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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

701 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 701
Hads: 1,679
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 21.76%
Wants: 68
Gots: 195 | 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:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-18-2001

Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 701 | Hads: 1,679
Photo of Gouxman
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my personal favorite Winter Seasonal. If only the price wasn't so high I would definitely drink more of these.

A smooth and creamy, medium-bodied winter ale. This seasonal beer has flavors of vanilla, caramel, cocoa, and toffee, with faint hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. An easy drinking beer with a subtle sweet and smooth finish.

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Photo of jbriggs7036
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good beer oveall, had on tap at Racer's Cafe, a little hole in the wall bar that doesn't sell food and has three TV's, you'd never expect this place to have such an awesome selection.

A- Dark brown with a head that quickly disipates.

S- I and my wife both agreed that there was no smell...at all....crazy I know

T- Warming, malty-caramel....sweeter than I was expecting, but very tasty

M- Malty/creamy

D- Easy goes down

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Photo of rrwiltse
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yum! 2005 vintage from a bottle. This is one of the best Winter beers out there. Caramely, malty aroma; nice caramel taste. Supposedly brewed with seasonal spices, but none of them are individually detectable, but meld together to create a unique, fantastic brew. Worth a case or more!

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Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first winter warmer...and a very pleasant experience at that! It was initially difficult to get a head off of it, even with a hard pour, though it eventually came through. Decent retention, but minimal lacing. Dark reddish translucent color. I couldn't pick the flavor out on this one: it was sweet, with a bit of licorice, chocolate, coffee, doughy, and perhaps some other spices I couldn't pick out... Very little hops: hardly bitter at all. It was very smooth going down and had good carbonation. Overall a fairly good beer!

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Photo of hyprlt
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mason jar.

A: very nice, clear light ruby brown color. yellowish slight head that did not linger.

S: light possibly vanilla scent. not very aromoatic

T: very vanilla, almost brown sugary at first. without a doubt the first sip was great. the rest was good.

M: good carbonation, great body. not overly thick. seems to match its color in that respect.

O: haven't had a lot of vanilla flavor in beers, so I was excited. drinking an entire one in a sipping mode is not that easy however. still recommended.

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Photo of cschepers
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottle --> big wine glass.

A - pours a nice mahogany brown, very clear. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet molasses, hazelnuts, some faint orange juice.

T - Great big wave of sweetness.. more molasses, carmel. Hazelnuts and spices (not-hot cinnamon, nutmeg) ride over top of this and hit in the middle. Finishes out with a bit of bitterness. Aftertaste is of more nuts and some kind of sweetness... almost tastes like circus peanuts.

M - Not very carbonated, I guess that's okay. Pretty thick otherwise, the sweetness hangs around for awhile.

D - One bomber is plenty enough for a beer as sweet as this. Good beer and well-made, but not overwhelming. Looking forward to trying some other AV beers..

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Photo of Flux
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of TucsonTom
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A candy-coated malty brew.

A: A nice, dark amber.

S: Sweat chocolate, when cold. As it warms, cream soda aroma grows.

T: Matches the smell, with chocolate being stronger than the cream soda taste when its cold, but the cream soda building as it warms. No real hop presence.

M: Medium.

Overall, a candy store in a bottle. A very good additional to any holiday beer tasting session.

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Photo of pnkermiz
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Barcade. One of my favorites of the increasing number of winter warmer releases. Reddish amber in color with a spicy malt aroma and a hugely complex flavor of "winter". Caramel and vanilla are very up front with a mixture of dark, sweet fruits (dates, figs, plums) and dark chocolate and spices as well. Warms my stomach every winter and makes me feel like that fireplace video I'm watching has come to life.

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Photo of donchata
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very smooth beer with exceptional color, body, fruity tones and quiet kick that will put you at ease as you gaze in wonderment at your Christmas tree. Serve ice cold or room temperature this beer isn't picky about climate. One of the best winter's available.

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Photo of baldycmu
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an orangey/amber hazy color with limited tan head. Lacing is limited
S-Not much here, notes of caramel and winter spice, but you need to work to pick it out
T-An average winter warmer with notes of caramel clove, maybe nutmeg. The finish is slightly bready with a touch of hop flavor and is the best thing about it.
M/D- Smooth for a winter with limited alcohol taste for the 6.9%.

Not a bad beer, and certainly worth drinking once in a while.

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Photo of eatdrinknbmerry
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 12-oz bottle.

Head: nice and foamy. about 3/4" thick.

A: dark brown, caramelish.

S: slight smell of vanilla.

T: can totally taste a vanilla/creme soda within it.

M: feels good, not so thick. goes down smooth.

D: b/c of the vanilla taste to it, I don't think I can drink more than 2 of these.

Overall: a good themed beer that's strong on flavor, but can be rich. I might drink this again. I'd stick to AV's regular beer like the IPA or PA.

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Photo of gfsufb
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of akk101
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass

Minimum head which disapears fast, nice amber red color, sweet aroma. Initial light bitterness that turns into a carmely malt and finishes with a slight aftertaste. Thick full mouthfeel. good winter beer. One of the few that isn't overly spiced.

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Photo of iheartchicken
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured in pint glass

A: thin head which dissipated within a minute or two, red/orange and slightly murky in color, no lacing

S: not much here for me, a little bit of spice and some almost metallic malty notes

T: cream soda! lots of vanilla, malts, holiday spices

M: smooth and fairly light. it goes down easy

O: smell was lacking but the taste more than made up for that. I could drink a few of these

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Photo of BurghBrewPSU
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a magnificent ruby red color. I could just stare at this beer, and be completely happy. However, I had to try it. Smelled of faint spices. At first taste, caramel and spices blend together for a most delightful taste. After a few drinks, a hint of berries can emerge above the caramel. Overall a very pleasing beer, perfect to warm you up on a nice cold winter day.

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Photo of 2x10
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange tint with a red hue. Little foam and nice carbonation. Definitely a beer you dont want to drink ice cold cause it takes alot of the flavor away and your left with bubbles.

Great mouthfeel with very little indication of spices. They are there (cinnamon, clove), but very unnoticable.

You can definitely taste the advertised black currant and the finish has a hint of black licorice. I personally hate black licorice, but in this beer, it works really well.

Our opinion is that is winter warmer blows all the Winter beers out of the water. Only downside to us is that it could have a higher abv.

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Photo of littlesgtpepper
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of CraftVA
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Distinct amber coloring with a white head about a finger-width thick. Some lacing.

S – Sweet spicy nose with hints of vanilla and malts

T – Warm, vanilla flavor with the spices really coming through. Caramel on the finish.

M – Smooth and creamy, very drinkable and enjoyable.

O – This is one of the best winter spiced beers, it has a great balance of flavor and spice.

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Photo of guinnessdoc
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Deep brown, slightly darker than iced tea. Beige head of small bubbles. Was 1/2 inch but fell away quickly to ring around glass.

S - Strong malt presence. Definite fruit in there too, but not sure if it's dark fruit like raisins or something citrusy.

T - Sweet malt taste that fades to the slightest bitterness. No hops are really apparent, nor is the alcohol. Almost spicy somehow. By the end I could definitely taste maple syrup!

M - Low carbonation so it was nice and smooth all the way. Finished a little dry.

D - In one word, Awesome. I'm sorry this is only a seasonal because I would drink it any day of the year. It's a great mix of an amber ale and a winter warmer. Easy drinking and thirst quenching.

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Photo of uspbacchus
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - pours a nice dark toffee color. Decent head with a decent retention. Fairly long lacing
S - malty smell with hints of caramel, bread.
T - follows smell, but caramel much more pronounced.
M - appropriate carbonation, appropriate feel.
O - extremely enjoyable beer, always one of my winter favorites

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Photo of HawkFalco
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold 12 ounce bottle into a cold pint glass.

Poured a beautiful deep copper color. Formed one-finger caramel colored head which didn’t last long.

Tastes: Smooth, mild, malty sweetness (not overly candy sweet) is nicely balanced with a hoppy finish. Vanilla and spice in the nose not intrusive in the taste. Very nicely balanced but could use a touch more of ...something?

Feels: Medium bodied, good carbonation gives a touch of crispness.

A very pleasant easy to drink winter warmer. Not overly ‘seasonal’ with all the fruit and spice that belong in my holiday pies. I could easily sip a couple of these. I will be buying more.

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Photo of scar
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of applestash
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a RR tulip, beautiful creamy head leaving thick lacing atop a gorgeous bright mahogany brew.

i didn't get much in the way of aromatics with this one, some very subdued cherry and burnt sugar malt character.

taste is bracing; sweet, dark cherry with some booze heat and bitter hops up front. what makes this unique for the style is the creaminess--not unlike AV's "cerveca crema," that works really well in this style, leaving a deep, sweet, redolent finish evocative of the holidays. As it warms, more of the hops' complexity comes through and it becomes earthier and more full flavored, a welcome turn from the cream-soda like flavor.

the mouthfeel is marked by its soft creaminess, slightly dry.

overall, a very well crafted winter warmer that manages to be unique while remaining balanced. The creamy flavor holds me back from really loving it.

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Photo of noob
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draft at Redbones as part of the NW Brewers Fest, keg just tapped.

Beautiful tawny, amber color with thick tan head. Right away I smelling vanilla and am digging it. Upfront it had an intense, "vanilla coke" taste that really over powered the whole taste of the beer. Also detected were hints of ginger? and nutmeg?

All in all not a bad beer, but not one I would have more than once a night or season for that matter.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 701 ratings.