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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.
very good

1,325 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1325
Reviews: 672
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%

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: 1,325 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MetalHopHead6


3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 14:11:39 | More by MetalHopHead6
Photo of emerge077


3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

Serving type: can

12-21-2011 02:29:31 | More by emerge077
Photo of jim1904


3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 06:37:38 | More by jim1904
Photo of cswhitehorse


3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2007 00:58:24 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of djeucalyptus


3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 08:04:23 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of callmeclemens

New Jersey

3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 16:47:30 | More by callmeclemens
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2005 22:19:40 | More by rastaman
Photo of illidurit


3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2008 06:05:47 | More by illidurit
Photo of ksimons

New York

3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 01:15:02 | More by ksimons
Photo of portia99


3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

Serving type: can

11-20-2011 23:36:35 | More by portia99
Photo of GeoffRizzo


3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2003 04:12:34 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of sacfly


3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 bottle

Pours a beautiful Reddish Brown. Clear as day. Thin head of small bubbles. Smell is of chocolate candy cordials. Like smelling the inside of a chocolate covered cherry.

Body is light. Chocolate with a light cherry cough syrup flavor. Malt, no sign of hops. Little to no aftertaste, slightly bitter.

OK, but tastes a bit artificial. A nice change, but not something I would drink more than once a week or so.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2005 21:32:11 | More by sacfly
Photo of Kegatron


3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper ruby, with a couple fingers of rich and foamy off-white head. This retains with a big frothy finger, which just drenches the sides of the glass with thick sticky lacing. The aroma smells lightly grassy with some festive feeling spices. Bready sweetness and a touch of dark fruitiness, like cherry, mix in as well. This has a bit of a gingerbread feel to it in the nose.

The taste is dark fruit, sweet doughy sugars, and spices, with a bit of green citrus working itself into here as well. Flavors are here but this lacks some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with soft and creamy carbonation and just a light crispness on the tongue. This is really easy feeling in the mouth overall.

Eh. I liked the flavors that were present in this but I just wish that there was more to them. They just lacked robustness and a reason to go back after each sip of this. The easy feeling body kept this in the game some but otherwise, this was fairly forgettable.

Serving type: can

04-25-2012 14:34:39 | More by Kegatron
Photo of TXHops


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2003 16:07:40 | More by TXHops
Photo of IntriqKen


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2006 21:54:42 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of dudeandhisrug


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I received this beer in a sampler from Xmas. I was excited to try my first taste from Anderson Valley but unfortunately was disappointed. This was an average brew. The color and smell were above average but the taste and overall drinkability lacked what I was looking for on a cold January evening. I will definately try Anderson Valley again because I only hear positive things from this progressive brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2008 04:15:05 | More by dudeandhisrug
Photo of baldycmu


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an orangey/amber hazy color with limited tan head. Lacing is limited
S-Not much here, notes of caramel and winter spice, but you need to work to pick it out
T-An average winter warmer with notes of caramel clove, maybe nutmeg. The finish is slightly bready with a touch of hop flavor and is the best thing about it.
M/D- Smooth for a winter with limited alcohol taste for the 6.9%.

Not a bad beer, and certainly worth drinking once in a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2008 23:53:11 | More by baldycmu
Photo of spencerw


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This brew poured an orange, brownish in color with a 1 inch foam head that lingered for a minute or two. It appearance was very dense.

S - Sweet edge of moderately spicy. It has a citrus, caramel tone that is very obvious. Very malty.

T - The taste was darn good however very sweet and malty. It tasted like a sweet caramel, much stronger than the smell. Very little hop tone yet a sliver of a kick mid drift.

M - Full body, thick, filling yet smooth and fairly refreshing.

D - Not sure this is a beer I would session with. It's a little t sweet and filling for me. It's a good beer, but nothing I'll run around trying to find again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2009 19:08:46 | More by spencerw
Photo of beergoot


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Thick, creamy head atop a dark amber, honey-colored beer. Nice carbonation continuing off the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Didn't get much of a 'holiday' smell. Nice, subtle sweetness, though.

Taste: Very caramel-ish and strong vanilla notes. Strong, sweet finish at the end.

Mouthfeel: Good, medium body.

Overall: A bit too sweet and caramel-tasting for my tastes, but still a fair beer for a holiday brew if you're not looking a spicy tasting glass of suds.

Serving type: can

12-09-2011 22:46:49 | More by beergoot
Photo of mfnmbvp


3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date, but this is the 2012 winter seasonal release, I'm sure. Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours a quarter inch of off-white / khaki colored head that quickly dissolves into a thin layer of foam, bubbling it's way out of existence. Body is a very dark ruby / blood orange / chestnut color.

S - Smell is of winter spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, some earthy, barrel aged oak, cream & vanilla smells come secondary. Bit of alcohol astringency, and some cherry & fermented dark fruit. Cherry vanilla smell is dominant, but doesn't always come off as smelling natural.

T - The beer is light bodied and smooth, with a faint hint of alcohol warmth, and bit of medicinal cherry flavored syrup. Some woody, barrel aged vanilla poking about in there, but it doesn't seem totally genuine, if you ask me. A decent tasting beer, but definitely not the best tasting beer I've ever had. A simple brew.

M - Feel comes off somewhat hot and carbonated. Not a horrible tasting beer, but not one I would recommend sessioning. Fruity, bitter, & dry aftertaste on this beer.

Overall, it isn't a horrible beer, but it is definitely not a beer I will ever consider drinking again. Seems very imbalanced, with a lot of off-putting aspects: too sweet & sugary, with a medicinal artificial cherry vanilla syrup like taste. Underwhelming, for damn sure. My second beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Co., and not one I will be having again any time soon. Looking forward to other endeavors from this brewery.

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale ---3.5/5

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 02:18:35 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of vkv822


3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz : tulip

Clear, amber red with a foamy, off white head.

Sweet, caramel malts, very light spicy, woodsy hop accents in both the nose and taste.

Medium body, foamy carbonation.

A decent beer overall, but the flavors seem a bit subdued at times, with nothing particularly exciting in this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 07:13:57 | More by vkv822
Photo of animal69


3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

i saw "solar powered brewery" and figured i'd do one for the environment ; pours a med. hazy copper-brown color w/ all manner of particles floating around, a thin, off-white head which dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of lacing in my pint ; not a powerful smell, caramel malts and citrus hops up front w/ notes of vanilla and spice throughout ; a sweet taste loaded w/ darker malts and spices, i'd guess they used everything on the shelf in this one, vanilla, caramel, some ginger/cinnamonish spices, honey/maple, not unpleasant at all however ; a surprisingly light beer, though the sweetness makes it appear thicker, good co2 as well ; not a bad beer, though they get a bit cloying after awhile...

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2008 03:34:35 | More by animal69
Photo of mightyquinn


3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Great pour from a can in to a Samuel Adams Pint Glass. this beer gives great head, no pun intended.

S: I smell caramel I believe, all I notice.

T: I drank this reviewed can almost warm, I get a very distinct chocolate taste and then the caramel hits, then a spiciness I LOVE that saturates the tongue.

M: Very nice. Like a carmel spice sitting in there tantalizing the tongue.

O: I personally like this beer a lot, the GF loves it. One of the better Winter Warmers I have had this year. Glad I found the last 6 pack locally while shopping for some Xmas gifts. Excited for next years batch! Have some friends that say this is their go to Winter Warmer and I can see why!

Serving type: can

12-23-2011 03:31:46 | More by mightyquinn
Photo of MJR


3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2002 Vintage.

Appearance: Reddish-amber crystal-clear body, with a creamy, light tan head that doesn't stick around for long.

Smell: Winter spices, a touch of caramel, a hint of fruit, and alcohol.

Taste: Lots of caramel/butterscotch with fruity spices. Finishes with a faint licorice note, along with perhaps a hint of pine or spruce. No hop aroma or flavor to speak of. Quite one-dimensional and uncomplex.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for a winter seasonal. Has a decent, oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not bad...but for winter warmers, you can do a lot better. Decidedly average.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2002 14:10:22 | More by MJR
Photo of jaluria


3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a roasted amber color with a decent head that falls slowly and leaves behind some lacing. Aromas of vanilla, roasted nuts, and caramel seem to come out. The taste is an intense burst of sweetness with varying levels of flavors that include vanilla and caramel. The smoked flavor of this beer takes away from the texture and flavor, in my opinion. The smoked flavor is too strong leaving an unappealing taste in my mouth. I think the different flavors would work well in a beer, but not together. The drinkability takes a hit as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 14:07:23 | More by jaluria
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,325 ratings.