Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #17
ABV:
6.9%
Score:
87
Ranked #15,281
Avg:
3.9 | pDev: 13.59%
Reviews:
756
Ratings:
1,892
From:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  77
Gots
  280
SCORE
87
Very Good
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 756 | Ratings: 1,892 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohnnyK:
Photo of JohnnyK
JohnnyK from North Carolina

2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Nov 14, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer in my stash for a while as I traded for it quite a few months ago. It's not often that I have seasonals anymore as I tend to think that most are quite gimmicky but this one was pleasantly enjoyable and a nice surprise that stood out to me. The fact that this put a smile on my face months after the season that this was intended for was proof of how nicely this was crafted and the timeless nature of it. It's not often that I can enjoy a winter beer in the middle of the summer heat!

Nice pour to this as the mahogany hue and tan head were reminiscent of an Octoberfest or a seasonally-appropriate Marzen beer. The foam settled a bit faster than I would have liked but lingered in the form of thin but copious amounts of rings around the side of my pint glass. The liquid was on par with the lacing as the caramel and apple shone through in the nose and never backed down. Very little spice that would be present in a Winter Warmer was present here as this felt more like a Brown Ale with a copious amount of caramel and nut thrown in food good measure. Apple, pear, hazelnut, and almond were all here to go with caramel malt and some light toffee, topped off with some cream to give this sweetness. This wasn't strong either, when it came to the amount of booze, body, or carbonation as the flavors were allowed to linger long after the liquid went down.

While not a session beer, it would be incredibly easy to have another one of these after finishing off an initial bottle. It's not often that something comes along that surprises me and given that most of what I drink is now out of cans, it takes a lot for a bottle to leave this kind of impression on me. This did it and next year, I'll be reaching for one of these, and you should too! It's great for the winter solstice but nicely crafted for the rest of the year, with plenty to enjoy for any level of imbiber. Nice job all-around!

Jul 26, 2017
Photo of warnerry
warnerry from Michigan

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with slow rising carbonation and one finger of light tan head. Head dissipated pretty quickly; not much lacing.

S - Caramel malt and a sweet spiciness. Has aromas of grain and a a faint cream soda aroma as well.

T - Sweet and bread malt up front, again with a slight cream soda taste. Spices (slight pepper and some cinnamon) are present but pretty subdued, becoming a bit more pronounced on the finish. Enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel has a slight stickiness to it.

O - This is an enjoyable and easy drinking winter warmer. Doesn't over do it with the spices, though there is a spice presence. I would get this again.

Dec 14, 2011
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange-amber color with 80% opacity. A full 1/2 finger of head with a nice frothy top layer.

Aromas of caramel, brown bread, and spices. A little on the weak side but I get the idea.

Flavor is very caramel forward, almost like caramel rolls. Nice bready undertones, with hints of pine here and there. Molasses and licorice compliment the overall profile. Brown bread finish.

Feel is creamy and just right on the carbonation. A slight dryness that evaporates immediately as soon as it appears.

Overall this beer is pretty fantastic, even several months later. I like it a lot and will buy again this winter.

Jul 08, 2017
Photo of BradMacMullin
BradMacMullin from Massachusetts

3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

My friend Mike Sondel recommended this. Mike has the taste buds of a hammer. Why do I listen to him. This is another beer I repeatedly get and don't like. It tastes metallic and odd to me - but enough of the positives. Note to self. Don't order this, and get new friends

Feb 18, 2015
Photo of gentlebubbles
gentlebubbles from Massachusetts

2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

on tap at Redbone's

Luminous honey-gold, served with barely any head, just cream-colored foam skimming across the surface. Syrupy scent. Cinnamon spice mingles with the malt. Lingering syrupy body and a weird medicinal aftertaste that refuses to leave like an unwanted guest.

Dec 04, 2004
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp from Colorado

4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can served slightly chilled into a pint glass.

Winter Solstice is a hazy dark amber color with thin white head.

Aroma is sweet with caramel and dark fruit.

Flavor has similar notes with milk chocolate, caramel, and cherries. A little bit of hop bitterness but mostly balanced towards the sweet end.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and low in carbonation.

Overall a really good winter warmer. All of the right flavors and enjoyable even at cellar temp.

Jan 28, 2012
Photo of 4000qtrap
4000qtrap from Missouri

2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Source:/Serving: 20oz. Bottle. No expiration date and not aged.

Smell: Some dark fruit syrup and caramel with a slightly funky, horsey, oak note that leads into low lying black pepper, and clove spice that is muted but on the harsh side. A pinch of cider that adds a depth of flavor and anchors the nose a bit.

Taste: Moderately sweet caramel apple with a cidery edge. Quite caramelly in the middle with a slightly astringent fruit skin bitterness towards the finish. A faint hint of spice. Overall, the flavor isn't as nice as the nose and is pretty mild overall, though it is balanced. Its almost like a slightly sweet and spicier, fruitier amber. Finish is semisweet with toasted caramel notes, but has a earthy/medicinal flavor that tastes a little bit off.

Note: If you don't like your seasonal beers too intense or too spicy this beer would probably be a good option.

May 04, 2010
Photo of HumphreyLee
HumphreyLee from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2.6%

Jan 18, 2012
Photo of MarkyMOD
MarkyMOD from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Dec 08, 2012
Photo of DrChadly
DrChadly from Florida

3.6/5  rDev -7.7%

Dec 06, 2014
Photo of Griffin2
Griffin2 from Virginia

3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - -Poured a dark amber with a slight white head.
S - Smells of malt and spices.
T - Tastes sweet with maltiness and some spices on the finish.
F - Feels moderately carbonated.
O - Decent winter ale.

Dec 22, 2016
Photo of arguemaniac
arguemaniac from Virginia

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Dec 23, 2006
Photo of DWolf
DWolf from Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Dec 24, 2012
Photo of McNealc31
McNealc31 from Ohio

3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Most of the flavors here are familiar with cinnamon and clove, but I'm also picking up some cedar, which is rather interesting. It's more subdued than other winter warmers. Starts off with a bit of fruit before the spices kick in. Almost like a spiced apple cider.

This is good, but I wouldn't put it on the top of my winter warmer list.

Jan 21, 2012
Photo of SteveLimoncello
SteveLimoncello from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +9%

Dec 21, 2013
Photo of aztraz
aztraz from Sweden

3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Nov 21, 2014
Photo of GraduatedCashew
GraduatedCashew from California

3/5  rDev -23.1%

Aug 28, 2013
Photo of Dur921
Dur921 from Maryland

4.28/5  rDev +9.7%

Nov 05, 2014
Photo of Bryan12345
Bryan12345 from Texas

3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Apr 22, 2019
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish amber color with moderate slightly off-white puffy head. Smell is sweet and malty. Caramel hints present. Taste is mainly roasted malt, with some candy -like notes also present. The label says it uses seasonal spices. I can't determine what the spice is that I can detect, but it gives a an extremely pleasant taste sensation. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy and very enjoyable. Very easy drinking.

Mar 26, 2006
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1 from New Jersey

3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

date reviewed: 27 January 2013...
glassware: Ayinger willibecker...
occasion: anticipating another "winter event" tomorrow...
appearance: medium-brown body with even, cirrus lacing; not much effervescence; thick head dissipates quickly...
aroma: brilliant,, fragrantly fruity bouquet; some spices too; malt and hops seem balanced in their non-entity....
palate: warming, full-bodied, raspy and ragged mouthfeel; bubbly and active at the tongue...
taste: currants, raisins, and doughy accents make this an enjoyable, flavorful experience--some berry hints too, but a bit medicinal in the finish...
overall: Anderson Valley has done a lot right, and this beer follows in the tradition; respectable...

May 05, 2013
Photo of uspbacchus
uspbacchus from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
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

Jan 10, 2015
Photo of Acforster2
Acforster2 from Florida

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Mar 08, 2013
Photo of maxcoinage
maxcoinage from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Sep 15, 2014
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1892 ratings