useful but not memorable--finishes with rocky malts and the enjoyably creamy aspects of root beer...

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Photo of TheSSG
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
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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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark toffee brown color with a very webby lacing from the head, which is cream colored and very fluffy. Looks darn close to a root beer float.

Aroma: Cranberries, a little spiced dried currant, banana peel. Heavy toffee and caramel malt aromas. A little bit of honey biscuit/caramel roll going on there too. As the head recedes there is a slight hop aroma.

Taste/mouthfeel : very creamy, and then a sharp stabbing rush of carbonation livens up the brew. It's hard to describe the taste... definite earthy flavors, very root-y, some dried plum and orange, honey, followed by a grassy hop. I'm really at a loss for words. It IS good, though.

Overall : this is a decent beer, and although I am at a loss for words in describing it, it's something I'd have again. It's very fruity and earthy. A nice Belgian dark ale.

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Photo of drtth
3.96/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown, almost black, with a touch of red so a lot like mahogany. The 1/2" light tan head soon recedes to leaves a ring, a thin layer of foam and speckles and legs of lacing when sipping.

The aroma is a nice mix of dark fruits, light spices and malt character but without any one thing standing out from the others.

As expected from the nose, the flavors are lightly sweet with good malt character, some molasses, and those touches of fruit and spice.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with a touch of crispness from the moderate carbonation. The finish is dry and lightly spicy leaving a lingering spice note that fades away or that disappears with the next sip.

Overall this is a nice balanced beer that doesn't go overboard in any direction but still lets you know it is well made. Unlike some spiced winter warmers the spices are an integral part of the flavor rather than something that dominates it. That said, however, if I were going to stock up on a Winter Warmer I think I'd still give the Lancaster Brewing Winter Warmer the nod in preference to this one, if only because I like the way Lancaster Brewing have used both British and American hops and because of the the greater warmth from the higher ABV.

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Photo of Act25
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Ruddy chestnut body with tight 1 finger head that fades too fast, but laces well.

S: Nose of a light porter (just finished Sierra N porter). But less powerful, and more is expected from a winter warmer. Malty, roasted barley, dark caramel, a bit of faint hop grass... lacks power and depth.

T: More carob and weak coffee, and some plum in addition to the aroma profile. Malty, roasty, and prune juice. evens out in the grassy, hop addition of the finale.

F: Too light for the style, not as clean finishing as I'd like. SN Porter blows this away.

Summit Porter is better.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Is Summit CANning everything that they make? As the founder of The CANQuest (TM), a CANcerted effort to drink and review EVERY CANned beers in existence, I certainly hope so!

From the CAN: "Proudly Brewed in St. Paul, Minnesota"; "Cozy Up to a Dark, Nutty Brew with Hints of Cocoa and Spice"; "Mother Nature doesn't want your empties. Please recycle."

I am watching the inaugural College Bowl Championship Game tonight in the grip of a Winter day. The tab fought me, briefly, but the Crack! was deafening. I got a light spritz as a result and now my curiosity was piqued to CANduct an inverted Glug. The pseudo-cascade came up pretty quickly, requiring that I back off, but not before the formation of three fingers of dense, rocky, light-tan head with good retention. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with obvious clarity and garnet highlights. Nose had a definite cocoa/chocolate bent, underlain by a light cinnamon spiciness. Interesting. Mouthfeel was medium with a softness approaching creaminess. Interesting x 2. The taste was cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon and infused with peppermint. I had one of these recently at Starbucks! I am not trying to be funny or ironic, but this reminded me very much of their Winter Peppermint Mocha. Finish was semi-dry, thanks to its inherent spiciness, but I could also called it semi-sweet just as easily. A brilliant way to wrap up the day just as the first quarter ends!

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Photo of Taybeh
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a can into an imperial pint glass

A: Deep brown/black with tinge of ruby at the edges when held to the light, and a finger of khaki foam that subsides in a minute or two
S: toffee and roasted dark malts, faint dark chocolate, some tinges of citrus hops (orange maybe)
T: follows the nose, though there's also quite a bit of nuttiness and even some raisins in there, midway; the earthy and very faintly citric hops give a little zesty liveliness to the lingering back; nothing too complex, but very pleasant.
M: medium carbonation, wet, for the style this is fairly light and very easy to drink.

Overall: Like Summit's other standards, I've been drinking this one with gratitude for many years...alongside of the EPA, the Great Northern Porter, and the Maibock, it is an old dependable when out and about at places that aren't beer-centric. Good stuff.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour, dark tawny amber with a light mocha head.
Malty with a slight vanilla edge on the nose.
Taste is malty with a nice toasty element on the aftertaste. Finishes dry, toasty.
Crisp, smooth, average body.
Great seasonal, along the lines of a toasty brown ale.

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Photo of MNAle
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into a tulip pint. Dark brown, 1/2 inch tan head with a "drippy" lacing. Moderate to light carbonation. Pleasant malt-fruit-tinged aroma. Thickish body and mouth feel. Take a drink and the hops bitterness hits first, followed by lightly roasted malt flavor. Then more bitterness comes through, but not overly so. This remains a nicely balanced ale front to back. Aftertaste is a mild lingering bitterness fading on the tongue.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Winter Ale pours a dark amber color with a small but lacing head. There is a mild spicy aroma. The taste is very full, good sharp malty backbone, with some noticeable hints of sweet spices. Good feel, good body. Overall a nice easy drinking warmer.

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Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This one has some age on it. Got lost in the cellar.

Pours a fairly clear deep burgundy, with a frothy khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Sweet molasses, cocoa, and cola form the initial aroma. There's a touch of dates and raisins, which probably developed with time.

Flavor reveals tart cherry and prunes underlying a chocolate and deeply toasted malt base. Slightly sweet, but the nutty, dry finish counters well. Reminds me somewhat of chocolate covered cherries.

Body and carbonation are moderate, with noted alcohol warmth in the finish.

Would like to try this fresh, but it's great with some age on it. The spices have probably dwindled, which suits my palate well. The tart note is slightly overwhelming, but this is a good brew.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled tonight also on 5/18/14. Bought this bottle in the clearance section for just 50 cents! Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F and poured into a handled glass stein.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black in color with a small off-white head. Lots of ring lacing was seen with each sip. Sediment was left in the bottom of the bottle after the pour. The aroma is of roasted malt, cocoa, caramel and some spice. The taste even has more going on with a slight nutty finish. Very smooth to drink with low carbonation. Very tasty brew! Really liked this one.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A rocky tan head with good retention crowns a clear, deep ambre body. Thick, patchy lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Dark caramel and toasted malts dominate the aroma, like a freshly-baked dark bread. Restrained herbal hops are also present.

Taste: Roasted malts and moderate herbal hops dominate the taste, although there is +more to this as well, bitter cocoa, coffee, and earth. Although the herbal hops are prominent, the dark, roasted malt manages to shine, leaving a more striking impression. Finishes with mild, earthy hops, dark bread, and a subtle note of alcohol.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very full, quite pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: A superb example of the style, would pair well with roasted meats, like beef brisket, or bratwurst. It seems ideal for a cold winter day, whether in Texas or Minnesota.

Presentation: Packaged in a stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.


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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 573 ratings.
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