Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

276 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 276 | Ratings: 572
Photo of Mitchster
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed with 2-row Harrington, Caramel, and Black patent malts. Hopped with Williamette, Fuggle, and Tettnager.

OG=14.5P, 38 IBU, 48 Lovibond, 5.9% ABV.

Pours out to a clear deep mahogany, forming a modest dark beige/yellow tinted head with average retention and sparse lacing. The aroma is very nice with notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, light roast coffee, black walnut, pleasantly balanced hops. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Mouthfeel begins wet and watery and opens up towards the middle with the roasted highlights. Medium-light bodied. Taste begins with pleasant roasted malts, a nice chalkiness, mild caramel, milk chocolate and coffee, and slightly sour malts. The hops are herbaceous and are nicely balanced in flavor with a well-balanced spicy bitterness. I generally don't like English Hops, but these are rounded out by the Tett. The finish is astringent from the roast, and the finish is emphasized with tobacco and leather. No off-flavors and alcohol is imperceptable. Perhaps little lingering bits of smoke hang in the aftertaste.

This is very close to a porter. Not an Olde Ale as expected, and if this is spiced, I'm sure not tasting it. A solid brew from a very good brewery. All their brews have impressed me, and this one is another testament to their skill.

 1,291 characters

Photo of LuckySevens82
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubby bottle.
Pours a dark mahogony with absolutely no head. There is a small collar but the carbonation appears to be lacking.
Smell is kind of hard to discern on this one. There is definitely slight hops, figs or other fruits and some sort of spice (perhaps cinnamon)
Taste is nice, a little hops, caramel, a biscuity aftertaste, some coffee, and spices
Mouthfeel isn't as bad as I thought it would be with the apperent lack of carbonation...I think this one may just be too dark to see the carbonation well.
Overall, I'd say that this is a pretty standard winter warmer, i've had better, I've had worse, this one falls somewhere in the middle.

Thanks to garymuchow for letting me try this one

 710 characters

Photo of rajendra82
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown body was clear and porter-ish , and the head very small and fleeting. The smell was that of powdered cocoa, roasted and burnt grains, and faint grassy hops. The taste was as anticipated, with chocolate, weak coffee, dark skinned fruits, brown sugar, and roasted cracked grains. Mouthfeel was medium-thin, and the aftertaste was slightly sticky. A decent porter released for the season where it is appropriate.

 428 characters

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decent looking brew. Nice deep red color. Sparse but significant head.

Nose isn't the best thing in the whole world. Get kind of a mildewy smell honestly. Definately get some crystal malts. Some thin caramel type notes.

Taste is ok. Its certainly passable. Get some special B in there for sure. Rich maltyness. Not very much like raisins like I think of special B, but I'm pretty sure this is special B malt. That would account for the deep color too. Just a touch of hops in the finish. Maybe some chocolate malt in there too? But very thin, clean finish. I'd prefer a little something more in a winter ale.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for me.

Quite drinkable. Its a fairly light beer and could definately be a nice winter session beer.

 762 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Jaks Tavern in Chicago. They offer a nice selection of 40 taps.

The beer was a dark brown with some reddish highlights. No real head or lacing.

The nose is of plum, some grains and a bit of molasses. Not a huge amount of aroma, but what there is, is good.

The taste was of fruit (plum again), some slightly roasted malt and quite a bit of alcohol. Not much in the way of spicing or hoping. Alcohol became more pronounced as the beer warmed. Some hints of hard candy as you get near the end.

The mouthfeel was fine and the carbonation level seemed well suited to this beer. One was enough for me and I'm glad I tried it.

 655 characters

Photo of chilidog
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The Winter Ale, my first thought was along the lines of a watery porter. As I took time with this beer, I grew to its mild likeing. Not a heavy, over spiced, high abv. But rather a thin bodied easy winter drinker. It poured a deep mahogany with a fair tan head with good lace. The aroma was spice & pine with hints of malt. The taste also carries the same trends with more spice, raisin and chocolate malt. Over-all a nice easy winter anytime drink with a thinner than normal body, for a winter warmer.

 502 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ahhh..Winter Ale. Pours a deep brown with hints of red and a thin head that leaves some lacing in its wake. Raisins...chocolate covered at that, hints of caramel and pine as well. Nice.

First taste is a mix of caramel and chocolate maltiness infused with hints of cherries, raisins, spices and a mellow piney hopiness as well. Roastiness hits the back of the palate. A tasty brew on a cold day.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, could you some more body on this one. However, it goes down smooth and easy and this would definetly be a good winter session brew. Worth a try!

 570 characters

Photo of skybluewater
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep garnet color. Chocolate milk colored head recedes and leaves minimal lace. Smell isn't very pronounced, caramelly malt mostly. Taste is very nice, soothing, with some caramelly flavors at first. Like a brown ale, there's some chocolate here, but unlike a brown, there's also a bit of spice.

I really like this brew. It's actually the one that finally got me into drinking craft beer (last winter). This one's sure too warm the soul on a howling winter night.

 475 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of tan head over the reddish mahogany brew. Head hangs around for awhile, and lacing is excellent. Aroma is mainly dark malts. Taste is also darker malts, mainly caramel I think, with some coffee and chocolate for added enjoyment. Mouthfeel is good, albeit a bit thin-seeming. Drinkability is enhanced by the somewhat thin body, and the malty flavor keeps me wanting more. Not sure how much of a wamer during the winter this is, but I like it as a brew, and that's what counts.

 607 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A diamond in the rough plucked from the .75 cent barrel - amongst Skyy Light and Huber Bock, my expectations were quite low but this beer trumped my low-set bar...

Summit Winter Ale evacuates a dark amber that comes off black in common household/bar lighting. It has a frighteningly white head for the color of the body of the beer, and a polite amount of lacing.

The nose is sour grapes, hints of raisin, soggy fudge, chocolately wet paper.

This beer tiptoes the line betwixt a sludgy porter, light stout, and respectable dark ale. There is a nice amalgam of roasty malts, twangy cocoa, tummy warming alcohol, and a crisp and substantial nuttiness imparted from the hops.

A brilliant winter drink with somewhat of a Guinness mouthfeel. Lingering roastiness will keep you warm on a winter night, and this one even survived with flying colors into the hot summer months.

 882 characters

Photo of marburg
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very clear, color of oxidized iron and glare off of varnished wood. Smallish head.

Crisp nose of allspice slathered in wet malty goodness. Oven-crisped sugar.

Gooey malt flavors; ripe, juicy plum; caramelized sugars; allspice; moderate bitterness. A dark, roasted ale -- certainly short of a stout or porter but lacking the extreme (though good) spiciness of some other Christmas or Winter ales.

 401 characters

Photo of beerluvr
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a lacey tan head receding over clear dark maroon liquid hinting at brownish highlights. The nose is pleasantly roasty with light coffeeish notes, lightly fruity too. Taste starts sweet with underlying dryness felt, yet a little thin in the mouthfeel dept. Some nuttiness tasted also. Moderate hoppiness. Finishes with little in the way of "oomph"...nice, but nothing to shout about.

Thanks CRJM.

 409 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour a deep maroon with a relatively large tan head. Thick rings of lace are deposited to the glass.
Aroma of caramel, toffe and some nuts.
Flavors or toasted dark wheat bread, caramel and hint of peanut (?) and maybe some sour green apple hit.
Mouthfeel is thick, creamy and smooth with a lightly bittered finish.
Drinkability is very, love to get this one of draught.

 374 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brick-red with a creamy off-white head. Not much going on with the nose; caramel, some vanilla, trace elements, slight hops--it's hard to tell. Taste starts with toasty caramel malts with slight fruitiness. Hops are minimal but do the job. I wouldn't mind it if Summit beefed this up a touch; it might really help it gain some complexity. Creamy, medium bodied, and not a bad session winter ale.

 408 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks darker than I remembered it. Almost looks like a stout, with it's black opacity. This is a very heavily spiced beer, which makes me wonder why it isn't in the Herbed/Spiced beer category. It tastes strongly of cinnamon and nutmeg, in fact, they pretty much dominate this beer. Covers up any traces of alcohol or hops (I don't know if that is a good thing). Not a beer to session, would make you feel sick to your stomache in no time. It would be good on a cold winter night, though.

 488 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Squat looking brown glass 12 ouncer which arrived in a rather nice beer parcel from Oakdale’s finest BA, BigHuge. A plain looking label with not much in the way of appeal, the basics are there: Brewery, Beer Name and the legal Government Warning bollocks. But no strength or freshness date.

Appearance: Deep brown body with a ruby hue when backlit. Dark cherrywood hints peak through the broken creamy looking light tan head which formed a nice ½” thick uniform covering at first, but this soon faded leaving a thin looking lacing. Finely dissolved bubble carbonation quickly joins the underside of the head when the glass is tilted, and the head replenished when the beer is gently swirled.

Nose: Earthy malts with a smoked caramel aroma. Wholemeal bread and some yeast at the back end.

Taste: Light roasted whisky malt beginning that has a smoked feel that is somewhat short lived and fades by the middle. I can’t help but think of Single Malt Scotch Whisky when I immediately taste and swallow this beer. The middle has a creamy feel and the ending is lightly warming with that gullet-peat-malt punch you get from a good Scotia Whisky. Nice.

Mouthfeel: This has a very smooth velvet feel when in the mouth, so much so that you retain the beer just that bit longer than you normally would before swallowing. A creamy feel pervades the middle of the beer, a good drinking beer that wraps the tongue with mild warmth, whilst coating the cheeks with smoked earthy peat like malts.

Drinkability: Easily taken down, another one of those 12 ounce bottles that I had all but drunk by the time I got to the Drinkability part of my Review, which I guess speaks for itself, so I’ll stop rambling.

Overall: I really enjoyed the warming Scotch Whisky-like alcoholic malts and the earthy organic peat malt feel in the ending that this Winter Ale has. Very nice. Lovers of Single Malt Whisky should try this one. Cheers Joe!

 1,951 characters

Photo of jtfest
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured darkish brown with red hues and a moderate tan head. Not quite opaque, but very dark in the glass. Really very little aroma at all -- neither good nor bad, just -- not there. A substantial mouthfeel with a smooth and oddly delicate spicy taste makes up for the lack of aroma, though. Nicely carbonated, this is an easy drinking winter brew that I found friendly even if I didn't fall in love with it.

 407 characters

Photo of maxpower
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark reddish-amber color, has a nice thick off white head that leaves some lace in my glass. Nutty caramel aromas. Bready chocolate-caramel flavors, medium body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, a decent winter brew, but nothing to write home about.

 257 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 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 jwilli7122
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, dark brown with a slight reddish tint. Medium sized tan tead.
Smell roasty and sweet, quiet coffee and heavy caramel. Taste is toasted, slightly sweet at first, then bitter with hints of chocolate (but always mellow, never rich) - followed by a nice coffee aftertaste that lingers but isn't overpowering. Very smooth, not overly thick. toasted, but not all that bitter.

 377 characters

Photo of JeffreyG
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ah winter in Minnesota. Cold weather, black ice, snow and more cold weather. Luckily we have some solidly enjoyable winter brews available and Summit Winter Ale is no exception. Color is dark and inviting with a nice creamy head with acceptable retention. Smell is of roasty malt with a touch sweetness. Taste is an enjoyable slight spicyness on an ample bed of malt. Mouthfeel is full but not overt. A very drinkable beer for winter and I look forward to it each year.

 469 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
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!

 993 characters

Photo of flaminghomer
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer looks pretty good. a dark reddish brown, barely transparent. it has a good head, it's a little sticky.

i pick up a small amount of roasted malts in the smell.

taste really isn't that great. don't get me wrong it's good. it tastes like quality, but nothing really stands out. like the other winter ales i have had this season it is mild and drinkable but lacks character. this might be the last winter ale i'll buy.

 431 characters

Photo of daledeee
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a pretty good brewery overall. I had this brew last year but never rated it.

Pouring yields a pretty good tawny head with lace and a very dark clear brown. I couldn't see through it.

The nose is the big dissapointment about this beer. There are hints of coffee and chocolate but the overall nose is unpleasant. I know this beer is fresh because it taste good but the nose is off. Smells like Lacrosse lager which is a cheap session beer. At the very outset of the pour it smells worse.

Taste is good with bitter chocolate malt and coffee. Lingering strong coffee afterwords. Mouthfeel is good.

I would write the smell off as an anomoly but I had the same impression last year. Must not be that bad; I bought it again.

 745 characters

Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.