Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

very good
1,807 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,807 |  Reviews: 730
Photo of thebrood1987
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very malty sweet smell with spices and caramel. It has a rich malty sweetness very tasty with a vanilla bit of orange and cinnammon nutmeg in there all subtle not jumping out too much and some slight bitterness from the hops.

The mouthfeel is amazing on this beer and I also get a slight mineral salty taste I guess from the mineral water they use? Its a very complex tasty beer the whole way down and is very drinkable.

This brewery is one of the best in Calfiornia. This one and their Hop Ottin IPA are some of my favorite beers ever. Very full flavored for sure.

 569 characters

Photo of sendbeer
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

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

Pours dark mahogany with a fluffy off-white head that settles to a solid cap. Aromas of cranberries, sweet caramel malt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Definitely "Wintery". Taste is similarly sweet, with notes of cream soda, cranberry, and holiday spices. Reminds me a bit of Highland Cold Mountain. Mouthfeel is smooth, fairly creamy, with a medium-full mouthfeel and low carbonation. Nice Winter beer, probably gonna have a few this year.

 432 characters

Photo of mmilyko
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of Twig2848
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

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.

 1,175 characters

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ironwill54
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of siddhartha
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of gshackles
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of meanmutt
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Brushkanna
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of NCbeerpirate
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a reddish brown color with a thick tan head. The head has a moderate level of retention, fading to give a decent level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma was heaviest of sweet and spiced aromas. A malty backbone of a biscuit nature supports sweet tastes of chocolate, caramel and some lighter dark fruit aromas. Mixed with these are aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a little coriander. A rather nice festive aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins a little on the sweeter side with a roasted malt flavor mixed with a large dose of caramel sweetness. Up front there are also some lighter notes of the spices detected in the nose. As the taste advances the spice grows stronger as the caramel sweetness fades to some degree. While the caramel fades a sweeter taste remains as the caramel is replaced by some of the darker fruits and a light chocolate taste that were detected in the nose. In the end a rather nicely spiced and sweet flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the just above average side in terms of it creaminess and chewiness with a carbonation level that is just below average. The combination of the thickness and the carbonation are quite appropriate for the style and compliment the spice, fruit, and roast flavors of the brew nicely.

Overall – A smooth and tasty winter style brew; balancing nicely the roasted, spice and sweet flavors.

 1,486 characters

Photo of tsailor
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of ZinFanDave
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of MichaelDavidSharbaugh
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of LiquorsInc
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Chrispy
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper red with a little white creamy head that disappears quickly.

Caramel vanilla sweet smell and taste. Holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are coming through as well.

Great mouthfeel, very easy to drink.

Overall it is very nicely balanced with sweetness and spices to where you could easily drink this anytime during the holidays and enjoy it.

 363 characters

Photo of JMaxwell
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can. 'Ale with Natural Flavor Added'. Not really all that promising or inspiring, eh?

This beer pours a clear, medium red-brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, and somewhat chunky beige head, which leaves some streaky hanging lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of heavy caramel malt, baker's chocolate, sweet vanilla, indistinct sugary nuts, and a bit of fruity hoppiness. The taste is sweet caramel/toffee malt, brown sugar, more saccharine vanilla, weakened cocoa, a muddled array of savoury holiday spices - though nothing distinct enough to note - and lightly bitter citrusy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is really quite tame in its innocuous frothiness, the body a hefty medium weight, flirting with fullness, and dead smooth. It finishes still on the sweet side, the caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and masked spice doing well enough to keep things sane, drinkable, and desirable, as the extra ABV tries to peek in.

An enjoyable, and at the same time confounding winter ale. It tastes good, but it's quite difficult to tell you why - so sweet, cake-ish, and low-key spice it is. 'Tis seasonal, this much I know, and I could easily put back a few more of these in anticipation of the coming craziness.

 1,241 characters

Photo of 2x10
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange tint with a red hue. Little foam and nice carbonation. Definitely a beer you dont want to drink ice cold cause it takes alot of the flavor away and your left with bubbles.

Great mouthfeel with very little indication of spices. They are there (cinnamon, clove), but very unnoticable.

You can definitely taste the advertised black currant and the finish has a hint of black licorice. I personally hate black licorice, but in this beer, it works really well.

Our opinion is that is winter warmer blows all the Winter beers out of the water. Only downside to us is that it could have a higher abv.

 619 characters

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

12oz. A fairly clear orange/amber pour. Thinner layer of cream colored head on top.

Aroma, a malty caramel fruitcake. Caramel apple. As it warms the fruit goes away, though it seems to gain some mustiness?

Taste, less fruity. Shortbread cookie. Nice bready malt and large caramel backbone. Some herbal and toasted grainy malt notes to finish. Like a light dopplebock. It is just a tad watery throughout.

Lights side of mid bodied. A nice carbonation, the slight wateryness makes it easy to drink, though less interesting. Worth checking out, I bet better on draft.

 568 characters

Photo of KimenTshom
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,807 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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