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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

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1,152 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,152
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: 1,152 | Reviews: 568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Night
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper / brilliant orange; flecks of vermilion. Foamy and bubbly blonde-white head, medium in size. Lacing forms two wide, intricately drippy arcs. Frosty looking. Aroma is warm and lightly hoppy with a spicy sweet touch: toast, suds, apples, caramel, sweet grass, liquor. Mouthfeel is not quite juicy with a very light carbonation. Flavor is dominated by a subtle bread malt woodiness with overtones of peach, citrus, flour, and dust. Earthy for sure. Malts and hops are balanced in pretty good stride here. A touch of bitter cinnamon spice comes in at the finish. Aftertaste is light and a touch syrupy, with a gentle bitterness.

Photo of NCSUdo
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

A: Crystal clear amber under a rather large white head. A lot of lace and really good retention. Damn good looking beer.

S: Toasted malt and some earthy hops, a little bit of plain ole malt character as well.

T: Toasted malt. Some sourness. A moderate amount of bitterness and a peppery hop character. Slight medicinal/herbal character as well. This one is slightly off balance.

M/D: Medium body, carbonation is a little hight but not bad. Drinkability is a little low due to taste being off balance but the beer still maintains a good amount of drinkability.

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

Amber...fizzy, fuzzy in the mug...

Vanilla biscuity aura almost a flowery burp...what the?..

..this is fruit cake stout...flower cake stout...the hops are here!...hop cake...almost as if the brewer was trying to bake gingerbread without the traditional ingredients...using a secret recipe that was perhaps stumbled onto...maybe Old Man Winter had one of his ice fairies sprinkle pixy dust over the master brewer's dreams!...this one is deep...like a heavy snow drift...yet...

A heavyweight with a light finish?!...almost as if the first sip is big snowfall...later on turning into a drizzle of snowflakes...I can't quite place this beer...last year I thought for sure this beer was spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg...So complex, I am lost...where did that herbal aftertaste come from?...

Slowly I finish my second one of the night and decide to head for a Fat Tire...You know how animals grow a heavy, Winter coat...well this beer is Fat Tire before the Spring molt..Our cows used to get frisky too with the onset of Winter...this beer is a bit wild...

Photo of DavidEddie
2.69/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of marksto
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of Tolann
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a copper amber color with a dense creamy white head that settles quickly leaving some lace. Clear with some cascading bubbles

S - Sweet and piny hops. Citrus notes

T - Sweet citrus quickly followed by bitter hops. They balance nicely, but seem to work independently. Maybe lemon and grapefruit.

M - smooth and medium/light body. A slightly dry aftertaste.

D - Nice to drink and has exceeded my expectations (I had set them low this time around, not really knowing too much about the beer). I may be back at the liquor store for this one; this time more than 1 bottle.

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

Poured into my NBB Abbey glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper color, white head settling fairly quickly. Some lacing. Aroma is less fruity than i remember from last year, a bit heavier on the malt. A nice malty brew, with just enough hops to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is fairly mild, not too complex. Drinkability is high, flavor is easy on the palate. Would definetly buy this again,(and again).

Photo of Natural510
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not as nice of a head as I would like in a winter beer...otherwise a quite tasty and drinkable ale. The color is a rich amber, the flavor spicy. The hops are pronounced without overwhelming the palate...or New Belgiums' signature toasted malt.
All in all, I will buy it again...passes the "session" test and a good addition to my upcoming winter options.

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of HabaJohn
4.62/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was had on a trip to Colorado, very near Fort Collins. Exceptional hop malt combination with caramel and coffee. Balanced wonderfully with the alcohol . This dubbel has eluded me in my area. I've found other brews from New Belgium brewery.Buy some today..

Photo of MarzenMan
3.69/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

S - Very Very Piney. Never smelled anything quite like it. Some slight malt.

A - Clrystal clear amber with a minimal head.

T&M - Slight alcohol, quite strong pine flavor and a little sweet malt.

D - A little forward to drink much of but nice if you want something different.

Photo of mrquartetman
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd read a few reviews of this beer before tasting it and expected to be underwhelmed.

Not at all. This is a really good winter ale. It has a slightly hoppy nose, but does not hit the tongue with hop until late in its sojourn across the palate. It is a very malty, sweetish beer that gets estery as it goes, and then the very subtle hop enters the picture.

The hop doesn't die off, it just sings a harmonic note in the background, an offset to the sweetness. This is very cleverly done.

Someone suggested that this is just a heavier Fat Tire. Not to me. It is its own fine self, and a good warmer to keep around all winter.

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

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,152 ratings.