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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
714 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
714
Ratings:
1,759
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
21.76%
 
 
Wants:
70
Gots:
238
For Trade:
0
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by maxpower on 11-18-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 714 | Ratings: 1,759
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of scar
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have been drinking this beer for a few years now, however this is the first year I have had the offering in a can. As a result, this beer vs. the bottle offerings from years past are different but not better or worse.

appearance- beautiful deep amber, but hazy even when warm, yet I never really care about this unless the style demands clarity. Winter Warmers can be hazy as far as I'm concerned. More carbonated than years past, not a shocker, cans do that.

smell- I have always thought this beer was spiced, however it is done sooo well I can't tell. Maybe cinnamon or anise or maybe nothing IDK. Smell supports the taste but in a more subtle way. Malt, dark fruit, bock-like malt flavors from the grain bill, like a little malt hammer.

taste- I usually reviews beers because their taste demands me to. This beer is malty like a bock or double bock which is evident from the grain bill reflected in the taste. Make no mistake this is an ale with sweet malt and firm dark crystal malt sugar flavors. Low bitterness very appropriate. Low Chocolate but no choc malt used.

Mouth- medium full

more people should drink and write and talk about this malty treat, more beers should be made like this.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

date reviewed: 27 January 2013...
glassware: Ayinger willibecker...
occasion: anticipating another "winter event" tomorrow...
appearance: medium-brown body with even, cirrus lacing; not much effervescence; thick head dissipates quickly...
aroma: brilliant,, fragrantly fruity bouquet; some spices too; malt and hops seem balanced in their non-entity....
palate: warming, full-bodied, raspy and ragged mouthfeel; bubbly and active at the tongue...
taste: currants, raisins, and doughy accents make this an enjoyable, flavorful experience--some berry hints too, but a bit medicinal in the finish...
overall: Anderson Valley has done a lot right, and this beer follows in the tradition; respectable...

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date, but this is the 2012 winter seasonal release, I'm sure. Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours a quarter inch of off-white / khaki colored head that quickly dissolves into a thin layer of foam, bubbling it's way out of existence. Body is a very dark ruby / blood orange / chestnut color.

S - Smell is of winter spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, some earthy, barrel aged oak, cream & vanilla smells come secondary. Bit of alcohol astringency, and some cherry & fermented dark fruit. Cherry vanilla smell is dominant, but doesn't always come off as smelling natural.

T - The beer is light bodied and smooth, with a faint hint of alcohol warmth, and bit of medicinal cherry flavored syrup. Some woody, barrel aged vanilla poking about in there, but it doesn't seem totally genuine, if you ask me. A decent tasting beer, but definitely not the best tasting beer I've ever had. A simple brew.

M - Feel comes off somewhat hot and carbonated. Not a horrible tasting beer, but not one I would recommend sessioning. Fruity, bitter, & dry aftertaste on this beer.

Overall, it isn't a horrible beer, but it is definitely not a beer I will ever consider drinking again. Seems very imbalanced, with a lot of off-putting aspects: too sweet & sugary, with a medicinal artificial cherry vanilla syrup like taste. Underwhelming, for damn sure. My second beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Co., and not one I will be having again any time soon. Looking forward to other endeavors from this brewery.

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a snifter. No canned on date, but I gotta assume it was from sometime this early winter.

Pours out a hazy deep red color, maybe a little orange and brown. A decent looking yellowish light tan head, spotty lacing.

Smells of sweet malts, dark dried fruits, brown sugar, with a bit of a fruity ester aroma.

Sweet caramel malt, dark fruits, plum, brown sugar, fruity esters, a bit of apple, and just a hint of warmth from the alcohol.

Medium bodied, just a touch too much carbonation for the style.

Kind of like a light version of an old ale. Not really my cup of tea, especially when it comes to winter Warner's, I prefer them with some roast and maybe a bit of x-mas spice.

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Photo of pkalix
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

beautiful honey-toffee color, minimal head, but a thick tan layer and a nice cover on the sides.
smells very sweet with honey and toffee on the top.
taste reminds me of an english type of brew, with the typical english malts. i actually really like this. another good, long draught to determine whether i can consciously give this a five! alright, i'm not even buzzed yet and this stuff is AWESOME!! if it were a 4.9% brew i'd knock it down a bit, but at 6.9% this is very nice. slight bitterness on the side of the tongue, but an overall subtle sweetness and this really satisfies. i'd honestly give this a 98 or 99 for the taste, but since i cannot, i'm giving it a 5. 4.5 for appearance and smell as i really like the thickness on the sides and the smell promises happiness before the first quaff. i am very impressed with this, especially since it's all gone on sale at Total Wine because, i suppose, we're done with the 'seasonals' . . . .

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a red 355 ml can. Pours out a hazed nutty amber hue, two fingers of spongy light beige head that settle to a thick cap.

Caramel malt on the nose, a bit of chocolate, along with some nutmeg, coriander, citrus rind, and a bit of a cidery character.

Caramel and some sweet chocolate up front in the flavour, spices are milder on the finish, some nuttiness.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, texture is a bit thin yet sticky, with medium carbonation that is able to hold it all together at least.

Mild in terms for the style, some malty goodness going on, an easy drinker for a Winter Warmer.

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Photo of ItsTheLimit
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Perfect beer for a cold night, especially if stouts and other traditionally heavier beers aren't your thing.

Hazy copper color with a thin tight head. White-ish lacing with nice head retention.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, black licorice, and coriander.

This beer tastes delicious. Warming quality from some alcohol but very balanced. Sweet malt up front with dried fruit, nutmeg, caramel and other spices.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel makes this an easy drinker, but will definitely warm you up. Nice alcohol heat will make this a great evening-sipper near a fireplace. Really liking this beer.

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Photo of PatrickBeebe
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint. Deep amber, creamy head. Smells of spice and toffee and vanilla. Creamy texture, lots of earthy, holiday spice. Not as good as I remember from a few years ago, yet still very solid.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 714 ratings.