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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

1,359 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,359
Reviews: 674
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 39
Gots: 57 | 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: 1,359 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of washburnkid

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought a six-pack of these back from a brewery visit last month.

A: Hazy copper with a small white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin ring on the outer edges.
S: Spicy malts, heavy molasses
T: Sweet, spicy flavor at first, ending in a bitter bite of hops that I can't really pin down (maybe toasted?); berry-like sour endnotes and some yeast
M: Lighter bodied than I expected, and I'd personally enjoy this beer with a tad bit more carbonation. Just a tad.
D: I didn't get a huge "warming" sensation from this beer, but I still really enjoyed it. It is smooth, spicy and flavorful. Reminds me of snow! I look forward to having this beer again come November.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 18:32:04 | More by washburnkid
Photo of nickfl


3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Two and a half fingers of tan head on top of an amber brown body with excellent clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace in it place.

S - A light aroma of caramel malt with some toffee. Some peppery spice notes and a hint of yeasty fruit.

T - Some light caramel up front with a huge note of buttery toffee. Some spice cake flavors in the middle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Finishes with lingering spice and brown malt flavors as well as light, balancing hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick and rich malt character dominates this beer's character and helps to spread out and spicy flavors and keep the beer drinkable. The aroma is somewhat subdued, but the flavor is full of rich toffee and malt that provides an excellent background for the mellow spice and yeast notes. Overall, this is a very nice example of a style that can be, and too often is, ruined by excessive specialty grain character and spice.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 07:33:01 | More by nickfl
Photo of phishsihq


3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This seasonal release from Anderson Valley pours a clear amber with a touch of orange noticeable as well. A khaki colored head fades quickly but leaves a decent lace. Spice on the nose provides hints of orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and citrus. Rich malt flavors and a touch of vanilla lead into flavors that include orange, amaretto, caramel, nutmeg, and spices. The citrus hops help balance out the sweetness and mellow the spices to not overpower the palate. Medium-light mouthfeel, Winter Solstice is moderately carbonated. Perfect for a cold winter night!

Serving type: can

02-17-2013 19:26:24 | More by phishsihq
Photo of craft4mike


3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper colored with frothy tan head.

S- Carmel malt & Vanilla creme. Pretty decent nose but nothing overwhelming.

T- Creamy carmel & vanilla similar to the nose. Toasted bread, cinnamon and some mild hops that add to the balance. Looking forward what this will do as it warms up a bit.

M- This is where the beer really shines. Creamy & smooth beer that is a good one to swish around.

O- Very tasty beer at a very reasonable price. Anderson Valley continues to produce solid products. Highly recommend giving it a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2014 22:38:41 | More by craft4mike
Photo of Dmann


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a good seasonal beer but by far the best. It poured a nice ruby reddish color with a very small head that left slight lace down the glass. The smell was faint, but was I could detect was a very pronounced spice scent with hints of malt as well. If you are a malt lover you will love this beer for sure, as that is the dominant flavor. There is also a light spice to it and some kind of slight citrus flavor as well, perhaps grapefruit. Also, despite being 6.9% they are very easy to drink. So grab a six'er and enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2003 08:56:25 | More by Dmann
Photo of Narnad


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition. Pours from the bottle a muddy copper/orange color with almost no head. Very heavy aroma of fruit (apple/cherry) and spice(cinnamon) with lesser hints of molasses and some light malt. Strong alcohol flavor hits first followed by a very nice fruitiness with lots of cinnamon and some lesser vanilla and a slight bourbon flavor. Slight sediment in the bottom and the beer has very large, medium speed carbonation. Good beer but it definitely feels like more alcohol is present than the 6.9% listed on the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 01:31:07 | More by Narnad
Photo of loving44


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach

The appearance of this beer was good... dark amber with a nice head that settled quickly. Very little lacing.

The smell was faint but was spicy with hints of vanilla

Taste was good... pretty average holiday spice.

Mouthfeel was a bit too watery for me... a little weak.

This one was pretty drinkable due to it's light mouthfeel... could make a good session brew.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2005 22:19:45 | More by loving44
Photo of nickd717


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from the brewery, a year old but apparently no worse for the wear. Maybe this ages well like Anchor Our Special Ale.

Pours a somewhat cloudy amber-brown color with a fairly thick one-finger beige head.

Aroma is pretty nice with caramel, spice, and fruity notes. A little woody even. This could almost pass for -bal aged!

Flavor is good and balanced: caramel malt, toffee, gingerbread, amaretto, wood, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. More subtle and balanced than most other winter beers.

Medium body with a fairly smooth palate.

Drinkability is really high for the ABV, and for a beer in general. Overall a very solid winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 05:45:10 | More by nickd717
Photo of hdofu


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smells of Vanilla, it has a dark mahogany color. Taste is like syrup and cranberries. It finishes a bit flat howeve its cranberrishness builds and it has a stronger bitterness in it than other cranberry forms covering over this initial flatness. Still its not a bad taste.

Serving type: can

12-17-2011 23:36:56 | More by hdofu
Photo of bum732


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear copper brown. Decent head with not much lacing. Smells like a shitload of caramel, vanilla and toffee. Tastes exactly like caramel candy. Lots of malty sweetness, not a whole lot of hop bitterness. Carbonation is good, leaves the mouth fairly dry.

A nice beer, if you love caramel, you will love this beer. Despite the sweetness, it is a very drinkable beer, great with dessert.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 03:30:11 | More by bum732
Photo of fitzy84


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack from a local store here in Springfield. Beer poured with a very dark brown-amber and cloudy appearance with a thick head that dissipated quickly with thin lacing on the sides. Powerful noise of vanilla, cinnamon, and a buttery caramel flavor. The taste had more of a bitter citrus flavor than I could smell mixed with some bready malts. The mouthfeel was creamy, which definitely made this a very relaxing, almost dessert-like drink for the evening. Definitely a great winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 03:25:44 | More by fitzy84
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber, lively carbonation with a two finger light tan head that dissipated fairly quickly leaving light lacing. Looked nice. Pleasant aroma of seasonal spices, light fruit and caramel malt. Unusual flavor of sweet malt, light fruit dominated by apple, vanilla, undifferentiated seasonal spices, and a slight eathiness sweet but not cloying. Light to medium bodied with decent carbonation. Flavor is somewhat mild, but the elements work together well and the moderate vanilla makes it a bit unusual. I enjoyed this take on a winter warmer and will buy it again.

Serving type: can

02-05-2012 03:51:12 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of bradybeer


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition

A=light red with a touch of brown

Smell=Slight hop aroma with a nice spiceness

Taste=Sweet with a little bitterness

Mouthfeel=light-actually thin

Drinkability= I like this beer but I am unable to drink more than one a session due to the spices-I am not a huge fan of spices in beer. Howerver, I think think this is another solid beer from this brewery-not what I would normally think of as a winter beer-but thin abain I am from the midwest-where winter is much more brutal.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2007 18:38:33 | More by bradybeer
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear orange amber color. One finger of beige creamy/frothy hybrid head that falls super fast and leaves no lacing.

3.0 S: Caramel, toasty, and nutty malts. Slightly grainy. Spices lightly with nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe some brown sugar. Not bad, just a bit too weak.

4.5 T: Holy camouflage! I thought this was going to be a weak tasting, sad excuse of a beer. The nose turned out to be deceptive. Deceptive indeed. Vibrant is the word I would use for the taste. Rich caramel, toasty and biscuity malts, and some nuttiness and toffee to round it out. The malts, however, aren't doing nearly as much as the spices. This is where the beer shines. Loads of nutmeg and cinnamon, with clove and gingerbread next, and finished with pepper and clove.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy for how light the body is. Smooth enough. I really wish the body was thicker. I feel like that would have been great for the beer and probably would have pushed up the other categories as well.

4.0 D: A good beer masquerading as a bad one. The appearance offers not much to look at while the aroma barely shows up at the party. The taste, however, is wonderfully spiced and a great holiday ale. The mouthfeel could be a bit thicker, but otherwise good overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 01:07:59 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of iguenard

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

( 34/50, 6.9% alc/vol, Home, right after work) Amber color, opaque and red with a thin yellow flame at its bottom. The service head dissappears rather quickly, and no aparent carbonation to maintain it. Delicious nose of paprika, cloves, eggnog and cinnamon. Love the spice arrangement in this one. Has a real sense of togetherness, harmony in it's design. Starts off a little bit off. Cranberry and cherries mix with strong cloves, cinnamon and what tastes like carrots. Lasts a long time, extends in spice and what I can only refer to as turkey stuffing. Definite pommegrenate bitterness in the finish. Belgian feel and christmas spice, with tart acidity in the end giving it character. Low alcoholic feel, and a tad cloying spice as it extends a little too long. Nice, warm feeling christmas beer. Not too heavy for a spiced beer, yet thick enough to go with these strong spiced christmas dishes.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 19:01:21 | More by iguenard
Photo of kbuff13


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color. Little head didnt last long.

Smells sweet and malty, very little hop presence.

Taste is good, you get a sweet caramel flavor hints of vanilla and some spices, clove. Nice mouthfeel. Coats the mouth and tongue nicely. I would definitely buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2010 23:24:27 | More by kbuff13
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lightly hazy garnet red in color with some decent amounts of amber highlight and light to moderate amounts of carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall dark beige head that reduces to a small thin patch of larger bubbles, a mottled very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel and toffee malt sweetness with lighter notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Very light notes of cocoa as it warms.

T: Moderate amounts of malty sweet flavors upfront with notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Additionally there are some light flavors of nutmeg and vanilla. Very light hints of bitterness that fades quickly. Very light amounts of cocoa as the beer warms.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy with a light amount of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: The beer is pretty easy to drink and enjoy even though there are a lot of sweet flavors, this beer is not cloying. The combination of malty sweetness and spices is very nice and one of the more enjoyable offerings in the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 01:19:19 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a small white head that stays, leaving no lace. Almost little carbonation. Clear ruby color. Nose is malt and spices. Starts with an sweet and slightly spice taste, finishes with a spice that I can't identify. Medium bodied. Unknown brew date but it tastes fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2003 23:16:52 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Atlas1


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better winter warmers on the market, the Winter Solstice is a fine brew. Had it last year and wasn't disappointed; I imagine this year (2007) will be similar.

Pours a nice amber/brown color with ruby hues on the edges, with a fat creamy slightly off-white head. Thick lace chunks left on the sides of the glass. The nose is malty with a heavy lean toward dark fruit, but nothing really stands out all that much. Maybe banana. With some maple. It's nice; not too strong, but pleasant enough for the drinker to take notice. The taste is rich and malty, with a slight dark fruit presence, along with that banana sensation again. Some vanilla. Faint hop kiss at the end, but nothing worth writing home about. Mouthfeel is smooth and borderline creamy. Not bad.

I like this beer. It's a smooth winter warmer. Sometimes, the style comes across as way too spicy, but this is gentle and unassuming. But it still delivers. It's a hard line to walk, but Anderson Valley has managed to find the right blend for the style. A job well done.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 01:34:00 | More by Atlas1
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep clear copper color. Head disappears almost instantly. The smell is malty with dominant aromas of caramel with what may be some fruit struggling to find my nose. I had several pints of this on tap a few weeks ago, and the caramel scent was so pronounce that my friend sitting next to me at the bar smelled it wafting out of my glass. The caramel taste is all over the flavor as well, but there's also some hops and spice in the finish. Mouthfeel has a nice chewy thing going on before leaving you with a pleasant caramel aftertaste. Overall an extremely drinkable winter warmer, but I'd recommend seeking it out on tap. This bottled version is nice, but not as good as I remember the brew I couldn't stop sucking down a few weeks ago.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2005 03:27:44 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of Dogbrick


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002 Bottle: This beer is a ruddy brownish-amber with a medium light tan head. Decent lacing. Aroma is lightly spiced with cinnamon, along with a little vanilla, malt and caramel. Fairly rich body with a nice spiced blend. Flavors of nutmeg, malt, caramel and even a little bit of hops. The finish is a little sharper than I would have liked but overall this is a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2003 13:37:40 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can poured into a pint glass.

A- Dark copper color with a brownish tint, abundant head four fingers thick, pillow-like, cratered, frothy and chewy

S- subdued maltiness, bready, spice, molasses

T- Lots of caramel on the aftertaste, vanilla, spice (maybe nutmeg)

M- Light, creamy, slight boozy finish

Overall, a flavorful, malt forward beer with a lot of resemblance to a wintry sweet bread offering. Well-masked alcohol makes it very easy to drink and light on the stomach.

Serving type: can

11-20-2013 18:42:11 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of Ferks012


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a pleasant surprise. I had never had it before and was unsure what to expect.

12oz pours and orange-ish amber red, 1 finger of cream colored head. Leaves light lacing on glass.

S- Smells delicious, vanilla, toffee and light spices.

T- has upfront taste of vanilla, toffee, also has light spices with a hint of brown sugar and Graham cracker

M- Medium to full body, very low carbonation.

Overall I really enjoyed this. It was nice to have a winter warmer that was not loaded up with a ton of spices. I will buy more soon as this was a single purchase.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 01:24:25 | More by Ferks012
Photo of ADR


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2002 edition...

Clear and bright dark red-brown color, yellow head of medium duration -- settles to an 1/8 of an inch. Deep aroma, some ginger and cinnamon sense. Nice body but not overly heavy. Flavor starts malty with some sense of cherry and chewiness and flips into a citrus rind and gravelly mode as the impressive hopping asserts itself. Good balance, maybe a little too raw in that the hops are aggressive. A little more variety and interest in the malt profile would have suited me better.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2002 12:03:01 | More by ADR
Photo of jackndan


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Solstice: Deep amber color with a pale tan head, and very nice Belgian lace. Has a spicy malt flavor throughout, with a long lasting smooth finish. Very good beer, with a nice warming alcohol character. This is a very good winter brew and I'll look for it closer to the season next time, although this one held up very well.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2002 19:39:12 | More by jackndan
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,359 ratings.