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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

564 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 564
Hads: 1,169
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 17.98%
Wants: 23
Gots: 91 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 564 | Hads: 1,169
Photo of Silenus89
2/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

POured from 12oz bottle to pint glass

A. Copper/amber color with one finger head

S. Earthly, floral hops

T> Citrus and pine hops and with a bitterness i didnt enjoy at all. Finished with harsh alcohol taste

MF. Medium body with light/medium carbonation

D. The first half of the beer tasted pretty good then from there on it went downhill. Wont get this again

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Photo of leedorham
2.12/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear amber with an off-white thick creamy head.

This smells hoppy and has a very grassy-hoppy-oily aroma. Not making me puke but not entirely pleasant.

The taste is the same. Grassey-piney-dandelion green taste. I assume there is malt in this beer since it is a winter ale but I can't taste it because of the dominance of the oily vegetable drawer hop taste. No balance to the taste at all. Although it gets more tolerable towards the end and there are some pleasant spicy notes I can't say I am happy I bought 6 of these. Maybe if your a serious hop head you'll disagree but I am wishing I had tried another brewers winter offering. It looks good. I'll give it that.

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Photo of therealnod
2.37/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Bought a 12pk of this. I should've known better.

A: Exceptional. Very nice brilliant copper with a good foamy head. I was excited.

S: Well, it smells biscuity (go figure). There's something in the background lurking that's bothering me.

T: And there it is. Sweet corn. I'm not kidding, and it's awful. I read another review that mentioned a taste that felt like it came from adjunct grains, and I got that impression exactly (before reading the review, of course). I really wish this was as bitter as some have found it...I'll take too bitter over this any day.

M: Well, pretty good, but why would I really care at this point?

D: Since I bought a 12pk...ah screw it, it isn't drinkable, but I'll drink it anyway.

I gave it another shot (actually, this is it's other shot) while warmer, and, well, the sweet corn taste finally gives way to some bitterness, but I can still pick up a faint whiff of the aroma, and I know it's there in the taste, and it's distracting to me. Definitely don't drink this below cellar temp, but if you do, I would drink it close to freezing (as it suggests on the label...shoulda known).

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Photo of charlesw
2.38/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

So here it says it's an ESB but you can see form the name/image that NB is marketing this as some kind of winter warmer. Well... I guess ESB is probably pretty close. Other than the too-pale color and the too-bitter mouth. This might make a decent brew for a hot summer day - a lawnmower beer - but it's way not enough anything for a day below 50F for me. Ah, right, other than bitter. But I'd definitely say that the bitterness was all of of proportion - unless, again, this is for the sweaty hot days of summer. Just change the label and marketing and you'll be all set.

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Photo of kkipple
2.39/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Buddy brought this back from his travels in the arid wastes of Colorado.... I have no idea what "style" this is supposed to be... hm.

2 Below is: very clear, still, sunset-gold in color with a small uneven white head that brings to mind mountain tops and hippie chicks.

Smells QUITE strange: malty, but with a bad cooked cabbage / sulfur note and a very dirty, grainy quality like someone pitched a shovelful of filthy hops into the boil. In addtion, the hops are all earth and dirt with only a faint citrus scent. Hmm....

Yeah, this just tastes weird. Grainy and sweet, metallic and dirty, iron and mild hop bitterness and that hideous cabbage flavor again... is this an ESB? A Winter Warmer? There's some lame spice in there somewhere but I can't be bothered to tease it out. Drain pour.

Bad bottle? Damaged in transit? Who knows. This wasn't good. I'll try it again if possible cause I know New Belgium can do better than this.

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Photo of SuperNova777
2.41/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes from 10/28/10

A:Pours a see thru amber color with a small white head that quickly falls leaving
litterly no lacing.

S:Nose is not really getting much action but a little bit of roasted malts and that is about it

T:Not much happening again, a little hint of roasted/bready malts in the middle. A
small hint of hops is and nutty flavor is left on the backend.

M:Fairly thin with a little with a little too much carbonation.

D:Not really impressed or enjoying this one at all. They talk about dry hopping on the
description but I don't get any of that at all, mostly a lot of roastiness and a little bit of metallic taste as well. Just another below average that was a freebie from my N. Belgium rep, thank goodness

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Photo of Beaver13
2.43/5  rDev -33.8%
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.

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Photo of Monsteruss
2.44/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Foam was white in color, thin and a little lacey. It had a dominate hops and citrus aroma with hints of anise and wheat. The color was a beautiful orange amber. The taste was a complete translation of the smell, a complete balance of hops and citrus with spices. Mouthfeel - medium bodied and crisp. Drinkability - not to bad. To me a simple balance of hops and citrus with some added flavors. Ok session.

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Photo of apbarwood
2.53/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brownish-orange color with a decent amount of rocky, white head. The aroma isn't offensive but not all that great either. Not much complexity. All I really get is a bit of hops and a fruity, almost raspberry quality. They lost me on the first sip. The hops come through in unpleasant ways as far as I'm concerned as there's an almost metallic bitterness. Needs a lot more malt to balance things out. The fruitiness from the aroma is still there but it tastes like watered down berries. Light body, pretty unremarkable mouthfeel overall. In general, this one was very forgettable and not one that I'd recommend. I think even Fat Tire is better than this one and I'm no fan of FT. Pick something else.

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Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Hazy amber with a 1 + finger white head with decent retention and lacing. The aroma has biscuit, toasted malt, yeast, and earthy hops. This does not appeal to me. Very bland.

The taste is just like the aroma, and is disappointing. Biscuit and toasted malt with earthy hops.This is not to my liking.

Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation. Nothing to special here. I will not seek this out again.

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Photo of showell
2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I really had high hopes for this one when I bought it. Though fat tire is not my favorite beer, it is nice for a "session beer". I tried 1554 a while back and really loved it, so I thought that another New Belgian might be in order. I won't be buying it again. It starts out okay... sort of like an overly hoppy fat tire, but after a while the bitterness just becomes overwhelming. I read on one of the reviews that it's better warm, so I'm going to try that. Maybe it will change my mind on it, but I rather doubt it.

Well, I tried it warmer, but I didn't like it that way either. This just isn't my favorite beer. Sorry if you really love it, but it's just not my thing.

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Photo of bayougutter
2.56/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a clear light orange- amber with a two finger white soapy head. decent retention and lacing was ok.

Smell of bready yeast, slight malt aroma, and a little citrusy alcohol. Not bad, it just left me hanging.

Taste is bready malts followed by some citrus hops. A little confusing at the end with some metalic alcohol. Not so good.

Mouthfeel is ok with crisp dryness on the end.

Overall I didn't like very much, but didn't hate either. It's one of those.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.6/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle into cup (I know...) in high altitude Colorado Springs, CO (aka the place in Colorado where people go either for cheap real estate, cocaine, or a mixture of both).

A: Pours a clear gold-copper with a thin head of decent retention.

Sm: Light clean scent of hops, malt, and barley (the usual suspects.

T: Pathetic open to strangely built, unbalanced body with a bitter finish.

Mf: Nicely coarse, but doesn't suit the style. Too wet.

Dr: 6.6% is excellent for the price, but the taste doesn't justify having it again.


01/11/2014: Revisiting this. 6.6% ABV confirmed per the label. "Best before 23 Feb 14." Reviewed live. Expectations are low given my previous review. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Odell pilsner glass in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of white colour. Fluffy, airy, and somewhat thin. Good creaminess. Head retention is good - about 7-8 minutes. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of above average vibrance. Clean. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's within style conventions but isn't unique or special. It looks pretty decent.

Sm: Heavy diacetyl/buttery notes, caramel, honey, graham cracker, floral hop notes, and some off-putting soapy hop character. Too sweet. English malts. Toffee.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

A strange aroma of mild strength.

T: Buttery slick English malts provide the tasty foundation, with ample toffee and marshmallow. Diacetyl is through the roof. Floral hop character. Graham cracker. Caramel.

It's got decent balance, but ultimately the diacetyl and soapy hop character really get to me. I think this spent too long in primary. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Limited complexity. Not real subtle, intricate, or nuanced.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Buttery, smooth, and slick, with some coarse scratchiness mucking up its presence on the palate. Overcarbonated. Wet. Medium-bodied. A bit too thick. Texture doesn't suit the taste all that well.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, or astringent.

Dr: A downable ESB, 2 Below is better than I remember but far from a new favourite. New Belgium does much stronger work, and I wouldn't recommend this to friends. I'll easily finish the bottle, but I'll be fine if I never have this beer again.


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Photo of rmckay09
2.63/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a light amber in color. The initial aroma is pleasant but soon generates a bitter smell. The first taste goes down well and the mouthfeel is not bad at all. Then, it almost develops a bitter taste with each taste after that. It is a well-bodied beer but it is not one high on my list. The finish was good but not anything to write home about.

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Photo of aaronh
2.65/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure what expected out of this beer. Copper colored body topped by an off-white head. Aroma of malt and a bit of funk. Flavor was OK, but a bit thin and dry on the finish. Very reminiscent of Fat tire with a bit more malt and peppery hops. Body is fairly solid, but the carbonation was aggressive and the finish was dry. Drinkability is OK, but not very enjoyable, unless you're a big fan of Fat Tire.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
2.66/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Bright orange with a frothy head.
S: Smells kind of weird. Roasted malts, some hops and an off herbal, earthy smell. Maybe some type of spice. Whatever it was, it didn't really smell good.
T: It tastes just like the odd smell. I can't tell if it's a roatiness or if it's in the hopping.
M: Finish is a little filmy, but pretty good.
Overall: I credit them for trying something a little different, but it just came out weird to me. Wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a - lacing may be the best thing about this beer; color medium amber
s - very little to talk about
t - average "amber ale" type but this is a seasonal so expectations are for something more; no spice or anything special; abv of 6.6 gives it a little something to talk about
m - good full body with good thick head
d - would not want to have more than one

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Photo of a2marzman83
2.69/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear light amber with one inch of tan head that fades with some lacing

Huge pine aroma from the hops hits my nose first. Other earthy tones follow, almost a fresh soil smell. A sweetness is present that fits nicely with the piney hops. This is an interesting specimen for sure. I would not call this a WW or an ESB but I enjoy the smell of whatever this is.

What I liked in the nose is what I don't like in the flavor. Very complex, not very harmonious. The bitterness is overpowering all other flavors which may be a good thing since what I do detect seems also disjointed. A Sweet breadyness mixed with earthy hops with a bunch of random spices thrown on top.

Mouthfeel is ok, medium body slightly over carbonated.

My guess is that this one will be a love it of hate it for BAs. It had me at hello and then lost me in too many competing flavors.

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Photo of DavidEddie
2.69/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by Feb 15 08

Appearance - Translucent amber with a thick white head.

Smell - Bread dough, biscuits, and light hops.

Taste - Sweet malt, bread, light roasted grain, and very light bitter hops.

Mouth feel - light bodied, kind of thin and watery.

Drinkability - Just okay, easy to drink, reminded me a lot of a slightly hoppy Fat Tire.

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Photo of zdk9
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- This beer is the color of liquid pumpkins, with just a half finger of froth and no lacing.

S- Some corn. a bit of woodiness. viniousness.

T- Lightly toasted bread. Slight green grape.

M- There's a wierd amount of alcohol I'm getting here which isn't flatering for the beer.

O- I'm not sure if this is not the best stored bottle or not, but I'm not a big fan of this beer (could be the style too)

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Photo of thecarster1
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into my dfh signature, crystal clear tawny brown coloring, one finger head that fades fase to a layer of lace with a ring around the glass.

s- lots of malt in the nose, hard to pinpoint what else i'm getting here, littly citrus hops, very bready, kind of odd.

t- interesting, slight bitter finish, some spice - AHH, i got it - it's redhots pure candy redhots, some citrus, lemon, finish is slightly medicinal, the redhot flavor intensifies as the beer warms, and i've gotta say, i'm not enjoying it.

m- medium body with decent slickness.

d- i was very much looking forward to tasting this beer, but it didn't live up to my standard at all, the redhot - fake cinnamon flavor was offputting, which is odd because not many of the reviews for this beer mention cinnamon, but thats definately what i got out of this, kinf of a let down unfortunately.

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Photo of KodyBrannon
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured an amber color with a white 2-finger head that left a nice amount of laceing all the way down. The smell was very malty, And the taste was slightly hoppy and bitter. The overall mouthfeel was watery and light, not really much carbonation detected either. Overall this beer was decent. I expected more from New Belgium.

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Photo of macktbone
2.78/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass, enjoyed in the month of November as a Winter warmer should.

A- Deep golden color, not really that edge that I would call amber though. True climb on the head that causes wonderfull lacing on the glass. After settling for a while it looks creamy.

S- cream and spice with a touch of vanilla.

T- All Spice with a hint of beechwood that Lends itself better to a macro than a micro. Not as special as I had hoped.

M- good for the style of ESB.

D- Two sips and it's already hitting me as a bloat beer. The flavor and experience isn't pulling me to withstand the bloat that I am envisioning.

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Photo of Bung
2.8/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. Fairly bright orange pour, some white head. Nice malty aroma, some citrus and christmas cookie. Taste has some malt herbal tones, but an overwhelming cardboard and metallic flavor. Finish kind of blah, some fading maltyness. Body is fairly light, nice carbonation though. The cardboard/grass like flavors are really hard to get by.

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Photo of Kylito87
2.84/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Another one of our party leave behinds. I hope it is as good as the first one.

Appearance- coppery reddish yellow with a white head that quickly slicks.

Smell- Hoppy with some grassy and grainy undertones. Also some honey sweetness and citrus notes there.

Taste- I was really expecting more from this beer it has alot of the same tastes elements as the smell but there is something there that I can't quite put my finger and it is kind of bugging me a bit. It has a comforting bready biscuity characteristic too. It has a very big alcohol bite at first but it seems to smooth out as you go along.

Mouthfeel- I am not sure if it is just me but I feel like the carbonation might be a bit much for this beer. I mean it feels crisp and clean bur I feel that if they would have toned the carbonation down just a hair this beer would have tasted alot better because some of it's subtler notes would have been brought out some more. It is not too thick and even though it has a relatively high ABV I think you could session it pretty nicely

Overall, I am disappointed because I thought this beer would be alot better. I mean it isn't horrible by any means. It is just not what I figured it would be. I don't even get the feel that this beer is a winter ale. I would say this is a beer that I might drink but I would have to either A be handed one or B it would have to be on super sale. I mean I usually like super hoppy beer but this just didn't do it for me. I had high hopes for this beer because I know alot of people that like it and told me to try it but it just didn't live up to the hype. I really tried to like it but I don't even think it will end up in my top 30.
Serving type: bottle

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.