Summit Great Northern Porter | Summit Brewing Company

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Summit Great Northern PorterSummit Great Northern Porter

Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ADR on 03-04-2002

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Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 636
Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This another great beer brewed locally here in Minnesota. It pours a very dark, reddish brown and has a nice creamy tan head that leaves pretty quick. It has the terrific smell of dark malts...I love the smell of porters and stouts. It has a major hop kick and a bitter, dark chocolate/ coffee flavor that is most agreeable to me. Hey, maybe I am biased, because Summit is a local brewer, but this is one of the best porters I have ever tried. It has plenty of hopping to go with the heavy usage of dark malts. All in all a dreamy beer...

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Photo of SenorElRaz
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

This is an excellent beer. Has a nice dark color, and is very smooth. Tastes very chocolatey, and is not nearly as bitter as I expected. Reminds me of Guinness but more flavorful. Definitely my favorite Summit brew.

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Photo of bmike86
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a 12 pack from Big Top in Minnetonka.

Appearance --- Dark brown with about 2 fingers worth of a creamy tan head, with a bit of lacing left.

Smell --- Really enjoyable smell, appeared to be of chocolate, possibly coffee as well, and roasted malt.

Taste --- Slightly bitter, with subtle blends of what appeared to be coffee, chocolate, possibly caramel, and nuts.

Mouth feel --- Medium bodied, dry feel, with some carbonation

Overall --- As person that appreciates all sorts of porters, especially the Baltic & American types… I am a huge fan of Summit’s Great Northern Porter. I think it is their best bottled beer, even though my favorite type of Summit is their Oatmeal Stout (that you can only find on tap). A recommendation for people that are trying this for a first time, during my sitting, I noticed a difference between the aroma & taste from the first beer that came directly from the fridge, and the second beer which I let sit on the counter to warm for a few minutes. I recommend refrigerating it, but there is a more enjoyable complexity in regards to the aroma and taste, when you pull it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before drinking. The beer appears to become a bit more active, which was a plus to me. I am fortunate to live in Minnesota these days, to have access to their Great Northern Porter, while living in other Midwest cities I was only able to really enjoy/access their flagship beer, the EPA. It is even better on tap, but hard to find on tap in Twin Cities. My only request would be to have this more easily accessible on tap in the Twin Cities whether it be at bars or sporting events.

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Photo of russpowell
4.58/5  rDev +19%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours dark mahogany with a 1.5" tan head. Not much lacing or head retention

Smell: Big malt roastiness and cofee notes

Taste: Fruitness is quickly overan by toasted malt assualt. Coffee& choclate flavors mop up the flavor attack! Finishes dry and roasty

MF: Pretty nicely balanced but a tad undercarboanted

Drank really easy, may have to re-review another beer if the head & lacing in the other 5 of the 6 pack hold up better. Very nice porter, even going down good in 80+degree weather!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Someone once asked me what would be the one beer I'd choose if I can only have one for the rest of my life, the old desert island query. They were surprised when I chose this, and I had to bring out my rationale. But first...
Big, bubbly, cocoa-colored head, dark brown color. Aroma comes out with fresh roasty flavors, toasty flavors, some spiciness, chocolate, espresso, etcetera. Darkens in taste as you go, with a thick full, well-balanced mouthfeel, but still sufficient bitterness. Marvelous and mellow, slips down the throat nicely, but still with a bit of a bite. If Summit ever dropped it, I'd have to break down and sob.
Not as powerful as many other porters, but reliably flavorful. Why do I choose it for this "last and only" choice? It's excellent for my kind of session ale, not too strong or powerful, just right in hops and malt. And it's local, from just across the river, and I don't have to mention how important that is...

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Photo of MattyG85
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown that shows some ruby red when held up to light. Small creamy white tan head that slowly fades to a white film. Decent lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malts with a strong aroma of coffee and chocolate. Slight citrus hops in the background.

Taste: Malt sweetness and coffee followed by chocolate and light earthy hop bitterness. Hints of smoke in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very good porter with great balance.

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Photo of dali27
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours really dark brown, almost black. Almost no head at all, with small amount of lacing.

S: Coffee and cocoa. This beer smells more bitter and less sweet.

T: Obviously, this tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, but then at the finish something else comes through. Sweet? Spicy? This is surprising because it contrasts so much with the intitial reaction to scent and taste.

M: Neutral. This beer does nothing to offend the mouth, nor anything special to dazzle either.

D: Excellent. Very easy to drink and goes well with most food.

I have been drinking this beer for over ten years now, and it has never let me down. I consider it to be my go to Porter, and the base that I start to evaluate other Porters.

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Photo of anglagard1
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks dark and foamy like a Guinness but has a unique lacing that leaves thin, foamy stripes with every sip you take. Smell is of cocoa and coffee. Coffee is more prevalant in the taste, cutting through all levels of the palate.
This beer for me defines the style, even as it exhibits unique characteristics of its own. It is one seriously sessionable beer.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OG 13.3 plato. 37 IBU. 4.8% ABV. 48 Lovibond.
Brewed with 2-row Harrington, Caramel, and Black Patent malts. Horizon, Fuggle, and Cascade hops.

Pours out to a clear, very-dark brown, forming a medium-sized light-tan head with average retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate, perhaps just a bit too much for the style considering the medium body. Aroma is very interesting and quite unique...initially musk and cologne, a brief sourness, followed by floral, perfumy hops and pleasantly roasted grains. This one catches me by surprise each time I smell it. Taste begins nicely with a floral hoppiness, followed by a spicy hop flavor perfectly mingling with chewy malts and a very nice balance of deeply roasted grain. Espresso and bittersweet chocolate mingle. I love the abundance of black patent in here, as it adds a unique oily smokiness. There is certainly Cascade in here, but so much more. The black patent and chocolate malt don't add any astringency which is a testament to the brewers skills. There is a pleasing chalky note towards the end, and the finish has notes of peanut-butter and wood-chips. The malt body add a nice lingering sweetness, perfectly in balance with the hops. There is a pleasant astringency which makes me want to drink more.

This porter completely blew me away. It's a much better take on the Sierra Nevada-style porter (which is overly bitter, hoppy, and out of balance in my book), with a pronounced but well-balanced hop flavor and lots of black patent. The malt and hop levels are perfectly in unison. A brew of this balance is awfully difficult to make. Very impressive!

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark brown, almost black. A fairly creamy 2" head forms, dark tan in color that drops, over 5 minutes, to a good thick layer of foam and leaves a bunch of lace.

Smell is wonderful with roasted, almost burnt, malt, coffee, smoke, molasses, dark chocolate, and a floral hint.
Taste is roasted malts, coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, molasses and a hint of smokiness.
A bit thinner than I would prefer or have expected but.... that's a porter for you, all over the map on body. Smooth, low carbonation, light-medium body, a bit of warming at the swallow. A fine brew and one I wish I had bought more of. Will look for it again on my next trip north.

Just had my second and wanted to add something.
When I poured this one straight down the middle of a pint glass, it actually gave some of the waterfall effect you see with Guinness and others. A huge, 3 1/2" head this time. Very nice.

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Photo of treedoctor5002
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

20006 20th Anniversary Edition.
Poured into my faithful S.S. pint glass with a huge tan head. Plenty of lacing all around my glass and oh yeah this beer is very dark.
Smell is sweeter and maltier than other porters that I have tried.
This beer is VERY smooth and creamy with lots of chocolate and malted milk flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium and like I said before very smooth. I could drink lots of this. There is just a hint of that burnt coffee flavor left in your mouth after you drink most porters or stouts.
This beer would make a great session beer. I'd love to try it on tap some time.

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Photo of MikeAAL
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good Porter. Rich and full bodied.

It pours very dark with a thick tan head. Really impressive lacing.

Smells like coffee and roasted malts.

Tasted like coffee, roasted malts and with some bitter chocolate.

Thick, nice body and creamy with a clean, dry finish.

Definately a good Porter.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark, dark brown, with mahagony highlights, topped by thick billowing beige froth. Sticky lacing all around.

Big roasty coffee with cocoa aroma is readily evident upon, without lifting the glass.

Taste features coffee, with milk, some chocolate at the edges, biger at the finish. Earthy hops bring a bitter nip over the center of the tongue.

Solid mouthfeel, smooth but not syrupy. Easily drinkable and a desire for more.

Heard about this beer for a lot of years. It did not disappoint. Always room for a tsty porter.

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Photo of sponberg
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really like the graphics on the bottle. Pours a coffee brown with a russet tint. Great aroma - roasty-toasty, dark bready malt, faint spicy hoppiness - spent a good half minute smelling it. If they made candles in this scent I'd buy a box of 'em.

The taste follows through big time. Really hits the notes I like in a "regular" porter - great dark malt flavors all over the place, chocolate and black patent malts seem to be in equal balance, along with a silky, almost oatmeal-stout-like flavor along with some muted toffee and a dryish, mellow bitterness. So freaking clean. The finish is dry, with roasted malt spiciness/aromatics/whatever that is, and again very clean. Medium-light mouthfeel.

I could see a case of this in my fridge if I ever get the opportunity. Solid, incredibly drinkable and tasty porter. Beers don't have to be huge to be damned tasty. Thanks to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!!

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Photo of Loki
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle.

Poured pitch black with a big, beige head. The bubbly head fades to a thin covering and leaves great lacing throughout.

Aromas of toasted malt, smoke, coffee, and chocolate pour from the nose.

The taste is of slowly roasted malt, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee. Very creamy and slighlty chewy with medium-full body that goes down smoothly and leaves a bitter chocolate coffee after taste. Very drinkable and quite tasty.

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Photo of rowew
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz short bottle. Best by date labeled on the bottle. 20th Anniversary badging on the neck.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with just a hint of ruby on the edges. Nice big frothy head. Fades, but leaves a thick lacing.

Smell: Roated malt, a bit of chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Lots of coffee and hints of chocolate and toffee. Plenty of roasted malt flavor.

Overall impression: Very nice porter. Plenty of flavor, but still highly drinkable. I can see this one being a regular in my fridge through the fall.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This is a great beer. Not a lot of head but plenty of lacing. Deep roasted smell and similar taste. Lots of subtle flavors like bitter chocolates and some dark fruit. This is a wonderful beer that I would definitely like to get my hands on again. Thanks to Jredner for sending this beer my way.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours solid black with no light coming through. A large tan creamy head foams up easily. The head very slowly dissipates leaving tight latticework on the glass.
THe aromas are roasty malt and faint underlying hops as well.
The first sip reveals average carbonation and medium body.
The flavors are similar to the aroma. Very roasty, with bittersweet chocolate and some coffee notes too.
The beer is nice and smooth from start to finish. Leaving a very pleasant roast flavor in my mouth. This is incredibly drinkable and I am glad that I have another bottle waiting for me! Thanks Bditty for sharing this one with me!

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Photo of whataschlitz
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer is back with a creamy tan head. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate with faint black licorice mixed in. Tastes as a mixture of the three with coffee hitting you first, then the chocolate finds its way through just before the finish with some hoppy black licorice. It has some sweetness in the middle sandwiched with the chocolate and licorice bitterness, and it works great in my mouth. Feel is on par with the look, not too thick with a lot of creaminess. A tasty and very drinkable porter.

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Photo of MNAle
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsener glass. Pours a very dark color, almost black. Creamy tan head with moderate lacing. Sweet, malty smell. Initial taste is nicely balanced hop bitterness with malts, then the smoky, roasted flavor comes to the fore. This smoky taste remains the dominate character of this beer. Nice body, but not really thick. Smooth and creamy. The aftertaste is bitter, but not overbearing. I like this beer.

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Photo of hylton44
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite Summit! (or, right up there with the short-lived ESB, anyway) Big head on the thing; my "standard pour" left me furiously sucking the sudden, surprising, thick, brown foam that bubbled up and threatened to run down the side of the mug. Smell was dark & complex, yet only hinted as to what I was about to experience: a sublime, nutty concoction of toasted coffee, burnt bread crusts, syrup, and lemongrass. A thick, sultry taste with a surprisingly clean finish. Wow. I will buy this again and again, as the opportunity presents. Thanks, Summit!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark, dark ruby and throws out a hefty brown head. Chocolate and coffee accents on the nose. Oh yeah, and some fairly significant bittersweet chocolate. The roasted bitterness in this brew is magnificent. Some nice bittersweet tones and java also. A fair amount of bitterness coming from the hops it seems also. Which I tend to like. Cocoa tones surface halfway through the beer. The beer is close to full bodied. Fairly viscous in the mouth. Really a nice porter here.

The Great Northern Porter was my first love. The first porter I fell in love with. While it is still a high quality brew in my eyes, I sometimes have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that there are some other porters out there that are better.

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Photo of notoriousdav
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great porter. Pours just shy of jet black with a nice tan head. Smells of roasted coffee and some roasted meat. Tastes like a porter should, roasted and a little sweet with just the right carbonation. All in all, a very good beer that one could enjoy all night.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown, settles into the glass while blackening as speaker foam - fabulous head about an inch high and is a interesting light brown hue close to the color of bread crust. Speaking of crust, the head itself is crusty and lumpy with divets at first then settled slowly to a thin foam, leaves super curtains of lace. Smell is roasty of chocolate and coffeeish sweet. Taste is openly roasty and slightly burnt malts, has a sweet chocolatey tone and a bit coffee-like in its dryness. Smooth throughout and speaks a bit of bitter chocolate and hops. Super dark and rich - packed with nice robust flavors. Full medium body, texture attaching unique, nicely sweet & bitter drying hints. Summit's number one brew for sure. One smooth drinkin' robustin' porter. Nice, deep, and bitter, yum!

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Photo of hosehead83
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass

Deep, dark hue with one inch tan head

Aroma-Wonderfully earthy scent, almost musky with notes of minerals,sulfur and "worm-dirt."
Subtle dark roasted coffee grounds

Taste-Strong,robust coffee with notes of tobacco
and peat, burnt coffee/dark chocolate finish.
Very complex and quite delicious, but not for first-time porter drinkers. Would be an excellent match for BBQ'd meats

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Summit Great Northern Porter from Summit Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 636 ratings.
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