Summit Black Ale | Summit Brewing Company

very good
71 Reviews
Summit Black AleSummit Black Ale

Brewed by:
Summit Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jera1350 on 10-31-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 152
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of SurlyTwinsFan pours a near-black color with a few reddish highlights. Head is nice and rich, creamy and dense. Great lacing.

Nose is roasty and orange-pithy with some pine and chocolate aromas in tow. Smells good.

Taste is not as bitter as I was expecting, which is nice. The hops kinda flow all the way from flavoring to a sharp middle and lingers long on the back of the tongue. Roast is the main malty component and could use a little depth and boost...maybe some chocolate or caramel flavors would be nice? The malt side of the beer is a little flabby, but not a bad brew. Solid but does not have any 'zing' factor that makes some of the other Black IPAs keep you coming back for more.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another oddball shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Tan foam quickly settles to a few wispy patches, thin collar, and tiny spots of lace. Very dark brown body with a few lighter glints here and there.

S - Plenty of sugary malts, light roast, black patent malt, and earthy and herbal hops. As it warms there's a touch of smoke and citrus as well.

T - Perhaps a tad chalky, but otherwise a solid blend of roast, black patent, and light chocolate malts. Hop flavor imparts some light citrus character, and there's surprisingly low bitterness for the style. This grew on me the more it warmed up.

M - Medium body, lower carbonation, lightly grainy texture, and a fairly clean and dry finish.

D - I was a tad disappointed with the aroma, but this is one of the better takes on this style that I've had recently. If you dig Black IPAs grab a sixer, or check this out if it shows up on draft.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by spycow.

A - A brownish black colored beer with a bit of a tan head that rose up a couple of fingers and had moderate retention. Some minor lace on the glass.

S - Roasted malts, unsweetened chocolate, some citrus and herbal notes. A little bit of smoke. Smells pretty solid for the style.

T - More hops than in the nose, with citrus and herbal being the predominant varieties. There is some good roasted malts and a tannic bite on the end.

M - Medium bodied, a little creamy, moderate carbonation. Had a bit of a dry finish.

O - Nice beer, fairly easy to drink with some good "Black Ale" flavors. Would drink it again.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The faint “ENJOY BY” date printed on the shoulder of the bottle is “03/28/12.”

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is non-opaque black; light passed through with a red tint. Lots o’ thick, lightly tanned head on this one: about three fingers worth stopped me mid-pour. It settled very slowly, dissipating first in the center, and a thick ring of foam lingered around the edge.

Smell: The grapefruit citrus was noticeable as I was pouring. Up close and in the glass, it offers an enticing hybrid of citrus hops and dark malts. Grapefruit citrus is most prominent, but lurking in the background are roasted caramel, chocolate, toffee, and coffee.

Taste: The hops are dialed up a notch, providing a nice grapefruit tinge that tickles the cheeks and tonsils. As with the smell, the citrus dominates the dark malt chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

Drinkability: I thoroughly enjoy this one. It is a fairly balanced marriage between two styles, though the hops too tend to overpower the “Black” aspect of the beer.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of chocolate and roasted malts. A touch of resiny pine aromas, too.

T - It tasted of bitter piney hops with a nice chocolate and toffee backbone. Some sweet caramel, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a tasty Black Ale. I haven't been disappointed by any of the Unchained beers from Summit.

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Photo of wac9
2.7/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

too bad a great looking beer that the hops sticks in the back of your thoart, i tired but cant drink it too hoppy . wife thought the reviews sounded good and i gave it a shot too bad for me pours a great black in a glass but thats it , if you like black beer and hoppy then enjoy if not move on

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Photo of alexgash
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle.

Dark cola brown body. Clear. Two fingers of thick, fluffy, light sandy brown head. Great lacing. Nose of roasted barley, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, tobacco, and some herbal hops.

Nutty, toasty malts up front. Roasted barley and coffee bitterness follow. Bitterness becomes woodier, with herbal tendencies. Singed caramel, cocoa, light molasses, and winy fruit notes provide a malty backbone to balance the bitterness. Dryish finish, with lingering herbal and coffee bitterness. Medium-bodied with a nice, creamy feel. Another very good Unchained beer from Summit!

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Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single from somewhere, wish I had another now...
Poured into a pint, it's a dark mahogany in the light, glinting brown highlights in a black body. Creamy layer of lighter tan foam that leaves dripping arcs of lace inside the glass. Retention is good.

Piney aroma, light malt sweetness, some yeast, a little bit muted.

Medium bodied and plenty bitter, dark roast, charred black malt and coffee. Some piney hop notes, somewhat resiny, dry feel. It has a moderate level of hoppy bitterness that meshes well with the bitter roast malt flavors. Dark bakers chocolate. Overall a good Black Ale, fairly standard and well put together, but not quite as unique in the hop department as some others. Sublimely Self Righteous and New Glarus Black Top are still my personal favorites.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, almost opaque black color, with two-finger, off-white, frothy head that lasted a few minutes. Nice lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Earthy pine hops. Floral and tea-like.

T: Light sweetness and strong hop bitterness. The hops are the first thing I notice, then the roasted characteristics start to pick up. Not as roasted as I would have liked, but still pretty good. This beer grows on me as I drink it.

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Silky smooth and slightly dry. Really nice mouthfeel.

O: This was my first Black Ale. I now know to expect an IPA with some roasted characteristics. I would say this is probably a good one as far as Black Ales go.

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Photo of budgood1
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out a very deep and dark brown colour with mahoghany highlights. rich creamy head reduces down to a sticky film and sticky lace. dark roasted malt aroma showing some java and cocoa notes with a very pronounced hop aroma of the fruity variety...sort of a peachy/apricot/mango/spicy thing going on. very unique smelling. upon tasting the first thing that hits me is the malt profile which immediately reminded me of their great northern porter. a few more sips and the subtle nuances of a layered malt profile appear...dark unsweetened chocolate, a bit of coffee and char, hints of caramel and toffee, etc. all cloaked underneath an earthy, woody hoppiness that also is a bit complex in its uniqueness. a good deal of bitterness from both the hop profile and the charred malts compliment each other quite nicely. body and mouthfeel ying and yang each other in that the body seems full and well rounded while the mouthfeel gives it a lighter feel while retaining a smoothness and drinkability reminiscent their porter. it finishes quite dry and surprisingly clean.

overall this unchained offering of the CDA/BIPA variety comes across as well balanced and understatedly complex. recommended.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 12 oz. brown bottle into a clear Summit pint glass.

Appearance: Deep opaque brown, almost black, in color. A slight deep ruby tint when held to the light. A one and a half finger brown foam head faded slowly and left some good sticky lacing.

Smell: Malty and a good grapefruit-pine hops aroma blend well to make it an inviting aroma.

Taste: A good hoppy bitterness up front with pine and grapefruit flavors, then it smooths out quickly with a good dark roasted malt flavor that brings our some dark roast coffee and licorice flavors. Finishes very well balanced. This is a good disappearing act for the blast of hops and bitterness that greets you right up front.

Mouth feel: Medium body. Very bitter to start, less bitter in the middle, and mellow to finish.

Overall: A good Black IPA that delivers with the hops and the blend of dark roasted malts. Another good entry in the Summit Unchained series.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw this available at ShopRite Liquors and decided to give this a go since this was pretty popular on here. I don't drink Black Ales a whole lot, but this beer was so nicely balanced between the dark and roasted aspects and the quietly strong hops that I think this deserved its own category on here. The alcohol is a bit strong but it fits in nicely with this beer's profile and on a cold winter's night, this was good to have on hand!

The pour to this was nice with a solid, dark brown hue and garnet edges. The head was frothy and the accompanying aroma was the best aspect of this beer. Lots of hops, coffee, and just a hint of alcohol combined for an alluring smell that was repeated in the taste. The first impression I got of this beer was that it was a strong IPA with a full body, but then this took on the characteristics of a Coffee Porter, with a strong amount of espresso and a bit of licorice in the back. The carbonation was just right as it added to the mouthfeel without detracting from the taste.

A beer like this needs to be bold in the alcohol department and this fit the bill well. Hopefully, more of these will be made and this will be given its own category soon. It's always refreshing to see American brewers push the boundaries and this was a great example of something new that could easily become an old favorite. No doubt that this will become part of my winter rotation in the future!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a generic glass in St. Paul, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high.

A: Pours a one finger head of lovely soft cream lacing, fairly good thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Nice chocolate and roast, with some coffee and cream. Hoppy above all else, which is surprising.

T: Hoppy. Very hoppy. But delightfully creamy on the finish. Very light roast is also present. A nicely built, surprisingly balanced black ale.

Mf: Very smooth and wet, suiting the flavour generally. Wonderfully soft.

Dr: Very drinkable for how hoppy it is. As a black ale, it's a success. I'd have it again. It hides its ABV well.

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Photo of Gavage
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a huge 3" merangue like head that lasts forever. Thick lace paints the glass.

Smell: roasted malts, some grapefruit and a bit of pine are picked up by the nose.

Taste: roasted malts, prunes, a bit of licorice, soft grapefruit, a bit of pine, and some earthy bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Very crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late.

Overall: an easy drinking ale, and one could have a few of these in a session. Well balanced and has a nice flavor profile.

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Photo of ToddT
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black opaque topped with a thick tan head. Head fades very slowly and leaves a lot of lace on the glass.

S- Pine hops and little else, not overpoweringly strong, but forward.

T- Sweet caramel and a offsetting bitter hop note right away, hints of smoke and wood char too. This is much more complex that most black IPAs I’ve tried and interesting as well. The finish is quick and clean with a hint of hop bitterness to close things out. As this warms a bit of roasted malt mixes in with the smoke and wood char providing a little more depth.

M- Medium in body and carbonation, pretty clean for an IPA as well.

D- Interesting beer, the 6.5% ABV is well hidden and I think I’ll be going back for another. Easily one of the best black IPAs I’ve tried, even though I’m not a fan of the style this one might make me a convert.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Always nice to see the Unchained brews at Bliss tastings. Good man, Scott. This stuff pours a dark garnet-brown topped by a finger of dusty dark tan foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light dark chocolate, light orange zest, and a touch of vague tropical fruit (can't quite tell which one just yet...). The taste alters the program slightly: the roast and chocolate are kept static, but the hops shift from fruity to pine-y, with some decent resin and light leek notes really coming through hard. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a solid CDA, another strong effort from the Unchained series. Now why couldn't the standard brews hold up this well?

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Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, red highlights, big head, good lacing.

Smell: Piney, roasted malts.

Taste: Nice balanced flavor with a little more to the piney hop side. Roasted malt and pine blend well in this beer.

Drinkability: It's growing on me, might be worth a 6 pack.

Picked up a single of the latest unchained Summit beer. I have been kind of down on the black ale style lately so wasn't really looking forward to it, but was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was nicely blended and balanced between the roasted flavors and the piney hops. A good one from Summit.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very black with an auburn hue when held up to the light, with a thick foamy three-finger head that takes its time dying down. The smell is subtle roasted malts with a subtle, sweet hop aroma.
The beer is very drinkable and modest, with an initial wave of equal parts rich, roasted malt and subtle but copious hops making its way to a rush of bitter grapefruit. The mouthfeel is very dry and sticky, with no real sweetness; this is made up for by the unique flavor of the hops, which approaches something not unlike dried apricot. One of the driest beers i've ever had; it leaves a strangely pleasant near-cottonmouth feeling, which makes you go back for more. I'd never had a black ale before this, but I'm going to have to delve into it more - I love porters and IPAs, and this seems to be a subdued blend of the best of both worlds.

Whenever I see that a new entry has come out in the Unchained series, it's guaranteed that I'm going to try it. They've ranged from really tasty to flat-out incredible, and while this isn't one of the best they've done (That would have to go to the pumpkin porter), it's still fantastically good, and I imagine that there are a good many people who'd love to see it come back next year.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a dark copper color with 1 finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Grapefruit, pine, caramel and a hint of roast.

T: Leads with a solid dose of hops, mostly pine, moves from there into roasted malt. There is a metallic aspect to the finish that fades after the first few sips. Lots of pine on the aftertaste. Hints of coffee emerge as the beer warms. There is some sweetness in the malt that is struggling to get out, but the hops keep beating it down.

M: Not too heavy, a little cream and lots of carbonation, definitely astringent on the finish.

O: A nice take on the style, very dry and hoppy. I wouldn't mind seeing this one become part of their regular line-up-- it is tasty. Well done, Summit.

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Photo of ZAP
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black with brown hues...nice tannish fluffy head..

S-Roasty....some java notes...a bit of dark cocoa...

T-Roasty again...more of a milk chocolate impression on the taste rather than the dark cocoa noticed on the aroma...hops lend a light juicy dimension...

M-Medium bodied...creamy feel..

O-Quality brew...I love the use of the new obscure hops in this but they are bit overshadowed by the dark notes....still for what this is meant to be this is great....well done..

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Photo of 57md
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a ruby hue. There was a thick finger of tan head that did not last long, but left some nice lacing remnants behind. A little smokey nose. Roasted malt upfront with distinct hop bitterness at the end. This is an excellent example of this new tasty style we like to call black ale/IPA.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The eighth installment of Summit's unchained series is a Black Ale. The beer pours, well, black with some ruddy brown hues glistening near the edges. The foam is a dense creamy mixture which sticks to the glass. A very nice looking brew here. The aroma is a very nice mixture of deeply roasted malt and grapefruit citrus. The combination, not intuitive, plays off of each other beautifully. Creamy and full of body as it swirls along the contours of my mouth. The biggest flavor is a blast of grapefruit from the hops. The hops may be the star of the party, but an underlying coffee-like malt background complements it well and provides the rails for the hops. This is a well constructed, tasty brew---hoppy and drinkable.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bacio in Minnetonka.

Glass of beer arrived with a half inch of dark khaki foam over a translucent dark brown/black body. As the foam receded it left nice rings of lace.

Taste was roasted malt, caramel, orange pith, raisin and citric elements. Taste was grapefruit citric hop, even a bit tropical, nice. Very tasty IPA like until a mild wash of sweetness and firmly roasted malt notes appeared late. Mouthfeel is medium, finish is dry and mildly bitter, lingering, and unexpectedly refreshing for a dark ale.

Overall the one is tasty and I'll definitely keep buying until its no longer available. I'd like to see summit bring all of their unchained series back for round two.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.62/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark clear auburn body. Very little light transmits through, but it does shine a nice auburn hue in the light. Thin light brown head leaves patchwork, spiderweb like lace about the glass walls as I drink. Awesome aroma of rye, chocolate malt, and grundgey pungent hops. (This is the closest aroma I've smelled to the original black IPA that was so incredible that I had 6 or so years ago...Alpha Klaus). The taste follows suit with the nose....very, very nice. Perfect blend of hop bitterness, hop flavor and roasted chocolate malt notes. This is a great one. Take note, Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA lovers.

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Photo of xnicknj
2.68/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

on tap at devils den

Pours a nearly blacked out color with some almost reddish hues. Heavy, frothy tanned head sits on top, retaining well with layers of lacing on the glass.

Soft scents of citrus hops with roasted malts. Hint of light smoke and dark chocolate. A bit sweet, fairly muted though.

Really light touch of hoppiness up front with a touch of grapefruit. Unusual metallic smokiness wrapped up in roasted dark malts. Touches of dark chocolate and caramel. Light dryness towards the finish with lingering off-putting smoke.

Lighter medium body, high carbonation, prickly and watery on the tongue. Drinks terribly. The smokiness wasn't enjoyable at all, and I struggled to detect hops in both the nose and taste. A-?? We must not be experiencing the same beer at all here.

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Summit Black Ale from Summit Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 152 ratings.
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