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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

695 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 695
Hads: 1,655
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 64
Gots: 184 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001

Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 695 | Hads: 1,655
Photo of thebrood1987
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very malty sweet smell with spices and caramel. It has a rich malty sweetness very tasty with a vanilla bit of orange and cinnammon nutmeg in there all subtle not jumping out too much and some slight bitterness from the hops.

The mouthfeel is amazing on this beer and I also get a slight mineral salty taste I guess from the mineral water they use? Its a very complex tasty beer the whole way down and is very drinkable.

This brewery is one of the best in Calfiornia. This one and their Hop Ottin IPA are some of my favorite beers ever. Very full flavored for sure. (569 characters)

Photo of jayw73
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a must have beer for a winter seasonal. There is a tremendous amount of maltiness on the palate on initial taste but enough spiciness and hops to really balance out the flavor. I have had many winter seasonals and this is the best there is!

a dark brown with strong creamy head

t delicious, malty, vanilla, caramel

m very smooth and velvety

d gimme another please (376 characters)

Photo of BeerLover48Fan
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an interesting and worthwhile winter warmer to seek out. It pours a deep amberish brown color with little if any head, and forget about lacing or retention. The smell is caramel and cola syrup, perhaps a bit of cherry in there too. This is a medium bodied ale with very little carbonation and bordering on a syrupy full body. The taste is complex. There are plenty of caramel notes when the beer is cold, but as it settles, there is an unmistakable vanilla flavor, nutmeg, maybe some allspice flavor that begins to emerge. There is a spicy bite in there towards the end, and you will find a discernible aftertaste. This is a relatively flat, spicy, sweet, syrupy ale that pleases the palate. Worth seeking out. . If you are in the Burlington County NJ area Red White and Brew at 33 High Street in Mount Holly is where you will find this beer, Stop in and see Stacey and the staff and browse their Micro and Seasonal selection (933 characters)

Photo of Greenfloyd
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Why can't it be Winter all year long....

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. makes some pretty good beers, but during the real cold months, the Winter Solstice comes out to play. Pouring a lightish amber hue, the quickly fading off-white head trails down the snifter. The smells of sweet malt, faint holiday spice, and orange brandy hit your nose like a sweet winter warming train. The creamy mouth feel of the beer stays consistent from start to finish. Tastes of delicate holiday spices paired with subtle hints of orange essence that trail off into a creamsicle (50/50 bar) like finish. The aftertaste lingers on wonderfully until the next sip. This is, by the way, a medium to heavy bodied sipping beer, that should be served in a snifter for maximum drinking pleasure. I always like to pair food with the beers I review, but not this time. Given that the beer stands so well on it's own, and only comes out in winter, I like this one all by itself....but if you must indulge, a little pound cake would pair perfectly...Enjoy (1,025 characters)

Photo of tenorvoice0739
4.92/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

O.K.!

This is definately a "Best in Show" type beer. Across the style categories, this brew is a Platinum award beer. The 2003 edition has been the best so far. It seems that Anderson Valley is paying close attention to the proportions of additives and truely working towards perfection of this important seasonal beer. What I mean is that over the years the beer has ebbed and flowed with many of its characteristics. Last year's version contained an overt vanilla signature that has receeded in this years glass. In this edition I sense more of the pleasant winter spices that are married to, and not in opposition of, the very sweet caramel malt.

This beer is not a rougue interpretation of style, but everything about it says "winter beer". Low carbonation, sweet, toasty malt, and a warming spirit finish contribute to it's adhearance to style and its distinction.

This beer is an example of a brewer's journey towards "getting it right". I have always judged winter ales in their unique addidtives. Many brewers can fail miserably and produce a beer that tastes like a Christmas tree. Balance is where Winter Solstice wins out.

This popular beer will be gone by January so drink up quickly. (1,209 characters)

Photo of microbrewlover
4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Here we go with another great winter warmer.

This beer pours with a lovely amber/copper color. Minimal lacing with a quickly dissapearing head and medium carbination.

The second thing I noticed, color being the first, was the smell. Loaded with spices, I believe anise, cardamon and allspice are in this brew, possibly others, (cinnamon, possibly). There was also a bit of a bready, doughy smell.

The taste is the same as the smell, the spices hit your mouth and linger there, even after swallowing. I could not taste any bitterness or alchohol.

The brew is filling and warming. Maybe this is my imagination but I would also say invigorating. Anderson Valley turned in a winner. I will be looking forward to this brew every winter. (737 characters)

Photo of AnalogReigns
4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is just a great beer. Very spiced, but....not too much. Sweet, and, Christmastime wouldn't be Christmas without it!

Lovely appearance, very red-brown with nice lacing.

Smells of malt and spices....

Taste is sublime...

Great balanced mouthfeel.

One wants to drink more...but not TOO much.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! (347 characters)

Photo of mwa423
4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful clear red with two fingers of white head that died down to a very sticky lacing.

S - Hefty smell of dried fruit and vanilla, very christmas/holiday like.

T - The taste is a very full flavored with lots of spice, mostly vanilla, and lots of fruit. This is almost more of a fruit beer than a winter warmer. But, I love the taste and will have to pick some of these up in the future.

M/D - Mouthfeel is filling and creamy, very enjoyable. This is a very drinkable beer, but I think that the subtlety and complexity of this beer would be lost after a few. (577 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark, cloudy, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Toasted malt, freshly baked bread, brown sugar, caramel, some floral notes of clover and hops.

Taste: Beautiful! Very toasty and bready up front, like toasted English muffins, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, some black pepper, coriander, and just a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth, as there is practically no carbonation what-so-ever. Some good carbonation to slightly tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.9%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is an excellent beer, and another one from Anderson Valley!! I love the toasty/malty flavor backed with the caramel. I’m definitely getting some more of this! (981 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers and my favorite winter beer, but after two years of tasting this I feel compelled to lower my ratings slightly..



-Heavy caramel flavor...sweet pleasant aroma...tastes and smells like a caramel apple...awesome seasonal...minimal hop balance...this is a great winter beer with an octoberfest feel...nice sweet and tasty..I love it..hops don't overwhelm but balance from keeping too sweet..very nice malty aftertaste...my kind of seasonal...wish I had a keg of this... (497 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

beautiful honey-toffee color, minimal head, but a thick tan layer and a nice cover on the sides.
smells very sweet with honey and toffee on the top.
taste reminds me of an english type of brew, with the typical english malts. i actually really like this. another good, long draught to determine whether i can consciously give this a five! alright, i'm not even buzzed yet and this stuff is AWESOME!! if it were a 4.9% brew i'd knock it down a bit, but at 6.9% this is very nice. slight bitterness on the side of the tongue, but an overall subtle sweetness and this really satisfies. i'd honestly give this a 98 or 99 for the taste, but since i cannot, i'm giving it a 5. 4.5 for appearance and smell as i really like the thickness on the sides and the smell promises happiness before the first quaff. i am very impressed with this, especially since it's all gone on sale at Total Wine because, i suppose, we're done with the 'seasonals' . . . . (944 characters)

Photo of donchata
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very smooth beer with exceptional color, body, fruity tones and quiet kick that will put you at ease as you gaze in wonderment at your Christmas tree. Serve ice cold or room temperature this beer isn't picky about climate. One of the best winter's available. (268 characters)

Photo of ddanania
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer to start non beer drinkers off. It will convert most.

Presentation: On tap served in a standard shaker glass.

Appearance: Bright reddish amber hue, off white head is fluffy.

Smell: Sweet red apples or a caramel apple, lots of malty sweetness with a twinge of fruit and almost no hop.

Taste: Full flavor mouthfeel with a sweet malt sways the non beer drinker almost immediately. The small amount of hop bitterness balances the sweetness of the malt leaving a spiciness for an aftertaste.

Notes: Every non beer drinker and mass beer drinker always looks at the beer with a squint and says 'WOW, that's good!' (636 characters)

Photo of RudeElf
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maybe a hard day at work made this all the more enjoyable for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Poured a hazy dark amber. With a 2 finger tan head.

Smells of vanilla.

Very creamy mouthfeel, mellow sweetness, but not too sweet with lots of caramel. Vanilla.

Overall, very enjoyable. (285 characters)

Photo of rafinator
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer at a "gourmet" burger joint. Ordered it after asking for a good brown ale and having the waitress suggest it. Surprisingly smooth and somewhat sweet. Moderately strong. After 2 pints I felt pretty jolly. Will order it again if it's still around. (259 characters)

Photo of SteveO1231
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Grabbed a bomber from BevMo!

Looks awesome! Pours a very nice dark ruby red with a diesel layer of tan bubbles floating on top of the brew. Nice carbonation.

Has a vanilla smell to it, kind of like a cream soda.

Nice roasted caramel sweetness, large vanilla flavor with a little spiciness and faint hoppiness.

This beer is very crisp and clean, very balanced and drinkable, a little sweet but a good dessert beer.

I really enjoyed this one.

Cheers! (467 characters)

Photo of isualum12
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer is my personal holy grail...A couple weeks ago I was hosting a winter beer tasting event and I sampled this beer incase I wanted to have it at the tasting event. My mind was blown away. I instantly want to try and pair it with some food. Snickerdoodle cookies....I know your laughing right now. Try it, it was pure bliss. Since then I have had it on tap 4 more times and loved every one.

Big creamy smooth head, with a cooper to red body.

Sweet caramel cinnomen malt smell. You can smell the sugars.
Caramel and cinnomen are the two main flavors i walked away with.

Medium body, with a creamy aftertaste.

Flavors are not over the top but are balanced to perfection. I simply loved this paired with the cookie. On a side note this was the top beer of the 8 winter beers I had at the tasting voted on by the 12 friends I had over.

I just bought another 6 today.
Serving type: bottle and tap. (905 characters)

Photo of DarthMalt
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"It's the most -- wonderful -- non-Reinheinstegebot -- tiiiime -- of the year!"

Yeah, Baby! Cuddle up in front of the fireplace with your Honey for this one.

Super, crystal-brown amber with crinkling crystal-brown head to match. FABULOUS NOSE!!!!! The smell of love in Winter.

Taste follows through stunningly on all expectations--great malt, adequate hop balance (almost like a doppel-Oktoberfest, if such a thing existed) and spices????????????

Okay... the label ingredients read, "seasonal spicing" and the website reads, "our private blend of holiday spice." Could'a fooled me! Spices usually throw the baby out with the bath water for me, but in Anderson Valley's case, they wield as exquisitely as Rogue does for Hazelnut Brown Nectar--a master stroke, if ever there was one.

God Bless Winter, America, Manifest Destiny, and the lack of purity laws when it comes to making a beer such as this.

Happy Holidays! (934 characters)

Photo of bs870621345
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up on a recommendation from a manager at a random store I stopped into.

Pours an amber color with half inch of head. Spotty lacing, but good looking.

Smells like caramel, butterscotch, spice, and raisin like fruits.

Taste is like smell. Very sweet, but not cloying. Nice amount of fruit and spice flavors mixed into the sweetness. A great taste.

Mouthfeel is nice, not sticky and carbonated enough to keep the beer with a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability is high, no hints of alcohol and extremely inviting. (516 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark honey color with a creamy beige head. Average retention and some decent lacing.

A balanced myriad of scents in this beer. Fruity notes (apples, strawberries) blend nicely with a grainy smell and sweet caramel maltiness.

Mmmmm, has zesty, spicy, fruity and creamy flavors. Caramel, floral hops and yeasty fruit esters are all quite noticeable. Sooo smooth and drinkable - wow! A sixer of these could seriously disappear in about 30 minutes. Another stellar beer from AV. (484 characters)

Photo of 2x10
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange tint with a red hue. Little foam and nice carbonation. Definitely a beer you dont want to drink ice cold cause it takes alot of the flavor away and your left with bubbles.

Great mouthfeel with very little indication of spices. They are there (cinnamon, clove), but very unnoticable.

You can definitely taste the advertised black currant and the finish has a hint of black licorice. I personally hate black licorice, but in this beer, it works really well.

Our opinion is that is winter warmer blows all the Winter beers out of the water. Only downside to us is that it could have a higher abv. (619 characters)

Photo of ZBerkeleyan
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured it out of a bottle, and it created a thick and frothy tan head. Nice layer of lacing when I tipped the glass. Dark red-brown color, a little light shone though. Only a few bubbles were apparent.

The nose in this one has got loads of caramel, and some other flavors playing around in the background as well, though none so immediately apparent as the caramel.

Taste is malty and sweet, but not overly sweet so as to be cloying. Very tasty! This beer went equally well with a dinner and a dessert.

This beer goes down smooth, and it is not too heavy or sticky in its consistency. Not a lot of bubbles, but it doesn't taste old or flat either.

Overall a tasty, enjoyable, excellent beer. It is sweet but subtle enough to pair well with all sorts of food. Or have it on its own. Just have it! (800 characters)

Photo of LPC19
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A delicious winter beer that is nearly a holy grail in the Midwest.

Good, sweet aroma, with strong sugar, molasses, and vanilla scents.

Great balance in the taste, with a subtle malt, accompanied by hints of spice and especially vanilla. Has a nice carmel base that is mild-bodied and underscores the added spices well. (322 characters)

Photo of bob3701
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I really wish I was closer to this brewery, I think it goes through alot to get to Jersey and not refrigerated. That being said this is an awsome brew. Pours very dark clear amber color with a nice head that goes into a film with sporatic lacing. A great aroma only hints at the exceptional taste. This feels like I'm drinking velvet and has this great caramel taste. And it finishes nicely. I do like the Summer Solstice a tad better but I'll wait for a fresh batch to review that. (482 characters)

Photo of karst
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A near perfect looking under a big persistent head your going to wait on unless you have a tall pint glass for the 12 oz. of deep copper clear colored nector to erupt . Caramelized malt, Citris and a little alcoholic aroma are pulling you in. (one reviewer noted it was sensed by a friend accross the table!). I did not find the mouth feel chewy (reviewer drinking tap) but it is medium and more pleasing as it warms.

This seasonal ale was so good I started to think of the best flavored beers I have tasted. Its strong sweet malt taste (reminding me of aromas near the end of my 3 hours stiring mash just a few nights ago).This strong pleasing taste was well balanced with hops and it easily cloaked its nearly 7% ABV even at the end. You will want to drink more as your glass drops to the bottom. Toward the bottom half - the 360° panorama of laced "creatures" adhered, with their ropey lace shapes changing each time I tilted the large bell shaped weissbeir container.

Only worries about this refined Anderson Valley Ale is improving its mouthfeel and providing bigger bottles because your going to want to share it and everyone is going to want a second glass. (1,173 characters)

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.