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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,058 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,058
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 20
Gots: 41 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,058 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of a2marzman83
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%

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.

a2marzman83, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%

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.

2.4

---
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.

C

kojevergas, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of aaronh
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%

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.

aaronh, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of rmckay09
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%

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.

rmckay09, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of PaleAlien2
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%

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.

PaleAlien2, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of KodyBrannon
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%

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.

KodyBrannon, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%

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

mastodonj, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of DavidEddie
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%

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.

DavidEddie, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of thecarster1
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%

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.

thecarster1, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of Bung
2.73/5  rDev -25%

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.

Bung, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of macktbone
2.73/5  rDev -25%

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.

macktbone, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of dparker7
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

dparker7, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of zdk9
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

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)

zdk9, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of richeddi
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

richeddi, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of guttervan
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

guttervan, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of Azeotrope
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

Azeotrope, Mar 11, 2014
Photo of mmilyko
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

mmilyko, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of devonnaire
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

devonnaire, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of psmith161
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

psmith161, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of marksto
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%

Pours amber colored and crystal clear - no doubt due to the cold conditioning described on the label. Aroma displays some restrained fruity esters along with a distinct hop aroma and a slight breadiness. Flavor continues with a slight fruitness along with malt and a hop bitterness that overlies through the finish. The bitterness is again distinct and different from any I am familiar with. I'm guessing this is from the sterling hops. I'm not particuarly fond of this character, it exhibits a harshness bordering on metallic that I don't find appealing.

Overall, not the best among New Belgium's many excellent labels. Skip this one and go for one of the others.

marksto, Nov 26, 2007
Photo of Kylito87
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%

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

Kylito87, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of HeadyLamarr
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%

Drunk straight from a 12oz bottle.

Initial impression is a slightly sweet dark brown roast. It's lightly hoppy, with a nice tingle, and maybe a bit of citrus? It wants to be a full-bodied rich beer.

But the joy quickly fades. Aftertaste is bitter and the overall effect is a very mild, unimpressive drink. I'll put away a couple of these with dinner, but they aren't a beer to sit back and enjoy.

HeadyLamarr, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of jampics2
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%

One bottle from a six pack purchased at AJ's in Scottsdale.

Appearance is good. Good orangeish-red with small white ring of head.

Smell is OK. Getting hints of citrus and sweet syrup. Caramel from the malt. Appealing, but not overwhelming, but something is a bit funky here.

Taste falls short for me. What kind of ESB is this - I know English hops are appropriate, but why take this pseudo-American/Belgian take on it? Not a fan at all of the hops used for the dry hop when used in this capacity. Citrus then sweet sugars, followed by a weird mix of grass and fruit cup. Orange and pine or clove suggested, but this is just not what I look for compared to the classics. I appreciate the risk NB took, but this just isn't that good.

Mouth is good. Spot-on, nice carb bubbles, light visco.

Drink is OK. Not a fave, so I wish I could have bought a single instead of a 6. I remember having this on tap a year ago March, and I thought it was MUCH hoppier and smooth. Just an average offering and the weird flavors make this sub-standard IMO.

jampics2, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of thedrewski86
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%

Poured into a snifter, left 1/2" off-white head. Pretty nice lacing going down. Smell is very nice, like fresh bread, grains and a good amount of maltiness w/o being sweet. Taste is a little surprising, there's an unavoidable artificial spiciness that I guess is supposed to be wintery. Not really my bag. The more I drink it the more it becomes evident in the smell. I read another review that described the taste as being like redhots candy. That is EXACTLY what this tastes like. Eh. Mouthfeel is medium, typical carbonation. Drinkability is so-so; if you like this taste you would want to drink more I guess. I'm not a fan.

thedrewski86, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of khiasmus
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%

A- Clear light amber with a moderate amount of soapy head that retains like foam on a beach.

S- A bit metallic, hops smell brand new and piney, malt in the back.

T- Initially some weak sweet malt, giving way to a bit of hop balance, then a bit of metal, vegetal, and sulfur.

M- Thin, watery, relatively low carbonation and a dry, lingering finish.

D- It's alright, but not one I'll go for again. The flaws seem to outweigh the good parts of this beer, sadly.

khiasmus, Jan 20, 2008
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,058 ratings.