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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.
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 MetalHopHead6
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice poured deep copper with a thick creamy head.

The smell and taste were dominated by something artificial and sugary, like white chocolate or vanilla extract. The feel was too thick, creamy, and smooth. It had no bitterness.

If I drank this blindfolded I would have thought it was vanilla eggnogg, and much like eggnog, I could only take a small dose of Anderson Valley Winter Solstice. (418 characters)

Photo of aaronh
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This deep amber beer with orange-red highlights pours with an attractive white head the displays decent retention. The aromas are a little of spice and a little of hops, pleasant but not assertive enough to pick out individual traits. The taste was like a normal pale ale that had some spice added to it somewhere along the line. The beer displayed a normal light ale feel on the tongue, but left an unpleasant bitterness clinging to my mouth on the finish. The poor finishing characteristics and the high ABV result in a beer I'm glad I tried, but of which I didn't buy a sixer. My third offering from Anderson Valley was definitely not a "charm". (648 characters)

Photo of rastaman
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Barley wine style ale. Sweet raisin and syrup, piney hops, spicy. A bit too sticky for me, but its not bad at all. It does have flavour and body as it should, and as with most Anderson Valley beers i've had, its pretty solid and well made, yeah, not bad in the end. (273 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic. Two fingers of head atop an extremely hazy body that's a little too light in color for the style.

Smells like apple pie beer, if that makes any sense. Lots of brown sugar/cinnamon sprinkled on a fruity base. Interesting but off-putting.

Tastes a lot like brown sugar with some caramel. Cinnamon is obvious, and again there's a chewy dark fruitiness.

Carbonation is way over the top, and to complicate things, the body is too light. This makes for poor mouthfeel and drinkability. (503 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have waited quite awhile to try this beer but I was pretty let down flavor-wise anyways.Poured a deep rich aber with a tight well formed almond one finger head that settled nicely into a creamy mass.Xmas aromas going on I picked up some vanilla and caramel with lighter notes of cinnamon and brown sugar,I honestly thought I was drinking a sharp cream soda just way to much vanilla-like flavors it overpowered any other flavor really from coming thru.It got to be cloying half way thru and my wife finished it.wow this beer has everything going for it except flavor in my opinion and is way to pricey,I will not seek this out again. (634 characters)

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bright amber hue, with a thick off-white head delicately resting on top of the pint glass. Tough to detect, although appears to be some hop aroma beneath the gigantic head. Up front, rather fluffy, some honey and a bit of slick buttery feeling. Some sweet malts make it through, has a little warming feel. Winter spices are tucked away, very clean, a sweet malty finish. The flavors never gave way, and were masked, a real disappointment from an otherwise decent brewery. (473 characters)

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
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. (1,483 characters)

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Winter Solstice pours a nice mid color amber with a quickly disappearing foam head that leaves some webbing on the side of the glass. The aroma of the WS is spicy and definitely malting to the nose. It is not a bad tasting beer but not just my style. It is strongly dominated by the malts with a sweet finish. I like a little hoppiness jumping around. In the mouth it was a little thin for a winter warmer. (410 characters)

Photo of callmeclemens
3.24/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A nice sipping beer for a winter night.

Had last night from the bottle.

Smells mostly of caramel with a hint of florals, or perhaps just a subtle fruit. Taste genenrally the same, not to dark not to heavy. A nice caramel malted, slightly fruity brew. (252 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a cloudy medium amber with a half finger head that disappeared quickly to a ring of lacing...only a little bit sticky.
Aromas are sweet amber malt and brown sugar with just a touch of buttery caramel.
Immediate impression on the taste was one of Vanilla...very very vanilla. I get a hint of citrus hops but predominately I get brown sugar and vanilla. Warming I get more buttery caramel and butterscotch.
This is good and sweet but sort of one dimensional...not quite complex enough. My impression, again, is mostly vanilla. Sort of like drinking a cream soda (569 characters)

Photo of ksimons
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-rich brown with about an inch of foam which left a thin layer on top

S-warm bread like malt and citrus fruit, no real spices present

T-low carbonation, a fruity taste but not overly sweet, malty, butterscotch, again not getting much winter warmer spices

M-slight carbonation, very smooth, no real aftertaste, thin body

Very easy to drink, but not the most exciting. With a fuller body, richer malt, and more winter spices this could be a pretty good winter warmer. (470 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up this 12oz can on a whim to give it a try. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Can foams up immediately upon opening causing a somewhat rushed pour. Hits the glass and forms two thick fingers of tan colored creamy head with excellent staying power. Body of the beer is a clear and attractive mahogany brown. Thick webs of lacing left on the glass as the foam slowly fades away to the surface.

S - Sweet malt up front, fruity and spicy hops, cinnamon, citrus.

T - Interesting, but in a weird way. Vanilla is high on the list up front with cinnamon, a weird fruitiness (plums?), cherries, thin hop bitterness, sugary sweetness - conjuring images of some kind of candy I can't quite place, a bit biscuity.

M - A bit thin overall paired with a creamy mid level carbonation. Spices and fruity flavors dominate but the malt does have a presence.

O - Winter warmers are sorta hit or miss for me...this one plays more towards the miss side. Not bad...I definitely wouldn't have more than one in a session tho. For the style I'd say this is pretty average. (1,061 characters)

Photo of TXHops
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

AVBC's 2002 Winter Solstice pours an orangey-reddish color, pretty clear, with a fairly impressive, beigish head of foam displaying pretty good staying power. There's an interesting coolish-mint, light citrus aroma over the malty sweet base. The flavor is pretty similar: soft body (as opposed to firm) with a sweet malt base and very understated spicing. (cinnamon, orange and nutmeg?) Actually, the softness of the body is a little frustrating--it almost feels Belgian, though without the fusels. The mintiness grows a little in the tail and so does the very slight citrus quality, coming together to create a slight, menthol feeling in my nose--like it's being cleared out.

All in all, this is a nice spiced beer, as the spices don't really taste like much (my kind of spices). The soft body is annoying and the lack of any particular individuality in this beer takes away some points as well. (899 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper ruby, with a couple fingers of rich and foamy off-white head. This retains with a big frothy finger, which just drenches the sides of the glass with thick sticky lacing. The aroma smells lightly grassy with some festive feeling spices. Bready sweetness and a touch of dark fruitiness, like cherry, mix in as well. This has a bit of a gingerbread feel to it in the nose.

The taste is dark fruit, sweet doughy sugars, and spices, with a bit of green citrus working itself into here as well. Flavors are here but this lacks some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with soft and creamy carbonation and just a light crispness on the tongue. This is really easy feeling in the mouth overall.

Eh. I liked the flavors that were present in this but I just wish that there was more to them. They just lacked robustness and a reason to go back after each sip of this. The easy feeling body kept this in the game some but otherwise, this was fairly forgettable. (1,007 characters)

Photo of mightyquinn
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Great pour from a can in to a Samuel Adams Pint Glass. this beer gives great head, no pun intended.

S: I smell caramel I believe, all I notice.

T: I drank this reviewed can almost warm, I get a very distinct chocolate taste and then the caramel hits, then a spiciness I LOVE that saturates the tongue.

M: Very nice. Like a carmel spice sitting in there tantalizing the tongue.

O: I personally like this beer a lot, the GF loves it. One of the better Winter Warmers I have had this year. Glad I found the last 6 pack locally while shopping for some Xmas gifts. Excited for next years batch! Have some friends that say this is their go to Winter Warmer and I can see why! (676 characters)

Photo of animal69
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

i saw "solar powered brewery" and figured i'd do one for the environment ; pours a med. hazy copper-brown color w/ all manner of particles floating around, a thin, off-white head which dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of lacing in my pint ; not a powerful smell, caramel malts and citrus hops up front w/ notes of vanilla and spice throughout ; a sweet taste loaded w/ darker malts and spices, i'd guess they used everything on the shelf in this one, vanilla, caramel, some ginger/cinnamonish spices, honey/maple, not unpleasant at all however ; a surprisingly light beer, though the sweetness makes it appear thicker, good co2 as well ; not a bad beer, though they get a bit cloying after awhile... (706 characters)

Photo of baldycmu
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an orangey/amber hazy color with limited tan head. Lacing is limited
S-Not much here, notes of caramel and winter spice, but you need to work to pick it out
T-An average winter warmer with notes of caramel clove, maybe nutmeg. The finish is slightly bready with a touch of hop flavor and is the best thing about it.
M/D- Smooth for a winter with limited alcohol taste for the 6.9%.

Not a bad beer, and certainly worth drinking once in a while. (455 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 beergoot
3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Thick, creamy head atop a dark amber, honey-colored beer. Nice carbonation continuing off the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Didn't get much of a 'holiday' smell. Nice, subtle sweetness, though.

Taste: Very caramel-ish and strong vanilla notes. Strong, sweet finish at the end.

Mouthfeel: Good, medium body.

Overall: A bit too sweet and caramel-tasting for my tastes, but still a fair beer for a holiday brew if you're not looking a spicy tasting glass of suds. (474 characters)

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 (1,582 characters)

Photo of spencerw
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
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. (645 characters)

Photo of Naes
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This ale is brown/dark amber in color and has a small off-white head.
The aroma is not much to speak of, but has a slight amount of spice and hops.
Its flavor has some spice, cinnamon, a slight alcohol presence and some caramel malt.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and moderately carbonated. (291 characters)

Photo of sacfly
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 bottle

Pours a beautiful Reddish Brown. Clear as day. Thin head of small bubbles. Smell is of chocolate candy cordials. Like smelling the inside of a chocolate covered cherry.

Body is light. Chocolate with a light cherry cough syrup flavor. Malt, no sign of hops. Little to no aftertaste, slightly bitter.

OK, but tastes a bit artificial. A nice change, but not something I would drink more than once a week or so. (430 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Hollingshead's during Christmas in July celebration for $1.79

Poured a dark brown color with a thick tannish white head

Smell was a little chocolate and that was about it, but did not taste any of it

Taste was dominated by vanilla malt which added a lot of sweetness to go along with a caramel finish

Pretty heavy stuff though, could not drink more than one or two, but normal for winter beers (418 characters)

Photo of BeerSox
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic

Deep slightly hazy copper hue with a one finger light tan head that slowly settles to a thin cap. The lacing isn't that sticky.

The aroma is very malty and sugary, with a strong caramel overtone. Some of the alcohol also pokes through. A little bit of spice is also in there.

Very sugary flavor, but also thin bodied. This gives it the feel like it's soda more than a beer. It's overall malty, not much hop flavor in there.

I found this one to be somewhat average, with the flavors being pretty one-sided, and the alcohol to be somewhat harsh for its amount. It's a little on the sweet side too. (623 characters)

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