Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

695 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 695
Hads: 1,652
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.77%
Wants: 62
Gots: 182 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 695 | Hads: 1,652
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed this winter offering for a number of years. It's subtle, lower abv for a winter brew, and a little different. I've always liked the mild hazlenut flavor in front of a warm fire. Pours amber with a fluffy head that fades to a ring. Smells fruitcake like with mixed fruit, winter spices, hazlenut, and cream. Taste is similar. Very creamy, lightly spicy, and nice hazlenut flavors throughout. Creamy and easy to drink. Recommended for something a little different. (475 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
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!! (737 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (453 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
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! (682 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.82/5  rDev -1%
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. (862 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (275 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +1%
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. (817 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  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. (301 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
2.69/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz from the Boise Coop for $1.50/bottle poured into a shaker pint. Listening to Renaissance Worldwide Singapore "David Morales Mix".

Sweet cherry juice and crystal clear. Sticky lite tan head.

Malty aroma with vanilla and butter undertones. No real hops ... sorta overpowered by the spices.

I really hate saying this, but it reminds me of a vanilla cream soda .... and not the soda-shoppe kind, more like the artificial bottled kind.

This is a tough review for me to write. I love the Boont amber (almost certainly my favorite amber ale). But this one is going to take a hit. I know from my notebook reviews, I am hyper-critical of diacetyl; and I am only getting a little butter from this beer, but combined with the vanilla ... wow ... The diacetyl is hyper accentuated. I think they should move away from the spices (at least the vanilla) and balance more with a low but still solid flavoring of citrus hops.

Sorry. I will buy this brew again, mainly for comparison ... but I will probably wait a year or two. (1,020 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trying the Winter Solstice from a brewery that I dont think gets enough credit or publicity. The beer pours a clear amber topped by a finger of off-white foam that is lacing nicely. The scent is not all that present....subtle notes of caramel malt and holiday spices. The taste includes cinnamon, light nutmeg, ginger and vanilla extract. The mouthfeel is a medium to light body with moderate carbonation. Overall it is another decent beer from AV. (448 characters)

Photo of beertunes
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured with almost no head and left minimal lacing. A beautiful, opaque deep brown with a slight orangeish tint. The spice tones are not very pronounced in the aroma. The flavors match the aroma closely, but with a more noticeable presence. The body is a little thin for the style but still satisfying. A very drinkable beer, this is among my favorites of this style. Another fine job from a brewery that seldom disappoints. (457 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber, lively carbonation with a two finger light tan head that dissipated fairly quickly leaving light lacing. Looked nice. Pleasant aroma of seasonal spices, light fruit and caramel malt. Unusual flavor of sweet malt, light fruit dominated by apple, vanilla, undifferentiated seasonal spices, and a slight eathiness sweet but not cloying. Light to medium bodied with decent carbonation. Flavor is somewhat mild, but the elements work together well and the moderate vanilla makes it a bit unusual. I enjoyed this take on a winter warmer and will buy it again. (631 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (1,208 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with just a hint of haze. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam. Nice.

Smell: nutty, biscuity malt aroma with some spiciness present. I'm getting nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. Not bad, but a bit too biscuity for me.

Taste: nutty crystal malt flavor with a hint of the aforementioned spices present. There's a biscuity quality to the malt here, too, but I feel like it actually adds more to the overall character than it detracts. A balanced and tasty winter brew.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of creaminess. Just right for such a malty experience.

Overall: I am surprisingly pleased with this winter warmer. The weather outside is frightful, and this beer is quite delightful. (786 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to woodychandler for yet another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of spices, some malts. Taste is caramel malts and spices, somewhat on the sweet side. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer. (288 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (476 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
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. (246 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from 12oz bottle a clear amber with a smallish head of foam
that shrinks quickly and leaves completely for I finish my session.

The smell is a nice mix of sweet malt and some spices.

The taste has a strong caramel malt, roasted malt and bread flavour to it and it's quite thick in body. Dang, this is a great tasting Winter Warmer. After the first sip, I thought the sweetness was starting to be a bit much but then there's an underlying presence of hop bitterness that tames the sweetness nicely. A few more sips in and I'm getting some spice, maybe cinnamon and nutmeg? Very good stuff! Oh, and there's a tad bit of warming as it goes down...

Bottom line: A very good example of the style indeed. I see it as a must try.

Thanks to Wasatch for this sample! (776 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
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. (528 characters)

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. (660 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 release.

Appearance- Pours a half and half head with mild retention. A little lacing witnessed after taking a sip of the beer. Color is a deep, rich, copper, early morning sunrise.

Smell- Pretty sweet. Mix of light to heavy fruits like strawberries and prunes. With some general toasted malts.

Taste- A holiday spicey, fruit cake of malts and sugars. I'd say about 20% of the flavor profile is hoppy bitterness. I can't get specific on its taste. The malty sweetness takes center stage with a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and carmalized peaches.

Mouthfeel- Sweet and syrupy. Something to drink after the X-mas dinner has been eaten and the family is opening their presents. (689 characters)

Photo of Gusler
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Release (2003)
The color as it sets in the glass a translucent deep mahogany color with an elephantine sized head that is bubbly in texture and the color a winsome light tan with the lace a thick and concealing curtain upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt, hints of the hop flower, buttery with a bit of tartness to back it up; start is lightly sweet and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is good-humored in its acidity, the hops unexcessive in their spicy bite, sweet and dry aftertaste, once again a fine drinkable beer and one I look forward to each Fall & Winter.

Release (2002)
Deep copper in color, the head is modest in size, frothy in texture, light tan in color but dissipates quite quickly leaving behind a fine clinging sheet of lace. The nose has a sweet start, buttery and nice underlying malt tones, with the start malt and sweet, the top skimpy in feel. Hops candid in their spicy bite with the carbonation moderate and the aftertaste dry, and a decent drinking beer, quite refreshing. (1,020 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have a "Rivertowne" growler now and I have been meaning to fill it for a while so why not with some Christmas Cheer?

Filled at the Verona Rivertowne for 15.29

A - Red-ish brown like an ornament.
S - I detect cinnamon and ginger bread like malts.
T - Cinnamon and honey dominant but the bread like undertone keeps the beer from falling flat.
M - Creamy and delicious. It's hard to believe it's almost 7% by volume until you near the end of the Growler.
D - Excellent. I would try this in bottle forum next since it kind of seemed watery.

Overall one great Christmas beer. I would consider buying bottles of this for either new years or purchase next year! (659 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of long-lasting, creamy head and decent lacing.

S: A very sweet, malty aroma.

T: Tasted of caramel, malt and fruit. Very sweet and bold - much more so than other winter warmers. Has a nice toasty feel to it.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slightly slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: In my opinion, a drinkable beer, though I have a feeling this one will not appeal to everyone. (493 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pint, on tap at Maduro, 3$ during happy hour

appearance: dark garnet body, fairly clear appearance, creamy beige head with pretty decent lacing

smell: cream soda, vanilla, graham crackers, light spiced alcohol, caramel...nice inviting aromas

taste: I remember having this a few years ago and liking it and was glad to see that I still did...cream soda with vanilla ice cream, vanilla bean, medium caramel malts, root beer...very tasty

mouthfeel: super smooth and creamy

drinkability: very drinkable (513 characters)

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