1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,049 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,049
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 20
Gots: 36 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,049 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -6.6%

yellow body with cream, and good lace all the way down. A cross style attempt. Not complex as a winter ale, more of a hoppy ale more than a bitter. Carbonation on the high side. Balance like an English IPA, with some citrus and other fruit. I like English IPAs-the real thing.

02-12-2007 00:31:45 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.75/5  rDev +3%

11-22-2012 23:31:18 | More by t0rin0
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.05/5  rDev -16.2%

Apricot with orange juice edges. Intermittent bubbles zip up to a toasted tan cap and join the tightly packed bubbles already present. I love the roughened, somewhat rocky, sticky nature of the head. Broken sheets of delicate lace look good as well.

The aroma is pretty much as New Belgium describes it. Unfortunately, I'm not a major fan of toasted, earthy malt in combination with herbal, earthy hops. The hop bill consists of Sterling and Liberty, both of which are similar to Hallertau. I love a good English ESB and even a good American ESB. Apparently, a German ESB ain't my thing. Given all that, I'm still able to recognize the nose's quality.

I'm much less accommodating when it comes to the flavor profile since it amplifies the worst aspects of the nose. Thanks to all the Munich malt, or something similar, 2 Below tastes like an Oktoberfest much more than an ESB. Aren't ESBs supposed to be bitter and hop-dominant rather than malt-dominant?

Speaking of hops, either American or English varities, assuming enough were used, might have saved this beer from mediocrity. As is, it tastes like toasted brown bread coated with unsweet caramel, freshly-dug clay and unidentified herbs. How did this recipe pass muster, especially after they tasted a test batch? Not only that, but it's about as far from a winter warmer as it could possibly be.

I'm trying very hard to take personal preference into account, which is the one and only reason I've granted a flavor score of average. The mouthfeel is medium in a general sense, with an odd slickness on the back end and a generous amount of fine-bubbled carbonation. I'm okay with it, but I don't love it.

Even though I have a fairly high opinion of this brewery (why, I'm not exactly sure), the only NB offering that I thought was exceptional was their dubbel, which they call Abbey Belgian Style Ale. 2 Below Winter Ale isn't at all what I expected and has to qualify as a major disappointment. I'd suggest giving it a complete overhaul from stem to stern.

03-16-2007 14:03:42 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy light amber color with a modest head that speckles the glass with lace

Smell: Yeasty abread aroma with an earthy hop element

Taste: Opens with a bready flavor with caramel undertones; after the swallow, earthy hop flavors briefly join in but the finish remains bready

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting twist on the ESB style but I don't particularly like its lack of fruitiness

Thanks, brandoman63, for the opportunity

10-13-2007 22:11:17 | More by brentk56
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

08-21-2013 06:58:36 | More by zestar
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%

A - Poured a nice hazy golden amber, with about a one inch head gracing the top. Very quick head fade that left behind nothing more then a thin soapy like glaze across the top. Some slight carbonation bubbles were visible.

S - Spicey with a slight candy like back to it. It definatly came off sweeter then I thought it would. Lots of light fruit but mostly alot of spice in the back here. Almost a pumpkin liek aroma to it.

T - The taste was really quite nice, and I have to echo a fellow BA, this is my favorite from them by far. Light crisp flacvor with a good amount of spice in it and a decent hop profile to finish. Very complex flavor, cinamon, nutmeg, a ton of little spices dancing around in there, very well put together.

M - Super smooth and crisp. Great feel. Lots of carbonation and silky smooth. Flavor really pops and it is a very easy drinker.

D- Very nice, you dont even feel the 6.6%. For a winter beer it was very drinkable in the summer for sure. I could easily put down a few of these with no effort what so ever.

Overall this was an excellent beer. I really enjoyed the flavor profile and the the great finish. I do not know so much about a winter beer as this was totally light enough to drink now. I just wish we could get new belgium around here and I would be set!

08-28-2007 01:54:46 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.8/5  rDev +4.4%

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a fluffy off-white head that leaves some nice lacing.

S: A toasted, biscuity aroma with a fairly light hop aroma.

T: I was a bit let down by the nose, but the flavor was an improvement. The toasted malt is the main flavor but there is a nice hop bitterness as well.

M: The body is light and the level of carbonation is moderate.

D: The alcohol is moderate, which makes it easy to drink. It's just not a terribly complex beer, but certainly not bad.

01-18-2010 09:54:21 | More by womencantsail
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +9.9%

12-05-2011 22:42:15 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

02-02-2012 04:30:44 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

03-10-2013 20:10:34 | More by spycow
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

11-13-2013 03:55:25 | More by GRG1313
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.6/5  rDev -1.1%

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Best Before: March 5, 2010.

Appearance: Pours out a brilliant, amber body with an airy, fluffy, white head.

Smell: Toasty, spicy nose with, on occasions, the toast and spice aspects coming together at just the right time to give me the impression of gourmet cinnamon powder. Also, some hints of dehydrated herbs and a distant, vague fruitiness.

Taste: Initially, it's a sweetish combination of caramel and toasty malt tastes rounded out with an ill-defined hint of supporting, juicy fruitiness. Then, in comes the spicy, herbaceous hop character imparted by the Sterling and Liberty with a notable hint of coarsely-cracked white peppercorns. Drying finish with an enduring spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: One of those odd ales that falls between the cracks -- it's not a great representation of an ESB and doesn't perform too well as a Winter Warmer. Though, as just a pleasant, easy-drinking beer, it's alright.

11-13-2009 21:21:23 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-21-2013 20:20:19 | More by jaydoc
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

12-17-2006 20:20:48 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

It's cold out, but I doubt it's that cold. Still, this guy pours a clear copper topped by a nice finger of light off-ecru foam. The nose comprises flowers, light grapefruit, white grapes, light lemon zest, and a touch of sugary caramel. The taste doesn't deviate too far from this appointed route, though the caramel is stronger, acting as a nice chassis for the fruitier notes, and the flowers also accentuate themselves. The body is fairly light, with a light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a nice brew, nothing quite special, but very easy to drink.

12-02-2010 19:13:53 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

3/5  rDev -17.6%

01-17-2013 22:38:48 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4/5  rDev +9.9%

A - Poured out a golden amber color with a bubbly/soapy, off-white, two-finger head. It left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of hops and grasses. Also a tad bit of citrus aroma. It had somewhat f a roasted malt aroma, too.

T - It tasted of tons of hops and very grassy. Great roasted malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a warm alcohol presence. It was a medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good ESB. It almost tastes more like an IPA it is some hoppy.

11-20-2007 05:37:20 | More by zeff80
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -5.2%

Wondering around Denver international airport, I had a few hours to kill, and right before subjecting myself to a Burger King lunch, I noticed the "New Belgium" listing in the food directory. Well now, get thee hence, I proclaimed...

With a lovely view of the Rocky Mountains, and the terminal with the white peaks that emulates said mountains, I ordered a 2 Degrees Below. This beer appeared a medium copper, with a white head, and lots of lacing. The smell was of muted floral hops. The taste showed caramel malt, and more floral hops. The beer had a mild carbonation, with a medium weight body. This reminded me of Brewster's beer style, only a little bit hoppier. It was a nice quaff, I could drink a few of these while waiting for a connection, flight or otherwise...

11-07-2008 08:03:38 | More by biboergosum
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +12.6%

New Belgium's 2º Below Winter Ale pours a clear orange-amber body beneath a creamy off-white head that holds remarkably well and leaves sheets of thin lace behind.

The aroma delivers a solid maltiness that's bready, doughy, toasty and caramelish with a suggestion of spice that's probably just hops... it's spicy, peppery, and kind of earthy and grassy.

The flavor follows suit and the hops are a bit more floral and spicy. The bready and toasty malt remains, and it's very well balanced by a firm bitterness. It's very well rounded, and it finishes with a touch of lingering bready and caramel-drizzled malt and a bit of drying spiciness.

Overall it's a really nicely done malty beer that never gets sweet, and isn't too bitter. Additionally, it's really pretty unique in that it kind of suggests spices where there are none. Quite nice!

07-19-2009 12:42:35 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +3%

Pours crystal clear with an amber color with a ruby touch to it. Decent sized head. Nose is extremely heavy on the hops. Just overpowering almost. Flavor is even and smooth, but I get something odd on there. I just can’t place it (inexperience), but it’s almost like a port like character that peeks out at you. At the start you get an almost thin layer of pine which fades to what I think is an alcohol tone after some time. Feel is a little thinner than I would think would be appropriate, but it is pretty drinkable, though not the greatest example of the style by any means.

12-30-2007 07:27:57 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%

Acquired from davey, courtesy of the Local Goods 3 BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, some hops and a touch of citrus.

T: The taste starts out bready with a hearty malt character followed by mildly sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. There's also a hint of a nutty flavor. The hops presence is strong but not over-powering and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very solid beer that is worth pounding down for a long period of time.

05-09-2010 03:51:20 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%

BBD of 15 Feb 08

Pours amber/caramel with 2+ fingers of pillowy pearl colored head. Some effervescence kicks in as this warms up. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Slight citric & herbal hop scent. Caramel shows as this warms

T: Bready with caramel & leafy/herbal hops up front. Fruittyness surfaces as this warms, plus boozey warmth along with more leafy/tobacco type hops. Finishes with a caramel, slight fruittyness & grapefruitty hops & some datey + pineapple fruittyness

MF: A little chewy, minimal carbonation with some wetness, weird. Balances well

Drinks pretty easy, the boozey warmth does slow you down a bit. A fair ESB that is much better on tap IMO

11-03-2007 02:38:08 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%

12 oz bottle into one of those new and rather nice looking New Belgium balloon goblets that just came out. Big thanks to my buddy Bubba83 for the hookup with both of these in a recent trade.

Pours a crystal clear amber with 2 fingers of creamy looking off-white head. Retention is really good with a nice aggressive flare-up that leaves some solid lacing that sticks. The aroma puts it right out there nicely, with a big scent of buttered bread, light fruity character, and some dry smelling floral notes.

The taste isn't quite as bold as the aroma but is still pretty full flavored with some bready and buttered biscuits, a splash of citrus, and a moderate amount of solid feeling dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy retention. The creaminess really helps bring the bready aspects of this out well. Despite the easy carbonation, there is still a some beef to the overall feel that keeps this from being overly drinkable.

Good take on a Strong Bitter here, with more of an assertive hoppiness than I would have thought and I actually didn't mind the beefier feel, as it added some warmth to the glass and made for some good winter drinking. Solid.

01-12-2009 17:31:37 | More by Kegatron
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%

(these notes are from December 23, 2010)
This is one I've had on tap at various locations, might have had a bottle, but what I tasted from this bottling did not remind me of what I had before. The winter ale from New Belgium Brewing, 2 (degrees) BELOW (hey, they're the ones who capitalize it.)

New Belgium 2 Below Ale…"We like to think we beat winter at it's own game a 2 BELOW Winter Ale, a bright warming blast of Sterling and Liberty hops along with tawny-roasted malts. By pushing our 2 BELOW into a final, nearly freezing state, it's ample structure develops a brilliant clarity, Dry-hopping during fermentation creates a bright, hoppy palate and a cheery warm afterglow. Serve at 3 C (37 F) Acl. 6.6% by Vol.)"

So that's what they say, here's what I say…

Crystal-clear, auburn appearance, pale crimson, with a dotted white head, leaving lace.

Aromatics, hops up front, lightly bitter and herbal, a mix of English and American hop characteristics, a little sweet fruit peeps in for a moment. Bitterness continues on the tongue, with, yes, a bright, cheery flavor below. Crisp and clean, but a little too lean in body for my liking. For a winter ale, I'd like to taste something darker and a bit heavier.

This pleases the pale ale/IPA lover in me, but my taste buds are yearning for darker malts when you say "winter ale." However, as I strive to judge beers on their own, versus what I wish they were, it's hard to really complain.

01-14-2012 08:40:08 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4/5  rDev +9.9%

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.

12-30-2010 23:38:48 | More by Mora2000
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,049 ratings.