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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,325 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1325
Reviews: 672
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%


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
Ratings: 1,325 | Reviews: 672 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dgugliuzza
dgugliuzza

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass

Pours golden orange with two inches thick frothy white head. Aggressive carbonation shoots up from the bottom of the glass. Long and drawn out retention.

Caramel, honey and allspice are dominant in the nose. Lightly spiced with Christmas like aromas. Sweet and warming. Spicy hops come in at the back end and provide a much needed presence.

Tastes of caramel malt, honey and vanilla. Spices are more noticeable in the taste than the aroma. Nutmeg, allspice and a splash of cinnamon. Not picking up much of the hop profile in the taste. Sweet and quite delicious.

Medium bodied and creamy. Nice burst of carbonation that combines nicely with the soft, full mouthfeel. At 6.9%, this brew is dangerously drinkable.

This is a fantastic winter offering by Anderson Valley. Has a great sweet/spiced balance with hints of caramel and vanilla. A must try winter warmer offering.

Serving type: can

11-23-2011 02:30:44 | More by dgugliuzza
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

3.23/5  rDev -17%
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.

Serving type: can

11-20-2011 23:36:35 | More by portia99
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

The Bears are winning at the moment, so hopefully swigging from their glassware will magically keep the momentum going in the right direction. The beer inside pours a clear rose-amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, mandarin orange, lightly-buttered biscuit, and a hint of powdered sugar. The taste brings in more of the same, along with cinnamon, light nutmeg, and a bit of ginger. The overall effect comes close to resembling a gingerbread cookie. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a very nice winter brew, one that throws out a bunch o' spice without overdoing it. Good stuff.

Serving type: can

11-20-2011 23:09:43 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with just a hint of haze. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam. Nice.

Smell: nutty, biscuity malt aroma with some spiciness present. I'm getting nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. Not bad, but a bit too biscuity for me.

Taste: nutty crystal malt flavor with a hint of the aforementioned spices present. There's a biscuity quality to the malt here, too, but I feel like it actually adds more to the overall character than it detracts. A balanced and tasty winter brew.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of creaminess. Just right for such a malty experience.

Overall: I am surprisingly pleased with this winter warmer. The weather outside is frightful, and this beer is quite delightful.

Serving type: can

11-20-2011 22:49:10 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Flux
Flux

Michigan

4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter solstice- Anderson valley- can from fridge poured into pint glass.

A-Brown to amber. Clear. Foamy white to off-white head. Tight bubbles and definite lacing.

S- warm, very low hops, sweet maltyness. Bread-like/ sugar cookie/ toast/ slightly nutty characters, maybe some vanilla. Minimal esters.

T- sweet and malty up front. Reminds me of fig newtons, so I do get faint amounts of fig/ raisins. Nothing that really screams “holiday” i.e. spices. It’s really mellow and balanced as far as the hops aren’t too overwhelming for this delicate beer.

M- medium carbonation. smooth.

O- I really enjoy this beer but it’s kind of a mystery as well. Don’t know if there was anything other than malts, hops and yeast added to this beer but it has a fantastic warmth to it that does well for the season. I can admire a simple holiday beer that isn’t bombarded with ginger, pie spices, or other stuff.

Serving type: can

11-13-2011 03:22:20 | More by Flux
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

2.68/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Can date: unk

A: excellent cinnamon brown ale with under a finger of off white foam which falls quickly to a central cap and rim of the same. Spotty lace.
S: Smells like marshmallows, malt, caramel, and a hint of copper.
T: Sweet. Very sweet. Vanilla. malts and vanilla and sweet and low.
M: Creamy and full bodied with a semi dry finish.
O: interesting. I remember this beer tasting a little less artificial. Now it tastes like it has a butt load of sucralose or something in it.

Serving type: can

11-12-2011 06:53:32 | More by harrymel
Photo of indiapaleale
indiapaleale

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - amber-red in color with a murky sort of appearance. Lots of nice bubble action streaming upwards and forming a thin, yet creamy, head. When held to the light this beer really has some vibrant coloring. Looks good to me!

Aroma - that first whiff really hits you with some sweetness reminiscent of baking bread, brown sugar, caramel and some dark fruits. I pick up some prunes and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg as well. As this warms the aroma definitely comes on stronger.


Taste - malty and rich with some very interesting flavors hitting the tongue. It's not cloyingly sweet and it some hints of vanilla, orange and just the faintest bit of hops in the finish. Very smooth as far as mouthfeel goes, this is almost creamy in texture. No real spices in this but you almost expect something like cinnamon or cloves to be present. Quite tasty for a style that can vary quite a bit in flavor. Wait a second, this is close to 7%? I didn't expect that based on how easy it was going down! Now comes the warming!

Overall - A nice addition to the AVBC canned family and definitely a beer that will see some action as the cold weather hits the country. Not overly strong nor too sweet - a solid brew that is certainly worth picking up to share with friends and family this winter. Cheers!

Serving type: can

11-12-2011 01:30:32 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice off caramel very light white head, foamy about a good solid three fingers on the pour. Body is a gorgeous dark ruby and clear garnet with no rising carbonation. Looks real nice love this color.

Nose is a noticeable malt that goes in a very mild grass smelling sense. Slight spices, but mostly just a nice malt sensation.

Taste is a wonderful mix of chocolate and malt and mild spices. I it is almost as if drinking milk chocolate with this big noticeable whipped up chocolate sense. Chocolate angle brings out some mild nut, and I got that warm boozy sense in my stomach. Light spice of nutmeg in the middle. Mouthfeel is perfectly fine nothing to rave about or fault.

Overall I am real impressed with this one. It almost feels like drinking powderer cocoa mix with a slight hint of booze. Not even highly sweet either. Just great!

Serving type: can

10-30-2011 21:59:31 | More by smakawhat
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color, not much head at all.Smells quite malty and alcoholic but doesn't really impress me much.Tastes like caramel, cream soda, nuts, malts, a bit of alcohol easily fits what I know of the style. Overall, not bad but not one I feel a need to revisit.

Serving type: can

10-16-2011 22:46:03 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Scrapss
Scrapss

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a cheater pint.

A: Beautiful deep ruddy copper and very clear. Thick two finger head subsides quickly into a very delicate ring. no chill haze, moderate carbonation with wispy lacing, looks like caul fat clinging to the glass.

S: nice malty presence. Some cinnamon notes and raisin and figs, like a cinnamon raisin bagel.

T: follows nose plus some caramel or toffee like notes. Smoooth on initial uptake. More malt notes come out on swallow.

M: Velvety smooth on finish with that characteristic bagel notes peeking up. spicy on side of tongue with the perfect carbonation. Very pleasant.

O: this is probably the best of the winter warmers, imo. The spices do not overtly dominate and punch you in the craw. It really is very well balanced and quite malty without being obnoxiously spiced. A go to in winter for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 03:13:12 | More by Scrapss
Photo of fitzy84
fitzy84

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack from a local store here in Springfield. Beer poured with a very dark brown-amber and cloudy appearance with a thick head that dissipated quickly with thin lacing on the sides. Powerful noise of vanilla, cinnamon, and a buttery caramel flavor. The taste had more of a bitter citrus flavor than I could smell mixed with some bready malts. The mouthfeel was creamy, which definitely made this a very relaxing, almost dessert-like drink for the evening. Definitely a great winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 03:25:44 | More by fitzy84
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish copper with a finger of beige head that retained rather well and left some nice lacing. The nose is bready and has caramel notes as well. The flavor profile begins with a subtle sweetness from the malt and ends with a pleasant dryness. The body is medium - not super heavy, but too thin either.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 04:55:22 | More by 57md
Photo of Seanniek91
Seanniek91

Rhode Island

3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 04:19:34 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13

Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, color is an opaque amber, light tan head presents about 1/2 inch thick from the growler pour, some lacing and a light ring lingers.

Smell is light chocolate, some toffee, hints of fruit, light bitterness.

Taste is very pleasant, nice cleaner malt flavors: chocolate, toffee, toast and maybe some caramel on the finish; some fruitiness, some spice but non distinguishable.

Mouthfeel is solid, good tongue presence and lingering flavors, some drying from the strength or bittering hops

Overall, this is a very good, full flavored winter warmer style, cleaner malt flavors and good hop bitterness blend well.

Serving type: growler

01-02-2014 20:33:44 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of MarkQ617
MarkQ617

Massachusetts

3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second offering tasted from Anderson Valley. It's a fairly simple winter warmer, a bit light for my liking given the genre. Not too much spice flavor, not a particularly complex flavor profile. Reddish amber color with plenty of foam. Fairly average, just not what I'd hope for in a warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 03:27:53 | More by MarkQ617
Photo of justintcoons
justintcoons

Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance
Brownish red with 2 fingers of off-white head. Good retention and excellent clarity with low carbonation.

Nose
Cherry, molasses and caramel.

Taste
Rich caramel and biscuit with dollops of molasses and hints of candy sugar. Notes of cherry, sugar cookies, cinnamon and nutmeg. Finishes with a hint of spruce.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, crisp and subtly sticky.

Overall
Goes down pretty easy. Anderson Valley kept the spicing light which is nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 00:48:39 | More by justintcoons
Photo of vkv822
vkv822

Oregon

3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 07:13:57 | More by vkv822
Photo of Act25
Act25

New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 01:03:26 | More by Act25
Photo of brewbattles
brewbattles

California

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We did a blind taste test between this and 4 other Winter Seasonals to objectively determine which one was best. They beers were: Deschutes Jubelale, Anderson Valley Boont Winter Solstice, Big Sky Powder Hound, Alaskan Winter Ale, and Redhook Winterhook. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/TJowachG1no

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 13:45:32 | More by brewbattles
Photo of screamking
screamking

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into wine glass.

Look: dark amber, thick dark khaki head, mild lacing.
Aroma notes: honey, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup.
Tasting notes: honey, vanillia, cinnamon, brown sugar.

The first time I had this one I didn't like it. It has seemed to grown on me somewhat. It's not world class, but better than average for sure. Anderson valley is always right on with their pricing, I got this sixer for well under $10, making it a good value if you like sweeter Christmas ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 03:48:13 | More by screamking
Photo of taylor714914
taylor714914

Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A nice winter warmer from these guys. Smells of toffee, bready malts and fresh honey biscuits.

Taste is spot on with the nose, along with caramel and some dates. Sweet and thick in the mouthfeel, but surprisingly I don't get much spice, which I expected from a winter warmer.

Mouthfeel was outstanding. Overall this is a beer I could sit down and drink a few of

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2013 17:18:39 | More by taylor714914
Photo of EBeckett3
EBeckett3

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Copper to brown with small head & almost no laces
S- Spicy - vanilla? nothing too strong - malt, maybe cinnamon/allspice?
T -Smooth over the tongue, slightly malty, caramel but creamy - like a cream ale, actually.
M- pleasant dry caramel aftertaste with more pronounced spice notes, medium - body. Easily quaffable
O- I've enjoyed the Amber & Hop Ottin', bought it on a whim for $10. Easily worth that - very seissunable! Thoroughly enjoyable.

Poured into a 16 oz pint glass in my kitchen.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2013 00:26:01 | More by EBeckett3
Photo of watermelon
watermelon

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint draft had at Mellow Mushroom in Boone NC.

A: Clear reddish brown body with a off white head, that had ok retention and left a little lacing.

S: Smells Bready, and nutty with a syrupy sweetness almost like walnut or pecan pancakes.

T: Lots of carmel and dark homemade bread. Lots of nuttiness on the tongue. Very sweet beer.

M: Nice creamy mouthfeel, leaves a nice coating on the teeth and palette. Perfect amount of drinkability and carbonation for the style. Hides the booze well.

O: This is a damn good seasonal beer I could see myself keeping the fridge stocked with this for a Thanksgiving/Christmas party. I highly recommend, this would even be good for a non craft drinker. Perfect amount of alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2013 04:43:41 | More by watermelon
Photo of jmbranum
jmbranum

Oklahoma

4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

At first I was a bit disappointed as winter warmers are often very heavily spiced --- something which the label guaranteed --- and this beer was immediately spicy. At best I thought it was better than average amber.

But then I changed my mind. This beer needs a little time to sit in the glass and warm up for it to shine. The flavors are still subtle but they are there: caramel and malt, winter spices. Mouthfeel is fairly light but kinda silky too (as the label also promised... oh wait am I being susceptible to the label's verbiage? Oh well, it is working.) Maybe a tinge of maple, definitely more maple.

Aroma was subtle at first but also seems to build in a caramelish direction.

Overall, I would drink it again but I'll let it rest in the glass a bit before sipping. I do think I prefer the more assertively spiced holiday beers though.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2013 18:31:56 | More by jmbranum
Photo of Alextricity
Alextricity

Michigan

3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Boat Works in St. Clair Shores, Michigan for $5.25 a pint.

Appearance: A dark brown sort of color with maybe half a finger of head on it. Almost no lacing. The low-point of this beer, but no big deal. Looks almost on-point for what I'd expect from the style, even if a bit lighter.

Smell: Candy corn. Really, that's almost it. Smells a LOT like candy corn. That and caramel... definitely a warmer as I'd expect it to be, with a lot of malt characteristics, and not much hop.

Taste/feel: Candy corn. I don't care for candy corn, but this actually really worked well for me. Seriously almost just like candy corn with some spice and caramel. I guess, now looking at other reviews, it can also come off as vanilla and caramel as well, which is basically the taste of candy corn, if I remember it correctly. Hops aren't really noticeable in the smell or taste per se, but this beer is not overly sweet. The feel has a nice, full-body, and a moderate carbonation. A very pleasant sipper, and a beer that I really enjoyed. I haven't had many winter warmers, but if they tend to be like this one, color me impressed. I'd very gladly have another. Well crafted.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2013 02:33:15 | More by Alextricity
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,325 ratings.