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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

1,395 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,395
Reviews: 675
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 40
Gots: 65 | 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
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Ratings: 1,395 | Reviews: 675 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jayw73
4.97/5  rDev +28.1%

This is a must have beer for a winter seasonal. There is a tremendous amount of maltiness on the palate on initial taste but enough spiciness and hops to really balance out the flavor. I have had many winter seasonals and this is the best there is!

a dark brown with strong creamy head

t delicious, malty, vanilla, caramel

m very smooth and velvety

d gimme another please

jayw73, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%

Medium brown color with a nice head and great lacing action.
The aroma of apples,figs and dates with fruits and malts.
The taste of sweet malts,raisins,fruit hints and in keeping with the nose there are fig and date hints.Some vanilla is also detected.
The feel is creamy,low carbonation and medium to full body and I say that because it is not as heavy as I expected.

Notes: A really good beer and so easy to drink. Rich and creamy and a good ABV to boot.

Lexluthor33, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Kiwano
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Poured the bottle into a glass. It was cold from the fridge so it got better over time as it became.

A - Light brown. Not much of a head and small bubbles visible

S - Smelled good. A tiny bit yeasty?

T - Started off small hint of yeast but probably because it hadn't warmed to room temperature yet. As it warmed it the malt came through more. With a tiny bit of sweetness.

M - Light fizziness throughout

D - Tastes like a darker beer but without any heaviness.

Kiwano, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of TypeSJess
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%

pours with a moderate tan head. head does not last. just enough hoppy flavor with not too much malts. slight spiciness being a seasonal ale. I bought this with a winter brew pack of 10 and im 4 in and this is my favorite so far. based on this one, im going to check out the others from this brewery.

i thoroughly enjoyed this seasonal ale. definitely drinkable throughout the year.

TypeSJess, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%

Appearance- Pours a one finger tan head with poor retention and moderate lacing, a dark brown amber liquid.

Smell- Yeast, Spiciness and dark malts.

Taste- Like delicious malt spice candy. Carmelized sugar and spicy sweetness. Dark amber malts and yeast. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated and very smooth, almost sticky sweet feel.

Drinkability- Smooth and easy drinking, especially for a winter. Just very, very nice all around.

olmatty, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%

12 oz. bottle (2008) poured into a nonic pint, Winter Solstice is a murky amber, large, dense creamy light kahaki head with long last but no lace.

Smell is bright, sweet fruity malt smell even at fridge temp when served. Once I had a taste and thought of cream soda, it was all I smelled. Very unique and tasty.

Taste is great, and instantly recognizable - cream soda. There's also light touches of caramel, cinnamon and oranges, but it's really predominantly cream soda, which I'm really loving.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, medium light body, again, very much like a craft soda.

Drinkability is super high, if you like cream soda, which I do. Normally I'd knock a beer for being one dimensional, and so un beer like, but this is just so fantastic, I've got nothing but love for it. The 6.9% is dangerously undetectable, and the beer is a decent value and readily available.

ccrida, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of mralphabet
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%

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....

mralphabet, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of tangentrider
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%

A- Red-brown beer with an off-white head; reddish highlights when held to the light

S- Malty with an undertone of spice.

T- First is warmth, followed by malt, a touch of molasses, possibly dried fruit, and spice.

MF- Smooth, with nice carbonation.

D- Interesting beer, which I realize is a rather non-descript statement, but honestly, I'll probably have it again just to figure it out.

tangentrider, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.35/5  rDev -13.7%

12 oz single purchased for me at Jungle Jim's by my friend during Thanksgiving. Poured into a standard beer glass.

A: Pours a reddish brown that reminds me a bit of stained cherry cabinets. Finger and a half thick head reduces down to a thin haze of bubbles relatively quickly. The bubbles try to leave lacing, but it just doesn't stick.

S: The aroma is extremely faint. There is some roasted malty aromas mixed in with a bit of spicing of some sort.

T: It is a bit sweet from the malt. The spice balances it out pretty well. There is a bit of orange flavor mixed in. Maybe the spicing is orange peel?

M: Amazingly thin. I would almost call it watery. The spicing does add a little bit of interest in the mouth, but it doesn't make up for the thin feel.

D: Its relatively low in ABV. The warming is more from the spice. It goes down pretty easy for the style due to it being so thin.

GatorBeerNerd, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%

Brought a six-pack of these back from a brewery visit last month.

A: Hazy copper with a small white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin ring on the outer edges.
S: Spicy malts, heavy molasses
T: Sweet, spicy flavor at first, ending in a bitter bite of hops that I can't really pin down (maybe toasted?); berry-like sour endnotes and some yeast
M: Lighter bodied than I expected, and I'd personally enjoy this beer with a tad bit more carbonation. Just a tad.
D: I didn't get a huge "warming" sensation from this beer, but I still really enjoyed it. It is smooth, spicy and flavorful. Reminds me of snow! I look forward to having this beer again come November.

washburnkid, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of katan
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%

12 oz bottle into a pint:

A - Orange to orangish brown in color. Head formation is light to 1mm - very light and white. Well retained as well, not going anywhere. Certainly opaque, but I'm thinking that is from the density of the beer.

S - Sweet edge of spice - almost floral and piney. Some phenolic notes in the background. Has a small amount of clove and other sweet spice to it. Difficult to describe.

T - Starts off rather light, with only a small amount of sweetness leading the way. Bitterness makes an appearance mid-stream, but very quickly disappears. Not hop note of mention. Finishes with an interesting sweet flavor. Strong in sugars and vanilla - spicy. Almost if I'm eating a nice sweet muffin of cookie.

M - Heavier in body - thick. Must be high in unfermentables. Carbonation is light but it sure seems to add more girth to the beer. Doesn't leave much for an aftertaste.

D - I find this beer highly drinkable for the style. I think the sweet taste makes the beer go down rather easily. The "warming" affect of the flavors really do fit the winter style. The ABV would sneak up on you quickly as well, as it is well concealed.

katan, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of Nick3
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%

Poured into a Samuel Smith Imperial Pint Glass.

A: Hazy copper color with a a head that dissipates quickly into very thin cover over the beer. Looks like a sasparilla.

S: I thought I died and went to heaven the first time I smelled this beer. Caramel and toffee aromas dominate with some hints of berries.

T: Beer is very, very smooth. Liken it to Newcastle in that regard but quite sweeter. Difficult to detect the hops. Caramel and berry flavors make their presence known.

M: A little thin for my taste especially for a Winter beer, but other positive aspects more than make up for it.

Beer is not too high in alcohol but you can definitely feel it warm you up in the chest. Overall, a very delightful beer and you can enjoy several without feeling full. However, if you like hops, stay away from it.

Nick3, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%

Special thanks to Wasatch for this one in a trade.

A: Dark red/brown, dark amber. Cream colored head about half an inch thick that reduced to a film. Somewhat cloudy. Attractive beer.

S: Bready and malty, huge on the fresh bread smell, big earthy smell too, but the breads absolutely dominate this one. Somewhat of a faint hint of something...ginger-y? Not too bad smelling though.

T: Not at all what I expected, this is malty with a huge honey comb presence, some hints at nutmeg, cinnamon, bready malts, excellent tasting winter beer. Very tasty.

M: Not too thick or thin, great carbonation, slight alcohol/spice heat. Very good.

D: This is great, a great winter beer. I could easily drink three or four of these as a change up to porters and stouts in the winter. Excellent beer.

pokesbeerdude, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of dukew456
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a Miller High Life pint glass

Small, light brown head, with almost no retention as I drank this. Medium amber in color, a little bit lighter than traditional winter warmers maybe?

Smell is a a fruity, toffee-like malt attack, no hops in then nose, but surprisinglg appetizing. This smells like fruitcake to me, and that is a good thing.

Taste is much like the smell, almost extremely sweet. Candied fruits, spice, and most of all toffee/caramel dominate, with no hops that I can detect.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for what I think a winter warmer should be, but still plays pretty well to the sweetness.

This beer is a little bit of an enigma to me. I like the smell and what it reminds me of, but the follow up taste is not very pleasant. However, I could see myself drinking a few of these, as its relatively thin mouthfeel doesn't give you the feeling of being overly full. Worth a shot.

dukew456, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of MEsquandoles
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

22oz bomber from 2008 release into UK glass.

Looks like an ESB with plenty of head retention.

Smells of caramelized figs and plums, some cherries pie. Holiday spices and brown sugar too. Pleasant but very sweet. Some English Old Ale flavours too. No alcohol in nose.

Taste is dominated by cherry pie. Some Old Ale flavours too with holiday spices in the finish. A lot of caramel. Not much aftertaste. I can't complain about too much spice though. I'd actually like some more spice and hop or some dry woodiness to go with this creamy sweetness, although I realize its middle of February, so those have faded by now.

Kinda thin for 6.9%abv.

Not bad, but I think I'll have a hard time finishing the bomber pleasantly.

MEsquandoles, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Naugled
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%

A-Medium amber with a light tan head that settles rapidly. A nice looking beer in the glass.

S-Cola, caramel, cola, caramel...I'm not sure how they pack so much caramel in this. I think it smell like a coke.

T-Again, caramel and cola flavors. I've only ever tasted this extent of caramel in a few beers. In this case the sweetness and malts are well balanced by the hops. I couldn't detect the hops, but they did cut the sweetness just enough to avoid a soda taste. Just the right amount.

M-mild carbonation and a full creamy mouthfeel without being cloying.

D-for it's sweetness this is a very drinkable beer and IMO a great winter warmer.

I also think this might be a good cellaring beer. I plan to store some away.

Naugled, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of Buebie
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%

Bottle courtasy of Wasatch, thanks John.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip. No freshness date on the bottle, although 2008 is stamped on the neck.
Poures with a 2 inch white fluffy head, leaving a thin layer of white retention. Lace is thin and mostly non existant.
A redish chill hazed copper color, that glows brilliantly when held to light.

Aromas of fruity cherry pie. I get the acidic cherry fruit aroma mixing with the bready gram cracker yeasty crumb like smell.
Some carmal and a touch of grains.

Tasteing alot like cherries again with a sweet and sour like flavor. The sour is not a bad one, its more of a citric acid sour with a syrupy like cherries taste. Hints of warming on my toungue. Its fairly dry with a clean crisp bite at the end. Mouthfeel is thin and Carbonaed all the way through. Its a snappy beer, with fizzy hissing coming from carbonation as the beer is agitated. There is a very mild and almost all droped out grassy hop flavor into the finish. Its minimal and mostly not making itself available in aroma and almost gone in flavor.

This reminds me alot of Tröegs Mad Elf.
Its a solid beer, but a little too fruit forward for my lieking. The bready pie crust like flavors and grains definatly balance this out and keep things on track for that beer flavor.

Buebie, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
2.42/5  rDev -37.6%

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours hazy dark copper with a thin, one finger fizzy light khaki head.

Nose starts off with a sugary sweet strawberry fruity note. Unbelievably sweet.

Taste follows suit - cloyingly sweet caramel, toffee, and berry-like fruit note, with some pure sugar sweetness mixed in. It's like they forgot to hop this batch or something. Sightly metallic.

Restrained carbonation, syrupy body. Sticky.

JohnQVegas, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of microbrewlover
4.9/5  rDev +26.3%

Here we go with another great winter warmer.

This beer pours with a lovely amber/copper color. Minimal lacing with a quickly dissapearing head and medium carbination.

The second thing I noticed, color being the first, was the smell. Loaded with spices, I believe anise, cardamon and allspice are in this brew, possibly others, (cinnamon, possibly). There was also a bit of a bready, doughy smell.

The taste is the same as the smell, the spices hit your mouth and linger there, even after swallowing. I could not taste any bitterness or alchohol.

The brew is filling and warming. Maybe this is my imagination but I would also say invigorating. Anderson Valley turned in a winner. I will be looking forward to this brew every winter.

microbrewlover, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of mikereaser
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

A - pours a reddish copper color with 1/4 inch of foam with a bit of lacing

S - nice fruity aromas along with roasted malts

T - roasted malt flavor with hints of fruity and maple syrup and hints of spiciness

M/D - medium bodied with a nice crispness that makes it very enjoyable, nothing too overpowering but a nice winter warmer

mikereaser, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of caddybuyer
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A-Medium red amber with a light tan head that settles rapidly. Very attractive, but I'm wishing for a bit more head. Little, if any lacing, but it could also be my glass.

S-Wow...caramel galore!...especially as this one warms. Fruits, cinnamon and sweet malts as well, and hiding somewhere behind all that the lowly hops...

T-sweet caramel and dark fruits. Taste reminds me a bit of fruitcake, with some apples thrown in. Up front sweetness and malts are well balanced by those background hops in a very nice way...anything stronger would change the character significantly. 6.9 ABV? Could have fooled me, I never would have guessed it. A very nice warmer.

M-mild carbonation and mouthfeel on the full creamy side. Very smooth and just about perfect.

D-This one is remarkably drinkable, but hides its ABV so well it could be very sneaky. Do I want another? Does a bear hibernate while BA's drink their warmers?

I am a huge fan of warmers and this is one of the better ones. Glad to have scored one of the last of the sixers before they make way for the spring offerings.

caddybuyer, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of bahumutx
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper with a small head.

Smell: Malt, caramel, and slight spices

Taste: Starts and ends with a great malt sweetness and Caramel flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg and slight hop flavor in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Smooth mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Even at 6.9% ABV I could have many of these in one sitting.

Another great beer from Anderson Valley. Very well balanced and great on a cold winters night. I will definitely look for this every winter.

bahumutx, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%

Pours a dark honey color with a creamy beige head. Average retention and some decent lacing.

A balanced myriad of scents in this beer. Fruity notes (apples, strawberries) blend nicely with a grainy smell and sweet caramel maltiness.

Mmmmm, has zesty, spicy, fruity and creamy flavors. Caramel, floral hops and yeasty fruit esters are all quite noticeable. Sooo smooth and drinkable - wow! A sixer of these could seriously disappear in about 30 minutes. Another stellar beer from AV.

twiggamortis420, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of RunDWP
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%

So far, this is my favorite brew of the winter warmer style, from one of my favorite breweries, Anderson Valley. And the good news about this one is that they resist the temptation to hit you over the head with a bunch of hops like too many other brewers do with their winter warmers.

Looks good in the glass with an auburn orange color and a fluffy white head. Savory spices on the nose. The taste is a bit malty, with savory spices of nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and a little cherry note, with some herbal hops at the finish. Decent heft and carbonation and I found this to be very smooth, drinkable, and enjoyable. Well balanced and moderately complex.

RunDWP, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of CMW
4/5  rDev +3.1%

This was poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew poured a dark red/amber with some copper highlights. There is very little, almost no carbonation that can be seen when I hold this beer up to the light. The head was light, but fluffy and disappeared quickly with very limited lacing.

The smell is of roasted malt and corn. There is also a decent amount of sweet spice, maybe cinnamon or nutmeg? There is also some caramel thrown in there. I did not detect any hops or alcohol.

This is extremely smooth. There are flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla cascading over a malt base. It tastes like freshly baked Christmas cookies. There is a slight hop zing in the end and it finished clean. For a beer that is 6.9% alcohol, it is surprising that I could not detect the alcohol in the finish. Winter Solstice has a very smooth and well-balanced taste.

I really enjoyed this beer and will have another before the season is over. Not sure if I could drink more than one per sitting though as it does have significant sweetness.

CMW, Jan 26, 2009
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,395 ratings.