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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.

1,067 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,067
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 21
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: 1,067 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cerveza5150
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good one - not great, but good. The best part of the appearance is the label on the bottle, sadly. I'm a huge New Belgium fan, but I thought this needed something more. The smell of the malt is great, but the taste doesn't finish with a bang. I'd drink this anytime, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find it...

cerveza5150, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce brown glass bottle ringed with a ribbed shoulder which has the words ‘New Belgium’ embossed onto it. Glossy red crown cap has the orange and white NBB logo on it. Looks like the bottle in the BA Database. Recommended to be served at 3°C (37°F). Listed at Alc. 6.6% by Vol. Best Before: 23Mar07.

Appearance: Clean polished amber copper body which has a sparkling clarity to it. Frothy dirty beige head, clumped lacing and a tight finely dissolved carbonation.

Nose: At close to the recommended serving temperature…..nothing. As it warms some hop oils and toasted malts but the strength is woefully weak. Has a grainy texture on the nose. Not much here, but what there is not really that appealing.

Taste: Starts with a malt base which benefits from a surge of oily hops in the initial phase. Decent toasted malt centre-piece and a light bitterness to finish with a fruity tingle too. This is alright, nothing wrong with it but the overall impression is of a run-of-the-mill English Bitter.

Mouthfeel: Didn’t get any of the 6.6% in this. The texture is grainy and the feel dry. Seems unbalanced to me and a little disjointed at times.

Drinkability: The first beer of the night for me tends to get a pounding. And this is a good drink, but behind the thirst quenching aspect it has very little to offer.

Overall: Very average, and if you serve this at the recommended serving temperature of 3°C (37°F) which is near freezing (why!?) then I fear you will find it even more ordinary. At least a little warmth allows what flavor is there to escape. Not really a “Winter Ale” to me, but if you serve it at 3°C (37°F) you could certainly be feeling like it is. Definitely not one of the better releases from NBB in my opinion.

Thanks to both BA Erica for allowing me to borrow one of BA UncleJimbo’s recently gifted bottles from the Pizza Port Strong Ale Festival.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of Vancer
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I’m glad it’s not 2 below as I sample this lil goodie. The pour was a clear and bright amber – tons of sticky and foamy ivory head.

Aroma was an unique woody and floral combination, very unusual. Quaff was reminiscent of the fat tire – doughy and toasty. But the additional hops are noticeable in the finish. Fresh cut grass pops in there too.

Welp, this was certainly different, and enjoyable. As noted in other reviews, the hoppy burps come forth by mid-bottle.

Vancer, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
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!

Zorro, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of jazappi
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: Came in a mug.

Appearance: Golden Color, a good one finger head that lasted, with good lacing.

Aroma: Citrus smell, but very crisp

Taste: Light, crisp tasted. Medium to light carbination

Mouthfeel: I like the way it felt in the mouth very smooth, and very drinkable.

Overall: I will look forward to this each winter. One of my favorite winter brews. Highly recommend, every one had one of these at the table, and we all liked it.

jazappi, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of machiavelli
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: coppery, sort of like a new penny

Smell: sorta floral, sorta citrusy

Taste: A little light for a winter style ale, but a good balance of hops with undertones of citrus

Mouthfeel: Bubblier than most winter ales, but palatable

Drinkability: A good beer to have with a meal, I like it with chicken or fish. As I said before, a bit lighter feel than other winter brews, but the muted flavor compliments the food and doesn't overpower it.

machiavelli, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of rpheld
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'Smuggled' this in from Nebraska.

Pours a deep copper with a light head. Very fragrant, light citrus notes right from the bottle.

Tastes slightly nutty, hint of cashew, hops are well balanced.
Would definatly recommend trying 2 Below if you have the chance.
An ESB seems an odd style choice for a winter seasonal but it works out well.

rpheld, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of biergeniesser
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle of New Belgium 2 below (best before 4/06/07) poured a brilliantly clear orange-amber with a fluffy white head that dissipated quickly. Small bubbles evolve continuously from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma is dominated by crisp hops. An underlying toasted malt aroma is also present. Sweet caramel malt notes lurk in the background.

As with the aroma, the flavor is also dominated by the hops. Crisp and tea-like, the dry hop flavor is prominent. Also present, a crisp, lingering hop bitterness and a nice kettle hop flavor. A nice, although subdued, toasted malt character is detectable. The flavor of this beer is finished off nicely with a slight warming alcohol character.

2 below is light in body with a crisp mouthfeel and a low- moderate degree of carbonation.

A truly interesting winter ale heavy on unusual hops... it stands apart from most other winter seasonals and is certainly worth a try.

biergeniesser, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of ChrisA
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour. Thick two finger head. Golden light copper color, bright and clear. Well balanced malt and hops on the nose. I like this beer a lot. Crisp and refreshing up front with a steady malt presence. Flowery hops kick in nicely on the back end. Perhaps my favorite New Belgium offering. Definitely need to pick up some more.

ChrisA, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of Morris729
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden amber color with a creamy white head. Nose is herbal and grassy hops at first, but as the beer warms, aromas of chocolaty caramel malts become more pronounced. Quite nice, actually. Taste is toasted malt and toffee with a touch of fruitiness followed by a hop bitterness. A decent brew with the aroma being the highlight.

Morris729, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a long stemmed pils glass it forms a meaty eggshell white head that leaves coat lacing. Light copper body with medium sized carbonation. Highly filtered, clear body.

some syrupy spiced quality to this but overall it is in the backdrop and not annoying at all. This is probably the best offering from New Belgium in my opinion. Fairly clean malts which is a shocker if I take their other products into consideration. Sweet but once again not overdone. Slightly roasted malt presence is welcomed and then it ends up with a hop twister of the east coast variety.

Notes: I've made no bones about it that I can't get into brews from this brewery. This one stands out as the "best" offering I've had to date from New Belgium. It left behind that musky malt presence I find in its Fat Tire etc....Reccomended

DogFood11, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into mug.

Clear amber hue with an off white head that quickly fizzles to a thin cap.

Grainy malts, leafy hops, and chocolate? An odd smell, but it seems to be mixed well, although there is a slightly musty aroma to it.

Leafy hops and grainy malt. Thin bodied with medium carbonation, and a slightly bitter finish with grains joining in.

Not bad, but I have had better ESB's. Worth a try.

BeerSox, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of RootedFool
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard goblet, the body is translucent deep amber with a slight cherry aura; the head is a sturdy three quarters of an inch tall and deflates quickly leaving a soapy ring of lace. Nose: A thorough prickle of hops upfront, some sweetness slides in quickly -- candied cherries, oranges, orange zest, solid hint of caramel -- while the hops continue to hold center-court. Taste: Starts from the back with a blunt yet subtle grate of crusty hops, and moves forward with a very round sweetness -- melons and most definitely apricot come to mind. The aftertaste is a twang of lemon zest, as the hops ascend even further, even a little peppery, leaving more fully fledged malt sweetness. Mouthfeel: A little lighter than I expected it to be, but passable. An interesting choice of style for a winter seasonal.

RootedFool, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of LarryKemp
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a clear golden tan with an ample off white head.

WOW the nose of the hops. Great hops with a hint of chocolate sneaking in as the beer warms.

As much as the hops dominated the nose, the malts take charge of the tongue. Nice and sweet but not as special as the aroma.

Full semi creamy mouthfeel.

A very, very nice beer. It is going to be one my favorites.

LarryKemp, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of sinistermadman
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear light copper in color with an off white burly head.

Smell is of grass and some other earthy notes. Not much to say...

Toasty malt notes with a buttery undercurrent round out the flavor. The hops peek through at the very end along with some faint fruit notes. Medium body with alcohol warming finish. Alcohol becomes more evident as the brew warms. Finishes relatively balanced and clean. Not my favorite style, but this is respectable.

sinistermadman, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of instrumentality
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I, like most people, was introduced to New Belgium through Fat Tire. I started seeing it popping up more and more at chain restaurants and would occasionally select it over my old standby, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I thought it was better than most macrobrews I've tried and had a unique flavor but was nothing too spectacular. Then I tried their 1554, which I found to be pretty tasty but, again, nothing to write home about.

Then one day, I came home late and discovered a pint glass filled almost to the top with Fat Tire. It turned out that a friend of my girlfriend had taken a couple of sips but was apparently so blitzed from whatever they had been consuming prior to that that she couldn't go any further. The beer was at room temperature by then, but I am a firm believer in discouraging "alcohol abuse" (i.e. wasting beer) so, martyr that I am, I took it upon myself to finish the beer.

I took one sip and was amazed. It was flavorful. It had a distinctive nuttiness to it that I had never noticed before. It was remarkably smooth. It was all kinds of things that I had never noticed before in all the times past when it was delivered to me ice cold by well-intentioned but oblivious waiters.

A few days ago, I stopped by a local liquor store and saw half a dozen different kinds of New Belgium beer adorning one of the shelves. I was impressed by the distribution success, but I wanted to try a new brewery, so I passed them over.

Shortly thereafter, I read a post from fellow BA assurbanipaul explaining that as unimpressed as he was with New Belgium overall, their 2 below had rapidly become one of his favorites. I was convinced, and a couple of days later, I stopped by the same store for a sixer.

Into the Stone IRS tulip glass it went. Substantial head at first, but within a minute it was nothing but halo. The liquid beneath was somewhere between amber and gold (ok, so I'd make a lousy interior decorator), and was remarkably clean and entirely transparent save the surface.

The odor had a tangerine sweetness to it mixed with a bit of malt. It smelled refreshing. One taste confirmed to my palate what my nose had already understood; this is a refreshing brew. It was like drinking a Fat Tire, crisp with a nuttiness reminiscent of Humboldt's Hemp Ale, but with added citrus hops and perhaps a hint more alcohol (I haven't actually compared the ABV's to verify).

The mouthfeel going in was, for lack of a better term, calming--mellow carbonation, mellow alcohol, light body. The one beef I had here was that the nuttiness lingered on my tongue a bit too long and started to taste a bit stale and chalky--not too much, but enough to detract from an otherwise comforting experience (throw in a mild cheese and I'm sure the problem would be solved...to be determined).

Drinkability is a no-brainer. I could have downed the whole glass in a matter of minutes, but what a waste that would be. Flavorful, soothing, and refreshing, this brew could just as easily serve as a summer ale as a winter ale. Unfortunately, it's seasonal, which means I should probably go back for more before it runs out.

instrumentality, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of Beerzebub
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Light copper, with a bit of off-white head. Very clear. Lace.

Smells of grassy, herbal hops - tettnanger, or something like it. Some light maltiness, like sugar cookies. A bit of butter.

Taste matches the smell. Not strong. A hint of alpine herbs, like Chartreuse. Some mild esters, a little like unripe banana. A little sweetness, but dried out by some astringency. Odd.

Mouthfeel is watery, despite help from the slight astringency.

Highly quaffable - and it might as well be quaffed.

A small, odd beer. Maybe worth trying for the unusual hops, although they're not very strong.

Beerzebub, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of TheLiterati
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is quite an interesting winter ale. Amber in color with a tan, finger-high head, and quite a unique aroma. Is it toffee? Vanilla? Malt? Something woodsier? I like it, but I can’t put my finger on what it reminds me of.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a nice bit of carbonation. The taste is more woodsy than sweet, with a nice hoppy bitterness. There’s a subtle floral undertone, along with more vanilla malt and toasted grain.

The taste and aroma of this ale is perplexing, but I find that all in all I like it. Maybe not the best winter offering out there, but it’s drinkable.

TheLiterati, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of Beaver13
2.38/5  rDev -34.6%
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.

Beaver13, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Serving suggestion of goblet and 37 degrees F (I went with a pint glass, but did drop the temp), 6.6% abv and best by 09MAR07 (sampled 28NOV06).

Aroma: Like sniffing a bag of hops about to be thrown in the kettle. Grassy, noble, bittering. I’m intrigued and worried at the same time. Some malt is noted later as it warmed.

Appearance: Bright amber with hints of red in the glass, sports a tight off white head clinging to the sides already.

Flavor: Wet roasted dark grain, nutty, toasty, biscuity, much like Fat Tire. The hops are noted but not extreme, the balance is strongly toward malt. Some earthy hop notes creep in as it starts to warm.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly grainy texture, firm carbonation skirts fizz.

Overall Impression: If you like Fat Tire, you’ll like this; it’s a close cousin. I found it interesting that the cold serving temp muted then released hop in the taste and malt in the nose as it warmed. The two main flavors (grassy hop, grainy roasted malt) compliment each other nicely. Well done!

HardTarget, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light copper with a frothy white head. Aroma is immediately fresh clean hops, very bright and straight out of the bag.

Taste is medium toasty with a nice hoppy freshness. Bright, slightly lemony hop flavors rides the light malt base very well. Would not be surprised to learn this was dry hopped (which, as the label states, it is). No trace of alcohol flavors or aromas; finish is dry.

Mouthfeel is light and thin but holds up very well. Very clean, sharp, an excellent palette upon which to paint these hop varieties (Sterling and Liberty, as per the label). A welcome hoppy mid-winter seasonal light IPA, although it's clearly too hoppy to be called an ESB.

assurbanipaul, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very clean looking brew, copper color with pumpkin highlights. Attractive streams of bubbles conjure from nothing on the side of the glass. Head is off white with a slightly green tint. Decent ring with a small gathering of foam on top.

S: Toasted malts, floral hop character, dried biscuits and pepper.

T: A malty brew with a pronounced bready personality. A lot like a xmas style bread your aunt might bake. Reminds me a lot of a mulled drink you might be served at the same gathering. Choc full of nutty flavors; sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and almonds. Maybe a smidgeon of chocolate and cream in there as well with. Hops play the back up roll in this show but add much needed balance and depth across the tip of the tongue. Finishes with alderberries and surprising peanut butter.

M: Medium mouthfeel but amazingly creamy.

D: This beer really grew on me. First sip and I prepared myself for some boring malt bomb with no depth. This beer actually has a lot going on. I can confidently say this is my favorite New Belgium beer to date.

Westsidethreat, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of theopholis
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an amber color with a thick, fluffy, white head. The head has decent staying power, leaving good lacing.

Smell- Grassy-citris hops with a perfect balance of malt.

Taste-The 1st thing you taste is freshly made biscuits, followed by a very nice blend of hops. Drinking it straight from the bottle, you get a more pronounced hop flavor with a hint of roast.

Mouthfell-This beer goes down smooth, with no CO2 bite. Just a tad undercarbonated.

Overall: A nice, easy drinking session beer. Not extraordinary, but worth aq try.

theopholis, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of WetCoaster
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Crystal clear golden copper with a dense pure white head. Nice.

Smell: Booming, as promised. Piney, spicy hops over a base of butterscotch malt. Slightly floral yeast.

Taste/Mouthfeel: As with many NB beers, about three-quarters of where it should be. Starts out hop spicy and bitter, but soon waters down miserably. The malt really goes nowhere. A bit fruity and juicy, but finishes dry and bland. The mouthfeel is fine; thin and crisp.

Drinkability: I think what they were going for here was a SS Winter Welcome clone. What they got was a somewhat watery IPA with an odd malt and yeast base. Not offensive, but not particularly interesting, either.

Note: Unless you plan on serving it as a smoothie, don't serve at the recommended 37 degrees.

WetCoaster, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of allengarvin
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brand new in the Dallas area. Pours out a clear copper color with a big inch-worth of frothy foam, followed by excellent lacing. Lighty toasted malt aroma with a distinctly peppery hop nose. The malt flavor on the initial taste is completely identical to their flagship beer, Fat Tire, but it's got a stronger hop underpinning, with more bitterness and a good deal of spicy, peppery hop flavor. The nutty, toasted malt remains a dominant flavor and it finishes malty. Creamy body.

Not a complex beer, and remarkably similar to Fat Tire, but still quite tasty and quite quaffable. Really, this is kind of like the classic English winter beer, which in most breweries was a stronger version of their basic beers. Very nice, and worth buying again.

allengarvin, Nov 22, 2006
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,067 ratings.