Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company
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Ratings: 1,383 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Dantes:
3.65/5 rDev -5.9%
A Tale of Two Seasonals…
Package: 12 oz. Bottle labeled 6.9% ABV. 2002 Edition with no additional date.
Cost: $6.99 6-Pack
Presentation: Pint glass at ~45º
Appearance: Coppery color. A bit cloudy. Head was somewhat disappointing, resolving down to ¼” or so, which remained for most of the glass. Nice strings of small bubble from the bottom.
Smell: This had an interesting, but busy smell. Lots of different spice notes competing with each other. A touch of malt sweetness. Fairly enticing aroma.
Taste: The taste did not live up to the aroma. Although the malt presence was good, there was an unpleasant spice element I did not enjoy. Reminded me of a cilantro-soapy taste. Less hoppy than some other Western Micros (especially seasonals), which I normally prefer, but doesn’t work here. Muddy. I wish the sweetness were more upfront. Flavors faded in the middle and finish, which was too dry. Flavors were not well-rounded.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is fine and even; not too flat nor too harsh.
Drinkability: I can’t rate this very highly. I did not find it refreshing enough for regular consumption, nor was it as satisfying or exceptional as so many other rich seasonal brews are.
I’m not a big fan of Anderson Valley’s beers, with the exception of the Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, going back to when the Malt Advocate rated the Anderson Valley ESB equal to Fuller’s. I ran out to try some and was very disappointed. It wasn’t in the same league. Being a big fan of Winter Seasonals, I thought this might be different, but it too falls short of my limited expectations. I drank this back-to-back with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (which may have been unfair), and this one came off the Sidney Carton to Sierra’s Charles Darnay. It looks similar, has a similar ABV, and a similar philosophy; but ends up almost entirely different. A noble effort, but unfortunately it comes up short.
Backwash: As mentioned, this review is a tale of two Winter Seasonals. Compared to Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale, this brew is overmatched. My tastes don’t run to the “hop-head” end of the spectrum, but the execution of the Celebration Ale is far better. If you are looking for Winter Seasonals, do yourself a favor and look to Fuller’s, Young’s, Sam Smith’s; or if you lean toward hoppier offerings, Stone or Sierra Nevada.
01-07-2003 10:37:42 | More by Dantes
More User Reviews:
3.15/5 rDev -18.8%
I have waited quite awhile to try this beer but I was pretty let down flavor-wise anyways.Poured a deep rich aber with a tight well formed almond one finger head that settled nicely into a creamy mass.Xmas aromas going on I picked up some vanilla and caramel with lighter notes of cinnamon and brown sugar,I honestly thought I was drinking a sharp cream soda just way to much vanilla-like flavors it overpowered any other flavor really from coming thru.It got to be cloying half way thru and my wife finished it.wow this beer has everything going for it except flavor in my opinion and is way to pricey,I will not seek this out again.
11-19-2006 15:58:17 | More by oberon
3.6/5 rDev -7.2%
Appearance This beer is just gorgeous. It is bright, ruby brown in color with a full, thick, retentive head.
Smell The dark, Winter Warmer malts give this one a nice aroma. I can also pick up some good, fruity sugars and a light hop compliment.
Taste The malt and light hop mix turn nutty at the taste. The fruits are there, albeit very light, but its this nutty flavor that seemed to come out of nowhere that is dominating the flavor profile.
Mouthfeel This light to medium-bodied ale was a bit thin for the flavors.
Drinkability This wasnt a bad offering by Anderson Valley, it was just a little off and a bit light in the ass.
11-23-2004 15:42:09 | More by RoyalT
3.53/5 rDev -9%
Does anyone remember cattail candy? When I was a kid I used to get this stuff from old people and I always hated it. Cattails consisted of caramel on a stick, which made them look a lot like natures cattails and they were slightly vanilla flavored. Well, Anderson Valleys Winter Solstice tastes remarkably similar to cattail candy.
I have to give this brewery props for uniqueness. I have never quite tasted a beer like this. It is supremely rich and tastes strongly of sticky candied caramel and the syrup they add to vanilla flavored vodka. Unfortunately, I dont care for the flavor much but I could definitely see others relishing in this beer.
The appearance and mouthfeel are both tremendous. The beer is immensely smooth and creamy despite violent swirls of carbonation that give the otherwise transparent dark brown body a hazy look to it. Lacing is decent and lasting. The nose has nice light hop feel to it, which helps to dry the finish of this otherwise sweet beer. Although this beer is not for me, I cant help but respect it. If the vanilla was toned down a little I might enjoy it a whole lot more.
03-24-2006 20:42:54 | More by DaPeculierDane
2.58/5 rDev -33.5%
A: Light copper, good clarity and a very thin, off-white head
S: Moderately-strong caramel malt with moderate light-fruit aromas of peaches and apples. There is a pipe tobacco like aroma, with a bit of vanilla. I don't smell any spice although that be in line with a winter warmer as apposed to a Christmas Ale. There isn't any hops though maybe a light earthiness that is caught up with the tobacco.
T: It tastes only slightly better than the smell with the pipe tobacco up from mixed with a moderate sweetness. There is a light raisin and apricot type of fruitiness. The hops bitterness is pretty mild leaving the balance is slightly sweet. The finish is of a slight citrus peel flavor.
M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation.
O: An uninspiring beer that I would not recommend. It kind of comes off like a homebrew made from old extract having that extract twang mixed with poor fermentation temperature control fruitiness.
12-29-2012 02:11:24 | More by MadScientist
3.95/5 rDev +1.8%
This was a good seasonal beer but by far the best. It poured a nice ruby reddish color with a very small head that left slight lace down the glass. The smell was faint, but was I could detect was a very pronounced spice scent with hints of malt as well. If you are a malt lover you will love this beer for sure, as that is the dominant flavor. There is also a light spice to it and some kind of slight citrus flavor as well, perhaps grapefruit. Also, despite being 6.9% they are very easy to drink. So grab a six'er and enjoy!
12-23-2003 08:56:25 | More by Dmann
3.95/5 rDev +1.8%
2007 Edition. Pours from the bottle a muddy copper/orange color with almost no head. Very heavy aroma of fruit (apple/cherry) and spice(cinnamon) with lesser hints of molasses and some light malt. Strong alcohol flavor hits first followed by a very nice fruitiness with lots of cinnamon and some lesser vanilla and a slight bourbon flavor. Slight sediment in the bottom and the beer has very large, medium speed carbonation. Good beer but it definitely feels like more alcohol is present than the 6.9% listed on the bottle.
08-02-2009 01:31:07 | More by Narnad
3.98/5 rDev +2.6%
This beer was a pleasant surprise. I had never had it before and was unsure what to expect.
12oz pours and orange-ish amber red, 1 finger of cream colored head. Leaves light lacing on glass.
S- Smells delicious, vanilla, toffee and light spices.
T- has upfront taste of vanilla, toffee, also has light spices with a hint of brown sugar and Graham cracker
M- Medium to full body, very low carbonation.
Overall I really enjoyed this. It was nice to have a winter warmer that was not loaded up with a ton of spices. I will buy more soon as this was a single purchase.
12-02-2011 01:24:25 | More by Ferks012
4/5 rDev +3.1%
A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with slow rising carbonation and one finger of light tan head. Head dissipated pretty quickly; not much lacing.
S - Caramel malt and a sweet spiciness. Has aromas of grain and a a faint cream soda aroma as well.
T - Sweet and bread malt up front, again with a slight cream soda taste. Spices (slight pepper and some cinnamon) are present but pretty subdued, becoming a bit more pronounced on the finish. Enjoyable.
M - Medium mouthfeel has a slight stickiness to it.
O - This is an enjoyable and easy drinking winter warmer. Doesn't over do it with the spices, though there is a spice presence. I would get this again.
12-14-2011 23:19:55 | More by warnerry
3.15/5 rDev -18.8%
12 oz bottle. Pours a hazy reddish orange with a creamy off-white head that retains pretty well.
The aroma is sweet grainy malts and some spices (vanilla, gingerbread) and a little honey.
The flavor is more gingerbread and vanilla and caramel. It has a sweet alcoholic finish. The mouthfeel is is medium and a little watery.
Overall, it's too sweet for me. I don't really care for the blend of spices too much either (especially the vanilla - not a big fan). Very reminiscent of cream soda. Give me an Anchor OSA over this anytime!
01-27-2006 06:46:13 | More by Beaver13
3.9/5 rDev +0.5%
Bomber bottle --> big wine glass.
A - pours a nice mahogany brown, very clear. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to speak of.
S - Sweet molasses, hazelnuts, some faint orange juice.
T - Great big wave of sweetness.. more molasses, carmel. Hazelnuts and spices (not-hot cinnamon, nutmeg) ride over top of this and hit in the middle. Finishes out with a bit of bitterness. Aftertaste is of more nuts and some kind of sweetness... almost tastes like circus peanuts.
M - Not very carbonated, I guess that's okay. Pretty thick otherwise, the sweetness hangs around for awhile.
D - One bomber is plenty enough for a beer as sweet as this. Good beer and well-made, but not overwhelming. Looking forward to trying some other AV beers..
01-09-2009 03:07:31 | More by cschepers
4.18/5 rDev +7.7%
A- Deep amber with amazing clarity and a few carbonation bubbles. Pours with a large off-white head that fades to one finger that sticks around and leaves lots of thick lace.
S- Gentle spice, vanilla and cinnamon, mix with a lightly fruity and malty backbone.
T- Again I get a grape fruitiness mixing with sweet and biscuity malt, and vanilla.
M- Medium bodied with low carbonation. Could use a touch more body to let it fill the mouth more.
O- An interesting and refreshing brew. I usually refuse to buy a winter seasonal in October, but I'll make an exception for this one.
10-27-2012 21:37:28 | More by Guden
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,383 ratings.