1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,059 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,059
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 20
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,059 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass. Poured a clear dark amber color with rocky white head. Picked up aroma of floral citrus and and toasted white bread. Starts out with a dominant toasted malt bread bisquit and maybe wild flower caramel flavor. Has a medium bodied mouthfeel and will continue throughout, with that trademark toasted bread malt backbone. Nice dry hopped aroma of orange, but flat finish.

CuriousMonk, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of zulufactor
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%

A- Nice golden color with a half inch white head, good lacing

S- Citrus and pine notes

T- Light malt flavor with a strong hop finish. Touches of pine and citrus as well

M- Strong carbonation but was thinner then i anticipated

Not something i would pick up often but i was a good break from my stout and porter stint.

zulufactor, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of JamnesCameron
4.28/5  rDev +17.6%

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Pours a clear copper, with a nice off white head that drops fairly quickly. Good lacing.

Aromas of bread, earthy hops, flowery and fruity.

First sip is of earthy and floral hops, sweet biscuity malt, a hint of juicy fruit gum. Short bitter finish. A bit of a carbonic bite.

Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, with a light prickle of carbonation.

Very drinkable winter warmer, with an american hop touch. Good to sip next to a fire on a cold winter night.

JamnesCameron, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%

Transparent golden-red appearance, with big bubbles and yellow lace.
Aroma is bold, with accents of floral, fruits, and bread. Appealing!
Flavor is complex and original -- a balanced mix of snappy hops and a wonderful sweet malt character that conjures fresh berries somehow.
A great mix that amply combines the best attributes of a pale ale with a Belgian seasonal. Lovely and delicious!

secondtooth, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of kinupanda
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%

Pours a pleasing medium amber/copper color. Minimal head that forms a somewhat broken, medium surface tension layer; it dissipates rapidly, and thus there is almost nonexistent lacing. The aroma is an appealing orange infused maltiness. An initial kick high in citrus that gives way to some toasty earthiness, with some slight bitterness from the hops. Good body with pleasant mouthfeel; it seems to have something for the entire tongue, and the carbonation is ideal for that. The alcohol is present but nowhere near overwhelming. A lightly spicy bitter aftertaste.

FourthBeer potential: AVERAGE, as there are other good ESBs, but this is worthy of the New Belgium name.

kinupanda, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of beagle75
3.13/5  rDev -14%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, light amber color with over one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains around the top of the glass. Occasional bubbles rise lazily in the column.

S: Husky pale and pilsner malt, bright citrus, and green grass transmit clearly. Weak caramel and booziness are also detected.

T: Begins sweet, with lightly toasted bread, faint earthy and spicy hop aromatics, and a brief flare of acidity. Dryness increases and estery fruit emerges in the middle, displaying banana, blueberries, and bubble gum. The finish is at times mineral, astringent, and moderately bitter, with faint herbaceous notes.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: A mediocre pale ale from New Belgium, this beer exchanges some of the more assertive hop flavors present in their other seasonals for a double-dose of fermentation--from mixed fruit to detectable alcohol. The final product isn't really remarkable, coming across as a fruity version of Boston Lager, but it might make a good cooking ingredient.

beagle75, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of Elimination
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%

A winter favorite amongst a few of my friends, thought ide give it a try.

A very clear copper, glass like really, thin head

Smell of slight nuts, spiced hops, bread, malt, a mix of baked goods really.

Taste is slight nuttiness, definate biscuit malt, crackers, a little bit of low alpha hops, not bad, honestly tastes like what fat tire could be a well rounded easy drinking beer.

mouthfeel is semi thick, milky, kind of coats nicely

This is actually a pretty good beer, more of a higher end abv sessionish beer for me, not something I would savor of course, more something me and my friends might share a case of at a winter bbq

Elimination, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of StaveHooks
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%

A - A solid 2 finger off-white head rests on top of a brilliant amber hued body. Thick vertical strips of lacing.

S - Huge cracker based malt, sesame seeds, pine nuts, toasted white bread, almonds, and berry fruit.

T - Excellent cracker malt, with notes of toffee, Granny smith apple peels, butterscotch, and caramel. A slight tang of citrus plays with carbonation to add a zesty bite. Citrus blends with hints of pine to add a freshness. Some nuttiness pokes it's head in. Finishes with a sweet caramel sweetness but has a spicy back to balance everything out.

M - Medium body, perfect carbonation for the style.

The malt is super complex with variations of breads, cracker, and simple caramel to make this beer a standout. The hops play their role but don't get in the way of the excellent malts. This is a must try if you like ESB's!...or any beer. I can't say enough about the malt profile.

StaveHooks, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%

Had this one at happy hour at a BBQ spot in the Northwest Denver recently, and thought it was pretty solid. Poured a medium amber color with a somewhat rocky white head. Aromas of citrus, floral hops and caramel. Medium bodied, somewhat hoppy, with toffee and caramel on the finish.

emmasdad, Jan 14, 2011
4/5  rDev +9.9%

12oz bottle into 8oz tasting chalice.
A: Fairly clear body, with a light amber hue. The white head pours one finger, then settles into a thin layer and almost completely faded. Slight bit of sticky lacing.
S: The common NB bready aroma, with a nice bit of spicy undertones. A medium intensity aroma, which has a nice warming effect to it.
T/M: The front of this brew is a sweet note of bready mouthfeel, the underlining malt balance is very nice and for this style, I find this to be a really good winter pick. Lingering taste, low to medium and a very nice warming.
D: This is a very sessionable brew for the ABV content and the light bodied taste. I find this one to clear out of my fridge quick, that says something about drinkability.

GDBEERMAN, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Monsteruss
2.42/5  rDev -33.5%

Foam was white in color, thin and a little lacey. It had a dominate hops and citrus aroma with hints of anise and wheat. The color was a beautiful orange amber. The taste was a complete translation of the smell, a complete balance of hops and citrus with spices. Mouthfeel - medium bodied and crisp. Drinkability - not to bad. To me a simple balance of hops and citrus with some added flavors. Ok session.

Monsteruss, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of buschbeer
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%

12oz bottle
Served in pint glass

A - It has a clear, burnt orange body. It is topped with three inches of off white head.

S - It get mild citrus hops. There's even some pine mixed in there. There is also some toffee malt.

T - Toffee and toast up front. Grapefruit and citrus on the back end.

M - Moderate. Not overly carbonated.

D - It is very well balanced. Reminds me of an APA.

buschbeer, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of albertjr21
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%

Best before date of 5.15.11. Consumed on 1.9.11

A: Into a mug, this yields a clear and bright orange amber color under a creamy foam head with great head retention and lacing.

S: A crisp and earthy hop dominated nose.

M/T: A bright but creamy malt feel with a complementary earthy hop accentuated crisp finish.

D: Nice for a Winter session.

albertjr21, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of OttoBomb
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%

12oz bottle poured into a DogFish Head signature glass (January 8, 2011). Best before date is March 27, 2011.

A very smooth and surprisingly noy bitter for a bitter style beer. Great lacing, color is amber/light copper. some good grain, mild hops. flavor is noy unlike a regular amber ale, with less spice a bit less hop punch. Good body and carbonation. Quite tasty, but not a spectacular example.

OttoBomb, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of manzilla86
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Sampled: Past 3 nights (1/7/11 most recent)
Serving: From bottle into pint glass

I got a 6 pack of this for my New Year's party and nobody drank it, so I accepted the responsibility of drinking it myself (over a couple nights ;-) ).

(A) This beer has the archetype beer appearance when poured and throughout it's consumption. The color is a vividly clear golden brown and the head pours thick, billowy and retains itself.

(S) The smell is of citrusy hops-you can tell it is going to be hoppy. It's not burn-your-nostril-hairs hoppy, but you can tell it is going to be a bitter brew.

(T) I really enjoyed the taste but ranked 4 because I felt there was an inconsistency. I had this beer the past three nights and the 1st and 3rd night the beer had that strong bitter hop taste like you would expect, but the 2nd night I had it the hop taste wasn't nearly as noticeable. Some might attribute that to different foods I was eating, but for the most part I had this beer by itself while playing games or watching TV so I don't think it would be that.

(M) I am not the best at ranking mouthfeel but I certainly didn't notice anything wrong with it. It didn't stand out to me as something that was noticeably exceptional, but it didn't detract me either.

(D) The fact that I would think about consuming the beer during the day and have done so for the past three nights proves it's drinkability. Not hard to have two in a row with this one.

I definitely enjoyed this beer and would suggest it if you like a fairly strong hoppiness. It's nothing compared to some hop bomb IPA's or Double IPA's, but it's an enjoyable brew that accents one of beers great ingredients.

manzilla86, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of ScorpyX
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%

A: Pours a clear and dark golden with a finger-width, white head.

S: Smell has a mild scent of hops and an underlying maltiness. A little muted, but what I can detect is good.

T: Much like the smell, the hops are apparent, but not overwhelming, similar to an IPA with the hops reduced to a fraction. The malt kicks in at the swallow. There is just a small hint of the alcohol and some sweetness that becomes more obvious after a few sips.

M: Pretty crisp and clean. Some carbonation, but not a ton. Medium-boded leaning on the light side.

D: Very drinkable, with its pleasant taste and fair crispness. The ABV might keep it lower.

ScorpyX, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%

a - lacing may be the best thing about this beer; color medium amber
s - very little to talk about
t - average "amber ale" type but this is a seasonal so expectations are for something more; no spice or anything special; abv of 6.6 gives it a little something to talk about
m - good full body with good thick head
d - would not want to have more than one

mastodonj, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of JWU
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip.

A. Poured a good two inches of head. White and fluffy with very large bubbles. Lasted a few minutes before dissipating.. Good but not great lacing, looks a little lighter than most ESB's.

S. Oily hop smell with some orange rind and biscuit malts following up.

T. Hop oil flavor follows the smell, very biscuity malt flavor backing it up. Kinda bitter on the end, but not enough so. I could do with less of the hop, and more malts.

M. Not as thick as other ESB's, medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D. Good, but not great. Another ESB that just doesn't live up to the bar Fullers has set. This oddly reminds me a lot of Southern Tier Phin and Matt's Extraordinary Ale...

JWU, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip.

A. Poured 1 finger of head. Good retention. Pretty good lacing. Color is a nice golden.

S. Has some decent hop aroma. A little malt sweetness under the hops. No real distinct hop aromas, but has some hop bitterness.

T. Taste is biscuity bready malt. Some hop bitterness. Has a bit of lingering sweetness. Has the signature malt flavor of most of New Belgiums beers.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Has a bit of lingering sweetness.

D. Drinkable. Easy to have a few of these. Nothing amazing, but a solid offering. I remember it being more bitter in years past, as this bottle seemed a bit sweeter than in years past. Im not really a fan of the biscuity malt flavor that most of New Belgium's beers have.

siradmiralnelson, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of bskrtz
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%

Could have been colder when served on tap. Poured into it's own name-sake wide, round and open glass

A) Clear and bright, copper/amber with fizzy white head. The glass is perfect and this beer looks good on display. Marketing...

S) Sweet candy sugar and spice. Doughy and sour. A winter beer with apparent alcohol on the nose.

T) Well crafted with ample mix of bitter and sweet. Caramel and hint of cinamon or clove spice.

M) Poor handling by the bar may have left this beer flatter than I would prefer. Despite it's clear appearance, I enjoyed it's thick complexity. Excellent for casual sipping while in conversation

D) A Good example of the style.

bskrtz, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of thegodfather2701
4/5  rDev +9.9%

A-Poured a nice copper with a small fizzy white head. There was some slight lacing on the glass.

S-Slightly hoppy with some caramel notes; nothing too overpowering.

T-Nearly perfect balance between hops and malt. Caramel was the flavor that stood out most to me. It has a nice hoppy finish, especially in comparison to Fat Tire which finishes biscuity. The hops were more fresh and juicy than when I had this in a bottle about a year ago, which was very nice.

M-Just about right for the style, with a nice carbonation.

D-Very drinkable beer that I enjoy much more than Fat Tire.

Overall, this was very good on tap and I would definitely drink it again.

thegodfather2701, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of kemoarps
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%

I'm usually a huge New Belgium fan. 2 Below, however has never really done much for me. I first tried it a couple years ago when I got a case for a new years party. Wasn't a huge fan at the time, but I figured it might have just been because that was before I got into craft brewing and wasn't ready for it. Trying it now, I don't feel as negatively towards it as I originally did, but am still quite underwhelmed.
Pours the colour of deep straw, with a nice white head leaving decent lacing down the sides.
The smell is probably the highlight for me. The nose is usually one of the least important factors for me just because my nose isn't particularly strong, but 2 Below actually brings out some decent notes, though the doughy biscuit/bread is still dominant. There's a light earthy spice to it as well that I can't quite place, and you can almost feel the yeast.
The taste is like the nose, but less so. There's the toasty biscuity almost yeasty malt that tastes kind of like bland bread dough. That's the lasting impression I have of this beer: underwhelming bread dough. The hops come through on the finish, with some sweet lasting aftertaste that I can't quite place.
It tastes more carbonated than it actually is. Goes down smoothe enough, and I could see someone sitting and drinking several without too much trouble, but wouldn't feel drawn to doing so myself.
Overall, not a *bad* beer per se, just not up to par with what I hold NB to. Doesn't taste like a winter warmer, to me, at all. Go for it if it's at a party or you're really curious, but definitely no reason to go out of your way to get some.

kemoarps, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of kindestcut
4/5  rDev +9.9%

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.

kindestcut, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -30.5%

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.

hardy008, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of TheOtherMike
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

TheOtherMike, Dec 31, 2010
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,059 ratings.