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

1,650 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,650
Reviews: 720
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 60
Gots: 179 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,650 | Reviews: 720
Photo of portia99
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up this 12oz can on a whim to give it a try. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Can foams up immediately upon opening causing a somewhat rushed pour. Hits the glass and forms two thick fingers of tan colored creamy head with excellent staying power. Body of the beer is a clear and attractive mahogany brown. Thick webs of lacing left on the glass as the foam slowly fades away to the surface.

S - Sweet malt up front, fruity and spicy hops, cinnamon, citrus.

T - Interesting, but in a weird way. Vanilla is high on the list up front with cinnamon, a weird fruitiness (plums?), cherries, thin hop bitterness, sugary sweetness - conjuring images of some kind of candy I can't quite place, a bit biscuity.

M - A bit thin overall paired with a creamy mid level carbonation. Spices and fruity flavors dominate but the malt does have a presence.

O - Winter warmers are sorta hit or miss for me...this one plays more towards the miss side. Not bad...I definitely wouldn't have more than one in a session tho. For the style I'd say this is pretty average.

Photo of TXHops
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

AVBC's 2002 Winter Solstice pours an orangey-reddish color, pretty clear, with a fairly impressive, beigish head of foam displaying pretty good staying power. There's an interesting coolish-mint, light citrus aroma over the malty sweet base. The flavor is pretty similar: soft body (as opposed to firm) with a sweet malt base and very understated spicing. (cinnamon, orange and nutmeg?) Actually, the softness of the body is a little frustrating--it almost feels Belgian, though without the fusels. The mintiness grows a little in the tail and so does the very slight citrus quality, coming together to create a slight, menthol feeling in my nose--like it's being cleared out.

All in all, this is a nice spiced beer, as the spices don't really taste like much (my kind of spices). The soft body is annoying and the lack of any particular individuality in this beer takes away some points as well.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a cloudy medium amber with a half finger head that disappeared quickly to a ring of lacing...only a little bit sticky.
Aromas are sweet amber malt and brown sugar with just a touch of buttery caramel.
Immediate impression on the taste was one of Vanilla...very very vanilla. I get a hint of citrus hops but predominately I get brown sugar and vanilla. Warming I get more buttery caramel and butterscotch.
This is good and sweet but sort of one dimensional...not quite complex enough. My impression, again, is mostly vanilla. Sort of like drinking a cream soda

Photo of ksimons
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-rich brown with about an inch of foam which left a thin layer on top

S-warm bread like malt and citrus fruit, no real spices present

T-low carbonation, a fruity taste but not overly sweet, malty, butterscotch, again not getting much winter warmer spices

M-slight carbonation, very smooth, no real aftertaste, thin body

Very easy to drink, but not the most exciting. With a fuller body, richer malt, and more winter spices this could be a pretty good winter warmer.

Photo of callmeclemens
3.24/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A nice sipping beer for a winter night.

Had last night from the bottle.

Smells mostly of caramel with a hint of florals, or perhaps just a subtle fruit. Taste genenrally the same, not to dark not to heavy. A nice caramel malted, slightly fruity brew.

Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bright amber hue, with a thick off-white head delicately resting on top of the pint glass. Tough to detect, although appears to be some hop aroma beneath the gigantic head. Up front, rather fluffy, some honey and a bit of slick buttery feeling. Some sweet malts make it through, has a little warming feel. Winter spices are tucked away, very clean, a sweet malty finish. The flavors never gave way, and were masked, a real disappointment from an otherwise decent brewery.

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third bottle I've had this year... I really want to like it, as I'm a fan on the whole of AVBC... but after a third failed attempt at enjoying this one, I figured a review was appropriate.

Pours a nice looking clear light ruby with grapefruit highlights. A fairly average full cream colored head stuck around for a bit before fading, leaving a fair bit of standard red-ale lacing.

aroma is interesting, with a definite creamy vanilla aroma. comes close to vanilla cream soda and shortbread cookies. A bit of floral hops and some woody, oaky notes come through as well. A hint of light cracker-like malt comes through the sweetness.

I had hoped the aroma was just the aroma, but it carries through to the taste. Vanilla cola-ish, with a bit of bitter pine hops and some odd smoky oak flavors, maybe as a result of the spicing? Malt sugar and spice with some odd accents...

The mouthfeel was equally disappointing. The almost-cloying sweetness of the flavor is amplified by the mouthfeel... thick and incredibly carbonated for the style. Fizzy, more like beer soda, with a sticky and syrupyness that just confused the palette more.

All in all, I'm flat out disappointed. Overly sweet with a relatively one-dimensional flavor profile. the mouthfeel just doesn't work, and the flavors the come through are just confusing and don't realy work together. Fairly weak... and with all of the other winter seasonals out there, I can't really see much of a draw for this one.

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Winter Solstice pours a nice mid color amber with a quickly disappearing foam head that leaves some webbing on the side of the glass. The aroma of the WS is spicy and definitely malting to the nose. It is not a bad tasting beer but not just my style. It is strongly dominated by the malts with a sweet finish. I like a little hoppiness jumping around. In the mouth it was a little thin for a winter warmer.

Photo of illidurit
3.21/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic. Two fingers of head atop an extremely hazy body that's a little too light in color for the style.

Smells like apple pie beer, if that makes any sense. Lots of brown sugar/cinnamon sprinkled on a fruity base. Interesting but off-putting.

Tastes a lot like brown sugar with some caramel. Cinnamon is obvious, and again there's a chewy dark fruitiness.

Carbonation is way over the top, and to complicate things, the body is too light. This makes for poor mouthfeel and drinkability.

Photo of rastaman
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Barley wine style ale. Sweet raisin and syrup, piney hops, spicy. A bit too sticky for me, but its not bad at all. It does have flavour and body as it should, and as with most Anderson Valley beers i've had, its pretty solid and well made, yeah, not bad in the end.

Photo of Beaver13
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice poured deep copper with a thick creamy head.

The smell and taste were dominated by something artificial and sugary, like white chocolate or vanilla extract. The feel was too thick, creamy, and smooth. It had no bitterness.

If I drank this blindfolded I would have thought it was vanilla eggnogg, and much like eggnog, I could only take a small dose of Anderson Valley Winter Solstice.

Photo of aaronh
3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This deep amber beer with orange-red highlights pours with an attractive white head the displays decent retention. The aromas are a little of spice and a little of hops, pleasant but not assertive enough to pick out individual traits. The taste was like a normal pale ale that had some spice added to it somewhere along the line. The beer displayed a normal light ale feel on the tongue, but left an unpleasant bitterness clinging to my mouth on the finish. The poor finishing characteristics and the high ABV result in a beer I'm glad I tried, but of which I didn't buy a sixer. My third offering from Anderson Valley was definitely not a "charm".

Photo of emerge077
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mellow copper amber color, transparent with a persistent head of offwhite foam. Ethereal halo of densely patterned spotty lacing.

Mild but inoffensive aroma, vaguely sweet, though not much substance.

Tangy bready malt, cream soda, vanilla, cookie sweetness, light nutmeg. Light bodied, some light astringency. Tastes like cream soda and sugar cookies, but overall is a little too subdued for my taste. Pretty drinkable, but would like more flavor and body, it just isn't there.

Photo of jim1904
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz into a pint. Slightly above cellar temp, I'd say about 58 degrees.

A - Copper-amber, a nice color. Jewel clear. Moderate head that disappears rapidly leaving behind almost zero lacing. Great color, disappointing head.

S - Corny, but in a good way. Malty and corny, with a faint whiff of spices that are not altogether wintery. Brown sugar is the most apparent, with a bit of allspice tinge.

T - The spices here are front and center, forming a series of flourishes against a malt backdrop. Strong amber malt notes are accompanied by the same spices in the nose... brown sugar is strong here, with hints of cinnamon and cardamom with a bit of clove. The disappointing thing is how fleeting they are. They rush on strongly in the front of the party, leaving a quinine-like finish that is not terrible, but certainly is jarring after a pleasantly strong spice foretaste.

M - Carbonation is strong, but works well. Body is light, bubbles are stinging. I might have preferred a slightly heavier, flatter body for a winter warmer, but this isn't bad.

D - Drinkable for a 6.9% ale... which is not what I'm sure I want out of a winter warmer. I'm in fairly sultry Southern California right now, but I'm trying to picture myself enjoying this on a cold wintery day, and it doesn't really work. Maybe if the spices were a bit stronger.

At the end of the day, this is a pretty good beer that doesn't live so much up to the style but is rather enjoyable when judged on its own merits.

Photo of Truh
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Couldn’t have been any further away from the sun with this one on 11/26/2004. 16-oz. shaker pour at ACPH.

Filmy, cawl of initial chromosomal head. Dark amber to light mahogany hue and fairly clear. Somewhat muted Christmas earthy, floral bouquet of gargled malt, allspice, and hints of clover. Soapy malt taste with some kind of berry involved, maybe the nosey cranberry. Overall, seemingly lacking on the taste front for the style – almost too light for a winter, in my estimation.

Photo of tpd975
3.12/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of the brews I had at the Brickskeller on my trip to DC.

A: Dark garnet red color with a medium foamy tan head. Moderate lacing.

S: A real mix of aromas both sweet and spicy. Nice honey brown sugar sweetness with hints of vanilla. Clove, Nutmeg and Cinnamon hide beneath. Fruit notes can also be detected with touches of cherry and peach.

T: This one has a real creamy buttery taste right up front. Then the spices come at you. Nutmeg and Cinnamon are there but the clove kind of dominates. A touch of cherry juice can be detected in the finish.

M: Medium bodied and creamy.

D: Not really.

Overall: I did not enjoy this one at all. It's a malty brew with just too much going on with nothing really complimenting one another. The medicine type qualites of the clove just did not match up with the buttery taste of the brew. The sweet cherry mixed with the other spices is just tooo much. They had good intentions but went a bit over the top with this one. It actually made my stomache ache, and caused me to cut my trip to the Brickskeller a bit short.

Photo of VoodooBrew
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Golden-copper to amber

S: Sweetness. Pretty much just sweetness.

T: I get alot of sweet vanilla extract. Also, is that a hint of diacetyl?

M: Mostly easy and round, with a bitterness that chases through on the finish.

D: Not my cup of tea. A mostly average beer, easily lost among the smattering of holiday seasonal beers out there.

Photo of mactrail
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pretty serious vanilla takes over most of the flavor. Quite aromatic with more of the same. Amber color, decent lacing in the glass. Malty but very spicy. Strong cinnamon adds to the excess of flavorings. Rather cloying sweetness conflicts with the bitterness in the aftertaste. Seems to be a taste like butter, along with candied nuts. I have to admit that as off-putting as this at first, your taste buds get used to it. But not enough to drink the whole can.

In the swell new red, blue, and black 12 oz can.

Photo of MarkQ617
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second offering tasted from Anderson Valley. It's a fairly simple winter warmer, a bit light for my liking given the genre. Not too much spice flavor, not a particularly complex flavor profile. Reddish amber color with plenty of foam. Fairly average, just not what I'd hope for in a warmer.

Photo of naterock
3.07/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep brownish red, thin head but sticky and has patchy lacing.

smell is thin, not much to speak of. malt and some spice. slightly sour.

taste is thin as well. really unremarkable, not even a good style representation in my mind. after a half of a glass, I don't even taste anything in my mouth.

mouth is medium with a bit too much carbonation, drinks easy but I think it drinks too easy for this style. Just ok, but I'd never think of buying this again.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Anderson Valley- Winter Solstice

Appearance- Dark brown with a 2 finger thick sticky head.
Smell- Vanilla, Brown sugar, Caramel, Malt.
Taste- Big vanilla caramel flavor with hints of brown sugar and cke batter. Like a cream soda (other reviewers said this too)
Mouthfeel- Sweet with a mild flavor.

Overall- A decent tasting beer but I was expecting more. I could, if I had no choice, drink this all night but I'd prefer something stronger and with more flavor.

Photo of McNealc31
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Most of the flavors here are familiar with cinnamon and clove, but I'm also picking up some cedar, which is rather interesting. It's more subdued than other winter warmers. Starts off with a bit of fruit before the spices kick in. Almost like a spiced apple cider.

This is good, but I wouldn't put it on the top of my winter warmer list.

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber, slightly hazy, with a moderate head.

Smell: Sweet, cotton candy-like aroma; notes of vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Taste: Just as sweet as the aroma implies, but with balancing bitterness. Vanilla, caramel and butterscotch flavors are prevalent. Very little hop character; it tastes like spices are used as a substitute for hops rather than an accent. Sweetness continues throughout the aftertaste, with the slightest of hop bitterness coming out at the end.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy on the palate with moderate carbonation.

Notes: I can understand why this has mixed reviews - it's extremely sweet and spicy. Not bad, but not really to my liking.

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,650 ratings.