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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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,482 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,482
Reviews: 683
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 52
Gots: 93 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,482 | Reviews: 683 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice two-finger head; very light beige. Slight cloudiness; dark amber color. Nice lace

The smell is closer to fine liquer, very smooth. Vanilla nose with some warming alcohol touches.

Strong Vanilla flavor. Light hop. Something like a vanilla smoothie, but thinner. Decent body, high carbo. The aftertaste is shortlived but here is where the hop shows up.

I love different beers. In that regard, this is a fun beer to try. It doesn't fit into any traditional category easily--it's different from most winter beers in that it has little spiciness (other than the vanilla) to it.

smcolw, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

oriolesfan4, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

drewone, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +3.1%

InspectorBob, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a nice tan colored head. It is a deep ruby color. There is an interesting fruity aroma with some notes of cherry and Brandy wafting from the glass. There is a very interesting raisin/ maraschino cherry flavor up front in this beer. A taste in the finish that I can't quite place, almost medicinal in character, faintly reminiscent of cough syrup. Definitely a fruity beer, as this is the predominant flavor.

Gueuzedude, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

02/03/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22oz bomber poured into my 24 oz glass mug.

Appearance- Dark amber pour, almost brown. Large foamy head that maintains it's girth for a bit. Next to no lace though.

Smell- Heavy roasted and toasted caramel malts. Maybe a bit of hoppyness and maybe a slight bit of fruit.

Taste- About the most caramel I have tasted in a beer. It's like popping those Kraft caramels with a little bit of alcohol on the side. Well, maybe a roasted carmel on the campfire kinda taste. A bit of hop pleasure wayyyy in the background. Maybe a bit of brown sugar along with the caramel.

Mouthfeel- Moderately carbonated and a bit chewy and thick.

Drinkability- Very very interesting. Would be a good beer to go along with a caramel apple at the summer fair. Pretty rich for a beer. Like a ultra sweet brown ale. Not bad. Different for sure. Would give it a try again.

GClarkage, Feb 04, 2005
Photo of Halcyondays
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours brown with a full light tan head, nice lacing and retention, all around good looking beer.

S: On the milder side, but it has nice spice notes, some cinnamon.

T: Taste a lot like a gingerbread cookie on the first sip. Lots of dark bread and cake batter, spices are mild.

M: Medium-bodied, does not feel almost 7%, off-dry finish.

D: A real nice beer from Anderson Valley, I like it a lot more than the Summer Solstice, one of the best western winter beers.

Halcyondays, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours an amber color with a 1" head that lasts a bit. No lacing develops.

Smell: light toffee and a hint of earthiness is all you can detect.

Taste: bread, toffee, a hint of vanilla, a bit of pepper, and a moderate bitterness creates a nice flavored beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this beer is not a quick drinking beer, as the flavor profile is one to enjoy. Nice winter beer worth giving a try.

Gavage, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +16%

wrightst, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +3.1%

imperialking, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

orangesol, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown, amber color (thought not entirely opaque) with a medium sized foamy tan head that leaves nice lacing down the glass.
S: Very rich, lots of malty sweetness. Notes of cinnamon, vanilla, some fruityness, etc
T/M: Very creamy, full bodied, with strong roasted malty taste with some slight bitterness for balance. There are a lot of flavors and spices in here, though strongest seems to be the sweetness/vanilla flavors.
D: I can't say I'm particularly crazy about the taste of this beer, but I love the appearance and aromas and has a very pleasant mouthfeel. As a result, I usually find myself ordering this when I find it on tap.

yourefragile, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My, my, my. I first reviewed this beer in bottle form almost seven years ago. How many beers have been CANsumed by me since then?!? My good CAN Pal, IndiaPaleAle, hooked me up with this one in furtherance of my CANQuest (TM) and I am grateful.

From the CAN: Not much on this brightly colored red, blue and black CAN - "Bahl Hornin' Since 1987"; "Ale with Natural Flavor Added"; "The Legendary Boonville Brewery"; "Solar Powered Brewery".

I really remain surprised when the Crack reveals a CAN filled to the rim. The Glug produced a thick, creamy one-and-a-half fingers of deep-tan head with great retention. Color was a reddish-orangish amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was a riot of biscuit malt, orange citrus, vanilla, toffee and pine needles. Wow! Mouthfeel was medium and my original review mentioned a taste of Orange Dreamsicle and I have to say, I do not disagree in this iteration. It really had an orange-vanilla flavor up front with the pine coming through on the finish. It was semi-dry which was a nice change of pace after a day of APAs and IPAs. I just realized that it was kind of stupid of me to have opened this today - the Solstice is this Thursday! Perhaps I CAN score another between now and then ... Man, for 6.9, it drank beautifully, but CANversely, I would not want a whole bunch of this beer, either. Finally, I should mention the dense lacing that appeared throughout. It was quite splendiferous.

woodychandler, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of weeare138
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an '03 version.

Appears amber with about an inch off white head that fades. Barely any lacing as it goes down. Lots of tiny bubbles exploding up the sides of the glass.
The smell is amazing. Lots of vanilla, maple, caramel, and oak notes present within the nose. No traces of hops are detected.
Tastes really, really good. It truley tastes like liquid caramel malts with vanilla cream. You don't find too many beers like this that can please you and go down smooth like this. This is like dessert. I'd rather have this than a DQ blizzard any day.
For the age, the carbonation seems outright perfect. Nice chewiness that lingers. Welcome to candy land! I wish I had an endless supply of this stuff.

Finger licking good!!

weeare138, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lightly hazy garnet red in color with some decent amounts of amber highlight and light to moderate amounts of carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall dark beige head that reduces to a small thin patch of larger bubbles, a mottled very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel and toffee malt sweetness with lighter notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. Very light notes of cocoa as it warms.

T: Moderate amounts of malty sweet flavors upfront with notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Additionally there are some light flavors of nutmeg and vanilla. Very light hints of bitterness that fades quickly. Very light amounts of cocoa as the beer warms.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy with a light amount of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: The beer is pretty easy to drink and enjoy even though there are a lot of sweet flavors, this beer is not cloying. The combination of malty sweetness and spices is very nice and one of the more enjoyable offerings in the style.

dbrauneis, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, 2004 edition. Pours almond, clear, minimal off white head and a dearth of lacing after its sitting in the glass for a few minutes. Nose is a warm whiff of maple. This is a medium bodied brew. Slight spicing noted. Nice clean malty body. 6.9% fairly well hidden under layers of malt and some grainy/gritty hops, which come in late. Notes of smoke and rum also picked up as it warms. Pleasant winter warmer, one I would definitely pick up again.

Billolick, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of tempest
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Clark's Ale House

A very smooth beer, but a touch spicey for me. The beer was dominated by vanilla with a little dry cocoa and cinnamon. Looked pretty and smelled nice enough, but there wasn't enough malt or hops flavor. Easy drinking if you really like vanilla and spice, but I wasn't into it that much.

tempest, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed this winter offering for a number of years. It's subtle, lower abv for a winter brew, and a little different. I've always liked the mild hazlenut flavor in front of a warm fire. Pours amber with a fluffy head that fades to a ring. Smells fruitcake like with mixed fruit, winter spices, hazlenut, and cream. Taste is similar. Very creamy, lightly spicy, and nice hazlenut flavors throughout. Creamy and easy to drink. Recommended for something a little different.

Georgiabeer, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can into pint glass, no canning date. Pours hazy red-orange color with a nice 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Minimal lacing on the glass. Aromas of caramel, biscuit, brown sugar, toasted malt, dark fruit, and light spices. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance. Taste of caramel, toasted malt, toffee, biscuit, molasses, raisin, fig, light chocolate, nutmeg, and herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, biscuit, and spices on the finish for a bit. Nice and enjoyable balance of flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden at 6.9% with only a slight warming after the finish. Very smooth to drink as well. Overall this is a very nice and enjoyable winter warmer offering. Plenty of enjoyable and balanced flavors.

superspak, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of LXIXME
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

LXIXME, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

ejimhof, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of mdaschaf
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear reddish/brown. One finger head, not a ton of lacing.

S: Very nice aroma, get a lot of brown sugar, molasses, and a nice dose vanilla. Very sweet, and I like it a lot.

T: Similar to the nose but sweeter and a bit maltier. Nice caramel flavor, the vanilla is not as strong as it is on the aroma.

M/D: Medium bodied with a smooth finish. Easy drinking, and while not hot at all from the alcohol, it does leave a slight warming in my stomach.

mdaschaf, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Red Rocks in Alexandria, Virginia.

A: This brew appears a bit hazy, but mostly clear, and orange hued. There is a small layer of head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Vanilla and malt, with a nutty / spicy aspect as well.

T: The taste outshines the aroma. Winter Solstice has a huge vanilla flavor, which I imagine might turn some folks away. Not me - I love the scent and taste of good vanilla. This beer definitely has a cream soda like aspect to it. Though certainly a departure from what I would expect from a winter warmer brew, I thought this was very tasty and well done. Though the beer had a present sweetness, primarily derived from the vanilla component, I did not find it to be cloying in the least.

M: Smooth and creamy, medium bodied.

D: I would definitely have this again.

Huhzubendah, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The ale is an amber color that allows hints of red and orange to come through. The head came in small on pour and quickly disappeared.

S: The aroma is fairly inert when the ale is cold. As it warms, it picks up a dry, somewhat tart cherry scent.

T: The ale's body continues the cherry presence. It is not maraschino, more of a black cherry flavor that has a bit of tartness and a pleasant strong sweetness. The cherry flavor dominates the taste, nothing else emerges spice-wise, but the cherry is not too sweet or too tart.

M: A nice take on the winter warmer style with the black cherry flavor replacing nutmeg and cinnamon.

D: The ale is a nice alternatve to the over-spiced ales that are so prevalent. The moderate abv provides a nice warming sensation that should be perfect for a cold January day.

akorsak, Jan 07, 2007
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,482 ratings.