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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,382 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,382
Reviews: 674
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 39
Gots: 64 | 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: 1,382 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jim1904
jim1904

California

3.18/5  rDev -18%

Poured from a 12oz into a pint. Slightly above cellar temp, I'd say about 58 degrees.

A - Copper-amber, a nice color. Jewel clear. Moderate head that disappears rapidly leaving behind almost zero lacing. Great color, disappointing head.

S - Corny, but in a good way. Malty and corny, with a faint whiff of spices that are not altogether wintery. Brown sugar is the most apparent, with a bit of allspice tinge.

T - The spices here are front and center, forming a series of flourishes against a malt backdrop. Strong amber malt notes are accompanied by the same spices in the nose... brown sugar is strong here, with hints of cinnamon and cardamom with a bit of clove. The disappointing thing is how fleeting they are. They rush on strongly in the front of the party, leaving a quinine-like finish that is not terrible, but certainly is jarring after a pleasantly strong spice foretaste.

M - Carbonation is strong, but works well. Body is light, bubbles are stinging. I might have preferred a slightly heavier, flatter body for a winter warmer, but this isn't bad.

D - Drinkable for a 6.9% ale... which is not what I'm sure I want out of a winter warmer. I'm in fairly sultry Southern California right now, but I'm trying to picture myself enjoying this on a cold wintery day, and it doesn't really work. Maybe if the spices were a bit stronger.

At the end of the day, this is a pretty good beer that doesn't live so much up to the style but is rather enjoyable when judged on its own merits.

11-17-2008 06:37:38 | More by jim1904
Photo of djeffbee
djeffbee

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -7.7%

Poured from a bottle from Winter Beer Swap 2008. Typical sexy Anderson Valley labels..

A - nice deep amber body, with a thin off white head.

S - it takes a good whiff to smell the dark caramel malts, with no real hop armoma noticeable.

T - Sweet, malty body, hop bitterness is balanced nicely, the finish falls off just a bit.

M - Smooth, pleasant, low carbonation.

D - Goes down easy, you really never see the 6.9 coming.

I enjoyed this, would def have another. Could prolly see purchasing a couple sixers more of this..

11-16-2008 19:22:12 | More by djeffbee
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.13/5  rDev +6.4%

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.

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

Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured a clear golden brown color with a nice off white head that fades but laces nicely. Smells of fresh hops. Taste has a fruity hop bite but its very crisp and refreshing. Some good hop spices too, and finishes with a sweet malt flavor. No bad aftertaste from this beer goes down easy, very drinkable. Try it, one of the better winter beers.

11-09-2008 02:03:15 | More by nrpellegrini
Photo of jslot38
jslot38

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Winter Solstice is a winter beer staple for me and my friends.

2008 Edition, Bottle to Tulip GuldenDraak Chalice.

Appearance: Strong pour produced a nice large, creamy, frothy off white head. The body colour is a nice light mahogany with cherry wood tones. Mild, sudsy lacing.

Smell: Very grainy, a bit resiny. A mild spiced note. Biscuit and bread. Doesn't overwhelm.

Taste: Mild notes of vanilla and spices, not overwhelming again, but stronger than in the smell. Biscuit malt and bread round out the flavor. Very basic ale, with a nice note of spices and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation up front. Doesn't hold the tongue long. Not at all dry.

Drinkability: At 6.9% ABV you don't feel it all. Ok... maybe you would feel it after a few. But you certainly don't taste it.

A well done beer. Lends itself to a few, because Anderson Valley keeps it simple - not overpowering in the spice or vanilla, but they are there and well done.

11-07-2008 00:26:43 | More by jslot38
Photo of bifrostguard
bifrostguard

California

3.68/5  rDev -5.2%

A - Clear, bright amber color with a off white head that quickly dissipates.

S - Very mild. Caramel malt and some spice. On the first whiff, I couldn't smell anything at all.

T - Also mild. Caramel malt, clove, nutmeg and a slight hop presence in the finish. Very slight.

M - Thin but enjoyable.

D - Mild and smooth. This is on the light end of the winter seasonal beers. I might like to come back to this one.

11-01-2008 21:38:19 | More by bifrostguard
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%

A- murky amber or light brown with occasional carbonation bubbles and a small tan head.

S- very spicy. reminds me of a trippel. lots of caramel.

T- mmmm caramel! thats about all i can taste, which isnt a bad thing. didnt notice any hops. maybe a touch of toffee.

M- light and well carbonated

D- i enjoyed the strong yet not over the top caramel taste of this. im sure i could handle a couple of these. the alcohol is well hidden. cant wait to try this one fresh!

10-05-2008 03:44:44 | More by jwinship83
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

2.73/5  rDev -29.6%

Thanks to swnicholoson for throwing this into an excellent trade this spring!

I have never had a beer that smells like ass before. Interesting. It made me think about a drain-pour before the glass touched my virgin lips. Another first. This is the first time the smell of a brew has interfered with my enjoyment of said liquid.

Thank Zeus, the taste is nothing like the smell (although my wife recoiled in horror & poured her half into my pint glass). Taste very spicy, like cadmun & cinnamon & apple tizzy poured into a beer-like substance. Not something I want every day, but pleasant enough. I think a roaring fire & bearskin rug would make it better.

Hard to drink much of it, though. I can see why it's a 'winter warmer' as my belly is warming already. Huh. Not quite sure what to think of this one.

10-03-2008 02:43:22 | More by maximum12
Photo of treyrab
treyrab

California

3.6/5  rDev -7.2%

Figured I would try this one to close out the summer season...Poured into a pint glass...

A: Hazy copper with a one finger head that goes to a quick disk or foam. This one does not lace very well. Not a great looking beer, looks more like one of my homebrews.

S: The smell has tons of caramel and munich malt, as well as a hint of spice, but not so much for a winter warmer.

T: Wow is this sweet! This reminds me of drinking Cream Soda. Tons of caramel and vanilla in the flavor, and not much spice for a winter beer. This has a very strange finish of vanilla, perhaps from a vanilla extract.

Overall, this is a great attempt at a beer, though it has a strange finish. Give it a try if you're in the mood for something sweet.

09-16-2008 01:59:10 | More by treyrab
Photo of ibashmuck
ibashmuck

Wisconsin

2.42/5  rDev -37.6%

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Medium head on an orange/amber/copper body. There's some sort of nasty funk in the smell...overpowers everything else. Slightly bitter, a touch sweet, maybe maple syrup. Too fizzy. The funk and fizziness were big turnoffs. May have to try another to see if that funk was a fluke.

07-12-2008 05:00:10 | More by ibashmuck
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A murky, caramel candy chew colored beer is dispensed. A slightly tanned, frothy and dense head forms on top of the beer. Nice.

Pleasant smell. Caramel, biscuit, even some spisiness like cinnamon, nutmeg, and even some juniper. Its weird to be drinking a Christmas type beer in the middle of July. Its good nonetheless.

More caramel and biscuit flavors with seasonal flavors as well. More of the typical juniper and cinammon spice.

I was very pleased with this. I didnt know what to expect since this beer is out of season, but it was a good beer. Nearly full bodied with perfect carbonation. Slightly slick on the tongue. I could have bought a case for $20 but had never had this before. I certainly would jump at the chance now!

07-05-2008 19:05:20 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of dbalsock
dbalsock

Vermont

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%

App: Pours a dark amber/maroon with a fluffy and thick vanilla head. There's some lacing. The head is the best part, with it's hugeness and it's dense yet cloud-like appearance.

Smell: Alcohol, cherries and prunes all come out immediately with a hint of biscuit and no apparent hops for me.

Taste: Heavy biscuit with a fruit and hoppy aftertaste. The alcohol is present and mixes with some not so intense hop and strawberries on the swallow. It has a lot going on but seems to miss a final dimension that would tie it all together.

Mouthfeel: Thin, with ample carbonation and a slight bitterness that seems out of place. It's a little off in this department and could use more substance.

Drinkability: It's very quaffable for almost 7%, and goes down smooth. Despite all the fruity and sweet tastes, it's not cloying and I could easily have a couple pints in a row.

05-13-2008 21:27:33 | More by dbalsock
Photo of shirfan
shirfan

New York

3.48/5  rDev -10.3%

Dark and clear copper-brown, average head.

Smells like a holiday fruitcake with cinnamon and nutmeg in the background.

Taste is on the malty side, caramel flavor leads the way with something like candied pineapple behind it. Possibly some Marris Otter in here. Spices are strong but not overpowering with cinnamon being the major player.

High carbonation and a slightly alcoholic feel on the tongue deduct score from mouthfeel.

Drinkability is not bad for a winter warmer -- a good solid example without being memorable.

04-28-2008 00:10:44 | More by shirfan
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

3.23/5  rDev -16.8%

Poured into a nonic. Two fingers of head atop an extremely hazy body that's a little too light in color for the style.

Smells like apple pie beer, if that makes any sense. Lots of brown sugar/cinnamon sprinkled on a fruity base. Interesting but off-putting.

Tastes a lot like brown sugar with some caramel. Cinnamon is obvious, and again there's a chewy dark fruitiness.

Carbonation is way over the top, and to complicate things, the body is too light. This makes for poor mouthfeel and drinkability.

04-25-2008 06:05:47 | More by illidurit
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Nice dark ruby brown color, 2 finger creamy off white head. Very pleasing to the eye.

S- Smell was mostly of caramel followed by some fruits (apples, strawberry?- cant put my finger on it)

T- Caramel really comes through with some spice, but nothing overwpowering. "Jellylike" finish from the fruit flavors- Well balanced.

M- Mouthfeel was medium bodied. A little sticky from the sweetness.

D- A little too sweet to drink a few of these. Enjoyable and an excellent winter warmer.

04-20-2008 15:14:31 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of baldycmu
baldycmu

Texas

3.28/5  rDev -15.5%

A- Pours an orangey/amber hazy color with limited tan head. Lacing is limited
S-Not much here, notes of caramel and winter spice, but you need to work to pick it out
T-An average winter warmer with notes of caramel clove, maybe nutmeg. The finish is slightly bready with a touch of hop flavor and is the best thing about it.
M/D- Smooth for a winter with limited alcohol taste for the 6.9%.

Not a bad beer, and certainly worth drinking once in a while.

04-16-2008 23:53:11 | More by baldycmu
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%

Appearance: It's a bit hazy and brown to dark amber in color. Head is slightly off white and about two fingers deep. Very good retention and solid lacing.

Smell: Caramel-toffee malts shine initially. Sweet and malty. Secondary scents are dark fruit (nice plum aroma) and toasted nut. Cinnamon and slight nutmeg spices emerge. A little yeasty smelling. Hops are faint.

Taste: Caramel malts are sweet and really give it a nice base. Plum and spice flavors are very good and blend well. Toasted nut taste is present but not as apparent here. Slightly yeasty, but far from offensive. Hops emerge toward the end, but are barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and very well carbonated. Extremely smooth and drinkable. ABV really lends itself to good drinkability. I'm really impressed with this beer. Certainly recommended.

03-22-2008 03:54:17 | More by prototypic
Photo of csmiley
csmiley

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

A - Pours copper in color. With some effort I got a head that was just shy of half inch. Retention was good. Lacing was average.

S - Caramel and bread are first to come through on the nose. There is some spice in the background but it is mild. Smells like it could be cinnamon. Alcohol is present but so far in the background that it just becomes really hard pick up.

T - Caramel is the primary flavor that I'm getting. Mid taste is made up of spices (cinnamon and honey) and fresh cooked bread. There is a very small amount of hop bitterness on the end. Complexities start to show up as it warms giving it a much better balance of flavors.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation. Could be too light bodied for a 6.9% Winter Warmer.

D - It does go down very easy so the drinkability will get a good score. I've had this several times and I'll end up getting it again.

03-11-2008 03:22:44 | More by csmiley
Photo of SurlyDuff
SurlyDuff

Oregon

4/5  rDev +3.1%

Actual (and funny) quote from the GF...
"It tastes like a candle. A Yankee candle"

This one pours a slightly hazy copper with red highlights.

Hard to pick out the aroma, even warming up it's rather mild.
A bit of sour apple, caramel apple. Then as it warms up, a wave of vanilla hits and doesn't relent. Vanilla galore! (maybe thats the candle the misses tasted?)

Sweet bread, cinnamon, allspice. Fruity esters. Very very smooth. Great mouthfeel. Not overly malty or anything, a real good drinker.

Aftertaste is great, makes me want another.

In all a very good winter warmer. Not killer alcohol, but it warms me up anyway. Smooth and just the right sweetness.

03-06-2008 02:26:18 | More by SurlyDuff
Photo of mountdew1
mountdew1

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%

Poured into imperial pint glass. Color was a dark reddish brown that was basically translucent. Head was nonexistent, leaving just a thin layer which clung nicely to the sides. Smelled slightly malty with a hint of spice. Taste was slighty fruity sweet along with some sweet brown bread flavors. Felt outstanding in the mouth. Came through very smooth, clung just enough to everything. Very easy to drink, alcohol was well hidden.

02-21-2008 23:41:46 | More by mountdew1
Photo of asabreed
asabreed

New York

4/5  rDev +3.1%

2007 version 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber with hints of orange and yellow through the body. Frothy head dissipates quickly than I wanted with little retention, though it has a bit of staying power above the glass.

Smell: Lots of balanced spice and creaminess, bread, dough, toasted nuts. A bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, caramel and vanilla. Not as much roasted malt as I imagined, which is actually nice and lets the sweeter and spicier side of the brew come out quite well, yet the citrus from the hops are coming in enough so there's not so much to overwhelm the senses in sweetness.

Taste: I like how at near 7% ABV this beer masks the alcohol extremely well, as there's hardly a hint of it. I think that's due to the balance of all the flavors from the malt and the subtle spices working their magic. Cookie dough, bread, nutmeg, slight vanilla, cream, banana, dark berries, caramel, and finishing with a subtle burst of citrus from the hops to provide a long and fairly complex finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy without being overbearing or cloying.

Drinkability: A good winter warmer and one that I'll be coming back to. Enough complexity without overdoing it, and unlike the brewery says on their website, this should be consumed at a warmer temperature from the start, since so much more comes through when it warms.

02-19-2008 04:37:28 | More by asabreed
Photo of animal69
animal69

Louisiana

3.3/5  rDev -14.9%

i saw "solar powered brewery" and figured i'd do one for the environment ; pours a med. hazy copper-brown color w/ all manner of particles floating around, a thin, off-white head which dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of lacing in my pint ; not a powerful smell, caramel malts and citrus hops up front w/ notes of vanilla and spice throughout ; a sweet taste loaded w/ darker malts and spices, i'd guess they used everything on the shelf in this one, vanilla, caramel, some ginger/cinnamonish spices, honey/maple, not unpleasant at all however ; a surprisingly light beer, though the sweetness makes it appear thicker, good co2 as well ; not a bad beer, though they get a bit cloying after awhile...

02-11-2008 03:34:35 | More by animal69
Photo of markgugs
markgugs

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +6.4%

poured from 12oz. bottle into a dimpled mug

A: This is a gorgeous beer, rich & inviting, it looks like melted toffee or caramel, and has a huge fluffy off-white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing along the walls of the mug.

S: This beer smells like winter, roasted winter, lol. The aroma of roasted beans and baking bread are nearly overwhelming, with just the right hint of nuttiness and pine needles.

T/M: Very sweet, not as nutty or roasted as the smell would indicate. Cookies and shortbread dominate, coupled with butterscotch and maybe a smidgen of maple syrup, and the only bitterness comes in the form of a well-balanced toasted finish. Perfectly carbonated with a slick mouthfeel and a lingering almost cloying finish.

D: The overall sweetness might turn some off, but if a semi-spiced nutty ESB-styled ale is your bag, you'll love this.

02-01-2008 03:24:58 | More by markgugs
Photo of BeerSox
BeerSox

Virginia

3.33/5  rDev -14.2%

12oz bottle into nonic

Deep slightly hazy copper hue with a one finger light tan head that slowly settles to a thin cap. The lacing isn't that sticky.

The aroma is very malty and sugary, with a strong caramel overtone. Some of the alcohol also pokes through. A little bit of spice is also in there.

Very sugary flavor, but also thin bodied. This gives it the feel like it's soda more than a beer. It's overall malty, not much hop flavor in there.

I found this one to be somewhat average, with the flavors being pretty one-sided, and the alcohol to be somewhat harsh for its amount. It's a little on the sweet side too.

01-26-2008 01:32:01 | More by BeerSox
Photo of dudeandhisrug
dudeandhisrug

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -15.5%

I received this beer in a sampler from Xmas. I was excited to try my first taste from Anderson Valley but unfortunately was disappointed. This was an average brew. The color and smell were above average but the taste and overall drinkability lacked what I was looking for on a cold January evening. I will definately try Anderson Valley again because I only hear positive things from this progressive brewery.

01-19-2008 04:15:05 | More by dudeandhisrug
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,382 ratings.