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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

1,322 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1322
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: 1,322 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Scrapss
Scrapss

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a cheater pint.

A: Beautiful deep ruddy copper and very clear. Thick two finger head subsides quickly into a very delicate ring. no chill haze, moderate carbonation with wispy lacing, looks like caul fat clinging to the glass.

S: nice malty presence. Some cinnamon notes and raisin and figs, like a cinnamon raisin bagel.

T: follows nose plus some caramel or toffee like notes. Smoooth on initial uptake. More malt notes come out on swallow.

M: Velvety smooth on finish with that characteristic bagel notes peeking up. spicy on side of tongue with the perfect carbonation. Very pleasant.

O: this is probably the best of the winter warmers, imo. The spices do not overtly dominate and punch you in the craw. It really is very well balanced and quite malty without being obnoxiously spiced. A go to in winter for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 03:13:12 | More by Scrapss
Photo of fitzy84
fitzy84

Massachusetts

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 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish copper with a finger of beige head that retained rather well and left some nice lacing. The nose is bready and has caramel notes as well. The flavor profile begins with a subtle sweetness from the malt and ends with a pleasant dryness. The body is medium - not super heavy, but too thin either.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 04:55:22 | More by 57md
Photo of Seanniek91
Seanniek91

Rhode Island

3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a bomber into a Krombacher Pils glass stein.

Appearance- Murky reddish/brown/amber with one finger of white head that left a ring around the top.

Smell- Caramel malts, bready yeast, tart apple. There's some spice, but it's not overwhelming.

Taste- Malts, apple, stone fruits, very light spice. Very fruity and full feeling, but not overwhelming. No booze taste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty well carbonated with medium body. Easy to drink and not boozy, which I find is common in this style.

Overall- Solid Winter Warmer considering that I generally don't like the style. Fruit forward and easy to drink. I think it's 8 degrees outside right now.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 04:19:34 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of MarkQ617
MarkQ617

Massachusetts

3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second offering tasted from Anderson Valley. It's a fairly simple winter warmer, a bit light for my liking given the genre. Not too much spice flavor, not a particularly complex flavor profile. Reddish amber color with plenty of foam. Fairly average, just not what I'd hope for in a warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 03:27:53 | More by MarkQ617
Photo of justintcoons
justintcoons

Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance
Brownish red with 2 fingers of off-white head. Good retention and excellent clarity with low carbonation.

Nose
Cherry, molasses and caramel.

Taste
Rich caramel and biscuit with dollops of molasses and hints of candy sugar. Notes of cherry, sugar cookies, cinnamon and nutmeg. Finishes with a hint of spruce.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, crisp and subtly sticky.

Overall
Goes down pretty easy. Anderson Valley kept the spicing light which is nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 00:48:39 | More by justintcoons
Photo of vkv822
vkv822

Oregon

3.29/5  rDev -15.2%
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 Act25
Act25

New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large pint glass.

A: The beer is a beautiful, deep reddish brown color, with a stiff off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a massive arcs of spotty lace on the glass. Beautiful red color.

S: The aroma is too faint. It contains caramelized malts, fruit, (Apple?), nuts, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out creamy sweet almost like a cream ale - may taste against Sweet Action from Sixpoint - with flavors of caramel, spices and fall fruit. Not muscly enough and the back half is sweet. The hops presence is mild, and provides some balance. The after-taste is bready, crackery, and slightly sweet - like jam laden crackers with sweet tea.

M: Crisp and smooth, thinner body than expected, but lots of carbonation, finish is slightly sticky, almost cola or cream soda like. Needs more body. Orange or fruit liquor like

D: A bit too sweet for me. Definitely feels more right as it warms. becomes more after dinner cointreau, grand marnier like.

Widmer Brrrr and Sierra Celebration over top this one, but these beers are each distinct and a treat.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 01:03:26 | More by Act25
Photo of brewbattles
brewbattles

California

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We did a blind taste test between this and 4 other Winter Seasonals to objectively determine which one was best. They beers were: Deschutes Jubelale, Anderson Valley Boont Winter Solstice, Big Sky Powder Hound, Alaskan Winter Ale, and Redhook Winterhook. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/TJowachG1no

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 13:45:32 | More by brewbattles
Photo of screamking
screamking

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into wine glass.

Look: dark amber, thick dark khaki head, mild lacing.
Aroma notes: honey, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup.
Tasting notes: honey, vanillia, cinnamon, brown sugar.

The first time I had this one I didn't like it. It has seemed to grown on me somewhat. It's not world class, but better than average for sure. Anderson valley is always right on with their pricing, I got this sixer for well under $10, making it a good value if you like sweeter Christmas ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 03:48:13 | More by screamking
Photo of EBeckett3
EBeckett3

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Copper to brown with small head & almost no laces
S- Spicy - vanilla? nothing too strong - malt, maybe cinnamon/allspice?
T -Smooth over the tongue, slightly malty, caramel but creamy - like a cream ale, actually.
M- pleasant dry caramel aftertaste with more pronounced spice notes, medium - body. Easily quaffable
O- I've enjoyed the Amber & Hop Ottin', bought it on a whim for $10. Easily worth that - very seissunable! Thoroughly enjoyable.

Poured into a 16 oz pint glass in my kitchen.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2013 00:26:01 | More by EBeckett3
Photo of jmbranum
jmbranum

Oklahoma

4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

At first I was a bit disappointed as winter warmers are often very heavily spiced --- something which the label guaranteed --- and this beer was immediately spicy. At best I thought it was better than average amber.

But then I changed my mind. This beer needs a little time to sit in the glass and warm up for it to shine. The flavors are still subtle but they are there: caramel and malt, winter spices. Mouthfeel is fairly light but kinda silky too (as the label also promised... oh wait am I being susceptible to the label's verbiage? Oh well, it is working.) Maybe a tinge of maple, definitely more maple.

Aroma was subtle at first but also seems to build in a caramelish direction.

Overall, I would drink it again but I'll let it rest in the glass a bit before sipping. I do think I prefer the more assertively spiced holiday beers though.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2013 18:31:56 | More by jmbranum
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

date reviewed: 27 January 2013...
glassware: Ayinger willibecker...
occasion: anticipating another "winter event" tomorrow...
appearance: medium-brown body with even, cirrus lacing; not much effervescence; thick head dissipates quickly...
aroma: brilliant,, fragrantly fruity bouquet; some spices too; malt and hops seem balanced in their non-entity....
palate: warming, full-bodied, raspy and ragged mouthfeel; bubbly and active at the tongue...
taste: currants, raisins, and doughy accents make this an enjoyable, flavorful experience--some berry hints too, but a bit medicinal in the finish...
overall: Anderson Valley has done a lot right, and this beer follows in the tradition; respectable...

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2013 04:37:17 | More by dacrza1
Photo of mfnmbvp
mfnmbvp

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
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 pkalix
pkalix

California

4.78/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

beautiful honey-toffee color, minimal head, but a thick tan layer and a nice cover on the sides.
smells very sweet with honey and toffee on the top.
taste reminds me of an english type of brew, with the typical english malts. i actually really like this. another good, long draught to determine whether i can consciously give this a five! alright, i'm not even buzzed yet and this stuff is AWESOME!! if it were a 4.9% brew i'd knock it down a bit, but at 6.9% this is very nice. slight bitterness on the side of the tongue, but an overall subtle sweetness and this really satisfies. i'd honestly give this a 98 or 99 for the taste, but since i cannot, i'm giving it a 5. 4.5 for appearance and smell as i really like the thickness on the sides and the smell promises happiness before the first quaff. i am very impressed with this, especially since it's all gone on sale at Total Wine because, i suppose, we're done with the 'seasonals' . . . .

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 02:54:53 | More by pkalix
Photo of ItsTheLimit
ItsTheLimit

Florida

4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Perfect beer for a cold night, especially if stouts and other traditionally heavier beers aren't your thing.

Hazy copper color with a thin tight head. White-ish lacing with nice head retention.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, black licorice, and coriander.

This beer tastes delicious. Warming quality from some alcohol but very balanced. Sweet malt up front with dried fruit, nutmeg, caramel and other spices.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel makes this an easy drinker, but will definitely warm you up. Nice alcohol heat will make this a great evening-sipper near a fireplace. Really liking this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 03:18:59 | More by ItsTheLimit
Photo of constantine_272
constantine_272

Oregon

4.26/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark copper. A bit hazy. Light brown thin foam. Visibly more bubbly than a lot of other beer.

S: Smell isn't that great. First impression was alcohol. A second trust smelling revealed caramel and chocolate, but still alcohol.

T: I had low expectations after smelling the beer first; I expected a strong alcohol heavy taste. I was wrong. First taste I get is a tang of mild hops, then softening to caramel, and continuing to soften to a sweet and rich chocolate. I didn't expect the chocolate. Either based on the color. A final flavor or sweet red raspberry lingers on the back of the tongue on the finish.

M: Finishes with a bit of a salty feeling. Taste lingers bit longer than I would like.

O: Sweet and flavorful. The diverse flavors work we'll together and create a depth of flavor that seems to change with each sip. It's fascinating to drink, the sum of its parts is greater than its parts individually. Despite minor imperfections, still a truly top notch beverage. I got this in a sampler pack so I sadly only got one; I may need to look for a six pack of this next winter.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2013 04:58:16 | More by constantine_272
Photo of jucifer1818
jucifer1818

Florida

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark amber in color, with a clean clear appearance, but a very quick forming and quick disappearing head.
3.75/5

s: for a holiday beer, this beer needs a lot more "oomph" for its smell. You can get a hint of some nice spice and caramel malt smells, but it isn't strong enough to really define the beer. The best part of this beer its its distinctly belgany yeast smell, which is quite nice, but it needs more definition to have the winter smell to it
3/5

T: again, this beer is dominated by the mellow bengany tastes. IT really tasted like a Belgian amber ale, with little to no hops in the flavor (which is dominated by the benganly flavors). It has some hops in the after taste, and the body has some light beady malty flavors mixed in to it. Overall Its a nice beer. For almost 7%, you can taste none of it, and its quite easy to drink.
4/5

mouthfeel: This bee has a slick,, light (very light) syrupy feeling in the mouthfeel, with a nice bit of prickliness from the yeast flavors/carbonation.
4/5

Overall: This is not a bad beer. Its not the best holiday beer I've had, but it occupies a unique nitch in-between heavier ABV and spiced holiday brews. Its almost more of a session holiday brew, something to have 2-4 of at dinner, which I assure you, would make you quite drunk.
for what it is, I think it easily deserves a 4/5

I feel that this is a great beer to go hafsies on with a friend, have a nice large meal with (like, for ex, Thanksgiving) and have a truely fantastic night of drunkniness and excellent food.
just my 2 cents

Prost!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 21:25:43 | More by jucifer1818
Photo of chanokokoro
chanokokoro

Illinois

4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. can in stemmed English ale glass

Pours a maple syrup-colored amber capped with an off-white billowing head. Excellent retention with plenty of lacing. Big caramel aroma rounded out by plums and notes of brandy. Toffee, black cherries, plum and various stone fruit notes. Biscuity notes midpalate Finishes with caramel covered black cherries. Medium body, smooth, silky mouthfeel; moderate carbonation. Wonderful winter warmer, one of the best available.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 06:35:33 | More by chanokokoro
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1713th Review on BA
Bottle to red solo cup
12oz

Shared with bgrider85 on beer geek radio finals

App- It was a bit darker than I thought. Even from a top level view since I couldnt see it, looked a bit lighter on the edges to me. The head was a bit bubbly and fast receding. Maybe a touch of cling to it.

Smell- Had a lot going on in this one. More of a chocolate, malty, graham cracker, dark fruit aroma. On the show I called it a dubbel aroma with some yeasty notes mixed in.

Taste- I enjoyed this beer. Much more chocolate forward than a spicy regular winter warmer. A touch on the malty side but pretty balanced. The yeast and malts created a nice flavor profile on which to play off of on this one. A good amount of that 6.9 is hidden and dont get really any boozy notes.

Mouth- A bit of a lighter medium and semi bubbly body with a fairly soft and balanced carbonation flavor behind it. The residual flavors are a bit of the less harsh dubbel with more chocolate.

Drink- One of the better winter warmers out there. Big thanks to the Beer Geek Radio guys for having me on the show.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 00:13:00 | More by FosterJM
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

4.56/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

It's a nice looking pour. Dirty brown with an offtan head up top. The beer is dark enough (mahogany) that you can't see through it, but you can still see what I can only describe as a richness. The head cascades to a couple fingers thick before giving way to half a finger where it stays for the duration. It's got a soapy look and has nice lacing.

Smell is muted a bit, possibly because my fridge is too cold. Even after warming, the nose struggles to find anything. What's there is all malt, mostly caramel it seems.

The taste, OMG. It's got some spices and some fruits, and again, a malty base. Not much hoppiness, but that taste is pretty outstanding. Cinnamon, caramel, dark, rich, ripe fruits.

Mouthfeel is about as good as it gets. I really don't know how you'd improve. It's spicy and sweet, earthy and full-bodied. Alcohol is only noticeable enough to let you know it's a beer. There's almost no bitterness, just the faintest bit in the finish, but everything else works so well together it's not really needed.

Overall, it's a hell of a good beer. Best beer I've ever had out of a can. Goes down extremely easily...making you beg for another sip. Possibly my new favorite Christmas beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 03:56:09 | More by RickS95
Photo of facundoCNB
facundoCNB

New Jersey

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

an opaque amber pour with 2 fingers of off-white head, patchy lacing, good retention.
smells of chocolate, raisins, dates, fig, cinnamon. the flavor is very sweet up front with lots of raisin notes, caramel, fig.. subtle nutty notes as well. very sweet, very tasty!
medium body leaning towards full.. nicely carbonated, rich and creamy.

a surprisingly great beer and for only $4 a bomber. very filling, great for the winter months.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 18:50:32 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of Hex92
Hex92

Virginia

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another one of those beers that I think ends up being better than the sum of its parts. I don't think its amazing in any category. It doesn't look like much. Nice head and lacing, but its not a dark beer and a little murky.

Smells a bit like raisons.

This beer is smooth. Goes down real easy. This beer is a good one to sit down and drink several in a row. I only got one as a mixed sixer. I would definitely pick up a six pack so I could knock back a few in a row next year.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 01:19:38 | More by Hex92
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier

Pennsylvania

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

12 oz.

Pours a rosey amber with a an off-white head about half an inch, slow dissipation.

Figs, cinnamon and cloves in the nose.

Caramel, cinnamon, a hint of vanilla and some cherry and almond sweetness. A bit of hop character later in the taste.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

This is a pretty good ale and, considering I don't normally care for winter warmers, a really nice beer to have in that style to me. I like it more than most of WWs I've had and would probably have it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 01:33:58 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 21:51:59 | More by OtherShoe2
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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,322 ratings.