Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

695 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 695
Hads: 1,655
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 64
Gots: 184 | 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

Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 695 | Hads: 1,655
Photo of Scrapss
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a cheater pint.

A: Beautiful deep ruddy copper and very clear. Thick two finger head subsides quickly into a very delicate ring. no chill haze, moderate carbonation with wispy lacing, looks like caul fat clinging to the glass.

S: nice malty presence. Some cinnamon notes and raisin and figs, like a cinnamon raisin bagel.

T: follows nose plus some caramel or toffee like notes. Smoooth on initial uptake. More malt notes come out on swallow.

M: Velvety smooth on finish with that characteristic bagel notes peeking up. spicy on side of tongue with the perfect carbonation. Very pleasant.

O: this is probably the best of the winter warmers, imo. The spices do not overtly dominate and punch you in the craw. It really is very well balanced and quite malty without being obnoxiously spiced. A go to in winter for sure. (850 characters)

Photo of hopmashian
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Samuel Adams glass it's head disappeared quickly. Color was deep amber with a faint chocolate and raisin odor. Taste was pretty much the same with a slightly bitter taste of unsweetened chocolate. Mouth feel was thick like porter or stout and low carbonation. I didn't like the spices so I won't try this again. (325 characters)

Photo of fitzy84
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack from a local store here in Springfield. Beer poured with a very dark brown-amber and cloudy appearance with a thick head that dissipated quickly with thin lacing on the sides. Powerful noise of vanilla, cinnamon, and a buttery caramel flavor. The taste had more of a bitter citrus flavor than I could smell mixed with some bready malts. The mouthfeel was creamy, which definitely made this a very relaxing, almost dessert-like drink for the evening. Definitely a great winter warmer. (501 characters)

Photo of 57md
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish copper with a finger of beige head that retained rather well and left some nice lacing. The nose is bready and has caramel notes as well. The flavor profile begins with a subtle sweetness from the malt and ends with a pleasant dryness. The body is medium - not super heavy, but too thin either. (315 characters)

Photo of Seanniek91
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a bomber into a Krombacher Pils glass stein.

Appearance- Murky reddish/brown/amber with one finger of white head that left a ring around the top.

Smell- Caramel malts, bready yeast, tart apple. There's some spice, but it's not overwhelming.

Taste- Malts, apple, stone fruits, very light spice. Very fruity and full feeling, but not overwhelming. No booze taste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty well carbonated with medium body. Easy to drink and not boozy, which I find is common in this style.

Overall- Solid Winter Warmer considering that I generally don't like the style. Fruit forward and easy to drink. I think it's 8 degrees outside right now. (654 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, color is an opaque amber, light tan head presents about 1/2 inch thick from the growler pour, some lacing and a light ring lingers.

Smell is light chocolate, some toffee, hints of fruit, light bitterness.

Taste is very pleasant, nice cleaner malt flavors: chocolate, toffee, toast and maybe some caramel on the finish; some fruitiness, some spice but non distinguishable.

Mouthfeel is solid, good tongue presence and lingering flavors, some drying from the strength or bittering hops

Overall, this is a very good, full flavored winter warmer style, cleaner malt flavors and good hop bitterness blend well. (632 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Hogan's Hideaway in Rochester, NY.

Pours a medium dark brown, with not much head or lacing.

This one smells pretty good- some brown sugar, caramel, slightly floral aromas.

The taste is similar. It seems liberally spiced- but I can't distinguish all of them. I do catch some brown sugar and cinnamon, along with candied fruit flavors, and caramel malt. There is some slight grassiness as well.

Medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. There is a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, not too bad. It's nothing to write home about, but it was enjoyable in the moment. (589 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second offering tasted from Anderson Valley. It's a fairly simple winter warmer, a bit light for my liking given the genre. Not too much spice flavor, not a particularly complex flavor profile. Reddish amber color with plenty of foam. Fairly average, just not what I'd hope for in a warmer. (301 characters)

Photo of justintcoons
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance
Brownish red with 2 fingers of off-white head. Good retention and excellent clarity with low carbonation.

Nose
Cherry, molasses and caramel.

Taste
Rich caramel and biscuit with dollops of molasses and hints of candy sugar. Notes of cherry, sugar cookies, cinnamon and nutmeg. Finishes with a hint of spruce.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, crisp and subtly sticky.

Overall
Goes down pretty easy. Anderson Valley kept the spicing light which is nice. (502 characters)

Photo of vkv822
3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz : tulip

Clear, amber red with a foamy, off white head.

Sweet, caramel malts, very light spicy, woodsy hop accents in both the nose and taste.

Medium body, foamy carbonation.

A decent beer overall, but the flavors seem a bit subdued at times, with nothing particularly exciting in this one. (298 characters)

Photo of FNBBear
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can poured into a pint glass.

A- Lighter than most winter beers. Carmel/ Light Brown color
S- nutmeg, honey biscuts, honey crisp apples
T- baked apples, cinnamon, sweet
M- Creamy, very smooth
O- Easy beer to drink. Very wintery and enjoyable, even on a warm December day in Florida. (283 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours medium amber with a frothy head that laces and lingers well. Light nose of spice and caramel malt. Light body with medium carbonation. The taste is not complex, mostly a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Balancing the spice with a bit of caramel sweetness would improve this one. Crisp finish with a lingering spice bitterness aftertaste. (338 characters)

Photo of Act25
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large pint glass.

A: The beer is a beautiful, deep reddish brown color, with a stiff off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a massive arcs of spotty lace on the glass. Beautiful red color.

S: The aroma is too faint. It contains caramelized malts, fruit, (Apple?), nuts, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out creamy sweet almost like a cream ale - may taste against Sweet Action from Sixpoint - with flavors of caramel, spices and fall fruit. Not muscly enough and the back half is sweet. The hops presence is mild, and provides some balance. The after-taste is bready, crackery, and slightly sweet - like jam laden crackers with sweet tea.

M: Crisp and smooth, thinner body than expected, but lots of carbonation, finish is slightly sticky, almost cola or cream soda like. Needs more body. Orange or fruit liquor like

D: A bit too sweet for me. Definitely feels more right as it warms. becomes more after dinner cointreau, grand marnier like.

Widmer Brrrr and Sierra Celebration over top this one, but these beers are each distinct and a treat. (1,111 characters)

Photo of brewbattles
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We did a blind taste test between this and 4 other Winter Seasonals to objectively determine which one was best. They beers were: Deschutes Jubelale, Anderson Valley Boont Winter Solstice, Big Sky Powder Hound, Alaskan Winter Ale, and Redhook Winterhook. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/TJowachG1no (297 characters)

Photo of screamking
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into wine glass.

Look: dark amber, thick dark khaki head, mild lacing.
Aroma notes: honey, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup.
Tasting notes: honey, vanillia, cinnamon, brown sugar.

The first time I had this one I didn't like it. It has seemed to grown on me somewhat. It's not world class, but better than average for sure. Anderson valley is always right on with their pricing, I got this sixer for well under $10, making it a good value if you like sweeter Christmas ales. (498 characters)

Photo of taylor714914
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A nice winter warmer from these guys. Smells of toffee, bready malts and fresh honey biscuits.

Taste is spot on with the nose, along with caramel and some dates. Sweet and thick in the mouthfeel, but surprisingly I don't get much spice, which I expected from a winter warmer.

Mouthfeel was outstanding. Overall this is a beer I could sit down and drink a few of (365 characters)

Photo of EBeckett3
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Copper to brown with small head & almost no laces
S- Spicy - vanilla? nothing too strong - malt, maybe cinnamon/allspice?
T -Smooth over the tongue, slightly malty, caramel but creamy - like a cream ale, actually.
M- pleasant dry caramel aftertaste with more pronounced spice notes, medium - body. Easily quaffable
O- I've enjoyed the Amber & Hop Ottin', bought it on a whim for $10. Easily worth that - very seissunable! Thoroughly enjoyable.

Poured into a 16 oz pint glass in my kitchen. (494 characters)

Photo of watermelon
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint draft had at Mellow Mushroom in Boone NC.

A: Clear reddish brown body with a off white head, that had ok retention and left a little lacing.

S: Smells Bready, and nutty with a syrupy sweetness almost like walnut or pecan pancakes.

T: Lots of carmel and dark homemade bread. Lots of nuttiness on the tongue. Very sweet beer.

M: Nice creamy mouthfeel, leaves a nice coating on the teeth and palette. Perfect amount of drinkability and carbonation for the style. Hides the booze well.

O: This is a damn good seasonal beer I could see myself keeping the fridge stocked with this for a Thanksgiving/Christmas party. I highly recommend, this would even be good for a non craft drinker. Perfect amount of alcohol. (718 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can poured into a pint glass.

A- Dark copper color with a brownish tint, abundant head four fingers thick, pillow-like, cratered, frothy and chewy

S- subdued maltiness, bready, spice, molasses

T- Lots of caramel on the aftertaste, vanilla, spice (maybe nutmeg)

M- Light, creamy, slight boozy finish

Overall, a flavorful, malt forward beer with a lot of resemblance to a wintry sweet bread offering. Well-masked alcohol makes it very easy to drink and light on the stomach. (484 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can, no #freshbeer info.

Pours a dark amber body, frothy head slathering the sides real nice. Hanging rings one after the other are left. Aroma is malty with twinge of cinnamon but very reserved. Flavor is also heavy on malt, mild spices, bit of fruit cake but nothing really strong. Feel doesn't leave quite an impression and i'm left thinking this is kind of ordinary. (390 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a honey orange with a cranberry blush. Hazed with lots of pariticles in suspension and has a stream of bubbles rising to meet a fat burnt cream colored head of foam that is slow to fall and leaves a cap and ring. Wet lacing slides down the glass. Nose is faint at first. Light sweet caramel and orange peel. A little bit of citrus twang and a faint bit of cinnamon. Then as it warms the malt becomes like a graham cracker. Sweet and dry. The dark fruits start to show up and date is prominent. A mild hop floral. Taste is like a cookie in a glass. The malt is light and fluffy on the palate and tastes like a graham cracker. It has a light brown sugar. The body of the beer is thin but it's silky and and it sports a bit of fruit juiciness in the drink. The hop floral presents well and the spices stay in the background. Faint cinnamon and nutmeg. The dried dark fruits stay light as well. Drinks easily with some ticklish carbonation and a nice finish of candied fruit peel and honey on a light biscuit malt.

Nice. (1,023 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The color is dark ruby and the head holds a light and festive fizz.

The aromas are somewhat spicy with a dried fruit backdrop. I get light nutmeg and peppercorns with a prune and date like candied fruit.

The flavor is reminiscent of Belgian dark ale as the dried fruits are at the forefront. The tastes are sweet with prune, date and raisin and the date is most evident. This has a real fruit cake like flavor but it is more alive than the waxy gift you may get at Christmas.

Everything about this beer cries Christmas from the dark ruby coloring to the fruit cake like smells and taste. The feel is thicker and lends to a more easy sipping by the fire style. (662 characters)

Photo of JMad
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It pours a clear copper color with reddish hues and a thick, foamy, off white head.

In the nose I noticed some caramel and sugar cookie, maybe a slight hint of clove and cinnamon in the background.

The taste is full of caramel malt with a nice warmness from the ABV and a cracker flavored finish.

It s medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a warming finish.

This is a nice Winter seasonal and I'd buy it again. (420 characters)

Photo of jmbranum
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

At first I was a bit disappointed as winter warmers are often very heavily spiced --- something which the label guaranteed --- and this beer was immediately spicy. At best I thought it was better than average amber.

But then I changed my mind. This beer needs a little time to sit in the glass and warm up for it to shine. The flavors are still subtle but they are there: caramel and malt, winter spices. Mouthfeel is fairly light but kinda silky too (as the label also promised... oh wait am I being susceptible to the label's verbiage? Oh well, it is working.) Maybe a tinge of maple, definitely more maple.

Aroma was subtle at first but also seems to build in a caramelish direction.

Overall, I would drink it again but I'll let it rest in the glass a bit before sipping. I do think I prefer the more assertively spiced holiday beers though. (847 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Boat Works in St. Clair Shores, Michigan for $5.25 a pint.

Appearance: A dark brown sort of color with maybe half a finger of head on it. Almost no lacing. The low-point of this beer, but no big deal. Looks almost on-point for what I'd expect from the style, even if a bit lighter.

Smell: Candy corn. Really, that's almost it. Smells a LOT like candy corn. That and caramel... definitely a warmer as I'd expect it to be, with a lot of malt characteristics, and not much hop.

Taste/feel: Candy corn. I don't care for candy corn, but this actually really worked well for me. Seriously almost just like candy corn with some spice and caramel. I guess, now looking at other reviews, it can also come off as vanilla and caramel as well, which is basically the taste of candy corn, if I remember it correctly. Hops aren't really noticeable in the smell or taste per se, but this beer is not overly sweet. The feel has a nice, full-body, and a moderate carbonation. A very pleasant sipper, and a beer that I really enjoyed. I haven't had many winter warmers, but if they tend to be like this one, color me impressed. I'd very gladly have another. Well crafted. (1,170 characters)

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.