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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

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

1,542 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,542
Reviews: 690
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 58
Gots: 119 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,542 | Reviews: 690 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ShanePB
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of sendbeer
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of plinythederek
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Stinger80OH
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of ricke49
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.

Photo of Risser09
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.

Photo of StoutSeth
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of putnam
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.

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


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.

Photo of degerbah
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.

Photo of kohoutek
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2005 bottling.

Appearance: a nice medium amber color, obviously filtered. The head started rich with texture but was almost gone after 30 seconds. Some slight lacing remained for half of the beer. The second half had none.

Aroma: a very slight noble hop presence. It quickly diminished with the head. Aroma of caramel, vanilla, some estery fruitiness.*

Flavor: graham cracker, vanilla, caramel, biscuity malt with banana ester laffy taffy.*

Mouthfeel: the filtering, club soda carbonation and addition of natural flavors (as stated on the bottle)* make this a dissapointing experience. I am curious how a 6.9% beer with high carbonation can have no head?

I used to return to this beer annually. I always craved its malty richness and unique, medium toast.

Boy has it changed! Almost a soda pop experience.

Photo of JamisonM
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Ruby Red color with tan head quite thick looking head as well.

S: bready sweetness here also dough not the best smell in the world.

T: again bready sweetness here dough I just do not like that smell or taste in a beer.

M: med body med carbonation

Overall: this and fat tire are not my favorite style.

Photo of 4000qtrap
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Source:/Serving: 20oz. Bottle. No expiration date and not aged.

Smell: Some dark fruit syrup and caramel with a slightly funky, horsey, oak note that leads into low lying black pepper, and clove spice that is muted but on the harsh side. A pinch of cider that adds a depth of flavor and anchors the nose a bit.

Taste: Moderately sweet caramel apple with a cidery edge. Quite caramelly in the middle with a slightly astringent fruit skin bitterness towards the finish. A faint hint of spice. Overall, the flavor isn't as nice as the nose and is pretty mild overall, though it is balanced. Its almost like a slightly sweet and spicier, fruitier amber. Finish is semisweet with toasted caramel notes, but has a earthy/medicinal flavor that tastes a little bit off.

Note: If you don't like your seasonal beers too intense or too spicy this beer would probably be a good option.

Photo of markman
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale (2003):

Very inviting pour and color. Deep opaque garnet pour sits under a tight head…very nice. The aroma is very inviting; an easy barleywineish vinous of mix of rum soaked dried fruit, caramel, and vanilla.. Uh oh, this is where the fun ends. I bring it to my lips and WTF? Large apple presence now…over carbonated, and a pit-like aluminum grog taste develops on the tongue as I quaff this strange brew…not at all what I’d expect from the brewers of Hop-Ottin’ IPA and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. Winter Warmer? It seems to me to be more of someone’s damn experiment gone awry. I’m not picking up any oxidation and their website suggests that it should age well. Not sure what to make of it. I’ll review this as is and revise if necessary…but, as is, there is a significant tannic quality to it that is quite disturbing. I like it in my robust red wines, but I’m not a fan of picking it up in my beer. And props to richdude for the sample.


Photo of PSUDREW
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well, a good try here. Pours a dark copper color, and, had little head, and even less lace going down.

It had faint smells. really, and not much, IMO. That cap was a pain in my ass to get off. Sigh, but back to business. It had a nice mix of vanilla and spice to much, but nothing too potent, more of an after though. The dominant malt is a nice touch and it goes through and through, but the hop is there, as a subtle compilent to it all.

Nice brew they got here, and it is a nice thing to go the distance with, more of something to get and share tehn get and savor in your dark corner

Photo of younger35
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a single of this a couple days ago at my local beer store. Drank from my Deschutes Black Butte Porter pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish copper with a one finger soft white foamy head. Leaves a decent cap and collar and a bit of spotty lacing.
Smell- Bits of spicy fruit such as orange peel and cherries. Some caramel/chocolate in the background but the dominate scent here is the vanilla. It’s soft but distinct and noticeable.
Taste- Like the nose the vanilla is the dominating flavor here. It’s a different sort of vanilla than what I’m used too in a beer. It’s not the subtle woody vanilla, but a sweet, almost flavored vanilla. Has a bit of a malt spice as well with some cinnamon and maybe a bit of clove or nutmeg. A bit of bite from the alcohol along with a lingering cherry/vanilla finish.
Mouthfeel- Nice full body with medium carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall not a bad beer but it could use a bit of work. Not near as good as other winter warmers I’ve had. It seems to be a bit artificial (I’m sure it’s not but that’s the only description I can think of). Reading last years reviews it seems that people enjoyed it. Maybe it’s just an off year??

Photo of CWiggins
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this one up at Sam's in Durham while looking for several things to try. Having been impressed with Anderson Valley's Summer Solstice this past season, I thought this would be worth a shot.

The color is a nice, deep amber/red. Poured rapidly into a pint glass, very little head formed, although some bubbles remained around the liquid's rim the entire session (about 40 minutes). I found the aroma to be quite nice; it was very clean, with hints of caramel, sweet fruits, and vanilla. The flavor was a little disappointing. It begins with a pleasant spicyness, but finishes with a bland malt/alcohol character that left me wondering what the intent was. I wanted the winter spices to last longer, perhaps throughout the aftertaste, but all I received was this medium-dark malt thing. The mouthfeel is fine: it's not too sticky and goes down just right.

It seems everything is great about this beer except the flavor! I doubt I'll seek this one out again, especially since there are so many other winter warmers to try.

Photo of jsprain1
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Reddish brown, just a touch too dark to be called copper. Head does not retain well. No lacing.
S- Malty, a touch of cocoa,ever so faintly spiced.
T- Starts malty, there's a bit of spice in there, but on the whole it's pretty static and nondescript. It's sweet and it finishes with a slightly sour tart flavor, kind of like a tart orange.
M- Underweighted. Carbonation is ok, but it lacks the smoothness I like in a winter warmer.
D- Just not that great of a beer. A bit disappointed. Lacks the body or the flavor profile I would like. Will retry at some point to see if I just caught it late in the season.

Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of wo87810
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of JMS1512
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of Stigs
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

poured from a growler filled about a week ago...served in a Stone Levitation glass

A - about a finger of light tan head which quickly retreated to a very thin layer of film a little more dense around the inside of the glass. the beer is a strong amber color, quite clear.

S - tough to pikcup much here, faint biscuity and sweetened malt with very faint ginger and cinnamon notes.

T - strong punch of all kinds of sweetness: vanilla, graham cracker, malted milk balls, sweet milk chocolate. grainy biscuit malts underneath it all...complete lake of hops to balance.

M - super creamy but medium bodied and good subtle but active carbonation (might be a product of the growler sitting for a bit).

D - liquid version of a five year olds classroom gingerbread house. hard to finish, glad my girlfriend loves it.

Photo of dertyd
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of hyoung41
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of Lanstrum
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,542 ratings.