Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
1,818 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
Ranking:
#8,744
Reviews:
734
Ratings:
1,818
pDev:
13.95%
Bros Score:
4.24
 
 
Wants:
71
Gots:
260
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 1751-1775 | 1776-1800 | 1801-1825  | next → last
Ratings: 1,818 |  Reviews: 734
Photo of LarryV
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a nice frothy head that lasts a long time. A deep, reddish amber hue with little carbonation. Smell is very mellow, malty. Taste is mostly malty with very subdued hops, fairly well balanced, but very sweet. The sweetness limits the drinkability imho, I could only drink one of these at a time. I thin a little more hoppiness would balance it a bit more and give it more character. Without the hoppiness to balance the malt, I found it a bit one dimensional. A nice beer, but there's better winter beers to be had.

 524 characters

Photo of johnrobe
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 edition. Medium dark brownish amber with a cream colored head that shrinks to just a cap. Hefty malt aroma, very sweet smelling...like marshmallows. The taste is all malt and pretty sweet but there is a good deal of complexity within those confines. Flavors of milk chocolate, cloves, malted milk balls, and vanilla. I feel that a bit more hops would have made this a better brew. I like it but it's a bit too sweet and definitely not a brew I'd want more than one of at a time. Save it for after dinner.

 509 characters

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

My overall impression of this beer is one of unimpression. Poured out a reddish orange and brown with a decent head. Sweet malt on the nose, like cotton candy. Kind of reminded me of the dried malt extract I use in homebrewing. The taste was primarily of carmel like sweet malt which was a bit cloying IMO. There is a tinge of hop bitterness as the malt fades. Besides the intense malt flavor this beer is somewhat thin. Mouthfeel plays a redemptive role with a creamy smoothness. Slight aftertaste. Not the best of the seasonals and a disappointment for me. Maybe I just wasn't into it, but I expect better things from Anderson Valley.

 636 characters

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

For a fairly high abv strong ale style, this beer keeps on the kid gloves. The aroma and flavor are both quite soft. Malt with a little milk chocolate in the nose. The flavor is a cottony sweet malt - a touch of caramel and hazelnut. Finish is very clean. I'm probably rating this beer a little low just because I expect a strong ale to have a little more clout in the flavor department. As a fireside sipper, this needed more horsepower.

 438 characters

Photo of aaronh
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This deep amber beer with orange-red highlights pours with an attractive white head the displays decent retention. The aromas are a little of spice and a little of hops, pleasant but not assertive enough to pick out individual traits. The taste was like a normal pale ale that had some spice added to it somewhere along the line. The beer displayed a normal light ale feel on the tongue, but left an unpleasant bitterness clinging to my mouth on the finish. The poor finishing characteristics and the high ABV result in a beer I'm glad I tried, but of which I didn't buy a sixer. My third offering from Anderson Valley was definitely not a "charm".

 648 characters

Photo of DarthMalt
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"It's the most -- wonderful -- non-Reinheinstegebot -- tiiiime -- of the year!"

Yeah, Baby! Cuddle up in front of the fireplace with your Honey for this one.

Super, crystal-brown amber with crinkling crystal-brown head to match. FABULOUS NOSE!!!!! The smell of love in Winter.

Taste follows through stunningly on all expectations--great malt, adequate hop balance (almost like a doppel-Oktoberfest, if such a thing existed) and spices????????????

Okay... the label ingredients read, "seasonal spicing" and the website reads, "our private blend of holiday spice." Could'a fooled me! Spices usually throw the baby out with the bath water for me, but in Anderson Valley's case, they wield as exquisitely as Rogue does for Hazelnut Brown Nectar--a master stroke, if ever there was one.

God Bless Winter, America, Manifest Destiny, and the lack of purity laws when it comes to making a beer such as this.

Happy Holidays!

 934 characters

Photo of putnam
2.9/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice with a rosy golden amber color.
The aromas are of polished, caramelized grain, vanilla and those chewy, peach-colored, peanut-shaped candies.
The flavors seem artificial. This is the closest thing to drinking a cream soda I can think of. Dry, with some assertion of bitter hops on the finish, but they are only there to clean up a laboratory sweetness. I may be naiive, but why did they have to combine soda pop and beer? The finish is hollow. Reminds me of a three-musketeers bar. All fluff.
Probably a shrewd choice to have in a brewer's portfolio. Somthing pop-like for the masses so that they keep the masses interested in the brand.
This is a great brewery otherwise.

 687 characters

Photo of cokes
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003.
I'll stick with most of what I listed for the 2002 below. Not quite the "wow" aroma I had remembered, though still attractive. Still very gingerbready, but overall spicing is a but more muted (and to its benefit). Solidly caramelized.Cinnamon (and perhaps ginger) appear as it warms. Light orange-rind bitterness. Mouthfeel seems improved and checks in at medium. A nice winter quaffer that doesn't go overboard in any direction. (Mouthfeel and drinkability rating are raised, aroma lowered)

2002 release.
Deep copper bodied with a compacted beige head that fades to form islands of lace.
Rich malty aroma of gingerbread. Lightly spiced with plenty of subtle vanilla sweetness. Absolutely lovely.
Not as big, brawny or complex as I remember, but still a nice one. Taste is gingerbread cookies, all the way. Possibly ones that are ever so slightly burnt. Light cinnamon and vanilla toppings. A husky grain enters just prior to the hops. The hops also seem less assertive than past edition. Lightly citric, and sort of raw. Ends with just a hint of prickly alcohol.
Sort of lifeless in the mouth. It fails to have the heft of a winter warmer, and does not have any liveliness either. Doesn't leave much of an impression. Thinner than years past?
However, it is quite drinkable, and a decent winter seasonal

 1,324 characters

Photo of ADR
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2002 edition...

Clear and bright dark red-brown color, yellow head of medium duration -- settles to an 1/8 of an inch. Deep aroma, some ginger and cinnamon sense. Nice body but not overly heavy. Flavor starts malty with some sense of cherry and chewiness and flips into a citrus rind and gravelly mode as the impressive hopping asserts itself. Good balance, maybe a little too raw in that the hops are aggressive. A little more variety and interest in the malt profile would have suited me better.

 505 characters

Photo of proc
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice presentation, dark cararmel/copper in color, somewhat of a light fruit taste appears with a slight hop finish. I enjoyed this. Nice ABV kick start and although I don't like to use an overused term, it is smooth. There is something soothing and relaxing about a sipping a winter ale, and this one didn't disappoint.

 322 characters

Photo of pheurton
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

my favorite from anderson valley....a dark reddish brown with a nice fluffy white head. aroma is enticingly spicy....carmel malts dominate the taste, with a hint of nutmeg. hops come in at the end to balance assertively, without being over the top as so many PNW beers can be. a truly unique brew that is at the top of my winter seasonals must have list.

 357 characters

Photo of StevieW
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I carried this bottle back from my california vacation, I was worried about it's freshness. It seems to have held up. Color I would call more brown than amber, thin head faded fast. Noticable hop smell initially, then as it warms, more spices are very noticable. Faint nutmeg, cinnamon, make a distinct sweet smell. Taste is much the same, hops to start, then lots of unique spices, maybe vanilla, hazelnut, very sublte, though not overly spicy. Very balanced taste and feel. A little thinner on the feel than expected but I found it very drinkable and tasty. I was surprised to see it listed where it is, and not with other seasonals like the Harpoon Winter Warmer, or the SA Celebration Ale, which is the best of the seasonals, IMO.

 734 characters

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

Thick light tan head. Reddish amber color. Deep creamy nose, some yeast sharpness. Mix of light spices and hazelnut in aroma and flavor.

139 characters

Photo of jackndan
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Solstice: Deep amber color with a pale tan head, and very nice Belgian lace. Has a spicy malt flavor throughout, with a long lasting smooth finish. Very good beer, with a nice warming alcohol character. This is a very good winter brew and I'll look for it closer to the season next time, although this one held up very well.

 334 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's a sweet smell here. Not malty sweet, but similar to rock candy sweet. Beautiful deep red hue. Very unique beer. Sweet taste. A good sweet taste. I'm likening it to cherry and brown sugar. Maybe a titch of hazelnut. Very super brew.

 246 characters

Photo of joe
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

INCREDIBLE HAZY GOLDEN COLOR. SMELL OF VANILLA AND TOFFEE. BEAUTIFUL MALTY TASTE JUST A UNBELEIVABLE BEER. NEW FAVORITE WINTER BEER.

132 characters

Photo of Jason
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long-neck bottle with no freshness date though on the neck is the year 2001. Blurb about the beer on the back label.

Appearance: Bright reddish amber hue, light tan head is fluffy and dissipates into a pasty big bubbled lace.

Smell: Fresh dipped caramel apple comes to mind, lots of malt sweetness in the nose with hints of fruit and a mild hop.

Taste: Full and chewy in the mouth with a vague hoppy juicy fruit and sweet dark bread maltiness capture the taste buds attention. Both toasted and roasted flavour flexes within the bold caramel taste. Mildly estery and warming to the body. Tight and clean bite of hop bitterness cuts through some of the malt leaving a spicy trail of flavour into the finish of residual sweetness.

Notes: Top shelf for American Winter brews, balanced for a muscular brew and a must buy for winter seasonals. 6.9% abv.

 885 characters

Photo of QXSTER1
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reddish brown brew with loads of fruity spiciness. Balanced towards sweet, nutty maltiness but with a hops(Cascade?) finish. I get a hint of vanilla as well. A smooth, drinkable ale to toast the cold weather.

 208 characters

firstprev| 1751-1775 | 1776-1800 | 1801-1825  | next → last
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 1,818 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.