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 stewart124
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper in color with a huge off-white head. Nice lacing down the glass.

Sterling and Liberty hops are quite apparent in the nose. There is that spice that makes me think of Oktoberfest beers. Slight esters.

The hops add a spice to this fairly big-bodied beer. The body seems to mimic that of an ESB even thought the hops confuse the palate. Crisp finish and there is a good balance of malts and hops in my opinion.

I don't get the typical winter warmer feel from this beer but it is an ESB. Typical German hops add a spice that isn't usually in an ESB but it is still a good balance and has a good body. Slight warming as I drink but 6.6% seems to hide well.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a five finger rocky cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is not as hoppy as brewer says, not the usual ESB, hints of sweetness, very drinkable. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.

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Photo of mattster
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened 12 oz bottle of 2º Below, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a light foamy head. The color is a nice clearly translucent dark amber brew,

Smells of malts and very light herbaceous smell. Taste is sweet, but hoppy. Nice smooth finish, but nothing worth waking the kids or calling the neighbors over. Is a very easy drinker. Not a bad brew, but nothing major.

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

I poured a 12 ounce (355 ml) capped bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a clear copper/amber body with a slight white head that had decent retention and depostitedan even coat of dense lacing.

S: It had a dough white bread yeasty aroma backed by a undercurrent of earthy herbal hops and roasted malts.

T: It had a creamy white bread flavor and sweet roasted malts with a shallow bitter bite that then receded to be replaced by a toasted malt flavor.

M: It was medium-bodied with a modest carbonation and a fuzzy bready aftertaste.

D: It started out strong, leaving a great first impression. However, it was down hill from there. It lacked a bitter profile but was creamy and smooth. It was interesting but not worth a long session.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2 degrees below poured a clear copper color with some sweet sudsy lacing. Not much on the head retention.

The aroma didn't do much for me as I only seemed to get a strong maltiness to it. The flavor was malt dominated crisp on the finish and gave a slight hop taste that lingered as the brew went down. It was nicely carbonated and overall a nice average winter warmer.

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

A - off white 2 finger head, persistant for about a min or 2.
golden red/amber color to the body, not cloudy but not clear neither.

S - hops right off the rip in the nose which was promising

T - slightly sweet caramel and malts come through after letting it sit for a few minutes (the bottle suggests a 3 deg C/37 deg F serving but I felt at first this masked the flavors). This is one of the hoppier ESB's ive had and I like the addition to the style.

M - smooth and creamy feeling in the mouth, quite lovely, not too much of a bite.

overall would make for a good session beer given the ease of the drink and moderate alc at 6.6%, glad I was able to try it but if this was available to me 365 I wouldnt go out of my way to keep it stocked in my collection

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured up a solid amber color to a pint glass. Good lacing.
Aroma- floral hops, some biscuity malt aromas.
Mouthfeel-it is surprising, with a hoppy nose it immediately gives way to a healthy malty body that tastes richer and darker than it looks. A froth on the palate livens up the hops and leaves a lingering bitterness on the finish. Very tasty and quaffable. Solid!

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Photo of JDV
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

transluscent amber pour with a medium sudsy white head. Smell is metallic and subtle toasty toffee like malt, with a nice bright hop presence as well. Body is surprisingly fuller than expected, and perfectly carbonated. Nice toffee maltiness, faint tartness, then a very light lingering bitter-sweetness in the finish. A pretty nice ESB, and better and hoppier than expected.

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Photo of b5d106
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A= A dark golden amber. Nice two finger head.
S= Very biscuity with some hop spiciness in there.
T= Follows the smell with some fruit notes and bitterness in the finish.
M= Nice carbonation and good mouthfeel.
D= Flows pretty easy, but the alcohol content is pretty high.

Notes: This beer seems very similar to Fat Tire. That same biscuit flavor is very apparent. Tasted like a heartier version of the New Belguim classic.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.53/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a real beauty shop. The head is thick, retentive, and clinging to the inside of the glass. The body is a heavy orange with a nice brownish tinge.

Smell - The malts here are very deep and rich. The yeasty base that underlies all good ESBs borders on perfection. This is more of an English-style nose but much more powerful.

Taste - This has a bit more caramel flavor than I predicted from the nose. It is rich and thick like the malt and yeast. There's little sweetness here, but what there is seems mostly like cane sugar. All of these characteristics work extremely well together in making an awesome flavor profile.

Mouthfeel - This is a big medium-bodied with some good bitterness that doesn't overextend itself. The mild carbonation fits perfectly with the flavors and body and the smooth buttery finish is awesome.

Drinkability - This was like velvet liquid. It was stiff enough to earn the ESB moniker yet easy enough to go down freely. It's probably one of the best-drinking ESBs that I've ever had.

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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.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color with a finger thick tan head that forms on top. Nothing fancy, but nice overall appearance.

Aroma is of grassy & biscuity hops aroma, along with a slightly grapefruit also. Again, nothing fancy, just a solid aroma.

Flavor follows the aroma. A bit of grassy, herbal hops flavor along with touch of sugary candy toward the finish. A strong bitterness takes over with this one, and it makes me pucker just a bit. Very nice!

Smooth body (medium) along with enough carbonation to make my tongue tingle. Drying finish.

Fairly drinkable. It's not my favorite style on the planet, but I do enjoy an ESB from time to time. This one fits the style pretty well, minus just a bit more bitterness that would help it I think. Maybe some golding hops would help it?

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Photo of aquaderek
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I purchased a six pack for my super bowl viewing beer. Poured into a pint glass, nice and dark looks nice. The nose is malty with nice hoppy background notes and some faint cinnamon, nutmeg or something, it is hard to put my finger on. The taste is a bit strange, out of balance in my opinion, first hit with strong malt and then over the top hoppiness and a strong alcohol bite. The mouthfeel is initial creamy, then very carbonated. I only drank 4 of the six pack and it was enough. This beer is probably better on tap, but in over the top and out of balance in my opinion.

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Photo of BrewmasterNPB
4.27/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a refreshing change of pace for most winter brews out there. The Malt flavor is awesome, it's clean but has plenty of flavor. Good balance of toastiness and sweetness. Just enough hops for me, perhaps a little low for the style, but I think that's what the beer is going for.

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

A 3/4' frothy head insued afer an ambitious pour, retention fair, good lacing. Liberty hops strutting their stuff with an interesting floral and malty bouquet. Tastes a nice malty, hoppy, alcohol slam. Tingly mouthfeel and easy drinking.

Excepting rabid hopheads, an interesting brew that should satisify most hop cravings....fine for mine.

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Photo of batsolo653
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 2 below is a clear sort of dusk amber color, looks quite pleasing to the eye.

Smell: Strong smell of roasted malts, it has a unique aroma to it..I wanna say something natural, earthy you might say.

Taste: Sweetness, with fruity flavors. Also there is a sort of peppery zesty taste, all of these are balanced quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Its a pretty smooth beer, creamy; carbonation dances on your tongue. Very enjoyable.

Drinkability: New Belgium has put forth a very enjoyable ESB. Sitting here in my cosy condo while it's snowing outside, enjoying a 2 below, couldn't get any better. Cheers!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a clear amber with a fizzy half inch of head and great clarity. Aromas of toasted grain malts with some fruity caramel aspects as well. Spicy, somewhat citric hops are well placed.

First sip brings a toasty, bready caramelized malt upfront that's carried by some fruity flavors as well. A spicy, citric hop moves in on the way down with some bitterness coming through.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy with a sharp prickly carbonation. Goes down pretty easy. Overall a pretty good brew but it doesn't really end up wowing me.

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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.

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Photo of kkipple
2.39/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Buddy brought this back from his travels in the arid wastes of Colorado.... I have no idea what "style" this is supposed to be... hm.

2 Below is: very clear, still, sunset-gold in color with a small uneven white head that brings to mind mountain tops and hippie chicks.

Smells QUITE strange: malty, but with a bad cooked cabbage / sulfur note and a very dirty, grainy quality like someone pitched a shovelful of filthy hops into the boil. In addtion, the hops are all earth and dirt with only a faint citrus scent. Hmm....

Yeah, this just tastes weird. Grainy and sweet, metallic and dirty, iron and mild hop bitterness and that hideous cabbage flavor again... is this an ESB? A Winter Warmer? There's some lame spice in there somewhere but I can't be bothered to tease it out. Drain pour.

Bad bottle? Damaged in transit? Who knows. This wasn't good. I'll try it again if possible cause I know New Belgium can do better than this.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright copper with a thick white head that quickly settles into thin film that doesn't leave. Lacing is moderate. Looks pretty good sitting in my snifter.

Aroma is an odd mix of earthy, spicy, perfume-like hops. Also a barely noticeable biscuit odor.

Taste starts out with a lightly sweet, biscuit malt that quickly fades into a pepper, earth-like hop flavor. Smooth mouth feel with a slightly bitter, spicy finish. No aftertaste or alcohol burn.

Overall a nice little dry hopped winter beer. Not my favorite, but I pick up a six-pack every year. Drinkability would be better if it had a little bolder aromas and flavors.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Bright orange with a frothy head.
S: Smells kind of weird. Roasted malts, some hops and an off herbal, earthy smell. Maybe some type of spice. Whatever it was, it didn't really smell good.
T: It tastes just like the odd smell. I can't tell if it's a roatiness or if it's in the hopping.
M: Finish is a little filmy, but pretty good.
Overall: I credit them for trying something a little different, but it just came out weird to me. Wouldn't buy again.

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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.

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Photo of brewmaster411
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is new Belgium's seasonal winter ale. Their advertising features the brewmaster's sister in a snow fairy costume. Very pretty.

The beer pours an orange-red with a lacy beige head The aroma is a very strong spice that dominates through the palate. It is reminiscent of allspice/nutmeg. there is a nice biscuit malt aroma.
The flavor is dominated by the hop spice wit ha slight malt/bread character in the mid-palate.

Overall, this is a nice winter warmer.

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

A clean yellow/orange colored beer. Has a nice smooth creamy white head and lacing that looks like a milk mustache . The aroma has a strong spicy hop character and an light biscuit malt note with a hint of clove in the background. The start of the taste begins with a light biscuit malt note on the front of your tongue. Followed by that nice spicy hop character on the back edges of your tongue and mouth. That leads to a crisp and refreshing finish.

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Photo of jakon
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

This beer pours an orange-amber color with a nice-sized off-white head that displays average retention while leaving behind a wash of lacing. The appearance is impressive.

The aroma immediately reminds me of Fat Tire. Hmm. Same yeast strain? Similar malt profile? Whatever the case, that general aroma immediately reminded me of Fat Tire.

The taste is similar. If I were to describe it in 3 words or less, I'd say Fat Tire Light. A nice beer, but I was expecting something a bit more hoppy based on the blurb on the label. I used a bit of this to baste and steam the inside of a roasted chicken, and it provided a perfect complement to the bird. Overall, an enjoyable beer that I won't necessarily look forward to each year. Great option to match with poultry.

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