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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.
very good

1,545 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,545
Reviews: 690
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 58
Gots: 122 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,545 | Reviews: 690 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donniecuffs
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an American pint glass; reddish brown with a small white head (less than a finger). Smelled of sour cherry, subtle spice, and malt. The tart cherry certainly came through in the taste; so did caramel, molasses, and candi sugar. Medium-bodied and modestly carbonated. Very tasty and sessionable for a winter warmer.

Photo of mralphabet
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Copper rust in color. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to speak of.

S: Caramel, sweet molasses, hazelnuts, some faint orange juice.

T: Very sweet malt some molasses and caramel. Hops are very light... Very little bitterness... Very little aftertaste.. lots of caramel !!

M: Very little carbonation, med to heavy bodied.... Very creamy.

D: This is a wonderful beer.... Not as warming as I would have thought... Very sweet beer, well made not over powering.... Wish this was a year round brew... I'm looking forward trying more from AV....

Photo of JMad
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.

Photo of HumphreyLee
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of hinemk76
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of CreekyJarls
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of mrchrisray
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of JLapadura
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of Sturmthis
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Zraly
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


This winter ale is a bit darker than some of the other seasonals that I have had thus far. The head is super creamy and is touched by a slight tan color. The initial smell was that of berry-fruit.

The first taste is just blissful...a rich butterscotch and caramel flavor just takes control of the mouth. There is a sweet yet smooth nuance of smooth milk chocolate and brown sugar. There is a toasty bread note that finishes off the flavor in the mouth. Nutmeg and cinnamon round out the flavor. This is a dream come true for my love of malty goodness. The hops are rather subtle, but this beer is about composition, not piecemealed flavors. Be one with this beer.

If you like Sierra Nevada and prefer your winter brews to place emphasis on the hops, this one might not be for you. However, in terms of quality, this is the malt counterpart to the Celebration Ale.

Edit December 2006

I recently had this on tap at Capital Ale in Richmond. It was so smooth and enjoyable, relaxing and warm. My interpretation of this beer remains the same; it is of exceptional, consistent quality. Perfect for a cool night and good company.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served into pint glass from a 12oz. brown bottle crimp on cap.

Clear,deep amber color,thick off-white head,lacing the glass.
Moderate aroma,very complex spicey aromas up front. Fruity,carmelly,hints of chocolate also in the aroma. A very soft pleasing quality to the aroma.Would have been a 5 if the aroma was a bit more intense.
Taste was a very complex spiceness,very fruity,candy-like,nutty,hints of vanallia,the flavor explodes on the palate.A fruity tartness in the smooth, pleasing finish.
Medium body,very drinkable,due to the intruging taste.Wish I had more than 1 bottle of this beer.
One of the best winter beers I've had. A good beer to start up a conversation at a party,with all the different flavors. A hard beer to totaly describe from one bottle. A great winter beer,would highly recommend this one. I will be picking more of this beer up before it's all gone.

Photo of Punisher
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of bh123
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of gonzo000
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Act25
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large pint glass.

A: The beer is a beautiful, deep reddish brown color, with a stiff off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a massive arcs of spotty lace on the glass. Beautiful red color.

S: The aroma is too faint. It contains caramelized malts, fruit, (Apple?), nuts, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out creamy sweet almost like a cream ale - may taste against Sweet Action from Sixpoint - with flavors of caramel, spices and fall fruit. Not muscly enough and the back half is sweet. The hops presence is mild, and provides some balance. The after-taste is bready, crackery, and slightly sweet - like jam laden crackers with sweet tea.

M: Crisp and smooth, thinner body than expected, but lots of carbonation, finish is slightly sticky, almost cola or cream soda like. Needs more body. Orange or fruit liquor like

D: A bit too sweet for me. Definitely feels more right as it warms. becomes more after dinner cointreau, grand marnier like.

Widmer Brrrr and Sierra Celebration over top this one, but these beers are each distinct and a treat.

Photo of beergod1
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber red with a think white head. Has a sweet malt aroma a little citrusy/spice and maybe some vanilla. It's delicious. Flavor is creamy, with slight spice and orange zest? The finish has a very light crisp bite. Very refreshing. Some slight different tastes for a Christmas Brew, But well done.

Photo of tmars13
2/5  rDev -48.5%

Photo of TaylorK
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

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

Amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is dark fruits.Taste is rum,butterscotch,raisins and plum.Overall a good beer with plenty of flavor.I would recommend this beer for any time of year.I can see myself purchasing this beer again sometime in the near future.

Photo of Guitars_and_beer
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Slynger
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a color on the light side of copper with just a slight haze. A small off-white head quickly slips down to leave some nice lacing around the rim of my glass.
Nice smell to this one. Sweet and spicy. The upfront sweetness consists of caramel malts and brown sugar followed by some spiced cinnamon and sugar spiced apples. Very nice.
There is a nice medium body to this brew that is both buttery and creamy, but the taste does not quite deliver what the nose suggested. Sweet caramel malts and honey flavors along with some cinnamon, ginger, and other light winter spices. Where's the fruit?
I really think this one could have been great. Some sweet red and tart green apples would have really fit in nicely. Instead the flavor slips closer to average.

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

Bought on recommendation of a couple of friends. We'll see how our palates compare in what we like and what we don't.

Warning! This is an active beer! No shaking but it rose to the top of the bottle quickly as I was wondering where the cap had gotten to. So I had to do a quick pour into the larger-sized Sam Adams glass. Pretty clear rust color, tightly wound head that settles in around 1/4".

A slight old leather smell to it that I didn't expect. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting some of the spices. Moderate to light sweetness, in the form of toffee. A little bit of cinnamon comes through and another spice I can't make out. Not sure what to make of this so far.

Still moderately sweet up front, which is all caramel malt with a hint of milk chocolate. Did not expect that from the smell. Still a touch of cinnamon in the middle, and I still can't identify the other spice since it's even lighter here, if it's here at all. A bitterness that has a touch of bite to it, lingers in the wash, giving away the piny hops. Hah! That's the "other spice" I couldn't quite figure out in the smell and taste.

A love the complexities in the flavor of this beer. Not often does a beer taste better than it smells, but this one hides its best part for later, just like a parent hiding presents from the kids until it's time to wrap them on Christmas Eve, in time for morning...which comes far too quickly.

Photo of MarioM
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of ChadQuest
2.2/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Color is a translucent amber with a small cap.
Aroma is caramel, spices and cherry, and does not really go well together.
The flavors are also an odd mixture composed of the notes mentioned in the aroma, and i cant tell if something is off or just how it normally tastes, but its not very enjoyable. It has a slightly astringent feel.

No bueno.

Photo of jucifer1818
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark amber in color, with a clean clear appearance, but a very quick forming and quick disappearing head.

s: for a holiday beer, this beer needs a lot more "oomph" for its smell. You can get a hint of some nice spice and caramel malt smells, but it isn't strong enough to really define the beer. The best part of this beer its its distinctly belgany yeast smell, which is quite nice, but it needs more definition to have the winter smell to it

T: again, this beer is dominated by the mellow bengany tastes. IT really tasted like a Belgian amber ale, with little to no hops in the flavor (which is dominated by the benganly flavors). It has some hops in the after taste, and the body has some light beady malty flavors mixed in to it. Overall Its a nice beer. For almost 7%, you can taste none of it, and its quite easy to drink.

mouthfeel: This bee has a slick,, light (very light) syrupy feeling in the mouthfeel, with a nice bit of prickliness from the yeast flavors/carbonation.

Overall: This is not a bad beer. Its not the best holiday beer I've had, but it occupies a unique nitch in-between heavier ABV and spiced holiday brews. Its almost more of a session holiday brew, something to have 2-4 of at dinner, which I assure you, would make you quite drunk.
for what it is, I think it easily deserves a 4/5

I feel that this is a great beer to go hafsies on with a friend, have a nice large meal with (like, for ex, Thanksgiving) and have a truely fantastic night of drunkniness and excellent food.
just my 2 cents


Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,545 ratings.