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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

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1,157 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,157
Reviews: 569
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: 1,157 | Reviews: 569
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)

Photo of BadRockBeer
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type Sampled: On tap at Mojo’s

Appearance: Copper to amber in color, 1 finger beige head. Faded into a nice tight lace.

Smell: Toasted malt mild earthy hops

Taste: Starts with a nice maltiness which is quickly overrun by the oil hops. This Bitter is just that. Very aggressive citrus and pine hops. I also taste a little sweet grain in the middle. Finishes with a slightly harsh alcohol and hop notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, light to medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Good, I found this to be a pretty tasty brew. Heavy on the hops and the alcohol. Great on a freezing, 2 below day!

Photo of ggaughan
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained in a trade awhile back. I have been waiting to try more of this since I sampled some at the GABF in 2006 but not enough to review at that time. The beer poured a brilliant amber color into my Duvel glass, very clear with a slight white ring around the edge of the glass. The nose was hoppy, citrus, pleasing. The taste was a good combination of malty sweetness, a hoppy and peppery taste that rounded out with some citrus. Medium body and solid mouthfeel.

Photo of mountdew1
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a kitchen glass. Nice medium amber color, with a frothy head. Most of the head quickly dissapated, but a little lacing was left. Smelt bitter, almost sour lemons, hard to describe. Flavor was nicely spiced, with a hint of lemon. First sip warmed the body nicely. Tounge tingled, not necessarily unpleasantly, but it detracted slightly from enjoying the beer. Reasonable winter warmer, but I have enjoyed others more.

Photo of arizcards
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack at TJ's back at the beginning of November for $6.49 for a tailgate. Had a couple of bottles left over. Best before 3-9-07..whoops

Beer poured an amber-orange color with a well sustained white head. Nose was initially heavy on citrusy hops but after being aired out for awhile there is the familiar malty nutty nose. Taste is unique to say the least, not quite what I was expecting from the declared ESB style. The balance is leaning heavier on the nutty malt side. The initial finish was of citrusy hops but that has been reduced to be predominately a malty beverage as I continue to sample. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Overall drinkability is pretty good. This is not a bad beer to try, i hope that New Belgium tweaks the recipe to bring more of a balance if they truly are aiming for an ESB.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Apricot with orange juice edges. Intermittent bubbles zip up to a toasted tan cap and join the tightly packed bubbles already present. I love the roughened, somewhat rocky, sticky nature of the head. Broken sheets of delicate lace look good as well.

The aroma is pretty much as New Belgium describes it. Unfortunately, I'm not a major fan of toasted, earthy malt in combination with herbal, earthy hops. The hop bill consists of Sterling and Liberty, both of which are similar to Hallertau. I love a good English ESB and even a good American ESB. Apparently, a German ESB ain't my thing. Given all that, I'm still able to recognize the nose's quality.

I'm much less accommodating when it comes to the flavor profile since it amplifies the worst aspects of the nose. Thanks to all the Munich malt, or something similar, 2 Below tastes like an Oktoberfest much more than an ESB. Aren't ESBs supposed to be bitter and hop-dominant rather than malt-dominant?

Speaking of hops, either American or English varities, assuming enough were used, might have saved this beer from mediocrity. As is, it tastes like toasted brown bread coated with unsweet caramel, freshly-dug clay and unidentified herbs. How did this recipe pass muster, especially after they tasted a test batch? Not only that, but it's about as far from a winter warmer as it could possibly be.

I'm trying very hard to take personal preference into account, which is the one and only reason I've granted a flavor score of average. The mouthfeel is medium in a general sense, with an odd slickness on the back end and a generous amount of fine-bubbled carbonation. I'm okay with it, but I don't love it.

Even though I have a fairly high opinion of this brewery (why, I'm not exactly sure), the only NB offering that I thought was exceptional was their dubbel, which they call Abbey Belgian Style Ale. 2 Below Winter Ale isn't at all what I expected and has to qualify as a major disappointment. I'd suggest giving it a complete overhaul from stem to stern.

Photo of July2Nov
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: nice golden hue that resembles apple juice, with a 2 finger froth.
S: Malty with a roasted nutty scent as an undercurrent.
T: Starts off with a sharp metallic taste that quickly delivers with a roasted toffee finish.
M: leaves the palette with a smoky and warm aftertaste.
D: during the winter time, I could see cuddling up to this to get the internal organs warmed up. Hell, even in the summertime I would take this out for a bottle or two.

Photo of theozag
4.19/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick white head never really fades away; it just becomes a whisp. Amber pour and body. Crisp, strong, and complex smell includes roasted oats and wheat. I find it to be slightly sweet and simply mouth-watering. Starts deliciously sharp but very smooth. Settles full-bodied with a surgary caramel flavor. Finish is strong but without a lasting aftertaste. It is a bold mix of hop bitters that leaves you wishing for the next sip.

Photo of mithrascruor
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber-orange color. Very minimal off-white head that quickly become an umpressive lace.

Smell: Barely any aroma at all. Spiced oranges and lemons, maybe.

Taste: Lemon, orange, spices, and hops. All balanced alright, but the taste is just a bit odd... some sweetness and some bitterness, but clashing.

Mouthfeel: Relatively smooth, medium-bodied with some rather tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: It's fine to drink once you accustom yourself to the unusual flavor. Alcohol isn't too strong and isn't noticable.

An ok beer, but the taste is a bit odd. Maybe an ESB meets an IPA with a bit of extra sugar thrown in. I was expecting something that was more of a traditional winter ale. One-time buy for curiosity's sake.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,157 ratings.