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

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Reviews: 572 | Ratings: 1,216
Photo of buschbeer
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of albertjr21
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of OttoBomb
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of manzilla86
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of ScorpyX
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -26.8%
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

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Photo of JWU
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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...

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip.

A. Poured 1 finger of head. Good retention. Pretty good lacing. Color is a nice golden.

S. Has some decent hop aroma. A little malt sweetness under the hops. No real distinct hop aromas, but has some hop bitterness.

T. Taste is biscuity bready malt. Some hop bitterness. Has a bit of lingering sweetness. Has the signature malt flavor of most of New Belgiums beers.

M. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Has a bit of lingering sweetness.

D. Drinkable. Easy to have a few of these. Nothing amazing, but a solid offering. I remember it being more bitter in years past, as this bottle seemed a bit sweeter than in years past. Im not really a fan of the biscuity malt flavor that most of New Belgium's beers have.

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Photo of bskrtz
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Could have been colder when served on tap. Poured into it's own name-sake wide, round and open glass

A) Clear and bright, copper/amber with fizzy white head. The glass is perfect and this beer looks good on display. Marketing...

S) Sweet candy sugar and spice. Doughy and sour. A winter beer with apparent alcohol on the nose.

T) Well crafted with ample mix of bitter and sweet. Caramel and hint of cinamon or clove spice.

M) Poor handling by the bar may have left this beer flatter than I would prefer. Despite it's clear appearance, I enjoyed it's thick complexity. Excellent for casual sipping while in conversation

D) A Good example of the style.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured a nice copper with a small fizzy white head. There was some slight lacing on the glass.

S-Slightly hoppy with some caramel notes; nothing too overpowering.

T-Nearly perfect balance between hops and malt. Caramel was the flavor that stood out most to me. It has a nice hoppy finish, especially in comparison to Fat Tire which finishes biscuity. The hops were more fresh and juicy than when I had this in a bottle about a year ago, which was very nice.

M-Just about right for the style, with a nice carbonation.

D-Very drinkable beer that I enjoy much more than Fat Tire.

Overall, this was very good on tap and I would definitely drink it again.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.12/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm usually a huge New Belgium fan. 2 Below, however has never really done much for me. I first tried it a couple years ago when I got a case for a new years party. Wasn't a huge fan at the time, but I figured it might have just been because that was before I got into craft brewing and wasn't ready for it. Trying it now, I don't feel as negatively towards it as I originally did, but am still quite underwhelmed.
Pours the colour of deep straw, with a nice white head leaving decent lacing down the sides.
The smell is probably the highlight for me. The nose is usually one of the least important factors for me just because my nose isn't particularly strong, but 2 Below actually brings out some decent notes, though the doughy biscuit/bread is still dominant. There's a light earthy spice to it as well that I can't quite place, and you can almost feel the yeast.
The taste is like the nose, but less so. There's the toasty biscuity almost yeasty malt that tastes kind of like bland bread dough. That's the lasting impression I have of this beer: underwhelming bread dough. The hops come through on the finish, with some sweet lasting aftertaste that I can't quite place.
It tastes more carbonated than it actually is. Goes down smoothe enough, and I could see someone sitting and drinking several without too much trouble, but wouldn't feel drawn to doing so myself.
Overall, not a *bad* beer per se, just not up to par with what I hold NB to. Doesn't taste like a winter warmer, to me, at all. Go for it if it's at a party or you're really curious, but definitely no reason to go out of your way to get some.

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Photo of kindestcut
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The New Belgium 2° Below Winter Ale pours a pretty bright amber. Holding the glass up to the Christmas tree lights gives the beer a particularly festive look. The head is a frothy white. The aroma offers some hoppiness and a spiciness that you would expect in this beer.

At first taste, the spicy notes really come through. Hops give way to a malty sweetness and a peppery aftertaste. I would think that this beer would go extremely well with a Sunday roast.

This is not a winter warmer. Some may be expecting that but it is in fact a very nice winter ale devoid of many of the spices some might expect...no cloves, no nutmeg, and an ABV south of 7%. This is a very drinkable beer that I will revisit next winter.

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Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Hazy amber with a 1 + finger white head with decent retention and lacing. The aroma has biscuit, toasted malt, yeast, and earthy hops. This does not appeal to me. Very bland.

The taste is just like the aroma, and is disappointing. Biscuit and toasted malt with earthy hops.This is not to my liking.

Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation. Nothing to special here. I will not seek this out again.

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Photo of TheOtherMike
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Still cannot get the New Belgium offerings in the state of Michigan - too bad in my opinion. A friend brought a sampler twelve pack for me to try as I've only had the Fat Tire and Ranger IPA. Of the four in the sampler I believe this is my favorite.

It is a good session beer that is not particularly strong or bitter at all.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-amber with a white head. The aroma is fairly hoppy. I get some pine and grassy hops as well as some toffee malt. The flavor is much maltier than the aroma. I get a bunch of toffee and some nuttyness, as well as some grassy hops. Very low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice, malt Extra Special Bitter that is very easy to drink. Nice to see a winter ale that isn't full of spices.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.26/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: clear copper with decent creamy head and lacing.
S: muted. Get some earthy spicy hops and toasty bread maybe.
T: wouldn't peg this as an esb. Some lightly sweet caramelly malts and a smooth spicy hop bitterness evening things out.
M: despite being well-carbonated, this has an oily slickness to it. Light to medium body.
D: overall underwhelming. The nose was very muted, the hops I didn't dig, and it had an odd mouthfeel.

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Photo of jar2574
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange color, pale white head, good lacing. Smell: sweet, honey, malts, slight hops. Taste is smooth, more sweet than bitter, but there are a some hops to compliment the malts. The mouthfeel is about right - smooth, enough fullness to keep things interesting, not overly carbonated. It's a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of Star80
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before February 2011. Pours out a deep copper gold with frothy head, lots of effervescence. The smell is vaguely hoppy with some strong biscuity maltiness. Taste is dominated by malts and some crisp hop aftertastes. I would agree with some other reviewers that the hop profile is more "grassy", than your usual citrusy or piney, and some alcohol is meddling in the background. The beer is a different sort of balance than usual, it could be throwing me off that this is an ESB rather than a winter warmer or IPA. Mouthfeel is full but not too rich. Hmm, not a bad beer but nothing knocks you except for the high ABV.

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Photo of industrialswill
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bright golden amber, frothy head.
The smell warned me of the possibility of clove ahead, but overall it has a nice smell to it.
The first thing that hit me at first gulp was the maltyness...almost to the point of tasting like chocolate. Thankfully, there is no flavor of clove. I'm totally in love with this beer and am very glad to add it to my list of daily options

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden/copper color with a medium white head that diminishes rather quickly. Aroma is grassy with hops and light malt. Taste is initially malty, then gets followed by some sweet hoppiness with grassy notes and citrus. Mouthfeel is very nice. Very full and crisp at the same time. Drinkability is high.

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Photo of notsoprobeer
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tasting:  Color is a light golden orange with a white head.  Aroma is mainly hops.  It's nicely balanced.  I'm having trouble identifying the specific malt and hop flavors, but they blend together nicely.  Body is light, it has nice carbonation, and is very crisp.  I this this makes a great session beer. 

I don't understand why New Belgium is calling this a winter seasonal.  It's not especially malty, and it doesn't have an unusual twist like most holiday brews.  However,  it's a good beer.  If you're throwing a holiday party, this would be a good beer to include as it should appeal to those who don't want a big malty or spiced beer.

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Photo of bearfootdaddy
4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle to beer mug, The appearance and color was clean and clear medium amber. For a head , well there was not one, plenty of carbonation though. The taste was good not great, you can really taste the hops a plus, and for drinkability I could drink one after another.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Head appears and dissipates just as quickly. Golden-amber color.

S: Sweet orange, sugary hop.

T: Comes across with a somewhat aggressive hop flavor the very nicely fades into great sweet malt. Quite the opposite of many that start malty then overload on the hops. Also, something reminds me of the spice on nicely roasted meat.

M: Nice sugars with a little acidity.

D: Really good. I am a little hesitant with New Belgium beers but this one really delivers. Way better than most of their line. Worth checking out if you can.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised by how unbitter this ESB is considering how touchy I am with bitter taste.
It's a light copper color, producing a boat load of foam that leaves prominent lacing. The aroma is of light hops and a touch of wheat, not too much else. The taste had some hops that seemed strong but didn't have much punch to them, like only a very small amount were used. The body is ok, the aftertaste is decent, it just seems a tad passive. It could appeal to non-BAs because it isn't overly complex. Overall, nice

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Photo of midwestbrewers
3.39/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear slightly copperish color with a 2 finger head that leaves great lacing on the glass.

S: A very sweet, bready smell. The malts come through right away. Hops seem undetectable.

T: Incredibly smooth. It tastes like liquid bread. The malts and the yeasty flavors come out very strong. Nice slightly bitter, hoppy finish.

Overall this beer is definitely a drinkable beer. Very smooth on the palette and not to one-sided on any aspect. It's not an amazing beer to me but one I would drink again. Great beer New Belgium Brewing!

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,216 ratings.
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