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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 Globetrotter


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 edition, hand-delivered from the U.S. to Moscow as part of a marvelous collection of winter brews that is making me pretty darn homesick. Poured a beautiful cloudy dark copper under a quite creamy off-white with orange tint 1.5 finger head with nice retention and good lace. The nose is fresh and spicey - definitely vanilla. The mouth is fairly flat and pretty light. The opening is dominated by malt and vanilla, followed by subdued hops. The dominant impression is vanilla ice cream throughout, leaving a very smooth impression. Lip-smacking good as dessert, this is not where I would go to make hopheads happy.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2003 19:00:12 | More by Globetrotter
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a large glass mug.

A nice brown body with a slight off white head. No lacing really, head fades quickly.
Smells of caramel malt and roasted grain.
Taste follows the nose through a malty experience. Caramel, brown sugar and honey wheat bread. Just enough bitter hops to balance. Some roasted graininess plays with the hops and the sweet malt.
Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, thick and chewey.
Drinkability is pretty strong. A good brew for the winter months.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2008 15:37:55 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Cylinsier


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a rosey amber with a an off-white head about half an inch, slow dissipation.

Figs, cinnamon and cloves in the nose.

Caramel, cinnamon, a hint of vanilla and some cherry and almond sweetness. A bit of hop character later in the taste.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

This is a pretty good ale and, considering I don't normally care for winter warmers, a really nice beer to have in that style to me. I like it more than most of WWs I've had and would probably have it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 01:33:58 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of ToasterChef


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cold can is poured into a pint glass.

The beer is quite foamy, with a nice cascading head that is changing into liquid. Within the liquid, lots of clinging carbonation can be seen, as well as a decent amount of rising bubbles. Decent lacing is left behind.

The beer has a pleasant aroma. In the nose, there seems to be a good amount of spices layered over a strong malt base.

Like the nose suggests, this is a malty, spiced brew. I can taste brown sugar, cinnamon, and a slight toffee flavor. It is a velvety sweetness. Some alcohol can be detected, although it isn't out of place in the overall flavor.

This is a heavier beer, with plenty of carbonation. The alcohol provides a nice warming sensation. The high amount of malt does leave my mouth a little sticky.

This is a nice winter warmer. It certainly meets my needs on a snowy night like tonight. I can see myself enjoying a few of these in an evening...good thing I have one more can down in the cellar.

Serving type: can

01-17-2013 01:13:13 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of Beerzebub


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Amber color, thin off-white head, some lace.

Soft, cohesive smell. Estery prune, raisin, banana, apple. Roots, vanilla, chocolate, coriander.

Tastes like it smells, not strong, with a little sweetness, and a touch of allspice heat in the finish.

Watery mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Subdued, but very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2006 10:01:02 | More by Beerzebub
Photo of aubuc1


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a clear light borwn/ amber with a steady by somewhat thin off white head.

Smell is a fruity sweet with a spicy full finish.

Taste is a pretty smooth, biscuity, lightly hoppy, and lightly spicy. Nice balance.

Mouthfeel is pretty good and drinkability is very good. Well balance helps here.

A pretty good beer from Anderson Valley.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 22:33:17 | More by aubuc1
Photo of littlesgtpepper


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had a 6oz taster glass at AVBC.

Poured a deep brownish red color with a slightly tan head which was kind of thick.

Wow! This IS a winter beer. Smells of Christmas spices, cinnamon, nutmug, mild hops.

The taste doesn't disappoint either. There are so many flavors clashing here: caramel, spices, buttered rum, toffee, and a couple others I can't place. Very velvety smooth.

This is a delicious sipper. It pays to drink this slow to appreciate all the layers but I would recommend drinking your lighter beers before this since the flavors are strong and numb the taste buds.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2010 05:53:52 | More by littlesgtpepper
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at about 38F into a standard pint glass from a 2006 vintage 12 oz amber bottle.

Aroma at the bottle was mild, slightly yeasty.

Pour was attractive, a medium dark brownish amber, somewhat cloudy, with light tan head having fine bubbles and leaving good lacing on the glass.

Aroma in the glass is sweet caramel, mildly spiced.

First taste is vanilla and carmel with a fair malt backbone. No hint of hoppiness, bitterness is perfect for the style.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin, not as filling as expected for a winter beer. Refreshingly light. Very smooth with fine carbonation.

As it warms, vanilla starts to dominate, along with more bitterness, loses its balance.

Drinkability is superb for the style. This is a very smooth, sweet, candy-like, drinkable beer without being at all cloying, heavy, or overspiced. A good, light winter spiced ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 22:39:13 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear orange/amber color with a off-white head that thinned to a light layer.

S - spiced caramel malt aroma.

T - sweet upfront with lots of spices and a brown sugar sweet finish, not a hint of abv.

F - light/medium bodied with a smooth feel and easy drinkability.

O - a good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 01:04:23 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a reddish brown color with a thick tan head. The head has a moderate level of retention, fading to give a decent level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of sweet and spiced aromas. A malty backbone of a biscuit nature supports sweet tastes of chocolate, caramel and some lighter dark fruit aromas. Mixed with these are aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a little coriander. A rather nice festive aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins a little on the sweeter side with a roasted malt flavor mixed with a large dose of caramel sweetness. Up front there are also some lighter notes of the spices detected in the nose. As the taste advances the spice grows stronger as the caramel sweetness fades to some degree. While the caramel fades a sweeter taste remains as the caramel is replaced by some of the darker fruits and a light chocolate taste that were detected in the nose. In the end a rather nicely spiced and sweet flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the just above average side in terms of it creaminess and chewiness with a carbonation level that is just below average. The combination of the thickness and the carbonation are quite appropriate for the style and compliment the spice, fruit, and roast flavors of the brew nicely.

Overall – A smooth and tasty winter style brew; balancing nicely the roasted, spice and sweet flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2012 00:59:56 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of DaveBlack


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Really nice pour. Deep amber color with a billowy off-white head (maybe 3 fingers) with good retention, but not much lacing.

S: Mostly malt with a slight tang of spices. Overall really light on the nose. I wish it had more, because it's the only area where this beer falls flat.

T: Really caramelly and sweet. Almost a banana flavor coming through on the finish. It reminds me of a wheat beer because of the banana/clove flavor, but (in my opinion) better than most wheat beers.

M: Surprisingly for a winter ale it is not that heavy or sticky. Not a whole lot of carbonation, but it still manages to feel fairly light, yet filling.

D: A really drinkable beer. Every sip makes me a little bit more fond of this beer. Great seasonal, definitely worth a look.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 22:16:25 | More by DaveBlack
Photo of mjyoung


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a a reddish amber color, with minimal head and lacing.

S: The aroma is a little on the weak side, but fantastic, with a nice malted butterscotch tone carrying the day with a hint of spiced orange.

T: The taste follows up the nose nicely, dominated by that same malted butterscotch and some caramel. The citrus notes and spices come through a little bit stronger on the taste.

M: The carbonation is right, but it just feels a little bit on the thin side for what I was expecting. The taste makes me think winter, but the body makes me think of a much warmer time. In this case heavier = better.

D: I like it. The taste is nice, complex without being overwhelming and the smell hits the spot right now. The mouthfeel detracts a bit from the overall enjoyment, but this is still a seasonal I'd pick up every year.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 02:57:13 | More by mjyoung
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an opaque amber pour with 2 fingers of off-white head, patchy lacing, good retention.
smells of chocolate, raisins, dates, fig, cinnamon. the flavor is very sweet up front with lots of raisin notes, caramel, fig.. subtle nutty notes as well. very sweet, very tasty!
medium body leaning towards full.. nicely carbonated, rich and creamy.

a surprisingly great beer and for only $4 a bomber. very filling, great for the winter months.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 18:50:32 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of Rayek


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: Deep amber with nice clarity and light carbonation. A small off-white head quickly retreats to a ring at the beer's edge. Leaves spots of lace.

S: Nutty and slightly spicy. Cinnamon, clove and a hint of mint stuck out most. A nutty almond aroma is in the background.

T: Pretty nutty and toasty out of the gate. The spices slowly build with more of the cinnamon and clove from the nose. Bitterness is mild and takes a backseat to the spices. Balance is very nice. The spices linger into the slightly dry finish.

M: The body has a nice heft to it and the carbonation feels just about right.

D: This is a nicely done Winter Warmer. It's a welcome and very drinkable visitor to my glass.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 01:18:59 | More by Rayek
Photo of macpapi


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Winter seasonal pours a medium amber color with a small white head. Little bubble activity is present, despite its clarity.

Smells mainly of malt and spice. Not overly strong. Fruit--plum and cherries--is also present. Overall the aroma is well-balanced, if not overwhelming.

Tastes very nice. Malty up front with a bit of hop bitterness. Followed by a pleasantly notable balanced presence of spice and fruit. Quite different from other winters in sweetness being as strong as spice. Warmth of alcohol is there but not threatening in any way.

In the mouth, this beer is surpsisingly light and carbonated. But the kick of alcohol makes it pretty substantial.

Overall this is a highly drinkable, surprisingly sweet but potent winter ale. Could be a good session brew for this time of year. A fine effort by Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 20:38:57 | More by macpapi
Photo of assurbanipaul


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber with a thick fluffy head. Aroma is pale malt and some astringent lemony floral element.

Taste is honey-sweet and malty. Not just honey to sweeten but actual honey flavors, along with some mild spices and fruit, some dry orange rind. Some butter toffee, some apple pie, very light hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium and very smooth, never cloying. A little light for a winter warmer but very good for a spiced ale. Keeping its spices mild makes its drinkability very high. I could session this.

2005 vintage

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 04:04:17 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of RootedFool


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pint is filled to the brim, no head. An ashy ring of foam surrounds the rim of the brew's surface. The color is translucent, effervescent copper. Smell: Maraschino cherries, wheat crackers, orange zest, candy corn. Taste: Opens with a jab of fruit punch, lots of apple and a splash of pineapple. The middle brings out some sharp yeasty notes, much like sourdough. The finish is slightly dry, and pulls the breadiness into the fruit with ease. I with the mouthfeel had a bit more weight to it -- as it, it's very slick.

This is better than I remember it from the bottle last year, and the year before.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2005 03:11:55 | More by RootedFool
Photo of yesyouam

New York

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is a super clear and sparkling copper ale with a super dense, off white head that leaves outstanding lacing. It has a soft, grainy, pretzely aroma with some citrus in it. It's full bodied, soft and squishy. The finish is long and dries the tongue up. It's chewy and gritty. It's heavy and loaded with flavor. It has the deep, bready tones of a doppelbock, but the fruitiness of some kind of strong ale. There are flavors of prune and wood resin and an aftertaste of dried fruit. This is a serious winter warmer that's edging toward a barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2011 19:43:39 | More by yesyouam
Photo of scar

New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Serving type: can

07-09-2013 00:08:08 | More by scar
Photo of BenTherHppedThat

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +3.1%

12-09-2011 05:20:41 | More by BenTherHppedThat
Photo of danthehopslamman


4/5  rDev +3.1%

08-15-2012 19:02:52 | More by danthehopslamman
Photo of warnerry


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with slow rising carbonation and one finger of light tan head. Head dissipated pretty quickly; not much lacing.

S - Caramel malt and a sweet spiciness. Has aromas of grain and a a faint cream soda aroma as well.

T - Sweet and bread malt up front, again with a slight cream soda taste. Spices (slight pepper and some cinnamon) are present but pretty subdued, becoming a bit more pronounced on the finish. Enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel has a slight stickiness to it.

O - This is an enjoyable and easy drinking winter warmer. Doesn't over do it with the spices, though there is a spice presence. I would get this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 23:19:55 | More by warnerry
Photo of tigg924


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: orange/brown in color, moderate carbonation, clear, 1/3 inch head

Smell: toasted malt, bread, and a leafy/minty smell

Taste: toasted malt, bread, plum, sweet dark fruit, and hops at the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, sweet, medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This is a perfect complement to their Summer Solstice. It is different from other winter warmers I have had. A mini-malt bomb with a big fruit taste. I could have three or four. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 14:34:59 | More by tigg924
Photo of aquazr1


4/5  rDev +3.1%

03-27-2014 00:27:52 | More by aquazr1
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma has some cocoa and lightly roasted malt, as well as some winter spices that I can't quite identify. The flavor is very similar. The cocoa and dark fruit notes are pretty nice. I also get some brown sugar, cinnamon and caramel malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: can

11-19-2012 04:23:12 | More by Mora2000
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,357 ratings.