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2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale

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1,001 Ratings
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Ratings: 1001
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%

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: 1,001 | Reviews: 557 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of devilishprune

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New Belgium 2 Below 12/6/10

A. Strikingly clear light orange. Aggressive pour yields little head that doesn't stick around long.

S. Very malty. Maybe some hops in there somewhere

T. Taste is sweet malty as well, but the beer finishes dry and grainy. Taste is slightly flowery/purfumey. Alcoholy finish.

M. Light mouthfeel, with high prickly carbonation.

D. Very easy to drink because it isn't too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2011 22:40:48 | More by devilishprune
Photo of JayQue


3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good, solid balanced ale!! Pours a clear light amber color with a medium sized nicely carbonated head. Good retention and light rings of lacing on the glass.

Smell is robust, mostly malty. Tastes good. Very well balanced, primarily slightly sweet malt but with a mild hops bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is crisp and rich. Overall a well made beer...a lawnmower beer for the wintertime!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 19:13:54 | More by JayQue
Photo of a2marzman83


2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear light amber with one inch of tan head that fades with some lacing

Huge pine aroma from the hops hits my nose first. Other earthy tones follow, almost a fresh soil smell. A sweetness is present that fits nicely with the piney hops. This is an interesting specimen for sure. I would not call this a WW or an ESB but I enjoy the smell of whatever this is.

What I liked in the nose is what I don't like in the flavor. Very complex, not very harmonious. The bitterness is overpowering all other flavors which may be a good thing since what I do detect seems also disjointed. A Sweet breadyness mixed with earthy hops with a bunch of random spices thrown on top.

Mouthfeel is ok, medium body slightly over carbonated.

My guess is that this one will be a love it of hate it for BAs. It had me at hello and then lost me in too many competing flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 13:52:48 | More by a2marzman83
Photo of IchabodcraneIpa


3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle

The color of this one was a pale Amber color with a ring of foam around the top.

The smell of the 2 below to me, is a hop aroma that is met with some spices and malts.

The taste of this one was surprisingly bitter at first sip but the bitterness was met with a crazy good malt sweetness and some nice flavors from spices possibly that really went well together. The beer itself is called two below, and I actually feel like the beer has a sort of chilling quality to the flavor that should not be missed.

The mouthfeel of this one was pretty dry and it was also a little heavier on the carbonation.

Overall this is an excellent winter seasonal and it took me many trips to the store before I finally picked up a six pack. Needless to say I drank the whole thing without any difficulty and was very glad to have finally tried 2 below out.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 04:54:37 | More by IchabodcraneIpa
Photo of NatetheGreat


4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this was an awesome brew! I anticipated a good beer, but not one of the best beers I've ever had. I don't mean to sound over-enthusiastic, but this was exceptional from top to bottom (literally!).

A: big head with lots of bubbles, light amber colored beer; very appealing.

S: the nose begins with a burst of vibrant citrus fruit, sweet and sharp, and finishes with crisp pine. enticing aroma.

T: smooth and mellow; perhaps a tad sweet. certainly tamer than the aroma. some toasted grain and caramel sweetness. didn't wow me but was very good.

M: incredibly smooth and balanced; not watery but also not too syrupy or thick.

D: with this great brew, highly drinkable and just a wonderfully pleasant surprise. one of the best winter ales I've had.

Drink this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 05:11:47 | More by NatetheGreat
Photo of Cylinsier


3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a medium honey gold, thin white head holds as a film.

Smells of brown sugar and mild spices.

Tastes of mild hops and subtle brown sugar malt sweetness.

Body on the fuller side with mild carbonation.

Good bitter ale, not great but very good, worth trying. Sort of mild.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 01:18:39 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of kojevergas


2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle into cup (I know...) in high altitude Colorado Springs, CO (aka the place in Colorado where people go either for cheap real estate, cocaine, or a mixture of both).

A: Pours a clear gold-copper with a thin head of decent retention.

Sm: Light clean scent of hops, malt, and barley (the usual suspects.

T: Pathetic open to strangely built, unbalanced body with a bitter finish.

Mf: Nicely coarse, but doesn't suit the style. Too wet.

Dr: 6.6% is excellent for the price, but the taste doesn't justify having it again.


01/11/2014: Revisiting this. 6.6% ABV confirmed per the label. "Best before 23 Feb 14." Reviewed live. Expectations are low given my previous review. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Odell pilsner glass in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of white colour. Fluffy, airy, and somewhat thin. Good creaminess. Head retention is good - about 7-8 minutes. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of above average vibrance. Clean. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's within style conventions but isn't unique or special. It looks pretty decent.

Sm: Heavy diacetyl/buttery notes, caramel, honey, graham cracker, floral hop notes, and some off-putting soapy hop character. Too sweet. English malts. Toffee.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

A strange aroma of mild strength.

T: Buttery slick English malts provide the tasty foundation, with ample toffee and marshmallow. Diacetyl is through the roof. Floral hop character. Graham cracker. Caramel.

It's got decent balance, but ultimately the diacetyl and soapy hop character really get to me. I think this spent too long in primary. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Limited complexity. Not real subtle, intricate, or nuanced.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Buttery, smooth, and slick, with some coarse scratchiness mucking up its presence on the palate. Overcarbonated. Wet. Medium-bodied. A bit too thick. Texture doesn't suit the taste all that well.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, or astringent.

Dr: A downable ESB, 2 Below is better than I remember but far from a new favourite. New Belgium does much stronger work, and I wouldn't recommend this to friends. I'll easily finish the bottle, but I'll be fine if I never have this beer again.


Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 16:19:46 | More by kojevergas
Photo of elgiacomo


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

12oz bottle, best by June 5, 2011

Pours clear amber with a two finger foamy off-white head. Leaves nice drippy rings of lacing and holds a creamy cap.

Aroma is floral hops with a touch of citrus and grass, caramel malt and bread. Moderate to good strength.

Flavor is caramel malt, pine/grass hops, some citrus, bread, hint of spice, moderate sweetness followed by solid bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Good ESB!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 20:50:59 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of PrivateEquity


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

A - Nothing special about the Appearance. Orangish-Amber color. Okay lacing.

S - Solid malty smell, almost like dough. Hints of spice.

T - I like the spicy hoppiness to this winter ale. Good balance betweeen malt and hops.

M - Solid carbonation, but maybe just a little too much up front. Medium body.

D - Very drinkable beer. Finished it quick and looking for another.

Overall - Hoppy Winter Warmer. Interesting beer. It's a beer that I look forward to having in the winter. In a sampler pack of winter beers, it will stand out and add to the batch. Don't know is I would classify this as an Extra-Special or Strong Bitter.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 06:18:29 | More by PrivateEquity
Photo of jdspears41


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

I got this in a sample pack and I enjoyed it enough to drink the 3 bottles provided in the pack in one night. My wife drank a half a glass and also liked it.

A- Basic color or New Bel brew co beers. It didnt shout DRINK ME but wasnt like water.

S- I liked the smell of this beer a lot, it really made me want it.

T-Great taste, I liked it alot, nothing more nothing less

M- More carb than their 1554 and it had a better after taste as well.

D-I liked it alot, could drink a sixer of this with no problems.
Give it a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 03:09:53 | More by jdspears41
Photo of BretSikkink


3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange in color, pretty clear with some bubbling. The head is sticky and fairly tall for its style, with a pleasant craggy recession. Glass lacing is minimal. Aromatic with the nose deep in the glass, somewhat toasted barley note with an herbal hop character. The flavor is pretty mild, lead by a toasted barley and general earthiness. Hopping is quite faint, and somewhat herbal. A little too faint in the mouth and light overall to make a good impression.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2011 03:53:37 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of jadpsu


4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright and crystal clear copper with a nice off brown head, with slightly better than average retention, along with decent side lace.
S: pine and floral hops most prominant, along with some roasted malts showing up.
Taste: Toasty, bready malts, a little sweet up front, then finishes with some piny hops along with a hint of caramel.
Well balanced, enjoyed this one, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 19:23:34 | More by jadpsu
Photo of JMad


3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass...

It pours a pretty bright, orange amber color with a thick bubbly white head.

In the nose I detected some pine, sugar cookie, a hint of alcohol and pepper.

The taste was a bit spicy, sweet roasted malt, some type of cake maybe, with a very slight bitterness.

This beer is smooth, light and bubbly.

Overall this beer looks great, smells good, and drinks very easy.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 23:42:57 | More by JMad
Photo of Erish


3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottle marked best before 01 May 2011.

A: clear, brilliant yellow-amber color, an aggressive pour produced a magnificent, creamy head that fell into a thick cap with good lacing.

S: a pronounced pine hop aroma surrounds a bread-like core, and underneath there is a subdued and earthy New Belgium trademark yeast aroma.

T: the bread-like core hits first, followed by a slowly rising spice, dried fruit, citrus and pine hop flavor, giving way to pine and herbal hop notes that lay on top of a bitter dryness.

M: medium-bodied, lightly creamy, moderate carbonation.

D: this is a very nice ESB, and one that I will seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 02:59:31 | More by Erish
Photo of bastardface


3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer I have seen on tap but never tried it. I went to the beer store and saw that it was available in bottles and decided to pick it up. The semell is fairly hoppy an to my surprise is pretty drinkalbe. It leave no aftertaste and is has a really good moutjfeel. This is a light but not to light beer that is easily drinkable. I highly recommend this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 01:53:53 | More by bastardface
Photo of NickRivers


3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz. that came in the Winter Folly Pack. Awesome by the way.

A - Golden yellow with a nice head that dies pretty fast with no lacing.

S - Hoppy, caramel, malt.

T - Bitter, hoppy, some malt, spices, bready.

M - Weird Carbonation. Gassy at first then dies to flat.

D - Pretty easy drinkin'.

I had some of these during Christmas and was blown away. Nice hop flavor and use of light spices. I then saved a bottle for now, (About 2 1/2 Months Later). Im not sure if it went bad, despite the bottle's date being fresh. I really did like it which is why my review is above average. I felt like it was a lighter bodied, more hoppy Fat Tire. I'll be sure to buy it again next year, and also compare it to this batch. Like I said the last ones I had weren't watery at all. For those who say: "Hoppy Winter Beer?" Try Sierra Nevada Celebration.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 23:58:06 | More by NickRivers
Photo of sauron681


3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a off color copper. Good head and lacing the whole time. Very carbonated, and medium light mouthfeel. Aroma of citrus and hoppy goodness.
Very roasty malty flavor, finishes with a light dryness. Clean and smooth going down, not chalky at all. Notes of subtle spice, hard for me to distinguish any real predominant flavor, maybe its to well balanced?

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 04:51:05 | More by sauron681
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle was a gift from my brother via. Chicago.
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Light amber/brown colour; transluscent. One finger of bubbly white head that instantly disappeared.

S - Bready malts, sweet caramel and toffee. Secondary smell of hops with some light earthy and citrus notes.

T - Definitely malt flavoured. Sweet caramel with a slight spicy flavour. Biscuit and some nuttiness are present as well. Slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium body, lightly carbonated.

D - A nice winter beer, as advertised. I would gladly enjoy another bottle, although it is not spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 02:50:01 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of MaltsOfGlory


3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 05:28:01 | More by MaltsOfGlory
Photo of CuriousMonk


3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass. Poured a clear dark amber color with rocky white head. Picked up aroma of floral citrus and and toasted white bread. Starts out with a dominant toasted malt bread bisquit and maybe wild flower caramel flavor. Has a medium bodied mouthfeel and will continue throughout, with that trademark toasted bread malt backbone. Nice dry hopped aroma of orange, but flat finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 02:15:27 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of zulufactor


3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Nice golden color with a half inch white head, good lacing

S- Citrus and pine notes

T- Light malt flavor with a strong hop finish. Touches of pine and citrus as well

M- Strong carbonation but was thinner then i anticipated

Not something i would pick up often but i was a good break from my stout and porter stint.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 04:34:39 | More by zulufactor
Photo of JamnesCameron


4.28/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Pours a clear copper, with a nice off white head that drops fairly quickly. Good lacing.

Aromas of bread, earthy hops, flowery and fruity.

First sip is of earthy and floral hops, sweet biscuity malt, a hint of juicy fruit gum. Short bitter finish. A bit of a carbonic bite.

Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, with a light prickle of carbonation.

Very drinkable winter warmer, with an american hop touch. Good to sip next to a fire on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 02:37:54 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of secondtooth


4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Transparent golden-red appearance, with big bubbles and yellow lace.
Aroma is bold, with accents of floral, fruits, and bread. Appealing!
Flavor is complex and original -- a balanced mix of snappy hops and a wonderful sweet malt character that conjures fresh berries somehow.
A great mix that amply combines the best attributes of a pale ale with a Belgian seasonal. Lovely and delicious!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 02:23:42 | More by secondtooth
Photo of beagle75


3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

A: Clear, light amber color with over one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains around the top of the glass. Occasional bubbles rise lazily in the column.

S: Husky pale and pilsner malt, bright citrus, and green grass transmit clearly. Weak caramel and booziness are also detected.

T: Begins sweet, with lightly toasted bread, faint earthy and spicy hop aromatics, and a brief flare of acidity. Dryness increases and estery fruit emerges in the middle, displaying banana, blueberries, and bubble gum. The finish is at times mineral, astringent, and moderately bitter, with faint herbaceous notes.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: A mediocre pale ale from New Belgium, this beer exchanges some of the more assertive hop flavors present in their other seasonals for a double-dose of fermentation--from mixed fruit to detectable alcohol. The final product isn't really remarkable, coming across as a fruity version of Boston Lager, but it might make a good cooking ingredient.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 17:27:55 | More by beagle75
Photo of Elimination


3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter favorite amongst a few of my friends, thought ide give it a try.

A very clear copper, glass like really, thin head

Smell of slight nuts, spiced hops, bread, malt, a mix of baked goods really.

Taste is slight nuttiness, definate biscuit malt, crackers, a little bit of low alpha hops, not bad, honestly tastes like what fat tire could be a well rounded easy drinking beer.

mouthfeel is semi thick, milky, kind of coats nicely

This is actually a pretty good beer, more of a higher end abv sessionish beer for me, not something I would savor of course, more something me and my friends might share a case of at a winter bbq

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 05:42:18 | More by Elimination
2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,001 ratings.