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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

1,357 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,357
Reviews: 674
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 39
Gots: 56 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,357 | Reviews: 674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spencerw


3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This brew poured an orange, brownish in color with a 1 inch foam head that lingered for a minute or two. It appearance was very dense.

S - Sweet edge of moderately spicy. It has a citrus, caramel tone that is very obvious. Very malty.

T - The taste was darn good however very sweet and malty. It tasted like a sweet caramel, much stronger than the smell. Very little hop tone yet a sliver of a kick mid drift.

M - Full body, thick, filling yet smooth and fairly refreshing.

D - Not sure this is a beer I would session with. It's a little t sweet and filling for me. It's a good beer, but nothing I'll run around trying to find again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2009 19:08:46 | More by spencerw
Photo of noslenwerd


4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Day 3, beer 3/365

A: An orangey to light copper color. Nice lace down the glass the whole way

S: Not much smell to it, a little bit of a sweet smell

T: This REALLY hit the spot as far as taste goes. To me the first thing that hits you is a butterscotch taste, and as soon as it hits your throat to me you get a strong "cream soda" type of flavor, but its not overpowering. Just right.

Summary: Overall this has been on of my favorite seasonal ales without a doubt. I would have to say my favorite Christmas ale for sure (admittedly I have not had many up to this point)

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 00:08:27 | More by noslenwerd
Photo of ocelot2500


3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color with a ragged tan head that fades slowly. Plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smells of caramel malt. A sweet butterscotch like smell.

Tastes of the malty sweetness with light spices on top. Again, a butterscotch taste with a bit of a brown sugar flavor. A little caramel as well. The spices are akin to nutmeg. Alcohol comes through to warm as well. Tastes thin though, would like a little more spice and the malts could be bigger.

The mouthfeel is a medium-light and I would like it to be a bit fuller, although the amount of carbonation is appropriate.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 03:05:23 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of movingtrain


4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

This is a bottle from 2007 I found in my cellar...two years old.

Appearance is a reddish-brown, lightly transparent...with a strong head that slowly descends and sticks well to the sides of the glass.

Smells of cinnamon, bitter chocolate, brown sugar, dark malts, hard candy.

Taste is pretty good after two years. This is one of my favorite winter wamers...and it has stood up pretty well. Tastes of winter spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove), mint, orange peel, some chocolate in the background...malt heavy, for sure...though there is a nice hoppy bitterness within the flavor, as well.

Overall, a great beer...and perfect for the early onslaught of cold temperatures here in Ohio...I am looking forward to this year's batch.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 22:29:08 | More by movingtrain
Photo of NorCalYeti


3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

taste- bready, sweet, spicy

color- copper-amber

clarity- clear

smell- yeasty

body- medium-light, smooth finish

appearance- off-white head, flat, curious

overall impression- not my style

notes- i want to like these beers so much but i just can't get into them. i've never been into this beer yet i come back every year in hope of it delivering. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 03:18:04 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of TheFlern


3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A nice dark amber pour with a good amount of creamy head that remains for most of the pint. No lacing at all.

Smell: Lots of deep barley notes.

Taste: Barley and a hint of spice. Very warming. However, also very bland. More spice would have been nice.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full bodies like you would expect from a winter warmer. However, this beer isn't overly heavy on the pallet.

Drinkability: I'm not a fan of the drinkability that most winter warmers provide which is why this beer scores above average here. This is one of the more drinkable winter warmers i have tried.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2009 22:37:02 | More by TheFlern
Photo of darklordlager


4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: bronze, with a small cream colored head which sticks around for a while then dives underneath.

Smell: Sweet caramel and dark fruit, hint of spice.

Taste: This is where this beer really shines--Layered caramel and dark fruit, toffee, light spice, raisins. Hops linger in the background melding with the caramel to produce a memorable finish.

Mouthfeel: Nailed this one.

Drinkability: This beer is fantastic, even after 8-9 months the 6.9%ABV helps make it through more than a couple holidays...


Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 03:09:46 | More by darklordlager
Photo of Narnad


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition. Pours from the bottle a muddy copper/orange color with almost no head. Very heavy aroma of fruit (apple/cherry) and spice(cinnamon) with lesser hints of molasses and some light malt. Strong alcohol flavor hits first followed by a very nice fruitiness with lots of cinnamon and some lesser vanilla and a slight bourbon flavor. Slight sediment in the bottom and the beer has very large, medium speed carbonation. Good beer but it definitely feels like more alcohol is present than the 6.9% listed on the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 01:31:07 | More by Narnad
Photo of KarlHungus


3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy brownish-amber color. The head is a half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing. The aroma is tons of caramel, toffee, and even a hint of peat. This smells very much like a Wee Heavy. It is nice, but rather simple. The taste is quite different than the aroma. There is still a lot of caramel, but there is more toffee and the peat is gone. It has a nice malty complexity, and is interesting. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with appropriately low carbonation and a sugary texture. Overall, this is a nice beer. It would be a lot more enjoyable if the aroma was lively, but it is still alright. I could drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 21:08:53 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of ClockworkOrange


4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a hazed dark chestnut color with an inch of lingering light ecru foam. Nice and malty, sweet caramelized grains, notes distantly related to spice cake with dates. A few notches better than medium in body and amply carbonated for its style. IMO, one of the better winter ales out there.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2009 15:11:04 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This very dark beer (which has a good tannish head) is a good winter brew. Good full-body with an excellent mix of spices and caramel.

The maltiness is well balanced, and with the spice, it makes it truly an excellent cold-weather beer. Definitely a must try if you can find it.

Serving type: on-tap

05-13-2009 23:10:14 | More by Amalak
Photo of Thorpe429


4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From old beer notes. Had on tap this past winter at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL.

A: Very dark and rich; perhaps a mahogany color with an infusion of a little extra read. The head looks good, and is a slightly-darkened cream color.

S: Excellent nose, with plenty of spices and some citrus; all of this overlays a nice base of buttered toffee and pure creaminess.

T: Much like the smell, though not terribly spicy. Quite sweet and overpowering in malt complexity.

M: Medium-to-full-bodied and very creamy. Not too much noticeable alcohol.

D: Exceedingly drinkable. I'd love to have a keg of this one for by the fire.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2009 02:15:36 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of jayw73


4.97/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a must have beer for a winter seasonal. There is a tremendous amount of maltiness on the palate on initial taste but enough spiciness and hops to really balance out the flavor. I have had many winter seasonals and this is the best there is!

a dark brown with strong creamy head

t delicious, malty, vanilla, caramel

m very smooth and velvety

d gimme another please

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 23:14:31 | More by jayw73
Photo of Lexluthor33

New York

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium brown color with a nice head and great lacing action.
The aroma of apples,figs and dates with fruits and malts.
The taste of sweet malts,raisins,fruit hints and in keeping with the nose there are fig and date hints.Some vanilla is also detected.
The feel is creamy,low carbonation and medium to full body and I say that because it is not as heavy as I expected.

Notes: A really good beer and so easy to drink. Rich and creamy and a good ABV to boot.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 02:56:30 | More by Lexluthor33
Photo of Kiwano

New York

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

Poured the bottle into a glass. It was cold from the fridge so it got better over time as it became.

A - Light brown. Not much of a head and small bubbles visible

S - Smelled good. A tiny bit yeasty?

T - Started off small hint of yeast but probably because it hadn't warmed to room temperature yet. As it warmed it the malt came through more. With a tiny bit of sweetness.

M - Light fizziness throughout

D - Tastes like a darker beer but without any heaviness.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 07:17:38 | More by Kiwano
Photo of TypeSJess


4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours with a moderate tan head. head does not last. just enough hoppy flavor with not too much malts. slight spiciness being a seasonal ale. I bought this with a winter brew pack of 10 and im 4 in and this is my favorite so far. based on this one, im going to check out the others from this brewery.

i thoroughly enjoyed this seasonal ale. definitely drinkable throughout the year.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 03:54:21 | More by TypeSJess
Photo of olmatty


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

Appearance- Pours a one finger tan head with poor retention and moderate lacing, a dark brown amber liquid.

Smell- Yeast, Spiciness and dark malts.

Taste- Like delicious malt spice candy. Carmelized sugar and spicy sweetness. Dark amber malts and yeast. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated and very smooth, almost sticky sweet feel.

Drinkability- Smooth and easy drinking, especially for a winter. Just very, very nice all around.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2009 07:01:20 | More by olmatty
Photo of ccrida


4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle (2008) poured into a nonic pint, Winter Solstice is a murky amber, large, dense creamy light kahaki head with long last but no lace.

Smell is bright, sweet fruity malt smell even at fridge temp when served. Once I had a taste and thought of cream soda, it was all I smelled. Very unique and tasty.

Taste is great, and instantly recognizable - cream soda. There's also light touches of caramel, cinnamon and oranges, but it's really predominantly cream soda, which I'm really loving.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, medium light body, again, very much like a craft soda.

Drinkability is super high, if you like cream soda, which I do. Normally I'd knock a beer for being one dimensional, and so un beer like, but this is just so fantastic, I've got nothing but love for it. The 6.9% is dangerously undetectable, and the beer is a decent value and readily available.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2009 02:14:15 | More by ccrida
Photo of mralphabet


4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Copper rust in color. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to speak of.

S: Caramel, sweet molasses, hazelnuts, some faint orange juice.

T: Very sweet malt some molasses and caramel. Hops are very light... Very little bitterness... Very little aftertaste.. lots of caramel !!

M: Very little carbonation, med to heavy bodied.... Very creamy.

D: This is a wonderful beer.... Not as warming as I would have thought... Very sweet beer, well made not over powering.... Wish this was a year round brew... I'm looking forward trying more from AV....

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 05:30:14 | More by mralphabet
Photo of tangentrider


3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Red-brown beer with an off-white head; reddish highlights when held to the light

S- Malty with an undertone of spice.

T- First is warmth, followed by malt, a touch of molasses, possibly dried fruit, and spice.

MF- Smooth, with nice carbonation.

D- Interesting beer, which I realize is a rather non-descript statement, but honestly, I'll probably have it again just to figure it out.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2009 04:32:11 | More by tangentrider
Photo of GatorBeerNerd


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

12 oz single purchased for me at Jungle Jim's by my friend during Thanksgiving. Poured into a standard beer glass.

A: Pours a reddish brown that reminds me a bit of stained cherry cabinets. Finger and a half thick head reduces down to a thin haze of bubbles relatively quickly. The bubbles try to leave lacing, but it just doesn't stick.

S: The aroma is extremely faint. There is some roasted malty aromas mixed in with a bit of spicing of some sort.

T: It is a bit sweet from the malt. The spice balances it out pretty well. There is a bit of orange flavor mixed in. Maybe the spicing is orange peel?

M: Amazingly thin. I would almost call it watery. The spicing does add a little bit of interest in the mouth, but it doesn't make up for the thin feel.

D: Its relatively low in ABV. The warming is more from the spice. It goes down pretty easy for the style due to it being so thin.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2009 02:53:06 | More by GatorBeerNerd
Photo of washburnkid

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought a six-pack of these back from a brewery visit last month.

A: Hazy copper with a small white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin ring on the outer edges.
S: Spicy malts, heavy molasses
T: Sweet, spicy flavor at first, ending in a bitter bite of hops that I can't really pin down (maybe toasted?); berry-like sour endnotes and some yeast
M: Lighter bodied than I expected, and I'd personally enjoy this beer with a tad bit more carbonation. Just a tad.
D: I didn't get a huge "warming" sensation from this beer, but I still really enjoyed it. It is smooth, spicy and flavorful. Reminds me of snow! I look forward to having this beer again come November.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 18:32:04 | More by washburnkid
Photo of katan


4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint:

A - Orange to orangish brown in color. Head formation is light to 1mm - very light and white. Well retained as well, not going anywhere. Certainly opaque, but I'm thinking that is from the density of the beer.

S - Sweet edge of spice - almost floral and piney. Some phenolic notes in the background. Has a small amount of clove and other sweet spice to it. Difficult to describe.

T - Starts off rather light, with only a small amount of sweetness leading the way. Bitterness makes an appearance mid-stream, but very quickly disappears. Not hop note of mention. Finishes with an interesting sweet flavor. Strong in sugars and vanilla - spicy. Almost if I'm eating a nice sweet muffin of cookie.

M - Heavier in body - thick. Must be high in unfermentables. Carbonation is light but it sure seems to add more girth to the beer. Doesn't leave much for an aftertaste.

D - I find this beer highly drinkable for the style. I think the sweet taste makes the beer go down rather easily. The "warming" affect of the flavors really do fit the winter style. The ABV would sneak up on you quickly as well, as it is well concealed.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 05:36:59 | More by katan
Photo of Nick3


4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith Imperial Pint Glass.

A: Hazy copper color with a a head that dissipates quickly into very thin cover over the beer. Looks like a sasparilla.

S: I thought I died and went to heaven the first time I smelled this beer. Caramel and toffee aromas dominate with some hints of berries.

T: Beer is very, very smooth. Liken it to Newcastle in that regard but quite sweeter. Difficult to detect the hops. Caramel and berry flavors make their presence known.

M: A little thin for my taste especially for a Winter beer, but other positive aspects more than make up for it.

Beer is not too high in alcohol but you can definitely feel it warm you up in the chest. Overall, a very delightful beer and you can enjoy several without feeling full. However, if you like hops, stay away from it.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2009 05:38:15 | More by Nick3
Photo of pokesbeerdude


4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Wasatch for this one in a trade.

A: Dark red/brown, dark amber. Cream colored head about half an inch thick that reduced to a film. Somewhat cloudy. Attractive beer.

S: Bready and malty, huge on the fresh bread smell, big earthy smell too, but the breads absolutely dominate this one. Somewhat of a faint hint of something...ginger-y? Not too bad smelling though.

T: Not at all what I expected, this is malty with a huge honey comb presence, some hints at nutmeg, cinnamon, bready malts, excellent tasting winter beer. Very tasty.

M: Not too thick or thin, great carbonation, slight alcohol/spice heat. Very good.

D: This is great, a great winter beer. I could easily drink three or four of these as a change up to porters and stouts in the winter. Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2009 02:19:00 | More by pokesbeerdude
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,357 ratings.