Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
1,809 Ratings
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
avbc.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by maxpower on 11-18-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,809
Reviews:
732
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
13.99%
 
 
Wants:
71
Gots:
255
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,809 |  Reviews: 732
Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of DrBier
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of olradetbalder
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 - cellared for almost 4 years... lost at the back of the cabinet.

The appearance remains the same... it's a clear reddish brown with a creamy off-white head. The nose is similar as well; malty with caramel and a hint of vanilla, as well as some yeasty fruitiness. It seems to have lost a bit of carbonation, but it's always been a smooth, delicately carbonated and malty beer. In the flavor, the maltiness seems to have dwindled a bit, but its orange-like citrus flavor remains along with some spicy hops. The bitterness has softened, and it's remarkably drinkable! You could easily quaff a pint or two of this before the strength of the alcohol snuck up on you. That's not to say that it's improved, however. This is a beer best enjoyed fresh!!! (Note: I've kept the numbers the same for this beer because I don't want to bring its ratings down, but when scored properly I only came up with a 4.15).

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Photo of chinchill
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can served at about 42F in a snifter. Poured out clear but dark, reddish amber with a moderate size, beige head. The head, unfortunately, dies too quickly but not completely, and decent lacing is left on the glass.

The smell of this beer was a spicy and malty mix that hinted of spiced cider.
The taste largely followed, with spices and malts clearly present, but it also has some nice baked bread tones and a good bit of chocolate. Apple is only faintly hinted, and the sweet aroma arises from a brew that has good sweet/bitter balance.

The mouthfeel was very good in terms of carbonation (medium) and had a nice, if delicate, touch of dryness in the finish, but it seemed a little too thin.

Overall: a pleasant and distinct brew that improved with warming. (near 4)

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From old beer notes. Had on tap this past winter at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL.

A: Very dark and rich; perhaps a mahogany color with an infusion of a little extra read. The head looks good, and is a slightly-darkened cream color.

S: Excellent nose, with plenty of spices and some citrus; all of this overlays a nice base of buttered toffee and pure creaminess.

T: Much like the smell, though not terribly spicy. Quite sweet and overpowering in malt complexity.

M: Medium-to-full-bodied and very creamy. Not too much noticeable alcohol.

D: Exceedingly drinkable. I'd love to have a keg of this one for by the fire.

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

Tap at prezo

Pours a nice creamy 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with a bit of lacing, over hazy copper dark peach orange color.

Nose loaded with malts like a light barleywine, caramel, toffee, molasses, plenty of reddish candy malts, light bready, toasty, hints of winter spices, little grainy and hint of earthy hop.

Taste loaded with sweeteners but not super sweet, tons of toffee and caramel, candy from candy apples, molasses, rich candi sugar almost. Lots of reddish malts, little toasty and bready, again very malty almost barleywine like without the booze, although just a hint. Light earthy hops are there but barely, with very light holiday spices, and hint of dark fruit plum fig like. Very smooth and tasty. Finishes a bit sweet still, plenty more caramel, toffee, candy, reddish malts, etc. hint of bitterness and earthy hops lingering, light spices as well.

mouth is med to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall very nice, great malts and sugar flavors although sweet but not crazy sweet at all, hints of hops and spices, very smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have waited quite awhile to try this beer but I was pretty let down flavor-wise anyways.Poured a deep rich aber with a tight well formed almond one finger head that settled nicely into a creamy mass.Xmas aromas going on I picked up some vanilla and caramel with lighter notes of cinnamon and brown sugar,I honestly thought I was drinking a sharp cream soda just way to much vanilla-like flavors it overpowered any other flavor really from coming thru.It got to be cloying half way thru and my wife finished it.wow this beer has everything going for it except flavor in my opinion and is way to pricey,I will not seek this out again.

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Photo of nickfl
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Two and a half fingers of tan head on top of an amber brown body with excellent clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace in it place.

S - A light aroma of caramel malt with some toffee. Some peppery spice notes and a hint of yeasty fruit.

T - Some light caramel up front with a huge note of buttery toffee. Some spice cake flavors in the middle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Finishes with lingering spice and brown malt flavors as well as light, balancing hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick and rich malt character dominates this beer's character and helps to spread out and spicy flavors and keep the beer drinkable. The aroma is somewhat subdued, but the flavor is full of rich toffee and malt that provides an excellent background for the mellow spice and yeast notes. Overall, this is a very nice example of a style that can be, and too often is, ruined by excessive specialty grain character and spice.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is pretty faint but contains caramelized malts, nuts, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, spices and a little bit of fruit. Then there's a strong breadiness that comes in from the hearty malt character. However it's not quite as heavy as most in the style which I consider to be a good quality. The hops presence is mild but complementary and provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this beer is on the lighter side of a style that is usually kind of heavy which makes the beer a bit more poundable than most other winter beers and it also doesn't have as much of the "gingerbread cookie" kind of feel and flavor that other get knocked for. Overall it's a decent beer with flavor and substance.

 1,156 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

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

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper ruby, with a couple fingers of rich and foamy off-white head. This retains with a big frothy finger, which just drenches the sides of the glass with thick sticky lacing. The aroma smells lightly grassy with some festive feeling spices. Bready sweetness and a touch of dark fruitiness, like cherry, mix in as well. This has a bit of a gingerbread feel to it in the nose.

The taste is dark fruit, sweet doughy sugars, and spices, with a bit of green citrus working itself into here as well. Flavors are here but this lacks some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with soft and creamy carbonation and just a light crispness on the tongue. This is really easy feeling in the mouth overall.

Eh. I liked the flavors that were present in this but I just wish that there was more to them. They just lacked robustness and a reason to go back after each sip of this. The easy feeling body kept this in the game some but otherwise, this was fairly forgettable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pretty serious vanilla takes over most of the flavor. Quite aromatic with more of the same. Amber color, decent lacing in the glass. Malty but very spicy. Strong cinnamon adds to the excess of flavorings. Rather cloying sweetness conflicts with the bitterness in the aftertaste. Seems to be a taste like butter, along with candied nuts. I have to admit that as off-putting as this at first, your taste buds get used to it. But not enough to drink the whole can.

In the swell new red, blue, and black 12 oz can.

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Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of smithj4
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of dcmchew
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of atrocity
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of russpowell
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 offering pours an orangey copper with 3+ fingers of sand colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Breadyness

T: Cakey with hints of tangerine & honey up front. Dryness, a bit of toffee, berries, cherries, a kiss of herbal hops & caramel all show as this warms. Finishes dry with more caramel, yummy

MF: Medium bodied, a bit chewy & sticky with low carbonation

Drinks very easy, this I could session on! Another winner from an old school California brewery

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Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a reddish-amber body with a tight, thin cap of small bubbles that faded fast.

Smell: Fruity, spicy aroma of orange, nutmeg, almond paste, and cinnamon.

Taste: A variety of flavors upfront - light caramel, juicy oranges, and a shot of amaretto make for an overall tangy taste. Finishes sweet, with the taste of toffee leading up to an enduring cinnamon, cocoa powder aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body, but there's definitely a creaminess to it.

Drinkability: Clearly, this is one of the lighter winter seasonals available, both in regards to body and spiciness. Very drinkable.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,809 ratings.
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