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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.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,037 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,037
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 19
Gots: 29 | 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: 1,037 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kindestcut
kindestcut

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The New Belgium 2° Below Winter Ale pours a pretty bright amber. Holding the glass up to the Christmas tree lights gives the beer a particularly festive look. The head is a frothy white. The aroma offers some hoppiness and a spiciness that you would expect in this beer.

At first taste, the spicy notes really come through. Hops give way to a malty sweetness and a peppery aftertaste. I would think that this beer would go extremely well with a Sunday roast.

This is not a winter warmer. Some may be expecting that but it is in fact a very nice winter ale devoid of many of the spices some might expect...no cloves, no nutmeg, and an ABV south of 7%. This is a very drinkable beer that I will revisit next winter.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 23:49:10 | More by kindestcut
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

2.53/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Hazy amber with a 1 + finger white head with decent retention and lacing. The aroma has biscuit, toasted malt, yeast, and earthy hops. This does not appeal to me. Very bland.

The taste is just like the aroma, and is disappointing. Biscuit and toasted malt with earthy hops.This is not to my liking.

Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation. Nothing to special here. I will not seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 04:54:47 | More by hardy008
Photo of TheOtherMike
TheOtherMike

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Still cannot get the New Belgium offerings in the state of Michigan - too bad in my opinion. A friend brought a sampler twelve pack for me to try as I've only had the Fat Tire and Ranger IPA. Of the four in the sampler I believe this is my favorite.

It is a good session beer that is not particularly strong or bitter at all.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 01:19:44 | More by TheOtherMike
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

Orange-amber with a white head. The aroma is fairly hoppy. I get some pine and grassy hops as well as some toffee malt. The flavor is much maltier than the aroma. I get a bunch of toffee and some nuttyness, as well as some grassy hops. Very low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice, malt Extra Special Bitter that is very easy to drink. Nice to see a winter ale that isn't full of spices.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 23:38:48 | More by Mora2000
Photo of MrMcGibblets
MrMcGibblets

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: clear copper with decent creamy head and lacing.
S: muted. Get some earthy spicy hops and toasty bread maybe.
T: wouldn't peg this as an esb. Some lightly sweet caramelly malts and a smooth spicy hop bitterness evening things out.
M: despite being well-carbonated, this has an oily slickness to it. Light to medium body.
D: overall underwhelming. The nose was very muted, the hops I didn't dig, and it had an odd mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2010 04:24:03 | More by MrMcGibblets
Photo of jar2574
jar2574

Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange color, pale white head, good lacing. Smell: sweet, honey, malts, slight hops. Taste is smooth, more sweet than bitter, but there are a some hops to compliment the malts. The mouthfeel is about right - smooth, enough fullness to keep things interesting, not overly carbonated. It's a very drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 03:12:37 | More by jar2574
Photo of Star80
Star80

Illinois

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

Best before February 2011. Pours out a deep copper gold with frothy head, lots of effervescence. The smell is vaguely hoppy with some strong biscuity maltiness. Taste is dominated by malts and some crisp hop aftertastes. I would agree with some other reviewers that the hop profile is more "grassy", than your usual citrusy or piney, and some alcohol is meddling in the background. The beer is a different sort of balance than usual, it could be throwing me off that this is an ESB rather than a winter warmer or IPA. Mouthfeel is full but not too rich. Hmm, not a bad beer but nothing knocks you except for the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 05:09:17 | More by Star80
Photo of industrialswill
industrialswill

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OH BOY THIS IS GOOD!!!

Bright golden amber, frothy head.
The smell warned me of the possibility of clove ahead, but overall it has a nice smell to it.
The first thing that hit me at first gulp was the maltyness...almost to the point of tasting like chocolate. Thankfully, there is no flavor of clove. I'm totally in love with this beer and am very glad to add it to my list of daily options

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 00:24:35 | More by industrialswill
Photo of DovaliHops
DovaliHops

California

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden/copper color with a medium white head that diminishes rather quickly. Aroma is grassy with hops and light malt. Taste is initially malty, then gets followed by some sweet hoppiness with grassy notes and citrus. Mouthfeel is very nice. Very full and crisp at the same time. Drinkability is high.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 08:22:30 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of notsoprobeer
notsoprobeer

Oregon

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

The tasting:  Color is a light golden orange with a white head.  Aroma is mainly hops.  It's nicely balanced.  I'm having trouble identifying the specific malt and hop flavors, but they blend together nicely.  Body is light, it has nice carbonation, and is very crisp.  I this this makes a great session beer. 

I don't understand why New Belgium is calling this a winter seasonal.  It's not especially malty, and it doesn't have an unusual twist like most holiday brews.  However,  it's a good beer.  If you're throwing a holiday party, this would be a good beer to include as it should appeal to those who don't want a big malty or spiced beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:37:03 | More by notsoprobeer
Photo of bearfootdaddy
bearfootdaddy

North Carolina

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

Served from bottle to beer mug, The appearance and color was clean and clear medium amber. For a head , well there was not one, plenty of carbonation though. The taste was good not great, you can really taste the hops a plus, and for drinkability I could drink one after another.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 23:50:50 | More by bearfootdaddy
Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
ForWhatAlesYou

Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Head appears and dissipates just as quickly. Golden-amber color.

S: Sweet orange, sugary hop.

T: Comes across with a somewhat aggressive hop flavor the very nicely fades into great sweet malt. Quite the opposite of many that start malty then overload on the hops. Also, something reminds me of the spice on nicely roasted meat.

M: Nice sugars with a little acidity.

D: Really good. I am a little hesitant with New Belgium beers but this one really delivers. Way better than most of their line. Worth checking out if you can.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 06:45:36 | More by ForWhatAlesYou
Photo of DesMoinesMike
DesMoinesMike

Iowa

3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised by how unbitter this ESB is considering how touchy I am with bitter taste.
It's a light copper color, producing a boat load of foam that leaves prominent lacing. The aroma is of light hops and a touch of wheat, not too much else. The taste had some hops that seemed strong but didn't have much punch to them, like only a very small amount were used. The body is ok, the aftertaste is decent, it just seems a tad passive. It could appeal to non-BAs because it isn't overly complex. Overall, nice

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 04:38:43 | More by DesMoinesMike
Photo of midwestbrewers
midwestbrewers

Kansas

3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear slightly copperish color with a 2 finger head that leaves great lacing on the glass.

S: A very sweet, bready smell. The malts come through right away. Hops seem undetectable.

T: Incredibly smooth. It tastes like liquid bread. The malts and the yeasty flavors come out very strong. Nice slightly bitter, hoppy finish.

Overall this beer is definitely a drinkable beer. Very smooth on the palette and not to one-sided on any aspect. It's not an amazing beer to me but one I would drink again. Great beer New Belgium Brewing!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 04:25:49 | More by midwestbrewers
Photo of devilben02
devilben02

North Carolina

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

Pours a nice deep but clear amber color, but only a thin, foamy head forms on top. The aroma is subtle, with only a faint bready malt profile and the slightest hint of a spicy hop presence. The flavor is more defined, with the bready malts again being the primary character with a seemingly light (but still noticeable) addition of hops coming in on the finish. Maybe it's my imagination because this is marketed as a winter warmer, but the character of the hops makes this beer drink as if this was a (mildly) spiced beer. The mouthfeel is a bit thin but otherwise fine. Overall, this is a fine beer, but it doesn't do much to stand out against other winter seasonals.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 20:40:15 | More by devilben02
Photo of CheckmateBrew
CheckmateBrew

Georgia

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

A. light Amber appearance with an off single finger head that dissipates fairly fast. Nice lacing.

S. Slight hops initially, a alcohol and maybe some spices that balance the malts of this beer. A nice combonation.

T. I expected more taste based on the smell. Not a bad brew, just not great.

M. Light feeling in the mouth with moderate carbonation. very good for style

D. Goes down easily but is lacking in overall flavor. Better than many other winter beers, and there are better ones out there, but I would order this again.

After shoveling that driveway, you would really enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 17:14:27 | More by CheckmateBrew
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Transparent orange in color. Thick white head forms and leaves nice lines of lacing.

Not too much in the smell department. Just some faint hops and bread grains.

Flavor begans very clean at first then the hops come in. Hops are not overpowering but are piney and sour. Maltiness is bready and somewhat sweet. Overall, the flavors are average and the sour taste carries into the aftertaste and is somewhat unpleasant.

Light to medium bodied and a little lighter than hoped. Descent carbonation.

Overall, it's pretty average. Not the first thing I would go for on a winter evening but it is drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 05:34:09 | More by bnes09
Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
TheLVBeerGuy

Nevada

3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a bronze glow with a finger head that leaves nothing but light froth on top

S-very strong hops with maybe slight hints of pine and malts

T- very much dry hops with a crisp dry finish...lingers around and definitely wakes you up

M- feels "cheap" much like a a mickeys or something of the sort

D-wish the nose was how the beer tasted. not my favorite

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 00:00:30 | More by TheLVBeerGuy
Photo of KidneyBean
KidneyBean

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a fan of Fat Tire and have begun to notice that just about all of NB's offerings taste like Fat Tire!

2 Below is a solid ale and very drinkable. I didn't find it to be an overly unique brew relative to NB's line up though.

As far a seasonal ales go, I will probably look for other, more interesting beers.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 00:00:27 | More by KidneyBean
Photo of diabecktic
diabecktic

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
This light copper brew pours with a very nice creamy, white head that's ~2 fingers thick. Retention and lacing are both excellent, and I can see a little bit of carbonation slowly rise throughout the translucent body.

Smell:
The aroma is largely hoppy and spicy with a nice sweet base that helps add balance. As far as specific notes go, I can pick out cloves, caramel, dark fruit (perhaps raisin or plum), toffee, and nutmeg.

Taste:
Crisp hops are apparent in the early portion of the tasting. As the beer sits in my mouth, the dark, roasted malty sweetness progressively intensifies. The aftertaste resembles something like clove and toffee. The balance between each flavor is excellent.

Mouthfeel:
The crispness experienced during tasting eventually leads to a dry sensation. Alcohol is fairly well-hidden during the smell and taste portions of the test, but I think its lingering effect is likely responsible for the aforementioned sensation. The elements which are responsible for the dark sweetness likely account for the moderately heavy body.

Drinkability:
Excellent balance, body, and taste all make this an extremely drinkable beer. I never would have guessed that this beer was 6.6% ABV, so you might have to be careful if you feel like drinking several of these during a setting. For all of its complexity, the beer isn't dense enough to hurt this aspect of the tasting.

Summary:
I liked the New Belgium beers that I had tried in the past, so I expected this beer to be good; however, it was MUCH better than I could have ever fathomed. The complex flavors, excellent balance, and adequate body make this an outstanding beer to enjoy during the coldest months of the year. As the style suggests, this beer is both "extra special" and "bitter" - I urge you to try this if you haven't done so already.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 06:31:03 | More by diabecktic
Photo of NODAK
NODAK

Tennessee

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

Aroma here is buttery, a little sweet, with notes of biscuit and toffee showing up. A small hoppiness is also present.

Taste has a definite pine and spicy taste to it, with some creamy, buttery biscuit as well. English hop bitterness on the finish is of medium strength and about on par with most of this style.

It is a pretty good winter seasonal. A solid ESB here. The creamy nature of the beer is awesome and while I'm not sure if it is the signature diacytl of an ESB, it's delicious.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 02:27:16 | More by NODAK
Photo of bound4er
bound4er

Wisconsin

3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Amber appearance with an off white head that breaks quite fast. Leaves a healthy dose of lacing.

S. Spicy hops initially then a hint of alcohol and a bit of soapiness. Grainy malt aromas are also present.

T. I expected more taste based on the smell. The booze carriers over to palate as well as some hops by way of finishing bitterness. Pretty meh overall.

M. Light feeling in the mouth with moderate carbonation.

D. Goes down easily but is lacking in overall flavor.

I've been on a New Belgium kick for the past couple of days since I picked up a Holiday sampler for a party and no one drank it. I am not overly impressed so far - decent enough stuff but nothing really stands out. I still have a couple more to try - maybe I will be surprised.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 01:28:11 | More by bound4er
Photo of dataskatt
dataskatt

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a mug. A beautiful medium amber color with a generous head. Lots of lacing. Smell is hoppy with a nice spicy undertone. Smells a bit like cloves. I could smell this all day! Taste is also really good. Hoppy, but balanced, and with a nice warm spicy finish. Reminds me a little of Great Lakes Burning River pale ale, except this has way more spice in the taste. Interesting brew, and very drinkable. Mouthfeel is just right...not to light, not too heavy. Even with a little higher alcohol content, I could easily have several of these. Nice winter brew. I would definitely recommend!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2010 23:11:24 | More by dataskatt
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a 6-pack of this brew from Shop 'n Save. Poured beer into a Pint glass and the rest is history.

Appearance: Orangish look, with small amount of head. Disappeared quickly

Smell: A ton of spice and hops and has a Fruit (orange) background

Taste: Has a spicy taste with mild hops. Could enjoy this beer in a Ski Lodge or by the fire with some appetizers. Great!

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied beer with a long finish

Drinkability: Enjoyed this 6-pack with a friend, won't be going to buy for a very long time but am always a fan of New Belgium and all they have to brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 19:39:37 | More by DCon
Photo of brewerburgundy
brewerburgundy

California

3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a shaker pint at Farrell's in Fayetteville, AR.

The beer is a darker golden color with a small white head.

Quite sugary and hoppy, with candied fruit, apricot, peach, sugar plums, and some funky caramel.

This second beer of the night also has flavors that closely follow the aromas. The hop flavors are very fruity and juicy. A weird sour green grass flavor interjects itself, disrupting the hop yum. The malt bill is typical New Belgium with load of biscuit.

The mouthfeel is pretty typical for draught again, more active than my last beer. New Belgium didn't make this a challenging beer at all.

This isn't bad, but fulfills my expectations of New Belgium's mainstream grabs. I don't have a problem with them making accessible beer, but I know to grab something else.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2010 18:55:08 | More by brewerburgundy
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,037 ratings.