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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.

1,050 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,050
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 20
Gots: 37 | 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: 1,050 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured a deep rich golden with a touch of amber tint a tight one finger head set atop leaving a broken ring of lace behind as it settled pretty slowly.Like the hop spike in the aroma like grapefruit rind sitting over top a hefty caramelly malt base,the flavors dont quite match the nose but its well balanced between a brown sugar-like biscuity malt base and earthy,citrusy hop just neither really stand out enough on their own.Not a bad cold weather beer nicely balanced and a nice aroma.

12-17-2006 20:20:48 | More by oberon
Photo of mjc410


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured into a shaker at the Granfalloon in KC, MO. The beer put up a bit of off-white surface lacing, over a very light tawny body, with broad-spaced bubbling. The nose was full of floral, piney, but primarily citric hops, with a bit of malt sweetness behind. The taste was led by hop power - citrus and pine, but balanced well with the honey and caramel flavors of the malt. The high bitterness only grew with more sipping. The mouth was medium, with tingly but fine carbonation on the palette. Overall, a great beer, with exceptional balance and great hop flavor. I had this pegged as some sort of pale ale at first, but it does just fine as an ESB.

12-17-2006 17:08:52 | More by mjc410
Photo of JEdmund


3.38/5  rDev -7.1%

This beer poured out a nice amber color with a minimal half inch head. The smell was pleasant -- spicey, a little fruity, and sweet. The flavor was nice and blanced, but subtle, with nothing dominating or overpowering. My biggest complaint was the complete lack of aftertaste. Once it was down, the flavor was gone -- nothing in my mouth to remind me of what I just drank. I was disappointed by this, but it's still an enjoyable brew, and certainly light enough that you could easily drink a few of these in an evening. I wouldn't buy it again, but it's just my preference to have bigger, bolder flavors.

12-15-2006 16:04:09 | More by JEdmund
Photo of BeerManDan


4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

When poured it was clear light copper in color with very little white foam, but a fair amount of lace on the glass. The smell of an evergreen aroma was evident with a hint of spice and fruit.

The taste was still of an evergreen flavor, along with roasted malts and hints of sweet fruits and spices. This was not an overpowering winter ale, very enjoyable. The hop's were not super bitter or tart. I really enjoy this winter ale.

12-15-2006 00:22:19 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of SuperSpy


4.05/5  rDev +11.3%

This thing pours up a crystal clear copper with big rocky white head that leaves behind some of the prettiest lace I have seen in a while. Great head retention and beautiful rising bubbles in this incredibly clear beer just make this look positively stunning. The aroma is of earthy, spicy hops and a bit of nutty graininess that teases the senses with hints of whats about to come with the first sip.

The beer has a very nice, medium body with a fairly malty flavor. The initial taste is sweet and caramelly, but seemlessly transitions to an earthy hoppiness that gives this a nice dry finish. This one will be finding its way to my fridge again before the winter season is over.

12-14-2006 03:35:58 | More by SuperSpy
Photo of HoustonTX


3.95/5  rDev +8.5%

Murky copper colored body, with a bubbly decent sized head. Nice and aerated. Fragerant hop aroma eminates from the nose. Spruce, pine resin, and floral pop out. Fruit esters are also brought out, light watermelon, pear, and grapes. True to the style of ESB. Reminds me of a good english rendition of one. As the malts are about to come, earthy malt backs the nose. The front taste is covered with plenty of malt as well. Brutal roasted malts attack the palate, and stick for a good amount of time. Giving a leadway to a pleasent amount of hoppiness. A bite, and hit, a bang, a slash. Hops are floral and citric, with a brush of spiciness, and oh so strong. Leading for me to draw the conclusion of this having an IPA edge. Possibly a new style emergence? The future may tell. Finishes with a lingering warming earthy bitterness. Which provokes you to take another sip.

This is a unique beer, a rendetion that you don't see much off. Roasty and Hoppy, with some nice flavor depth. I recommend this one.

12-13-2006 19:23:09 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of warriorsoul


3.65/5  rDev +0.3%

A huge "thankyou" to jpm30 for this one...
Honey orange in color with a full finger of bright, white head...sticky, web-lacing is created as it disappears.
Nice aroma...spicy hops, sweet caramel malt, and some honey.
Taste is quite unique...heavily malted with a peat flavor. Grapefruit, pine, orange, corriander, and even what tastes like carroway seed.
Although the start hits the pallet sweet, this is one bitter brew and sucks away any moisture your tongue may be holding onto....finishes with no off flavors and quite dry. Alcohol is nowhere to be found in this glass.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is where I like it to be....not a session beer for me, but a nice offering for the season.

12-13-2006 01:30:59 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of BrewMonkey


3.9/5  rDev +7.1%

Unlike most winter ales I have tried, this beer does not beat you over the head with strong spices or hoppiness. Smells sweet with a light hoppy background. The flavor of malt is almost carmalized, but not overly malty. Again, the hoppy flavor is there, but in the background. No harsh hoppy aftertaste. Very drinkable, which might be dangerous considering the winter ale ABV. Overall, a pleasent change from what I'm used to seeing out of winter offerings.

12-11-2006 18:44:41 | More by BrewMonkey
Photo of cerveza5150


3.83/5  rDev +5.2%

This is a good one - not great, but good. The best part of the appearance is the label on the bottle, sadly. I'm a huge New Belgium fan, but I thought this needed something more. The smell of the malt is great, but the taste doesn't finish with a bang. I'd drink this anytime, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find it...

12-10-2006 23:52:39 | More by cerveza5150
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.03/5  rDev -16.8%

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce brown glass bottle ringed with a ribbed shoulder which has the words ‘New Belgium’ embossed onto it. Glossy red crown cap has the orange and white NBB logo on it. Looks like the bottle in the BA Database. Recommended to be served at 3°C (37°F). Listed at Alc. 6.6% by Vol. Best Before: 23Mar07.

Appearance: Clean polished amber copper body which has a sparkling clarity to it. Frothy dirty beige head, clumped lacing and a tight finely dissolved carbonation.

Nose: At close to the recommended serving temperature…..nothing. As it warms some hop oils and toasted malts but the strength is woefully weak. Has a grainy texture on the nose. Not much here, but what there is not really that appealing.

Taste: Starts with a malt base which benefits from a surge of oily hops in the initial phase. Decent toasted malt centre-piece and a light bitterness to finish with a fruity tingle too. This is alright, nothing wrong with it but the overall impression is of a run-of-the-mill English Bitter.

Mouthfeel: Didn’t get any of the 6.6% in this. The texture is grainy and the feel dry. Seems unbalanced to me and a little disjointed at times.

Drinkability: The first beer of the night for me tends to get a pounding. And this is a good drink, but behind the thirst quenching aspect it has very little to offer.

Overall: Very average, and if you serve this at the recommended serving temperature of 3°C (37°F) which is near freezing (why!?) then I fear you will find it even more ordinary. At least a little warmth allows what flavor is there to escape. Not really a “Winter Ale” to me, but if you serve it at 3°C (37°F) you could certainly be feeling like it is. Definitely not one of the better releases from NBB in my opinion.

Thanks to both BA Erica for allowing me to borrow one of BA UncleJimbo’s recently gifted bottles from the Pizza Port Strong Ale Festival.

12-10-2006 03:53:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Vancer


4.18/5  rDev +14.8%

I’m glad it’s not 2 below as I sample this lil goodie. The pour was a clear and bright amber – tons of sticky and foamy ivory head.

Aroma was an unique woody and floral combination, very unusual. Quaff was reminiscent of the fat tire – doughy and toasty. But the additional hops are noticeable in the finish. Fresh cut grass pops in there too.

Welp, this was certainly different, and enjoyable. As noted in other reviews, the hoppy burps come forth by mid-bottle.

12-09-2006 21:41:54 | More by Vancer
Photo of Zorro


4.22/5  rDev +15.9%

The first thing I noticed about this the moment I poured this is its excellent good looks. Clear amber colored ale with strong orange tint to it. Good thick and fluffy tan colored head.

Smell is strongly of hops. Malty with a strongly citrus scented hops kick in the nostrils. Lesser hop scents of menthol, tobacco, leather and tea. Toasted grain and malt aroma mostly caramel, vanilla and faint coffee.

Taste is mildly malty and hoppy and woody at the start. Wood and citrus are mostly what I taste in this good amount of grapefruit and a little bit of a bitter snap in the finish. This pretty much stays a dry woody and hoppy beer, a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is full.

Very easy to drink, tasty yet not punishing.

A good tasty and hoppy winter ale. This is a very good choice for the time after you have had your fill of too much sweet from you usual winter warmers. Hoppier than you would think, you burp after one of these and you will know it!

12-09-2006 02:25:03 | More by Zorro
Photo of jazappi


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%

Presentation: Came in a mug.

Appearance: Golden Color, a good one finger head that lasted, with good lacing.

Aroma: Citrus smell, but very crisp

Taste: Light, crisp tasted. Medium to light carbination

Mouthfeel: I like the way it felt in the mouth very smooth, and very drinkable.

Overall: I will look forward to this each winter. One of my favorite winter brews. Highly recommend, every one had one of these at the table, and we all liked it.

12-08-2006 21:47:46 | More by jazappi
Photo of machiavelli


4.18/5  rDev +14.8%

Appearance: coppery, sort of like a new penny

Smell: sorta floral, sorta citrusy

Taste: A little light for a winter style ale, but a good balance of hops with undertones of citrus

Mouthfeel: Bubblier than most winter ales, but palatable

Drinkability: A good beer to have with a meal, I like it with chicken or fish. As I said before, a bit lighter feel than other winter brews, but the muted flavor compliments the food and doesn't overpower it.

12-07-2006 04:00:05 | More by machiavelli
Photo of rpheld

North Dakota

3.93/5  rDev +8%

'Smuggled' this in from Nebraska.

Pours a deep copper with a light head. Very fragrant, light citrus notes right from the bottle.

Tastes slightly nutty, hint of cashew, hops are well balanced.
Would definatly recommend trying 2 Below if you have the chance.
An ESB seems an odd style choice for a winter seasonal but it works out well.

12-06-2006 03:56:37 | More by rpheld
Photo of biergeniesser


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%

This bottle of New Belgium 2 below (best before 4/06/07) poured a brilliantly clear orange-amber with a fluffy white head that dissipated quickly. Small bubbles evolve continuously from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma is dominated by crisp hops. An underlying toasted malt aroma is also present. Sweet caramel malt notes lurk in the background.

As with the aroma, the flavor is also dominated by the hops. Crisp and tea-like, the dry hop flavor is prominent. Also present, a crisp, lingering hop bitterness and a nice kettle hop flavor. A nice, although subdued, toasted malt character is detectable. The flavor of this beer is finished off nicely with a slight warming alcohol character.

2 below is light in body with a crisp mouthfeel and a low- moderate degree of carbonation.

A truly interesting winter ale heavy on unusual hops... it stands apart from most other winter seasonals and is certainly worth a try.

12-06-2006 01:20:32 | More by biergeniesser
Photo of ChrisA


4.22/5  rDev +15.9%

Beautiful pour. Thick two finger head. Golden light copper color, bright and clear. Well balanced malt and hops on the nose. I like this beer a lot. Crisp and refreshing up front with a steady malt presence. Flowery hops kick in nicely on the back end. Perhaps my favorite New Belgium offering. Definitely need to pick up some more.

12-05-2006 04:35:05 | More by ChrisA
Photo of Morris729


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%

Pours a clear golden amber color with a creamy white head. Nose is herbal and grassy hops at first, but as the beer warms, aromas of chocolaty caramel malts become more pronounced. Quite nice, actually. Taste is toasted malt and toffee with a touch of fruitiness followed by a hop bitterness. A decent brew with the aroma being the highlight.

12-04-2006 06:48:49 | More by Morris729
Photo of DogFood11


3.68/5  rDev +1.1%

Poured into a long stemmed pils glass it forms a meaty eggshell white head that leaves coat lacing. Light copper body with medium sized carbonation. Highly filtered, clear body.

some syrupy spiced quality to this but overall it is in the backdrop and not annoying at all. This is probably the best offering from New Belgium in my opinion. Fairly clean malts which is a shocker if I take their other products into consideration. Sweet but once again not overdone. Slightly roasted malt presence is welcomed and then it ends up with a hop twister of the east coast variety.

Notes: I've made no bones about it that I can't get into brews from this brewery. This one stands out as the "best" offering I've had to date from New Belgium. It left behind that musky malt presence I find in its Fat Tire etc....Reccomended

12-03-2006 22:36:55 | More by DogFood11
Photo of BeerSox


3.08/5  rDev -15.4%

12oz bottle into mug.

Clear amber hue with an off white head that quickly fizzles to a thin cap.

Grainy malts, leafy hops, and chocolate? An odd smell, but it seems to be mixed well, although there is a slightly musty aroma to it.

Leafy hops and grainy malt. Thin bodied with medium carbonation, and a slightly bitter finish with grains joining in.

Not bad, but I have had better ESB's. Worth a try.

12-03-2006 04:36:27 | More by BeerSox
Photo of RootedFool


3.95/5  rDev +8.5%

Poured into a standard goblet, the body is translucent deep amber with a slight cherry aura; the head is a sturdy three quarters of an inch tall and deflates quickly leaving a soapy ring of lace. Nose: A thorough prickle of hops upfront, some sweetness slides in quickly -- candied cherries, oranges, orange zest, solid hint of caramel -- while the hops continue to hold center-court. Taste: Starts from the back with a blunt yet subtle grate of crusty hops, and moves forward with a very round sweetness -- melons and most definitely apricot come to mind. The aftertaste is a twang of lemon zest, as the hops ascend even further, even a little peppery, leaving more fully fledged malt sweetness. Mouthfeel: A little lighter than I expected it to be, but passable. An interesting choice of style for a winter seasonal.

12-02-2006 03:04:02 | More by RootedFool
Photo of LarryKemp


3.98/5  rDev +9.3%

The beer poured a clear golden tan with an ample off white head.

WOW the nose of the hops. Great hops with a hint of chocolate sneaking in as the beer warms.

As much as the hops dominated the nose, the malts take charge of the tongue. Nice and sweet but not as special as the aroma.

Full semi creamy mouthfeel.

A very, very nice beer. It is going to be one my favorites.

12-02-2006 02:40:48 | More by LarryKemp
Photo of sinistermadman


3.55/5  rDev -2.5%

Perfectly clear light copper in color with an off white burly head.

Smell is of grass and some other earthy notes. Not much to say...

Toasty malt notes with a buttery undercurrent round out the flavor. The hops peek through at the very end along with some faint fruit notes. Medium body with alcohol warming finish. Alcohol becomes more evident as the brew warms. Finishes relatively balanced and clean. Not my favorite style, but this is respectable.

12-01-2006 00:58:22 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of instrumentality


4.05/5  rDev +11.3%

I, like most people, was introduced to New Belgium through Fat Tire. I started seeing it popping up more and more at chain restaurants and would occasionally select it over my old standby, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I thought it was better than most macrobrews I've tried and had a unique flavor but was nothing too spectacular. Then I tried their 1554, which I found to be pretty tasty but, again, nothing to write home about.

Then one day, I came home late and discovered a pint glass filled almost to the top with Fat Tire. It turned out that a friend of my girlfriend had taken a couple of sips but was apparently so blitzed from whatever they had been consuming prior to that that she couldn't go any further. The beer was at room temperature by then, but I am a firm believer in discouraging "alcohol abuse" (i.e. wasting beer) so, martyr that I am, I took it upon myself to finish the beer.

I took one sip and was amazed. It was flavorful. It had a distinctive nuttiness to it that I had never noticed before. It was remarkably smooth. It was all kinds of things that I had never noticed before in all the times past when it was delivered to me ice cold by well-intentioned but oblivious waiters.

A few days ago, I stopped by a local liquor store and saw half a dozen different kinds of New Belgium beer adorning one of the shelves. I was impressed by the distribution success, but I wanted to try a new brewery, so I passed them over.

Shortly thereafter, I read a post from fellow BA assurbanipaul explaining that as unimpressed as he was with New Belgium overall, their 2 below had rapidly become one of his favorites. I was convinced, and a couple of days later, I stopped by the same store for a sixer.

Into the Stone IRS tulip glass it went. Substantial head at first, but within a minute it was nothing but halo. The liquid beneath was somewhere between amber and gold (ok, so I'd make a lousy interior decorator), and was remarkably clean and entirely transparent save the surface.

The odor had a tangerine sweetness to it mixed with a bit of malt. It smelled refreshing. One taste confirmed to my palate what my nose had already understood; this is a refreshing brew. It was like drinking a Fat Tire, crisp with a nuttiness reminiscent of Humboldt's Hemp Ale, but with added citrus hops and perhaps a hint more alcohol (I haven't actually compared the ABV's to verify).

The mouthfeel going in was, for lack of a better term, calming--mellow carbonation, mellow alcohol, light body. The one beef I had here was that the nuttiness lingered on my tongue a bit too long and started to taste a bit stale and chalky--not too much, but enough to detract from an otherwise comforting experience (throw in a mild cheese and I'm sure the problem would be solved...to be determined).

Drinkability is a no-brainer. I could have downed the whole glass in a matter of minutes, but what a waste that would be. Flavorful, soothing, and refreshing, this brew could just as easily serve as a summer ale as a winter ale. Unfortunately, it's seasonal, which means I should probably go back for more before it runs out.

11-30-2006 03:49:02 | More by instrumentality
Photo of Beerzebub


3.65/5  rDev +0.3%

Light copper, with a bit of off-white head. Very clear. Lace.

Smells of grassy, herbal hops - tettnanger, or something like it. Some light maltiness, like sugar cookies. A bit of butter.

Taste matches the smell. Not strong. A hint of alpine herbs, like Chartreuse. Some mild esters, a little like unripe banana. A little sweetness, but dried out by some astringency. Odd.

Mouthfeel is watery, despite help from the slight astringency.

Highly quaffable - and it might as well be quaffed.

A small, odd beer. Maybe worth trying for the unusual hops, although they're not very strong.

11-29-2006 10:41:26 | More by Beerzebub
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,050 ratings.