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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

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1,158 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,158
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: 1,158 | Reviews: 569
Photo of justincolts
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Much, much, lighter than I would have expected from a winter style ale. Pours a very thick head that takes a while to disappear. Kind o a golden colored beer.

S-Mostly just a citrus infused hoppy smell. Probably more typical of what something intended for summer would encompass, but I'm willing to give something different a pass.

T -Certainly would be hard in a blind tasting to pick this out as a winter style beer. Its flavoring makes it seem more likely to be a hop infused summer beer that cools amidst the hot sun. A really good beer, just not what I expected.

M- Easy to handle, good texture, good flavor. Solid feel

D- Easy to drink, not heavy like you would expect from something designated as a winter beer.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a pleasant copper color. A 1 inch light tan head forms and slowly reduces to a full coverage lacing. Carbonation is visible, sediment is not.

The aroma is a nice blend of caramel sweetness and hoppy citrus/earthy notes. Not complex but good.

The taste again demonstrates a nice balance of hoppy citrus/earth notes with a malty sweetness a little hidden.

The mouthfeel was medium/light bodied. The carbonation seems just a bit high for the flavor. It goes down fairly clean and leaves a tingle on the palate at the finish.

Overall, this is a easily drinkable beer. The ABV is hidden and the flavors balance nicely. It is something I will enjoy a few times but would get tired of it until the next year comes.

Photo of mikey711
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Fluffy white head on top of a golden orange colored brew. It is perfectly transparent and the head leaves nice lacing although it does not retain well.

S: Nice herbal and and citrus hops with a good amount of honey sweetness to balance it out. Simple but very well done

T: Nice subtle hoppy flavor with some earth and grassy notes. Some nice bread and biscuity notes. Pretty light sweetness

M: A little bit lighter in body than i would have expected which is disappointing

D: Very easy to sip on and goes down quite fast

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

A: copper in color, decent bit of white head, but sadly it has since dissipated.

S: mostly i am picking up grassy hops. Nice and simple.

T: malt backbone with a light biscuity bready taste, followed by hops. Slight carmel flaver. Like a hopped up fat tire.

M: clean, crisp, and carbonation is just fine.

D: good clean brew. Nicely balanced and something i could drink all night. Good, not great, but good.

Photo of thistle3189
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: this beer is a copper red, with a nice white head; the lacing starts strong but subsides.
S: hops notes are there but not overwhelming, not a lot else
T: This beer is bitter per the style but not a dark or malty as others that I have had, there is a little alcohol bight
M: A little dryer or tannic than most of this style, this may be a characteristic of the brewery and there yeast strains for me.
D: No great drinkability I would probably look for something else.

Photo of rgctlc
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Belgium's release in the Myrtle Beach area has been marketed towards gateway craft beer drinkers. You don't expect any extreme hop blasts or malt bombs or alcohol kicks with their beers so I wasn't expecting anything other than a nice holiday beer. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the hops up front with the sweet malt body followed by a nice clean finish. Definately more character than I expected. Not too heavy, and has kind of a belgian trippel vibe to it. Gets better as it warms and is very drinkable. All in all, a very decent offering.

Photo of beer348
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I actually thought it was 2 below at some point when i was drinking this. Yes it was cold outside. Actually I wasn't surprised when I read the alcohol content on the side being at 6.6% I could really taste it at one point and was getting a little worried but it got a little smoother as I drank more..

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Pours clear amber in color with very abundant head of dense white foam. Retains foam well and leaves behind plenty of lacing down the glass. Very attractive looking brew.

Plenty of hops on the nose, a bit of grass with citrus, but not overpowering. There is malt here too, something light to moderate.

First pull has nice weight and comes forth with hops the most noticeable, but necessarily bitter. After just a second on the tongue, the malts come forward and there is a nice balance there. The tastes are a bit dry overall, and there is a quick clean finish with a slight bitter linger. Like many of the New Belgian brews, this seems a bit heavier after a few swigs than first thought.

Very nice brew! If you are fan of hops but don't like to 'chew' them through your beer experience, give this a shot. Very enjoyable and recommended.

Photo of remmyreel
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Saw this at Whole Foods and felt like getting a holiday brew, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

It's New Belgium, s upon first taste I did not expect the hoppy bite, which gave me a bitter beer face. After I recovered, I went back to the bottle with the intent to taste it more fully and really enjoyed it.

I agree with other reviewers that the hoppy bitterness is a little overbearing at first, but it does smooth out and has a nice after taste.

I prefer IPA's over this, so I probably wouldn't buy it again. But the sixer I have is going to be a pleasant experience, regardless.

Photo of bbkd3b
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at a local bar/pizza place in Columbia, MO. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, orange-yellow with an average white head that lingered for a bit.

S: Super-hoppy in smell. Pine scent will really overtake anything else. No alcohol.

T: Surprisingly balanced after the smell. There were bitter hops up front, but it was well-balanced with a caramel taste underneath the surface. Pretty damn good, really.

M: Decent carbonation, medium thickness. Body was smooth and a little bit on the thicker side of things.

D: At first, I thought this would have almost no drinkability, but as I went on, the flavor really set in and made me want another (something I followed through on).

Another strong brew from New Belgium. Good for the winter season. It warms up the gut!

Photo of jkrich
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker. Bright, new copper penny in color; clear with a slight, quickly receding white head.

My initial thought after smelling the strong piney aromas, was this is going to be a hop bomb.

There is noticeable hop bitterness but it is overtaken by caramel sweetness and an odd sour aftertaste. It is a unique flavor, but not always pleasant. As the ale warms. the flavors come into balance.

Somewhat thin mouthfeel for an ESB style with moderate carbonation. It is somewhat abrasive on the tongue with that faint sour aftertaste.

This is worth trying as a seasonal. It would not make my regular rotation. It drinks easily for 6.6 ABV.

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

Appearance - Clear amber with a 1/2 finger head.

Smell - Hoppier than I expected. Flowers and pine predominate.

Taste - Some caramel, a quick bite of hop presence, alcohol, maple, pine.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation and thickness.

Notes - Much closer to an IPA than I expected. It's similar to Sierra Nevada Celebration, but doesn't seem quite as balanced to me.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a nice orange/red with a quarter inch light tan head, heavy lacing on the side of the glass as I drank.

The heavy aroma of pine hops and pine sap. The taste paralleled the scent, mostly pine hop, with a bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was smooth with medium bitterness and high carbonation. The hoppyness limits this one for a session beer, one glass was just fine with me.

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

Pours a clear, light orange-copper color with small head that leaves decent lace. Some light malt on the nose, but mostly hops. Both citrusy C-hops and spicy Amarillo (although I am told otherwise by the bottle) flavors are present in a good balance.

Interesting taste that consists of Amarillo/Simcoe hops with a healthy floral bouquet in toe and the brewery's characteristic slight bready malt base. Moderate earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish.

Medium-bodied with med-high carbonation. Not my favorite of the style, but an OK offering. It is one of my favorites from New Belgium.

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Unibroue tulip. Best by March 26, 2010. One inch of soapy, fluffy white head rests for quite a while atop a golden body. Aroma is of of fresh piney hops and some light sweet malts. Taste has some nice hoppy bitterness in the front and a touch of sweet malts with some light spicing. ABV is not noticeable whatsoever in this extremely pleasing winter ale. Extremely thick mouthfeel, kinda strange in a clear beer but noticeably thick. Pretty nice beer across the board.

Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark yellow, light orange from the bottle. No haze at all in the glass. Foamy head disappears fairly quickly. Smell is sweet malt and light hops. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and bubbly. There's something interesting up front in the taste that I'm not sure how to describe--it's pleasantly earth, almost pungent. This is a very drinkable beer. If you're looking for a winter session beer, this would make a good choice, I think.

Photo of WeisGuy
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a - deep golden color, two-finger dense white head with great retention and lacing, very clear

s - very grainy and bready aroma, hints of caramel, a little spice and bittersweet chocolate, not much alcohol

t - very malty and bready up front, caramel and mild spice on the mid-palate, finish dominated by moderately sweet maltiness and lots of grain and bread with some nuttiness, mild alcohol presense

m - medium-bodied, medium to lower carbonation, mildly dry finish, some alcohol warming

d - not too harsh on the palate, but pretty boring taste that could use some kind of a hop presence to balance out the maltiness and breadiness a bit

Photo of Bung
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. Fairly bright orange pour, some white head. Nice malty aroma, some citrus and christmas cookie. Taste has some malt herbal tones, but an overwhelming cardboard and metallic flavor. Finish kind of blah, some fading maltyness. Body is fairly light, nice carbonation though. The cardboard/grass like flavors are really hard to get by.

Photo of olmatty
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a light orange amber with a low white head and little lacing

Smell- Fresh and spicy hops and lightly sweet malts

Taste- Big on the earthy, spicy hops up front for a winter. Malts are lightly caramel sweet. Hops finish mildly.

Mouthfeel- Crisply carbonated and moderately thin body.

Drinkability- Tasty and overall nice. But, in my mind more of a spring of fall brew. Not enough body and too much hop for winter style. Like a hoppy Fat Tire.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brownish-copper color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with good amounts of floral and mildly herbal hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Grainy yet somehow smooth toasted malt flavors are joined quickly by noble hops. The hop and malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was surprised by this beer even being an ESB when I ordered it and more surprised at the hop levels. A solid, if nontraditional, ESB.

Photo of jampics2
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One bottle from a six pack purchased at AJ's in Scottsdale.

Appearance is good. Good orangeish-red with small white ring of head.

Smell is OK. Getting hints of citrus and sweet syrup. Caramel from the malt. Appealing, but not overwhelming, but something is a bit funky here.

Taste falls short for me. What kind of ESB is this - I know English hops are appropriate, but why take this pseudo-American/Belgian take on it? Not a fan at all of the hops used for the dry hop when used in this capacity. Citrus then sweet sugars, followed by a weird mix of grass and fruit cup. Orange and pine or clove suggested, but this is just not what I look for compared to the classics. I appreciate the risk NB took, but this just isn't that good.

Mouth is good. Spot-on, nice carb bubbles, light visco.

Drink is OK. Not a fave, so I wish I could have bought a single instead of a 6. I remember having this on tap a year ago March, and I thought it was MUCH hoppier and smooth. Just an average offering and the weird flavors make this sub-standard IMO.

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

A: Pours a very clear amber with a small amount of light tan head. Just a film retains, which doesn't leave too much lacing.

S: Sweet, somewhat caramel like. A bit one dimensional.

T: Much like the aroma, sweet, with the same off-caramel tone from start to finish.

M: Medium carbonation, medium body.

D: Drinks pretty easy, though there's a mild astringency in the finish that isn't altogether pleasant.

Not bad, but not particularly interesting either.

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

Has an amber color with a good head.
Smells of hops and malts, a good mixture between the two.
Tastes like lightly roasted malts with some somewhat potent hops that give it an almost floral taste to it.

This is a great beer for winter, not too hoppy like the widmer, but not quite as dark as I like for Christmas. Even still a great winter beer.

Photo of a10t2
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 12 oz bottle with best-by date of 19 March 2010.

A: Brilliantly clear gold with a bit of orange. Moderate carbonation, with minimal head but excellent retention and a little lacing.

S: Earthy and resiny English hop character is right up front. Just a hint of a toasted, bready character.

T: Hops continue to dominate, with some mild chocolate and fruity undertones. Then the aftertaste is all hops again, fading into a little bit of alcohol.

M: A lot more prickly carbonation than I would expect or like in an ESB. It's definitely light over the tongue, but not something you'll want to stop and savor.

D: Pretty high. At 6.6% this isn't exactly a session beer, but it's a refreshing alternative to the malt bombs everyone seems to put out this time of year. The carbonation is the only sore spot for me - it's high enough to be a bit unpleasant in my book.

Photo of NStLincoln
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Two Below pours a transparent copper with a thick, creamy, off white head that leaves tremendous lacing.

The nose is very nice. Aromas of spiced carrot cake and a hint of caramel are what I pick up, and oh yeah that's good.

The flavor is okay, but not as good as the smell. The malt is mild with subdued hints of orange and cloves. There is a refreshing bite of hops at the end that intensifies the citrus.

Mouthfeel is not quite as thick as I like in a winter ale, but I served it a bit too cold and that may have had some effect on it.

I like Two Below, one of the lighter drinking, more hoppy winter efforts you'll find.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,158 ratings.