2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
565 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 565 | Ratings: 1,178
Photo of JMad
3.78/5  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.

 424 characters

Photo of Erish
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

 684 characters

Photo of bastardface
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

 360 characters

Photo of NickRivers
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

 857 characters

Photo of sauron681
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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?

 355 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

 599 characters

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

 1,032 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

 408 characters

Photo of zulufactor
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

 321 characters

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

 492 characters

Photo of secondtooth
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
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!

 388 characters

Photo of kinupanda
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasing medium amber/copper color. Minimal head that forms a somewhat broken, medium surface tension layer; it dissipates rapidly, and thus there is almost nonexistent lacing. The aroma is an appealing orange infused maltiness. An initial kick high in citrus that gives way to some toasty earthiness, with some slight bitterness from the hops. Good body with pleasant mouthfeel; it seems to have something for the entire tongue, and the carbonation is ideal for that. The alcohol is present but nowhere near overwhelming. A lightly spicy bitter aftertaste.

FourthBeer potential: AVERAGE, as there are other good ESBs, but this is worthy of the New Belgium name.

 671 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

 1,090 characters

Photo of Elimination
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
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

 634 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
4.28/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A solid 2 finger off-white head rests on top of a brilliant amber hued body. Thick vertical strips of lacing.

S - Huge cracker based malt, sesame seeds, pine nuts, toasted white bread, almonds, and berry fruit.

T - Excellent cracker malt, with notes of toffee, Granny smith apple peels, butterscotch, and caramel. A slight tang of citrus plays with carbonation to add a zesty bite. Citrus blends with hints of pine to add a freshness. Some nuttiness pokes it's head in. Finishes with a sweet caramel sweetness but has a spicy back to balance everything out.

M - Medium body, perfect carbonation for the style.

The malt is super complex with variations of breads, cracker, and simple caramel to make this beer a standout. The hops play their role but don't get in the way of the excellent malts. This is a must try if you like ESB's!...or any beer. I can't say enough about the malt profile.

 899 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at happy hour at a BBQ spot in the Northwest Denver recently, and thought it was pretty solid. Poured a medium amber color with a somewhat rocky white head. Aromas of citrus, floral hops and caramel. Medium bodied, somewhat hoppy, with toffee and caramel on the finish.

 282 characters

4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into 8oz tasting chalice.
A: Fairly clear body, with a light amber hue. The white head pours one finger, then settles into a thin layer and almost completely faded. Slight bit of sticky lacing.
S: The common NB bready aroma, with a nice bit of spicy undertones. A medium intensity aroma, which has a nice warming effect to it.
T/M: The front of this brew is a sweet note of bready mouthfeel, the underlining malt balance is very nice and for this style, I find this to be a really good winter pick. Lingering taste, low to medium and a very nice warming.
D: This is a very sessionable brew for the ABV content and the light bodied taste. I find this one to clear out of my fridge quick, that says something about drinkability.

 738 characters

Photo of Monsteruss
2.44/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Foam was white in color, thin and a little lacey. It had a dominate hops and citrus aroma with hints of anise and wheat. The color was a beautiful orange amber. The taste was a complete translation of the smell, a complete balance of hops and citrus with spices. Mouthfeel - medium bodied and crisp. Drinkability - not to bad. To me a simple balance of hops and citrus with some added flavors. Ok session.

 405 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Served in pint glass

A - It has a clear, burnt orange body. It is topped with three inches of off white head.

S - It get mild citrus hops. There's even some pine mixed in there. There is also some toffee malt.

T - Toffee and toast up front. Grapefruit and citrus on the back end.

M - Moderate. Not overly carbonated.

D - It is very well balanced. Reminds me of an APA.

 385 characters

Photo of albertjr21
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before date of 5.15.11. Consumed on 1.9.11

A: Into a mug, this yields a clear and bright orange amber color under a creamy foam head with great head retention and lacing.

S: A crisp and earthy hop dominated nose.

M/T: A bright but creamy malt feel with a complementary earthy hop accentuated crisp finish.

D: Nice for a Winter session.

 344 characters

Photo of OttoBomb
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a DogFish Head signature glass (January 8, 2011). Best before date is March 27, 2011.

A very smooth and surprisingly noy bitter for a bitter style beer. Great lacing, color is amber/light copper. some good grain, mild hops. flavor is noy unlike a regular amber ale, with less spice a bit less hop punch. Good body and carbonation. Quite tasty, but not a spectacular example.

 399 characters

Photo of manzilla86
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled: Past 3 nights (1/7/11 most recent)
Serving: From bottle into pint glass

I got a 6 pack of this for my New Year's party and nobody drank it, so I accepted the responsibility of drinking it myself (over a couple nights ;-) ).

(A) This beer has the archetype beer appearance when poured and throughout it's consumption. The color is a vividly clear golden brown and the head pours thick, billowy and retains itself.

(S) The smell is of citrusy hops-you can tell it is going to be hoppy. It's not burn-your-nostril-hairs hoppy, but you can tell it is going to be a bitter brew.

(T) I really enjoyed the taste but ranked 4 because I felt there was an inconsistency. I had this beer the past three nights and the 1st and 3rd night the beer had that strong bitter hop taste like you would expect, but the 2nd night I had it the hop taste wasn't nearly as noticeable. Some might attribute that to different foods I was eating, but for the most part I had this beer by itself while playing games or watching TV so I don't think it would be that.

(M) I am not the best at ranking mouthfeel but I certainly didn't notice anything wrong with it. It didn't stand out to me as something that was noticeably exceptional, but it didn't detract me either.

(D) The fact that I would think about consuming the beer during the day and have done so for the past three nights proves it's drinkability. Not hard to have two in a row with this one.

I definitely enjoyed this beer and would suggest it if you like a fairly strong hoppiness. It's nothing compared to some hop bomb IPA's or Double IPA's, but it's an enjoyable brew that accents one of beers great ingredients.

 1,669 characters

Photo of ScorpyX
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear and dark golden with a finger-width, white head.

S: Smell has a mild scent of hops and an underlying maltiness. A little muted, but what I can detect is good.

T: Much like the smell, the hops are apparent, but not overwhelming, similar to an IPA with the hops reduced to a fraction. The malt kicks in at the swallow. There is just a small hint of the alcohol and some sweetness that becomes more obvious after a few sips.

M: Pretty crisp and clean. Some carbonation, but not a ton. Medium-boded leaning on the light side.

D: Very drinkable, with its pleasant taste and fair crispness. The ABV might keep it lower.

 636 characters

Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a - lacing may be the best thing about this beer; color medium amber
s - very little to talk about
t - average "amber ale" type but this is a seasonal so expectations are for something more; no spice or anything special; abv of 6.6 gives it a little something to talk about
m - good full body with good thick head
d - would not want to have more than one

 354 characters

Photo of JWU
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip.

A. Poured a good two inches of head. White and fluffy with very large bubbles. Lasted a few minutes before dissipating.. Good but not great lacing, looks a little lighter than most ESB's.

S. Oily hop smell with some orange rind and biscuit malts following up.

T. Hop oil flavor follows the smell, very biscuity malt flavor backing it up. Kinda bitter on the end, but not enough so. I could do with less of the hop, and more malts.

M. Not as thick as other ESB's, medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D. Good, but not great. Another ESB that just doesn't live up to the bar Fullers has set. This oddly reminds me a lot of Southern Tier Phin and Matt's Extraordinary Ale...

 713 characters

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.67 out of 5 based on 1,178 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!