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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.
very good

1,638 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,638
Reviews: 716
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 58
Gots: 172 | 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:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,638 | Reviews: 716
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.

Photo of bort11
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was in my stocking for Christmas. Thank you Santa!

22 oz bottle, poured into an imperial pint glass. Thick egg-cream colored head, very sticky. Leaves a solid ring on the glass. Color is a dark amber/orange. Quite a bit of bubble activity.

Smell has a toasted malt base, with some orange peel and dark spices in the middle. The orange peel becomes more pronounced in the taste, balanced with some mulling spices and a dark bread malt character.

Mouthfeel is is medium bodied with a crisp carbonation. It is certainly a winter warmer, but is also pretty refreshing too.

Photo of berebrando
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this beer today from Holiday Liqueur in Escondido. It was the first six pack of Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice I've seen since last winter. I am currently drinking from my preferred glassware, a broad, rounded Snifter.

Appearance: The beer poured beautifully with a robust brown-tinted head. At first, it looked like a brown beer as well, however, as I held it to the light, and as the head dissipated, the beer developed a rosy cranberry color - it was unexpected, surprising and very appealing.

Smell: when I smelled the beer, I could detect some sort of fraint berry or fruitiness. The smell was somewhat soft and inconspicuous.

Taste: Given the berry color, I expected something fruity. The first taste revealed a deliciously creamy beer. I love the taste of this beer. The aftertaste has a very slight fruitiness to it, but it is not strong or overdone.

Mouthfeel: The creamy beer dances on my tongue and into my stomach - it is easy to drink and delicious. Very smooth, easy to drink and perfect for the cold winter weather in Julian, CA.

Drinkability: Really? This beer is excellent! One of my favorite winter warmers this winter.

I don't know how they do it up there in Anderson Valley, but I absolutely love just about every beer they produce. This beer is no exception. Great beer - go buy it.

Photo of philbe311
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Cranberry in color... Slightly off-white head quickly fizzes away leaving a modest lacing... Still w/ no noticeable carbonation...

S - Cranberry... Cherry... Raisins... Malt... Sugar... Caramel... Honey... Slight spiciness... Sweet and enjoyable....

T - Dark fruit... Malt... Nutty... Pinch of space (namely cinnamon and clove)... Slight hint of alcohol esthers.... Minor hop taste on finish...

M - Thin... Minimal carbonation... Slightly chewy... Oily and slick... A tad on the harsh side...

D - Solid and respectable Winter Warmer... Slightly sweet sipper... Complex, but a little something is missing which keeps this from being a great brew...

Photo of ManofWax
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice is a solid contender in the Winter Warmer category.

A: Rust-colored. A nice, deep red.

S: The aroma of this beer is totally unremarkable.

T: Lots of tasty hops and roasted malts. The malts are most prominent in the aftertaste and kind of cleanse the palate before you go for the next sip. The fruit flavors emerged in a tart sweetness, but I couldn't which fruits specifically. The promised seasonings were not that pronounced in my tasting, but I enjoyed this nonetheless.

F: Full-bodied. Little else to say.

D: Perfectly adequate winter session beer.

Anderson Valley didn't try to do too much with this beer. As a result, they have a perfectly enjoyable beverage, but nothing very special. Veteran craft beer drinkers will probably try a bottle, pronounce it "nice," and never touch another.

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

Nice winter warmer. Looks good. Translucent dark amber color with a big cream color head. Mild malty aroma with a hint of fruit and vanilla.

Tastes good: malty, slightly sweet with some fruit and vanilla thrown in.

Mouthfeel is a hair thin but the beer is so incredibly smooth, it doesn't make a difference. Alcohol is flat out not noticable.

Drinkability is very good. If I didn't know the abv, I would call this an outstanding session beer.

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third bottle I've had this year... I really want to like it, as I'm a fan on the whole of AVBC... but after a third failed attempt at enjoying this one, I figured a review was appropriate.

Pours a nice looking clear light ruby with grapefruit highlights. A fairly average full cream colored head stuck around for a bit before fading, leaving a fair bit of standard red-ale lacing.

aroma is interesting, with a definite creamy vanilla aroma. comes close to vanilla cream soda and shortbread cookies. A bit of floral hops and some woody, oaky notes come through as well. A hint of light cracker-like malt comes through the sweetness.

I had hoped the aroma was just the aroma, but it carries through to the taste. Vanilla cola-ish, with a bit of bitter pine hops and some odd smoky oak flavors, maybe as a result of the spicing? Malt sugar and spice with some odd accents...

The mouthfeel was equally disappointing. The almost-cloying sweetness of the flavor is amplified by the mouthfeel... thick and incredibly carbonated for the style. Fizzy, more like beer soda, with a sticky and syrupyness that just confused the palette more.

All in all, I'm flat out disappointed. Overly sweet with a relatively one-dimensional flavor profile. the mouthfeel just doesn't work, and the flavors the come through are just confusing and don't realy work together. Fairly weak... and with all of the other winter seasonals out there, I can't really see much of a draw for this one.

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

12oz bottle poured into a mug, had this after having Sierra's Celebration, 'WOW' what a contrast. Poured a med amber with a 1/2" light tan head that reduced rather quickly. Aroma of toasted malt with overtures of nutmeg and fresh bread. A rich and flavorful beer with very little hop presence.. of course after a Sierra nothing has a hop presence unless your chewing on one. Even with the high alcohol level it is a very drinkable beer. Overall a very pleasant brew.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a brilliantly clear medium sunset orange with a scarce film covering that was beach sand in color. A vibrantly strong initial carbonation that saw large macro bubbles clinging to the side of the glass quickly diminished to a light-medium showing.

S: fresh apple skins against a lightly toasted and dry munich malting. Theres a light underlying note of dry pear fruitiness followed by a light dry floral hopping.

T: The flavor was rather simple overall starting with a decent fruitiness of tart cranberries and apples with a dry munich malting. A dry floral hopping, rather pungent in nature, was also detected and Im guessing was contributed by Columbus hops. Overall was malty with a light sour fruitiness, simple in execution and rather safe.

M: fizzy, very active while a increasingly tartness grows as it sits on the tongue. The carbonation provided a nice tingly sensation especially on the tip of the tongue while a dry sour fruitiness lingers and was left after the swallow on the back.

D: Didn't find the flavoring all that intriquing or enough to hold my attention beyond the first few sips. A drink that quickly gets mundane and cant imagine drinking or enjoying this in multiples.

Photo of rowew
3.35/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, lots of information about the beer and ABV, but no date.

Appearance: Copper color, large head just towards a tan color. Decent retention, a bit of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit and some spices, but I'm having a hard time identifying specifics.

Taste: Hmm.. I have mixed feelings about this one. It definitely has some interesting flavor - almost like a fruitcake. Sweet bread and some dark fruits. Despite the interesting flavors I feel it finishes a bit too cloyingly sweet.

Overall impression: Not my favorite winter seasonal, but its got some interesting flavors and is worth a try if you get the chance.

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

Served in a large glass mug.

A nice brown body with a slight off white head. No lacing really, head fades quickly.
Smells of caramel malt and roasted grain.
Taste follows the nose through a malty experience. Caramel, brown sugar and honey wheat bread. Just enough bitter hops to balance. Some roasted graininess plays with the hops and the sweet malt.
Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, thick and chewey.
Drinkability is pretty strong. A good brew for the winter months.

Photo of Spikester
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a modest head, some lacings.
Aroma is spicey.
Taste is gingerbread, sweet malts, some bitter hops. Mostly sweet.
Mouthfeel is typical of the style.
Drinkabilty would e better except for the 6.9% abv.
Another Christmas beer that is too sweet overal IMO, a few more bitter hops would be nice.

Photo of mobyfann
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid around $1.99 for a single...

The beer pours a clear amber colored head, minimum head retention and no lacing on the glass. Aroma: Smells like Gingerbread cookies!!! Therefore, aromatic tones of ginger, caramel, hops, and toasted malts make for a wonderful aroma.

The taste is less balanced than what the aroma gives off. It is "chewing gum" heavy in the mouth with strong flavors of caramel flavored wheat bread, slight hop and moderate alcohol notes say that this beer isn't messing around. Very smooth in the mouth and drinkable at 6.9%abv, I will have another, but I only bought one?!? :(

Final Thought: It's definitely a fun beer that has many of the Christmas flavors one would expect.

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

This is a fairly tasty, but rather simple and somewhat muted, winter ale.

It's dark red-amber with a medium pale tan ehad that steadily shrinks to a thin foamy-wispy top and leaves some lace.

The aroma is malty, sweetish burnt caramel, some caramelized fruit and stewed apples.

The taste is sweet, mostly caramel, a little burnt, with some spiciness and dried fruit and a little stewed apple. It has a lightly burnt-caramel finish.

It's easy to drink and tasty, but fairly one-dimensional and not too exciting.

Photo of buffettfan
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bomber, into a pint glass.

A- Pours a nice, copper colored, reddish brown. With a nice layer of fluffy head, and some tenacious lacing!
S- Sweet and a little spice. Carmel candy smells, with some vanilla, and winter spices come through. This smells GREAT!
T- Some of the same tastes come through that you can smell. A sort of candy sweet caramel maltiness, with those wintery spicy! There is some vanilla and nutmeg/cinnamon tastes coming through.

M- Warm and inviting! I great winter beer! Not heavy at all, very smooth, and extremely drinkable!!

D- VERY drinkable! I will be buying this one again! Might even be my Christmas evening beer!

Photo of Guzzler78
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color. A light tan head that is small. Some spotty lacing, that doesn't stick around too long.
Smell of sweet malts, vanilla, slight spice, fruity-getting some banana.
Tastes sweet, not much hops, some clove and nutmeg, not much spice for a winter ale.
Thin mouthfeel, could of used some more carbonation.
A decent winter warmer, a bit mild compared to other winter seasonal ales.

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

The color was a hazy medium dark amber with a little white foam that disapated within a few seconds. The smell of spices filled the nose with a pleasant smooth aroma. The taste was of spices and a touch of a sour candy on the palate. A nice finish to this winter warmer. Pleasant tasting not to sweet or sour, a nice balance of all component.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a clear copper red color with a thin but bubbly off-white head.

Light aroma of malts and ripe fruits.

The taste is sweet but thin. Notes of vanilla, creme soda, cinnamon, bread, and candy sugar.

Lighter bodied with a moderate carbonation.

Too light and too sweet in my opinion to be a real winter warmer. Easy to drink especially if you like creme soda.

Photo of naterock
3.07/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep brownish red, thin head but sticky and has patchy lacing.

smell is thin, not much to speak of. malt and some spice. slightly sour.

taste is thin as well. really unremarkable, not even a good style representation in my mind. after a half of a glass, I don't even taste anything in my mouth.

mouth is medium with a bit too much carbonation, drinks easy but I think it drinks too easy for this style. Just ok, but I'd never think of buying this again.

Photo of tmoneyba
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark brown color with an average frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Good complex malt and fruit aroma. Medium body with a creamy texture. Light sweet flavor with a small complex finish that was short in duration.

Average drinkable beer.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,638 ratings.