1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

1,323 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,323 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ZorroZ
ZorroZ

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
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!

Serving type: can

04-04-2014 00:45:52 | More by ZorroZ
Photo of hopmashian
hopmashian

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Samuel Adams glass it's head disappeared quickly. Color was deep amber with a faint chocolate and raisin odor. Taste was pretty much the same with a slightly bitter taste of unsweetened chocolate. Mouth feel was thick like porter or stout and low carbonation. I didn't like the spices so I won't try this again.

Serving type: can

02-27-2014 03:27:07 | More by hopmashian
Photo of FNBBear
FNBBear

Florida

4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can poured into a pint glass.

A- Lighter than most winter beers. Carmel/ Light Brown color
S- nutmeg, honey biscuts, honey crisp apples
T- baked apples, cinnamon, sweet
M- Creamy, very smooth
O- Easy beer to drink. Very wintery and enjoyable, even on a warm December day in Florida.

Serving type: can

12-21-2013 17:46:14 | More by FNBBear
Photo of tillmac62
tillmac62

South Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours medium amber with a frothy head that laces and lingers well. Light nose of spice and caramel malt. Light body with medium carbonation. The taste is not complex, mostly a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Balancing the spice with a bit of caramel sweetness would improve this one. Crisp finish with a lingering spice bitterness aftertaste.

Serving type: can

12-18-2013 18:20:39 | More by tillmac62
Photo of ONovoMexicano
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 papat444
papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can, no #freshbeer info.

Pours a dark amber body, frothy head slathering the sides real nice. Hanging rings one after the other are left. Aroma is malty with twinge of cinnamon but very reserved. Flavor is also heavy on malt, mild spices, bit of fruit cake but nothing really strong. Feel doesn't leave quite an impression and i'm left thinking this is kind of ordinary.

Serving type: can

11-19-2013 19:47:15 | More by papat444
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane

New York

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

Pours a honey orange with a cranberry blush. Hazed with lots of pariticles in suspension and has a stream of bubbles rising to meet a fat burnt cream colored head of foam that is slow to fall and leaves a cap and ring. Wet lacing slides down the glass. Nose is faint at first. Light sweet caramel and orange peel. A little bit of citrus twang and a faint bit of cinnamon. Then as it warms the malt becomes like a graham cracker. Sweet and dry. The dark fruits start to show up and date is prominent. A mild hop floral. Taste is like a cookie in a glass. The malt is light and fluffy on the palate and tastes like a graham cracker. It has a light brown sugar. The body of the beer is thin but it's silky and and it sports a bit of fruit juiciness in the drink. The hop floral presents well and the spices stay in the background. Faint cinnamon and nutmeg. The dried dark fruits stay light as well. Drinks easily with some ticklish carbonation and a nice finish of candied fruit peel and honey on a light biscuit malt.

Nice.

Serving type: can

11-19-2013 19:12:36 | More by utopiajane
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

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

The color is dark ruby and the head holds a light and festive fizz.

The aromas are somewhat spicy with a dried fruit backdrop. I get light nutmeg and peppercorns with a prune and date like candied fruit.

The flavor is reminiscent of Belgian dark ale as the dried fruits are at the forefront. The tastes are sweet with prune, date and raisin and the date is most evident. This has a real fruit cake like flavor but it is more alive than the waxy gift you may get at Christmas.

Everything about this beer cries Christmas from the dark ruby coloring to the fruit cake like smells and taste. The feel is thicker and lends to a more easy sipping by the fire style.

Serving type: can

11-17-2013 01:50:43 | More by KYGunner
Photo of JMad
JMad

Texas

4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It pours a clear copper color with reddish hues and a thick, foamy, off white head.

In the nose I noticed some caramel and sugar cookie, maybe a slight hint of clove and cinnamon in the background.

The taste is full of caramel malt with a nice warmness from the ABV and a cracker flavored finish.

It s medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a warming finish.

This is a nice Winter seasonal and I'd buy it again.

Serving type: can

11-09-2013 23:59:37 | More by JMad
Photo of scar
scar

New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have been drinking this beer for a few years now, however this is the first year I have had the offering in a can. As a result, this beer vs. the bottle offerings from years past are different but not better or worse.

appearance- beautiful deep amber, but hazy even when warm, yet I never really care about this unless the style demands clarity. Winter Warmers can be hazy as far as I'm concerned. More carbonated than years past, not a shocker, cans do that.

smell- I have always thought this beer was spiced, however it is done sooo well I can't tell. Maybe cinnamon or anise or maybe nothing IDK. Smell supports the taste but in a more subtle way. Malt, dark fruit, bock-like malt flavors from the grain bill, like a little malt hammer.

taste- I usually reviews beers because their taste demands me to. This beer is malty like a bock or double bock which is evident from the grain bill reflected in the taste. Make no mistake this is an ale with sweet malt and firm dark crystal malt sugar flavors. Low bitterness very appropriate. Low Chocolate but no choc malt used.

Mouth- medium full

more people should drink and write and talk about this malty treat, more beers should be made like this.

Serving type: can

07-09-2013 00:08:08 | More by scar
Photo of dogfishandi
dogfishandi

New York

3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a snifter. No canned on date, but I gotta assume it was from sometime this early winter.

Pours out a hazy deep red color, maybe a little orange and brown. A decent looking yellowish light tan head, spotty lacing.

Smells of sweet malts, dark dried fruits, brown sugar, with a bit of a fruity ester aroma.

Sweet caramel malt, dark fruits, plum, brown sugar, fruity esters, a bit of apple, and just a hint of warmth from the alcohol.

Medium bodied, just a touch too much carbonation for the style.

Kind of like a light version of an old ale. Not really my cup of tea, especially when it comes to winter Warner's, I prefer them with some roast and maybe a bit of x-mas spice.

Serving type: can

04-08-2013 21:59:18 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of IronDjinn
IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a red 355 ml can. Pours out a hazed nutty amber hue, two fingers of spongy light beige head that settle to a thick cap.

Caramel malt on the nose, a bit of chocolate, along with some nutmeg, coriander, citrus rind, and a bit of a cidery character.

Caramel and some sweet chocolate up front in the flavour, spices are milder on the finish, some nuttiness.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, texture is a bit thin yet sticky, with medium carbonation that is able to hold it all together at least.

Mild in terms for the style, some malty goodness going on, an easy drinker for a Winter Warmer.

Serving type: can

03-10-2013 21:38:40 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of phishsihq
phishsihq

Colorado

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 Huffs
Huffs

New York

4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, developed a nice tan head which lasted and laced well. Appearance was a hazy amber red color. Aroma was mild and somewhat malty and fruity. Taste was strong of caramel with hints of spice an vanilla. Mouthfeel was creamy and had a clinging effect to the tough. Aftertaste was lasting and sweet.

Serving type: can

02-01-2013 00:57:36 | More by Huffs
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can served at about 42F in a snifter. Poured out clear but dark, reddish amber with a moderate size, beige head. The head, unfortunately, dies too quickly but not completely, and decent lacing is left on the glass.

The smell of this beer was a spicy and malty mix that hinted of spiced cider.
The taste largely followed, with spices and malts clearly present, but it also has some nice baked bread tones and a good bit of chocolate. Apple is only faintly hinted, and the sweet aroma arises from a brew that has good sweet/bitter balance.

The mouthfeel was very good in terms of carbonation (medium) and had a nice, if delicate, touch of dryness in the finish, but it seemed a little too thin.

Overall: a pleasant and distinct brew that improved with warming. (near 4)

Serving type: can

01-31-2013 22:43:12 | More by chinchill
Photo of ichorNet
ichorNet

Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear as day orange-tinted gold/brown/rusty copper with solid retentive head and pretty consistent, impressive lacing

Scent: Fruity esters, rum cake, some ethanol heat, figs, bready and caramel maltiness, some light spiciness perhaps. Nicely complex and interesting

Taste: A veritable malt-bouquet; deep and rich flavors ranging from biscuity to almost-chocolatey; fruity, nutty and earthy; very round and enjoyable

Mouthfeel: Light-medium carbonation brings out some of the flavors and allows the beer to approach a satisfying finish complete with warming alcohol

Drinkability: Pretty great. Nothing is too heavy and all the flavors you expect for the season are accounted for

Overall: AV Winter Solstice is like a ramped-up version of the Summer version; a more warming, maltier and thicker affair nevertheless affected by some very similar flavors and tones. There are definite positives to this, including the complexity of flavors being offered, and it drinks as expected of a stronger ale for the Winter months.

Read full review @ http://blogs.lowellsun.com/beer/2012/12/15/anderson-valley-winter-solstice/

Serving type: can

01-24-2013 06:44:46 | More by ichorNet
Photo of ToasterChef
ToasterChef

Maine

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

A cold can is poured into a pint glass.

The beer is quite foamy, with a nice cascading head that is changing into liquid. Within the liquid, lots of clinging carbonation can be seen, as well as a decent amount of rising bubbles. Decent lacing is left behind.

The beer has a pleasant aroma. In the nose, there seems to be a good amount of spices layered over a strong malt base.

Like the nose suggests, this is a malty, spiced brew. I can taste brown sugar, cinnamon, and a slight toffee flavor. It is a velvety sweetness. Some alcohol can be detected, although it isn't out of place in the overall flavor.

This is a heavier beer, with plenty of carbonation. The alcohol provides a nice warming sensation. The high amount of malt does leave my mouth a little sticky.

This is a nice winter warmer. It certainly meets my needs on a snowy night like tonight. I can see myself enjoying a few of these in an evening...good thing I have one more can down in the cellar.

Serving type: can

01-17-2013 01:13:13 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

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

I picked up a can of Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale last week for $1.79 at The Lager Mill. I've had pretty good history with Anderson Valley and since it will be the Winter Solstice in a little bit I decided to give this beer a try tonight, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date. Poured from a 12oz can into an imperial pint glass.

A- The can has that typical Anderson Valley look to it with a slight winter theme to it, not too bad. It poured a muddy caramel color that took on a some amber hues when held to the light with a finger and a half of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left a little bit of lacing. This is a nice looking beer, but I would have liked a little more head.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness and impart some brown bread, caramel, brown sugar, and some lightly toasted malt aromas. After that comes a nice dark fruit aroma followed by a medium amount of spices with nutmeg and allspice seeming to stick out the most. The aroma was nice with a good amount of spices but it could have a little more complexity to it.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts of with loads of malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and impart some caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and lightly toasted malt flavors. After that comes a really light amount of dark fruits that barely sticks out and is followed by some lighter spices with nutmeg sticking out the most. On the finish I get a light amount of earthy hops that impart a pretty light amount of bitterness with a sweet and malty aftertaste. The taste was nice, I liked the balance but I could have gone for just a little more spices.

M- Pretty smooth, very creamy, on the slightly fuller side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation that was just a little prickly. The mouthfeel was nice, but I could have gone without the prickly carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and an above average example of a Winter Warmer, it had pretty good balance between the malts and spices and didn't get to carried away with either of them. This beer had good drinkability, it was pretty smooth and the flavors did a decent job at holding my attention, I could drink a couple of these but after that the thickness might become too much. What I liked the most about this beer was how well rounded it was, it really didn't have any weak points. What I liked the least about this beer was that the spices didn't shine through a little more, I think that would take this beer to the next level. I would buy some more when it's released next year, but I don't think I'll be rushing to the store and clearing them out of Winter Solstice, but I do recommend giving this beer a try, I think it would appeal to a wide range of people. All in all I thought this was a nice beer, It's not my favorite Winter Warmer but it was still a nice beer that enjoyed drinking. This was another solid beer from Anderson Valley, good work guys.

Serving type: can

12-21-2012 04:48:26 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark mahogany with a fluffy off-white head that settles to a solid cap. Aromas of cranberries, sweet caramel malt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Definitely "Wintery". Taste is similarly sweet, with notes of cream soda, cranberry, and holiday spices. Reminds me a bit of Highland Cold Mountain. Mouthfeel is smooth, fairly creamy, with a medium-full mouthfeel and low carbonation. Nice Winter beer, probably gonna have a few this year.

Serving type: can

12-05-2012 02:17:17 | More by jsanford
Photo of Chrispy
Chrispy

Washington

4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper red with a little white creamy head that disappears quickly.

Caramel vanilla sweet smell and taste. Holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are coming through as well.

Great mouthfeel, very easy to drink.

Overall it is very nicely balanced with sweetness and spices to where you could easily drink this anytime during the holidays and enjoy it.

Serving type: can

11-28-2012 05:49:24 | More by Chrispy
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can. 'Ale with Natural Flavor Added'. Not really all that promising or inspiring, eh?

This beer pours a clear, medium red brick amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, somewhat chunky beige head, which leaves some streaky hanging lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of heavy caramel malt, baker's chocolate, sweet vanilla, indistinct sugary nuts, and a bit of fruity hoppiness. The taste is sweet caramel/toffee malt, brown sugar, more saccharine vanilla, weakened cocoa, a muddled array of savoury holiday spices, though nothing distinct enough to note, and lightly bitter citrusy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is really quite tame, the body a hefty medium weight, flirting with fullness, and dead smooth. It finishes still on the sweet side, the caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and masked spice doing well enough to keep things sane, drinkable, and desirable, as the extra ABV tries to peek in.

An enjoyable, and at the same time confounding winter ale. It tastes good, but it's quite difficult to tell you why, so sweet, cake-ish, and low-key spice it is. 'Tis seasonal, this much I know, and I could easily put back a few more of these in the coming craziness.

Serving type: can

11-28-2012 02:17:37 | More by biboergosum
Photo of VeganBrewz
VeganBrewz

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish-orange pint with about a finger and a half of slightly tan, somewhat rocky head. Not much lacing, but that's ok.

Smell: Straight out of the can I found this one to be pretty average - some nice malt, definite hoppy aroma, but nothing to write home about. HOWEVER - once it starts to warm up a bit, this beer really starts to walk and talk. Once it had a chance to sit out a bit I was treated to aromas of grain, cocoa and dark chocolate, brown sugar and caramel malt. Hoppy aromas are definetly present though nothing specific stands out.

Taste: Very similar to the smell side of the equation, this beer started off as nice, but more or less average and got better and better as it warmed. Initial hoppy bitterness fades fairly quickly, and some malty sweetness forms a base for dark caramel, toast, hints of dark chocolate and very slight woody/smoky flavors. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: This was pretty nice. A bit of an alcohol tingle on the front of the tongue, with a nice sweet/bitter wash throughout the mouth followed by a slight alcohol aroma on the inward breath. Finishes clean and doesn't linger.

Overall: Seems to be a pretty decent representation of the style. I would definetly buy this again. Hell, if anyone has a recipe for it, I'd homebrew it.

Serving type: can

11-21-2012 19:09:40 | More by VeganBrewz
Photo of Luigi
Luigi

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a rich Amber color with a creamy three finger head. Head retention settles down to a thick blanket a top off the ale, leaving rings with every sip.

The aroma is sweet with caramel, nut meg, cinnamon, toasted bread, and a little booze.

At first taste, a get a sweet mix of caramel, holiday spices, complemented with a little alcohol sweetness, giving it an almost candy like finish. The finish is mildly dry and has a hint of hop spice that will linger.

Full bodied and chewy on the palate. Easy to drink, just take your time.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Has done it again! There has yet to brew from this company that did not exceed my expectations. Cheers to staying warm during the winter months.

Serving type: can

11-21-2012 03:28:49 | More by Luigi
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma has some cocoa and lightly roasted malt, as well as some winter spices that I can't quite identify. The flavor is very similar. The cocoa and dark fruit notes are pretty nice. I also get some brown sugar, cinnamon and caramel malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: can

11-19-2012 04:23:12 | More by Mora2000
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a thick cap on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruits, and some slight funky aromas. I think there may be an issue with this beer based on the smell. Taste is much the same with a mild spice finish and a slightly funky flavor that isn't as bad as the smell would indicate. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer as it stands with what seems like a mild infection issue. Even though the funk doesn't come through as much in the taste vs. smell, there is definitely a problem with the can I picked up.

Serving type: can

10-20-2012 04:27:58 | More by UCLABrewN84
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,323 ratings.