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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.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,151 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,151
Reviews: 568
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 24
Gots: 80 | 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: 1,151 | Reviews: 568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark golden with a fluffy head. Thin trailing lace sticks.

The smell is fruity (citric), slightly perfumy.

The taste is tea-like, slightly woody, some dried tobacco mixed with a biscuity malt. Citrus comes through in the finish. Something about the mixture isn't sitting so well, but works adequately enough. Some slight alcohol warmth comes through.

Lighter-bodied for a "winter" release, but works well enough. It's smooth.

Not sure what is really "winter" about it, but it's a decent enough brew. It has an ESB/Bitter character about it (and on the hoppy side), but it just didn't "mesh" well together enough to be anything great, in my opinion. Still in all, glad enough it was in the winter variety pack and to have had four bottles of it.

Photo of kojevergas
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
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.

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

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 DrBier
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Best by date March 2007, Sampled November 2006
I am snippy tonight, who is the pin head who recommends serving this beer at 37°F? Anyway, this is a brilliantly clear, light cherry red color that has just a touch of an amber hue to it. The head starts out at two-fingers thick, is a light amber tinted tan color and leaves some lacing as it falls fairly quickly. Ah, a nice, pungently hoppy aroma greets my nose as I take a draught of the aroma. Sweet citrus aromatics mix with a solid berry-like note, both of which sit atop a herbal, spicy hop character that has leanings toward cinnamon basil and mentholated pine. The front side of the aroma is just bright and vibrant, though if explored too in depth, shows signs of chalk and onions.

Lightly sweet in flavor, but the bright, punchy hop notes definitely play the lead role here. There is a nice malt character here though: caramel and toffee notes mix with a toasted maltiness that leans towards a dark malt side of the spectrum (despite the relatively light color of this brew). There is a slight onion, or even garlic like note here (a flavor I usually associate with Summit hops, which aren't used here) that adds to the hop complexity, in a background sort of way, more than it detracts.

This is a really quaffable beer, there is something about it that makes me want pint after pint of this brew. Perhaps not phenomenal when analyzing the individual, slightly flawed, components that make up this beer, but as a whole this is just my cup-o-tea.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of GClarkage
4.21/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/30/05- Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- Via tap into a standard pint glass..

Appearance- Perfect example of an amber colored pour. I was looking to see if I could find any insects in suspended animation it was that perfect. 1/4 inch creamy sparkling white head with above average lacing.

Smell- Had to really sniff to get anything here. As the beer went down and I was really able to get my nose in the glass I caught a whiff of a muted hoppy scent with a canned fruit cocktail syrup scent as well as maybe a few spices.

Taste- Different and intriguing, with a light malty flavor. Small amounts of hops creating a bit of light bitterness. Strong tropical fruit flavors carry this beer. Bits of pineapple, peaches and apricots.

Mouthfeel- Sticky sweetness with a mid range to heavier mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice fruity flavor, almost tastes like a fruit beer more than a winter warmer. Very tasty for whatever it is though.

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of Gavage
4.01/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a crystal clear amber color which a big 3"+ head that lasts a long time.

Smell: easy to detect caramel and fruity sweetness.

Taste: caramel, ripe red fruits, and a bit of a bread-like quality. Nice bitterness wraps the package. A straight-forward brew that is easy to quaff.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Short bready and caramel aftertaste sticks to your tongue.

Drinkability: this comes in as a nice session brew in my opinion, not a heavy winter ale expected when I purchased it. Tasty and worth a try.

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

12 oz. bottle, bought at Hollingshead's Delicatessen, in Orange, CA,

A: Pours a clear orange, with a nice, white head into a Duvel tulip, nice clarity for a higher alcohol beer.

S: Smells really good, a mix of dark malt and spices, some nutmeginess and cinnamon are there as well.

T: Quite bitter on the taste from the spices, a bit of a peppery flavour, very light, however, I thought it was too light for a winter beer, though there were some good malt notes, and a bit of age character to it. Definite herbal notes.

M: Light and smooth, easy to get down, though I was looking for a little more heft.

D: A pretty good beer from New Belgium, I enjoyed it, would probably try again this winter.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and hints of orange + amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy light beige head that reduces to a couple of medium to large patches of very thick film surrounded by a thin film and a very thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted bready malts with light to moderate aromas of herbal, spicy, and floral hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of lightly toasted bready malts with a slight hint of grainy sweetness. There are some light flavors of herbal, spicy, and floral hops which impart a light amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Enjoyable and a nice beer for a cold winter evening - reminds me of a slightly stronger version of the beers I would drink on cask in the UK when I was getting something stronger. Nice flavors.

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, drink before Feb. 13, 2009, into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a nice fluff head that is almost a slight tan. Head leaves incredible lacing! Color is almost a light pumpkin orange color. It really reminds me of the fall!

I can already smell the hops! Yummm!! A slight of caramal is also noted. Taste is really great. I can definitely taste all the hops. A very floral-like taste.

Carbonation is decent, with a pretty awesome mouthfeel. A little bitter (obv.) but very smooth. Not too thick, but not too thin.

Overall, a great beer and a must try. Cheers to New Belgium! For how cheap this is, I enjoy picking this up in the winter. An easy drinking beer.

Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear red with a tall off-white head and lacing. Looking good. I like this beer. The aroma and malt background have a chocolate biscuit character while juicy citrus hops run throughout the beer. It finishes with a mild rind bitterness. The hops are pretty big for an ESB, or whatever this is, but they're wonderfully balanced. This is a fine winter ale.

Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale amber with little head. Aromas of apricot with a bit of funk and a little Christmas spiciness, thought this is quite restrained. Tastes of mandarin oranges, apricots, and a bit of metal. Slightly sweet, but not overly so. Light, crisp mouthfeel makes this somewhat refreshing, but the spice and sweetness less so. Not bad, but I've enjoyed a number of other winter ales more.

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

On-tap at Draft Picks Pizza Pub, on to the beer:

It looks good with an attractive amber-orange color, whispy lacing on the glass as it's consumed. I found the aroma to be clean with some citrus and toffee. The taste is a hybrid of American and English charactersits. It starts clean with some bready malts. Caramel come in, then diacetyl. The hop flowers provide clean hop bitterness. The tail-end of the journey leaves a buttery feel and taste in the mouth. Don't worry, there's none of that buttered popcorn taste. Right on target.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark amber poured, with stubborn head. Held up to the light it looks more golden.
Aroma of sweet malt and orange peel, alcohol, and something like nuts.
Taste was a bit bland; the hops came in to soften the malt and give a bit of a kick, but not bitter. Citrus was not present in the taste.
Felt smooth and warm, enough alcohol to notice it. A good seasonal if you do not like the darker stuff.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a crystal clear copper color, white head settling fairly quickly. Nose is less fruity, caramel malt, spice, nutmeg and very tasty A nice malty brew, with just enough hops to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is fairly mild, not too complex. Drinkability is high due to its taste and smoothness.

Photo of atrocity
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

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

A 12 oz bottle from nvsblman.

A: The ale is a vibrant copper color. There is a small white band encircling the glass and a nice stream of carbonation bubbling up from the center.

S: The aroma is grainy malt and a hint of citrusy hops.

T: This strikes me as an interesting take on an ESB. The hops are ramped up a bit, adding a bit of citrusy hops to the strong malt base. The malts are grainy with a slight nutty sweetness. They are, however, a little thin and allow for a herbal flavor to kick up at the end.

M: The floral flavor is unusual, but the initial hoppy citrus taste is pleasant. There is nothing that screams 'undrinkable' here.

D: The ale is a good drink, I'd gladly have another.

Photo of Zorro
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I noticed about this the moment I poured this is its excellent good looks. Clear amber colored ale with strong orange tint to it. Good thick and fluffy tan colored head.

Smell is strongly of hops. Malty with a strongly citrus scented hops kick in the nostrils. Lesser hop scents of menthol, tobacco, leather and tea. Toasted grain and malt aroma mostly caramel, vanilla and faint coffee.

Taste is mildly malty and hoppy and woody at the start. Wood and citrus are mostly what I taste in this good amount of grapefruit and a little bit of a bitter snap in the finish. This pretty much stays a dry woody and hoppy beer, a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is full.

Very easy to drink, tasty yet not punishing.

A good tasty and hoppy winter ale. This is a very good choice for the time after you have had your fill of too much sweet from you usual winter warmers. Hoppier than you would think, you burp after one of these and you will know it!

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.

Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a five finger rocky cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is not as hoppy as brewer says, not the usual ESB, hints of sweetness, very drinkable. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,151 ratings.