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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

1,397 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,397
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: 1,397 | Reviews: 675 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gentlebubbles
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

on tap at Redbone's

Luminous honey-gold, served with barely any head, just cream-colored foam skimming across the surface. Syrupy scent. Cinnamon spice mingles with the malt. Lingering syrupy body and a weird medicinal aftertaste that refuses to leave like an unwanted guest.

gentlebubbles, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of markman
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale (2003):

Very inviting pour and color. Deep opaque garnet pour sits under a tight head…very nice. The aroma is very inviting; an easy barleywineish vinous of mix of rum soaked dried fruit, caramel, and vanilla.. Uh oh, this is where the fun ends. I bring it to my lips and WTF? Large apple presence now…over carbonated, and a pit-like aluminum grog taste develops on the tongue as I quaff this strange brew…not at all what I’d expect from the brewers of Hop-Ottin’ IPA and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. Winter Warmer? It seems to me to be more of someone’s damn experiment gone awry. I’m not picking up any oxidation and their website suggests that it should age well. Not sure what to make of it. I’ll review this as is and revise if necessary…but, as is, there is a significant tannic quality to it that is quite disturbing. I like it in my robust red wines, but I’m not a fan of picking it up in my beer. And props to richdude for the sample.

Cheers…

markman, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of Truh
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Couldn’t have been any further away from the sun with this one on 11/26/2004. 16-oz. shaker pour at ACPH.

Filmy, cawl of initial chromosomal head. Dark amber to light mahogany hue and fairly clear. Somewhat muted Christmas earthy, floral bouquet of gargled malt, allspice, and hints of clover. Soapy malt taste with some kind of berry involved, maybe the nosey cranberry. Overall, seemingly lacking on the taste front for the style – almost too light for a winter, in my estimation.

Truh, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of cracker
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a an amber-red color. Not much of a hop aroma which I was expecting. Nevertheless the taste is superb. Has a strong malty presence with obvious use of lots of caramel malts. Almost has a candy apple taste (subtle but there). The hop bitterness is noticeable yet does not take precedence like other winter seasonal ales. Overall, the balance is perfect. One of the best winter seasonals I have tried. I highly recommend it.

cracker, Nov 28, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This beer is just gorgeous. It is bright, ruby brown in color with a full, thick, retentive head.

Smell – The dark, Winter Warmer malts give this one a nice aroma. I can also pick up some good, fruity sugars and a light hop compliment.

Taste – The malt and light hop mix turn nutty at the taste. The fruits are there, albeit very light, but it’s this nutty flavor that seemed to come out of nowhere that is dominating the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This light to medium-bodied ale was a bit thin for the flavors.

Drinkability – This wasn’t a bad offering by Anderson Valley, it was just a little off and a bit light in the ass.

RoyalT, Nov 23, 2004
Photo of noob
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draft at Redbones as part of the NW Brewers Fest, keg just tapped.

Beautiful tawny, amber color with thick tan head. Right away I smelling vanilla and am digging it. Upfront it had an intense, "vanilla coke" taste that really over powered the whole taste of the beer. Also detected were hints of ginger? and nutmeg?

All in all not a bad beer, but not one I would have more than once a night or season for that matter.

noob, Nov 22, 2004
Photo of wailingwench
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottle. A REAL winter brew, not like someting else that has a cabin with a wreath on it in the snow covered mountains.

Eye Candy: Ruddy brown with a minimal off white fizzy head. Excellent retention and lacing. Carbonation vanished quickly. Looks syrupy.

The Nose Knows: Cinnamon spices early that rapidy give way to creamy vanilla and caramel. As it warmed toasted malts emerged from under the "snowy blanket." Slight pine hop aroma detected.

Tongueland: Rich body with medium m/f. Blended spices that finish with a mild caramel undercut with creamy vanilla. ABV is undetectable.

Bender Factor: Almost to good. I see why this a a gold medal winner. At 6.9 % ABV, a good brew to put down while wrapping presents, putting up lights, or shoveling th driveway.

wailingwench, Nov 20, 2004
Photo of benmiliron
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $6.79 for a six pack.

Dark reddish brown color. Not much head. Smells very nice, spiced/honey. taste is very good for a holiday/xmas beer. Not the over-the-top ginger or cinnamon you get sometimes. This is more subtly spiced. Very low final gravity, smooth drinking - like an english ale almost.

Overall a very good session beer.

benmiliron, Nov 20, 2004
Photo of chilidog
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I must say, we don't get much if any, Anderson Valley around my area. I picked this Winter Warmer up at my area craft store, The Andersons. More of a novelty & not sure what to expect.
The beer poured a deep ruby red with a half-inch tan head that laced well though faded quickly. The aroma was sweet malted caramel over fruit. The taste carries that sweet fruited base though complex other notes.This brew aided with a spice, vanilla syrup thats hinted with toasted roasted malt and a wooded finish. A full bodied brew with a 6.9% warming trend to the body. A fine winter brew I must say.

chilidog, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of ChrisBowers
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my all time favorite winter seasonals. Quite unlike anything else out there. Pours a murky reddish amber with a nice head that dissipates to about a finger with some nice lace. Taste is top notch. Fruity, spicy, with some fruity syrupy goodness that adds just the right amount of sweetness. The balance of fruits and spices combined with a dry maltiness makes this beer a phenominal holiday treat. Don't like Anderson Valley's high price tag scare you away, its definitely worth grabbing some of this.

ChrisBowers, Aug 25, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition.

Pours out to a semi-hazy dark caramel, forming a substantial whipped light tan head which peaks out of the glass about 1 1/5"...Carbonation is strong, eminating a solid "Psssht" when relieving the cap. Great retention and no lacing. Aroma is of dry and dusty pale malts with roasted barley, a hint of metals and fusels, a touch of cloves and perhaps ginger. Mouthfeel is light and flittery upon the tongue with a medium body. Taste begins with a touch of herbal hops, followed by a kick of raisins, roasted barley astringency, potent toast and biscuit, a touch of vanilla and unfortunately a metallic tinge midway through. Touch of sourness before the semi-dry, very toasty, and very woody finish. Alcohol is peppery towards the end and in the aftertaste.

This is a decent Winter Seasonal Ale, but it does very little for me. The carbonation is out of character for the style, but this was also brewed in 2003. Good enough in most respects, but kinda like a higher alcohol brown ale.

Mitchster, Jun 17, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Breezed out of a 12 oz. brown 2003 bottle to a huge dark tan cake blanket with lattice lace throughout. Dark brown orange pour. Scant carbonation bubbles slipping up.

Deep scents of apricot juice, blackberries and peaches in syrup.

Mature dry malts front the flavor followed by some sugary butter like those caramel candies that are in those yellow crispy plastic wrappers. Almost like a cherry Jolly Rancher candy but not nearly as sour. Creamy, buttery nutmeg aftertaste. Decent bready chewy feel that makes itself known.

Last swigs: Can’t drink these all night, but a top quality spicy, lip smackin' winter brew, IMHO. Leave one of these out for Santa.

Beer is good. Happy seasonal beering.

blitheringidiot, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 version.
Emerges from the bottle with a quickly receding, large bubbled khacki-colored head that fell upon clear deep garnet liquid. The nose is predominately malty, with a light spiciness I couldn't quite put my finger on, and vague cherry notes. The taste is malty-licious with some background brown sugariness and candied frutiness paired with a subtle hop backbone. Finishes slightly dry with a latent warming alcoholic twang. A good and well made Winter warmer!

beerluvr, Mar 28, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near clear reddish brown brew.

Smell is mostly malt and spices. Very sweet smelling, the fruit is there but not real strong.

Taste is shockingly sweet! This is a MALT BOMB, not the bit you get in most brews, almost like a Sammiclaus. A bit of hop bitterness is there but this just screams MALT!

Fairly thick.

Drinkable? Good question, it is a unique brew. Not something I would drink often but a good beer to show the flavor of malt.

Zorro, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001 (~2.5 yo)

Poured a decent cream colored head that faded to a film leaving a ring of head around the edges. The beer is caramel amber in color with fine bubbles rising slowly through the middle. The aroma is a mild mix of tangy apples, toffee, and malt balls. The mouthfeel is creamy smooth and the finish is pretty clean. Malty caramel offset by some kind of hoppy flavor that I can't quite pinpoint. With over two years of aging this beer definitely leans in the malt direction. Overall a mild, easy drinking beer with a nice blend of flavor and aroma.

2004

In your face malt aroma is gone, replaced by a soft creamy licorice and caramel smell. Moderately malty flavor if pretty one sided. Nothing is really bad about the beer, flavor just isn't up my alley.

HappyHourHero, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of BitteBier
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a rich amber, characterized by more brown than orange. Quite hazy with minimal head or lacing. Nose is sweet and malty--reminiscent of a Scotch ale--with a touch of floral hops. A crush of Scotchy malts and light hops at the start with less interesting grain flavors taking over subsequently. The finish is pleasantly warm. The mouthfeel is quite nice as well--cleaner and less syrupy than the taste led me to expect. This one grew on me as the glass emptied.

BitteBier, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours with a small to medium head, off-white in color, about a finger's worth. Amber-orange color, good clarity when viewed straight on, but looks hazy from an angle.

Aroma - sweet and mildly spicy, with an initial burst of peppery yeast. Settles down to a malty nose with orange accents.

Taste - yummy malt base combined with some Christmassy spices and a cool hint of orange or other such citrus. Smooth transition into a mellow hop element. Finishes with a nice non-biting grapefruit sourness. Some increased alcohol presence as it warms, very warming in February...

Mouthfeel - smooth as silk, decent body without overdoing it. Superb balance of weight, feel, carbonation, and residual feeling.

Drinkability - A great beer by Anderson Valley, no surprise there. A pleasure to drink, very enjoyable and re-orderable despite it's nearly 7% abv rating.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of RedBaron
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Um...wow! This 2002 bottled version was purchased from my local beer shop for $2.19/12oz. bottle. What a find.

The beer poured vigorously with a dense rocky head which faded somewhat, but left a nice dash of Brussel's lace down the side. The color was of an unfiltered, dark orangey variety, and had the unmistakable look of a California craft ale.

The smell was of feverish malt blendings, nice aromatic hops and several spices throughout (banana and licorice, perhaps?).

The taste was of a high concentration of malts and hops, plus the aforementioned spices both up front and in the finish (though the finish parted on the dry-ish side).

The mouthfeel, though full-bodied, isn't too cloying for a winter beer, and really doesn't appear to high in alcohol content, either. Actually it's quite drinkable, although it's still one to savor.

The beers of the west coast, from San Francisco to Seattle, like to emphasize a great blending of malts and yeast (infused with a shi@load of hops) for their beers, particularly winter beers, but the fact of this beer is that it has mellowed into a nicely quaffable ale. I'm sure that it may have been a bit 'green' when first released, but after a couple of years maturing in the bottle, it has found a stride that I find quite appealing.

RedBaron, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of Crosling
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a beautiful reddish orange hue. Nice white head that laced up pretty well.

Very aromatic. Loads of caramel, apple, wild fruit, brown sugar and nice tropical scents. It almost smells like candy...Those hard bright apples candies coated with caramel. Smells very very nice!

Duh! What a flop! A beer with such potential until you take a sip! There are some very nice flavors going on here but just not enough of anything. Some caramel, grapefruits, sweet malty sugars and nutmeg. Lousy finish.

Crosling, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of kunzbrew
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew pours a hazy amber color with medium sized cream head that dwindles fast, leaving behind a moderate lace.

The sweet smell of citrus hits the nose along with a low hop aroma. An earthy musty smell is also present.

The strong citrus aroma come through strong in flavor the back of your throat feels the sweetness. The hop flavor is lacky but that is ok.

This is a easy drinking brew but nothing to write to mom about.

Prost

kunzbrew, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of PSUDREW
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well, a good try here. Pours a dark copper color, and, had little head, and even less lace going down.

It had faint smells. really, and not much, IMO. That cap was a pain in my ass to get off. Sigh, but back to business. It had a nice mix of vanilla and spice to much, but nothing too potent, more of an after though. The dominant malt is a nice touch and it goes through and through, but the hop is there, as a subtle compilent to it all.

Nice brew they got here, and it is a nice thing to go the distance with, more of something to get and share tehn get and savor in your dark corner

PSUDREW, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of Beervis
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great spiced winter beer!

Pours a deep amber, with a thin white head. Smell is fruity, with hints of spice. It drinks very smooth with a nice warming sensation going down, Mild bitterness on the finish, with very little aftertaste.

Very drinkable!

Beervis, Jan 12, 2004
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had to let this glass of beer breathe for a few minutes before drinking it, more below.

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish amber color with a nice tan head. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Kinda spicy, kinda fruity, a bit of cinnamon in the nose.

Taste: Poured into the glass, took a nice smell, and then a sip, tasted very tinny and metallic at first. After a few minutes of table time, the metallic taste went away. Strange, never had a beer do that to me before. Now the taste is much better. Ginger, cinnamon, honey. Very malty taste with no real hop bitterness up front. Finishes with just a hint of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, good carbonation, subdued alcohol feel. Not as dry as some of the other beers I've been tasting.

Drinkability: For a seasonal/Christmas Ale, this is a wonderful brew. Very welcome on a cold day.

Note: the cap on this bottle broke my bottle opener! Thank goodness I had a backup. This bottle had some good beer inside, but made me work for it.

JackTheRipper, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber color and sported a sturdy off-white head. No lace left behind. The aroma was heavily in favor of sweet, malty goodness - lots of caramel malt and molasses with a definite spiciness in the nose.
The taste bore the flavors of caramel, some fruit, and toasty malt. Definitely one for those fans of a solidly malt-laden brew. Winter Solstice also had some citrus flavor and finished with a tasty vanilla-laced spicy bite. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth and clean.
This was a pretty good brew, one of the better offerings from Anderson Valley. Even at nearly 7% ABV, it's very easy to drink and made for a fine after dinner relaxer.

Boilermaker88, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of jtfest
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very pleasant brew. I probably wouldn't have purchased it for myself, but I received it as a Christmas present -- and I'm glad that I tried it. Beautiful color, pleasing malty smell, and a well balanced taste -- though it had a slightly sweet, molasses-y after taste that lowered its drinkability for me. Overall, though, I enjoyed the experience.

jtfest, Jan 03, 2004
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.