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.

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 152
Photo of wrycon
4.26/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite attractive. Very dark, near-pitch black with a healthy header of pearl-white foam. Solid lacing as the foam recedes. Smell is good and standard for a black ale - roasted malt with a piney, hop underpinning. Very smooth at the start, velvety with just a touch of bitterness. The mid is dominated by a robust, roasted malt fullness. Tastes almost smoky. Final third is hops, which blunts the roast and creates a clean, but flavorful mouthfeel. This is a great black ale. Strong character and tasty throughout.

Like It? Yes I Do

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Photo of Humulus85
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50th review! Summit EPA was one my first craft beers, so I thought this limited release would be appropriate.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Darkness snifter.

Thick, cream, two-finger head with a relatively aggressive pour. Solid retention and some pretty nice lacing. Very dark, but not opaque, lets a bit of light through on the edges. Good start.

If I couldn't see this beer I would say its a slightly malty IPA: fruity and piny hops with nice caramel malt backing. Interesting.

Loads of juicy hops upfront, than a smack of deep roasted and caramel malts. Moderately dry throughout. I think I had this one a bit too cold as the malt really is starting to come around now that it's warming up, with coffee and chocolate notes.

Great carbonation, not too heavy but still has some substance, and a wonderfully dry finish. Very drinkable for the style.

Overall this is a nice Black Ale, and another hit for Summits Unchained series. Enjoy it on the warmer side and the malt comes through better. I'll get some more of this before it's gone. I highly recommend it to all MN BAs, and any fan of Black Ales, if you can find it.

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Photo of knepper
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Pours a brown to black with a creamy tan head, reminiscent of a porter.

Smell: Definitely not as aromatic as I was expecting. Fresh cut apples, citrus fruit, alcohol esters, and pine compete quietly.

Taste: The bittering hops make themselves known first; black pepper and pine are followed by a light roast coffee, char, and a burst of orange and more pine at the end with a hint of alcohol in the finish. The resiny aftertaste is quite welcome. The high carbonation complements the flavors as well. Nice. The flavors mingle well; nothing abrasive or overpowering and it has a dryness that makes it ultra drinkable.

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Photo of tempest
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is a good. A little research shows this is the same brewer that made up the very very tasty India Rye Ale last year. This beer does what many dark ales fail, or at least fail to master, the balancing the lighter upfront hoppy notes with the rich dark malts. This beer smells like fresh grapefruit and citrus fruit sitting on top of toasty cocoa barley. Yum. The flavor follows up with a bigger malt kick and hint of wheat and caramel sneaking in as the pine and orange peel build on the chocolate malt throughout the finish. This is one of the best black IPAs I've had, right up with, maybe above, Deschutes' Hop in the Dark.

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

Jet black ale, but a bit light is getting through the thinner part of the pint glass so that it looks like a dark brown. Hop spice fights through the burnt toast, black dirt and charcoal malt (and that's a compliment in case you missed it). Very nice nose that is unique and very interesting. Analogous to Aecht Schlenkerla for the type of smell coming off the top if this black ale, but not the same smokey smell or intensity, but similar in the raw aromatics wafting up. While I love Summit, it has, historically, not always pushed the envelope to the danger zone, so I was going to be satisfied with a good nose and a thick rocky tan head that' leaving a nice lace. Some assertive hop and charcoal taste, but the mouthfeel is a bit thin to support the flavor. Going to get a six pack of this one to savor for a bit while it's available.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: A dark brownish black with a tint of ruby red at the edges of the glass. Lots of rising bubbles and a big five finger light tan foamy head with very good retention. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of citrus and pine hops with notes of grapefruit, orange, and pine resin. Very noticeable smell of dark roasted malts with hints of caramel, toffee, burnt coffee, and dark chocolate. Smells bold and balanced.

Taste: Like the smell leads, a very good combination of bold hops and dark malts. Big taste of citrus hops upfront with notes of grapefruit, orange, and mango is followed by a solid presence of pine resin. Midway the dark elements come with some roasted malts. Hints of caramel, toffee, bitter dark chocolate, and burnt coffee. The malts add a little sweetness to help balance the bitterness. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Somewhat bitter but still pretty creamy and smooth. Finishes fairly dry.

Overall: A very good black ale and another great beer from Summit's Unchained series. Flavors are bold and very well balanced.

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Photo of kjyost
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undated 6 pack (coded 12911140) bought at Happy Harry's Grand Forks (South), poured into a clear plastic glass.

Summit Unchained Black Ale
A: 5 - Opaque black with loads of tan head and massive amounts of lacing. A beautiful beer. 
S: 3.5 - carbonized malts with a bit of citrus hops hiding there, with orange zest being prevelant
T: 4- Certainly not an IPA that has merely been blackened. Lots of roasted notes, a biting bitterness and some good hop flavour in there. Hop flavours are once again citrusy...
M:4.5 - strong bitterness that linger with a creamy flavour from the head. Stellar. 
O:4.5 - what a great beer. A lovely take on the style, with great roasted notes and hoppiness. Just great. 

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Photo of herman77
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown, one shade away from black. Huge and very frothy khaki head with great retention and amazing lacing.

S: Classic black IPA smell. Some resinous pine and citrus hops mixed with dark malts, coco and a hint of something sweet; maybe toffee or almost like chocolate milk? A hint of smokiness to it, probably from the roasted malt.

T: Citrus and slight pine hops up front, then comes the toasted malt with a touch of coco and coffee. A very mild hop presence in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body, softer carbonation. Pretty nice and a bit on the smooth/creamy side.

O: Pretty easy drinking. Goes down fast. Solid, but nothing really stands out about it.

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Photo of Beerdregs
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours into a pint glass with moderate amount of head forming as I pour. Color is a very dark brown (not quite black). light brown creamy/frothy head.

Smell: coffee and chocolate first then picking up faint fruity hops .

Taste: Good malty sweetness which accentuates the chocolate and coffee aroma but the hops seems to be playing hide and seek with the malt and then making a strong showing at the back end. The hops leave a bitterness on the back of the tongue revealing plenty of bittering hops in this beer.

Mouthfeel: The is a well balanced beer (in terms of hops and roasty maltiness. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall: This is a great beer and probably the best unchained series beer to date. I would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of sonata2008
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The beer was very dark in color, almost black. There wasn't much foam, but an adequate amount. The little bit of lacing didn't stay around very long.

Smell: I found the aroma to be very interesting - some roasted grain, perhaps roasted barley, a hint of coffee, and a bit of hops

Taste: The coffee was definitely there along with some nice chocolate. The beer was nicely balanced between roasted grain flavors and hops.

Mouthfeel: This black ale had a smooth but dry mouthfeel. There was a little bit of carbonation, just about right for the style.

Overall: Very high drinkability. Wonderful flavors. Would go well with hearty winter foods like stew, but would also be great with popcorn, chips, and pretzels.

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Photo of Ungertaker
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a deep black with crimson light penetration and a khaki-colored, one finger head adorning the top. Lacing is left with each sip.

S- Hops, chocolate, and malts

T- Chocolate up front, bitter hops, then more chocolate with a hint of coffee at the finish.

M- Light to medium with a fluffy, almost nitro-like carbonation.

O- One of the best two beers I have had from Summit (and I have tried everything they have bottled). The only one I could put ahead of this (my opinion, of course) is the Unchained #3 (the Rye).

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Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich darm brown with nice creamy head that left some great lacing

S: Not much hops coming from this but a little cocoa and chocolate scent come through.

T: Little bit of bitterness and citrus cent but primarly the dark roast and chocolate.

M: Medium bodies, not too rich, went down really well!

O: Great dark flavors but not too overpowering with the roasted malts or chocolate. Would definately order up again!

Serving style: On tap at the Blue Door Pub, St. Paul, MN

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear black color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into a qaurter inch cap of solid foam that lingers. The aroma is of roasted malt, grapefruit, pine resin, and chocolate. The taste is similar to the aroma. There is a nice balance of roasted and chocolatey malt, and citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth texture, and light carbonation. Overall, this is a really well crafted beer that I will be drinking a lot of while it is around.

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

Served at Cheese Cave in Faribault.
Fruity, spicy aroma in a hops sort of way. Pleasant with minimal malt background.
Very dark with 1/2 inch off-white head (not really tan, more grey). Held in light showed dark red highlights and seemed quite clear.
Interestingly hopped with again a spicy and fruity (but not citrus) quality with an earthy green herbal plant quality. Roast flavors in an ample malt foundation. Roast flavor comes and goes, but strong enough when present to be clearly known (don't have to search for it). Bitterness is known, but actually kinda' subdued for an IPA of sorts. Drying was on the mild side too.
Smoothly and fully carbonated. Moderately light body.
This is a nice beer. Reasonably high drinkability with full flavors and mild alcohol.

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Photo of bsp77
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown (not quite black) with a moderate, light tan head and a single lacing ring.

Smell: Very tropical hops over caramel, chocolate, molasses and light smoke.

Taste: Definitely tastes more IPA than Black. The hops are fairly tropical (grapefruit, mango) but are more spicy and metallic than the aroma indicated. The malt body is relatively light with bittersweet chocolate, caramel and a touch of coffee and smoke. Fairly bitter on the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a medium body. Very dry. Feels like an IPA. Not as smooth as some American Black Ales.

Overall: Another winner from Summit's Unchained series, who are about 6 for 8 in my book. For a moderate alcohol Black Ale (many are really Doubles), this is among the best. I also appreciate the use of unorthodox Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand) hops.

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

This is the Summit Unchained Series. Batch 08, Black Ale.

Poured into a pint glass. Nice foam that slowly settles to a nice 1/4 inch that lasts throughout. Dark brown molasses color. The smell is different than I expected. The hop aroma is sort of friuty citrus and pine. Slight malt too. The taste is dark wheat and malt with the unique hop coming through. Come chocolate and mild bitterness. Nice but the unique hop gives it a different taste. Sort of unexpected. Generally a good beer. Being a black ale with unique hops make it difficult to compare. I liked it will probably get more.

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Photo of mobius387
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from bottle into a pint glass

appearance: pours a dark brown thats actually slightly transluscent, medium sized brown head that dissipates shortly after.

aroma: i dont get much hop scent, but a nice malty chocolate thats on the lighter side of smells

palate: you feel the hop presences as this stings your mouth, not too carbonated and the flavor is strong while its sits inside. medium-full body

taste: nice roasty flavors, slight chocolate taste, and it would be very very good except for a lignering irony after taste that kind of brings things down

overall: a solid beer thats worth a pick up it you like roasty flavors. the iron after taste keeps this from being a top beer for me, but its still a nice choice with some good dark flavors.

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

enjoy by 032812 on neck of bottle

A- pours a dark mahogany color that is clear with some black cherry highlights a tan 1 finger head that fades to some sticky lacing

S- is earth and malty with dirt smells ,roasted malts and toffee with citrus hops

T- starts with strong hops citrus and bold,mix in roasted malts and some herbs and spice ,toffee and toasted bread

M- smooth and brisk with hop flavor, a creamy texture

O- hoppy and malty robust malts its a porter, an ipa a black ipa you choose ,it is however tasty and i enjoyed it

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Photo of morimech
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by Date 03/18/12 on neck of bottle. Dark color and appears black in the glass. Not so dark that light cannot find its way through. Two fingers of head forms and has excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma is something I am becoming accustomed to in Black Ales. Sort of a resiny, herbal mix with some citrus thrown in. Cannot really come up with any dark malt.

Flavor is quite hop forward. Hops dominant the front end with citrus and herbal bite. The malt finally makes its presence known in the finish with some nice roasted qualities. Quite bitter and relatively dry.

Solid body with a fine carbonation. Feels like it carries the ABV nicely.

One of my requirements of a Black Ale is that I can taste the black. I can in this beer but I would of liked more. Some chocolate and a little more roast would of set this in the exceptional range. As is it is better than most in this style.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No distinct freshness dating but I do see a 12911139 on the label....

A= Pours a light black color if that makes sense. The head is a small skin on top of the glass with no real lacing on the side of the glass. A little weak when compaired to other black ales.

S= The smell is actually pretty typical of Summit beer as far as the hop profile goes. I feel like I've smelled this blend before. An earthy herby mix on the hops and an underlying roast that hides deep in there.

T= The taste is very nice. It has a big roast flavor that is excellent and somewhat lacking in most beers for this style and the hops again are the familiar blend. This is a very well mixed blend of roast and hops.

M= Nice and smooth. Good mix of hop bite and black velvet.

O= This is another home run in the unchained series. It is a good mix of the two extremes as far as the style goes. This style it seems usually takes one side or the other. This is a nice balance and worth trying.

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Summit:

The rich, dark color. Exotic hops from Australia and New Zealand for pronounced citrus, passion fruit and pepper character. Toasty and dark malts. Summit Black Ale takes you on quite a journey. Batch 8 in our Unchained Series from brewer Mike Lundell, this medium bodied, hoppy ale should be a hit with adventurous beer lovers.

Pours a solid brown of the darkest shade. The head appears creamy and is taupe colored and leaves curtains of sticky lacing.

Getting grassy fresh hops, like a fresh hopped beer, along with dusty cocoa and milk chocolate. A nice little combo that sounds like it fits the style profile.

Big bitterness coming from the hops. Lots of grapefruit peel and related citrus flavors. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee coming from the malt side of the beer. This is a very, very hop forward version of the style, but has a nice roasty malt balance behind it.

Very soft carbonation, about medium bodied. Has a bite to it form the hops and finishes dusty and dry. Not quite as rich and malty feeling as others in the style.

This is a bold take on the style. Loads of hops which will satisfy hopheads. I really wish there was more of a malt presence to balance it and add some sweetness. This is still a solid brew that is worth trying out.

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