2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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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.

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Reviews: 565 | Ratings: 1,178
Photo of carln26
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber color with a fluffy white head. Caramel and toffee aroma, slight citrus hop on the finish. Taste has a lot of caramel. Not too sweet, just a pleasant mouth feel. The bitterness of a light citrus hop balances the sweetness. Nice full mouth feel very drinkable. The seasonals from New Belgium continue to impress.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Beer shows up a beautiful clear copper color with billowy puffed head that is completely gone by the time I'm halfway done. Nose I get big hop aroma here. Definately makes me think of homebrewing, smells just like hop pellets I've used when they come out of the fridge. Its odd that this beer has retained that raw aroma. Guess thats what happens when you dry hop with Liberty. I also get a lucious fruity backend in the aroma, but it isn't typical ale fruit, its more like a peach or apricot (some fruit of "the fuzzy family"). Also has a nice kick of hop spice. Kinda funky but very appetizing.

The taste is a sweet but resinous/ piney kind of base with faint spices, and peach or apricot and maybe pineapple all popping in and out in turns. Great depth of malt flavor with signature New Belgium toasted complexity. Hop spice lingers in aftertaste. As the pint warms and I dink more, I find that dry-hopped Liberty aroma really coming through in the taste. I feel like I'm practically drinking those hop pellets. Its beginning to beat down some of the fruit and while I find this flavor interesting as a brewer, it gets a little pushy for me as a drinker. I feel this would be worthy of the title "Double ESB" since it's flavors are so big and work together on a basis of contrast, rather than the subtle synergies of traditional examples of the style.

Mouthfeel is thick but has some carbonation and is approprite. Very good, very different beer, but I would really struggle to get more than one of these down in a night. Its kind of exhausting. This is a beer I like to revisit year-to-year. It is so unique and it is actually an effective winter brew despite staying just on the light side of the style spectrum.

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Photo of brewQ
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful brownish gold color.

Some delicate aroma- mostly of sweet malt.
the body leaves generous sheathing on the glass.

Similar house character to NB Fat Tire- which I describe as woody and enjoy.

Not sure what the intended style is but this is a
Very drinkable brew.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/30/05- Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- Via tap into a standard pint glass..

Appearance- Perfect example of an amber colored pour. I was looking to see if I could find any insects in suspended animation it was that perfect. 1/4 inch creamy sparkling white head with above average lacing.

Smell- Had to really sniff to get anything here. As the beer went down and I was really able to get my nose in the glass I caught a whiff of a muted hoppy scent with a canned fruit cocktail syrup scent as well as maybe a few spices.

Taste- Different and intriguing, with a light malty flavor. Small amounts of hops creating a bit of light bitterness. Strong tropical fruit flavors carry this beer. Bits of pineapple, peaches and apricots.

Mouthfeel- Sticky sweetness with a mid range to heavier mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice fruity flavor, almost tastes like a fruit beer more than a winter warmer. Very tasty for whatever it is though.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium's 2°Below is best served cool (45-50F) into a logo pint or tulip glass. 2°Below pours up brilliantly clear with lots of lively carbonation. The color is distictively deep golden-copperish orange with a volumous white head that collapses fairly quick leaving lots of lacy rings behind. The aroma is distinctively houselike (New Belgium) with a classic ester (dried apple/pear-like) profile from the yeast and the signature toasted (cracker-like) maltiness, but hey now!...there's also some unexpected grassiness & dried floral aromas along with some pleasant spiciness from the noticeable dry-hopping e.g. Liberty. The background is full of citrus juice, toasted crackers & pepper spice which makes everything nice! The flavor starts off fruity & somewhat spicy from the emerging bitterness, but the grape nut maltiness is never too far behind. The hop complexity continues to flourish towards the lightly alcoholic finish that's loaded with dried fruits & toasted bread. This is a very smooth, creamy & finely crafted ale in the English Bitter tradition which makes it suitable for quaffing in mass-quantities. It's certainly one of the hoppiest beers that I've ever had from New Belgium. Try pairing 2°Below with some freshly roasted nuts & dried citrus fruits. Here's to coming in from the cold!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - 1/4" white head. Fell right away. Copper penny colored brew.

S - Similar malt aroma to Fat Tire. Much more hops. Muted pine aroma. Malt mingling in the background.

T - Tastes alot like Fat Tire (pattern forming??). Flash of piney hops fade quickly into a mild chocolate malt flavor. Sugary sweetness in the middle. Some evident alcohol. Light bitterness.

M - Thin mouthfeel. Good finish. Clean. Low carbonation.

D - Good. Unique flavor, mix of Fat Tire and an IPA. Lucky enough to obtain a bottled sample for this review. The classification of this beer seems a little off to me, although I can't come up with a better one.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the local Old Chicago:

Poured a nice reddish gold colour with a small head that dissipated before it even got to me.(Nitro-CO2mix)

The smell was hoppy and sort of fruity.

The taste was a mix of fruit and hops up front with more of the fruit in the middle and huge hop bitterness in the after taste that lingered like forever. The latter part of the drinking experience I liked muchly but....I've tasted better winter ales and since this is a draft only product, there's no need for me to seek it out.

That makes only 2 brews from New Belgium that I'm not really pleased with.(the other is the Loft)

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Yard House in Phoenix, AZ. Had a clear amber color topped with a foamy white head that trailed lots of sticky lace in its wake.
Nose had the aroma of orchard fruits - think apples, pears, lighter plum notes - up front under which lurked a more earthy malt base. Interesting that in the taste the roles were reversed with the malt profile coming to the forefront and the fruitiness taking the backseat. Has a nutty, earthy flavor. Hops bitterness is pretty mild. Faint metallic tang in the finish. The feel was light with a low level of carbonation.
Overall, not a bad effort by the folks at New Belgium. Definitely not your "normal" winter seasonal.

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Photo of masikon
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured to a transparent tennessee burnt orange with a fuzzy off white head about 2 fingers deep. A very visually pleasing beer with a lasting head that sticks around and pretty bubbles of corbonation that keep on rising. Unfortunately appearance is really this beer's strongest point. nose is plain and uninteresting with some mildly fruity notes. taste is almost exactly like a mack and jacks african amber for those who have tried it. puckers the mouth, a light mouthfeel and inoffensive taste brings up the drinkability score, overall not a beer I would drink again.

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Photo of Xadoor
5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is definitely one of the best tasting winter seasonals that I've tried so far this season. Aroma is lightly sweet and a little floral and fruity. Roasted caramel malt flavours to start but the bitterness from the hops slowly takes over. Finishes slightly dry. Higher alcohol is certainly noticeable in the affects, but not too detectable in the taste. Very well balanced. Certainly a beer that I could drink all night (and did). Definitely a must try if you haven't already.

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Photo of xoqx
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has what I’m now considering trademark New Belgium characteristics. I don’t know if it’s their proprietary yeasts or just the proportions of their recipe. I find these beers enjoyable, if somewhat predictable.

Appearance - This beer pours amber with a white, one finger head exhibiting moderate retention and heavy lacing.

Smell – The smells are like a more balanced Fat Tire – the balance coming from marked hop scents. Dark citrus and other fruit esters are detectable.

Taste - This beer tastes of caramel, fruit, herbal tones, fruit-hops with a medium-length finish. You can tell it's from New Belgium.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean and medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This is a Winter Warmer, but is very light for the style. I think it should be tried once even if only for comparison against some of the best of the style such as Deschutes’ Jubelale and Bridgeport’s Ebenezer Ale.

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Photo of karst
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the many taps of Patton Alley Pub 313 S. Patton Ave. Springfield, Missouri.
Across the street from the new brew-on-premises Pub by the same owners who plan the opening one month from now although the brewhouse is presently empty!

Nice pour was a light brown amber with a creamy persistant head. A fruity aroma of amarillo-like hops and yeast esters was very welcoming. Balancing the 50+ IBU bitterness was acomplished with a rich malt bill that also hides the alcoholic aroma (at least half way thru the pint glass) but a slight cardboard flavor took away from the mid flavors. A hop lovers delight that finishes up to its ESB style.
Wanted another but had promises to keep and 100 miles to go before I sleep.

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was surprised to have the waitress suggest a New Belgium seasonal I've never heard of before. I asked her about what style it was, etc, and she said "It's like Fat Tire". Well, not really, but at least she knew it was in the same family.

Appearance was a fairly clear, brown-amber. Nice subtle floral-hop on the nose. After a few swallows it reminded me of the textbook ESB style. The hops are plentiful but do not overpower; it's more of a strong bitterness rather than the citusy hop punch paramount in many Pacific Northwest winter seasonals. It finishes dry with mild lingering spiciness. 2° Below is one of the lighter winter seasonals available in mouthfeel and helps it to be quite drinkable, so it's surprising to learn the ABV is 6.6%. A dandy winter warmer.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After notice a table talker advertising this at a local bar I decided to give it a try, knowing nothing about the beer. Imagine my surprise when I get the typical warning from the waitress "It's a hoppy, spicy beer." Yes, fine I'd like one please, I reply thinking that everytime I here something like that I am let down because the beer is only mildy hoppy. I can't really falt here for saying that though because BMC drinker would be going Whoa, this beer sucks, too bitter!. I must admit I am pleasantly surprised.

Appearance: Served in a non frosted pint glass. Amber to coppery in color, relatively clear. Poured with a thin 1/4 inch head that did hang on before fading to a thin cover and ring around the glass. Most impressed with the sheets of lacing that formed on the glass.

Smell: Burst of hop on the nose (she wasn't kidding), some spice (I can't pin down an exact aroma, just spice). Also malt providing a faint aroma of caramel, slightly roasted. A little side note: this beer was not served to me near freezing like their macros. I don't know if it is kept not as cold or that they waited a few minutes after the pour to serve it to allow it to warm some (by accident or on purpose), but I definitely liked the temp.

Taste: Good hop bittering, warming spice, and solid malt backing keep this one well balanced. Caramel flavor is not overpowering nor too sweet, and the hop bite at the finish, while memorable, is not overpowering or over the top.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, lightly carbonated, hides its alcohol well.

Drinkability: I only had one, but I probably could have quaffed these all afternoon/night, but I would have had to walk home. Solid must try IMO.

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

order this at a small town restraunt with 2 taps. Sierra Nevada and usually Fat tire, but they have this beer, two degrees below, instead. Well, I'll give a shot. Reminds me alot of Fat Tire, only with more chocholatly notes, perhaps a hair more hoppy. Carmel, bisquity and chewy are other good terms. I also thought it was an ESB not knowing anything, i think that's it's good label for the style. It's good, worth getting in a bar, and is pretty far from a beligum style. I liked it, but more than one might get old.

edit: website says it's 6.6, about what I expected. also Sterling and Liberty hops.

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