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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.

1,109 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,109
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 22
Gots: 57 | 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: 1,109 | Reviews: 561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of neonbrown82
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I really expected better from these guys. Instead, I got a glass full of stomach bile. What in the name of all that is holy would possess New Belgium to brew such an atrocity? This beer is so loaded with biscuity malts that the hops outright fail to stand out in the flavor profile, which is a shame since the nose is so wonderfully dry hopped.

Pours to a very light amber color, quite clear. Has a decent sized head on the pour, though it recedes quite fast and doesn't lace well. Carbonation is decent.

The aroma is very enticing. The hops smell delicious. A bit grassy, but otherwise has a very nice floral, herbal, citrus aroma. When I first smelled this I thought I would be in for a treat, but then I tasted it.

The taste reminded me immediately of stomach bile. Biscuity with some caramel malt flavors. Just a hint of the hops up front, fading into a damn near undrinkable bile-like finish. Unbelievable. The only reason I was able to finish this beer is because I was offered some chocolate and caramel Ghirardelli, which was able to hide the intense biscuity bile flavor to a certain extent.

The body was a little on the thin side with a fairly crisp carbonation. Not bad in that regard, but the finish lingered for what seemed like eternity, and it was not pleasant. I am glad I didn't end up buying a sixer of this, because I wouldn't know what to do with the remaining five. I can't wait to redeem New Belgium with the delicious bottle of La Folie I DID end up buying earlier today.

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

This beer reminds me of stone and ale smith with the use of centennial hops. The nose is nice, but nothing but centennial hops come out. Head is decent and sticks around for a while and retention is decent. Taste is centennial hops and thin malts, but some nice spicing. A good amount of flavors going on. lingering nice hop bitterness. I appreciate what's going on in this brew, but the flavors don't blend for me personally in a wowing way. I'd like a bit more balance in an ESB. Stone drinkers and alesmith drinkers will like this beer. I could drink this beer easily. A nice brew. All year beer.

Photo of peabody
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out like weak ice tea but with more of a yellow tint.
Slight white suds but lots of nice lacing.
Smell is orange and lemon peel and yeast. Slight hint of grapefruit which means the hops are in there.
Taste is very sweet then bitter. Caramel and grapefruit combine with a malty and yeasty flavor.
Mouthfeel is very clean and refreshing followed by the bitter hops that stay in the mouth quite a while.
Drinkability is high here. Such a nice winter session beer.

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

2 below pours a nice amber color with a full finger of pure white head that falls within half a minute or so. In hind sight I don't know what I was thinking, but when I saw a winter label with the name 2 below, i expected a spiced ale. Clearly I forgot that Peter runs things over there and there is no such thing as style or expectations. Even before I get the beer to my nose I can smell the pungent piney aroma of hops. I was surprised by the taste though. I expected it to be all hops, but it was actually more balanced than I would have expected. The taste of hops were there, but it was more the floral taste and aroma than the regular bite of the bitterness of hops. There is a sweet matliness that attempts to balance the hops and only falls a little short. Personally, I think that this is labeled incorrectly as a ESB and I think Peter would agree, although he would disagree with the labeling in general and I would disagree with only the specific label applied. If you enjoy the flavor of hops, you're gonna want to drink this beer. I just might do the same again.

Photo of rayjay
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 13APR07, purchased at Whole Foods.

A very light colored ale, almost clear. Overall the nose is faint, but the beer is cold, as recommended by the brewer (37°F), and features hops and an alcohol kick. Very smooth and mellow; although I taste the hops, there is very little bitterness. Unique malt profile, British styled, but still very different from, and much less sweet than, the typical Fuller's ESB or Young's SLA type I've had before. Soft seltzer water mouthfeel. Sun-dried mango without the sugar, avocado, and spinach are notable notes, as is fresh baked beer bread and biscuits. It's a hearty, yet civilized, ale. I like it much better at 50°F, as the flavors are (obviously) more pronounced. Cheers!

Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
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 Dukeofearl
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6 pack of 12 oz. bottles for $8.99 at La Bodega in Riverside, CA.

I don't know what to call this style, but it's good! Pours a clear golden-amber with a slight head. Clean fresh aroma, with a hard-to-describe aroma (licorice? anise? not sure what, but it brings back fond memories of childhood).

Flavor is a nice mix of moderate spiciness (winter spices, not pepper) and a bit of hops. Nice but not overpowering bitterness. Just really enjoyable.

For the winter style, it's somewhat light and thin- not truly bad, but against style.

I like it- another New Belgium winner!

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

Nice pour. A bright amber color, big head, and a bit of carbonation noted.

Smells are of pine and grapefruit. Mostly just hops noted on the nose.

Beer tastes of creamy sweet tea like flavors with a bit of bitterness on the finish. A pretty good balance of flavors and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel is nice, full and rounded.

A pretty solid effort from New Belgium. A bit different than other's they have made. It's certainly one of the better ESBs I have tasted in a while. Quite drinkable, and enjoyable.

Photo of beeragent
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poured a deep amber, with a slight head, that quickly faded, but leaving light lacing along the glass. The aroma is sweet fruit, with the slight aroma of alcohol. The taste is very much the same. A little fruity citrus flavor, but with a more pornounced alcohol presence. This reminds me of a weak version of a barley wine. Though very interesting, I couldnt drink more than one of these at a time. However, this being a winter release, I would recommend trying this at least once.

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of mjc410
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker at the Granfalloon in KC, MO. The beer put up a bit of off-white surface lacing, over a very light tawny body, with broad-spaced bubbling. The nose was full of floral, piney, but primarily citric hops, with a bit of malt sweetness behind. The taste was led by hop power - citrus and pine, but balanced well with the honey and caramel flavors of the malt. The high bitterness only grew with more sipping. The mouth was medium, with tingly but fine carbonation on the palette. Overall, a great beer, with exceptional balance and great hop flavor. I had this pegged as some sort of pale ale at first, but it does just fine as an ESB.

Photo of JEdmund
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out a nice amber color with a minimal half inch head. The smell was pleasant -- spicey, a little fruity, and sweet. The flavor was nice and blanced, but subtle, with nothing dominating or overpowering. My biggest complaint was the complete lack of aftertaste. Once it was down, the flavor was gone -- nothing in my mouth to remind me of what I just drank. I was disappointed by this, but it's still an enjoyable brew, and certainly light enough that you could easily drink a few of these in an evening. I wouldn't buy it again, but it's just my preference to have bigger, bolder flavors.

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

When poured it was clear light copper in color with very little white foam, but a fair amount of lace on the glass. The smell of an evergreen aroma was evident with a hint of spice and fruit.

The taste was still of an evergreen flavor, along with roasted malts and hints of sweet fruits and spices. This was not an overpowering winter ale, very enjoyable. The hop's were not super bitter or tart. I really enjoy this winter ale.

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

This thing pours up a crystal clear copper with big rocky white head that leaves behind some of the prettiest lace I have seen in a while. Great head retention and beautiful rising bubbles in this incredibly clear beer just make this look positively stunning. The aroma is of earthy, spicy hops and a bit of nutty graininess that teases the senses with hints of whats about to come with the first sip.

The beer has a very nice, medium body with a fairly malty flavor. The initial taste is sweet and caramelly, but seemlessly transitions to an earthy hoppiness that gives this a nice dry finish. This one will be finding its way to my fridge again before the winter season is over.

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

Murky copper colored body, with a bubbly decent sized head. Nice and aerated. Fragerant hop aroma eminates from the nose. Spruce, pine resin, and floral pop out. Fruit esters are also brought out, light watermelon, pear, and grapes. True to the style of ESB. Reminds me of a good english rendition of one. As the malts are about to come, earthy malt backs the nose. The front taste is covered with plenty of malt as well. Brutal roasted malts attack the palate, and stick for a good amount of time. Giving a leadway to a pleasent amount of hoppiness. A bite, and hit, a bang, a slash. Hops are floral and citric, with a brush of spiciness, and oh so strong. Leading for me to draw the conclusion of this having an IPA edge. Possibly a new style emergence? The future may tell. Finishes with a lingering warming earthy bitterness. Which provokes you to take another sip.

This is a unique beer, a rendetion that you don't see much off. Roasty and Hoppy, with some nice flavor depth. I recommend this one.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge "thankyou" to jpm30 for this one...
Honey orange in color with a full finger of bright, white head...sticky, web-lacing is created as it disappears.
Nice aroma...spicy hops, sweet caramel malt, and some honey.
Taste is quite unique...heavily malted with a peat flavor. Grapefruit, pine, orange, corriander, and even what tastes like carroway seed.
Although the start hits the pallet sweet, this is one bitter brew and sucks away any moisture your tongue may be holding onto....finishes with no off flavors and quite dry. Alcohol is nowhere to be found in this glass.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is where I like it to be....not a session beer for me, but a nice offering for the season.

Photo of BrewMonkey
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Unlike most winter ales I have tried, this beer does not beat you over the head with strong spices or hoppiness. Smells sweet with a light hoppy background. The flavor of malt is almost carmalized, but not overly malty. Again, the hoppy flavor is there, but in the background. No harsh hoppy aftertaste. Very drinkable, which might be dangerous considering the winter ale ABV. Overall, a pleasent change from what I'm used to seeing out of winter offerings.

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...

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 1,109 ratings.