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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

1,359 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,359
Reviews: 674
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 39
Gots: 57 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,359 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerSox
BeerSox

Virginia

3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2008 04:15:05 | More by dudeandhisrug
Photo of theformula
theformula

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer #13 in my 366 Days of Beer Quest, tasted on 1/13 @ Capital Ale House in Richmond.

A: Poured a dark copper body into a pint glass. A smallish, dense off-white head has decent retention, nice lacing around the glass.

S: Great aroma. Rich, ripe fruits like cherry and apple are at the forefront. Dark roasted malts give off some grain, caramel and black pepper spice.

M: Light body, crisp carbonation. A little hard and thin yet easy drinking.

T: Where's the fruit? Sounds like an odd mantra, but I'm missing a lot of the great fruit character that the aroma promised. Most of what comes through is the black pepper spice, lightly smoked, bready malts and a subtle oak/wood note as well.

D: A tasty W.W., and a little different than what I was expecting. I wish the fruit was stronger in the taste, as the body was a bit bitter and one dimensional. Tasty enough though and a welcome beverage to ward off the chill. Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2008 21:18:20 | More by theformula
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2008 02:49:46 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Slynger
Slynger

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 20:09:50 | More by Slynger
Photo of dedrinker
dedrinker

Kansas

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark amber with a little off-white head. Aromas of nutty malt and vanilla. Flavors of caramel malt , vanilla, oak, and a little holiday spice. Medium bodied, and a little more subtle than previous year's editions. This one could beg further samples throughout the winter. It might not have a "warming" quality, but it sure does have a mellow, comforting one.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2008 08:12:41 | More by dedrinker
Photo of timtim
timtim

District of Columbia

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

2007 winter solstice... reddish amber with an off white head that held pretty well and left georgeous lace. nose had hints of caramel, cocoa and roasted malt. taste was well balanced with a slight hoppy backbone and a nice cocoa finish. medium body and a nice, smooth drink. another great brew from one of my old favorites.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2008 20:35:22 | More by timtim
Photo of Minkybut
Minkybut

Virginia

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this outstanding beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was red looking and had a nice beige head. The smell was hoppy and fresh and smelled like vanilla. The tase was smooth and a little sweet but not too much. A littlew buter nut tasting was also evident. This is one of the most interesting brews I have ever drank. You MUST try it and I will certainly buy again.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2008 15:02:51 | More by Minkybut
Photo of tapman
tapman

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps the best surprise of the winter season 2007.

Appears a dark brown with ruby accents. The color of the beer is dark and there is a degree of unfiltering. The head retention is excellent and pours a 1 1/2 fingers, brown eggshell in color and melts down to a thin film that remains for the duration of the drink. Mouthwateringly beautiful.

Aroma is of chocolate and caramel malts with hints of toffee and brown sugar. The hops are spicy and tangy and are reminiscent of a mixure of different American cascade hybrid hops.

Everything that is in the smell is present in the taste so I don't think I need to write it again. However, also present are notes of licorice, nutmeg, and allspice not found in the nose. Hops are also a bit spicier than in the nose which gives this beer an amber ale character. Also is a bit of astringency in the aftertaste, probably due to high hop resins. Not horrible, but a small price to pay for the high hop and high malt that finds a balance without overpowering each other.

Mouthfel is decent, but there is a sticky dryness in the finish, and not a good, wine-like one. Body is full and the texture is pleasing so I don't mind it too much.

A very delicious and unique beer. Definitely worth a try if your looking for a great winter beer. Not much of a session brew, but what are you going to do.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2008 02:06:15 | More by tapman
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First ever brew from Anderson Valley and I am very impressed. For a winter warmer this hits the nail directly on the head. This is everything a winter warmer should be. A near perfect rendition of the style. Nice burgundy red appearance with slight frothy head. Leads to a caramel and bready smell. Taste strongly compliments the aroma. Brown sugar like sweetness leaves a malty and bready finish that lingers on the palate. Def recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 15:27:00 | More by dsa7783
Photo of Atlas1
Atlas1

Texas

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better winter warmers on the market, the Winter Solstice is a fine brew. Had it last year and wasn't disappointed; I imagine this year (2007) will be similar.

Pours a nice amber/brown color with ruby hues on the edges, with a fat creamy slightly off-white head. Thick lace chunks left on the sides of the glass. The nose is malty with a heavy lean toward dark fruit, but nothing really stands out all that much. Maybe banana. With some maple. It's nice; not too strong, but pleasant enough for the drinker to take notice. The taste is rich and malty, with a slight dark fruit presence, along with that banana sensation again. Some vanilla. Faint hop kiss at the end, but nothing worth writing home about. Mouthfeel is smooth and borderline creamy. Not bad.

I like this beer. It's a smooth winter warmer. Sometimes, the style comes across as way too spicy, but this is gentle and unassuming. But it still delivers. It's a hard line to walk, but Anderson Valley has managed to find the right blend for the style. A job well done.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 01:34:00 | More by Atlas1
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release. 12oz. bottle into pint glass on 12/26/07.

A - Poured a clear ruby red body with mahogany tones and one-finger rocky beige head. Lots of bubbles of active carbonation. Pretty good head retention with spotty lacing.

S - Rich malty nose with sweet caramel, chocolate and bready/toasted malts. Faint herbal hops in the background. Traces of fruit, anise, cinnamon and winter spices. Reminds me of gingerbread cookie dough.

T - Lots of subtle flavors combining here, making for a very tasty winter ale. Starts off a bit spicy with a mix of winter spices, followed by a delicate caramel and chocolate sweetness. Finishes up with a robust, bready malt flavor and some more chocolate and gingerbread.

M - Medium body with an exceptionally smooth, creamy texture. Soft carbonation with a minimal prickle factor. Finish is sweet and smooth on the palate.

D - This is an extremely tasty brew that's easy to drink. Much more subtle than other winter ales I've had. Very nice blend of malts and spices. It will warm you up on a chilly winter evening.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 02:37:05 | More by ffejherb
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the 2007 edition, enjoyed one night after this years' winter soltice. Poured amber with a light brown half finger head. Smelled of yeast. Taste was hoppy, warm yet snappy slight citrus wheat-beer like presence with fruit rind and spice, maybe coriander. The bitterness was well balanced with a malty finish. Overall, I could have used a few more of these, thanks Jan and Cheryl.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 01:08:42 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of Risser09
Risser09

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass - 2007 vintage - Poured at cellar temperature

Appearance: this ale pours a transparent brown color with some red highlights. The head reaches one inch in height and has an ivory color. It fades within a minute and leaves no lace on the glass.

Smell: Malty in aroma, with some barely discernable spices. They are cinnamon and allspice. Not much more to say for the aroma.

Taste: Peppery and woody. Cedar and nutmeg are the main flavors. Malt fills up th rest of the flavor profile. No hop presence to speak of. Sweet malt sugar rounds out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Sugary and malty. Not much other flavor. Thin to medium bodied with medium carbonation and not much alcohol presence. Sort of warming.

Drinkability: I generally dislike winter warmers, and I generally dislike this beer. There's not much to really appreciate. It doesn't stand out in any category. I'm not really sure what makes it a Christmas beer. It's not horrible but it's certainly below average. Not my cup of tea....err beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 01:24:23 | More by Risser09
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

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

Thanks to Wasatch for this one...

Pours slightly clouded/hazed orange-amber with a thin head that becomes a lasting, swirling patch.

The smell is of caramel and juicy fruits.

The taste is of caramel/toffee with warming spiciness (and cinnamon?). A nice fruity hop backing is there, adding depth and balance to the sweet maltiness. Mild alcohol warms, but does not interfere.

Reaches full-bodied. Silky smooth. Malty flavor lingers.

Very drinkable for style. A tasty winter treat!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 14:51:29 | More by jwc215
Photo of budgood1
budgood1

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a deep and dark ruby colour... thin tight head, with some minimal lace. sweet candy aroma...a bit of fruitcake and fig... some vanilla, rose petals, and a hint of choco/caramel. x-mas spice accented vanilla bean, chocolate pudding with plenty of caramel malt and milky way cocoa notes. ghostly cinnamon, nutmeg and anise... sweet, bordering on cloying at times, but with a just enough hopping and alcohol spice to get over the hump to have a flowery, warming, satisfying finish. despite what other reviewers have opined, it seems to me that this holiday treat has a nice, ample, full figured body with a somewhat smooth and velvety mouthfeel to boot. finishes sweet and a bit boozy. drinkability is great for the style because i find myself really enjoying this concoction as it warms a bit, accentuating all the nuances that otherwise i might find annoying in other x-mas/spiced themed ales.

so today is the winter solstice...and i thought that this would be the perfect beer to review. it's obvious that this offering is a holiday spiced x-mas ale of some sort, and not necessarily a true winter warmer or winter ale. nonetheless, i find it to be one the more outstanding representations of a holiday spiced ale.

definitely recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 00:14:49 | More by budgood1
Photo of Dalem
Dalem

Michigan

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A really nice dark red color. I don't take much into the overall of color when it comes to beer but it's attractive the way it let's the light through.
Scents of malt, vanilla and cinnamon waft from the glass underneath a modest head. First few sips are of alcohol and a bit of a creamy vanilla thing but as the chill fades and the beer the winter spiciness of woodsy cinnamon and the tang of cherry show up bringing a standing in front of the fireplace for a few minutes after being out all day in the cold warm feeling. A creamy, fruity & spicey finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 04:59:18 | More by Dalem
Photo of paulr
paulr

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage. Pours a copper/brownish color with very little head. Sweet and nicely spiced, not overwhelming. Moderately carbonated. Smooth and easy to drink.

A very nice seasonal ale. I'll definitely pick up another 6 pack before the end of the year!

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 02:30:27 | More by paulr
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown, amber color (thought not entirely opaque) with a medium sized foamy tan head that leaves nice lacing down the glass.
S: Very rich, lots of malty sweetness. Notes of cinnamon, vanilla, some fruityness, etc
T/M: Very creamy, full bodied, with strong roasted malty taste with some slight bitterness for balance. There are a lot of flavors and spices in here, though strongest seems to be the sweetness/vanilla flavors.
D: I can't say I'm particularly crazy about the taste of this beer, but I love the appearance and aromas and has a very pleasant mouthfeel. As a result, I usually find myself ordering this when I find it on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2007 20:11:37 | More by yourefragile
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clean copper/ amber color, with a light tan head. In the aroma, just like an orange creamsickle. In the taste, corriander and a nice sweet orange sweetness. A smooth, medium body mouthfeel and a semi-dry orange citrus and spice aftertaste. Fantastic flavor, not big and very nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2007 16:54:01 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of woemad
woemad

Washington

3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at Rocket Market in Spokane for $1.49. No freshness date.

Poured a dark amber color, with a decent sized off-white head. After a couple of minutes the head subsided, leaving spots and streaks of lace, but the head is easily agitated back to life.

The nose is more malty than I expected. Though a hop presence became more notable as the beer warmed up, this is a sweeter example of the style.

This starts out with a caramel sweetness. There's a mild hoppy bitterness in the background, along with an equally mild coriander-ish spiciness. Not a huge flavor bomb, but it's agreeably tasty.

Medium bodied, with a slightly sticky, coating mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer to have a pint of, but it's a little too sweet to have more at a sitting. I tend to prefer my winter warmers more hoppy and/or more spicy than this. People who want a sweeter brew might dig this, however.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2007 21:23:17 | More by woemad
Photo of dnichols
dnichols

Washington

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

I was poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a chilled pint glass at the Tony Roma bar in Kennewick, Washington.

A: It had a brown with ruby tint body. A gentile pour resulted in a slight tightly bubbled tan head that had decent lacing and retention. .

S: It had a fruity sweet malt aroma with crisp spicy hops.

T: The balance between the sweet malts and zesty hops was wonderful. The swig began with a lightly toasted sweet malt and fruit flavor followed by the refreshing zip of hops that included a bit of white pepper spice. .

M: It was light to medium bodied with a sweet front and refreshing back. It was moderately carbonated yet finished dry and clean.

D: Nice winter warmer. It was well balanced, had a clean finish, and had a warming affect. I'll keep this one on my shopping list for winter seasonal brews.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2007 13:35:27 | More by dnichols
Photo of BeerLover48Fan
BeerLover48Fan

New Jersey

4.97/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an interesting and worthwhile winter warmer to seek out. It pours a deep amberish brown color with little if any head, and forget about lacing or retention. The smell is caramel and cola syrup, perhaps a bit of cherry in there too. This is a medium bodied ale with very little carbonation and bordering on a syrupy full body. The taste is complex. There are plenty of caramel notes when the beer is cold, but as it settles, there is an unmistakable vanilla flavor, nutmeg, maybe some allspice flavor that begins to emerge. There is a spicy bite in there towards the end, and you will find a discernible aftertaste. This is a relatively flat, spicy, sweet, syrupy ale that pleases the palate. Worth seeking out. . If you are in the Burlington County NJ area Red White and Brew at 33 High Street in Mount Holly is where you will find this beer, Stop in and see Stacey and the staff and browse their Micro and Seasonal selection

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 02:55:07 | More by BeerLover48Fan
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of the brews I had at the Brickskeller on my trip to DC.

A: Dark garnet red color with a medium foamy tan head. Moderate lacing.

S: A real mix of aromas both sweet and spicy. Nice honey brown sugar sweetness with hints of vanilla. Clove, Nutmeg and Cinnamon hide beneath. Fruit notes can also be detected with touches of cherry and peach.

T: This one has a real creamy buttery taste right up front. Then the spices come at you. Nutmeg and Cinnamon are there but the clove kind of dominates. A touch of cherry juice can be detected in the finish.

M: Medium bodied and creamy.

D: Not really.

Overall: I did not enjoy this one at all. It's a malty brew with just too much going on with nothing really complimenting one another. The medicine type qualites of the clove just did not match up with the buttery taste of the brew. The sweet cherry mixed with the other spices is just tooo much. They had good intentions but went a bit over the top with this one. It actually made my stomache ache, and caused me to cut my trip to the Brickskeller a bit short.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 14:45:19 | More by tpd975
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.05/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber, slightly hazy, with a moderate head.

Smell: Sweet, cotton candy-like aroma; notes of vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Taste: Just as sweet as the aroma implies, but with balancing bitterness. Vanilla, caramel and butterscotch flavors are prevalent. Very little hop character; it tastes like spices are used as a substitute for hops rather than an accent. Sweetness continues throughout the aftertaste, with the slightest of hop bitterness coming out at the end.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy on the palate with moderate carbonation.

Notes: I can understand why this has mixed reviews - it's extremely sweet and spicy. Not bad, but not really to my liking.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 04:53:05 | More by largadeer
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,359 ratings.