Summit Winter Ale | Summit Brewing Company

Summit Winter AleSummit Winter Ale
574 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 574 |  Reviews: 277
Photo of marcobrau
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark red, almost brown with plenty of carbonation and a pleasant malty, coffee with cream sort of aroma. The caramel and roasted malts are the standout flavor in this beer, helping to create complexity with a distinct nuttiness and touch of toffee. The hop flavor and bitterness seems to be played down quite a bit, letting the malts express their flavors. the woody English hops express themselves a little better as the beer warms up. This is a beer best left to warm up quite a bit before that first sip, otherwise its complexity is far less evident. Toffee-ish malts in the finish and a hint of tannin. Overall, a pretty decent Winter Warmer but I think the drinkability would be better if it had a slightly more memorable finish.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Dark mahogany color, nearly black. Roasty nose of coffee and dark chocolate cookies with minty citric hops and a ripe fruitiness in the back. Heavy toasted malt flavor is coated with a layer of roasted grain. Hop bitterness sneaks in with a sharpness and minty citric flavor. Very nutty throughout. Some coffee and unsweetened chocolate meet the fruitiness. Beefy? Suggestions of raisins and ripe plums. Burnt sugar and more lingering coffee bean flavors middle to end.

While not the boldest or most drinkable winter seasonal, it does compensate with its own unique complexities. The wintry flavors are there, probably best enjoyed with holiday chocolates or other nutty confections.

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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 plfahey
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance-Brownish red with bright ruby highlights. Very clear. Moderate, very light tan, frothy head with fair retention, and light lacing.

Aroma-Rich malt complexity-toffee, roast, with hints of coffee and chocolate. Very low hop aroma. No apparent esters or other yeast character. Smells great.

Flavor-Bigger roast flavors here, with stronger notes of coffee in the finish. Light caramel/toffee sweetness up front. Some bittersweet chocolate is evident as well. Some low earthy hop flavors become apparent in the finish. Low hop bitterness, but moderate bitterness is contributed by the dark roasted malts. Just a hair astringent.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body, medium high carbonation. Slightly astringent from the dark malts, almost a bit chalky. It's not terrible, but it is notable.

Even with the slight astringency, I think this one's pretty tasty, and a great, malty wither ale.

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Photo of jera1350
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deepest of amber colors, approaching brown. A creamy mocha head that is thin, but leaves lace and has staying power.

Roasty malts with some toffee sweetness, spice and a bit of a hop presence.

A nice lightly roasted malt profile with light sweetness that is cola and toffee like. A little nutty. Mildly spiced with a light hop presence in the background. Nicely balanced and not overdone in any department.

Frothy and velvety smooth. Medium bodied which is a bit light for the style, but makes it more drinkable at the same time.

This has really strong drinkability. The flavors do not overwhelm like some winter warmers do and the alcohol is lower which also helps. This is a nice beer that I would actually prefer over the majority of others in the style I've had. Just another solid beer from Summit.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a becker glass. The color is a nice ruby brown. Two fingers of slightly tanned head developed and dissipated quickly, leaving foam along the glass, a spotted lacing, and a ring around the edge.

Smell: Hmm... Maybe Summit reverse engineered Goose Island's Mild Winter. At least that's what it smells like. Slightly toasted coffee, cocoa, and toffee malts. Smells like there is a little rye in there, too -- eerily similar to Mild Winter. The smell also has a nutty quality to it and a little smooth vanilla.

Taste: Pleasantly toasty. Toasted caramel, coffee, and cocoa malts; the notes of coffee bitterness stand out a head above the rest. Each sip leaves a slight bitterness lingering on the tongue and cheeks.

Drinkability: Someone call Summit and tell them Winter Ale is not a winter warmer, at least in the liquid Christmas tree sense. It is, instead, a solid and malty beer.

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Photo of lester619
2.9/5  rDev -22%
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 PintPiner
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slight aroma of chocolate and roasted malt.

Initial big foamy tan head that quickly subsides to nice small layer of foam with good lacing.

Clear, dark mahogany when held up to the sun.

Mild carbonation.

Medium-light body.

Slight tangy spice up front, chocolate and roasted nut with a hint of coffee and burnt carmel.

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Photo of BeerEndevour14
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap this beer tased good, if bottled-MUST POUR (only assuming).

Appearance-Is nice reminded me of a caramel malted IPA.

Taste- The carbonation masks what malt aroma is there and even the hops, which I really like (the selection is broad and citrusy), although again, you cannot get the greatest taste of them because this beer is all over the place, fan of winter ales, only a fan of this if Fat Tire is the only tap brew.


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Photo of dpnelson1978
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$8.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright brown body topped with one finger of loose tan head that quickly dissipates leaving light foamy lace and a thin creamy cover.

S: Light coffee and chocolate with hints of roasted nuts and a subdued sweetness. Hop character is subdued. Smells like a Scotch Ale.

T: Chocolate is more pronounced in the flavor than the aroma. Malt forward with distinct sweetness. Again, hop character takes a back seat and leaves very little bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium body with light carbonation. Smooth throughout with only a light carbonic bite.

D: Very drinkable selection, and one of the most enjoyable I've had from Summit. Flavorful, but approachable, and very easy drinking.

O: Nicely done. This is a very solid beer.

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Photo of callmeclemens
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured From bottle to mug.

Nice brown color, inch think head, smelled nicely of coffee, with hints of chocolate and hops, and just a pinch of malty goodness. Laced nicely down the side of my glass as I worked through it. Did the perfect job for a winter warmer, warmed me up and went down nice and smooth. great Brew.

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Photo of EwaldEichstaett
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a light tan head. The head remained throughout the beer. The lacing was also excellent; it left a nice foamy trail down one side of the glass.

The smell of the beer was a chocolate, coffee or roasted malt smell. However, it was not overly strong. The taste was better. It had a nice full flavour and a little hop aftertaste. There was nothing extraordinary going on, but it was a good example of the style.

The mouthfeel was rather good. The beer had a good body and a smooth, silky carbonation. The alcohol did not show through. This is probably one of the better beers Summit makes. It was quite enjoyable.

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

OG 14.6° Plato
36 IBUs
On tap into a pint-ish glass.

Appearance 4/5
Dark brown and clear with garnet highlights, and an off white to light brown colored, short lived head that left decent lacing.

Aroma 3.5/5
Mainly spices with little to none malt aroma. The aroma was never strong.

Taste 4/5
Slight malty sweetness with spices riding on it, and some bitterness towards the end. The finish is smooth and medium with a long aftertaste of dark malts.

Mouthfeel 4/5
A little high on the carbonation, but good otherwise.

Drinkability 4/5
Factoring in the flavor, aroma, body and ABV, good, but not exceptional drinkability.

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Photo of brewdub17
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A dark clear ruby, brown body sits beneath a quickly dissapearing thin head. Head is almost absent 60 seconds after pour.

Smell: The sweetness from the malt comes first with hints of spicy scents. Overall, not very strong.

Taste: A mixture of mostly roasted malts and small traces alcohol make up the base of the taste. Subtle spicy and bitter notes are brought out from the Willamette and Fuggles hops.

Mouthfeel: Bits of alcohol are mostly covered behind a crisp finishing malty base. A pleasant, light but malty after taste is left.

Drinkability: This brew does warm you up nicely in the winter and doesn't have any overpowering tastes that would deter anyone from grabbing another bottle.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a stemmed glass.

A: Pours dark garnet in color, with little light shining through. Clear, with high carbonation. Head retention is decent, as it settles to a thick creamy film on the surface. Lacing is sticky and coats the glass.

S: Roasty up front, with some spice and dried fruit. Caramel and chocolate notes follow. Hops are slightly floral in the backround.

T: Dried fruit and spices come first, followed by sweet raisin, brown sugar, and toast. The finish is somewhat spicy, with some piney, grassy hop notes. Long lasting, and provides some warmth.

Notes: This beer is medium bodied, and lacks a bit in what I usually look for in a winter warmer. It's not quite as balanced as I would like, but overall, Summit's Winter Ale is a pretty solid brew, and at least worth a try.

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

Okay, another freebie from the distro via the local purveyor. Not even sure what year Winter this one is, but I promise to not hit *review* if this is too far gone to give an honest assessment.

A -- Deep, clear walnut color with a dense, tan head that settles slowly.

S -- Mild dark fruit, earthy esters, vague caramel & vanilla, and roasted malt.

T -- Roasted malts up front, that smooth vanilla/caramel coming through, tart dark fruit mixed with bitterness from hops or the roasted malt at the end. Some of that earthiness peeking through as well, with a spicy hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M -- Medium to heavy medium body with a chewy mouthfeel.

D -- A very nice, rich ale. Nice as a fall/winter beer -- sets a great mood for a chilly afternoon or evening.

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Photo of BigBry
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this on-tap on my last trip to St. Paul, Minnesota. Really liked their porter, and thought this was very good as well.

Clear liquid, very dark red (almost brown). Cream colored head had great retention and some nice looking lacing. Malt dominant smell, with some 'winter' spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Complex flavor has all the above elements, strong enough to be noticeable but not overpowering with any one taste. Medium body, appropriate amount of carbonation. Good all around brew, fits the style nicely.

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Photo of herman77
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown/reddish with minimal light tan head. When held up to a light, it is pretty clear. A little bit of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel, light roasted malt, coffee. All these aromas are pretty light though.

T: Taste follows pretty close to smell. Ever so slight hop bitterness. Pleasant, but nothing is taking control.

M/D: Medium to light body. Carbonation seems pretty average. Drinkability is okay, nothing too special

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with some sort of stamp on the label that reads 92721045, perhaps brewed day 272 of 2009? Pours a nice, dark crimson color with a very nice display of tall, tan foam. Retention is good and lacing is even better. A very fine looking winter warmer.

Nose is sweet and malty with some bittersweet chocolate and roasty hints of coffee. Does not smell like it is heavily spiced, maybe just a touch of cinnamon if any. Low on fruitiness and hops. I like it.

Taste follows suit pretty well with the roasty malts more prominent but still maintaining plenty of sweetness. There is some bittering, leafy hops on the finish...almost minty even. The dark malts are pretty nice, but there is not much depth here, pretty much a one trick pony. Not bad, I would not mind having another one of these sometime down the road.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 02-12-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Dark in color, 1 finger of foam which dispensed rather quick, good lacing ring present

S - Spices, chocolate/coffee malts. Faint hop aroma

T - It seemed that coffee dominated this brew. Not very strong though but the most pronounced! Some sweetness followed with a slight hop presence but nothing that stood out!

M/D - Medium bodied brew. Big coffee taste that keeps smooth as it goes down. Slight taste of sweet and spices, chocolate is the biggest flavor with some spices mixed in. Overall I enjoyed the brew and more than likely have again

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of Fitzgerald
4.01/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ordered a 16 oz. tap of Summit Winter ale at O'Malleys. It came in a huge glass, I think I might have ended up with the 23 oz. tall glass which was a good thing. I have bought this winter ale in the six pack and have always enjoyed it, this was my first taste of it on tap and it was even better. Came to the table with a good two inch creamy tan head and some nice lacing , the color was a nice ruby brown.

The smell was kind of earthy with a little spice.

The taste was hint of chocolate, raisins and a little nutty.

Had a full texture not watery at all with a little warmer after taste.

Very good drinkability but at this size one was enough with dinner.

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Photo of tapman
3.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Orange-amber hue with small bubble, eggshell colred head which quickly dissipates. Typical for the style. Soft head = lighter beer?

Toasty, roasty, a hint of dark berries with a cinnamon spice (though not necessarily cinnamon aroma) with a slight creaminess. Toast and chocolate are also apparent This is at 40F temperature. When it warms there are some fusel alcohol and wet cardboard, but these are not unexpected from the style as far as I'm concerned.

I love the taste of this brew. A honey malt taste, sweet and pastry-like, as it warms the toffee stands out a lot, which isn't great, but is balanced by the rest of the brew. Hops are low and a little earthy hop flavor is found early in the finish, along with some dry cinnamon. I would have appreciated this beer more if it was a little bigger, but that's the American in me. It is just what I am used to in a "winter warmer".

Mouthfeel is thin and plain. No worse than average, but disappointing for the style.

A decent winter brew, I could session this easily. However, I am so used to the BIG winter brews that this lighter offering feels slightly off. If you would have lied to me and called this a German spring something or other I might have liked it better. That's psycology for you.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer arrived with a ruby caramel color with a wisp head, pretty typical for a winter ale. The aroma was primarily composed of light malt notes, but not much more. Medium and smooth as it moved across the palate. Some husky and grainy flavors up front. A slight bitterness provides balance and finishes this thing off.

This beer is not very assertive in the flavor department. I would like to see a bit more flavor with a touch of complexity.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Summit Winter Ale from Summit Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 574 ratings
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