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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,323 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1323
Reviews: 672
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%


Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,323 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of slaintemhor
slaintemhor

Oregon

1.35/5  rDev -65.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Tried a bottle of this back in Sept. of '09. The colour was a ruddy amber with a thick head. The aroma was quite funky, and I don't mean that in a good way! There were smells akin to my compost bin,and that can't be good! On the palate, it tastes like my compost bin drippings might taste!! Is this a bad bottle?! I can't imagine that the folks at A.V. Brewing would make something this heinous!

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 06:14:07 | More by slaintemhor
Photo of WetCoaster
WetCoaster

California

1.83/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

*2005 edition

Well, usually I go through the whole process, but this beer was so shockingly bad I'm not going to bother. It looks pretty good, a deep amber, decent head, but slides down the hill after that. Smells like malted vanilla. It tastes like a weak, thin red ale with about four tablespoons of artificial vanilla flavoring dumped in. Cloyingly sweet, bland, thin, one-dimensional mess. I cannot believe this came out of Anderson Valley. I love you guys, but you're KILLING me with this one. Two words -- drain pour.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 05:35:57 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of popery
popery

California

1.95/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'll go back and try this one again, but this bottle is awful. It's extremely sweet and tastes a bit like a terrible, buttery gingerbread cookie. I'm trying to figure out what people like about it, but there's enormous sweet note in the finish that's turning my stomach. It reminds me of Shiner's terrible Holiday Cheer - there's almost a peach/apricot note in the sweetness. It tastes like there's an ok winter warmer underneath the bizarre sweet fruit notes, but it's a stretch for me to say anything positive here. More than anything, it tastes like a terrible flavored cola, Vanilla Coke or something. Actually, I think that the terrible flavor might be more vanilla than fruit. Either way, it's not to my liking. Hopefully, this is just a funny bottle. I will try it again soon.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 04:45:36 | More by popery
Photo of goz
goz

Massachusetts

1.98/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours reddish brown, nice tan head with good lacing. Aroma is quite nice - vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel in there. Flavor is heavy on the vanilla and butterscotch, and cloyingly sweet. I had trouble finishing this, hoping it would get better as it got warmer, but that didn't happen.
Probably not something I would try again.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2003 09:18:48 | More by goz
Photo of nsabo
nsabo

Washington

2.1/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The smell is awesome - cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and everything nice. Pretty stoked to sip it!
Hmm, tastes way too sweet. I don't drink soda, but this tastes like what I remember a cream soda tasted like. I've heard nothing but praise for this brewery and believe what I hear, but this still tastes like artificial flavors were added. Very faint piney hops, vanilla, white wine that’s been sitting out uncorked for a while, and honey.
Definitely a dessert beer, but even then, this is way too sweet for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2012 03:10:19 | More by nsabo
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

2.2/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Color is a translucent amber with a small cap.
Aroma is caramel, spices and cherry, and does not really go well together.
The flavors are also an odd mixture composed of the notes mentioned in the aroma, and i cant tell if something is off or just how it normally tastes, but its not very enjoyable. It has a slightly astringent feel.

No bueno.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 20:51:43 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of notsoprobeer
notsoprobeer

Oregon

2.23/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It's a gorgeous reddish orange color with an off-white head that dissipated fairly quickly. No lacing. Not very strong in the aroma department, I did pick up some malts, but no hops or spices. Flavor of alcohol, caramel malts, and some faint notes of brown sugar and vanilla. Light to medium bodied. The taste of alcohol is very strong in the finish and it lingers along with some sweetness.

I didn't like this beer because of the alcohol. It was the primary flavor I tasted, was present in the finish--and it lingered. Everyone seems to love this beer but me. But it is what it is.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 08:14:00 | More by notsoprobeer
Photo of BeerBuilder
BeerBuilder

Minnesota

2.4/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruby red in color with a thick tan head that left good lacing. The aroma is malty, caramely, maple and brown sugar, and spice. The flavor is sweet, and again I get the maple syrup, and spices like nutmeg? ginger? It is a full-bodied beer, with an unusual spice flavor that just did not work for me. It was sort of drying and powdery at the end of each sip, like powder spices were poured into my glass. I didn’t find this very drinkable, in fact I gave the rest of my glass to STUBOB. I was disappointed in this one; the spice combo just didn’t work for me in this beer. I will pass on this one again.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 11:26:51 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of ibashmuck
ibashmuck

Wisconsin

2.42/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Medium head on an orange/amber/copper body. There's some sort of nasty funk in the smell...overpowers everything else. Slightly bitter, a touch sweet, maybe maple syrup. Too fizzy. The funk and fizziness were big turnoffs. May have to try another to see if that funk was a fluke.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 05:00:10 | More by ibashmuck
Photo of JohnQVegas
JohnQVegas

Tennessee

2.42/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours hazy dark copper with a thin, one finger fizzy light khaki head.

Nose starts off with a sugary sweet strawberry fruity note. Unbelievably sweet.

Taste follows suit - cloyingly sweet caramel, toffee, and berry-like fruit note, with some pure sugar sweetness mixed in. It's like they forgot to hop this batch or something. Sightly metallic.

Restrained carbonation, syrupy body. Sticky.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2009 00:33:52 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of aleyeast
aleyeast

South Carolina

2.5/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I have long been a fan of this winter seasonal and would venture a guess that five years ago or so, it was in the top of my list for must haves in the winter. Lately, at least the last two years, this beer has been dominated by vanilla which I don't personally find attractive in the beer. To me, vanilla is a flavoring, not a spice. It definitely feels creamy to drink, but that may be the vanilla flavor lending that sensation. Overall, the beer is well made and consistent, but I feel the key to good spiced beer is balance and moderation. I also believe this recipe has changed over the years.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2006 14:55:56 | More by aleyeast
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

2.55/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a murky amber color with a small tan head and moderate lacing on the glass. The aroma is somewhat malty and very sweet. The flavor has a hint of some sort of nut. It is very full bodied, but I don't think it fits my taste well. It rates about average in my book. There are also a lot of spices in the flavor. This beer is not very drinkable but it leaves an ok taste on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 18:14:36 | More by clvand0
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

2.58/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 02:11:24 | More by MadScientist
Photo of GreenWBush
GreenWBush

Oregon

2.6/5  rDev -33%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2004 release. Heady ruby. The graphic design on the bottle is seasonal and gorgeous: the beer's color is remarkably similar to the outlay of the "themed" elements: foothills covered in snow, hollyberry replacing the hop trellises, the bear-ish creature done up for the season. The giant, rocky head and unbelievably sticky lace are noteworthy but seem on par with this great brewery's offerings.

The nose hints at oaky vanilla and slightly sour banana. The malts are sweet and there is a slight stamp of cascade hops in the mix.

Wow, this is downright awfully done. Natural flavor? All I can taste is a tub of butter and some overzealously gooey malt characteristic.

Pass - this year's is much worse than last.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2004 19:07:41 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of WMBierguy
WMBierguy

Maryland

2.6/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I normally like special winter ales, but I just couldn't get into this one. The spices use in this holiday brew were too strong. The end result was an ale that tasted as if it were brewed with potpourri. Not a very drinkable beer, and I won't be getting this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 06:24:47 | More by WMBierguy
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

2.65/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Redbones...My first thought was, wow this tastes like caramel candy. After about a fourth of the glass, I wondered where the taste went. It pours a nice amber color, no head, no lace either. The overwhelming taste of caramel that first appealed to me quickly vanished. It wasn't particularly hoppy, malt taste was there, not omnipresent though...I've never had a beer where the flavor went so quickly, I don't think my taste buds were overwhelmed, but maybe so. After each sip, there was a wee whisp of caramel, but not like at the first few sips. While it wasn't a bad tasting beer, I had no urge to get another. The flavor just didn't last.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2002 02:27:17 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of gentlebubbles
gentlebubbles

Massachusetts

2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

on tap at Redbone's

Luminous honey-gold, served with barely any head, just cream-colored foam skimming across the surface. Syrupy scent. Cinnamon spice mingles with the malt. Lingering syrupy body and a weird medicinal aftertaste that refuses to leave like an unwanted guest.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2004 17:46:07 | More by gentlebubbles
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz from the Boise Coop for $1.50/bottle poured into a shaker pint. Listening to Renaissance Worldwide Singapore "David Morales Mix".

Sweet cherry juice and crystal clear. Sticky lite tan head.

Malty aroma with vanilla and butter undertones. No real hops ... sorta overpowered by the spices.

I really hate saying this, but it reminds me of a vanilla cream soda .... and not the soda-shoppe kind, more like the artificial bottled kind.

This is a tough review for me to write. I love the Boont amber (almost certainly my favorite amber ale). But this one is going to take a hit. I know from my notebook reviews, I am hyper-critical of diacetyl; and I am only getting a little butter from this beer, but combined with the vanilla ... wow ... The diacetyl is hyper accentuated. I think they should move away from the spices (at least the vanilla) and balance more with a low but still solid flavoring of citrus hops.

Sorry. I will buy this brew again, mainly for comparison ... but I will probably wait a year or two.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 10:38:57 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Can date: unk

A: excellent cinnamon brown ale with under a finger of off white foam which falls quickly to a central cap and rim of the same. Spotty lace.
S: Smells like marshmallows, malt, caramel, and a hint of copper.
T: Sweet. Very sweet. Vanilla. malts and vanilla and sweet and low.
M: Creamy and full bodied with a semi dry finish.
O: interesting. I remember this beer tasting a little less artificial. Now it tastes like it has a butt load of sucralose or something in it.

Serving type: can

11-12-2011 06:53:32 | More by harrymel
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

2.73/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to swnicholoson for throwing this into an excellent trade this spring!

I have never had a beer that smells like ass before. Interesting. It made me think about a drain-pour before the glass touched my virgin lips. Another first. This is the first time the smell of a brew has interfered with my enjoyment of said liquid.

Thank Zeus, the taste is nothing like the smell (although my wife recoiled in horror & poured her half into my pint glass). Taste very spicy, like cadmun & cinnamon & apple tizzy poured into a beer-like substance. Not something I want every day, but pleasant enough. I think a roaring fire & bearskin rug would make it better.

Hard to drink much of it, though. I can see why it's a 'winter warmer' as my belly is warming already. Huh. Not quite sure what to think of this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2008 02:43:22 | More by maximum12
Photo of Risser09
Risser09

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass - 2007 vintage - Poured at cellar temperature

Appearance: this ale pours a transparent brown color with some red highlights. The head reaches one inch in height and has an ivory color. It fades within a minute and leaves no lace on the glass.

Smell: Malty in aroma, with some barely discernable spices. They are cinnamon and allspice. Not much more to say for the aroma.

Taste: Peppery and woody. Cedar and nutmeg are the main flavors. Malt fills up th rest of the flavor profile. No hop presence to speak of. Sweet malt sugar rounds out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Sugary and malty. Not much other flavor. Thin to medium bodied with medium carbonation and not much alcohol presence. Sort of warming.

Drinkability: I generally dislike winter warmers, and I generally dislike this beer. There's not much to really appreciate. It doesn't stand out in any category. I'm not really sure what makes it a Christmas beer. It's not horrible but it's certainly below average. Not my cup of tea....err beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 01:24:23 | More by Risser09
Photo of ricke49
ricke49

Oregon

2.75/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First two things I noticed: for an essentially 7% abv brew there was no hint of alcohol (not even enough to qualify as a "warmer" style brew). Secondly, was strong vanilla essence. Too strong for my taste - almost cloying. Would have appreciated a more assertive hop profile.

Very low on any flavor that I would consider 'beer'. I had to ask "is this beer?" (or perhaps some adult style crème soda?). At least when I drink Jubelale I get a nice lip smack from the hops...I guess I'm spoiled. Not a very exciting brew, and when this 6-pack is gone, I'll not be acquiring more.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 00:07:09 | More by ricke49
Photo of putnam
putnam

Michigan

2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice with a rosy golden amber color.
The aromas are of polished, caramelized grain, vanilla and those chewy, peach-colored, peanut-shaped candies.
The flavors seem artificial. This is the closest thing to drinking a cream soda I can think of. Dry, with some assertion of bitter hops on the finish, but they are only there to clean up a laboratory sweetness. I may be naiive, but why did they have to combine soda pop and beer? The finish is hollow. Reminds me of a three-musketeers bar. All fluff.
Probably a shrewd choice to have in a brewer's portfolio. Somthing pop-like for the masses so that they keep the masses interested in the brand.
This is a great brewery otherwise.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2002 14:17:39 | More by putnam
Photo of LibraryTom
LibraryTom

California

2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2009

Pours a nice deep amber orange.

All cream soda.

One dimensional sweet malt, with not enough spice or hop to balance it out. Almost no perceptible bittering component.

It is rich and overly done, and it is hard to drink more than a few ounces for me. Overall, eh, on a beer I am never that into.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 17:59:24 | More by LibraryTom
Photo of degerbah
degerbah

Ohio

2.9/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark opaque brown with about an inch of head. The head settels quickly leaving a thin film over the top of the beer. The aroma is slightly fruity with a strong dtrain of vanilla as well. The taste is over-sweet with a bunch of strange flavors added in. It seems like there are a bunch of other items added to the beer to add extra flavor. These merge together in somewhat of a mess. The beer's almost seven percent strength is evident in the mouthfeel as it combines with the excess flavor to hinder the beer's drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 23:12:58 | More by degerbah
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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,323 ratings.