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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

1,388 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,388
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: 1,388 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pooba001


3.9/5  rDev +0.5%

2006 edition of this beer pours a nice light mahogany color with more than a finger of head that doesn't quickly disappear. Carbonation looks nice. Smells like toffee, caramel, spice and fruit. Not very bold, but nice.

Taste starts with a big chewy malt sweetness, there's a citrus zest and some wintery spices here too. Not a big, bold Winter Warmer like I really prefer, but its good. Also nice is that I picked the right time to drink this beer, late October-November. Maybe I should call it a "Late Fall Warmer", that seems more fitting.

Mouthfeel is quite nice, could be a little thicker. Drinkability is high for the style, I wish I had a couple more on hand. Like I said above, stylistically this isn't an excellent beer, but I do enjoy it. I'll defintely go through a couple 6 packs of this in season.

10-24-2006 07:27:59 | More by Pooba001
Photo of TheBungyo


3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Pours a nice candy brown color with a nice looking little head. Nose is candy caramel and brown sugar. I also pick up a medicinal note that reminds me of something I used to take as a kid. Funny how those smells/tastes stay with you.
This is super smooth ... more caramel and brown sugar, that medicine taste and a kiss of hops. I'm not wild about this but it's ok.

10-17-2006 04:25:53 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Bottle from 2004. Pours a dark amber/brown. Some lacing around the perimeter of the glass. Whatever head there was quickly dissipates. Smell reminds me of an old english ale. Plenty of floating sediment suspended in the drink. Smell is quite welcoming. Still some decent carbonization given the age. Taste is close to an english ale. Very solid brew for the age and price. Glad I have more of these left. Solid offering. This brewery is starting to grow on me.

10-12-2006 01:31:56 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of gonzo138


3.93/5  rDev +1.3%

2006 edition

A- pours a deep clear reddish color, whitish cream colored head that retained decently

S- sweet malts and a bit fruity, cant quite place what the fruity smell is, its kind of tangy and a little sour, but its very enjoyable

T- sweet and at the same time very sharp, and the unknown fruity taste is there as well

M- nicely carbonated, stimulates tip of tounge, medium body

D- goes down easily, nice warm feeling, very nice, my first winter warmer and i did enjoy it

10-11-2006 09:34:32 | More by gonzo138
Photo of oelergud


4.3/5  rDev +10.8%

Maple translucent body with a ruby tint. Light brown head of tiny to small bubbles. Retention and lace are decent.
Scents of caramel. brown sugar and spice. Very malty and inviting. Very faint grass and hop character and maybe some walnut.
Strong malt base and caramel. Definitely some walnut flavor. Malty aftertaste with abit of hops.
Full and somewhat thick body. Some coating.
Good drinkability and a very good winter warmer.


09-02-2006 00:51:26 | More by oelergud
Photo of jmz62565


4.45/5  rDev +14.7%

This pours a dark mahogony with a medium tan head. A nice looking beer with the look of a hardy thick warmer. The smell is very strong with sweet malt.carmel, and a chewy nuttiness. The taste is really great with vanilla,carmel, sweet malt, and hops. A really nice mixture that makes the m/f medium,not "sticky', and very well balanced. The flavors of this beer are incredible, good luck finding a winter warmer that tastes as good as this and hides the alcohol. Here's wishing for a long winter.

08-13-2006 02:58:32 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Wasatch


3.9/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Pours a cloudy dark amber color, nice carbonation, tiny head, some lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of malts, some kinda fruit, slight spicyness.

T - The taste is sweet and malty, has a nice dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. This is a nice brew from AV, quenches the thirst pretty well.

07-23-2006 01:50:12 | More by Wasatch
Photo of PorterLambic


4.43/5  rDev +14.2%

2004 vintage bottle drank on July, 6, 2006. Nummy in my tummy.

Pours a nice, rich, reddish copper color with noticeable yeast within though not enough to be considered cloudy. Big tan head drops to thick film then slowly dissipates to nothing, leaving no lace.
Smell is rich, very involving, had to work hard to pick out the various notes here the balance was so good and it all just blended together. Found yeast, malt, hops, spice (I can't define further), apple cider and an oak/peat/earth mixture that gave a nice whiskey thought in my noggin.
Taste is very much along the lines of the smell, a very good thing. A malt/hop/yeast blend that was great followed by an alcohol bloom (oak flavored and not too strong) with a cider/spice/peat mixture that flowed into the aftertaste nicely.
A medium/full bodied brew with light effervescence but a slightly watery finish. Very unexpected and out of character.
Sipped this for almost 45 minutes and, as I write this review another 15 minutes have passed and the alcohol is noticeable in my system. Mind you, I'm 250 lbs and 1 brew is normally not felt unless it's a big Belgian. I expect the ABV is a might higher than the 6.9% listed.

07-06-2006 17:32:59 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of guinnessdoc


4.47/5  rDev +15.2%

A - Deep brown, slightly darker than iced tea. Beige head of small bubbles. Was 1/2 inch but fell away quickly to ring around glass.

S - Strong malt presence. Definite fruit in there too, but not sure if it's dark fruit like raisins or something citrusy.

T - Sweet malt taste that fades to the slightest bitterness. No hops are really apparent, nor is the alcohol. Almost spicy somehow. By the end I could definitely taste maple syrup!

M - Low carbonation so it was nice and smooth all the way. Finished a little dry.

D - In one word, Awesome. I'm sorry this is only a seasonal because I would drink it any day of the year. It's a great mix of an amber ale and a winter warmer. Easy drinking and thirst quenching.

06-24-2006 02:51:15 | More by guinnessdoc
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +11.6%

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a respectable tan head that leaves some spots of lacing

Smell: Rich caramel aroma with strong vanilla notes; also has some tropical fruit

Taste: Starts out with a rich caramel and vanilla flavor; after the swallow, some nice balancing hop flavors cut into the sweetness and also provide a seasonal spice flavor (cinnamon and nutmeg)

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Extremely well-balanced and flavorful; one of the better winter warmers I have encountered

06-01-2006 21:57:37 | More by brentk56
Photo of scruffwhor


3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

2005 release.

Appearance- Pours a half and half head with mild retention. A little lacing witnessed after taking a sip of the beer. Color is a deep, rich, copper, early morning sunrise.

Smell- Pretty sweet. Mix of light to heavy fruits like strawberries and prunes. With some general toasted malts.

Taste- A holiday spicey, fruit cake of malts and sugars. I'd say about 20% of the flavor profile is hoppy bitterness. I can't get specific on its taste. The malty sweetness takes center stage with a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and carmalized peaches.

Mouthfeel- Sweet and syrupy. Something to drink after the X-mas dinner has been eaten and the family is opening their presents.

05-02-2006 03:12:02 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of clickpush


4.2/5  rDev +8.2%

2005 vintage

pour: 12oz bottle to wide mouth wine glass. This beautiful red/brown beer produced absolutely no head but had very visible and active medium to small carbonation streams throughout the glass.

nose: floral hints but dominated by a very, very strong blueberry scent that was making me drool from a foot and a half away.

mouth: The taste is floral and malty, embodying the entire tongue with sweetness and some hopiness in the back, giving the sweet a bitte balance.

Very good.

04-25-2006 22:35:46 | More by clickpush
Photo of arizcards


3.88/5  rDev 0%

Picked up a couple of bottles at AJ's right before Christmas for $1.99 a bottle. This is the 2005 version.

Beer poured an amber-orange color with an OK head that went away pretty quickly. Nose is malty and i am picking up something sweet in there. This beer stands different in it's taste. Definitely malty but it has what i believe to be a vanilla spice added with a slight dry hopped finish. Mouthfeel improves as i progress through the bottle. It definitly gets creamier. Overall drinkability is good. This is not quite as good as the 2004 draft version but it is definitely worth a shot!

04-09-2006 00:07:57 | More by arizcards
Photo of Stubbie1


3.53/5  rDev -9%

2005. Deep red in color, thin white head on top. Fades fast but laces well. Hint of vanilla on the nose with spice. Flavor is nice nothing overpowering malt with the vanilla wave and spice and a light crisp finish. Not bad nothing overpowering but enjoyable

04-02-2006 00:49:24 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of rrwiltse


4.22/5  rDev +8.8%

Yum! 2005 vintage from a bottle. This is one of the best Winter beers out there. Caramely, malty aroma; nice caramel taste. Supposedly brewed with seasonal spices, but none of them are individually detectable, but meld together to create a unique, fantastic brew. Worth a case or more!

03-31-2006 01:36:53 | More by rrwiltse
Photo of tgbljb


4.3/5  rDev +10.8%

Poured a reddish amber color with moderate slightly off-white puffy head. Smell is sweet and malty. Caramel hints present. Taste is mainly roasted malt, with some candy -like notes also present. The label says it uses seasonal spices. I can't determine what the spice is that I can detect, but it gives a an extremely pleasant taste sensation. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy and very enjoyable. Very easy drinking.

03-26-2006 18:21:51 | More by tgbljb
Photo of DaPeculierDane


3.53/5  rDev -9%

Does anyone remember cattail candy? When I was a kid I used to get this stuff from old people and I always hated it. Cattails consisted of caramel on a stick, which made them look a lot like nature’s cattails and they were slightly vanilla flavored. Well, Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice tastes remarkably similar to cattail candy.

I have to give this brewery props for uniqueness. I have never quite tasted a beer like this. It is supremely rich and tastes strongly of sticky candied caramel and the syrup they add to vanilla flavored vodka. Unfortunately, I don’t care for the flavor much but I could definitely see others relishing in this beer.

The appearance and mouthfeel are both tremendous. The beer is immensely smooth and creamy despite violent swirls of carbonation that give the otherwise transparent dark brown body a hazy look to it. Lacing is decent and lasting. The nose has nice light hop feel to it, which helps to dry the finish of this otherwise sweet beer. Although this beer is not for me, I can’t help but respect it. If the vanilla was toned down a little I might enjoy it a whole lot more.

03-24-2006 20:42:54 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of rodrot

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%

2003 bottling. I found a stash of this beer in my basement that I had forgotten about and figured it might be time to give it a try. Appearance was a clear reddish amber with a small 1/4 inch head. Aroma was malty and slightly caramelly. Taste was malty with hints of cherries, caramel and possibly nutmeg. This beer was smooth and light bodied on the palate. It was easy drinking, but a little thin and tasted like it was missing something. Decent winter warmer but nothing to go crazy over.

03-17-2006 12:59:50 | More by rodrot
Photo of BEERchitect


3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

Well conceived, well brewed, nicely drinkable, but regretfully--forgetable. Caught somewhere between a big Amber Ale and a Strong Ale, it contributes little as a standout for either. Decent alcohols that largely go unnocticed underneath the sweet malt base. Hoped for balance only, with little flavoring or aromatics. No real spices added, which I like. Lightly molassas and barley flavored, with a big amber body. A little sticky sweet, yet drinkable. Good brew, but gets lost in the shuffle of other great Winter Warmers.

03-06-2006 16:40:50 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of msubulldog25


4.38/5  rDev +12.9%

Poured into a pint glass warmed to about 50 degrees. 2005 edition.

A: Deep auburn with ivory head, less than one finger.

S: Caramel, butterscotch maybe? Candy sweetness but there's a deeper rich roasted aroma as well.

T: Almost exceptional...not sugary sweet - complex. The caramel is there with what can best be described as toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts?) Hints of spice too. Others have done a better job describing, all I know is that I enjoy the taste immensely

M: Warm & seductive. Dances on the tongue. Full & lingering flavor.

D: I agree this isn't a session beer...I think of it more as a "savor" beer, like a dessert. A very good winter warmer and one I'm happy to have found.

Oh, man I love this beer...keeping one for later

02-25-2006 00:24:27 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of tattooedtolley


4.38/5  rDev +12.9%

On tap

Appearance: Reddish amber in color, thin tan head.

Smell: Very sweet smelling, fruit-like, and malty. a bit of hops

Taste: Sweet with plenty of malty goodness, and a bit of hops to balance. For some reason I tasted bubblegum on a few sips. I heard others saying the same thing, but after a few more sips it was easier to pick that apart.

Mouthfeel: Good body to it also fairly crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: I was satisfied after one, not a session beer for me but I could easily handle another.

I must be honest, I am no big fan of winter ales. I said this to my friend at this particular pub and he insisted that I have one of these on the house. After having this winter ale, I don't think there will be another out there quite like it or one that I like so well.

02-23-2006 17:37:49 | More by tattooedtolley
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

3.08/5  rDev -20.6%

A: Golden-copper to amber

S: Sweetness. Pretty much just sweetness.

T: I get alot of sweet vanilla extract. Also, is that a hint of diacetyl?

M: Mostly easy and round, with a bitterness that chases through on the finish.

D: Not my cup of tea. A mostly average beer, easily lost among the smattering of holiday seasonal beers out there.

02-19-2006 22:48:15 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of nvsblman


3.55/5  rDev -8.5%

Clear reddish brown with a light head that didn't last long. Sweet aroma, brown sugar and raisins mostly, but kind of faint. The taste also seems to be somewhat light. Sweet with a little cinammon and just a touch of hops. Full and creamy mouthfeel. It's an enjoyable beer despite the light flavor. It could have been a really great beer with a little extra character.

02-19-2006 20:25:49 | More by nvsblman
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.22/5  rDev +8.8%

Pours dark amber,with some orange. Tan head,and nice lacing. Smell is of fruit,and malt. Mouthfeel is full and rich. Taste is smooth. Full flavored,with a nice balance of malt and hops. This a excellent beer. One of the best winter ales I've had. Highly recommended.

02-17-2006 01:10:51 | More by riversider76
Photo of bgraney


4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

I heard a lot about this beer before trying it and was afraid it might be over-hyped.
The appearence was a very nice, but not spectacular, rich amber.
The fruity/malty aroma was spectacular .
As expected from the aroma the taste was full and very satisfying. It definitely lived up to the hype.
An excellent long lasting after-taste that stayed fresh-tasting on the tongue.
I only had one bottle on hand but would have definitely opened another if I'd had one.

02-14-2006 16:43:12 | More by bgraney
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,388 ratings.