2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,162 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,162
Reviews: 569
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 24
Gots: 84 | 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: 1,162 | Reviews: 569
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is pretty awful for a winter beer. It's almost transparent, not much going on in the look. It is a dark orange color, nice head though, the head is the only redeeming quality. The head is fading quickly however, looks like it might be leaving good lacing. The smell is hoppy, hoppier than I would expect a winter beer to be. In the back end of the smell you get a tiny tiny bit of malt sweetness, not a bad smell though, pretty good actually. Wow, the taste is interesting, it tastes a little watery, with the hops trying to cover it up, I know that doesn't make much sense but bare with me. Like, the body is really thin and watery, and the taste is a little watery too, but at the same time there is a very present hop bite. Not much malt at all, you get a tiny tiny bit, but not nearly as much as I would expect in a winter beer. You do however get some of that winter warmer warmth from this beer, which is nice, you also get a taste of spices. Drinkability is average, nothing special there. Overall an average beer.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of srkeefe
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall, this beer is average. I found it drinkable and enjoyed the color and flavor. A little weak on the body.

I bought a six pack and I am going to drink all 6.

I drink a lot of Fat Tire and enjoy the New Belgium products. Will try it again when the snow flies to see if my opinion changes.

Photo of Padron4KM
3.01/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Best before 09Feb07 stamped on bottle neck.

Served at 52° not 37° like it says on the label.
I’ll put sample #2 in the freezer and try to drop the temp down to that level.

Amber color, lively carbonation, 1 finger tan head. Thick lace.

Piney, resinous aroma with a little caramel.

Flavor is piney, with some sweetness and a spicy finish.

Not really a "winter beer" but a solid offering from NB none-the-less.

2nd sample was placed in the freezer for about 10 min. temp was dropped to about 38 degrees according to 2 different thermometers.

Ice started forming in the bottle so it was pulled out and poured into a glass. temp quickly rose to just above 40.

At the lower temp the carbonation is slower, the body is a bit thicker, and the piney flavor is more pronounced, but not dramatically improved. Let it warm.

Photo of Doppelmax
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm not a fan of belgium style beers so with some trepidation I purchased this hoping it would be a decent winter type ale.
Nice head and lace on the glass. Medium amber but hazy. Strong hop smell, kind of piney I thought. The flavor seemed a bit strong on the hops and for my taste could have had a more pronounced malt flavour. Lots of carbonation, average body. It was ok but personally I wouldn't buy it again.
I like my winter ales more malty and darker.

Photo of smc143
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend brought me some New Belgium Brewery's 2 Below, which was really quite tasty. It was my first beer of the night, and I dug it a lot. Since this is an ESB, I expected it to be a little more aggressive than your average beer in terms of hops and alcohol content, but nothing overpowering. It is really not bitter at all, but balanced between hops and malts. I drank it right out of the bottle, like a classy broad, so I didn't really look at color or head, but it is a basic copper colored ale, and it was quite quite tasty.

Photo of IPA1978
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Clear amber nice head, weird malt flavors like fat tire and dirty earthy hops.

Photo of rye726
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A coppersih body with a tan head. Lots of carbonation. The smell is basic with light hops and faint smalts. No big flavors here either. Slight hoppy bitterness. Pretty light body. A good session beer I suppose, but nothing special. How can they sell this for the same price as 1554?

Photo of BrewDoc12
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Jsut thought I'd give New Belgium another chance after the dreadful Fat Tire; again I was not impressed at all.
A - Pours a deep amber with a nice 1 finger off white head. Very little lacing.
S - Smells of grassy hops and maybe a lil coriander; still doin' alright at this point.
T - Here's where things start going wrong. Really grassy, and kinda sour. Slight maltiness hides beneath the fresh cut grass flavor. Feable attemp to imitate Blue moon or Hoegarden.
M - Not too rich, but not too watery. Pretty good balance.
D - I guess if I was really stopped up, I could knock these out one after another.
Not to knock New Belgium too hard; their Mothership Wit is pretty tasty. Keep at it fellas; you're showing improvement.

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.96/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 11/25/2006 (12oz bottle):

Served chilled straight from fridge. Pours a good big head. Foamy, good lacing. Malty brownish reddish color. Very hoppy aroma, some malty aroma. Somewhat spicy, malty taste. Good taste, but not much unlike other malty beers like fat tire. Just a little spicier.

Photo of thedrewski86
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter, left 1/2" off-white head. Pretty nice lacing going down. Smell is very nice, like fresh bread, grains and a good amount of maltiness w/o being sweet. Taste is a little surprising, there's an unavoidable artificial spiciness that I guess is supposed to be wintery. Not really my bag. The more I drink it the more it becomes evident in the smell. I read another review that described the taste as being like redhots candy. That is EXACTLY what this tastes like. Eh. Mouthfeel is medium, typical carbonation. Drinkability is so-so; if you like this taste you would want to drink more I guess. I'm not a fan.

Photo of Philly82785
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours a clear dark amber color with rocky white head. The nose is floral citrus, notes of milk chocolate and toasted white bread. Comes across the palate with a dominant toasted malt bread biscuit and wild flower flavor. This has a medium bodied mouth feel and continues throughout.

Photo of dcscientist
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%

This isn't my favorite winter warmer, simply because it's kind of light but still somehow too bitter for my taste. If you like that, then give it a shot, but I prefer other winter seasonals more.

Photo of crayphish
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

Photo of udubdawg
2.89/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle
pours acoppery amber color, nice clarity, and the cream colored head left sizeable clumps of lace here and there as it slowly receded.

Nothing in the nose is bad...it just isn't very strong. Lightly toasted malt, vague herbal hop aroma. Aroma (and taste) just don't seem very winter seasonal-ish to me.

Again I'm not sure where the 6.6% is coming from - there just isn't a lot there, and the flavors I AM getting aren't my favorite. Toasted grain, light earthy qualities. I wouldn't call it very sweet, or very bitter, or very complex. It does feel a bit grainy in the mouth, not at all smooth. Prickly carbonation.

I'd have little trouble drinking another, but have no desire to do so. Pretty average.

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

A- Clear light amber with a moderate amount of soapy head that retains like foam on a beach.

S- A bit metallic, hops smell brand new and piney, malt in the back.

T- Initially some weak sweet malt, giving way to a bit of hop balance, then a bit of metal, vegetal, and sulfur.

M- Thin, watery, relatively low carbonation and a dry, lingering finish.

D- It's alright, but not one I'll go for again. The flaws seem to outweigh the good parts of this beer, sadly.

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 HeadyLamarr
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Drunk straight from a 12oz bottle.

Initial impression is a slightly sweet dark brown roast. It's lightly hoppy, with a nice tingle, and maybe a bit of citrus? It wants to be a full-bodied rich beer.

But the joy quickly fades. Aftertaste is bitter and the overall effect is a very mild, unimpressive drink. I'll put away a couple of these with dinner, but they aren't a beer to sit back and enjoy.

Photo of marksto
2.85/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

Photo of Kylito87
2.84/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Another one of our party leave behinds. I hope it is as good as the first one.

Appearance- coppery reddish yellow with a white head that quickly slicks.

Smell- Hoppy with some grassy and grainy undertones. Also some honey sweetness and citrus notes there.

Taste- I was really expecting more from this beer it has alot of the same tastes elements as the smell but there is something there that I can't quite put my finger and it is kind of bugging me a bit. It has a comforting bready biscuity characteristic too. It has a very big alcohol bite at first but it seems to smooth out as you go along.

Mouthfeel- I am not sure if it is just me but I feel like the carbonation might be a bit much for this beer. I mean it feels crisp and clean bur I feel that if they would have toned the carbonation down just a hair this beer would have tasted alot better because some of it's subtler notes would have been brought out some more. It is not too thick and even though it has a relatively high ABV I think you could session it pretty nicely

Overall, I am disappointed because I thought this beer would be alot better. I mean it isn't horrible by any means. It is just not what I figured it would be. I don't even get the feel that this beer is a winter ale. I would say this is a beer that I might drink but I would have to either A be handed one or B it would have to be on super sale. I mean I usually like super hoppy beer but this just didn't do it for me. I had high hopes for this beer because I know alot of people that like it and told me to try it but it just didn't live up to the hype. I really tried to like it but I don't even think it will end up in my top 30.
Serving type: bottle

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 macktbone
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass, enjoyed in the month of November as a Winter warmer should.

A- Deep golden color, not really that edge that I would call amber though. True climb on the head that causes wonderfull lacing on the glass. After settling for a while it looks creamy.

S- cream and spice with a touch of vanilla.

T- All Spice with a hint of beechwood that Lends itself better to a macro than a micro. Not as special as I had hoped.

M- good for the style of ESB.

D- Two sips and it's already hitting me as a bloat beer. The flavor and experience isn't pulling me to withstand the bloat that I am envisioning.

Photo of zdk9
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- This beer is the color of liquid pumpkins, with just a half finger of froth and no lacing.

S- Some corn. a bit of woodiness. viniousness.

T- Lightly toasted bread. Slight green grape.

M- There's a wierd amount of alcohol I'm getting here which isn't flatering for the beer.

O- I'm not sure if this is not the best stored bottle or not, but I'm not a big fan of this beer (could be the style too)

Photo of thecarster1
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into my dfh signature, crystal clear tawny brown coloring, one finger head that fades fase to a layer of lace with a ring around the glass.

s- lots of malt in the nose, hard to pinpoint what else i'm getting here, littly citrus hops, very bready, kind of odd.

t- interesting, slight bitter finish, some spice - AHH, i got it - it's redhots pure candy redhots, some citrus, lemon, finish is slightly medicinal, the redhot flavor intensifies as the beer warms, and i've gotta say, i'm not enjoying it.

m- medium body with decent slickness.

d- i was very much looking forward to tasting this beer, but it didn't live up to my standard at all, the redhot - fake cinnamon flavor was offputting, which is odd because not many of the reviews for this beer mention cinnamon, but thats definately what i got out of this, kinf of a let down unfortunately.

Photo of KodyBrannon
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured an amber color with a white 2-finger head that left a nice amount of laceing all the way down. The smell was very malty, And the taste was slightly hoppy and bitter. The overall mouthfeel was watery and light, not really much carbonation detected either. Overall this beer was decent. I expected more from New Belgium.

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,162 ratings.