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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

1,397 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,397
Reviews: 675
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.18%
Wants: 40
Gots: 65 | 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: 1,397 | Reviews: 675 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of washburnkid
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought a six-pack of these back from a brewery visit last month.

A: Hazy copper with a small white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin ring on the outer edges.
S: Spicy malts, heavy molasses
T: Sweet, spicy flavor at first, ending in a bitter bite of hops that I can't really pin down (maybe toasted?); berry-like sour endnotes and some yeast
M: Lighter bodied than I expected, and I'd personally enjoy this beer with a tad bit more carbonation. Just a tad.
D: I didn't get a huge "warming" sensation from this beer, but I still really enjoyed it. It is smooth, spicy and flavorful. Reminds me of snow! I look forward to having this beer again come November.

washburnkid, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of stript
4/5  rDev +3.1%

stript, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of arguemaniac
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a single of this one just to compare it to the six-pack of 2005's that I had accidentally (but happily) purchased. It wasn't nearly as good as those, but it was okay: Pours a slightly hazy orange-brown with a creamy head that NEVER disappears. The aroma was sweet, but pretty mild with a fairly distinct fruitiness. The fruitiness continues into the palate with a nice raisin flavor. There is also a nice wine-like tanginess here, along with a mild citrusy hoppiness and a touch of toffee roastiness, particularly in the finish.

Nice, but not anywhere near as good as the aged examples, though it did have a nicer hop bite and more enduring head. But the 2005, having more time to mature and develop, was more complex, deeper in flavor and just plain better tastier. I'd highly recommend you go a grab a six-pack, age it for a year and enjoy.

arguemaniac, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of taylor714914
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
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

taylor714914, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of mwa423
4.88/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful clear red with two fingers of white head that died down to a very sticky lacing.

S - Hefty smell of dried fruit and vanilla, very christmas/holiday like.

T - The taste is a very full flavored with lots of spice, mostly vanilla, and lots of fruit. This is almost more of a fruit beer than a winter warmer. But, I love the taste and will have to pick some of these up in the future.

M/D - Mouthfeel is filling and creamy, very enjoyable. This is a very drinkable beer, but I think that the subtlety and complexity of this beer would be lost after a few.

mwa423, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves less than a one finger head that reduces to just a foam ring at the edge, and not much lacing at all. Body is a beautiful clear copper.

Smell - toasty malt with spices. Also apples and diacetyl.

Taste - toasty malt, caramel, cinnamon, honey, and hint of ginger, and root beer.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, and sort of fluffy at times ( like eating puffed grain cereal ).

Drinkability - this is a very good ale, and is rather sessionable.

ultralarry2006, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of IronTom
4/5  rDev +3.1%

IronTom, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

A: Deep red body with a two finger head.

S: Sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

T: Holy crap. The guy at Pizzeria Paradiso was right. This does taste just like a graham cracker. That's pretty much all there is to say.

M: Pretty creamy.

D: A delightful holiday ale. Thumbs up.

BarrelO, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of jmathis
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

jmathis, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of tapman
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps the best surprise of the winter season 2007.

Appears a dark brown with ruby accents. The color of the beer is dark and there is a degree of unfiltering. The head retention is excellent and pours a 1 1/2 fingers, brown eggshell in color and melts down to a thin film that remains for the duration of the drink. Mouthwateringly beautiful.

Aroma is of chocolate and caramel malts with hints of toffee and brown sugar. The hops are spicy and tangy and are reminiscent of a mixure of different American cascade hybrid hops.

Everything that is in the smell is present in the taste so I don't think I need to write it again. However, also present are notes of licorice, nutmeg, and allspice not found in the nose. Hops are also a bit spicier than in the nose which gives this beer an amber ale character. Also is a bit of astringency in the aftertaste, probably due to high hop resins. Not horrible, but a small price to pay for the high hop and high malt that finds a balance without overpowering each other.

Mouthfel is decent, but there is a sticky dryness in the finish, and not a good, wine-like one. Body is full and the texture is pleasing so I don't mind it too much.

A very delicious and unique beer. Definitely worth a try if your looking for a great winter beer. Not much of a session brew, but what are you going to do.

tapman, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Furlinator
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Furlinator, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of beerphan
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> american pint

Pours a clear dark copper with a small wispy head that disappears rather quickly leaving behind small puddles of dish suds. Random blotches of lace. Carbonation appears sparse and thin.

Nose: some light malts, toffee, cararmel

Medium body and super sweet. Caramelized caramel candy sweetness dominates along with some chewy biscuit. Some holiday spice is evident, but not bold in any way. A bit of pepper on the sweet malty finish.

Another one i have a few of every year, but never in big numbers. A winter classic.

beerphan, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of suckaj
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

suckaj, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of Stunner97
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- brown to amber with bit of cloudiness, white lacing stays along the top of the beer through out drinking, low carbonation

Smell- very nice nose of malt spice and slight hop, inviting

Taste- beautiful balance of malt, spice, and hop, just purely beautiful balance

Mouthfeel- smooth and refreshing feel

Drinkability/overall- overall this is far and away the best winter warmer i have ever tasted, its just so tasty, the balance is superb, has spice and malt and some hop but all so perfectly balanced, usually im far from winter warmer guy but this is the cream of the crop to me and the one to seek out

Stunner97, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of BodiesLexus
4/5  rDev +3.1%

BodiesLexus, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of dagubna
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%

dagubna, Wednesday at 09:57 AM
Photo of chanokokoro
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. can in stemmed English ale glass

Pours a maple syrup-colored amber capped with an off-white billowing head. Excellent retention with plenty of lacing. Big caramel aroma rounded out by plums and notes of brandy. Toffee, black cherries, plum and various stone fruit notes. Biscuity notes midpalate Finishes with caramel covered black cherries. Medium body, smooth, silky mouthfeel; moderate carbonation. Wonderful winter warmer, one of the best available.

chanokokoro, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of DWolf
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

DWolf, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of csmiley
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours copper in color. With some effort I got a head that was just shy of half inch. Retention was good. Lacing was average.

S - Caramel and bread are first to come through on the nose. There is some spice in the background but it is mild. Smells like it could be cinnamon. Alcohol is present but so far in the background that it just becomes really hard pick up.

T - Caramel is the primary flavor that I'm getting. Mid taste is made up of spices (cinnamon and honey) and fresh cooked bread. There is a very small amount of hop bitterness on the end. Complexities start to show up as it warms giving it a much better balance of flavors.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation. Could be too light bodied for a 6.9% Winter Warmer.

D - It does go down very easy so the drinkability will get a good score. I've had this several times and I'll end up getting it again.

csmiley, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of kshankar
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark copperish red color with a nice off white head..good retention.

Aroma: Caramel, malts, mild on the spices in comparison to other warmers

Taste: Caramel, toasted malts, sweetish, and some spices to balance out..maybe a tad bit of cinnamon..all the flavors working extremely well with each other

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, creamy...kind of syrupy as well, really coats the inside of your mouth..goes down well

Drinkability: Tastes good, mouthfeel is excellent...a really good beer here. Recommended.

kshankar, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of nquigley16
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

nquigley16, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of VikeMan
3/5  rDev -22.7%

VikeMan, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of IPAFrankieH
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

IPAFrankieH, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of Franchise
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange/grey weird but that is what it looked like and leaves a very small white head. The nose of this brew is nice, sweet vanilla, citrus, herbal notes (pine as well). The taste is so smooth you could almost chug it cause of the small amount of carbonation, the malt presence is done to perfection the caramel flavor in this brew bounces around your palate for a few minutes then is subdued by just a touch of bitter and winter spices to round out the finish.

Franchise, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of malty
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

malty, Jan 09, 2006
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.