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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

695 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 695
Hads: 1,656
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 21.76%
Wants: 65
Gots: 184 | 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:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001

Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 695 | Hads: 1,656
Photo of puboflyons
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on April 22, 2015. That may be a month after Spring began on the calendar but I had two inches of snow in my back yard 10 days ago.

A handsome looking medium amber-reddish colored pour with a off-white head that lingers.

The smell is luscious with its sweet malts, nutmeg, black licorice, allspice, and currant notes. Hops seem to be in the background but add a cleanliness to it all.

The body was medium to better than medium.

The taste is a nice sweet caramel malt flavor with some o the same spices pick up on the nose. A mild hop bite to finish. In some respects I liken this to an Abbey Dubbel without the clove.

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Photo of EMV
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a clear deep copper with minimal white head.

S: Sweet vanilla bean on the nose, malts, and spices. Cinnamon and sugar.

T/F: Definitely on the sweet side... with a strong vanilla and caramel presence, somewhat reminiscent of cream soda. Moderately carbonated and smooth. Strong malt backbone and dry at the finish. Cloves and cinnamon in the background. No significant hops.

O: A nice winter warmer from Anderson Valley. A little sweet and vanilla-ish, but there's enough going on with the flavor to keep it interesting. Best served at cellar temperature. Great on a cold winter night.

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Photo of mchegash
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got as part of a build-your-own 6-pack at Kroger a month ago. Have no clue how old it is.

Appearance - 4/5
Beautiful, medium-dark red-orange-brown color, fairly clear (although dark, so not a ton of light comes through). Very tiny particles can be seen throughout the beer. A half finger of light beige head which dissipates down to a relatively thin layer. Extremely minimal carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 4/5
Delicious spices, vanilla, cinnamon, licorice. A little bit of booziness as well. Got a whiff of "Big Red" gum smell (spicy cinnamon gum).

Taste - 4.25/5
Delicious mellow vanilla/chocolate taste (yes, both), the spices are lighter in the taste than the smell, but still present. Medium-dark malt flavor. An almost bourbon-like booziness. Overall there is a great coherence to the taste which I don't know how to describe. It's hard to describe all the flavors I taste, becuase there is really one homogenous yet very complex flavor present. Great taste, very happily surprised.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Medium-full in body. Smooth and creamy yet with a nice medium-light intensity carbonation kick.

Overall - 4.25/5
Overall this was a fantastic beer. Glad to have randomly tried this, would have otherwise missed out on a great beer.

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Photo of kitch
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle which has a best before 10 June 2016 sticker on it (seems a bit long too me…)

A: Poured into a pint glass a slightly hazy deep amber colour. One finger tan head which disappears slowly.
S: Strong vanilla, caramel and malt in that order followed by some light toffee.
T: Very much like the nose. Prominent vanilla and toffee followed by caramel. Not too sweet which I like.
M: Full bodied, creamy with some light carbonation.
O: This one surprised me in a good way. Although the aroma was a bit weak, the taste was nice as the vanilla, toffee and caramel tastes mixed well together. I would buy this again, but definitely for the winter while its cold and not during the warm spring as it is now.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

My friend Mike Sondel recommended this. Mike has the taste buds of a hammer. Why do I listen to him. This is another beer I repeatedly get and don't like. It tastes metallic and odd to me - but enough of the positives. Note to self. Don't order this, and get new friends

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Photo of beerme626
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very attractive, with gorgeous dark copper color and inviting nose. Taste is fruit heavy with cinnamon also. Tasty. Everything I want in a winter warmer.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasty beer. Smells of ripe red grapes, molasses and toffee. Tastes of sweet malty start with a warm alcoholic burn in the back. Awesome beer, will definitely become a winter staple.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass. Golden-red clear liquid with tall, fluffy tan head that leaves sticky sheets on the glass. Aroma is caramel malt, vanilla, winter spice, citrus, and fruity esters. Flavors begin with malt-forward sweetness, esters, toffee and caramel, are supported by a mild hop bitterness, and finishes with spice and lingering sweetness. Full bodied, creamy, thick texture, soft carbonation, and a little booziness on the finish.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is not strong but has spicy and malty hints. Pours a clear, dark mahogany with a thick and fluffy buff head. Hearty flavor has malty, gingerbread and honey notes, sweet but subtle, hints of cloves and cocoa, very tasty and very much the Winter Holidays! (Bleep Christmas - I celebrate the Winter Solstice!) Texture has good body and plenty of fizz, and a dusty gingerbread hint. Happy whatever-the-heck-you-celebrate-in-December!

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Photo of uspbacchus
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - pours a nice dark toffee color. Decent head with a decent retention. Fairly long lacing
S - malty smell with hints of caramel, bread.
T - follows smell, but caramel much more pronounced.
M - appropriate carbonation, appropriate feel.
O - extremely enjoyable beer, always one of my winter favorites

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Photo of Barnoloid
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decent winter warmer style ale. The spices are a little on the sweet side here, and there is a sugar & spice feel that can be a little overwhelming. Definitely a solid body and high maltiness here.

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Photo of seedyone
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Plain & simple & really good, slightly spiced ale. The creamy head disappeared quickly leaving no lacing. Nose did not match the full flavor. If there is a down side it would be a lack of body. There was some, but for a winter brew I'd like something substantial. When all is said & done, I look forward to next winter.

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Photo of irishevans
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: medium/dark copper color with off white head that quickly becomes a film.
N: vanilla, caramel, mild notes of dark fruit and cinnamon.
T: dark fruit, caramel, lightly toasty, vanilla, mild nutmeg and cinnamon.
M: thick and velvety without being so much so that it sits heavy in your gut. Nice fizzy balance from the carbonation.

O: a pleasant winter warmer, with an even more pleasant price tag. Will in all likelihood be getting this again.

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Photo of HawkFalco
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold 12 ounce bottle into a cold pint glass.

Poured a beautiful deep copper color. Formed one-finger caramel colored head which didn’t last long.

Tastes: Smooth, mild, malty sweetness (not overly candy sweet) is nicely balanced with a hoppy finish. Vanilla and spice in the nose not intrusive in the taste. Very nicely balanced but could use a touch more of ...something?

Feels: Medium bodied, good carbonation gives a touch of crispness.

A very pleasant easy to drink winter warmer. Not overly ‘seasonal’ with all the fruit and spice that belong in my holiday pies. I could easily sip a couple of these. I will be buying more.

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Photo of uvachief
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured cold from a 12oz can into a pub glass. Full 2 fingers of head that linger. Golden copper hue. Sniff fruit, citrus, unidentifiable spices, sugar, guessing caramel. Taste citrus, hops and seasonal spices like a hint of pumpkin pie, nutmeg and brown sugar but very light. Little hidden bitterness as it goes down very drinkable. Could throw a 6 pack back and take a long winter's nap. Like it...a lot.

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Photo of delta490
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a barely clouded copper with a creamy white head that settles down to almost nothing. The aroma malty and light, with hints of caramel, and some light spice notes. The flavor is nice, and close to the taste notes, with hints of toffee, fruits, spices, and caramel. It's not a huge amount of any one flavor and not particularly deep, but all together it is quite enjoyable. The body has a nice weight to it and a nice smooth finish.

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Photo of M_J_Z
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Had this on draft last night at The Hourglass Brewery in Longwood, Florida.

I enjoyed it, but it's missing the crispness/bite that make others of the style really good. (For example, Cigar City's Winter Warmer.) Granted, CC'S WW has a higher ABV, but it's the same style as Anderson Valley's. AV's version also seemed a little thin, though it wasn't watery or anything.

This could use a little more "punch," but its very drinkable. Not quite a 4-star beer, IMO, but I'm thinking it's somewhere in the 3.5-3.75 range. I would order it again.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev +3.6%

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Dark and malty.with a nose that evokes holiday fruit cake and sweet breads. Flavors ate surprisingly deep, with dark fruits and a hint of pumpernickel and caramel. Spices frame the more prominent flavors, staying in the background and not getting in the way (as it should be!). Bread pudding made with dark rum and dark bread comes to mind.

Test is a big player. Lots of bread dough in this one.

Full body with a gooth tooth to it.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%

Pours a finger of head on a hazy dark straw body.
The aroma is caramel and
The taste has a malty sweet start, mild lemon bitter, spices in the middle and finishes with a short sweet note.
The texture is smooth.
It has a great balance and warmth.

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Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

A: Pours a deep brown-red with a nice tan head.

S: Nutty toasted malt, mild caramel and a bit of cranberry.

T: Toasty, sweet nutmeg and molasses, dry yeastiness, brown bread.

M: Medium-bodied with light carb.

O: This is a tasty winter warmer that's on the sweeter side, closer to a doppelbock than anything.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a rubyish light brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Slightly sweet, biscuity malt aroma with a hint of spice.

T- Mildly sweet malt with some spice laying on top. The flavors are pretty laid back for a winter warmer which is a nice change of pace while still accomplishing that candy-like essence.

M- Has the tiniest layer of syrupy residue on the tongue. Medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- A satisfying winter warmer at an above-average ABV. I would buy this again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a 12 oz bottle--2014 and fresh.
A yearly favorite, this fine ale pours a brownish red with a nice medium off white head and
some great lacing. Nose of vanilla, fresh baked bread, caramel, and light cinnamon. Flavors
are as always VERY nice. Sweet malts to the front and sides and a nice bready background.
Vanilla and light cinnamon blend in harmony with a light hop balance that gives way to a very
nice mouth feel that is moderately carbonated and highly drinkable with a sweet aftertaste.
An ale that is the better sum of it's parts, THIS is the one I look forward to every single year.
As a side note this bottle ages nicely for a few years producing even greater depth of
character. A must for the experienced as well as the inexperienced.


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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark, cloudy, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Toasted malt, freshly baked bread, brown sugar, caramel, some floral notes of clover and hops.

Taste: Beautiful! Very toasty and bready up front, like toasted English muffins, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, some black pepper, coriander, and just a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth, as there is practically no carbonation what-so-ever. Some good carbonation to slightly tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.9%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is an excellent beer, and another one from Anderson Valley!! I love the toasty/malty flavor backed with the caramel. I’m definitely getting some more of this!

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Photo of craft4mike
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of ZorroZ
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving type: can poured into glass
Appearance: Beautiful, medium chestnut colour. Upon pouring, forms an incredibly rich, foamy head, albeit one that dissipates quickly.
Smell: Not much of a smell, surprisingly, considering what came next
Taste: Oh, WOW. Nicely malty, with little hops bite, but a lovely overall taste that almost disguises the fairly high ABV.. Just a little bit of the taste remains on the back of the tongue after a sip.
Overall: I'm *really* enjoying this six pack!

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.