Chai Solstice
Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Chai SolsticeChai Solstice
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Style:
Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #60
ABV:
6.9%
Score:
83
Ranked #29,233
Avg:
3.79 | pDev: 14.25%
Reviews:
19
Ratings:
41
From:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  2
Gots
  6
SCORE
83
Good
Chai SolsticeChai Solstice
Notes: A variation of our classic Solstice ales. Additions of cardamom, star anise, and vanilla create a mélange of sweetness and complexity; while orange peel, ginger, black pepper add a zesty freshness and a touch of spicy heat.

15 IBU
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 41 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours a slightly hazy golden orange color, with a small head, and a bit of lacing.

This smells like chai, lactose, spice, and caramel.

This isn't as good as either Summer or Winter Solstice on its own. It's weirdly sweet, but the chai works well. It doesn't add enough spice to check the almost stale sweetness, though.

This is light bodied, but kinda gritty and not clean, with a lower level of drinkability for that.

I wanted to like this more, but it wasn't working for me.

Oct 20, 2020
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark foggy copper reddish-brown with a spongy khaki foam head dying to a thin film leaving fine curvy lacing.

The other half called this a pumpkin beer and stopped drinking after two sips. Up front I concurred, as the spice combo brought a sort of savory cinnamon apple character, but then a brighter herbal tea took hold with hints of lemon transitioning to earthier, leafier tea before a gingerbread biscuit exhale, which is the finishing stamp that puts us back in the pumpkin beer, or even more aptly, Christmas beer seat.

The medium body has a moderate, crisp carbonation before finishing semi-dry.

It's not as terrible as I thought it'd be. Although it can give off overly spiced Christmas beer vibes, it's actually relatively drinkable, especially if this profile doesn't typically offend the drinker.

Feb 25, 2020
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German-Helles from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a 12 oz. can poured into a 20oz. weizen glass. There is a two finger plus head of tan foam that very slowly settled to a half inch layer with a little lacing left behind. The beer is a brownish orange with the little flakes of spices. Medium carbonation can be seen in this slightly hazy ale.
This ale smells very nice, like the top of a Tom & Jerry! Nutmeg is the main attraction here.
The sip starts with a little tea, slightly dry, slightly sweet, and the warm feel at the finish.
I would call this a complex ale, you can pick something different out with each sip. The aroma is very nice, a very good pre Christmas cold day warmer upper.

Dec 17, 2019
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, translucent, and brown in a color with a small beige head.
Aroma of chai spices--ginger, cardamom, pepper, for sure, among others. Smells like chai tea with spice cake.
On the palate, thick, brown bread malt with a load of authentic chai spicing. Ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It tastes like gingerbread in beer form, with hints of fruitcake. A bit of burnt raisin and molasses in there as well.
Moderate mouthfeel, evenly carbonated, slightly creamy.

Wow, great spiced beer! Chai tea and gingerbread in beer form!

Nov 27, 2019
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Deep copper with a light tan head that sticks around leaving behind a little bit of lacing.
S - Nice chai spice and fall spice - some cinnamon and nutmeg along with some wheat and yeast.
T - Follows the nose: chai and fall spices abundant with some wheat and yeast but ends on a somewhat watery note. Good amount of malt. Slight caramel and chocolate. Some earthy notes.
F - Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O - An interesting take on a fall ale that works pretty well.

Nov 16, 2019
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EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a snifter glass. Reddish-gold hue, fairly clear. Only a finger or so of head that faded soon. Subtle amber ale smell. Excellent am we ale flavor with chai spices on the back end. Moderate carbonation with a pretty light mouthfeel. Excellent refreshing flavor that I wiah I had gotten more than one to try.

Oct 28, 2019
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a really weird beer here, very autumnal, i took a chance on it an an indian restaurant, and i am glad i did, even though this is the kind of thing i can drink one on before i move on to something else. its hard to even tell what the base beer is, looks like a brown ale and has some definite cocoa tones to it, but the spices are strong in this, and it drinks more like a chai than a beer, true to its name, a decent fusion of the two drinks though i reckon. the pour is brown and muted without a ton of head, some cloudiness and a little sediment, less cleaned up than i am used to from these guys. aroma is cool, chocolate type malts, a little caramel in the grain as well, and then lots of cardamom, anise, black pepper, allspice, and even ginger it seems, quite complex, and with the aromas in the indian restaurant, its quite awesome actually. more sweet in the flavor than it smells, vanilla carries brown sugar with it, and it comes across just a little bit desserty, especially with the chocolate notes on the malt, but it also has some bitterness from the spices that helps balance it. i like the complexity, i like it being a sort of darker beer as a base but being so light in body, i think this is about as well done as it could be, minus a little refinement of the beer overall. the balance of spices is nice, unique, and the vanilla softens it some, probably makes it more widely appealing. overall a cool beer, definitely different as the spiced beers go, and not at all too much spice on spice with this cuisine. enjoyable for one.

Sep 12, 2019
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superspak from Ohio

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with The-Adjunct-Hippie. 12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 8/17/2018. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper/amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense and fluffy light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingering. Nice spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice, vanilla, orange peel, anise, peppercorn, caramel, brown sugar, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of toffee, golden raisin, fig, peach, plum, pear, apricot, red apple, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of spices, dark/bready malts, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice, vanilla, orange peel, anise, peppercorn, caramel, brown sugar, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of toffee, golden raisin, fig, peach, plum, pear, apricot, red apple, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal, floral, grassy bitterness; and cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pepper spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice, vanilla, orange peel, anise, peppercorn, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, dark fruit, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of spices, dark/bready malts, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and no cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/bready/grainy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 6.9%. Overall this is an excellent spiced beer. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of spices, dark/bready malts, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the mellowly bitter/spicy/drying finish; not overwhelming on any aspect. Great balance between vibrant spices and dark/bready malts; with restrained fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes. Mild residual sweetness with lingering bitter/spicy dryness. A very enjoyable offering, and impressive style example as expected. Equally impressive as the Winter Solstice, with more spice complexity. No complaints.

Jun 08, 2019
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rudzud from Massachusetts

2.81/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Received two of these as extras in a trade. Tossed a can JLindros's way because he earned it.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice mostly clear deep amber with a thin quarter inch white head that fades rather quickly to leave a thin halo.

S - Aromas of chai spice galore. Little bit of sweet caramel malts, flashes of vanilla. Whether or not this is a beer is up for debate.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with some classic winter warmer spice flavour. Little bit of bitterness on the finish. This is pretty much all chai spice though.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, body is on the thinner/watery side.

O - Overall this, as a beer, is questionable at best. Like someone dumped a few tablespoons of chai spice in to a glass of malt water. Drain pour.

Serving Type: Can

May 18, 2019
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

No thanks to rudzud for dumping this on me
Pours a giant fluffy off-white head with good retention, nice lacing, murky-hazy auburn iced-tea color

Nose, yep that's chai, chai spice, maybe a little vanilla, no hop or malt presence

Taste a bit of sweet malt, toasty brown malts with a little caramel, no roast, but plenty more chai spices, mild vanilla, touch of hop bitterness, finish is a little dry but sweet, fair bitterness lingering with more chai spice

Mouth is med bod, medium carbonation

Overall not sure what to think, this is barely a beer, more like chai spiced sugar water with some alcohol, as a drink it's not bad, but as a beer not so great

May 06, 2019
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It's a hockey day in Lancaster, PA & I am taking advantage of the time to catch up on The CANQuest (tm) in advance of tomorrow's New Beer Sunday!

From the CAN: "Solar Powered Brewery".

I Crack!ed open the vent & beCAN a slow, gentle, C-Line Glug. I watched in rapt fascination as it performed a pseudo-cascade that settled into just under two fingers of fizzy, foamy, rocky, light-tan head with low retention, quickly falling away to wisps. 8=( Color was a gorgeous Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was VERY spicy, very much of cinnamon. Mmm. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, nothing special to write home about. The taste had a pronounced cinnamon spiciness, but acCANponied by a milky sweetness, perhaps of lactose (?). It was odd, but since it was clearly a spiced beer, it certainly fell within the boundaries of the style. Finish was dry, as you might expect in a spice-driven beer. For me, it was more of a novelty than something that I would want CANtinually. YMMV.

Apr 13, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can from the Wall of Beer (Clemson, SC; $1.69) with a mysterious stamp on the bottom.
Pours with a clear copper colored body and a decent off-white head.
Aroma: spicy and bready
Flavor: a nice mix of chai spicing and bready notes with a touch of toffee.
Feel: medium body with medium carbonation; fairly smooth.
Alcohol is well hidden except in the mouthfeel.

Apr 08, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can poured into Odell Teku.

Dark orange-pumpkin hue with a creamy off-white head of 1 finger, gradually receding to 1/2 finger.

Tons of chai spice on the nose, with hints of grass, earthy pumpkin seed, and cranberry.

Flavor is intensely warming and cappuccino-like, with heavy notes of caramel, maple, brown sugar, chai, cream, ginger, orange peel, nutmeg, cranberry, glazed pecans, and pumpkin. There is literally so much to this beer and it's all popping and organic.

Feel is creamy which fits the beer perfectly, with a nice popping carbonation and mild drying alcohol on the back end.

Overall, an impressive beer that does really well in 40 degree weather like tonight. This is just plain delicious. I imagine pairing this with crumbly Cranberry Wensleydale would be near orgasmic.

Apr 05, 2019
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Chai tea additive drowns out everything else save for maybe amber malt in this simplistic brew, but that doesn't mean it isn't tasty...it's a chai beer and it delivers on the chai. Balanced albeit one-note.

I find it very pleasant and approachable, but it's definitely an additive-emphatic beer, lacking malty, hoppy, and yeasty notes in favor of the titular chai tea. I'm enjoying it, but it does leave much to be desired in terms of complexity and flavour.

Well-carbonated, medium-bodied, smooth, wet, not unrefreshing.

I detect no off-flavours or obvious faults.

B- / WORTHY

Dec 22, 2018
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer takes the typical flavors of winter solstice and adds more cinnamon, camomile, and nutmeg flavors one would expect with chain. Good light to medium body makes for easy crushing and the price is very good for a winter warmer.

Overall I would recommend it to anyone who likes Winter Solstice.

Oct 22, 2018
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Lucular from Maryland

3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On nitro at Lures Bar & Grille. Looks awesome although it is a little surprising that the pour was 100% head...seriously, zero liquid beer before settling. Smells and tastes like a well-balance chai winter warmer. Enjoyable enough.

Oct 15, 2018
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dertyd from California

3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The beer pours out a clear light brown/dark amber color, with 1 finger of off white head-------------- the aromas are of cinnamon, carmel, nutmeg and clove(smells like a pumpkin beer)------------ the flavors follow the nose exactly with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg(it really taste like a pumpkin beer with out the pumkin)the beer has a thin mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish-------------- overall this beer was okay - well Anderson valley if you were going for a pumpkin beer with out the addition of actual pumpkin than you nailed it, the one thing missing was a creamy mouthfeel it was on the thinner side for me

Sep 25, 2018
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a tulip. Pours a glowing hazy auburn with bubbles racing upwards; creamy light tan head that falls leaving great retention and nice lacing. The aromas are spice forward. Cinnamon and ginger is there. Hints of caramel. Lots of malts. The flavors basically follow the nose. The spices obviously lead the way. Some graham crackers in the mix. Solid malt backbone. Finishes dry. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is nice. It's on the lighter side of medium-bodied with active carbonation. It's pretty smooth and easy to drink.

This is a nice brew. It might come off as "simple", but there's actually some depth to it. It's very similar to a pumpkin ale and is very fitting for the cooler fall weather. I like it. Well done. I personally like this more than their pumpkin ale, but it's been awhile since I've had it, so I'm basically just basing that opinion off of memory. There's just something about this one that I really like. It also opens up as it slightly warms.

Aug 22, 2018
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Brewing Company "Chai Solstice"
12 fl. oz. can without production codes or freshness dating
$2.79 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: So what exactly is this beer? From their website: "A variation of our classic Solstice ales. Additions of cardamom, star anise, and vanilla create a mélange of sweetness and complexity; whole orange peel, ginger, black pepper add a zesty freshness and a touch of spicy heat." So, OK, but I'm still not sure what their "classic Solstice ales" are. It's poured a dark chestnut brown in color with deep copper highlights beneath a creamy head of yellowish off-white foam. The head has already dropped from about an inch and a half thick to a thin surface covering that's fading before my eyes - perhaps that's due to the spicing because A.V.B.C. hasn't seemed to have head retention issues in the past. In the nose it smells a bit like a pumpkin beer but with more class. The cardamom is probably the main note, followed by the ginger, and then maybe the orange peel and vanilla. I'm sure the star anise is in there as well, and it's a very nice melange but I'm afraid it might taste too much of these spices... ... ... no, I don't think so, there's enough malt there that it's balanced, and the vanilla comes through even more, smoothing it out nicely. It's actually like a Chai tea, which is nice, and they've kept the actually spicy bite limited. There's some caramel to the malt, and it's sweetish but balanced. As far as spiced beers go it's one of the best I've ever had because it's so nicely balanced and rounded. In the mouth it's medium bodied and gently crisp-then-smooth across the tongue. How strong is this? 6.9%? That makes sense, it's a little bit bigger than your average beer but not too big. Except for the limited head retention and lacing I'd say it's a winner. Absolutely worth seeking out for fans of spiced ales.
Review# 6,197

Aug 13, 2018
Chai Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 41 ratings