Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

276 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: 276 | Ratings: 570
Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head with excellent retention on a dark brown body with a little light passing through. Thick, circumferential lacing. Aroma is very malty with dark fruit, chocolate and sugary notes. Flavor is also malty with strong smokey sense, toffee and nutty. Medium to thick body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Overall a nice member of the genre, one of the more flavorful and full bodied.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Probably the best beer that I drank from the Summit variety pack. Though a bit sweet and wort-y, it's a solid brew with nothing to really complain about. Typical of Winer Warmers, the beer has a big molassas sweetness with a nutty, spicy, hoppy flavor and aroma. Creamy and almost thick to the mouth. Finishes a bit too sweet. The alcohol helps to thin the beer in the end. I rather enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tea brown color with an impressive ecru head; leaves some dots of lacing behind

Smell: Earthy malt tones with a hint of caramel and chocolate; somewhat nutty

Taste: Caramel, up front, with a hint of malted milk underneath; by mid-palate, both nuts and earhty hops make an appearance; a bit more hops appear in the finish but this is primarily about the malt bill

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I have a hunch that the recipe for this might have changed as older reviews characterize this as an amped-up porter; this year's version is much more like a moderately-hopped nut brown ale; rather enjoyable, overall

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Photo of kojevergas
2.71/5  rDev -27.2%
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 emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a tapered pub glass it pours a dark copper mahogany, fluffy tan foam layers on the surface and lasts for a bit. Spindly lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Thin skim across the surface lasts for the duration of the glass.

Initial aroma of cola or sarsaparilla, later some gingerbread, low key on the spice though thankfully. Not sweet, somewhat complex with some molasses too as it warms.

Mild malt toastiness, molasses, cocoa powder, light malty flavors, not sweet or bitter really. Light bodied, nearly watery but stops short. Easy going, nothing really stands out about it, but it has an autumnal character and is easy enough to drink.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown head just sort of sits on top of a deep red amber colored ale.

Slight hoppy nose with maybe a little malt in the background leads into a pretty decent rich but light coffee taste.

This beer has a nice medium body that leads into a smooth and slightly bitter aftertaste.

A pretty decent beer, worthy a spot on your to do list.

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Photo of zeff80
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cola-brown color with a slight reddish hue. It was highly carbonated with a one to two-finger, light brown head that left behind some soapy lace.

S - It smelled of malt and caramel. Also, a grassy quality to the aroma. Maybe a little nutmeg nose, as well.

T - It tasted of caramel roasted malts. It had subtle bitter hops. Its flavor was reminiscent of a porter of oatmeal stout.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is one of the better brews I've had from Summit. All in all, a nice winter warmer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to NuBrewm for this brew. Served in a snifter.

Pours dark brown with a bit of reddish hue. There is a good head and quite a bit of lace. The nose is sweet caramel and some mild spice as well as dark fruits. The taste is slightly sweet with a nice malt character. Good, light spice. The age has treated this one well. Finish is a bit dry and the spice comes through a bit too much. Overall, a nice balance between normal beer and an overspiced seasonal.

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

Poured a 12oz bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a nice creamy, tan head. That leaves a decent amount of lace. Color is a dark ruby red, I was able to see through it just a little bit.

The aroma is of a comination of hot chocalate and floral hops. Taste is of tasted chocalte and nuts. The floral hops make their presence known as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth at first, then turns bitter from the hops. Leaves a slight dry feeling in mouth as well.

Overall, this was a great beer and at the price, you can't go wrong. I would suggest you at least give this one a shot.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 3/19/2013. Pours moderately cloudy reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, chocolate, light roast, brown bread, light raisin, light floral, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark and nutty malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, chocolate, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, brown bread, light roast, light floral, and toasted earthiness. Light earthy spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, chocolate, brown bread, light roast, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark and nutty malt notes; with very nice robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice winter warmer style. All around nice balance and robustness of dark/nutty malt flavors; and very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, ruby-tinted mahogany beneath a short lid of creamy off white foam that drops shortly but maintains a wide collar, whispy surface covering, and leaves some craggy streaks and spots of lace with each sip. The nose is limited but clean; and it offers a touch of roastiness above some mild, grainy malt. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, restrained carbonation leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. In fact, it's very similar to a engine-pulled cask ale or a nitro-pour. It really needs to warm a bit before its flavors come out, but when they do some dark caramel with an almost burnt-sugar edge and some subtle chocolatey notes join with its mild roastiness in the flavor. A touch of fruitiness and some sublime spice lend a bit of additional character; and its firm bitterness also combines with its roastiness to leave it dry in the finish. Quite interesting. It's very much like a blend of a toned-down stout and some richly malty, caramelish ale. Very nice!

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Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, a few months past BB date, served in a snifter.

Pours clear but nearly opaque ruby-brown. The light tan head settles down to a thick ring and partial top coat but leaves full coating on a robust looking the side of the glass.
Aroma: rather floral and unlike the flavor, a little boozy. Also more spicy than the taste.,
T: Nicely rich with chocolate, dark bread, dark fruit and a touch of coffee. More coffee in the lingering dark roasted malt aftertaste. Very good use of light spicing but a touch too sweet before the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied; very smooth with soft, medium carbonation. Semi-dry finish sometimes felt just a little too thin.

O: very enjoyable and flavorful that resembles a Belgian porter. Recommended.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep crystal clear ruby, with several fingers of light tan head that settles down into a thickish ½ finger of froth. This leaves back a robust looking sticky latticework of lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells floral and citric and works well with the roasted nuttiness of this, which is coming off as more of a coffee flavor as this warms. Some stickier feeling caramel and cocoa notes sit along the back, as some light spice is sprinkled throughout. Everything is working nicely together here.

The taste is quite flavorful, with green citrus, sweet caramel, and a light cocoa presence that trails a bit of lingering toastiness into the backend of the profile. The finis is dry, with bitter fruit and spice trailing the most. Them mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a light crispness on the tongue that then segues into more of a smooth creaminess along the back. This is coming off as just a little too thin feeling in spots.

This was decent, with a lot going on with it flavor wise. I was actually looking for a little stronger spice character out of this to help set it within the Winter Warmer style, as this came off a bit more to me like an American Porter at times. Never the less, I still enjoyed this for what it was. I’m glad I picked a bottle up.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy dark chestnut. The tight-bubbled ecru cap looks good atop the dark beer, giving it a sort of black-and-tan look. The head is reasonably long-lived and there's a good bit of lace when it finally relents. A wide, nearly unbroken band is present at midglass eventually.

Although the nose is nice and malty, it lacks power and depth. Other than roasted barley and a bit of dark caramel, there are very few aromas to be had. There may be a slight hoppiness in there somewhere, it's hard to say for sure.

Winter Ale tastes like a porter to me. At least there are more facets on the palate than there are in the nose. Now, in addition to roasted barley, I can appreciate carob and weak coffee. The beer is modestly sweet with a mild bitter nip. Hop flavor is in short supply until the finish, when it's still on the subtle side. There's no hint of alcohol; hardly surprising at only 5.9%.

The mouthfeel is appropriate for a porter, but is lighter than I expect for a true winter warmer. In fact, for reasons of both flavor density and mouthfeel, I don't consider this to be a winter warmer at all. It's still a decent beer, though, and is an easy drinker on a hot summer day like today.

Winter Ale is okay if you like your winter brews to be on the lighter side. Summit puts out a wonderful porter (Great Northern), so I'm not sure what purpose this one serves. It may be enjoyable, but it's far from outstanding.

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Photo of russpowell
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

06 version poured chestnut with a 4 fingers deep tan head. Some lacing & head retention

S: A little toasted malt

T: Roasted malts & a litle choclate. Finishes dry & choclatey, This struck me as more of slightlty amped up porter

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation & good balance

Drinks easy, but not the most engaging winter warmer

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/11 notes.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with an inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, spices, bready malts, fruit, and toasted malts..

t - Tastes of caramel malts, roasted malts, tooasted malts, and light spice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A nice winter warmer with some nice caramel malts. Would have again.

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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 WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a deep ruby brown forms a nice tan bubbly head leaves behind specks of scattered lace. Aroma has a touch of chocolate with herbal grassy hop components and an overall sense of creaminess comes to me. Taste has a solid tight flavor milk chocolate, dark roasted malts herbal bitterness touch of pine bready tones in the finish winter warmer a bit under six percent seems pretty tame overall but nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated smooth and creamy textured. Drinkability, pleasant winter ale once again just a bit mild for me to truely dig, dig.

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Photo of jwc215
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted last winter - reviewed from notes that were lost and recently found:

Pours dark brown with a creamy tan head that holds up well before becoming a lasting thin cover. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee and chocolate with light roast and a mild mint spicing.

The taste is of chocolate with some toffee. Light roast and slight mint come through in the finish. The wintry spicing is mild, but nice.

It is medium-to-full bodied. Slightly thin for a winter ale in the middle. Enough taste lingers through the finish.

This is an easy-drinking, pleasant mild winter ale. Not overly spiced - which is fine by me!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once upon a time, this was my winter long staple brew, deviating only for other seasonal specialties, ie Anchor et al. Nowadays, variety is my everyday spice of life, but I have to pay homage to this brew, every year.
Dark as a Minnesota night, with a small brownish head that leaves too soon. Aroma is light, delicate, with no dominant flavors. Toffee, chocolate, roasted coffee and spice are all hinted at.Texture is smooth with a little hop bite. Balance is excellent; malt stands up, but doesn't stick out.

Spicy and warm, but still mellow and soothing. Seems to lack an "oomph " from years ago, or maybe my tongue has tempered.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer starts with a robust porter like aroma from black malts combined with a dark fruit sweetness. These carry over into the taste and are similar but smoother than you'd get in an American robust porter. It's more like a nut brown ale with a roasted edge to it. I should mention there's a little bitterness at the end of the taste, but it's really an afterthought. Overall, this is a fairly clean winter warmer with a nice use of black malts.

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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 weeare138
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark red brown with a creamy tan head. Lots of streaky lacing around the glass.
Smell is of Black Patent, and Caramel malts with some chocolate nuttiness coming through.
Taste is of the same aromas. English Ale yeast is utilized in this brew. Seems like a red ale that has been tweaked a bit darker with some mild dosage of quality hops.
Mouthfeel is smooth, sugary with the nuts and chocolate lightness grazing over the tongue.

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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 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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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 570 ratings.
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