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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

1,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1323
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: 1,323 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of taylor714914


3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A nice winter warmer from these guys. Smells of toffee, bready malts and fresh honey biscuits.

Taste is spot on with the nose, along with caramel and some dates. Sweet and thick in the mouthfeel, but surprisingly I don't get much spice, which I expected from a winter warmer.

Mouthfeel was outstanding. Overall this is a beer I could sit down and drink a few of

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2013 17:18:39 | More by taylor714914
Photo of watermelon

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint draft had at Mellow Mushroom in Boone NC.

A: Clear reddish brown body with a off white head, that had ok retention and left a little lacing.

S: Smells Bready, and nutty with a syrupy sweetness almost like walnut or pecan pancakes.

T: Lots of carmel and dark homemade bread. Lots of nuttiness on the tongue. Very sweet beer.

M: Nice creamy mouthfeel, leaves a nice coating on the teeth and palette. Perfect amount of drinkability and carbonation for the style. Hides the booze well.

O: This is a damn good seasonal beer I could see myself keeping the fridge stocked with this for a Thanksgiving/Christmas party. I highly recommend, this would even be good for a non craft drinker. Perfect amount of alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2013 04:43:41 | More by watermelon
Photo of Alextricity


3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Boat Works in St. Clair Shores, Michigan for $5.25 a pint.

Appearance: A dark brown sort of color with maybe half a finger of head on it. Almost no lacing. The low-point of this beer, but no big deal. Looks almost on-point for what I'd expect from the style, even if a bit lighter.

Smell: Candy corn. Really, that's almost it. Smells a LOT like candy corn. That and caramel... definitely a warmer as I'd expect it to be, with a lot of malt characteristics, and not much hop.

Taste/feel: Candy corn. I don't care for candy corn, but this actually really worked well for me. Seriously almost just like candy corn with some spice and caramel. I guess, now looking at other reviews, it can also come off as vanilla and caramel as well, which is basically the taste of candy corn, if I remember it correctly. Hops aren't really noticeable in the smell or taste per se, but this beer is not overly sweet. The feel has a nice, full-body, and a moderate carbonation. A very pleasant sipper, and a beer that I really enjoyed. I haven't had many winter warmers, but if they tend to be like this one, color me impressed. I'd very gladly have another. Well crafted.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2013 02:33:15 | More by Alextricity
Photo of rafinator

4.73/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer at a "gourmet" burger joint. Ordered it after asking for a good brown ale and having the waitress suggest it. Surprisingly smooth and somewhat sweet. Moderately strong. After 2 pints I felt pretty jolly. Will order it again if it's still around.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2013 02:08:28 | More by rafinator
Photo of RJLarse


4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's in Coeur d'Alene. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a nut brown color, clear with a small off-white head.

Smell is sweet and candy like.

Taste is a caramel flavor with a smokey mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium and slightly cloying.

A very drinkable winter seasonal. It is warming. My wife even liked it and she does not like beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 22:10:39 | More by RJLarse
Photo of martyl1000


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Coppers Tavern, Madison. A nice looking pour in a tulip glass, with a thin off-white head that sticks around.

The sweetness in the aroma is quite nice at first, zucchini bread, cotton candy, ripe Apple. But the spice then shows as a vanilla, potpourri-type spice boil perfume, cloying, to say the least.

In the mouth the malt presents bread, cotton candy, and juicy fruit gum, plus the amorphous spice,which is certain to divide audiences.

Nice semi-chewy mouthful, with a crisp carbonation.

We''ll see what happens as it warms.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2012 03:09:46 | More by martyl1000
Photo of Darkmagus82


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

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a reddish brown color with a thick tan head. The head has a moderate level of retention, fading to give a decent level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of sweet and spiced aromas. A malty backbone of a biscuit nature supports sweet tastes of chocolate, caramel and some lighter dark fruit aromas. Mixed with these are aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a little coriander. A rather nice festive aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins a little on the sweeter side with a roasted malt flavor mixed with a large dose of caramel sweetness. Up front there are also some lighter notes of the spices detected in the nose. As the taste advances the spice grows stronger as the caramel sweetness fades to some degree. While the caramel fades a sweeter taste remains as the caramel is replaced by some of the darker fruits and a light chocolate taste that were detected in the nose. In the end a rather nicely spiced and sweet flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the just above average side in terms of it creaminess and chewiness with a carbonation level that is just below average. The combination of the thickness and the carbonation are quite appropriate for the style and compliment the spice, fruit, and roast flavors of the brew nicely.

Overall – A smooth and tasty winter style brew; balancing nicely the roasted, spice and sweet flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2012 00:59:56 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of nightowl66


4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightish red/amber in color, with a moderate head. Not much nose at all, very faint sweet odor like honey or brown sugar. Taste is intense compared to nose. All caramel and mild spice. Enough bitterness to not be cloying, but overall taste is quite sweet. Not a characteristic winter warmer style. Almost like dessert in a glass. Very, very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2012 17:47:51 | More by nightowl66
Photo of marshrat63


4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Timber Cove Inn. Nice head with spicy nutmeg aroma. similar to other winter brews but the Winter Solstice had a wonderful cocoa finish that made the drinking experience seem like eating dessert without any annoying overt sweetness. Also had one with a cheese burger and found it held up well with a meal.

I look forward to trying it out of the bottle as it's not on tap around home.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2012 05:19:43 | More by marshrat63
Photo of gkunkle


4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red/brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a clean sweet smell, with a slight spice to it. Taste has the same cream soda taste that is the backbone of summer solstice, but this includes a host of other flavors. In the middle and end of the taste there is a spice flavor maybe nutmeg, there is also some cocoa taste. Considering the color, it's a surprising flavor profile. Mouthfeel is medium, with light carbonation. Overall, this is a unique beer, not very similar to many other winter warmers.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2012 01:29:53 | More by gkunkle
Photo of ChugginOil


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber color with pollowy white head. There is some lace clusters.

The nose has some sweet fruity pebbles scents with a bit of cocoa and nutty malt.

The taste has a bit of fruity hops but the malt is dominent. There is a cocoa taste that hits the palate as the hops fade and it is quite tasty in the mix.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice amount of carb.

Pretty solid brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 00:23:13 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of homebrew311


4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep dark reddish orange with a slight haze, dense head, good retention an lacih

S: smell features holiday spices, cinnamon and clove stand out along with caramel malt in the background, some notes of cherry in there

T: taste features note of cherry and vanilla accented by cinnamon, pretty nice array of flavors, a spicy malt finish

Mf: medium body, medium carbonation

O: nice holiday beer, spices are present but not overwhelming, nice balance

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2011 02:34:10 | More by homebrew311
Photo of ehammond1

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Lucky Baldwin's
Pasadena, CA

Deep, dark red and auburn with a thin khaki colored head that leaves spiderwebs of lace down the glass.

Nice but faint aroma, even after significant warming. Sweet fruits, some citrus, mild spice elements, and biscuit combine for a pleasant though faraway aroma.

The flavor is well balanced with low bitterness: orange zest, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, caramel and toffee, freshly baked bread.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation. I would love for this body to be a touch thicker.

A very nice, incredibly drinkable, Winter ale.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 21:35:02 | More by ehammond1
Photo of drpimento


3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served this beer at a good temperature, with a small, cream colored, very creamy head and lots of fine lace. Color is a clear honey amber with some tiny bubble trails. Aroma is malt, spice, caramel, toffee, moist cake. Flavor is like nose, malt sweetness on top though not overdone, spice next, marshmallow and cake. Body is full, lush, but carbonation is definitely on the flat side and with such a malty, spicey, cloying beer as this, not an asset. Finish is like flavor, surprisingly subdued, rather short and has a little alcohol warmth. Good stuff, wish it wa bit more active with carbonation to balance everthing.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2011 05:10:20 | More by drpimento
Photo of CHickman

New York

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 12/8/11, on tap at the Pony Bar in NYC; pours clear copper color with a small tan head that leaves a little spotty lacing.

Smells of cocoa, caramel, sweet malt, brown sugar, grains, rye or herbs, light vanilla and faint hops; aroma is sweet and mellow, with hints of cocoa and vanilla - a nice winter fireside nose.

Tastes of cocoa, chocolate, caramel, licorice, sweet malt, brown sugar, grains, herbs, light vanilla, faint charcoal and faint citrus hops; pretty complex and malty overall, the roasted malt and cocoa flavors are quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth, with low carbonation, an almost watery feel and a nice sweet malty taste that finishes on the dry side with lingering cocoa. A very drinkable and tasty winter treat that was not spicy, yet to me still a great winter beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2011 03:46:12 | More by CHickman
Photo of jlindros


4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at prezo

Pours a nice creamy 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with a bit of lacing, over hazy copper dark peach orange color.

Nose loaded with malts like a light barleywine, caramel, toffee, molasses, plenty of reddish candy malts, light bready, toasty, hints of winter spices, little grainy and hint of earthy hop.

Taste loaded with sweeteners but not super sweet, tons of toffee and caramel, candy from candy apples, molasses, rich candi sugar almost. Lots of reddish malts, little toasty and bready, again very malty almost barleywine like without the booze, although just a hint. Light earthy hops are there but barely, with very light holiday spices, and hint of dark fruit plum fig like. Very smooth and tasty. Finishes a bit sweet still, plenty more caramel, toffee, candy, reddish malts, etc. hint of bitterness and earthy hops lingering, light spices as well.

mouth is med to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall very nice, great malts and sugar flavors although sweet but not crazy sweet at all, hints of hops and spices, very smooth and drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2011 00:16:20 | More by jlindros
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Village Draft House on 11/18/11.

Pours a deep amber with a thin lacing of white heard. The nose has notes of sugary, sweet red apples and caramel malt. The taste is red apples, chewy sugary caramel, and note of something herb-like in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and crisp.

This was a nice little winter warmer though the herb-like quality baffles me a little, and in my opinion it detracts from the overall flavor. Not bad though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2011 18:22:48 | More by tdm168
Photo of Glibber


3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at a local sports bar. Was a lighter color than expected, dark amber with a very small head- could have been the pour. The smell was plum and malt. The taste was not very bold, like a watered down Rogue Hazelnut with the same nutty, dark fruit flavor. I was suprised to find the 6.9%ABS as the alcohol seemed non existent. The beer may have been a little flat, and was to mellow for my tastes- but not bad.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2011 20:36:47 | More by Glibber
Photo of jsprain1


2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Reddish brown, just a touch too dark to be called copper. Head does not retain well. No lacing.
S- Malty, a touch of cocoa,ever so faintly spiced.
T- Starts malty, there's a bit of spice in there, but on the whole it's pretty static and nondescript. It's sweet and it finishes with a slightly sour tart flavor, kind of like a tart orange.
M- Underweighted. Carbonation is ok, but it lacks the smoothness I like in a winter warmer.
D- Just not that great of a beer. A bit disappointed. Lacks the body or the flavor profile I would like. Will retry at some point to see if I just caught it late in the season.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2011 19:13:03 | More by jsprain1
Photo of ddanania


4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer to start non beer drinkers off. It will convert most.

Presentation: On tap served in a standard shaker glass.

Appearance: Bright reddish amber hue, off white head is fluffy.

Smell: Sweet red apples or a caramel apple, lots of malty sweetness with a twinge of fruit and almost no hop.

Taste: Full flavor mouthfeel with a sweet malt sways the non beer drinker almost immediately. The small amount of hop bitterness balances the sweetness of the malt leaving a spiciness for an aftertaste.

Notes: Every non beer drinker and mass beer drinker always looks at the beer with a squint and says 'WOW, that's good!'

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2011 16:02:46 | More by ddanania
Photo of arboristfish


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a glowing copper to light amber color, with a white head. The aroma is fruity, with hints of holiday spices. The flavor reminds me of the holidays. Very sweet and fruity. The mouthfeel is medium to medium light, and is very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 01:53:55 | More by arboristfish
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Red Rocks in Alexandria, Virginia.

A: This brew appears a bit hazy, but mostly clear, and orange hued. There is a small layer of head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Vanilla and malt, with a nutty / spicy aspect as well.

T: The taste outshines the aroma. Winter Solstice has a huge vanilla flavor, which I imagine might turn some folks away. Not me - I love the scent and taste of good vanilla. This beer definitely has a cream soda like aspect to it. Though certainly a departure from what I would expect from a winter warmer brew, I thought this was very tasty and well done. Though the beer had a present sweetness, primarily derived from the vanilla component, I did not find it to be cloying in the least.

M: Smooth and creamy, medium bodied.

D: I would definitely have this again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2010 23:46:13 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of jbriggs7036


3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good beer oveall, had on tap at Racer's Cafe, a little hole in the wall bar that doesn't sell food and has three TV's, you'd never expect this place to have such an awesome selection.

A- Dark brown with a head that quickly disipates.

S- I and my wife both agreed that there was no smell...at all....crazy I know

T- Warming, malty-caramel....sweeter than I was expecting, but very tasty

M- Malty/creamy

D- Easy goes down

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2010 12:03:47 | More by jbriggs7036
Photo of fourplayed


3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap to 16oz glass. Clean dark red-amber. tender did not pour with much of a head.

Smells are lite and you need to dig in a bit to get the mild sweet fruit esters and some malty and spice notes.

Taste if caramel malts, fruity esters and honey, a nice sweet tone overall.

Lite mouthfeel, carbonation is good, some bitter hop dryness in the finish. 6.9% alcohol very well hidden.

Overall a nice brew with malts and sweet notes up front that could go down easy after 2 or 3 pours. If you like the malts and some mild sweet fruits you'll like this. I wouldn't turn one down!

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2010 22:02:23 | More by fourplayed
Photo of californiakulak


3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this beer on tap at Eureka Burger in Fresno.

A. Poured a clear brownish, red color. Thin head that didn't last long.

S. Lots of spices. Sweet malt. Christmas cookies. Vanilla. I don't think that I smelled any hops at all though.

T. Sweet and spicey. Bready malt taste. Clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

M. Thick and syrup like sensation. Good carbonation and nice sweet aftertaste.

D. Because of the overwhelming spice profile of this beer I think that one pint at time will be plenty. But I did enjoy the one.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2010 16:27:44 | More by californiakulak
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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,323 ratings.