Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

695 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 695
Hads: 1,652
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.77%
Wants: 62
Gots: 182 | 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
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Reviews: 695 | Hads: 1,652
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. (913 characters)

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. (385 characters)

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. (420 characters)

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. (268 characters)

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. (455 characters)

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. (451 characters)

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. (252 characters)

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. (269 characters)

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 (418 characters)

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. (371 characters)

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. (619 characters)

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. (577 characters)

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. (386 characters)

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. (725 characters)

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 (303 characters)

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. (646 characters)

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. (1,202 characters)

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. (863 characters)

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. (427 characters)

Photo of jim1904
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz into a pint. Slightly above cellar temp, I'd say about 58 degrees.

A - Copper-amber, a nice color. Jewel clear. Moderate head that disappears rapidly leaving behind almost zero lacing. Great color, disappointing head.

S - Corny, but in a good way. Malty and corny, with a faint whiff of spices that are not altogether wintery. Brown sugar is the most apparent, with a bit of allspice tinge.

T - The spices here are front and center, forming a series of flourishes against a malt backdrop. Strong amber malt notes are accompanied by the same spices in the nose... brown sugar is strong here, with hints of cinnamon and cardamom with a bit of clove. The disappointing thing is how fleeting they are. They rush on strongly in the front of the party, leaving a quinine-like finish that is not terrible, but certainly is jarring after a pleasantly strong spice foretaste.

M - Carbonation is strong, but works well. Body is light, bubbles are stinging. I might have preferred a slightly heavier, flatter body for a winter warmer, but this isn't bad.

D - Drinkable for a 6.9% ale... which is not what I'm sure I want out of a winter warmer. I'm in fairly sultry Southern California right now, but I'm trying to picture myself enjoying this on a cold wintery day, and it doesn't really work. Maybe if the spices were a bit stronger.

At the end of the day, this is a pretty good beer that doesn't live so much up to the style but is rather enjoyable when judged on its own merits. (1,496 characters)

Photo of VeganBrewz
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish-orange pint with about a finger and a half of slightly tan, somewhat rocky head. Not much lacing, but that's ok.

Smell: Straight out of the can I found this one to be pretty average - some nice malt, definite hoppy aroma, but nothing to write home about. HOWEVER - once it starts to warm up a bit, this beer really starts to walk and talk. Once it had a chance to sit out a bit I was treated to aromas of grain, cocoa and dark chocolate, brown sugar and caramel malt. Hoppy aromas are definetly present though nothing specific stands out.

Taste: Very similar to the smell side of the equation, this beer started off as nice, but more or less average and got better and better as it warmed. Initial hoppy bitterness fades fairly quickly, and some malty sweetness forms a base for dark caramel, toast, hints of dark chocolate and very slight woody/smoky flavors. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: This was pretty nice. A bit of an alcohol tingle on the front of the tongue, with a nice sweet/bitter wash throughout the mouth followed by a slight alcohol aroma on the inward breath. Finishes clean and doesn't linger.

Overall: Seems to be a pretty decent representation of the style. I would definetly buy this again. Hell, if anyone has a recipe for it, I'd homebrew it. (1,295 characters)

Photo of ManofWax
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice is a solid contender in the Winter Warmer category.

A: Rust-colored. A nice, deep red.

S: The aroma of this beer is totally unremarkable.

T: Lots of tasty hops and roasted malts. The malts are most prominent in the aftertaste and kind of cleanse the palate before you go for the next sip. The fruit flavors emerged in a tart sweetness, but I couldn't which fruits specifically. The promised seasonings were not that pronounced in my tasting, but I enjoyed this nonetheless.

F: Full-bodied. Little else to say.

D: Perfectly adequate winter session beer.

Anderson Valley didn't try to do too much with this beer. As a result, they have a perfectly enjoyable beverage, but nothing very special. Veteran craft beer drinkers will probably try a bottle, pronounce it "nice," and never touch another. (831 characters)

Photo of kbuff13
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color. Little head didnt last long.

Smells sweet and malty, very little hop presence.

Taste is good, you get a sweet caramel flavor hints of vanilla and some spices, clove. Nice mouthfeel. Coats the mouth and tongue nicely. I would definitely buy again. (275 characters)

Photo of AndrewD1022
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought the 22oz bottle.

Pours almost a rust red color with a slight hint of orange near the edges. The head is thin and coats the glass as it goes down.

The smell is faint and is sweet with malt, caramel and a hint of vanilla spiciness.

The taste is not overly sweet but has the common characteristics of an ale. Malt, caramel and a bit of spice and vanilla for the winter tastes.

It has little lingering taste and the beer is very smooth and balanced. Medium carbonation.

Very drinkable and could be enjoyed almost any time. Light and crisp with no overwhelming characteristics. Easily able to enjoy multiple beers during one sitting. (640 characters)

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

pours with a moderate tan head. head does not last. just enough hoppy flavor with not too much malts. slight spiciness being a seasonal ale. I bought this with a winter brew pack of 10 and im 4 in and this is my favorite so far. based on this one, im going to check out the others from this brewery.

i thoroughly enjoyed this seasonal ale. definitely drinkable throughout the year. (382 characters)

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.