Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Very Good
1,837 Ratings
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,837 |  Reviews: 736
Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - amber-red in color with a murky sort of appearance. Lots of nice bubble action streaming upwards and forming a thin, yet creamy, head. When held to the light this beer really has some vibrant coloring. Looks good to me!

Aroma - that first whiff really hits you with some sweetness reminiscent of baking bread, brown sugar, caramel and some dark fruits. I pick up some prunes and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg as well. As this warms the aroma definitely comes on stronger.

Taste - malty and rich with some very interesting flavors hitting the tongue. It's not cloyingly sweet and it some hints of vanilla, orange and just the faintest bit of hops in the finish. Very smooth as far as mouthfeel goes, this is almost creamy in texture. No real spices in this but you almost expect something like cinnamon or cloves to be present. Quite tasty for a style that can vary quite a bit in flavor. Wait a second, this is close to 7%? I didn't expect that based on how easy it was going down! Now comes the warming!

Overall - A nice addition to the AVBC canned family and definitely a beer that will see some action as the cold weather hits the country. Not overly strong nor too sweet - a solid brew that is certainly worth picking up to share with friends and family this winter. Cheers!

 1,295 characters

Photo of TucsonTom
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
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 ely2000k
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks festive, deep amber color, a small head that dissipates quickly, but the beer looks really good overall.

S- Smell of vanilla, cloves, faint cranberry and citrus. Love the smell. Perfect for the style.

T- Sweet, nutty vanilla taste and some toffee flavors. I think the taste is pretty much exactly what I am looking for from a winter warmer.

M- Very mellow, good carbonation. No complaints.

O- I honestly think this is one of the better winter warmers I have had. The whole beer is spot on, and is what this style should be about.

 542 characters

Photo of MrTopher
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Again, this and the Oatmeal Stout were the only things left from a mixed 24 pack of Anderson Valley brews. The IPA was gone first then the Amber.

A – Pours a dark rich ruby color that has a nice off white head, the color is very inviting and reminds me of the holidays.

S – Nice sweet malt notes, a good caramel smell as well, there is some herb/spice also, again just really warming and inviting.

T – Good herb/spice flavor comes first and then the sweet malt and caramel, it’s pretty close to the smell. Just warms the mouth, not in a hot way but with the use of accents.

M – Right in the middle when it comes to thickness, good carbonation also. Well rounded and an easy to drink beer.

O – Was impressed with this, first experience with this particular beer, but I would buy this to share with non-beer drinkers, its not over aggressive its pretty inviting. And could change a BMC drinker into a craft lover.

 933 characters

Photo of akk101
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
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 imbibehour
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice off caramel very light white head, foamy about a good solid three fingers on the pour. Body is a gorgeous dark ruby and clear garnet with no rising carbonation. Looks real nice love this color.

Nose is a noticeable malt that goes in a very mild grass smelling sense. Slight spices, but mostly just a nice malt sensation.

Taste is a wonderful mix of chocolate and malt and mild spices. I it is almost as if drinking milk chocolate with this big noticeable whipped up chocolate sense. Chocolate angle brings out some mild nut, and I got that warm boozy sense in my stomach. Light spice of nutmeg in the middle. Mouthfeel is perfectly fine nothing to rave about or fault.

Overall I am real impressed with this one. It almost feels like drinking powderer cocoa mix with a slight hint of booze. Not even highly sweet either. Just great!

 892 characters

Photo of schoolboy
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I really like some Anderson beers, but not all of them. This goes in the like column. It is a unique winter beer with just a hint of some kind of fruit and little or no spice.

On top of a very clean appearance we have a very smooth drinking beer. The aftertaste kicks in without too much kick or any nasty feel. It has a little bitterness without any in your face hops taste, which would be inappropriate. I would buy this again when I wanted a winter warmer that wasn't spicy or too sweet.

 492 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color, not much head at all.Smells quite malty and alcoholic but doesn't really impress me much.Tastes like caramel, cream soda, nuts, malts, a bit of alcohol easily fits what I know of the style. Overall, not bad but not one I feel a need to revisit.

 262 characters

Photo of tlazaroff
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This is a great looking beer, it's ruby in color with a nice light tan head that sports mostly large bubbles and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: This is one malty beer; on the nose I get that caramel, with a tad of chocolate and some nice herbal/spice quality to it that I can't identify.

T: Upfront I get all that caramel that came in through the smell. It is followed by a nice toasted oats note and a kind of burnt flavor leads into a dry finish.

M: Seems a bit high on the carbonation and comes with a medium body on the full side. As said before, it finishes dry - nice overall.

D: This drinks nicely, the alcohol is something that I can taste a lithe bit, but it isn't bothersom at all.

 705 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a nice clear but dark lookin red color with a fizzy tan head on top. The head settles and laces the glass pretty well. The smell of the beer was pretty normal for a winter brew, had some light spices on the nose and a touch of sweetness. The taste of the beer reminded me a little of a weak barley wine or something. Spicy hops and some sweet malts but it just seemed a little light to me. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad, it had a semi thick feel to it which is nice around the colder months. Overall not a bad brew, enjoyable.

 549 characters

Photo of AdamBear
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Merry Christmas in July!

A-slightly transparent dark reddish amber with a thin cream colored head

S-smells like wood chips and nice sweet caramel. medium to good strength

T-comes in with a decent taste of wood and vanilla. it reminds me of a cream soda actually. the taste fades slowly. the after-taste is a weak match of the initial taste.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is actually very tasty. it reminds me of a stronger version of the summer solstice. i could definitely drink a lot of this, though i don't think it makes a good winter warmer. it is way too light bodied.

 595 characters

Photo of iguenard
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

( 34/50, 6.9% alc/vol, Home, right after work) Amber color, opaque and red with a thin yellow flame at its bottom. The service head dissappears rather quickly, and no aparent carbonation to maintain it. Delicious nose of paprika, cloves, eggnog and cinnamon. Love the spice arrangement in this one. Has a real sense of togetherness, harmony in it's design. Starts off a little bit off. Cranberry and cherries mix with strong cloves, cinnamon and what tastes like carrots. Lasts a long time, extends in spice and what I can only refer to as turkey stuffing. Definite pommegrenate bitterness in the finish. Belgian feel and christmas spice, with tart acidity in the end giving it character. Low alcoholic feel, and a tad cloying spice as it extends a little too long. Nice, warm feeling christmas beer. Not too heavy for a spiced beer, yet thick enough to go with these strong spiced christmas dishes.

 899 characters

Photo of matty
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is dark fruits.Taste is rum,butterscotch,raisins and plum.Overall a good beer with plenty of flavor.I would recommend this beer for any time of year.I can see myself purchasing this beer again sometime in the near future.

 272 characters

Photo of Glibber
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at a local sports bar. Was a lighter color than expected, dark amber with a very small head- could have been the pour. The smell was plum and malt. The taste was not very bold, like a watered down Rogue Hazelnut with the same nutty, dark fruit flavor. I was suprised to find the 6.9%ABS as the alcohol seemed non existent. The beer may have been a little flat, and was to mellow for my tastes- but not bad.

 422 characters

Photo of JamisonM
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Ruby Red color with tan head quite thick looking head as well.

S: bready sweetness here also dough not the best smell in the world.

T: again bready sweetness here dough I just do not like that smell or taste in a beer.

M: med body med carbonation

Overall: this and fat tire are not my favorite style.

 308 characters

Photo of dali27
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

A: Deep reddish-brown color with active carbonation that provides a bubbly thin tan head. Moderate lacing.

S: Malty goodness. Sweet smelling.

T: Sweet caramel and butterscotch all the way through. I like sweet tasting things so this one's for me. Also tasting the fruit flavors coming through. Apple, cherry and maybe slight citrus. Really though, what shines through is the buttery smoothness of this beer.

M: Thinner than what I expecting from a winter ale. More along the lines of an amber ale.

O: I've had this bottle for some time now (a few months, which is longer than beer normally lasts in my house. What's cellaring again?) and I haven't been overly excited to try it. When I finally did, I got a nice sweet surprise on a cold spring night, and something I would definately buy again.

 846 characters

Photo of AlexanderSelby
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A handsome amber and fine head. Smell is slightly spicy, with a touch of hot toddy-esq booziness. Honey on the nose and a bit of potpourri. Taste is much mellower. Carmel malts are predominate here and a touch of honey. Alcohol is hardly apparent, and neither are the hops.

Great, malty brew that will always please, regardless of the season, but a bit touch to drink a few of.

 379 characters

Photo of mrnobody
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Winter Solstice on the second day of spring? Better late than never.

A: Pours a clear copper with two fingers of orange-ish head. Not much retention, a little lacing.

S: Smells malty, fruity, spicy.

T: Tastes malty as you'd expect but with an interesting cherry/hops finish sort of like a barleywine.

M: Medium body with a good level of carbonation.

D: The drinkability is high. This reminds me a lot of this year's GRB Jubilation but this is better.

 493 characters

Photo of jsprain1
2.99/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Reddish brown, just a touch too dark to be called copper. Head does not retain well. No lacing.
S- Malty, a touch of cocoa,ever so faintly spiced.
T- Starts malty, there's a bit of spice in there, but on the whole it's pretty static and nondescript. It's sweet and it finishes with a slightly sour tart flavor, kind of like a tart orange.
M- Underweighted. Carbonation is ok, but it lacks the smoothness I like in a winter warmer.
D- Just not that great of a beer. A bit disappointed. Lacks the body or the flavor profile I would like. Will retry at some point to see if I just caught it late in the season.

 611 characters

Photo of nhindian
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

$1.89 at Vintage Estate.

A - Pours a ruby brown color, similar to the red bordering the label, but a bit ruddier. There's a good 2-fingered, cream-colored head with moderately long retention, finally diminishing into a thick cap. While hard to see in the darkness of the beer, a steady stream of carbonation gushes from the bottom of the glass. There's some mild lacing, but not much.

S - The smell of this beer is really interesting. It's hard to pinpoint specific aromas, but I'm getting some sweet cherries, apples, mild spices (perhaps cinnamon). There's a strong malt presence here as well. It's nice to see a winter warmer that is more well-rounded rather than relying on spices to get the point across.

T - I was surprised after my first sip as I was not expecting something so flavorful and complex out of this beer. The malts come through at first and leave a nice sweetness, and there's a quick rush of the cherries, apples, plums as well. But what really threw me for a loop was a noticeable chocolate taste as well. This just added a whole new level to the beer for me. Again, the spices are more for supporting tastes rather than being the focus which helps the rest of the beer shine. Relatively long finish completely devoid of alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light with decent carbonation. It's a good transition between the sweetness and the spice in this beer.

D - Drinkability is high. This was a real dark horse for me; I bought it a few months ago after a good recommendation, but wasn't in a rush to try it, but it blew me away. The nose is unique and the taste is refreshingly appetizing. This offering is proof that great beer doesn't have to be brewery-only and $15 a bottle.

 1,757 characters

Photo of ddanania
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer to start non beer drinkers off. It will convert most.

Presentation: On tap served in a standard shaker glass.

Appearance: Bright reddish amber hue, off white head is fluffy.

Smell: Sweet red apples or a caramel apple, lots of malty sweetness with a twinge of fruit and almost no hop.

Taste: Full flavor mouthfeel with a sweet malt sways the non beer drinker almost immediately. The small amount of hop bitterness balances the sweetness of the malt leaving a spiciness for an aftertaste.

Notes: Every non beer drinker and mass beer drinker always looks at the beer with a squint and says 'WOW, that's good!'

 636 characters

Photo of mltobin
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a sixer when passing through Maryland.

Appearance is a dark amber and small head, little lacing. Smell contains dried fruits, cinnamon, bark. The taste of this winter ale is sweet, mild spice, malts too. MF is medium with a syrup texture. It is a nice winter ale and pairs well with some pie.

 303 characters

Photo of droomyster
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark bronze with two fingers of white head with good retention. Aromas are malty and spicy (cinnamon, maybe nutmeg), reminiscent of a mulled cider or an herbal nighttime tea. Flavors are complex, predominantly malty: a touch of molasses and holiday spices backed by a black tea and earthy bitterness. The heavy spicing runs the risk of palate fatigue, making its drinkability good but not great. Overall, an excellent beer; my wife told me to mention that for once, she agrees with my judgment.

 508 characters

Photo of NickMunford
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with little head or retention.
Has a fruity aroma which reminds me of persimmons and pomegranate. There is also a mild malt presence.
The fruit aromas carry through in the flavor, with the addition of some mild hops.
It has a thick mouthfeel with good carbonation.
This is a very pleasant and drinkable beer..

 334 characters

Photo of PintOHops
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Tulip

A - Orange, coppery color and just a little on the darker side. It produced a 1-2 finger head that dissipated rather quickly to a thin ring that held throughout the consumption but left no lacing.

S - I get dark fruits like plum and cherry's with a touch of orange zest upfront that's followed by brown sugar and bread. There is a bit of muted but noticeable leafy hop aroma in there as well. As it warmed I got a bit of spice like cinnamon and clove.

T - I get lots of bready malt flavors throughout, I also pick up brown sugar, lightly roasted nuts, and muted cocoa. All the great malt flavors smooth right into black cherry like flavors that almost remind me of some kind of chocolate covered cherry candy without the tartness and sweetness, it's great. I also get plum with a bit of alcohol on the finish, the bitterness is very mild and hop flavors are almost absent and lend an herbal quality to the beer.

M - Smooth and almost creamy texture. It's medium-full bodied with soft crispness.

D - I gotta say this is probably the best Winter Warmer Ive had in a while. I could definitely see myself enjoying a couple of these brews, and although this beer is 6.9% ABV, it's still pretty drinkable to me. I'd probably have this one again sometime, and I would recommend this beer to someone who likes maltier beer. Cheers!

 1,342 characters

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 1,837 ratings