1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.

1,067 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,067
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 21
Gots: 42 | 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: 1,067 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bagman007
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Copper coloring with a decent bit of head.

S- At first it had an extremely hoppy smell when I first opened the bottle, but it does not smell as hoppy now. Light chocolate and malt smell.

T- Malts and chocolate are the primary tastes here, though there is definitely a hint of hops in the after taste.

M- Decent amount of carbonation present. Hoppy, but not overly bitter.

D- Fairly drinkable. I think some people wouldn't have more than 2-3 in a sitting, but you could definitely have more.

Bagman007, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of captenaj
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this as part of the Old Chicago winter beer tour. I have been eyeing this for a while and was glad to have the opportunity to try it. I found it to be quite a drinkable brew. Although I am not a fan of hops, this was nicely balanced with just enough hops to cut through the sausage pasta I was eating. Very good.

captenaj, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours light orange, just as the bottle says. Grass, pepper, and hops in the nose. Smooth flavor, though the flavors seem to compete. Good malt character you expect from an ESB, but a lot of hops that you expect from a west coast IPA. Its like the beer doesn't know what it shoud be. When cool, its a malty IPA. As it warms, the ESB qualities emerge. Doesn't really matter, its still a pretty good beer.

magictrokini, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Pours a nice, clear amber with fluffy white head. Retention and lacing were minimal. Smell is nice. At first sniff I detect a good amount of hops with a bit of a biscuity malt backbone. The hops did smell nice and fresh I thought. The taste was good but something seemed a little out of place. There were some hops at first but it finished with a caramel malt taste which is weird, it seems like most beers you get the malt first and then the hops. Mouthfeel was light, a little too thin I thought. Overall a very good beer.

bunnyhustle, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Special promotion at Frog & Peach in SLO - We got 6 pints of 2 Below and a New Belgium goblet for $16! Hell yeah!

Appearance: Clear amber body with some pretty vicious carbonation on the inside. Head is tight, white, and very creamy. Great retention and tons of thick, soapy lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Not a whole lot going on, especially at a chilled temp. After letting it warm up for a while I got mainly bready yeast, with some caramel and holiday spices.

Taste: Once again, lots of bready yeast. Caramel and spices follow, with a surprising amount piney hops in the finish. Nicely balanced and pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with a carbonation slightly higher than average. Not much chewiness. Aftertaste is mild but hangs around for a bit.

Drinkability: My favorite beer from New Belgium thus far. Still, all of their beers are over-yeasted IMHO. There's better winter beers out there, but a solid offering from the New Belgium staff. Give it a try.

ThreeWiseMen, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of cokes
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep, clear, amber with a chunky bleached khaki head that shows good rentention and lacing.
Toasty aroma, with some sweeter squeals of caramel, and a bitterness that shows herbs and celery and onions in equal proportions. The weirdness grows as it warms.
Toasted grain upon its entry in to the mouth. Some nuttiness precedes a black cherry fruitiness. Here on, it gathers towards caramel. Hopping comes in with a variety herbs and vegetables. The flavor is modest, and what's here doesn't exactly jibe. Leeks and basil and milkweed aren't the flavors I'm looking for out of the hops. There's a more general herbal bitterness that is more in tune with what I'd expect out of a beefy ESB.
The mouthfeel is glossy and medium+. It's slick with a tempered CO2, and no notice from the alcohol.
The base is in place for a solid, rotund, ESB-type ale. But I question the hop varieties that are used.

cokes, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a surprisingly bright, rich gold color. The head was white, retained well as a collar and left solid lacing all the way down. The aroma was nice blend of grapefruit and citrus hops plus caramel malt. The flavors were also mostly hoppy, but it started with a flash of biscuit-like malt and some hints of caramel followed by the crisp citrus hop presence. Some brown sugar showed up as it warmed but it generally remained rather acidic. An odd combination. The body was medium and the carbonation the same. An interesting beer but not what I think of when I go looking for winter brews and it never really came together for me.

thekevlarkid, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of davexisxrabid
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Clear amber colored with a small white head that fizzled down quickly. Not much lacing on the glass as the drinking progressed.

Aroma was of pine, citrus hops.

Crisp, clean flavor of light hops, with an even lighter note of sweet malts. Can't taste the 6.6% alcohol.

Easy on the tounge, very light, and does leave a pleasant lingering aftertaste of malts.

A good offering from New Belgium, good drinkability, a good choice for a session beer.

davexisxrabid, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of skeetermoses
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have mixed feelings about this beer. At first I really was impressed with it. It had a great taste to it, one that would go good with a nice thanksgiving meal, but after having the 1554, it just felt weak. I felt cheated with the 2 below, it seemed like the half way point of a great beer. Loved it, don't get me wrong new belgium still is doing good. but I just felt like I was hanging there. Should remain a seasonal.

skeetermoses, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Huge fluffy beige head on top of a transparent amber brew. Leaves the most lacing I've seen on a glass in a long time.

S- Smells like spicy American hops on top of rich chocolatey malts

T- The hops dominate the taste of this brew. Clearly dry hopped, the beer has a distinct piney flavor

M- A bit slick, but overall good feeling with balanced carbonation

D- Drinks great for me, but hops might be a bit much for some folks.

EnojysAnyBeer, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of Mdog
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear amber, big head.

Smell: Big piney aroma, very impressive. A little bit of citrus shows up too.

Taste: Very tasty balance between sweet breadiness that shows up in most New Belgium brews and crisp pine and citrus hops.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, just right.

Drinkability: Easily quaffable. Could have one after the other.

This is a very nice beer from New Belgium, it's the first one I've had from them where the hops take on a prominent role. Very good aroma and quite tasty.

Mdog, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- normal pour produces an amber body with a massive off white head. head quickly falls and becomes sort of a skin on top of the glass. very solid lacing left on the glass from where the head was.

S- floral hops and lots of malt.

T- malty upfront with a solid hop finish. very nice.

M- medium body and decently smooth.

D- an esb is a pretty unique choice for a winter seasonal. its a nice change of pace. this one i could have a couple of in a sitting, and id like to have it a few times before its gone for the year.

jwinship83, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Appears a copper color with a one inch off-white head that reduces to a very thin skim. Some very small particulates can be seen in the beer when held to the light. Leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma is caramelly, with some toasted notes and fruity esters.

The flavor is basically exactly what is expected from the aroma. Some caramel malts with a pretty strong toasty flavor with some fruity notes from the yeast. A bit of spicy hops on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, pretty crisp but it goes a bit too far and is slightly astringent.

This stuff was pretty decent, kind of like Fat Tire. Would be a decent session beer for some but it's not really to my tastes.

roadhouse, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of josiahschlender
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looks from this NB seasonal. Orange amber in color, with an ample orange-tinted head that leaves a bit of light lacing.

Hoppy aromas, but not the hops I'm used to. A little bit of pine and citrus, but herbal and spice notes. Hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, but I like it. I'm also getting a good helping of sweet, caramel malts.

Taste follows suit, but isn't quite as fulfilling as the nose. Sweet, caramel bready malts that somewhat overtake the herbal hops. A little bit of bitterness at the end, but not much there.

Seems pretty well carbonated, with a medium body. I'm glad they didn't go too light with this, I like some heft to a winter seasonal.

For me, a difficult beer to put into words, but I enjoyed it. I've noticed a few times that people think it's really similar to Fat Tire. To my tastes, it's a pretty big departure, with much more hops. A good thing, in my book.

josiahschlender, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of deereless
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark pumpkin, ring of foam along the edges - 3.50, S: Bready and grainy, the aroma definitely favors the malt though there is a noticeable hop bite - 3.50, T: The palate is quite a bit more bitter than the nose led me to believe, strong bitterness, some dark cherries and slightly medicinal - 3.25, M: Light to medium bodied - 3.50, D: A very non-confrontational beer, decent but nothing to rant and rave about - 3.50

deereless, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker pint glass. Freshness date clearly marked that states "best before 13Feb2009."

A: Pouring right down the middle created a good amount of head, but not excessive. Nice, dark ruby red color that looks very inviting for a winter brew. Excellent lacing on the glass as it's being consumed.

S: Before I even poured this brew, I took a sniff from the bottle expecting something similar to the flagship Fat Tire, very different, as from the bottle, this beer was screaming with liberty hops! Once poured, the nose is actually very well balanced, with some toasted malt blending well with assertive piney notes from the hops and some estery fruit notes.

T&M: Starts off with a good hit of roasted, somewhat biscuty malt up front, followed by piney and citrus flavors from the hops. Peppery spice flavor continues the hop bite, and blends nicely with some fruity, somewhat cherry esters and lingering dry bitterness to round things out. Very nice balance between malt sweetness and hoppiness. I couldn't detect any alcohol in the flavor whatsoever other than just a trace at the very end. Mouthfeel is good, a little creamy, with a good amount of tingling carbonation.

D&Notes: To be honest, I actually bought a six pack of this thinking it would be different than Fat Tire, as I am really not a big of it. Before I even had a chance to try it, I was hearing it was similar to Fat Tire, and I almost fell into the trap of judging it before I tried it for myself. Come to find out, it is somewhat like Fat Tire, but unlike the flagship brew, this winter release has ample hops to balance out the excessive biscuit like malt flavor I don't care for in Fat Tire. This is overall a very good winter beer, perfectly balanced, and has enough ABV to be warming, but two or three of these for most beer lovers shouldn't be too much either. Can't wait to visit Colorado for the first time this December, as I plan to try this on tap close to where it brewed.

AustinBeerLvr, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of KeefD
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper orange color with a huge three finger off-white head that recedes slowly, becoming rocky and leaving some nice sheets of lacing. Well rounded aroma of bitter hops and sweet malt. Certainly balanced in the nose. Taste is quite sweet, a bit of caramel and toasty malts, and the hopping seems to be a bit light with casual flavors of citrus and light pine. Fairly well balanced but could have used a bit more hop bitterness. Smooth and creamy, light carbonation. A nice winter ale but doesn't taste much like an ESB. Too much caramel malt and too little hop bitterness to be considered such, but still tasty.

KeefD, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of JBogan
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice looking medium amber with a thick and creamy head which leaves good lacing. Not a bad looking beer.

Smelled of sweet malt with perhaps a citric note as well.

Tasted of sweet malt, but it also had somewhat of a wet cardboard taste. There's that bit of citris in there too.

Mouthfeel was thin to medium bodied. I prefer more body in a winter beer. This one also was a little short on the carbonation.

Overall this wasn't a particularly memorable brew. I bought a six pack of this, and when it's gone that will be all I'd really care to have of this. Not a beer which beckoned me back for more.

JBogan, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of KarlHungus
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear ruby color. The head is two inches in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is a nice balance between caramel malt, and citrus hops. The taste leans a little more toward the malty side, but there is still a nice hop presence. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is one of the nicer New Belgium beers I have tasted. I could happily drink this beer again.

KarlHungus, Nov 12, 2008
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a faintly hazy copper amber with a finger of off white head that leaves beautiful lacng.

S: Foral and citrus aromas with toasted almond.

T: Not as much flavor or malty sweetness as I was expecting from a winter ale. I got hops and grapefruit. That's about it. The finish is very clean. Rather ho-hum.

M: Light-medium. A bit over-carbonated in my opinion.

D: If you're craving a dumbed-down Fat Tire, this beer's for you.

FACEMEAT, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of Atron67
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this bitter, a smooth lightly malty and sharp hop bite at the end that is really delicious. a great sipper that i wish was more available around here. a definite huge winner from new belgium. crisp hop presence gives a really nice lingering character.

Atron67, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of biboergosum
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wondering around Denver international airport, I had a few hours to kill, and right before subjecting myself to a Burger King lunch, I noticed the "New Belgium" listing in the food directory. Well now, get thee hence, I proclaimed...

With a lovely view of the Rocky Mountains, and the terminal with the white peaks that emulates said mountains, I ordered a 2 Degrees Below. This beer appeared a medium copper, with a white head, and lots of lacing. The smell was of muted floral hops. The taste showed caramel malt, and more floral hops. The beer had a mild carbonation, with a medium weight body. This reminded me of Brewster's beer style, only a little bit hoppier. It was a nice quaff, I could drink a few of these while waiting for a connection, flight or otherwise...

biboergosum, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of spointon
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a mildly hazy pale orange color with a 1/2" off-white head. The head quickly dropped to a skim, but left behind some nice sheet lacing.

S= I found huge nutty, roasty malt aromas over some moderate sweetness. That was pretty much it. What there was, was good, there just wasn't much of it.

T= This one lead with a combo of malt sweetness and that nutty quality I found in the aroma. Very mild yet flavorful. The middle produced a decent little spicy hop kick, then dried out for a finish that was equal hops and mild sweetness. Perfectly balanced.

MF= Medium bodied with a relatively high carbonation release.

D= This ale is no doubt very similar to Fat Tire, but I have to say I liked this one more. The toasted nut flavor is found in both, but this ale had a delicious little hop bite that was just right. Very drinkable, very sessionable.

spointon, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of unHipHopHead
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For me, this beer is like 2 molecules removed from the Fat Tire brew.

If you like FT you will love this brew, for me personally it was too similar, the base source was too much prominent and it detracted from the character of this individual brew.

My fav NB Brew is still the 1554 & the new abby.

unHipHopHead, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of Fatduck
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crisp copper color, not exactly what I was expecting. Fluffy white head that lasts. It smells almost like a crisp winter morning with a fresh layer of snow. Reminds me of outdoor hockey games. Tastes like a wonderful simple bitter with a well balanced flavor. Im not really sure why its a winter beer, but its good.

Fatduck, Nov 02, 2008
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,067 ratings.