2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale
1,224 Ratings
2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,224 |  Reviews: 574
Photo of JBogan
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice looking medium amber with a thick and creamy head which leaves good lacing. Not a bad looking beer.

Smelled of sweet malt with perhaps a citric note as well.

Tasted of sweet malt, but it also had somewhat of a wet cardboard taste. There's that bit of citris in there too.

Mouthfeel was thin to medium bodied. I prefer more body in a winter beer. This one also was a little short on the carbonation.

Overall this wasn't a particularly memorable brew. I bought a six pack of this, and when it's gone that will be all I'd really care to have of this. Not a beer which beckoned me back for more.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear ruby color. The head is two inches in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is a nice balance between caramel malt, and citrus hops. The taste leans a little more toward the malty side, but there is still a nice hop presence. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is one of the nicer New Belgium beers I have tasted. I could happily drink this beer again.

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3.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a faintly hazy copper amber with a finger of off white head that leaves beautiful lacng.

S: Foral and citrus aromas with toasted almond.

T: Not as much flavor or malty sweetness as I was expecting from a winter ale. I got hops and grapefruit. That's about it. The finish is very clean. Rather ho-hum.

M: Light-medium. A bit over-carbonated in my opinion.

D: If you're craving a dumbed-down Fat Tire, this beer's for you.

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Photo of Atron67
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this bitter, a smooth lightly malty and sharp hop bite at the end that is really delicious. a great sipper that i wish was more available around here. a definite huge winner from new belgium. crisp hop presence gives a really nice lingering character.

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

Wondering around Denver international airport, I had a few hours to kill, and right before subjecting myself to a Burger King lunch, I noticed the "New Belgium" listing in the food directory. Well now, get thee hence, I proclaimed...

With a lovely view of the Rocky Mountains, and the terminal with the white peaks that emulates said mountains, I ordered a 2 Degrees Below. This beer appeared a medium copper, with a white head, and lots of lacing. The smell was of muted floral hops. The taste showed caramel malt, and more floral hops. The beer had a mild carbonation, with a medium weight body. This reminded me of Brewster's beer style, only a little bit hoppier. It was a nice quaff, I could drink a few of these while waiting for a connection, flight or otherwise...

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a mildly hazy pale orange color with a 1/2" off-white head. The head quickly dropped to a skim, but left behind some nice sheet lacing.

S= I found huge nutty, roasty malt aromas over some moderate sweetness. That was pretty much it. What there was, was good, there just wasn't much of it.

T= This one lead with a combo of malt sweetness and that nutty quality I found in the aroma. Very mild yet flavorful. The middle produced a decent little spicy hop kick, then dried out for a finish that was equal hops and mild sweetness. Perfectly balanced.

MF= Medium bodied with a relatively high carbonation release.

D= This ale is no doubt very similar to Fat Tire, but I have to say I liked this one more. The toasted nut flavor is found in both, but this ale had a delicious little hop bite that was just right. Very drinkable, very sessionable.

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Photo of unHipHopHead
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For me, this beer is like 2 molecules removed from the Fat Tire brew.

If you like FT you will love this brew, for me personally it was too similar, the base source was too much prominent and it detracted from the character of this individual brew.

My fav NB Brew is still the 1554 & the new abby.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crisp copper color, not exactly what I was expecting. Fluffy white head that lasts. It smells almost like a crisp winter morning with a fresh layer of snow. Reminds me of outdoor hockey games. Tastes like a wonderful simple bitter with a well balanced flavor. Im not really sure why its a winter beer, but its good.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear copper with a decent orange-cream head.
S: Strong smell of citrus hops--quite a bit of orange. Some sugary sweetness too, and a fair amount of pine. Not like the bitter residual pine flavor in some stouts, but more like the fresh "Hey I just bought a Christmas tree" smell.
T: Begins with mostly hops but ends with a caramel warmth that overpowers the initial bitterness.
M: Doesn't leave much flavor as an aftertaste--good balance between bitterness and sweetness.
D: Not terribly complex; a good winter seasonal.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a clear rich amber brown with a solid finger and a half head of an off-white that stuck around for a while, leaving behind some sporadic snowflake-like lacing.

Aroma is intriguing. Sweet caramel malts dominate the nose, with some uniquely strong floral and fruity notes, with some mango, apricot and chardonnay grape notes. A hint of citrus hops and maybe a touch of pine peek through to balance the sweet aroma.

Taste is a bit different than the aroma, but the aromatics are still there. Malty sweet, with some bready and biscuty notes coming through strong. The tropical fruit and citrus notes carry through, and there's a strong, clean, and crisp hop finish. Some spicey notes round it out nicely.

medium body with some moderate carbonation. An easy drinker that goes down smooth. Nothing spectacular, but a solid brew.

I'm not a huge New Belgium fan, but this one definitely shines. A solid winter brew, I think the malt character, shop hopping, and spiciness make it a perfect winter brew. Definitely fits the bill and worth warming up to this winter.

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

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that quickly settles to a thin film. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass surface.

Nice caramel malt aroma. Noble hops give an earthy and rustic aroma. Has a nice caramel malt flavor as well. A little bit of pepper and spice from the hops. A bit of an earthy quality in the finish. Touch alcohol to finish things off. A bit overcarbonated and fizzy. The body just feels a litte thin and not as good as it could be.

A nice ESB and a bit different, but just a bit thin and the ABV is too high for sessionability. I would drink this again.

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

This is my favorite of the New Belgium current seasonals. Beautiful hop smell and taste. Not over the top, but a strong, malt balance. Good color. Only problem was the tap was over carbonated and the resulting pour was poor. Not the beers fault but the pub.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.19/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm trying a vertical tasting, 2007 vs. 2008.

Both pour golden yellow with very good clarity. They both have good amounts of white head but '07 loses it much quicker. The '08 sticks around and leaves nice lacing down the side of the glass.

Aroma is very good on both but with more hops on the '08. Sweet and citrusy for both, very pleasant.

Taste is nice on both with the Fat Tire biscuit flavor coming though on both. The hops are more forefront in 2 Below than in Fat Tire and it really makes a difference for the better. It's more balanced with citrus fruit and bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good on both but a little smoother for the '07. Medium body and good carbonation.

Drinkability is certainly there. I wouldn't mind being stuck with a 12 pack for the weekend.

I'm not sure why this doesn't score better on BA but I think it's an idea winter warmer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Draft Picks Pizza Pub, on to the beer:

It looks good with an attractive amber-orange color, whispy lacing on the glass as it's consumed. I found the aroma to be clean with some citrus and toffee. The taste is a hybrid of American and English charactersits. It starts clean with some bready malts. Caramel come in, then diacetyl. The hop flowers provide clean hop bitterness. The tail-end of the journey leaves a buttery feel and taste in the mouth. Don't worry, there's none of that buttered popcorn taste. Right on target.

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Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, drink before Feb. 13, 2009, into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a nice fluff head that is almost a slight tan. Head leaves incredible lacing! Color is almost a light pumpkin orange color. It really reminds me of the fall!

I can already smell the hops! Yummm!! A slight of caramal is also noted. Taste is really great. I can definitely taste all the hops. A very floral-like taste.

Carbonation is decent, with a pretty awesome mouthfeel. A little bitter (obv.) but very smooth. Not too thick, but not too thin.

Overall, a great beer and a must try. Cheers to New Belgium! For how cheap this is, I enjoy picking this up in the winter. An easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Tolnik
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured with a good finger width head reducing down to a light lacing of foam. Good deep amber. Great smelling hops beer and barley odor. The beer tastes of fresh hops with hints of rye. This is a great seasonal beer that New Belguim pumps out each and every year that I cannot wait till it comes out.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sixer from the Vacaville Nugget. Pours a glimmering amber/brown, not really much of a head...a little white lace on top. Mildly toasted barley odor, hint of rye, green hops. Taste is also very bisctuiy, like a Digestive biscuit (for those of you who grew up in England). Hint of grassy hop, finish is reminiscent of eating some dry whole wheat toast. Medium bodied and fairly easy to drink. I want to say its interesting, but only marginally. I dont know if i'd but this again, but ill enjoy the rest of the sixer.

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Photo of Buebie
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored from a brown bottle into a snifter.

2 finger foamy whie head with great retention. Sticky thicke lace. Transparent amber in color, odd for a winter beer.

Aroma is primarily hops, sweet malt, caramel rolls, pinnaple.
Smooth through the mouth with a crisp clean feel and taste.
Malty backbone, with some sweet flavors coming through.
Finish is piney and clean with a hoppy dry finish.
Theres a somthing a bit metallic in there, hence the avg taste rating. I didnt care for that aspect.
Very refreshing beer, but definatly not a traditional winter brew. I'm not a fan of New Belgium brews, but this one is quite good.

I'd rather drink it on a summer evening on the porch. Its more of an ipa then anything else.

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Photo of Silenus89
2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

POured from 12oz bottle to pint glass

A. Copper/amber color with one finger head

S. Earthly, floral hops

T> Citrus and pine hops and with a bitterness i didnt enjoy at all. Finished with harsh alcohol taste

MF. Medium body with light/medium carbonation

D. The first half of the beer tasted pretty good then from there on it went downhill. Wont get this again

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

Enjoyable beer...big on the Munich malt and malt load....hops add a slight spiciness but overall this reminds me more of a beefed up "Fat Tire" than an ESB or Winter Ale....

A lot of toasted malt qualities...both on the nose and the taste....I had this side by side with the Goose Island Harvest Ale which is also dubbed an ESB and this has nowhere near the hop load of that beer.

But this is enjoyable...my guess is if you like Fat Tire (which I do) you will also like this beer...hops are restrained but add a mild spiciness to the overall taste.

Worth trying, just don't expect this to be a big winter beer.

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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.

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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?

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

This is a very tasty, balanced beer with both strong maltiness and strong hop flavour yet a great sweet-bitter balance.

Light amber, it has a medium, dense off-white head pretty nice lacing.

The aroma is both malty and hoppy, with a complex perfumy quality of grain, caramel, cypress, pine, and cake batter.

It is full bodied with well-rounded, nicely complex flavour. It has toasted grain, cream soda, hints of caramel and pineapple, and a hop quality that is very aromatic flowery citrus and pine giving a lot of hop flavour but mild, balanced bitterness. It's oily and silky as well. Ultimately, it is very flavourful yet highly drinkable with nicely balanced malt and hop qualities and bitterness with sweetness. It is also rather interesting, having a lot of the flavour traits, especially hops, one might find in a more malty double IPA, but with much more restrained, balanced bitterness and without the rough feeling on the tounge that very hop-leaning beers can have.

Seeing that it is classed as an ESB here makes sense to me: it's got a robust body with plenty of flavour and both malt and hops, sweet and bitter, with great balance.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.32/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was cleaning out the fridge and found two bottles of this hiding back in the corner. Expiration of June. Seeings how it is snowing today I felt the 2 Below was more than appropriate.

A: Poured a copper color with a dense off-white head about an inch thick, reduced to a film, beautiful lacing. Looks very similar to fat tire.

S: Smells pleasantly hoppy, some roasted pale malts give a nice caramel/honey scent. Pretty good smelling beer.

T: Honey tastes, hops aren't as present in the taste as they are in the smell, very malty, not very bitter at all. A little hop bitterness kicks in at the end, but for the most part it is quite mild.

M: Very smooth, not very carbonated, but feels pretty good in the mouth, pretty thin though.

D: It isn't an offensive beer, and by no means is it undrinkable, but this beer falls a little short for me. This is my least favorite New Belgium beer by far.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass, the liquid id gold with good carbonation. The head is a nice 2 plus fingers, off with and leave nice lace, Really a pretty nice looking brew.

The smell is ok bitter hops and a biscuit like malt.

The taste follows, not bad, quite good and enjoyable, but not to the point I would like to session it. The bitter is nice mixes well with the malt, and seems not to have any typical winter warmer after tastes. The more I drink the more I like this one. Hmm

The mouthfeel is also good well done with a nice body and good carbonation.

The drinkability is good, I would try this again. Prosit, MK

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 1,224 ratings