Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

very good
730 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 730 | Ratings: 1,806
Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep amber color.

Overall: This beer is full of toffee, caramel and licorice aroma. Flavor is similar with some molasses, dark fruit, spices, and some vanilla. Medium bodied. Smooth and sweet finish. Great Christmas ale.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Fitting and proper to drink on the solstice.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A hazy brown Amber color with a huge frothy head. This beer has a little age on it so haziness could be protein particles.

Definitely a slight oxidized note. Rich dark cherries and dates. Slightly medicinal. No hops to speak of.

Lots slick thick malt definitely that medicinal cherry flavor and a thin body.

An interesting beer. The taste and aroma don't seem to match with the body. Might work better as an old ale or stronger barleywine, but that might be the age of the beer shining through.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours slightly cloudy brown red with a small off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of winter spices and slight berry. Tastes of chocolate with slight spice and very slight fruitiness. Beer is light bodied, a little overcarbonated, but very smooth. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let me start by saying I didn't expect the aroma to be this alluring. The spices are there - cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg - yet are balanced quite well by the caramel malts. And ale esters! I love getting notes of cherry and apricot in these kind of beers. Everything seems to come together in nice harmony. Luckily, the flavor profile holds up to the nose. Difference is, there seems to be a lot more in the way of vanilla notes when it first hits the palate. It's subtly spiced, with gentle traces of cinnamon and ginger around the midtaste. The back end is a little bit estery. This features a good mix of an intense primary flavor (vanilla) and lesser subtleties that are actually quite palpable. It feels creamy and relatively full, inspiring savoring over pure drinkability. Carbonation is mellow, and the finish is just dry enough (and I do mean just) to make this not feel like a chore. Damn, this one is good! The malts are showcased well, the spices aren't bludgeoning, and it's pleasant to sip on. Only real flaw is that I would only want one of these in a session, rather than two or three. Would get again, easily.

3.83/5: A proper approach to the winter warmer

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Photo of ckornmannn
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a can: light mahogany color, clear. Apple and caramel on the nose- a lot of aroma for this style of beer. The right amount of carbonation. Apple, caramel, breadiness, and a bit of astringency taste wise. This really tastes like an alt beer with some evergreen tips added in. I really like it; would buy it again.

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Photo of MeanMotaScootah
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Winter warmer is sort of a strange style because (at least to my knowledge) there is no real standard for what one of these should taste like. That being said I've tried a few winter ales lately (Great Divide - Hibernation and Avery Brewing - Old Jubilation to name a few) and I have to say I really like them all - the Winter Seasonal is no exception. The overall taste is very mellow, no real spicyness to speak of - lots of vanilla/caramel notes. A nice winter ale no doubt. I had mine from a can - I wonder if the bottle is any better? Anderson Valley is a highly under-rated brewery - always love their beers

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Photo of crisis1290
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad. A reddish / brownish color on the pour. Malty and spice aroma fills the air. Hints of cinnamon, sweet vanilla and some other spices are very apparent. A nice tasting beer but I have had better from this brewery. This one would be reordered if need be. Perfect seasonal beer for sure ! Nice job Anderson Valley !

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Photo of djkman
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer 2013. Great taste. Drinkable as in you can have more than 1 without getting filled up or booozy.
Then none for 2 years.
Then this year my local total wine in hackensack has it!
bought 2 six packs.
same greate taste. same recipie.
during the holiday season, i enjoy smutty nose winter ale and have had sam adams winter ale on tap.
in my subjective opinion, this beats both.
not having it for 2 years may have something do with it But boy I am enjoying it!

and that's my review.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, no bottle date. Pours dark gold with a medium sized off-white head. Smells of malt, cinnamon, vanilla, and licorice; moderate intensity. The taste follows exactly with licorice and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Slight sweetness. Average carbonation and thicker body, staying true to the style. Overall, it's a solid Winter Warmer and the licorice is a unique touch.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz can into snifter glass. 6.9% abv

Appearance- Pours a apple cider-like red brown with two finger cream head. Opaque

Smell- Fresh crackery malt, dark fruit, molasses, vanilla.

Taste- A sweet bready malt with notes of caramel and cream. Some vanilla in there too. The fruit notes range from apple to prune. Ends slightly toasted in taste, still retaining bits of vanilla mixed with grain.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy in body with active carbonation.

Overall- A complex Winter style beer that is reminiscent of a cream ale in style. The vanilla flavors blend nicely with the sweet caramel malts of this beer. Superb.

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Photo of StevenMilligan
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Deep muddy brown, with a reddish rust tint when held to light. Minimal head, but surprisingly clingy lacing.

S: Smell is superb. It really smells a lot like apple cider to me, then the vanilla bean takes shape with a little red fruit to follow.

T: Canned apple pie filling comes to mind me this brew first gushes over my tongue. It's followed by allspice and again that cherry-ish red fruit that I picked up in the nose.

F: Body is slightly above medium.

O: Maybe I'm just excited for the season (Oktoberfest/pumpkin beers don't really get me too excited), but this is a fantastic winter warmer and will be stocking my fridge again before Florida heats up again.

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Photo of MattSlem
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

They should rename this beer to Winter Churro Ale. I get huge bourbon vanilla and cinnamon flavors, with a slight doughy-breadiness. I like it quite a bit, I just wish it weren't so artificial.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on April 22, 2015. That may be a month after Spring began on the calendar but I had two inches of snow in my back yard 10 days ago.

A handsome looking medium amber-reddish colored pour with a off-white head that lingers.

The smell is luscious with its sweet malts, nutmeg, black licorice, allspice, and currant notes. Hops seem to be in the background but add a cleanliness to it all.

The body was medium to better than medium.

The taste is a nice sweet caramel malt flavor with some o the same spices pick up on the nose. A mild hop bite to finish. In some respects I liken this to an Abbey Dubbel without the clove.

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Photo of EMV
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a clear deep copper with minimal white head.

S: Sweet vanilla bean on the nose, malts, and spices. Cinnamon and sugar.

T/F: Definitely on the sweet side... with a strong vanilla and caramel presence, somewhat reminiscent of cream soda. Moderately carbonated and smooth. Strong malt backbone and dry at the finish. Cloves and cinnamon in the background. No significant hops.

O: A nice winter warmer from Anderson Valley. A little sweet and vanilla-ish, but there's enough going on with the flavor to keep it interesting. Best served at cellar temperature. Great on a cold winter night.

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Photo of mchegash
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got as part of a build-your-own 6-pack at Kroger a month ago. Have no clue how old it is.

Appearance - 4/5
Beautiful, medium-dark red-orange-brown color, fairly clear (although dark, so not a ton of light comes through). Very tiny particles can be seen throughout the beer. A half finger of light beige head which dissipates down to a relatively thin layer. Extremely minimal carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 4/5
Delicious spices, vanilla, cinnamon, licorice. A little bit of booziness as well. Got a whiff of "Big Red" gum smell (spicy cinnamon gum).

Taste - 4.25/5
Delicious mellow vanilla/chocolate taste (yes, both), the spices are lighter in the taste than the smell, but still present. Medium-dark malt flavor. An almost bourbon-like booziness. Overall there is a great coherence to the taste which I don't know how to describe. It's hard to describe all the flavors I taste, becuase there is really one homogenous yet very complex flavor present. Great taste, very happily surprised.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Medium-full in body. Smooth and creamy yet with a nice medium-light intensity carbonation kick.

Overall - 4.25/5
Overall this was a fantastic beer. Glad to have randomly tried this, would have otherwise missed out on a great beer.

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Photo of kitch
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle which has a best before 10 June 2016 sticker on it (seems a bit long too me…)

A: Poured into a pint glass a slightly hazy deep amber colour. One finger tan head which disappears slowly.
S: Strong vanilla, caramel and malt in that order followed by some light toffee.
T: Very much like the nose. Prominent vanilla and toffee followed by caramel. Not too sweet which I like.
M: Full bodied, creamy with some light carbonation.
O: This one surprised me in a good way. Although the aroma was a bit weak, the taste was nice as the vanilla, toffee and caramel tastes mixed well together. I would buy this again, but definitely for the winter while its cold and not during the warm spring as it is now.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
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

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Photo of beerme626
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very attractive, with gorgeous dark copper color and inviting nose. Taste is fruit heavy with cinnamon also. Tasty. Everything I want in a winter warmer.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasty beer. Smells of ripe red grapes, molasses and toffee. Tastes of sweet malty start with a warm alcoholic burn in the back. Awesome beer, will definitely become a winter staple.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass. Golden-red clear liquid with tall, fluffy tan head that leaves sticky sheets on the glass. Aroma is caramel malt, vanilla, winter spice, citrus, and fruity esters. Flavors begin with malt-forward sweetness, esters, toffee and caramel, are supported by a mild hop bitterness, and finishes with spice and lingering sweetness. Full bodied, creamy, thick texture, soft carbonation, and a little booziness on the finish.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is not strong but has spicy and malty hints. Pours a clear, dark mahogany with a thick and fluffy buff head. Hearty flavor has malty, gingerbread and honey notes, sweet but subtle, hints of cloves and cocoa, very tasty and very much the Winter Holidays! (Bleep Christmas - I celebrate the Winter Solstice!) Texture has good body and plenty of fizz, and a dusty gingerbread hint. Happy whatever-the-heck-you-celebrate-in-December!

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark amber pour with a small off-white head. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, light spice and bread. Taste follows the nose fairly well with a bready and slightly sweet initial taste backed by light spices. Caramel isn’t as pronounced in the taste as it is in the nose. Light to medium bodied and creamy with a lot of carbonation. Finishes sweet and malty with bread and light caramel flavors.

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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

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Photo of Barnoloid
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decent winter warmer style ale. The spices are a little on the sweet side here, and there is a sugar & spice feel that can be a little overwhelming. Definitely a solid body and high maltiness here.

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Photo of seedyone
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Plain & simple & really good, slightly spiced ale. The creamy head disappeared quickly leaving no lacing. Nose did not match the full flavor. If there is a down side it would be a lack of body. There was some, but for a winter brew I'd like something substantial. When all is said & done, I look forward to next winter.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,806 ratings.
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