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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.
very good

1,604 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,604
Reviews: 701
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 59
Gots: 152 | FT: 2
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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,604 | Reviews: 701 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SamuelR
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2004. Pours a dark amber/brown. Some lacing around the perimeter of the glass. Whatever head there was quickly dissipates. Smell reminds me of an old english ale. Plenty of floating sediment suspended in the drink. Smell is quite welcoming. Still some decent carbonization given the age. Taste is close to an english ale. Very solid brew for the age and price. Glad I have more of these left. Solid offering. This brewery is starting to grow on me.

Photo of Buzz3d
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Seanniek91
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of mattbrat1
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of utopiajane
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
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.


Photo of StoutBoi
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

Winter Solstice opens with a warming, malty nose, full of rye and fresh whole wheat breads, toast crust, fresh wheat stalks, and floury baguettes. A light smattering of lemon and pine from the hops brings welcome citrus notes, and touches of apricot and pear add sugary notes. There's also a fairly strong hint of kola nut, making the beer smell somewhat like a soft drink, at least in part. As a whole, the nose is good and enticing, if a bit light and cola-like.

On the tongue, the first flavors are quite cola-like, with kola nut predominating, resembling a Dr. Pepper and Coke mixture. This is mixed with brown sugars, apricot, and wheat toast crust, which do move the beer farther away from a soft drink, as well as lemon and light pine from the hops, and subtle overtones of vanilla and caramel, the latter bringing the beer back to soft drink realm. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main flavors, fading slowly to wheat stalks, wood, and lemon peel. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while there is much to like about this beer--including the fact that it is a welcome addition to the "Not Overly Spiced Winter Beer" club--there's just a touch too much vanilla and sugary cola-like flavors in here for my palate. I'd still purchase a six-pack again, but for a supposedly winter seasonal ale, this feels more like Oktoberfest fare.

Photo of samtrillo
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

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

Appearance: It's a bit hazy and brown to dark amber in color. Head is slightly off white and about two fingers deep. Very good retention and solid lacing.

Smell: Caramel-toffee malts shine initially. Sweet and malty. Secondary scents are dark fruit (nice plum aroma) and toasted nut. Cinnamon and slight nutmeg spices emerge. A little yeasty smelling. Hops are faint.

Taste: Caramel malts are sweet and really give it a nice base. Plum and spice flavors are very good and blend well. Toasted nut taste is present but not as apparent here. Slightly yeasty, but far from offensive. Hops emerge toward the end, but are barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and very well carbonated. Extremely smooth and drinkable. ABV really lends itself to good drinkability. I'm really impressed with this beer. Certainly recommended.

Photo of californiakulak
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this beer on tap at Eureka Burger in Fresno.

A. Poured a clear brownish, red color. Thin head that didn't last long.

S. Lots of spices. Sweet malt. Christmas cookies. Vanilla. I don't think that I smelled any hops at all though.

T. Sweet and spicey. Bready malt taste. Clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

M. Thick and syrup like sensation. Good carbonation and nice sweet aftertaste.

D. Because of the overwhelming spice profile of this beer I think that one pint at time will be plenty. But I did enjoy the one.

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

Pours a nice amber color and has a great smell. The Summer solstice was a favorite of mine and the winter solstice was a great follow up to the summer seasonal brew. It has lots of subtle flavor and is a great winter brew that I will find every season.

Photo of SpecialK088
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a balloon

A-Very deep amber no real head or lace.

S-Spicy, with nice grain and malt notes, also a sweet note.

T-Smooth is the main thing this beer nearly disappears on your palate, spices with a pretty good warming sensation.

M-goes down like you are not even drinking anything, light body exceptionally smooth.

D-Something i could drink often, but not sure I would pay 12.99 for another 6

Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

A: Pours a deep brown-red with a nice tan head.

S: Nutty toasted malt, mild caramel and a bit of cranberry.

T: Toasty, sweet nutmeg and molasses, dry yeastiness, brown bread.

M: Medium-bodied with light carb.

O: This is a tasty winter warmer that's on the sweeter side, closer to a doppelbock than anything.

Photo of bushbeer75
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice filled my glass mug with a clear dark amber color that formed a one finger tan head that left minimal lacing. The nose is of malt, caramel and a hint of fruit. The taste matches the nose, however is stronger. The flavor of caramel and toffee is dominant with light warming spiciness. The body is lighter, almost a little watery for the style.

Winter Solstice is a Winter Warmer that is lighter in spiciness and body than what I am accustom to in this style, however the Ale is very drinkable.

Photo of PGVG
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of beagle75
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a nonic glass.

A: Slightly hazy, light amber color with one finger of diminishing light beige foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Caramel is well developed. Mixed fruit is cooked but not spiced; butterscotch underscores more obvious qualities.

T: Begins off-dry, with remarkably transformed malt that is bold but not at all grainy. Fermentation qualities from the smell develops early; honest yeast esters followed by a trace of complementary diacetyl. Acidity is restrained into the middle where malt and yeast features grow in complexity, intensely toasty and a bit vinous, but become more nuanced in intensity. Fruit darkens considerably by the end, sweetens up a bit with the affectation of brown sugar, and spices in the form of black pepper, nutmeg, and lesser cloves are exhibited for the first time.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly syrupy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: More old ale than winter warmer, this beer makes an impressive collection of English ale qualities. This should come as no surprise to those who have crossed the path of Anderson Valley's ESB. While not perfect, it delivers a combination of features that are rare in American-brewed ales, much less those packaged in a can.

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

2003 bottling. I found a stash of this beer in my basement that I had forgotten about and figured it might be time to give it a try. Appearance was a clear reddish amber with a small 1/4 inch head. Aroma was malty and slightly caramelly. Taste was malty with hints of cherries, caramel and possibly nutmeg. This beer was smooth and light bodied on the palate. It was easy drinking, but a little thin and tasted like it was missing something. Decent winter warmer but nothing to go crazy over.

Photo of Hex92
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another one of those beers that I think ends up being better than the sum of its parts. I don't think its amazing in any category. It doesn't look like much. Nice head and lacing, but its not a dark beer and a little murky.

Smells a bit like raisons.

This beer is smooth. Goes down real easy. This beer is a good one to sit down and drink several in a row. I only got one as a mixed sixer. I would definitely pick up a six pack so I could knock back a few in a row next year.

Photo of Hopyard57
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

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

2005 edition

Pours a brilliantly clear dark russet - crimson hue with a loose 1/2" head that audible as it dissipates.

I can smell it clear as day from my pint glass 3 ft. away. Very sweet dark roasted malts with great amounts of vanilla. I swear this smells just like 'Sugar Babies' candy.

Sugary sweet dark roasted malts with strong vanilla that carried straight through the scent. There's a slight spiciness that reminds me of nutmeg, but more resembles those warm candied almonds you get from the mall - maybe a hint of cinnamon, but it's hard to tell. Very faint hop presence, which adds no flavor but a hint of dryness towards the finish.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium bodied. Fine carbonation at a minimal level.

Drinkability is good. I let mine warm to 55F and it's just fine.

Overall a very sweet winter seasonal whose main flavor component is vanilla. I usually but a 6 pack and give a few away, and that suits me until next year. Very well crafted and no faults found here - not my bag though.

Photo of cavmacb2s
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Guzzler78
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color. A light tan head that is small. Some spotty lacing, that doesn't stick around too long.
Smell of sweet malts, vanilla, slight spice, fruity-getting some banana.
Tastes sweet, not much hops, some clove and nutmeg, not much spice for a winter ale.
Thin mouthfeel, could of used some more carbonation.
A decent winter warmer, a bit mild compared to other winter seasonal ales.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber/mahogany color with about an inch of creamy tan head that quickly recedes to a frothy layer on the surface and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet malts, dark caramels, nuttiness, mild spices and hints of earthiness.

Taste is rich malt sweetness with caramel and some dark fruit flavors. This overall malty beer has a nice hop bitterness balancing it out just enough so that it is not cloying. It begins with a creamy and rich nutty/caramely flavor and moves into caramel with hints of dark fruit and chocolate. Toward the finish a bit of bitterness comes in to balance the sweetness. The finish leaves bready malt, caramel and some soft mineral notes on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium/thick with low carbonation and a nice mouth-coating feeling.

Overall this is a good beer, it is strong and rich yet drinkable. I would drink this again.

Photo of Act25
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,604 ratings.