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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,607 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,607
Reviews: 701
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 58
Gots: 153 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,607 | Reviews: 701 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dukew456
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of MEsquandoles
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Naugled
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Buebie
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of JohnQVegas
2.48/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of microbrewlover
4.88/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of mikereaser
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of caddybuyer
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of bahumutx
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.66/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of RunDWP
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of CMW
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of clayrock81
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is pretty good for a beer drinker when the only nitpicking is the appearance and smell of the beer. Poured a seethru copper/amber body with minimal head and had a thin aroma of hops and malts. Medium-bodied and creamy, this beer is also smooth and sweet with a chocolate and coffee malt taste bursting when it hit my tongue, and complemented by roasted, maybe toasted, some caramel and toffee malts. It passes excellently over the tongue and finishes with a dry, hoppy backbite that is mellow and complements the malts (also a little spicy but not prickly). Warms the mouth like a winter warmer does w/o having to use alkie burn as a method (at 6.9% they really hit the nail on the head with this one). This is a great beer and I could tip these back anytime during a cold winter night.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, on tap at Beer Run, served in a 10 oz. nonic.

Appearance: A robust reddish/copper-colored brew that comes with a half-finger of white, fluffy head with average retention that leaves some sheets and wisps of delicate, fine-bubbled lacing. Carbonation is sparse and big-bubbled but slow.

Aroma: Fruity phenols are very prominent here, grapelike, with hints of cherry, pears, and candied apples. Robust and unique.

Taste: Fruity phenols abound amidst a bunch of crisp, toasty malts - hints of maple syrup, toast, waffles, faint chocolate - and some not-so-crisp, roasted ones - hints of butterscotch, honey, caramel. Spices are subdued though subtly present. The fruityness is a bit artificial tasting, however, and it unfortunately cuts the enjoyability of this one down a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a lot of crisp, even carbonation that does a good job of slicing through the residual sugars and fruity phenols. It's largely even, though it does leave a bit of a sweet cloy. 3.5/5.0.

Drinkability: This one was interesting, not your typical winter warmer, with the spices way down low and the fruit way up front. That said, it was unique and pretty enjoyable - the malt profile was complex and tasty, the fruits added an interesting twist, and it was all decently balanced. Perhaps upping the spice quotient, cutting down on the residual sugars just a little, and making the fruity esters a little less artificial/phenolic would make this one really great.

Photo of kshankar
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark copperish red color with a nice off white head..good retention.

Aroma: Caramel, malts, mild on the spices in comparison to other warmers

Taste: Caramel, toasted malts, sweetish, and some spices to balance out..maybe a tad bit of cinnamon..all the flavors working extremely well with each other

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, creamy...kind of syrupy as well, really coats the inside of your mouth..goes down well

Drinkability: Tastes good, mouthfeel is excellent...a really good beer here. Recommended.

Photo of jackorain
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brigth amber reddish hue. Crystal clear. Topped with a think, firm 1 inch tall head. Head fell very slowly and left no lacing but a scant 1/8 inch collar leading up from the nice consistnet coating on the liquid.

sweet caramel, hint of fruity hops. not a lot here but definitely smells sweet.

Big sweet bready malt (like an all grain dinner bread or roll), dried tropical fruit, molasses. Mild spicy bitterness in the middle followed by more sweet caramel malt.

This baby is firm and chewy with a very full body. Creamy,creamy creamy carbonation. really nice mouthfeel here.

From a drinkability standpoint, I'd have to say that I could only have one of these at a sitting. I would persue it again but, again, only one.

Thanks For Reading

Photo of Gouxman
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my personal favorite Winter Seasonal. If only the price wasn't so high I would definitely drink more of these.

A smooth and creamy, medium-bodied winter ale. This seasonal beer has flavors of vanilla, caramel, cocoa, and toffee, with faint hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. An easy drinking beer with a subtle sweet and smooth finish.

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

Bomber bottle --> big wine glass.

A - pours a nice mahogany brown, very clear. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet molasses, hazelnuts, some faint orange juice.

T - Great big wave of sweetness.. more molasses, carmel. Hazelnuts and spices (not-hot cinnamon, nutmeg) ride over top of this and hit in the middle. Finishes out with a bit of bitterness. Aftertaste is of more nuts and some kind of sweetness... almost tastes like circus peanuts.

M - Not very carbonated, I guess that's okay. Pretty thick otherwise, the sweetness hangs around for awhile.

D - One bomber is plenty enough for a beer as sweet as this. Good beer and well-made, but not overwhelming. Looking forward to trying some other AV beers..

Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper coloured pour with about a finger and a half of head. Aaaa nice webbing of lace on the way down.

S: Nice, well toasted malts with a sweet spiciness to it. Almost syrupy in some ways, with a bit of a warm caramel. Appears to be some scents of nutmeg and clove or something similar.

T + M: Taste is where it's at. Quite a full flavour, and a rather full body to go with it. Again, some syrupy notes with a toasted maltiness... nice and sweet with some well balanced spicing make for a wonderful flavour.

D: This is a nice one to sip at, but certainly some bigger gulps going down from time to time. A nice, solid brew, and a pleasing offering from Anderson Valley.

Photo of beertunes
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured with almost no head and left minimal lacing. A beautiful, opaque deep brown with a slight orangeish tint. The spice tones are not very pronounced in the aroma. The flavors match the aroma closely, but with a more noticeable presence. The body is a little thin for the style but still satisfying. A very drinkable beer, this is among my favorites of this style. Another fine job from a brewery that seldom disappoints.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this might be my favorite Winter Warmer. Starts as a beautiful looking beer and the flavor does not disappoint.

2 fingers of creamy off white head top a ruby red/amber colored beer with almost perfect clarity. You can see from looking at this that there is some nice viscosity here. No visible carbonation but some real nice lacing.

Very interesting spices dominate the aroma. Cinnamon, vanilla and lots of other stuff I wish I could identify specifically. Lots of deep malts as well.

This is the right balance for a winter warmer as far as I'm concerned. Nice big malt character with plenty of deep caramel tones. While this is happening you are also getting a delicate shower of spices. Vanilla and the cinnamon are certainly there and play nicely with the creamy nature of the beer. The level of the sweetness is higher than I usually enjoy, but it really works here.

Mouth feel is decidedly creamy and nice. Fairly full bodied and slightly syrupy.
Nicely drinkable. The right call for the one to have in front of a fire.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown color, with a small head that quickly disappears. Nothing too spectacular.

S: Lots of spice, clove, nutmeg, dark fruits, bread with some mild hops.

T: I was surprised at how all the flavors blended together. Lots of bready malt flavoring at first with spice following it up.

M: A very sweet flavored beer. Leaves the crisp.

D: Definitely a good winter beer. Lots of spicy flavor, an almost must try in the winter warmer style.

Photo of colts9016
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A beautiful deep copper color with a reddish hue. There was a one finger head but it diminished to an eighth white ring around the glass. There is a couple bubbles forming from the bottom of the glass. The clarity of the beer is very clear, showcasing a beautiful reddish hue in the beer.

Nose: A toasted malt with a resin, phenols and citrus. There hints of esters, spice, caramel, and molasses.

Taste: A nice toasted malt complex with toffee, caramel, resins, and molasses. There notes of esters, citrus, vanilla, bananas, and phenols.

Overall: There is a nice creamy/warming mouth feel. The finish is bitter but pleasant. The finish want to sip it again and again. The beer isn't too bad there seem to be a sour note in the beer after I have tried a couple of sips.

Photo of ncbeermonger
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very sweet beer, great for winter time treats, and desserts!

It is a little sweet for my taste, but still an outstanding beer. The ABV is almost 7, but you cant taste it! a very well rounded beer to be seasonal, give it a try if you can find it!

Pours with a lot of head, more than most.

Photo of bum732
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear copper brown. Decent head with not much lacing. Smells like a shitload of caramel, vanilla and toffee. Tastes exactly like caramel candy. Lots of malty sweetness, not a whole lot of hop bitterness. Carbonation is good, leaves the mouth fairly dry.

A nice beer, if you love caramel, you will love this beer. Despite the sweetness, it is a very drinkable beer, great with dessert.

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,607 ratings.