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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

1,415 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,415
Reviews: 677
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 42
Gots: 68 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,415 | Reviews: 677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRPunk
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A- A sloppy pour created a 2-1/2 finger tan head. The clean, amber body showed moderate-heavy carbonation. The head sustained at about 1/2 finger and left nice, foamy rings about the glass.

S- I got a decent shot of spice at the pour. Sweet malts, caramel-like, dominate. A little muted at first. Malts suggest Hawaiian bread and gain strength with time. Light hops seem pretty fresh, maybe noble variety?

T- really nice and malty. Lots of caramel and brown sugar, some residual sweetness going on. Light spice. Taking a stab, I'll guess cinnamon, something like clove-like, maybe some ginger.

M- Moderate-heavy carbonation. Slight warming, almost in "stomach feel." A little bite from hops and carbonation. Fairly full bodied.

O- A robust, malty ale, great for cold weather drinking. Nice to have spicing dialed down, allowing traditional ingredients to shine.

GRPunk, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Lemke10
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this as part of a M&M 6-pack from Binny’s in Downer’s Grove, IL for $9.99 in Early 2012.

Pours a medium brown with a thick fluffy head. Scent is mostly malts with some hints of spice. Taste has a great blend of malts and spices as well as some bready tones. Quite smooth and drinkable. A well made beer for a cold night.

Lemke10, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with just a hint of haze. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam. Nice.

Smell: nutty, biscuity malt aroma with some spiciness present. I'm getting nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. Not bad, but a bit too biscuity for me.

Taste: nutty crystal malt flavor with a hint of the aforementioned spices present. There's a biscuity quality to the malt here, too, but I feel like it actually adds more to the overall character than it detracts. A balanced and tasty winter brew.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of creaminess. Just right for such a malty experience.

Overall: I am surprisingly pleased with this winter warmer. The weather outside is frightful, and this beer is quite delightful.

flagmantho, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Wasatch
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy dark amber color, nice carbonation, tiny head, some lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of malts, some kinda fruit, slight spicyness.

T - The taste is sweet and malty, has a nice dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. This is a nice brew from AV, quenches the thirst pretty well.

Wasatch, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The dark copper body was slightly hazed and a bit murky looking but of a lovely reddish hue. The two finger cream head was highly retentive and left a thin sheet for lacing duty, which was slightly sticky.

The nose of malt and spice has a distinctly floral character to it and this is echoed in the flavor which gives distinct malt and spice notes whilst impressing of floral hop notes.

The medium body is smooth and silky and provides good drinkability. This is a very nice winter seasonal indeed.

AtLagerHeads, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the 2007 edition, enjoyed one night after this years' winter soltice. Poured amber with a light brown half finger head. Smelled of yeast. Taste was hoppy, warm yet snappy slight citrus wheat-beer like presence with fruit rind and spice, maybe coriander. The bitterness was well balanced with a malty finish. Overall, I could have used a few more of these, thanks Jan and Cheryl.

ThatWineGuy, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of Cyrano41
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Color is deep amber, reddish brown. A bit light on the smell but I could pick up fruit undertones and toasted malt. The taste is more than the nose promised, the toasted malt comes through with cinnamon and nutmeg and a hint of hop. Combine a medium mouthfeel and a smooth finish:very pleasant! I'll look for this one again.

Cyrano41, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium amber with a little haze and an off-white head. retention to a ring. No lace.

Some light spice, lots of woody vanilla and cream, some sweet fruit and strong sweet caramel. The cream/vanilla dominates.

Creamy caramel malt, with nice sweetness and a touch of vanilla again. Caramel, some mild bitterness, some mild fruit. Beer clears to maltiness that is a bit nutty and very smooth.

Medium body, mild carbonation.

A bit richer version of the summer brew. Cream ale with some intensity and caramel. Barely spiced. Very drinkable, but I wonder how I'd do with a 6 of this...A couple might be enough.

OtherShoe2, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of mckeowbc
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep amber with a dense head that settles down to around half a finger in my glass. A little lacing tries to cling to the glass as you drink but very little actually hangs around very long. Beer is almost completely tranparent.
S - Smell is lightly malty with a hint of spice.
T - Taste is lightly hoppy with a nice balance of malt. A very small amount of spice is detectable. The beer finishes a touch smokey.
M - The malt content gives this beer a bit of weight on the tongue.
D - Very drinkable, well balanced. Although the smokey flavor is not my favorite finish, in this beer it's so light that it doesn't bother me.

mckeowbc, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of AdamBear
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Merry Christmas in July!

A-slightly transparent dark reddish amber with a thin cream colored head

S-smells like wood chips and nice sweet caramel. medium to good strength

T-comes in with a decent taste of wood and vanilla. it reminds me of a cream soda actually. the taste fades slowly. the after-taste is a weak match of the initial taste.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is actually very tasty. it reminds me of a stronger version of the summer solstice. i could definitely drink a lot of this, though i don't think it makes a good winter warmer. it is way too light bodied.

AdamBear, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of Chaney
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a crystal clear Christmas red, witch about a 4 + finger head and enough carbonation to blow up a hot air balloon.

S: Cozy, sweet, candy-like nose, with tons of holiday goody spices.

T: Medium bodied brew, with well tempered sweetness, and a bit of pleasant yeastiness on the finish. Very lager-like.

M: Much thicker than I expected. The lacing is very generous and my glass now looks like it went through a car wash.

D: A great Christmas brew from a brewery that usually doesn't fail.

Chaney, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

A: Medium dark amber color with two-finger, off-white creamy head that lasted a few minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Mild aroma. Sweet malt. Molasses.

T: Wow, definitely vanilla. Moderately sweet and a very faint bitterness. There are other spice in there too. Good if you like vanilla.

M: Smooth and slightly dry. Goes down warm.

O: I liked the Great Lakes slightly better because I wasn't a huge fan of the vanilla. It wasn't bad, just a little bit too much for my tastes.

SolipsismalCat, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Pooba001
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition of this beer pours a nice light mahogany color with more than a finger of head that doesn't quickly disappear. Carbonation looks nice. Smells like toffee, caramel, spice and fruit. Not very bold, but nice.

Taste starts with a big chewy malt sweetness, there's a citrus zest and some wintery spices here too. Not a big, bold Winter Warmer like I really prefer, but its good. Also nice is that I picked the right time to drink this beer, late October-November. Maybe I should call it a "Late Fall Warmer", that seems more fitting.

Mouthfeel is quite nice, could be a little thicker. Drinkability is high for the style, I wish I had a couple more on hand. Like I said above, stylistically this isn't an excellent beer, but I do enjoy it. I'll defintely go through a couple 6 packs of this in season.

Pooba001, Oct 24, 2006
Photo of jtfest
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very pleasant brew. I probably wouldn't have purchased it for myself, but I received it as a Christmas present -- and I'm glad that I tried it. Beautiful color, pleasing malty smell, and a well balanced taste -- though it had a slightly sweet, molasses-y after taste that lowered its drinkability for me. Overall, though, I enjoyed the experience.

jtfest, Jan 03, 2004
Photo of thecheapies
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First Winter Solstice of the year!

Hazy brown-red, like brick red, with a bone-white head that dried out to a stable quarter-inch of foam immovable. I love the way this ale looks!

Brown sugar, vanilla cream soda, cinnamon, graham cracker crusts, and sweet malty roast. Has similar creaminess in the nose to Summer Solstice.

English malts marry medium roast with toffee and brown sugar. Creamy vanilla, light caramel, cinnamon, and stewed apple sweetness; but, there's also a papery note. The finish is sweet, but cleaner than the buttercream opening. Bitterness only plays a supporting role here.

Drinks kind of rich. Smooth and creamy with a low-lying carbonation.

I try to forget about this beer being as tasty and delivering as it is, but it always comes back to smear its goodness in my face. Well done, Anderson Valley. Well done.

thecheapies, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of mountdew1
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into imperial pint glass. Color was a dark reddish brown that was basically translucent. Head was nonexistent, leaving just a thin layer which clung nicely to the sides. Smelled slightly malty with a hint of spice. Taste was slighty fruity sweet along with some sweet brown bread flavors. Felt outstanding in the mouth. Came through very smooth, clung just enough to everything. Very easy to drink, alcohol was well hidden.

mountdew1, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of oline73
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark reddish amber with very little off white head.

Smell: Strong smell of caramel with some dark fruit and spices as well.

Taste: Very sweet with a lot of caramel. There are also hints of dark fruit with a bit of bitterness at the end as well as some alcohol. The caramel sweetness dominates the flavor throughout.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a medium body. There isn't much carbonation here. Seems like it wants to be dry but it never gets there.

Drinkability: I think it could use a bit more carbonation, but the taste is quite good, I really like the caramel flavor. I would drink this again.

oline73, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of mooseo
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter.

A - Muddy amber-brown with a medium white head.

S - Fresh baked bread, caramel, toasted grain and light floral hops. Subtle but nice.

T - Toasted bready malt, nuts, brown sugar, and light earthy hops. Hints of vanilla cream and nutmeg in the finish.

M - Extremely soft, smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Love the mouthfeel on this one. Lots of sweetness but the hops lend some balance. A pretty good, drinkable winter ale.

mooseo, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of shand
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

It pours out a very hazy red-orange color that looks great held up to the light. The aroma is a bit spiced and fairly clean. I wasn't expecting this to link up nearly as much to Summer Solstice taste-wise as this! It's got a nice spiced cream ale sort of thing going on at the beginning, along with a nice chocolate note that shows up on the finish. Well-done with a nice lingering aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is very good. A solid winter brew.

shand, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

The Bears are winning at the moment, so hopefully swigging from their glassware will magically keep the momentum going in the right direction. The beer inside pours a clear rose-amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, mandarin orange, lightly-buttered biscuit, and a hint of powdered sugar. The taste brings in more of the same, along with cinnamon, light nutmeg, and a bit of ginger. The overall effect comes close to resembling a gingerbread cookie. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a very nice winter brew, one that throws out a bunch o' spice without overdoing it. Good stuff.

TMoney2591, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first winter warmer...and a very pleasant experience at that! It was initially difficult to get a head off of it, even with a hard pour, though it eventually came through. Decent retention, but minimal lacing. Dark reddish translucent color. I couldn't pick the flavor out on this one: it was sweet, with a bit of licorice, chocolate, coffee, doughy, and perhaps some other spices I couldn't pick out... Very little hops: hardly bitter at all. It was very smooth going down and had good carbonation. Overall a fairly good beer!

EmilNoldSinclair, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of WastingFreetime
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from old session notes.

Poured out a coppery-edged dark bronze color with a fairly stable single finger of tan head but no real lacing of any significance. Very dark fruit-filled aroma combined with the scent of cinnamon-dusted toffee apples. Tastes like a nice piece of whole grain toast with a bit of melted butter and a bit of mixed berry fruit jam spread on top. The light sprinkling of brown sugar doesn't really appear until after the glass has been allowed to warm up somewhat. Spicing is somewhat light and muted, but what is there comes across as a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Medium body and lightly carbonated. Be warned, this one falls on the sweeter side of the balance scale.

WastingFreetime, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of dgugliuzza
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass

Pours golden orange with two inches thick frothy white head. Aggressive carbonation shoots up from the bottom of the glass. Long and drawn out retention.

Caramel, honey and allspice are dominant in the nose. Lightly spiced with Christmas like aromas. Sweet and warming. Spicy hops come in at the back end and provide a much needed presence.

Tastes of caramel malt, honey and vanilla. Spices are more noticeable in the taste than the aroma. Nutmeg, allspice and a splash of cinnamon. Not picking up much of the hop profile in the taste. Sweet and quite delicious.

Medium bodied and creamy. Nice burst of carbonation that combines nicely with the soft, full mouthfeel. At 6.9%, this brew is dangerously drinkable.

This is a fantastic winter offering by Anderson Valley. Has a great sweet/spiced balance with hints of caramel and vanilla. A must try winter warmer offering.

dgugliuzza, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of kneeland
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice tasting. It's matly, but not too much. Caramelized, allspice and hints of cinnamon and black licorice. A great, natural ale. I only got one, I wish I got more.

It's a pretty great looking beer too. A crisp, clear copper color, with decent head for most of the glass. And it smells like a good ale should. Definitely brings out the malted hops.

Overall, I will drink this again

kneeland, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of proc
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice presentation, dark cararmel/copper in color, somewhat of a light fruit taste appears with a slight hop finish. I enjoyed this. Nice ABV kick start and although I don't like to use an overused term, it is smooth. There is something soothing and relaxing about a sipping a winter ale, and this one didn't disappoint.

proc, Oct 03, 2002
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,415 ratings.