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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

1,323 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,323 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Was happy to see this one back in stock at the Sharp Edge, because when I went to order it earlier during Christmas break it was already kicked on tap. So, the bottle I cracked had 2002 on the label, and It poured a great deep ruby brown red that seemed the head wasn't trying to form. I started in on taking a couple small whiffs, and then I inhaled it all. This beer contained a niced mild hop character, yet I could smell some nutmeg and other seasonal spices flowing in the air, all complemented with an amazing aroma of maple syrup. At the first taste an awesome malty sweetness arose to my palate, along with the balancing of the hops. I thought the maple syrup flavor was the most noticeable extra curricular flavoring that stood out to me, and it defintely formed an awesome winter seasonal beer that is in my top five for it's category. The body of this beer was great nice and chewy almost felt like I was eating some pancakes. Great, enjoyable, and different. What can I say Big Tony likes.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2003 00:26:18 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours an amber color with a 1" head that lasts a bit. No lacing develops.

Smell: light toffee and a hint of earthiness is all you can detect.

Taste: bread, toffee, a hint of vanilla, a bit of pepper, and a moderate bitterness creates a nice flavored beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this beer is not a quick drinking beer, as the flavor profile is one to enjoy. Nice winter beer worth giving a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 23:05:36 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

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

Nice two-finger head; very light beige. Slight cloudiness; dark amber color. Nice lace

The smell is closer to fine liquer, very smooth. Vanilla nose with some warming alcohol touches.

Strong Vanilla flavor. Light hop. Something like a vanilla smoothie, but thinner. Decent body, high carbo. The aftertaste is shortlived but here is where the hop shows up.

I love different beers. In that regard, this is a fun beer to try. It doesn't fit into any traditional category easily--it's different from most winter beers in that it has little spiciness (other than the vanilla) to it.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2006 22:52:23 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours brown with a full light tan head, nice lacing and retention, all around good looking beer.

S: On the milder side, but it has nice spice notes, some cinnamon.

T: Taste a lot like a gingerbread cookie on the first sip. Lots of dark bread and cake batter, spices are mild.

M: Medium-bodied, does not feel almost 7%, off-dry finish.

D: A real nice beer from Anderson Valley, I like it a lot more than the Summer Solstice, one of the best western winter beers.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2008 01:03:52 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pretty serious vanilla takes over most of the flavor. Quite aromatic with more of the same. Amber color, decent lacing in the glass. Malty but very spicy. Strong cinnamon adds to the excess of flavorings. Rather cloying sweetness conflicts with the bitterness in the aftertaste. Seems to be a taste like butter, along with candied nuts. I have to admit that as off-putting as this at first, your taste buds get used to it. But not enough to drink the whole can.

In the swell new red, blue, and black 12 oz can.

Serving type: can

12-15-2011 02:54:04 | More by mactrail
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

easily the best winter warmer ive had this season. bordering on epic for the style this is so awesome. pours an unfiltered looking maple color with a standard one inch head. smells very unique, fruity hops, vanilla, and english malts. taste is extraordinary, vanilla up front but not sweet, caramel and fruit middle, glorious rounded out west coast hop finish, but not bitter in the least. mouthfeel is gold! fizzles and cascades in the mouth highlighting its complex flavors one by one, and the body is exactly what you need in a warmer that you want to drink all day, the heavier side of medium. its just a perfect winter beer, and honestly i hope i can find it again, brilliant brew

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 21:33:17 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

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

On-tap at Clark's Ale House

A very smooth beer, but a touch spicey for me. The beer was dominated by vanilla with a little dry cocoa and cinnamon. Looked pretty and smelled nice enough, but there wasn't enough malt or hops flavor. Easy drinking if you really like vanilla and spice, but I wasn't into it that much.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2006 20:12:38 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The ale is an amber color that allows hints of red and orange to come through. The head came in small on pour and quickly disappeared.

S: The aroma is fairly inert when the ale is cold. As it warms, it picks up a dry, somewhat tart cherry scent.

T: The ale's body continues the cherry presence. It is not maraschino, more of a black cherry flavor that has a bit of tartness and a pleasant strong sweetness. The cherry flavor dominates the taste, nothing else emerges spice-wise, but the cherry is not too sweet or too tart.

M: A nice take on the winter warmer style with the black cherry flavor replacing nutmeg and cinnamon.

D: The ale is a nice alternatve to the over-spiced ales that are so prevalent. The moderate abv provides a nice warming sensation that should be perfect for a cold January day.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 19:58:38 | More by akorsak
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

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

12 ouncer, 2004 edition. Pours almond, clear, minimal off white head and a dearth of lacing after its sitting in the glass for a few minutes. Nose is a warm whiff of maple. This is a medium bodied brew. Slight spicing noted. Nice clean malty body. 6.9% fairly well hidden under layers of malt and some grainy/gritty hops, which come in late. Notes of smoke and rum also picked up as it warms. Pleasant winter warmer, one I would definitely pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 16:29:13 | More by Billolick
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a warm deep brown with a hint of red and a crystal clear body with a nice thin oatmeal colored head. It has a nice gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of slightly sweet of toasted malt and cider with a nice green hop hint in the background is subtle.

T- This beer has a nice smooth malt taste of pale malt with some hints of toasted malt blended it. A hint of biscuit malt is in the background. The finish has a nice gentle hop bitterness with a hint of sweet cider or a very faint cinnamon with a hint of alcohol, but that is very faint.

M-This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with some fizz that makes it seem more full. No real alcohol warmth or astringency.

D- This beer has some nice subtle flavors that give it some complexity and it has some unique taste that is nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2005 23:57:39 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a small white head that stays, leaving no lace. Almost little carbonation. Clear ruby color. Nose is malt and spices. Starts with an sweet and slightly spice taste, finishes with a spice that I can't identify. Medium bodied. Unknown brew date but it tastes fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2003 23:16:52 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long-neck bottle with no freshness date though on the neck is the year 2001. Blurb about the beer on the back label.

Appearance: Bright reddish amber hue, light tan head is fluffy and dissipates into a pasty big bubbled lace.

Smell: Fresh dipped caramel apple comes to mind, lots of malt sweetness in the nose with hints of fruit and a mild hop.

Taste: Full and chewy in the mouth with a vague hoppy juicy fruit and sweet dark bread maltiness capture the taste buds attention. Both toasted and roasted flavour flexes within the bold caramel taste. Mildly estery and warming to the body. Tight and clean bite of hop bitterness cuts through some of the malt leaving a spicy trail of flavour into the finish of residual sweetness.

Notes: Top shelf for American Winter brews, balanced for a muscular brew and a must buy for winter seasonals. 6.9% abv.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2001 23:44:26 | More by Jason
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

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

Pours a near clear reddish brown brew.

Smell is mostly malt and spices. Very sweet smelling, the fruit is there but not real strong.

Taste is shockingly sweet! This is a MALT BOMB, not the bit you get in most brews, almost like a Sammiclaus. A bit of hop bitterness is there but this just screams MALT!

Fairly thick.

Drinkable? Good question, it is a unique brew. Not something I would drink often but a good beer to show the flavor of malt.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2004 03:01:42 | More by Zorro
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy dark amber color, nice carbonation, tiny head, some lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of malts, some kinda fruit, slight spicyness.

T - The taste is sweet and malty, has a nice dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. This is a nice brew from AV, quenches the thirst pretty well.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 01:50:12 | More by Wasatch
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My, my, my. I first reviewed this beer in bottle form almost seven years ago. How many beers have been CANsumed by me since then?!? My good CAN Pal, IndiaPaleAle, hooked me up with this one in furtherance of my CANQuest (TM) and I am grateful.

From the CAN: Not much on this brightly colored red, blue and black CAN - "Bahl Hornin' Since 1987"; "Ale with Natural Flavor Added"; "The Legendary Boonville Brewery"; "Solar Powered Brewery".

I really remain surprised when the Crack reveals a CAN filled to the rim. The Glug produced a thick, creamy one-and-a-half fingers of deep-tan head with great retention. Color was a reddish-orangish amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was a riot of biscuit malt, orange citrus, vanilla, toffee and pine needles. Wow! Mouthfeel was medium and my original review mentioned a taste of Orange Dreamsicle and I have to say, I do not disagree in this iteration. It really had an orange-vanilla flavor up front with the pine coming through on the finish. It was semi-dry which was a nice change of pace after a day of APAs and IPAs. I just realized that it was kind of stupid of me to have opened this today - the Solstice is this Thursday! Perhaps I CAN score another between now and then ... Man, for 6.9, it drank beautifully, but CANversely, I would not want a whole bunch of this beer, either. Finally, I should mention the dense lacing that appeared throughout. It was quite splendiferous.

Serving type: can

12-19-2011 03:12:21 | More by woodychandler
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The winter solstice is two weeks away, however I cannot wait any longer to drink this beer. On to the beer:

Light reddish hue which steers into pale orange. The head forms low on top, showing decent head retention and lace. The nose is low on firepower, but does have some resemblance of the traditional winter warmer. Spruce, gingerbread, pudding...yeah.

The malt level seems low per style....the spices are doing the work. Among the notes are Christmas pudding, figs, and spruce. Light-medium bodied with a creamish textue, good drinking.

For those looking for a more laid back winter seasonal, Anderson Valley has it here.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 06:36:19 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper ruby, with a couple fingers of rich and foamy off-white head. This retains with a big frothy finger, which just drenches the sides of the glass with thick sticky lacing. The aroma smells lightly grassy with some festive feeling spices. Bready sweetness and a touch of dark fruitiness, like cherry, mix in as well. This has a bit of a gingerbread feel to it in the nose.

The taste is dark fruit, sweet doughy sugars, and spices, with a bit of green citrus working itself into here as well. Flavors are here but this lacks some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with soft and creamy carbonation and just a light crispness on the tongue. This is really easy feeling in the mouth overall.

Eh. I liked the flavors that were present in this but I just wish that there was more to them. They just lacked robustness and a reason to go back after each sip of this. The easy feeling body kept this in the game some but otherwise, this was fairly forgettable.

Serving type: can

04-25-2012 14:34:39 | More by Kegatron
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled off tap at Coles, in Buffalo.
Nice presentation, served in a wide mouthed tulip glass. An icy, glossed over bronze colour. Very thin head that parts to the outside and sort of slumbers to the sides of the glass. An alluring aroma, warming and welcoming. Gentle, melodious spices. A great deal of caramel malt with softened vanilla notes. Very nice drinkability, quite enjoyable! Smooth carbonation with a mellow, warming aftertaste. Savoury, ripe flavours. Again a light note of reserved, timid spices that blend well with a generous base of sticky, toasty malt. A more than pleasant winter warmer, promising first impression of this brewer, and overall - greatly enjoyed!

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2006 16:26:06 | More by biegaman
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an '03 version.

Appears amber with about an inch off white head that fades. Barely any lacing as it goes down. Lots of tiny bubbles exploding up the sides of the glass.
The smell is amazing. Lots of vanilla, maple, caramel, and oak notes present within the nose. No traces of hops are detected.
Tastes really, really good. It truley tastes like liquid caramel malts with vanilla cream. You don't find too many beers like this that can please you and go down smooth like this. This is like dessert. I'd rather have this than a DQ blizzard any day.
For the age, the carbonation seems outright perfect. Nice chewiness that lingers. Welcome to candy land! I wish I had an endless supply of this stuff.

Finger licking good!!

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2005 02:59:08 | More by weeare138
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Coles, thanks for driving biegaman.

Pours a clear red/orange, small white head forms, nice spiral lacing, settles to a thin layer. Smell is sweet and malty, vanilla spices and toffee dominate, definately smells like winter love. Taste is sweet toffee, very malty, more vanilla spice, a neat flavour I can't really place but I thought this was an excellent example of a Winter Warmer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, nice spice kick in the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2006 02:16:04 | More by Viggo
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Good brown beer, lots of red running through it, not much head. Aroma, some spice, wood, lesser hop bitterness detectable.

Definitely a winter warmer type of feel to it, robust, but lacking viscosity to be huge. Isn't trying to go there. Good amount of toasting, roasting and hop underpinnings. Toffee, some Christmas/Thanksgiving spicing. Lots of bitterness for not being a thick beer and one of this color (certainly none of it is mutually exclusive).

This is a pretty unique beer, not really for me, but it is respectable.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2010 16:46:23 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's a sweet smell here. Not malty sweet, but similar to rock candy sweet. Beautiful deep red hue. Very unique beer. Sweet taste. A good sweet taste. I'm likening it to cherry and brown sugar. Maybe a titch of hazelnut. Very super brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2002 16:24:44 | More by Bighuge
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

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

A: Poured a brilliantly clear medium sunset orange with a scarce film covering that was beach sand in color. A vibrantly strong initial carbonation that saw large macro bubbles clinging to the side of the glass quickly diminished to a light-medium showing.

S: fresh apple skins against a lightly toasted and dry munich malting. Theres a light underlying note of dry pear fruitiness followed by a light dry floral hopping.

T: The flavor was rather simple overall starting with a decent fruitiness of tart cranberries and apples with a dry munich malting. A dry floral hopping, rather pungent in nature, was also detected and Im guessing was contributed by Columbus hops. Overall was malty with a light sour fruitiness, simple in execution and rather safe.

M: fizzy, very active while a increasingly tartness grows as it sits on the tongue. The carbonation provided a nice tingly sensation especially on the tip of the tongue while a dry sour fruitiness lingers and was left after the swallow on the back.

D: Didn't find the flavoring all that intriquing or enough to hold my attention beyond the first few sips. A drink that quickly gets mundane and cant imagine drinking or enjoying this in multiples.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 00:02:53 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

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

Served in a large glass mug.

A nice brown body with a slight off white head. No lacing really, head fades quickly.
Smells of caramel malt and roasted grain.
Taste follows the nose through a malty experience. Caramel, brown sugar and honey wheat bread. Just enough bitter hops to balance. Some roasted graininess plays with the hops and the sweet malt.
Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, thick and chewey.
Drinkability is pretty strong. A good brew for the winter months.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2008 15:37:55 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Huhzubendah
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
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,323 ratings.