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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.

1,030 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,030
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 19
Gots: 24 | 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: 1,030 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmpitz2


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

12 oz bottle. The beer pours a solid copper color with a finger of white head that falls to a full coat over top. The clarity on this is fantastic and there are large bubbles forming at the bottom of my glass and cascading up to the top. The aroma is very earthy, with a strong toasted German malt character along with some biscuit-like qualities that I associate with other beers from this brewery. The hop only comes through to me in the earthy character. The flavor accentuates the toasted and biscuity malt character. There is a mild earthy hop in there that comes through on the finish. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and a little herbal character as well from the hop. I find as a I drink this, the malt seems to diminish and the hop seems a bit more upfront. Mouthfeel is moderate with a moderate carbonation of fine bubbles. Overall, this one is not bad. The malt character is and never will be my favorite, but I think it is what the brewer wants, so I can take that as it is. I don't think I would drink more than one in a night, but the 6 I got will be consumed without much worry.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2007 00:13:36 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of radshoesbro


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

the first time i had this i drank it straight out of the bottle, i'm not sure why, but it gives off a much stronger hop flavor when consumed in this manner, so it's worth a try if that's something you'd be interested in.

this is one of the better winter brews i've had, only because it tastes like christmas! it really does have a feeling of having a spruce or pine in your mouth. totally weird, but true! pours a nice caramel with a little bubblely head and fair lace. head dissipates rapidly. smells of light floral hops, nothing impressive here. tastes the way christmas trees smell. odd, but interesting nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 01:17:26 | More by radshoesbro
Photo of Night


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper / brilliant orange; flecks of vermilion. Foamy and bubbly blonde-white head, medium in size. Lacing forms two wide, intricately drippy arcs. Frosty looking. Aroma is warm and lightly hoppy with a spicy sweet touch: toast, suds, apples, caramel, sweet grass, liquor. Mouthfeel is not quite juicy with a very light carbonation. Flavor is dominated by a subtle bread malt woodiness with overtones of peach, citrus, flour, and dust. Earthy for sure. Malts and hops are balanced in pretty good stride here. A touch of bitter cinnamon spice comes in at the finish. Aftertaste is light and a touch syrupy, with a gentle bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2007 07:31:22 | More by Night
Photo of NCSUdo


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

A: Crystal clear amber under a rather large white head. A lot of lace and really good retention. Damn good looking beer.

S: Toasted malt and some earthy hops, a little bit of plain ole malt character as well.

T: Toasted malt. Some sourness. A moderate amount of bitterness and a peppery hop character. Slight medicinal/herbal character as well. This one is slightly off balance.

M/D: Medium body, carbonation is a little hight but not bad. Drinkability is a little low due to taste being off balance but the beer still maintains a good amount of drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 01:03:49 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of CamuMahubah


3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber...fizzy, fuzzy in the mug...

Vanilla biscuity aura almost a flowery burp...what the?..

..this is fruit cake stout...flower cake stout...the hops are here!...hop cake...almost as if the brewer was trying to bake gingerbread without the traditional ingredients...using a secret recipe that was perhaps stumbled onto...maybe Old Man Winter had one of his ice fairies sprinkle pixy dust over the master brewer's dreams!...this one is deep...like a heavy snow drift...yet...

A heavyweight with a light finish?!...almost as if the first sip is big snowfall...later on turning into a drizzle of snowflakes...I can't quite place this beer...last year I thought for sure this beer was spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg...So complex, I am lost...where did that herbal aftertaste come from?...

Slowly I finish my second one of the night and decide to head for a Fat Tire...You know how animals grow a heavy, Winter coat...well this beer is Fat Tire before the Spring molt..Our cows used to get frisky too with the onset of Winter...this beer is a bit wild...

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 09:18:24 | More by CamuMahubah
Photo of DavidEddie


2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by Feb 15 08

Appearance - Translucent amber with a thick white head.

Smell - Bread dough, biscuits, and light hops.

Taste - Sweet malt, bread, light roasted grain, and very light bitter hops.

Mouth feel - light bodied, kind of thin and watery.

Drinkability - Just okay, easy to drink, reminded me a lot of a slightly hoppy Fat Tire.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 03:49:04 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz purchased at the Boise Coop for about $1.40... enjoyed from my standard red wine glass. Listening to John Kelley High Desert Soundsystem.

CRYSTAL clear orange lite amber.... very nice color... decent head but goes away quickly.

Very distinctive nose, I swear I could pick it out of a lineup. Toasted grains are all over the place ... still hops are there, but are definately not of the American varieties... noble hops all the way here ... that being said, I like both components separately, but when combined, they remind me of a less offensive bottom of a kitchen garbage can.... I know that sound harsh, but it isn't meant to be... it is minor and only reminicent. Again, they just don't work well together.

Flavor is aromatic and toasted malt (Victory??) ... clean very vibrant noble hop balance. The malt flavor is like chewing on a small teaspoon of brewers biscuit malt... the hops really muddy it up. Edit: The taste is also very earthy, like a cigar humidor, sorta reminds me of a fresh hop brew... I just can't put my finger/palate on it... This beer drove me nuts trying to wrap my mind around it last year.

Wow.... this is a back and forth review... I have, would and will buy this beer again here and there just because it is soooo freaking different ... and damnit, I want to figure it out.

I swear New Belgium changed this recipe from last year significantly. I dug out my notebook review from last year, and I said it was brown .. but the flavor and aroma profile were still there... My review last year had all the same negatives and positives, but I really can't completely pan this beer... all the parts are great, they just don't add up to a good whole. My notebook review said the beer "tastes and smells like it's in reverse".... what ever that meant! Sorry NB guys, I still love the triple and La Folie.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 10:29:01 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of marksto


2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber colored and crystal clear - no doubt due to the cold conditioning described on the label. Aroma displays some restrained fruity esters along with a distinct hop aroma and a slight breadiness. Flavor continues with a slight fruitness along with malt and a hop bitterness that overlies through the finish. The bitterness is again distinct and different from any I am familiar with. I'm guessing this is from the sterling hops. I'm not particuarly fond of this character, it exhibits a harshness bordering on metallic that I don't find appealing.

Overall, not the best among New Belgium's many excellent labels. Skip this one and go for one of the others.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2007 01:21:19 | More by marksto
Photo of Tolann


4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a copper amber color with a dense creamy white head that settles quickly leaving some lace. Clear with some cascading bubbles

S - Sweet and piny hops. Citrus notes

T - Sweet citrus quickly followed by bitter hops. They balance nicely, but seem to work independently. Maybe lemon and grapefruit.

M - smooth and medium/light body. A slightly dry aftertaste.

D - Nice to drink and has exceeded my expectations (I had set them low this time around, not really knowing too much about the beer). I may be back at the liquor store for this one; this time more than 1 bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 05:15:51 | More by Tolann
Photo of BigJTrucker


3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my NBB Abbey glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper color, white head settling fairly quickly. Some lacing. Aroma is less fruity than i remember from last year, a bit heavier on the malt. A nice malty brew, with just enough hops to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is fairly mild, not too complex. Drinkability is high, flavor is easy on the palate. Would definetly buy this again,(and again).

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 09:01:22 | More by BigJTrucker
Photo of Natural510


4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not as nice of a head as I would like in a winter beer...otherwise a quite tasty and drinkable ale. The color is a rich amber, the flavor spicy. The hops are pronounced without overwhelming the palate...or New Belgiums' signature toasted malt.
All in all, I will buy it again...passes the "session" test and a good addition to my upcoming winter options.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2007 06:50:16 | More by Natural510
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Poured out a golden amber color with a bubbly/soapy, off-white, two-finger head. It left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of hops and grasses. Also a tad bit of citrus aroma. It had somewhat f a roasted malt aroma, too.

T - It tasted of tons of hops and very grassy. Great roasted malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a warm alcohol presence. It was a medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good ESB. It almost tastes more like an IPA it is some hoppy.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2007 05:37:20 | More by zeff80
Photo of HabaJohn


4.83/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was had on a trip to Colorado, very near Fort Collins. Exceptional hop malt combination with caramel and coffee. Balanced wonderfully with the alcohol . This dubbel has eluded me in my area. I've found other brews from New Belgium brewery.Buy some today..

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2007 01:47:28 | More by HabaJohn
Photo of MarzenMan


3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

S - Very Very Piney. Never smelled anything quite like it. Some slight malt.

A - Clrystal clear amber with a minimal head.

T&M - Slight alcohol, quite strong pine flavor and a little sweet malt.

D - A little forward to drink much of but nice if you want something different.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 03:44:12 | More by MarzenMan
Photo of mrquartetman


4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd read a few reviews of this beer before tasting it and expected to be underwhelmed.

Not at all. This is a really good winter ale. It has a slightly hoppy nose, but does not hit the tongue with hop until late in its sojourn across the palate. It is a very malty, sweetish beer that gets estery as it goes, and then the very subtle hop enters the picture.

The hop doesn't die off, it just sings a harmonic note in the background, an offset to the sweetness. This is very cleverly done.

Someone suggested that this is just a heavier Fat Tire. Not to me. It is its own fine self, and a good warmer to keep around all winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2007 06:26:33 | More by mrquartetman
Photo of RustythePelican


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this from the bottle into a pilsner glass; it is a nice-looking beer, copper-caramel colored with a small head. Smell was mild with hints of pine, suggesting more hops than this beer has.

Taste is mild and grassy, with a brief hop bitterness on the finish. This tasted a little thin to me for something advertised as a "winter ale" - more of a boozy Fat Tire to enjoy at an after-sunset cookout. Mild flavor and low carbonation makes this an easy drinking beer; I'm not sure if this is accurately categorized as an Extra Special/Strong Bitter, but it's a decent beer nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2007 21:05:59 | More by RustythePelican
Photo of jeffjfindley


3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Basically this is a heavier version of Fat Tire. Very nice in appearance, but in no way remarkable. Smell and taste are biscuity, as is the Tire, but with a little more spice. A little bit of fennel and some grassiness. Mouthfeel is round but hollow. This isn't bad, I just fail to see how it qualifies as a winter warmer. A lazy, ill-conceived offering from an otherwise fine brewery.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2007 06:35:19 | More by jeffjfindley
Photo of buffettfan


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

Poured from eh bottle into a glass. Amber in color, not a lot of head, but what was there stuck around for a little bit.
Smell was malt, and a little yeast. Tastes is malty and hoppy, a little fruit. A nice beer and a good seasonal choice. I like to have some of this in my fridge for the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 14:52:51 | More by buffettfan
Photo of russpowell


3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BBD of 15 Feb 08

Pours amber/caramel with 2+ fingers of pillowy pearl colored head. Some effervescence kicks in as this warms up. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Slight citric & herbal hop scent. Caramel shows as this warms

T: Bready with caramel & leafy/herbal hops up front. Fruittyness surfaces as this warms, plus boozey warmth along with more leafy/tobacco type hops. Finishes with a caramel, slight fruittyness & grapefruitty hops & some datey + pineapple fruittyness

MF: A little chewy, minimal carbonation with some wetness, weird. Balances well

Drinks pretty easy, the boozey warmth does slow you down a bit. A fair ESB that is much better on tap IMO

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 02:38:08 | More by russpowell
Photo of crayphish


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

The ESB offering from New Belgium poured a radiant clear copper. A fluffy head leaves a decent amount of lacing as I consume. Smell is typical malty biscuit that NB is known for. An additional amount of subdued fruity hops. Taste is essentially Fat Tire with a fair amount of bittering hops. The fruitiness apparent in the nose is lost on me here. Mouthfeel is clean and fresh, and I found the brew to be drinkable tho a bit boring.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 05:57:14 | More by crayphish
Photo of BradLikesBrew


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

"Best before 15FEB08"

a: pours a clear copper/orange with white head and good lacing

s: can detect piney, biscuity notes

t: toasty malts with a biscuity finish. neither malt nor hops dominate, well balanced flavors overall. not a typical esb, but still quite tasty.

m: I have never used the word biscuity in a review before today, but that continues to be the word that best describes this beer. Doesn't stick to the tongue too much. Average carbonation. Crisp dry finish.

d: its smooth. Not overly hoppy or sweet, goes down pretty easy. Wouldn't have guessed its ABV: 6.60 %. Not too filling, I could definitely put down several in one sitting, but the alcohol does creep up on you.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2007 22:23:48 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Thank you to BORT11 for the shipment.

A: Reddish-amber and very lear. Thin head but nothing extraordinary or bizarre here.

S: Woodsy smell and the malts were nice. Biscuits/bready aroma was what I was hoping for in this beer.

T: Again dominated by malts. By the end of the glass, this beer really seemed to develop into a different taste and more bitter. Maltiness still there and quite good tastes.

M: Carbonation was slight and overall biscuity mouthfeel.

D: Overall drinkable and you could taste the alcohol in the beer but a good version of a 'winter warmer' . Maltiness could make it difficult to put down too many, but overall drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2007 12:36:52 | More by marcpal
Photo of Gusler


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours forth from the 12 ounce bottle a shimmering gold with a prestigious bright white creamy head, after its evaporation, the lace forms an encircling sheet to cover the glass. Sweet malt dominates the nose, citrus like crispness with a nice hop aroma, start has a pleasing malt presents, somewhat sweet, and bit of bite at the back, top is light to medium in feel. Finish has an authoritarian acidity, the hops vigorous in their acidity, dry aftertaste ends it all, and a drinkable beer, but I look for more in a Winter Ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2007 18:02:40 | More by Gusler
Photo of Strix


3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2007 05:03:43 | More by Strix
Photo of bort11


3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2007 03:56:20 | More by bort11
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,030 ratings.