2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale

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1,162 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,162
Reviews: 569
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 24
Gots: 84 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,162 | Reviews: 569
Reviews by unHipHopHead:
Photo of unHipHopHead
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For me, this beer is like 2 molecules removed from the Fat Tire brew.

If you like FT you will love this brew, for me personally it was too similar, the base source was too much prominent and it detracted from the character of this individual brew.

My fav NB Brew is still the 1554 & the new abby.

More User Reviews:
Photo of scootny
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 12 oz bottle. A light terracotta liquid with a Creme fresh head. Light toasted biscuits and mild Belgo-funk fruitiness. Toffee tinged sweetness, herbaceous hops. Taste follows like a winters Fat Tire. Well balanced malt body with a dry graininess. Light caramel sweetness. Herbal earthiness with a light hop bitterness clinging to my palate. Feel is nicely weighted for winter with a light creaminess'. Smooth and drinkable it is a satisfying and delicious brew.

Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep rich golden with a touch of amber tint a tight one finger head set atop leaving a broken ring of lace behind as it settled pretty slowly.Like the hop spike in the aroma like grapefruit rind sitting over top a hefty caramelly malt base,the flavors dont quite match the nose but its well balanced between a brown sugar-like biscuity malt base and earthy,citrusy hop just neither really stand out enough on their own.Not a bad cold weather beer nicely balanced and a nice aroma.

Photo of RoyalT
4.53/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a real beauty shop. The head is thick, retentive, and clinging to the inside of the glass. The body is a heavy orange with a nice brownish tinge.

Smell - The malts here are very deep and rich. The yeasty base that underlies all good ESBs borders on perfection. This is more of an English-style nose but much more powerful.

Taste - This has a bit more caramel flavor than I predicted from the nose. It is rich and thick like the malt and yeast. There's little sweetness here, but what there is seems mostly like cane sugar. All of these characteristics work extremely well together in making an awesome flavor profile.

Mouthfeel - This is a big medium-bodied with some good bitterness that doesn't overextend itself. The mild carbonation fits perfectly with the flavors and body and the smooth buttery finish is awesome.

Drinkability - This was like velvet liquid. It was stiff enough to earn the ESB moniker yet easy enough to go down freely. It's probably one of the best-drinking ESBs that I've ever had.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Beer shows up a beautiful clear copper color with billowy puffed head that is completely gone by the time I'm halfway done. Nose I get big hop aroma here. Definately makes me think of homebrewing, smells just like hop pellets I've used when they come out of the fridge. Its odd that this beer has retained that raw aroma. Guess thats what happens when you dry hop with Liberty. I also get a lucious fruity backend in the aroma, but it isn't typical ale fruit, its more like a peach or apricot (some fruit of "the fuzzy family"). Also has a nice kick of hop spice. Kinda funky but very appetizing.

The taste is a sweet but resinous/ piney kind of base with faint spices, and peach or apricot and maybe pineapple all popping in and out in turns. Great depth of malt flavor with signature New Belgium toasted complexity. Hop spice lingers in aftertaste. As the pint warms and I dink more, I find that dry-hopped Liberty aroma really coming through in the taste. I feel like I'm practically drinking those hop pellets. Its beginning to beat down some of the fruit and while I find this flavor interesting as a brewer, it gets a little pushy for me as a drinker. I feel this would be worthy of the title "Double ESB" since it's flavors are so big and work together on a basis of contrast, rather than the subtle synergies of traditional examples of the style.

Mouthfeel is thick but has some carbonation and is approprite. Very good, very different beer, but I would really struggle to get more than one of these down in a night. Its kind of exhausting. This is a beer I like to revisit year-to-year. It is so unique and it is actually an effective winter brew despite staying just on the light side of the style spectrum.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Pours clear amber in color with very abundant head of dense white foam. Retains foam well and leaves behind plenty of lacing down the glass. Very attractive looking brew.

Plenty of hops on the nose, a bit of grass with citrus, but not overpowering. There is malt here too, something light to moderate.

First pull has nice weight and comes forth with hops the most noticeable, but necessarily bitter. After just a second on the tongue, the malts come forward and there is a nice balance there. The tastes are a bit dry overall, and there is a quick clean finish with a slight bitter linger. Like many of the New Belgian brews, this seems a bit heavier after a few swigs than first thought.

Very nice brew! If you are fan of hops but don't like to 'chew' them through your beer experience, give this a shot. Very enjoyable and recommended.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a clear amber with a fizzy half inch of head and great clarity. Aromas of toasted grain malts with some fruity caramel aspects as well. Spicy, somewhat citric hops are well placed.

First sip brings a toasty, bready caramelized malt upfront that's carried by some fruity flavors as well. A spicy, citric hop moves in on the way down with some bitterness coming through.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy with a sharp prickly carbonation. Goes down pretty easy. Overall a pretty good brew but it doesn't really end up wowing me.

Photo of Beaver13
2.43/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, best before 2/9/07. Pours a clear amber with a large fluffy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is toasted toffee malts and minty hops.

The flavor is more of the same - toasted toffee followed by a crisp minty hoppiness. I can't describe the aftertaste, there's something subtle that leaves me not wanting more - the more I drink, the less I like it. More bittering hops and less toffee would be a welcome addition. The mouthfeel is medium with sharp carbonation.

Overall, this was OK - not something I would search out. It tasted like a minty Fat Tire.

Photo of Doppelmax
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm not a fan of belgium style beers so with some trepidation I purchased this hoping it would be a decent winter type ale.
Nice head and lace on the glass. Medium amber but hazy. Strong hop smell, kind of piney I thought. The flavor seemed a bit strong on the hops and for my taste could have had a more pronounced malt flavour. Lots of carbonation, average body. It was ok but personally I wouldn't buy it again.
I like my winter ales more malty and darker.

Photo of merlin48
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear amber body with a tiny offwhite head that quickly drops into some patchy lacing. Aroma is toasty caramel and earthy hops. Light medium body is well carbonated. Tase has lots of earthy hops bitterness with a toasted caramel malt presence underneath. A hint of pear fails to fully emerge. Nicely drinkable but pedestrian.

Photo of mrquartetman
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd read a few reviews of this beer before tasting it and expected to be underwhelmed.

Not at all. This is a really good winter ale. It has a slightly hoppy nose, but does not hit the tongue with hop until late in its sojourn across the palate. It is a very malty, sweetish beer that gets estery as it goes, and then the very subtle hop enters the picture.

The hop doesn't die off, it just sings a harmonic note in the background, an offset to the sweetness. This is very cleverly done.

Someone suggested that this is just a heavier Fat Tire. Not to me. It is its own fine self, and a good warmer to keep around all winter.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge "thankyou" to jpm30 for this one...
Honey orange in color with a full finger of bright, white head...sticky, web-lacing is created as it disappears.
Nice aroma...spicy hops, sweet caramel malt, and some honey.
Taste is quite unique...heavily malted with a peat flavor. Grapefruit, pine, orange, corriander, and even what tastes like carroway seed.
Although the start hits the pallet sweet, this is one bitter brew and sucks away any moisture your tongue may be holding onto....finishes with no off flavors and quite dry. Alcohol is nowhere to be found in this glass.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is where I like it to be....not a session beer for me, but a nice offering for the season.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-amber with a white head. The aroma is fairly hoppy. I get some pine and grassy hops as well as some toffee malt. The flavor is much maltier than the aroma. I get a bunch of toffee and some nuttyness, as well as some grassy hops. Very low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice, malt Extra Special Bitter that is very easy to drink. Nice to see a winter ale that isn't full of spices.

Photo of mattster
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened 12 oz bottle of 2º Below, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a light foamy head. The color is a nice clearly translucent dark amber brew,

Smells of malts and very light herbaceous smell. Taste is sweet, but hoppy. Nice smooth finish, but nothing worth waking the kids or calling the neighbors over. Is a very easy drinker. Not a bad brew, but nothing major.

Photo of bsp77
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into a tall glass.

Appearance: Clear light copper with a large off-white head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Biscuit, caramel, heather-like herbs, citrus and metal.

Taste: Sweet caramel, biscuit and slight citrus upfront before turning more bitter with a strong herbal and metallic finish, which leaves a slightly unpleasant aftertaste.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, slightly creamy but a strange finish.

Drinkability: Interesting hybrid type beer. I am going to steal the "German ESB" term from BuckeyeNation (although I like it better than him), as it seems to have Marzen qualities to it. It also really seems as if they add Heather to it. Good, not great, beer overall. If it wasn't for the aftertaste, it would have been better.

Photo of magictrokini
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours light orange, just as the bottle says. Grass, pepper, and hops in the nose. Smooth flavor, though the flavors seem to compete. Good malt character you expect from an ESB, but a lot of hops that you expect from a west coast IPA. Its like the beer doesn't know what it shoud be. When cool, its a malty IPA. As it warms, the ESB qualities emerge. Doesn't really matter, its still a pretty good beer.

Photo of masikon
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured to a transparent tennessee burnt orange with a fuzzy off white head about 2 fingers deep. A very visually pleasing beer with a lasting head that sticks around and pretty bubbles of corbonation that keep on rising. Unfortunately appearance is really this beer's strongest point. nose is plain and uninteresting with some mildly fruity notes. taste is almost exactly like a mack and jacks african amber for those who have tried it. puckers the mouth, a light mouthfeel and inoffensive taste brings up the drinkability score, overall not a beer I would drink again.

Photo of smc143
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend brought me some New Belgium Brewery's 2 Below, which was really quite tasty. It was my first beer of the night, and I dug it a lot. Since this is an ESB, I expected it to be a little more aggressive than your average beer in terms of hops and alcohol content, but nothing overpowering. It is really not bitter at all, but balanced between hops and malts. I drank it right out of the bottle, like a classy broad, so I didn't really look at color or head, but it is a basic copper colored ale, and it was quite quite tasty.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks more like an amber ale. Dark amber. Good carbonation making champagne like tiny bubbles. Aroma is woody. Taste, malt predominance, a little hop presence that can't resonate on the palate because of the assertiveness of the roasted malt. Wood flavored almost to the point you would think there was minimal aging inside such a vessel.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out burnt orange into a pint glass with little head. Very good lacing. Smell is hoppy, pretty strong infact. However, the taste wasn't as strong as the smell. Infact, this is very lack luster for a ESB. It's not bad as a "winter warmer", but it's definatly lacking the bitterness that the scent hints to.

Over all, this is a decent brew. Probably a one and done for me, however.

Photo of OStrungT
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a golden color, with a very slight brown tint. It boasts a thick, fluffy, white head. The head fades slowly, leaving a huge lacing.

As with most New Belgium beers, this beer has a dominate biscuit aroma. Behind that, I smell a nice hoppy aroma. Grassy hops, and a slight cirtus hop hint also. It has a mild caramel aroma as well.

Tasting like it smells, this beer is quite biscuity. The hop flavor is stronger than I thought. I wouldnt call it hoppy, but I can definately taste the grassy hops. It has a sweet caramel malt finnish.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a biscuit like flavor. The carbonation might be a little low for the style.

This beer might make a decent session beer. The only problem I can think of is the biscuit flavor. It can be cloying after a few.

Overall: As with most New Belgium beers, I think they used a little too much biscuit malts. If they toned it down a bit, and maybe hopped it up slightly, it might be better. I doubt I will buy it again, with all the great beer I can get anywhere down here.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured up a solid amber color to a pint glass. Good lacing.
Aroma- floral hops, some biscuity malt aromas.
Mouthfeel-it is surprising, with a hoppy nose it immediately gives way to a healthy malty body that tastes richer and darker than it looks. A froth on the palate livens up the hops and leaves a lingering bitterness on the finish. Very tasty and quaffable. Solid!

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brownish-copper color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with good amounts of floral and mildly herbal hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Grainy yet somehow smooth toasted malt flavors are joined quickly by noble hops. The hop and malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was surprised by this beer even being an ESB when I ordered it and more surprised at the hop levels. A solid, if nontraditional, ESB.

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very light and see through that pours with lots and lots of carbination.

Smell - oaty and straw smell to this guy. some biscuit flavors as well

Taste - for the style the bitterness comes through with an oat and malty backbone.

Mouthfeel - leaves a nice bitter flavor on the tongue for sure.

Overall - i love that NB is bringing back their seasonals and this beer had a special place for me before every winter. Not a horrible beer, but there are lots of better winter beers.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a nutty-amber colored body that is crystal clear with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles. There is a creamy head of yellowish-white head that last and fades to a thin film.

S- The smell of pine and kefir lime hops is bright and floral. There are also notes of lightly toasted malt and biscuit malt.

T- This beer has the taste of soft toasted malt followed by a biscuit malt flavor that increases as the beer warms. There is a green pine hop flavor at the finish and a soft bitterness that lingers. .

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a fizz at the finish.

D- With a name like 2 below I was expecting a nice big barlywine to take the chill of the day but I was let down at first. This beer grew on me and has some nice fresh hops flavors that are really crisp, but the biscuit malt is a bit too much.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,162 ratings.