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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.

1,140 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,140
Reviews: 566
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 23
Gots: 71 | 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: 1,140 | Reviews: 566 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RustythePelican
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this from the bottle into a pilsner glass; it is a nice-looking beer, copper-caramel colored with a small head. Smell was mild with hints of pine, suggesting more hops than this beer has.

Taste is mild and grassy, with a brief hop bitterness on the finish. This tasted a little thin to me for something advertised as a "winter ale" - more of a boozy Fat Tire to enjoy at an after-sunset cookout. Mild flavor and low carbonation makes this an easy drinking beer; I'm not sure if this is accurately categorized as an Extra Special/Strong Bitter, but it's a decent beer nonetheless.

Photo of jeffjfindley
3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Basically this is a heavier version of Fat Tire. Very nice in appearance, but in no way remarkable. Smell and taste are biscuity, as is the Tire, but with a little more spice. A little bit of fennel and some grassiness. Mouthfeel is round but hollow. This isn't bad, I just fail to see how it qualifies as a winter warmer. A lazy, ill-conceived offering from an otherwise fine brewery.

Photo of buffettfan
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from eh bottle into a glass. Amber in color, not a lot of head, but what was there stuck around for a little bit.
Smell was malt, and a little yeast. Tastes is malty and hoppy, a little fruit. A nice beer and a good seasonal choice. I like to have some of this in my fridge for the holiday season.

Photo of russpowell
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of crayphish
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The ESB offering from New Belgium poured a radiant clear copper. A fluffy head leaves a decent amount of lacing as I consume. Smell is typical malty biscuit that NB is known for. An additional amount of subdued fruity hops. Taste is essentially Fat Tire with a fair amount of bittering hops. The fruitiness apparent in the nose is lost on me here. Mouthfeel is clean and fresh, and I found the brew to be drinkable tho a bit boring.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Best before 15FEB08"

a: pours a clear copper/orange with white head and good lacing

s: can detect piney, biscuity notes

t: toasty malts with a biscuity finish. neither malt nor hops dominate, well balanced flavors overall. not a typical esb, but still quite tasty.

m: I have never used the word biscuity in a review before today, but that continues to be the word that best describes this beer. Doesn't stick to the tongue too much. Average carbonation. Crisp dry finish.

d: its smooth. Not overly hoppy or sweet, goes down pretty easy. Wouldn't have guessed its ABV: 6.60 %. Not too filling, I could definitely put down several in one sitting, but the alcohol does creep up on you.

Photo of marcpal
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Thank you to BORT11 for the shipment.

A: Reddish-amber and very lear. Thin head but nothing extraordinary or bizarre here.

S: Woodsy smell and the malts were nice. Biscuits/bready aroma was what I was hoping for in this beer.

T: Again dominated by malts. By the end of the glass, this beer really seemed to develop into a different taste and more bitter. Maltiness still there and quite good tastes.

M: Carbonation was slight and overall biscuity mouthfeel.

D: Overall drinkable and you could taste the alcohol in the beer but a good version of a 'winter warmer' . Maltiness could make it difficult to put down too many, but overall drinkable.

Photo of Gusler
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours forth from the 12 ounce bottle a shimmering gold with a prestigious bright white creamy head, after its evaporation, the lace forms an encircling sheet to cover the glass. Sweet malt dominates the nose, citrus like crispness with a nice hop aroma, start has a pleasing malt presents, somewhat sweet, and bit of bite at the back, top is light to medium in feel. Finish has an authoritarian acidity, the hops vigorous in their acidity, dry aftertaste ends it all, and a drinkable beer, but I look for more in a Winter Ale.

Photo of Strix
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smells like fat tire with a citrus edge. Taste is dominated by citrus flavors for me, with some spices and hops, but seems to lack complexity. It's hard to put my finger on, sort of unusual, not bad, but not extremely appealing to me. Mouthfeel is adequate. There's a citrusy aftertaste for me that is reminiscent of watered-down orange juice that detracts from its positives. Maybe it's just because I'm coming off NB's Abbey, which I was quite impressed with, but I'm not quite feeling this one. Not bad or anything, but nothing I'll seek out.

Photo of bort11
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass. Chunky white head that leaves minimal lacing on the glass. Very thin spider-web. Color is a clear orange. The glass creates a nice steady stream of carbonation.
Smell is lightly floral with hints of fruit and caramel malts. Taste continues with the sweet floral flavors. I also taste a hint of tart cherries, which is odd. Nothing on the label indicates cherries are involved.
Mouthfeel has a crisp medium body. This seems to be lighter fare than most winter seasonals.

Photo of tayner
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i just got my case of this today... yeah to winter ales!

I opened the bottle and took a whiff, it smelled as though i was walking through a hop field... i poured it into a pint glass and it got about a 1 inch thick, white head covering a dark golden yellowish brown beer. the smell was again of hops, likely due to the dry hopping.

as i drink it the head retains well, and sticks to the glass as the liquid disappears....

I dont like very hoppy beers, but this one i like.. alot.. the aroma is much hoppier than the finish, and it is very smooth. I dont taste alot of rich malts, just some light hints of malt with a smooth finish.

For an ABV of 6.6 you cant really tell... i think i could drink a six of this with no problems.... no wonder everyone wants to get their hands on it... i am glad i can get this beer locally, ill be stockin up on this for sure!

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 brentk56
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of Stoneman78
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear orange with amber highlights, head is big, white, and creamy and mostly sustaining, the lacing appears watery but does stick to the glass
S- Smell is dominated by the trademark New Belgium roasted and biscuity malts, tones of hops, fruit, spices, and sweet candy as well
T- Taste is dominated by biscuit malts and sweet spices and herbs building to dry bitter hops that round out the finish
M- Medium-bodied and smooth with an almost creamy texture, plenty of carbonation
D- Very smooth and drinkable "winter ale", the alcohol is well-masked and the malts are well balanced with the hops, this is a nice offering and is distinctly NB, but I was expecting a bit more weight/complexity/warmth from a self-proclaimed winter ale

Photo of slargthorb
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served in a beer glass like 99% of the beer I drink.
A: Looks medium dark with orangy, reddish hues ( damn, I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about)
S: Smells like Fat Tire (which I love)
T: Tastes like Fat Tire but even toastier and with more alcohol noticable. TASTY!
M: Not too thick - also with the slight creaminess ala Fat Tire
D: I'm loving this; Yes!

This brings me to a comment on Fat Tire bashing. One of the things which makes beer snobs such bores is how they will bash some beer seemingly just because it's become so popular. Fat Tire is loved by many knowledgeable beer 'advocates', and deservedly(sp?) so.
Anyway, New Belgium is making some lovely beers, and this is certainly one of them!

Photo of Floydster
3.17/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Center Street Liquor in El Segundo

Poured into cold pint glass and was very dark brown, almost black

Had hints of tobacco and chocolate in the aroma

Tasted like a porter more so than an ESB

Did not find it very bitter like its description, probably would have enjoyed it more it the winter time rather than summer

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 mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of Wasatch
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 9 Feb 07.

Pours a nice slightly cloudy golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy off-white head, nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, pears, spicy, and some caramel. The taste is malty, fruity, slightly spicy, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a different ESB in my book, but drinkable.

Photo of shererjt
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear, pinkish copper color. Little carbonation or head. Aroma was raspberry, earthy, malty, with some Belgian character. Very nice. Medium body. Flavor was toasty with some late dry fruit. Well balanced. Exotic but not bizarre. Some late bitterness as well. Hop flavor was significant.

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

Tasted this on 13th July 2007 (okay, I know it's not the season!) Best by 04May07.

Poured a clear, pale tan brew with a nice white head that lasted throughout.
Very nice dry hoppy smell to it.
Tasted clean but with a slightly "veggie" aftertaste.
Mouthfeel very good. Overall a very nice and drinkable brew, and not too heavyweight at 6.6%.

Photo of plaid75
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a soft cocoa malt with hints of earthy hop.

The taste consisted of soft malts with a powdery cocoa element. Extremely light peppery hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a dry finish.

Overall a nice and easy drinking ESB. I would have prefered a bit more of a hop profile, but regardless I like the concept of an ESB winter beer offering.

Photo of HotterThanHell
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer in my Texas Tech pint glass with a pretty 3/4 inch head and then took a wif...Liberty hops and then some more Liberty Hops. This craft must be dry hopped with an entire crop. Also just a hint of malt. Nice!

Although I'm not much of a hop head, this beer is fantastic. The best I've had from this Brewery.

The taste is malty with just a little sweetness floating about your mouth, but once swallowed the hops reimpose their dominance on the pallet.

Not real dark for a winter ale, but everything else is wonderful. Not sure what others have given this but I think it should be high 80's and is definitely worth your precious beer drinking time.

Hi TTU94

Photo of rm0312
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle - A nice amber-brown color with decent lacing. The aroma was sweet and malty and with light hops. The flavor was slighty malty with some citrus tastes going on. I liked it and would buy it again next winter if I came across it.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a best by date on the label. Had a clear, light copper color. It had a good head that slowly dissipated and left some good lacing. The smell was earthy malts and floral hops. Taste was pretty good with no bitter aftertaste. Overall, a good ESB and worth a try. (3.5, RB, T, O)

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,140 ratings.