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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.

1,067 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,067
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 21
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
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Ratings: 1,067 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barondebourgogne
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Exceptional clarity. Crystal clear and bright. This beer shines! Light, burnt tangerine color, with hints of fall leaves and candy caramel colors.

Smell: This beer tips it's hat from the first whiff. It is all about the hops. Heavy pine with citrus and caramel back drop. New Belgium cakey yeast profile brings up the rear of the aromas.

Taste: A lighter bodied, more heavily hopped Fat Tire style ale. Tell tale New Belgium earthiness is present. Balance is definitely toward bitterness. This beer is all about the hops. Predictable caramel and toffee notes indicative of New Belgium beers leave no surprises here. Start to finish, hops take center stage.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation up front. Smoothes out after several quaffs. Starts prickly on top of tongue, but finishes bitter on the sides. This beer dances back and forth on the tongue rather playfully. Light to medium body. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: Very refreshing and drinkable. Not what I would refer to as a Winter Warmer. Bright and spritzy, this beer feels more like Spring than Winter to me. I can't stop sipping at it, as my palate continually adjusts to the complexity of the hop profile.

I will be heading back to the store for another, for sure. Nice work, New Belgium!

barondebourgogne, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of seedee17
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks a lot like a Fat Tire when poured into a pint glass. The aroma was great at first, a nice bright fresh hop aroma, bready grainyness. After about 5 minutes the hop aroma dissapated almost completely and leaves just the familiar earthy Fat Tire aroma. The hop bitterness is nice and the piney hop flavor sticks around much longer than the aroma. A little fizzy but not too crazy. 3 word review: Hoppy Fat Tire

seedee17, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up a nice clear copper with a slight orange hue, with a nice head that had moderate length, with some lacing apparent as dissipation occurred. Aroma of hops, with a nice citrus tone, and a biscuit undertone. Flavors of malt, citrus, slight sweetness with a nice hop bitterness in the end. Mouth feel is a nicely carbonated with a low medium body, that lends itself to a nice hop bitterness. Nicely balanced, good flavor and very drinkable. Well done. Every one should try this one.

amatuerbeerguy, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tawny copper, thick and well-maintained light brown head with bubble bath sticky patching. Sinus cleansing nose of fruity hops, sweet citrus and freshly picked blueberries. Massive biscuit malts that are present throughout, and upon the first sips open to crisp nutty grains, woody hops and dusty malts. Turns a bit grainy, dry with offerings of day old grapefruit. Sweet floral hops and tender cherries left pasted on the palate. An ESB...hmmm...kick up the IBU's and you're there. Decent winter offering.

GeoffRizzo, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of f355x3
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is an excellent Winter ale. The color is rich and when you smell the beer it is like someone dropped a Christmas tree into your glass. The taste is smooth, and there is an aftertaste of pine that makes you think the beer is nothing more than liquid pine cones. It must be made from delicious pine cones, though. The only problem I had with the beer is that it seemed to sit a bit heavy, and drinking a whole lot of these was hard to do.

f355x3, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from nvsblman.

A: The ale is a vibrant copper color. There is a small white band encircling the glass and a nice stream of carbonation bubbling up from the center.

S: The aroma is grainy malt and a hint of citrusy hops.

T: This strikes me as an interesting take on an ESB. The hops are ramped up a bit, adding a bit of citrusy hops to the strong malt base. The malts are grainy with a slight nutty sweetness. They are, however, a little thin and allow for a herbal flavor to kick up at the end.

M: The floral flavor is unusual, but the initial hoppy citrus taste is pleasant. There is nothing that screams 'undrinkable' here.

D: The ale is a good drink, I'd gladly have another.

akorsak, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of Realale
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper. Extremely fine white head settles slowly and stickily to a thin complete cap leaving nice lacing. Very pretty beer.

Nose is an enticing combination of bright fresh green hop notes and warm biscuit malt. Underneath lurks some fresh bread and citric notes as well. Distinctive and pleasant nose - extra points there.

Light side of medium in the mouth. Waves of bready, biscuity malt dominate the palate. There is a good dose of balancing hop flavor, and enough bitterness to keep the beer moving to its rather long, pleasant finish. Quite nice and something different.

Mouthfeel is lovely, with a modest amount of carbonation, which is how I like them. Perilously drinkable, and a welcome companion on a cool winter night. I'll be very much looking forward to this one next year. Well done, NBB! Best before date of April 6, 2007.

Realale, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy, light golden color, with a small white head, scattered white foam, and finely-beaded lace.

Aroma: Rich flora hops, with mild toasted malts, and a slight aroma of hay.

Taste: Rich, toasty malts, mildly nutty, with some chocolate as well, there carry the taste. The hop presence is mild, appearing late in the taste, with a lingering herbal and floral presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, full, and pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Simple, but well-made and quite drinkable.

Pegasus, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I really expected better from these guys. Instead, I got a glass full of stomach bile. What in the name of all that is holy would possess New Belgium to brew such an atrocity? This beer is so loaded with biscuity malts that the hops outright fail to stand out in the flavor profile, which is a shame since the nose is so wonderfully dry hopped.

Pours to a very light amber color, quite clear. Has a decent sized head on the pour, though it recedes quite fast and doesn't lace well. Carbonation is decent.

The aroma is very enticing. The hops smell delicious. A bit grassy, but otherwise has a very nice floral, herbal, citrus aroma. When I first smelled this I thought I would be in for a treat, but then I tasted it.

The taste reminded me immediately of stomach bile. Biscuity with some caramel malt flavors. Just a hint of the hops up front, fading into a damn near undrinkable bile-like finish. Unbelievable. The only reason I was able to finish this beer is because I was offered some chocolate and caramel Ghirardelli, which was able to hide the intense biscuity bile flavor to a certain extent.

The body was a little on the thin side with a fairly crisp carbonation. Not bad in that regard, but the finish lingered for what seemed like eternity, and it was not pleasant. I am glad I didn't end up buying a sixer of this, because I wouldn't know what to do with the remaining five. I can't wait to redeem New Belgium with the delicious bottle of La Folie I DID end up buying earlier today.

neonbrown82, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer reminds me of stone and ale smith with the use of centennial hops. The nose is nice, but nothing but centennial hops come out. Head is decent and sticks around for a while and retention is decent. Taste is centennial hops and thin malts, but some nice spicing. A good amount of flavors going on. lingering nice hop bitterness. I appreciate what's going on in this brew, but the flavors don't blend for me personally in a wowing way. I'd like a bit more balance in an ESB. Stone drinkers and alesmith drinkers will like this beer. I could drink this beer easily. A nice brew. All year beer.

jasonjlewis, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of peabody
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out like weak ice tea but with more of a yellow tint.
Slight white suds but lots of nice lacing.
Smell is orange and lemon peel and yeast. Slight hint of grapefruit which means the hops are in there.
Taste is very sweet then bitter. Caramel and grapefruit combine with a malty and yeasty flavor.
Mouthfeel is very clean and refreshing followed by the bitter hops that stay in the mouth quite a while.
Drinkability is high here. Such a nice winter session beer.

peabody, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of drseamus
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 below pours a nice amber color with a full finger of pure white head that falls within half a minute or so. In hind sight I don't know what I was thinking, but when I saw a winter label with the name 2 below, i expected a spiced ale. Clearly I forgot that Peter runs things over there and there is no such thing as style or expectations. Even before I get the beer to my nose I can smell the pungent piney aroma of hops. I was surprised by the taste though. I expected it to be all hops, but it was actually more balanced than I would have expected. The taste of hops were there, but it was more the floral taste and aroma than the regular bite of the bitterness of hops. There is a sweet matliness that attempts to balance the hops and only falls a little short. Personally, I think that this is labeled incorrectly as a ESB and I think Peter would agree, although he would disagree with the labeling in general and I would disagree with only the specific label applied. If you enjoy the flavor of hops, you're gonna want to drink this beer. I just might do the same again.

drseamus, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of rayjay
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 13APR07, purchased at Whole Foods.

A very light colored ale, almost clear. Overall the nose is faint, but the beer is cold, as recommended by the brewer (37°F), and features hops and an alcohol kick. Very smooth and mellow; although I taste the hops, there is very little bitterness. Unique malt profile, British styled, but still very different from, and much less sweet than, the typical Fuller's ESB or Young's SLA type I've had before. Soft seltzer water mouthfeel. Sun-dried mango without the sugar, avocado, and spinach are notable notes, as is fresh baked beer bread and biscuits. It's a hearty, yet civilized, ale. I like it much better at 50°F, as the flavors are (obviously) more pronounced. Cheers!

rayjay, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a crystal clear amber color which a big 3"+ head that lasts a long time.

Smell: easy to detect caramel and fruity sweetness.

Taste: caramel, ripe red fruits, and a bit of a bread-like quality. Nice bitterness wraps the package. A straight-forward brew that is easy to quaff.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Short bready and caramel aftertaste sticks to your tongue.

Drinkability: this comes in as a nice session brew in my opinion, not a heavy winter ale expected when I purchased it. Tasty and worth a try.

Gavage, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6 pack of 12 oz. bottles for $8.99 at La Bodega in Riverside, CA.

I don't know what to call this style, but it's good! Pours a clear golden-amber with a slight head. Clean fresh aroma, with a hard-to-describe aroma (licorice? anise? not sure what, but it brings back fond memories of childhood).

Flavor is a nice mix of moderate spiciness (winter spices, not pepper) and a bit of hops. Nice but not overpowering bitterness. Just really enjoyable.

For the winter style, it's somewhat light and thin- not truly bad, but against style.

I like it- another New Belgium winner!

Dukeofearl, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice pour. A bright amber color, big head, and a bit of carbonation noted.

Smells are of pine and grapefruit. Mostly just hops noted on the nose.

Beer tastes of creamy sweet tea like flavors with a bit of bitterness on the finish. A pretty good balance of flavors and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel is nice, full and rounded.

A pretty solid effort from New Belgium. A bit different than other's they have made. It's certainly one of the better ESBs I have tasted in a while. Quite drinkable, and enjoyable.

flexabull, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of beeragent
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poured a deep amber, with a slight head, that quickly faded, but leaving light lacing along the glass. The aroma is sweet fruit, with the slight aroma of alcohol. The taste is very much the same. A little fruity citrus flavor, but with a more pornounced alcohol presence. This reminds me of a weak version of a barley wine. Though very interesting, I couldnt drink more than one of these at a time. However, this being a winter release, I would recommend trying this at least once.

beeragent, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

oberon, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of mjc410
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mjc410, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of JEdmund
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

JEdmund, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of BeerManDan
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BeerManDan, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of SuperSpy
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

SuperSpy, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

HoustonTX, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of warriorsoul
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

warriorsoul, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of BrewMonkey
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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.

BrewMonkey, Dec 11, 2006
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,067 ratings.