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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.
very good

1,467 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,467
Reviews: 682
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 52
Gots: 89 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,467 | Reviews: 682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StoutHunter
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a can of Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale last week for $1.79 at The Lager Mill. I've had pretty good history with Anderson Valley and since it will be the Winter Solstice in a little bit I decided to give this beer a try tonight, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date. Poured from a 12oz can into an imperial pint glass.

A- The can has that typical Anderson Valley look to it with a slight winter theme to it, not too bad. It poured a muddy caramel color that took on a some amber hues when held to the light with a finger and a half of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left a little bit of lacing. This is a nice looking beer, but I would have liked a little more head.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness and impart some brown bread, caramel, brown sugar, and some lightly toasted malt aromas. After that comes a nice dark fruit aroma followed by a medium amount of spices with nutmeg and allspice seeming to stick out the most. The aroma was nice with a good amount of spices but it could have a little more complexity to it.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts of with loads of malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and impart some caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and lightly toasted malt flavors. After that comes a really light amount of dark fruits that barely sticks out and is followed by some lighter spices with nutmeg sticking out the most. On the finish I get a light amount of earthy hops that impart a pretty light amount of bitterness with a sweet and malty aftertaste. The taste was nice, I liked the balance but I could have gone for just a little more spices.

M- Pretty smooth, very creamy, on the slightly fuller side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation that was just a little prickly. The mouthfeel was nice, but I could have gone without the prickly carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and an above average example of a Winter Warmer, it had pretty good balance between the malts and spices and didn't get to carried away with either of them. This beer had good drinkability, it was pretty smooth and the flavors did a decent job at holding my attention, I could drink a couple of these but after that the thickness might become too much. What I liked the most about this beer was how well rounded it was, it really didn't have any weak points. What I liked the least about this beer was that the spices didn't shine through a little more, I think that would take this beer to the next level. I would buy some more when it's released next year, but I don't think I'll be rushing to the store and clearing them out of Winter Solstice, but I do recommend giving this beer a try, I think it would appeal to a wide range of people. All in all I thought this was a nice beer, It's not my favorite Winter Warmer but it was still a nice beer that enjoyed drinking. This was another solid beer from Anderson Valley, good work guys.

StoutHunter, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of Zkman87
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Zkman87, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of Lukass
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Lukass, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of GFD400
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

GFD400, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of SurlyHotdog
2.5/5  rDev -35.6%

SurlyHotdog, Dec 19, 2012
Photo of Escsolo
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Escsolo, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +3.1%

TX-Badger, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Mark5252
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Mark5252, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of GRPunk
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A- A sloppy pour created a 2-1/2 finger tan head. The clean, amber body showed moderate-heavy carbonation. The head sustained at about 1/2 finger and left nice, foamy rings about the glass.

S- I got a decent shot of spice at the pour. Sweet malts, caramel-like, dominate. A little muted at first. Malts suggest Hawaiian bread and gain strength with time. Light hops seem pretty fresh, maybe noble variety?

T- really nice and malty. Lots of caramel and brown sugar, some residual sweetness going on. Light spice. Taking a stab, I'll guess cinnamon, something like clove-like, maybe some ginger.

M- Moderate-heavy carbonation. Slight warming, almost in "stomach feel." A little bite from hops and carbonation. Fairly full bodied.

O- A robust, malty ale, great for cold weather drinking. Nice to have spicing dialed down, allowing traditional ingredients to shine.

GRPunk, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of mooseo
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter.

A - Muddy amber-brown with a medium white head.

S - Fresh baked bread, caramel, toasted grain and light floral hops. Subtle but nice.

T - Toasted bready malt, nuts, brown sugar, and light earthy hops. Hints of vanilla cream and nutmeg in the finish.

M - Extremely soft, smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Love the mouthfeel on this one. Lots of sweetness but the hops lend some balance. A pretty good, drinkable winter ale.

mooseo, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of barczar
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a solid half inch beige head that dissipates slowly leaving sheets of lacing.

Caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon comprise the aroma initially. Notes of allspice, toasted malt, and dark fruit emerge. Aroma is initially subtle.

Flavor is an overload of malted milk balls, with currants , cinnamon, and chocolate surfacing mid palate and lingering into the slightly dry finish.

Body is a touch on the heavy side, with moderate carbonation and slight alcohol warmth.

Overall, I'm amazed at how closely the flavor resembles malted milk balls. There's a fruitiness that follows, so it's a little different. Not am overly spicy seasonal, which I appreciate.

barczar, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of FUwolfpacker
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

FUwolfpacker, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of chefhatt
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a copper color body with a strong white 2" white head that is stays around for a while. The smell is like cream soda, vanilla, brown sugar. The taste has a sweet malt start, then a nice sweet cream flavor, also some vanilla in there also. The mouth feel is creamy, smooth and a nice drinker.

chefhatt, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of SerialHiker
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice mahogoney, the perfect seasonal, fall color…it’s deep in color, but fairly transparent…tons of bubble action in the middle…some head did form, but minimal lasted…a nice looking brew…(3.5/5)

Smell: A nice spiced aroma…black currant, cinnamon, allspice…very warming…sweet cherry candy comes through…nice deep, sweet malt, some piney hops, a smidgen of brown sugar…creamy vanilla…nice…(4/5)

Taste: Wow…a creamy take on the holiday flavor…yes, there is the spice and candy flavor, but the creaminess is undeniable…a balance of sweet malt with earthy hops play conveyor to the spice, sweet and creamy flavors…it’s almost too simple while being effective…no alcohol or astringent flavor what-so-ever…(3.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light body, it is a little watery…light carbonation, it does bring some fluffiness, but that doesn’t last long…it’s a smooth, smooth drink, that is crisp, but flavorful and leaves only kindness and tenderness on my tongue…after taste is a creamy, sweet spice…no bitterness or alcohol heat to really speak of…does leave my mouth watering for more, which I like…(3.5/5)

Overall: This is one of my favorite takes on the holiday ale I’ve tried in 2012…the creamy factor takes this in a direction that others haven’t, leaving little comparison to other seasonal ales…it may be a touch too creamy (imagine a cream ale versus a root beer), but that risk is rewarded here, as they’ve succeeded in making a very drinkable, unique brew…it’s a very balanced, light beer that is well worth seeking out and bringing to the next holiday party…serve this brew crisp and cold and it will be enjoyed by the micro beer enthusiast and the less adventurous alike…(3.5/5)

SerialHiker, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of mrmitsui29
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

mrmitsui29, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of cliff1066
4/5  rDev +3.1%

cliff1066, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of tisthesaisson
4.5/5  rDev +16%

tisthesaisson, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +3.1%

SocalKicks, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of jheezee
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

jheezee, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of thecheapies
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First Winter Solstice of the year!

Hazy brown-red, like brick red, with a bone-white head that dried out to a stable quarter-inch of foam immovable. I love the way this ale looks!

Brown sugar, vanilla cream soda, cinnamon, graham cracker crusts, and sweet malty roast. Has similar creaminess in the nose to Summer Solstice.

English malts marry medium roast with toffee and brown sugar. Creamy vanilla, light caramel, cinnamon, and stewed apple sweetness; but, there's also a papery note. The finish is sweet, but cleaner than the buttercream opening. Bitterness only plays a supporting role here.

Drinks kind of rich. Smooth and creamy with a low-lying carbonation.

I try to forget about this beer being as tasty and delivering as it is, but it always comes back to smear its goodness in my face. Well done, Anderson Valley. Well done.

thecheapies, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of valdieu2
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

valdieu2, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of martyl1000
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Coppers Tavern, Madison. A nice looking pour in a tulip glass, with a thin off-white head that sticks around.

The sweetness in the aroma is quite nice at first, zucchini bread, cotton candy, ripe Apple. But the spice then shows as a vanilla, potpourri-type spice boil perfume, cloying, to say the least.

In the mouth the malt presents bread, cotton candy, and juicy fruit gum, plus the amorphous spice,which is certain to divide audiences.

Nice semi-chewy mouthful, with a crisp carbonation.

We''ll see what happens as it warms.

martyl1000, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of MrJolly
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

MrJolly, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of Chrixsus
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Chrixsus, Dec 10, 2012
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,467 ratings.