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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,415 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,415
Reviews: 677
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 42
Gots: 68 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,415 | Reviews: 677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 bottle. Fruity spicey aroma, average appearance, good spice and fruity taste that finishes with orange and sediment of tastey and satisfying: Vanilla,nutmeg, cinammon, banana, other fruit melange, carmel. Medium body. A very nice beverage from a consistently good brewer.

Sammy, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

UCLABrewN84, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -22.7%

djrn2, May 22, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

zestar, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From old beer notes. Had on tap this past winter at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL.

A: Very dark and rich; perhaps a mahogany color with an infusion of a little extra read. The head looks good, and is a slightly-darkened cream color.

S: Excellent nose, with plenty of spices and some citrus; all of this overlays a nice base of buttered toffee and pure creaminess.

T: Much like the smell, though not terribly spicy. Quite sweet and overpowering in malt complexity.

M: Medium-to-full-bodied and very creamy. Not too much noticeable alcohol.

D: Exceedingly drinkable. I'd love to have a keg of this one for by the fire.

Thorpe429, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

acurtis, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.1%

nmann08, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down but never completely faded away and left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong and interesting aromas of brown sugar, caramel, nutmeg, toffee and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a bit of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and a bit creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer is definitely very drinkable compared to others in the style and has some interesting aromas and flavors.

metter98, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Texasfan549, Jan 28, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a respectable tan head that leaves some spots of lacing

Smell: Rich caramel aroma with strong vanilla notes; also has some tropical fruit

Taste: Starts out with a rich caramel and vanilla flavor; after the swallow, some nice balancing hop flavors cut into the sweetness and also provide a seasonal spice flavor (cinnamon and nutmeg)

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Extremely well-balanced and flavorful; one of the better winter warmers I have encountered

brentk56, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich, dark orange-copper with the slightest blush of red. The head is equal parts pale orange, butter yellow and ecru. Arching streamers of thick lace are beginning to appear on the upper reaches of the glass as the dense crown of foam takes its leave slooowly.

The aroma is weaker than it should be, which is a damn shame since what's evident is quite nice. Maltysweet with light butterscotch and a healthy dash of orange zest. I don't pick up much in the way of spice, there's just not enough power to really get a handle on things.

With a bigger body, this beer would really shine. The flavor is wonderful, but gets short shrift from a too thin mouthfeel (for the style). While slightly undermalted, it still manages to pull off a sweetish, buttery caramel, butterscotchy, light brown sugary, orangey vibe that deserves a better delivery vehicle than it has been given.

I especially like the orange liqueur character; a comparison that would be even more apt if the mouthfeel had a slightly syrupiness. Winter warmers, in my mind at least, should be more full and luxuriant in the mouth than this. I still don't appreciate much spice, but the flavor profile is fine without it. What is there to say about the body that hasn't already been said? Bigger please.

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is close to great beer. Unfortunately, the too light body is more appropriate for a beer called Summer Solstice (which is pretty close to when I'm drinking it!). Suggestion to the good folks at Anderson Valley: bulk this sucker up and it'll turn some heads.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 29, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well conceived, well brewed, nicely drinkable, but regretfully--forgetable. Caught somewhere between a big Amber Ale and a Strong Ale, it contributes little as a standout for either. Decent alcohols that largely go unnocticed underneath the sweet malt base. Hoped for balance only, with little flavoring or aromatics. No real spices added, which I like. Lightly molassas and barley flavored, with a big amber body. A little sticky sweet, yet drinkable. Good brew, but gets lost in the shuffle of other great Winter Warmers.

BEERchitect, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured amber with a huge creamy head that quickly faded leaving some nice lace down the sides. Smell was hoppy with sweet caramel undertones and a slight smell of alcohol. The taste was extremely sweet. Almost tasted like candy. Dry hopped finish, but still very sweet. Overall this is very drinkable, but a bit too sweet to be really drinkable.

mikesgroove, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +3.1%

jaydoc, Oct 20, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a slightly hazy amber color with two fingers of creamy khaki colored head.

S: Not the most impressive nose, but quite a bit of spice. Seems to be some orange peel, nutmeg, and cinnamon sugar. Molasses and creamy caramel provide sweetness.

T: The flavor is wonderfully creamy and sweet. Lots of caramel and almost sugar cookie flavor. Some nice toasty character to it and some dark fruits. A definite spiciness and not as much citrus as on the nose.

M: The body is medium with a smooth and creamy carbonation.

D: Another solid beer from Anderson Valley. A very underrated winter seasonal that is worth picking up a sixer of.

womencantsail, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice clear but dark lookin red color with a fizzy tan head on top. The head settles and laces the glass pretty well. The smell of the beer was pretty normal for a winter brew, had some light spices on the nose and a touch of sweetness. The taste of the beer reminded me a little of a weak barley wine or something. Spicy hops and some sweet malts but it just seemed a little light to me. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad, it had a semi thick feel to it which is nice around the colder months. Overall not a bad brew, enjoyable.

Knapp85, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a reddish-amber body with a tight, thin cap of small bubbles that faded fast.

Smell: Fruity, spicy aroma of orange, nutmeg, almond paste, and cinnamon.

Taste: A variety of flavors upfront - light caramel, juicy oranges, and a shot of amaretto make for an overall tangy taste. Finishes sweet, with the taste of toffee leading up to an enduring cinnamon, cocoa powder aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body, but there's definitely a creaminess to it.

Drinkability: Clearly, this is one of the lighter winter seasonals available, both in regards to body and spiciness. Very drinkable.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of oberon
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have waited quite awhile to try this beer but I was pretty let down flavor-wise anyways.Poured a deep rich aber with a tight well formed almond one finger head that settled nicely into a creamy mass.Xmas aromas going on I picked up some vanilla and caramel with lighter notes of cinnamon and brown sugar,I honestly thought I was drinking a sharp cream soda just way to much vanilla-like flavors it overpowered any other flavor really from coming thru.It got to be cloying half way thru and my wife finished it.wow this beer has everything going for it except flavor in my opinion and is way to pricey,I will not seek this out again.

oberon, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of largadeer
3.05/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber, slightly hazy, with a moderate head.

Smell: Sweet, cotton candy-like aroma; notes of vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Taste: Just as sweet as the aroma implies, but with balancing bitterness. Vanilla, caramel and butterscotch flavors are prevalent. Very little hop character; it tastes like spices are used as a substitute for hops rather than an accent. Sweetness continues throughout the aftertaste, with the slightest of hop bitterness coming out at the end.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy on the palate with moderate carbonation.

Notes: I can understand why this has mixed reviews - it's extremely sweet and spicy. Not bad, but not really to my liking.

largadeer, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

The Bears are winning at the moment, so hopefully swigging from their glassware will magically keep the momentum going in the right direction. The beer inside pours a clear rose-amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, mandarin orange, lightly-buttered biscuit, and a hint of powdered sugar. The taste brings in more of the same, along with cinnamon, light nutmeg, and a bit of ginger. The overall effect comes close to resembling a gingerbread cookie. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a very nice winter brew, one that throws out a bunch o' spice without overdoing it. Good stuff.

TMoney2591, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +3.1%

SocalKicks, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of emerge077
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mellow copper amber color, transparent with a persistent head of offwhite foam. Ethereal halo of densely patterned spotty lacing.

Mild but inoffensive aroma, vaguely sweet, though not much substance.

Tangy bready malt, cream soda, vanilla, cookie sweetness, light nutmeg. Light bodied, some light astringency. Tastes like cream soda and sugar cookies, but overall is a little too subdued for my taste. Pretty drinkable, but would like more flavor and body, it just isn't there.

emerge077, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
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.

biboergosum, Nov 28, 2012
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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,415 ratings.