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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.
very good

1,325 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1325
Reviews: 672
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%

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
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Ratings: 1,325 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jondeelee


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter Solstice opens with a warming, malty nose, full of rye and fresh whole wheat breads, toast crust, fresh wheat stalks, and floury baguettes. A light smattering of lemon and pine from the hops brings welcome citrus notes, and touches of apricot and pear add sugary notes. There's also a fairly strong hint of kola nut, making the beer smell somewhat like a soft drink, at least in part. As a whole, the nose is good and enticing, if a bit light and cola-like.

On the tongue, the first flavors are quite cola-like, with kola nut predominating, resembling a Dr. Pepper and Coke mixture. This is mixed with brown sugars, apricot, and wheat toast crust, which do move the beer farther away from a soft drink, as well as lemon and light pine from the hops, and subtle overtones of vanilla and caramel, the latter bringing the beer back to soft drink realm. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main flavors, fading slowly to wheat stalks, wood, and lemon peel. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while there is much to like about this beer--including the fact that it is a welcome addition to the "Not Overly Spiced Winter Beer" club--there's just a touch too much vanilla and sugary cola-like flavors in here for my palate. I'd still purchase a six-pack again, but for a supposedly winter seasonal ale, this feels more like Oktoberfest fare.

Serving type: can

01-16-2012 19:08:28 | More by jondeelee
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- brown to amber with bit of cloudiness, white lacing stays along the top of the beer through out drinking, low carbonation

Smell- very nice nose of malt spice and slight hop, inviting

Taste- beautiful balance of malt, spice, and hop, just purely beautiful balance

Mouthfeel- smooth and refreshing feel

Drinkability/overall- overall this is far and away the best winter warmer i have ever tasted, its just so tasty, the balance is superb, has spice and malt and some hop but all so perfectly balanced, usually im far from winter warmer guy but this is the cream of the crop to me and the one to seek out

Serving type: can

01-13-2012 11:09:31 | More by Stunner97
Photo of shand


3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

It pours out a very hazy red-orange color that looks great held up to the light. The aroma is a bit spiced and fairly clean. I wasn't expecting this to link up nearly as much to Summer Solstice taste-wise as this! It's got a nice spiced cream ale sort of thing going on at the beginning, along with a nice chocolate note that shows up on the finish. Well-done with a nice lingering aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is very good. A solid winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 23:04:40 | More by shand
Photo of marshrat63


4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Timber Cove Inn. Nice head with spicy nutmeg aroma. similar to other winter brews but the Winter Solstice had a wonderful cocoa finish that made the drinking experience seem like eating dessert without any annoying overt sweetness. Also had one with a cheese burger and found it held up well with a meal.

I look forward to trying it out of the bottle as it's not on tap around home.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2012 05:19:43 | More by marshrat63
Photo of gkunkle


4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red/brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a clean sweet smell, with a slight spice to it. Taste has the same cream soda taste that is the backbone of summer solstice, but this includes a host of other flavors. In the middle and end of the taste there is a spice flavor maybe nutmeg, there is also some cocoa taste. Considering the color, it's a surprising flavor profile. Mouthfeel is medium, with light carbonation. Overall, this is a unique beer, not very similar to many other winter warmers.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2012 01:29:53 | More by gkunkle
Photo of teromous


3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: It pours a clear, but dark colored amber, the shade of rosewood. A thumb's width of fluffy white head, and lots of lacing.

S: I get a yeasty smell, and what smells of freshly opened orange peel. There's a slight flowery scent.

T: It tastes like sweet cream and vanilla. It is very light in flavor. There is no bitterness at all.

Edit: I know what this reminds me of...it tastes like cream soda. If you like cream soda and beer, this is your beer.

M: This beer is very light and smooth, with the presence of a ghost. I wouldn't consider this a winter warmer, but rather something I'd drink when the leaves start to turn.

O: Overall it's a very nice beer, and has a wonderful flavor. I wouldn't consider it a winter warmer. It is so light, it has to be tasted to be believed. I would buy it again, but not as a winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 02:03:02 | More by teromous
Photo of carolinahophead

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had to review this beer during Christmas.
A: The beer beer poured a light sunset brown like a clear to partly cloudy winter night. Even a nice snowy head out of a can.
S: A malt lovers dream here with winter spice, let this brew warm up and the aromas come alive.
T: How about vanilla and a malt smoothie ....
A winter warmer to enjoy here with friends.
Maybe a little cinnamon and allspice . Close your eyes and think of fruitcake.
M: A medium mouthfeel with good carbonation and nice finish .
O: A big fan here of AVBC .... Beer geeks a must here for sure . Fun to drink and nice conversation brew as well..

Serving type: can

12-28-2011 00:48:54 | More by carolinahophead
Photo of Morey


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can with no freshness date.

Pours a beautiful cherry red color with a cream colored head that stands about one finger tall following a medium pour. Red hues comes through even more when it's held up to the light. Just a bit hazy, otherwise the clarity is pretty good. Nice lacing on the glass.

Fairly mellow aroma of soft spice and amber roasted malts.

Nice rounded malt flavor up front. Nice flavor from the chocolate malts and spices surface towards the middle. There's a subtle sweetness as well as a kiss of hop bitterness towards the back end.

Medium bodies with an almost chalky mouthfeel. Soft carbonation.

A nice winter ale overall. Reminds me a bit of their summer cream ale.

Morey's Bottom Line: A good winter ale. Very easy to drink. Alcohol is virtually undetectable. I'd drink this again, and will probably pick up some again next year.

Serving type: can

12-24-2011 23:22:46 | More by Morey
Photo of micromaniac129


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amedium to dark amber with a smallish tan head. No lacing. The beer has a hazy complexion with good carbonation. Aroma is mostly malts with a bit of spices. Malty upfront with a big toasted malt taste. Vienna.
There is really light and sutle spices that I can taste. And finishes semi-dry. There is also a low incident of diaceyl. Smooth and easy drinking with a medium weight on the palette. To me it was half desent nothing special about.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 13:29:01 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of mightyquinn


3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Great pour from a can in to a Samuel Adams Pint Glass. this beer gives great head, no pun intended.

S: I smell caramel I believe, all I notice.

T: I drank this reviewed can almost warm, I get a very distinct chocolate taste and then the caramel hits, then a spiciness I LOVE that saturates the tongue.

M: Very nice. Like a carmel spice sitting in there tantalizing the tongue.

O: I personally like this beer a lot, the GF loves it. One of the better Winter Warmers I have had this year. Glad I found the last 6 pack locally while shopping for some Xmas gifts. Excited for next years batch! Have some friends that say this is their go to Winter Warmer and I can see why!

Serving type: can

12-23-2011 03:31:46 | More by mightyquinn
Photo of ChugginOil


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber color with pollowy white head. There is some lace clusters.

The nose has some sweet fruity pebbles scents with a bit of cocoa and nutty malt.

The taste has a bit of fruity hops but the malt is dominent. There is a cocoa taste that hits the palate as the hops fade and it is quite tasty in the mix.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice amount of carb.

Pretty solid brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 00:23:13 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of Dope


3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A cloudy dark amber pour with a big fizzy tan head. Quite decent retention and lacing.

S: Interesting. Nice caramel and vanilla. Some cinnamon and a little dark fruit maybe?

T: Very vanilla-y up front. Some cherry immediately afterward. Ends on a spice note, cinnamon and maybe nutmeg? Maybe even a little bit peppery. Interesting transition of flavors. It's pretty good but the aftertaste is a bit strange.

M: Smooth and a little creamy. Carbonation is just about right. Just a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste with all the spices.

O: Not a bad winter warmer. Very interesting flavors as I mentioned. Still not sure if I like the combination but that's more subjective.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 05:28:12 | More by Dope
Photo of leokbelo


4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber haze into a pint glass. 2 inch creamy head, fades into a nice lacing till the end.
Sweet, fruity, caramel toffee on the nose. Very inviting.
Delicious malt sweetness on the tongue, extremely tasty! Nutmegs, cloves, again caramel and a hint of cinnamon. Hops are present, to bring it to balance.
This beer is so smooth, it's insane!
Extremely drinkable, Highly recommended!
Wow, what an amazing Winter Warmer!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 03:48:46 | More by leokbelo
Photo of homebrew311


4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep dark reddish orange with a slight haze, dense head, good retention an lacih

S: smell features holiday spices, cinnamon and clove stand out along with caramel malt in the background, some notes of cherry in there

T: taste features note of cherry and vanilla accented by cinnamon, pretty nice array of flavors, a spicy malt finish

Mf: medium body, medium carbonation

O: nice holiday beer, spices are present but not overwhelming, nice balance

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2011 02:34:10 | More by homebrew311
Photo of emerge077


3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

Serving type: can

12-21-2011 02:29:31 | More by emerge077
Photo of ehammond1

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Lucky Baldwin's
Pasadena, CA

Deep, dark red and auburn with a thin khaki colored head that leaves spiderwebs of lace down the glass.

Nice but faint aroma, even after significant warming. Sweet fruits, some citrus, mild spice elements, and biscuit combine for a pleasant though faraway aroma.

The flavor is well balanced with low bitterness: orange zest, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, caramel and toffee, freshly baked bread.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation. I would love for this body to be a touch thicker.

A very nice, incredibly drinkable, Winter ale.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 21:35:02 | More by ehammond1
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
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 woodychandler


4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
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 Durge


4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark copper/brown color with a decent off-white cover and good lacing. This winter brew smells of beautiful vanilla-malt and delicate dark fruits. I get a subtle allspice as well. Very pleasant. The flavor offers more of the same which suits me just fine. It has an unusual finish that suggests a woodsy berry, perhaps what others have referred to as cranberry, but it's not all that tart to me. I get more of a pear and evergreen blend with what seems to be a slightly herbal hop. This is smooth and fully carbonated with very tiny bubbles that provide a lively, but slightly resinous feel without masking the flavor. It's solidly a medium body brew and provides a very tasty refreshment that fits in with the winter/holiday theme. I really enjoyed this.

Serving type: can

12-18-2011 06:10:45 | More by Durge
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Little over a finger’s worth of eggshell white to brown foam, fairly dense with decent retention, the few larger bubbles scattered, not much lacing, more of a thin sheet which slides effortlessly down the glass sides. Filmy liquid, lots of aggressive bubbles floating throughout, orange base with brown mixed in, more yellow around the edges, captures light to create a healthy glow. There’s vanilla, clove and caramel in the nose but a lot of the time the peat moss, grains and wet iron notes rise above, light smattering of peach to apricot fruit scents, more textural fullness than aromatics. Full-bodied, sufficient carbonation to create a slow lift, not leaden. Not especially sweet but there’s date, clove, fruitcake to caramel elements, some orange peel and peach, pear too. More scone or biscuit than bread or dough, Not as herbaceous here as in the nose yet the earthy, metallic nuance persists. Root beer and vanilla appear as it warms. Rich finish, no loss of body, maybe contributes to a general sense of booziness albeit without any burn. Strikes you as a food beer, needs accompaniment. Not something you’d want more than a couple of in a single sitting.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 00:35:28 | More by farrago
Photo of hdofu


3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smells of Vanilla, it has a dark mahogany color. Taste is like syrup and cranberries. It finishes a bit flat howeve its cranberrishness builds and it has a stronger bitterness in it than other cranberry forms covering over this initial flatness. Still its not a bad taste.

Serving type: can

12-17-2011 23:36:56 | More by hdofu
Photo of hyprlt


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mason jar.

A: very nice, clear light ruby brown color. yellowish slight head that did not linger.

S: light possibly vanilla scent. not very aromoatic

T: very vanilla, almost brown sugary at first. without a doubt the first sip was great. the rest was good.

M: good carbonation, great body. not overly thick. seems to match its color in that respect.

O: haven't had a lot of vanilla flavor in beers, so I was excited. drinking an entire one in a sipping mode is not that easy however. still recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 22:31:57 | More by hyprlt
Photo of mactrail


3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
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 warnerry


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with slow rising carbonation and one finger of light tan head. Head dissipated pretty quickly; not much lacing.

S - Caramel malt and a sweet spiciness. Has aromas of grain and a a faint cream soda aroma as well.

T - Sweet and bread malt up front, again with a slight cream soda taste. Spices (slight pepper and some cinnamon) are present but pretty subdued, becoming a bit more pronounced on the finish. Enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel has a slight stickiness to it.

O - This is an enjoyable and easy drinking winter warmer. Doesn't over do it with the spices, though there is a spice presence. I would get this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 23:19:55 | More by warnerry
Photo of Brenden


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a clear red-brown but with some orange creeping through in the light. A nice tan pillow of head tops off at just over two fingers tall and creamy, then drops to a heavy foam that drops good lacing in patches pretty far down the glass.
The aroma is heavily malty with a mingling of spiciness, a bit of fruits and some citrus rind, caramel, something just slightly sugary, and a ghost of alcohol, though it's balanced by a light dose of hops.
Hops bitterness does come through a bit more in the flavor for added balance to an otherwise sweet and very malty beer. Underlying are some nuts, fruits, orange zest, molasses, caramel, vanilla, breads, and spiciness both by way of black pepper and something almost gingery. Alcohol comes out a bit toward the middle as well and stays through.
The mouthfeeel is creamy, and malts play a role in a consistent robust feel in a medium body with a rolling smoothness. Crispness is all the way through but nips a bit hard at the start of each sip.
This is a nice warmer from a consistent brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 04:03:19 | More by Brenden
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,325 ratings.