Summit Imperial Pumpkin Porter | Summit Brewing Company

123 Reviews
Summit Imperial Pumpkin PorterSummit Imperial Pumpkin Porter

Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jera1350 on 11-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 157
Photo of drizzam
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this one in the store and it piqued my interest. Let's hope it's worth the Buck Fitty I paid for the bottle.

A - Wow. This poured darker than I thought it would! Dark black body, dark as midnight...topped by a dark tan foamy head. Head retention was a little above average and it left some spotty lacing down the inside of my glass.

S - Roasted malt and dark bitter chocolate. A very slight pumpkin pie aroma adds a slight complexity to the aroma...the usual pumpkin pie spices, nutmeg is the main player that comes to mind.

T & M - The nose did not betray the taste. Dark roasted malt is followed by bitter bakers chocolate...all accented by a bit of pumpkin pie spice, again the nutmeg is the main spice I'm getting here. The pumpkin pie is far from a main player here, merely an accent to a decent porter. Medium bodied and the alcohol seems to be fairly well hidden.

D - I bought this almost as an afterthought because it was a different beer. I'm glad I did now...this is one of those pumpkin brews that ypu could easily drink year 'round. Definitely worth a try...a solidly crafted brew!

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Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 2 finger head

smell: pumpkin spices, roasted malts

taste: some spices but not nearly enough for me, with a bitter aftertaste

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium to full body

overall: a decent pumpkin porter but since this beer is in my homebrew repertoire I actually perfered mine in a blind side by side taste test.


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Photo of nhindian
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle generously provided as an extra by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

Unchained Batch 05

A - Pours a dark brown, bordering on black, like the darkness on the edge of town. A 2-finger, dark khaki head builds and has moderate retention, lasting several minutes. It leaves behind very nice lacing around most of the glass.

S - This is my first pumpkin porter, and unfortunately its a bit out of season now, but it offers a seductive combination of pumpkin, spice, chocolate, and coffee. Not as heavily spiced as other pumpkin beers (I'm looking at you, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin), but the pumpkin, bittersweet chocolate, and nutmeg come together nicely to offer flashbacks of cool, Autumn days. As it warms, the malts take most of the nose as the pumpkin and spice recede.

T - The taste is interesting to say the least. At first there's a struggle between the chocolate, roasted malts, pumpkin, and spices to see who can come off the strongest, but it's a close tie. However, the malts are the most persistent, and as the others fall off rather abruptly after the initial taste, the espresso roast lasts well into the finish. The spices resurface near the end to make it a one-two punch of roast and spice, like a Halloween-themed creamer in a cup of black coffee.

M - The mouthfeel is rather thin, but has a nice hit of carbonation. Although not heavy and coating, the flavors are strong enough to linger on the mouth well after the beer is gone.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. While lighter on the pumpkin spice than other beers (granted, it is a few months old), I think the porter base gives it a more robust profile. I could see this being the second half of pumpkin beers of the Autumn season; lighter, heavier spiced offerings from Dogfish Head and Weyerbacher in the warmer months and earlier part of the season, with this beer coming in as a replacement during the colder months, say later November. It has that extra depth to cut through the cold!

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Photo of MinnesotaRIS
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very late review. It isn't in stores now. Pours thick with a thin, frothy brown head that collapses a bit quickly. Leaves lacing and a touch of top foam. Black appearance; opaque. Some small rays of scarlet at edges.

Aroma of thanksgiving pumpkin pie and spice. Cinnamon, nutmeg, low pumpkin notes. Sweet smell. Very little malt.

Tastes of specialty grains like a porter - almost black malt perhaps some roasted barley. Some pumpkin spice in the beginning. Malt base is there and really holds up the structure.

Mouthfeel has astringency and finishes a bit weak in body. Good porter example. English indeed.

This is a stout porter that has raisin, plum dark characteristics to it too. They are a bit masked but evident when you really savor it.

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Photo of rhodeska
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer was pretty interesting, as I am not a huge porter fan, but love to get a good pumpkin beer when I can. This beer had a nice, dark pour with a solid amount of head, not a ton though.

The taste was mostly porter-style, a dark bitter taste with a strong pumpkin/spice flavor right when I started. However, that taste isn't as strong as the beer warms, and the porter really develops as you go. Not the best pumpkin beer that I've had, but a solid beer overall.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black without much head, but the lacing was decent.

Smell was plentily pumkiny and smoky, Ample spices accented the autumn feeling you get from your snifter.

Smoky malts and spicy pumpkins dominate the flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate accent nicely.

Feel is rich and smooth, easy to drink and mild on the pumpkin/chocolate aftertaste.

Pretty good beer. No complaints here.

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Photo of stakem
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Batdorf served in a pint glass. Appears black in color with a thin line of lighter brown clarity around the edges. A finger of brown froth sits atop and recedes leaving a coating of webby and leggy lace about the glass.

Aroma includes a scent of pumpkin flesh mixed with cocoa and dark kilned grains that emit a scent somewhat like charcoal and coffee. Faint grainy sweetness and spices are evident but they are in the background and enjoyable, not overdone at all.

The taste is dark and roasty with a flavor that is nutty. Some pumpkin flesh flavor comes through with spices upfront before blending into more of the porter characteristics tasting very much like coffee and chocolate. A flavor of semisweet bakers chocolate lasts inside the mouth which is quite enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest to light level of carbonation. This was an enjoyable and easy drinking example of the increasingly popular stout/porter pumpkin beers. Fair base of a porter with a noticeable and not exaggerated spiced flavor. The pumpkin tastes fresh and real and is more present than the spiced aspect which I enjoyed. The abv was hidden quite well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

another new one for me. i used this one as my nightcap. poured into a pint glass.

really nice and deep dark brown pour that was essentially black with no lacing shining through at all. just splendid beer here as the nice tan head rose up beautifully from underneath. aroma is roasted malts, nice pumpkin and cinnamon spice mixed with a touch of nutmeg and vanilla. nearly identical in the follow through as each sip seemed to bring the pumpkin more to the front and coat it with deep chocolate layers. simply a marvel i have to admit

overall an awesome beer and worthy of alot of praise.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Shared by Mike. Served in a Goose Island tulip.

A - Dark brown body, with a half-finger of tan foam that settles to a ring and some wisps, leaving a few spots of lace.

S - Pumpkin heavy, with only medium levels of related spices. Chocolate cake malt character. The aroma is quite pleasant, with solid balance and integration.

T - This is much less pleasing. Burnt malts, dark chocolate, some dark multi-grain bread, and a very weird astringent and bitter finish.

M - Zesty and overcarbonated, body is a bit thin for 7.5%. Sticky texture with a sticky finish.

D - I suppose this blows the Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 out of the water, but that's a pretty dubious claim. A largely average pumpkin beer. I'd much rather have TREAT or Big Black Pumpkin.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.1/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Received as an extra from BCGabbo and split with MasterSki.

A - Dark brown, opaque beer that had a light brown head on top.

S - For a pumpkin beer, this isn't blown up with nutmeg like the last pumpkin beer I had (Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9, a massive FAIL). Pumpkin smell is pretty thick and authentic. The porter smell is present underneath all the pumpkin, and the entire package smells pretty good.

T - Taste does not live up to the smell. It tastes a bit thin, the pumpkin is there with a bit of spice, but it is just watered down. There is a little bit of chocolate in here, overal this is average at best.

M - Medium bodied ber, but the carbonation bites you and makes this fairly unpleasant to drink.

D - This isn't a great beer, the taste doesn't live up to the smell, which is not horrible. Mouthfeel really killed this one and made this small bottle a hard thing to finish for two people.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Their fifth go at this "Unchained Series"--keep them coming please. Pitch black with a quick cascading brown head. Very aromatic with cooked pumpkin, pie spices (with clove/ginger being more noticeable), molasses and charcoal. Silky, creamy, lush full body; nearly viscous. Thick pumpkin meat flavor with heavy-handed spice, which is needed for the size of this brew, and all of this wades on a pool of roasted grain. Dark brown sugar and mild espresso come to mind. Hops drop in quick to check on everything, leave some bitterness and watch the rest of the show in front-row seats. Oh mama, this beer is a beauty ... bring it back on a yearly basis, pretty please.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"You climb to reach the summit, but once there, discover that all roads lead down."

--Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Crown cracking resulted in a barely audible escape of CO2, so it was surprising to see a reasonably thick slice of caramel colored foam atop a midnight black body. The lid lacks interesting surface topography and doesn't grace the glass with much lace.

Imperial Pumpkin Porter smells pretty much like an Imperial pumpkin porter should smell, although a little more spiciness would be welcome too. The base porter dominates the nasal profile with a pleasing blast of chocolate malt. Pumpkin is difficult to appreciate, which is understandable.

SIPP is sippable beer. It's also gulpable beer if that's more your thing. My first impression was that a better mouthfeel is the only thing holding this brew back, but the flavor and drinkability scores would most likely have been the same either way. In other words... solidly good.

There is less sweetness and (slightly) more tanginess than expected. Sourish porters are historically accurate, so no sense getting bent out of shape over that. Given what else is going on, specific spices are hard to identity. No surprise, perhaps, when the list includes cinnamon, allspice, cassia, nutmeg, ginger, mace and cloves.

It all comes together pretty well, with proper balance on all fronts. The spice load isn't a hindrance to a multiple bottle session, but the ABV might be. For those who care about such things, the hop bill includes Fuggles, Northdown and East Kent Goldings. Lovely choices all around, since citrus zesty American varieties would have accentuated that which didn't need accentuating.

The mouthfeel could be bigger and better bubbled. The carbonation is somewhat harsh early and fades too quickly. At no point does it give it give proper lift and creaminess to the beer. In fact, the bottom half of the bottle is no better than average.

It's great to see Summit 'going big' with the Unchained Series. Imperial Pumpkin Porter is a fine effort that is better carbonation away from solid scores across the board. Thanks to feloniousmonk for another tasty treat from The Land Of 10,000 Lakes.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six-pack at a Whole Foods in January, finally getting around to reviewing one.

Pours a large, thick head that's light brown in color. Decreases in a few minutes to a thin film on the top of the beer. Some lacing evident. Beer itself is dark brown in color, barely non-opaque unless held to a light.

Dominant scents of malt sweetness, roasted coffee, and burnt toast. The pumpkin pie spices are in there, but I really have to inhale deeply. There is a bit of something in the back of the nose that I can't describe, kind of a milky sweet scent, that might be due to the pumpkin.

The major tastes are roasted malt, chocolate, a bit of sour coffee-with-cream. No detectable pumpkin or pie spices. Alcohol is non-present, so at 7.5% there must be a fair bit of malt in this beer. Aftertaste primarily of roasted malt.

Mouthfeel comes across as thick, syrupy, a bit velvety, quite smooth, all of which I rather enjoy. Carbonation is modest, facilitating a slow, semi-dry finish that pairs with this thickness well.

If the company didn't hint that this was a pumpkin porter, I wouldn't have guessed it, which is my only complaint. Well-priced, very pleasing, enjoyable after multiple bottles had (not all in one night), overall a major success for Summit, who has a quality porter recipe on their hands. I'd happily have another right now, if I had the time.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes, November 2010. The color of black coffee, with a beautiful brown two-finger head. Smell is a great toasted malt odor, with strong coffee sense and hints of spice. Taste is rich, strong, and smoky, and nicely balanced - right on for the style. I don't pick up the pumpkin or spices in the flavor at all, though. Mouthfeel is smooth, finishes a bit syrupy, medium low carbonation. Overall a very solid porter, but not really unique (as I had hoped it would be).

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Photo of SummitVA
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Jet black pour with medium carbonation. Thick white head falls quickly but a portion stays on.

S - Nice roast character with a bit of pumpkin spice. Nothing especially vegetal or gourd-like, but definitely clear that this is a pumpkin beer.

T - Chocolate, roast, and sweet malts meld well with the pumpkin spices. Finishes surprisingly crisp. Zero heat from the alcohol. Very balanced.

M - Medium-bodied beer.

D - Slowing down a bit at the end of the bottle, but I could certainly get through a second. A sipper for me, but a very pleasant one.

Overall - Very happy to have tried this beer. Big Summit fan, and I'm excited to follow the Unchained series.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Guinness goblet.

A: Deep black with a one-inch brown head. Head settles very quickly.

S: Roasted malt. Chocolate, pumpkin meat, cinnamon, all-spice, pie crust. Great balance.

T: All-spice and cinnamon up front. Deep roasted malt tastes of coffee, chocolate, charcoal, and smoke alternate with flavors of cake-like pumpkin. Long, lingering smokey finish. Very good.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, and velvety. Very active seltzer-like carbonation is a bit of a distraction.

D: High. A very tasty beer.

Notes: This is a great beer. The porter beneath all of the pumpkin and spices would be a hell of a beer in its own right. My only criticism is the unnecessarily high level of carbonation. It really takes away from an otherwise excellent mouthfeel. Despite this minor flaw, this is probably the best pumpkin ale I've had to date. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Janderson91
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoy before 05/11/11 printed on bottle. Enjoyed on 02/28/11. Poured into a DFH signature glass.

A - Good looking beer. Pitch black, opaque, no light gets through. Tan one finger head, leaves good lacing.

S - I can smell the pumpkin as soon as I pop this one open. I just don't think it works all too well with the roasted aroma that's also present. There's a spiciness there also. Not a bad smelling beer but not my favorite.

T - Some roasted malts, slight chocolate and coffee, a nice light pumpkin flavor in the background. Finish is nice and spicy and surprisingly clean.

M/D - Mouthfeel is good for a porter. Pretty full bodied with medium carbonation. Drinkability is average, nothing special here.

A pretty good beer from Summit. Can't say I would seek it out again but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of bwiechmann
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I believe this was between 8-9 dollars for a 6-pack of 12oz twist-offs. Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium Globe.

Pours nearly black with a small tan head that fades quickly.

Smells is of dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, hint of pumpkin flesh plays in the background.

Taste is complex and wonderful. Typical porter notes to start off and then the pumpkin kicks in in the end. Fresh, the pumpkin was barely noticeable but after a couple months, this beer has really come into its own. It's still not overpowering but slightly more assertive and it complements the porter base wonderfully.

Medium body and carbonation with high drinkability with no noticeable alcohol burn.

Overall this a top-notch beer and a world-class pumpkin beer. Not overdone with fake-tasting pumpkin pie spices. This beer has some finesse and uniqueness all its own.


Update- Drank one 8.26.11 and it was doubly delicious. I didn't know what time would do to this beer but it was kind indeed. This beer deserves world-class acolades. Over the last year, everything smoothed out and the pumpkin became slightly more pronounced as the heat settled down and everything mellowed. Awesome beer.

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Photo of camp0474
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from 11/14/10

A: Pours dark brown to black with tan head.

S: Heavy roasted malt with some sweetness. Faint pumpkin, like the skin and pulp. Some spices detectable.

T: All is like a standard porter with roasted malts... and then a semi-sweet flavor of pumpkin chimes in. Some faint chocolate. Pumpkin flavors linger.

M: Nice porter body. The pumpkin makes it somewhat smooth and creamy.

D: Great fall beer, a well done uniquely flavored beer. Pretty drinkable given the abv and unique flavor.

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Photo of corcoranjc
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: black with tan head

Smell: sweet spices and burnt chocolate

Taste: spiced, sweet, burnt chocolate...more spice and a hint of pumpkin in the back. very nice.

Mouthfeel: full. not chewy.

Drinkability: high, especially for a spiced beer.

Overall: I really enjoy this beer...I think I like it even more on tap, but a 6 pack for $10 is hard to beat. Really good stuff.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to Stizzy for this awesome extra!

Pours a nice dark black color with a very small dark brown head. Nose is really nice, it's like a solid American porter with some light hints of pumpkin and spices but it's not over the top at all.

Mouthfeel is a tad light, but it's still quite creamy and very rich. Nice and roasty with a bit of burnt bitterness that is well balanced by the light sweetness of the pumpkins. I'm generally not a fan of these pumpkin ales, but this one, done as a Porter, is spot on!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle of the first unchained series to make it to Tx. Hopefully we will get more on down the road. Pours a near-black color with a fluffy, dark brown head. Fades pretty quick and leaves a few traces of lace.

Nose has a nice combo of chocolate, roast and pie spices. Touch of fruit and really does not show alot of sweetness. Kind of reminds me of a caramel covered pumpkin pie that an alzheimer afflicted grandma forgot to add sugar to.

Not bad on the flavor, but a little bitter-spice finish and thin body detract from the beer significantly. Seems to have too much hops that dont quite blend with the spices well enough. Roast is big, bit the beer needs some sweetness and body to balance things out a bit. I dont think the base beer is that much different from the GN Porter they make, so the thin body is not all that unexpected. Not bad, easy to finish a sixer, but falls in the range of "not sure I'll buy another" category. If you are looking for a pumpkin stout/porter, I would seek out St. Arnold DR 9 before this one.

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Photo of lstokes
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black beer with a dense beige head, this looks amazing, smells of roasted malt, brown sugar, some bittering hops, and a little bit of those pumpkin spices.

This beer was extraordinarily heavy and rich--very much a sipper which takes time to appreciate. Lots of dark malt, dark chocolate, a very subtle pumpkin taste and subtle spices as well--there's some cinnamon and sugar present, but I thought the bitterness was much more prominent. Not your typical sweet pumpkin ale, and feel is very thick and rich and smooth.

I'm not rating it higher because I didn't personally adore it, but everyone who tried it did like it, and my boyfriend managed to drink three, so it's definitely a well-crafted and likable beer.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- A completely opaque brew that pours into a deep brown half finger head and settles into a thin skim leaving thin lacing.

S -- Definitely getting the pumpkin spices up front, followed by caramel malts and light hints of coffee and dark chocolate bitterness.

T -- Coffee and dark chocolate, burnt toffee, caramel, figs, raisins, dates, backed but not overpowered by pumpkin and spices. Sweetness followed by an even bitterness. Really well balanced.

M -- Full bodied, smooth and perfectly carbonated for the flavor profile. Lightly dry, not overboard.

D -- Excellent offering from Summit. Buy it if you can find it, and consider yourself lucky.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Cobblestone's in york -served chilled in a taster.

The porter is translucent mahogany with ruby highlights showing when held to the light. A thin beige cap leaves a thick film of sticky lace and bead is tiny while the retention is good. Wow, the smell is fragrant w/ notes of vanilla and mild clove -light fruity esters augment the spice w/ a tinge of pine. There are hints of cinnamon sticking out with nutmeg and some herbal notes with gental woody aromatics adding to the porter w/ a mild cocoa aroma. The feel is as expected-roasted and spiced with a sufficient sweetness level. The feel is very chewy and has high carbonation leveling the semi sweet finish and moderately low bitterness.

A slightly toasted flavor on entry w/ sweet maltiness leads to light nutty flavors with mild pepper and subtle floral vanilla notes. Hops give a subtle pine accent and a dry cocoa powder flavor lingers. The gentle biscuit and dried fruit earthiness adds to the complexity with a warm finish. The mild cinnamon and alcohol heat w/ bitterness that seems more apparent in the final taste. Overall this is a decent porter + I am sure the spice improves the beer but that is only because Summit used some restraint and the spices used are complimentary to a porter. I could definitely have several of these -no problem.

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Summit Imperial Pumpkin Porter from Summit Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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