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 siradmiralnelson
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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 -6.5%
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 +8.4%
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 -15%
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 +8.4%
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 -31.1%
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 +6.3%
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%
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 -11.2%
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 -4.6%
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 -3.8%
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 +18.5%
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 +3.8%
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 +5.7%
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 +10.6%
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 +6.8%
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 -5.4%
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 -7.6%
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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Photo of devilben02
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep but clear amber color, but only a thin, foamy head forms on top. The aroma is subtle, with only a faint bready malt profile and the slightest hint of a spicy hop presence. The flavor is more defined, with the bready malts again being the primary character with a seemingly light (but still noticeable) addition of hops coming in on the finish. Maybe it's my imagination because this is marketed as a winter warmer, but the character of the hops makes this beer drink as if this was a (mildly) spiced beer. The mouthfeel is a bit thin but otherwise fine. Overall, this is a fine beer, but it doesn't do much to stand out against other winter seasonals.

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Photo of CheckmateBrew
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. light Amber appearance with an off single finger head that dissipates fairly fast. Nice lacing.

S. Slight hops initially, a alcohol and maybe some spices that balance the malts of this beer. A nice combonation.

T. I expected more taste based on the smell. Not a bad brew, just not great.

M. Light feeling in the mouth with moderate carbonation. very good for style

D. Goes down easily but is lacking in overall flavor. Better than many other winter beers, and there are better ones out there, but I would order this again.

After shoveling that driveway, you would really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of bnes09
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Transparent orange in color. Thick white head forms and leaves nice lines of lacing.

Not too much in the smell department. Just some faint hops and bread grains.

Flavor begans very clean at first then the hops come in. Hops are not overpowering but are piney and sour. Maltiness is bready and somewhat sweet. Overall, the flavors are average and the sour taste carries into the aftertaste and is somewhat unpleasant.

Light to medium bodied and a little lighter than hoped. Descent carbonation.

Overall, it's pretty average. Not the first thing I would go for on a winter evening but it is drinkable.

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Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a bronze glow with a finger head that leaves nothing but light froth on top

S-very strong hops with maybe slight hints of pine and malts

T- very much dry hops with a crisp dry finish...lingers around and definitely wakes you up

M- feels "cheap" much like a a mickeys or something of the sort

D-wish the nose was how the beer tasted. not my favorite

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Photo of KidneyBean
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a fan of Fat Tire and have begun to notice that just about all of NB's offerings taste like Fat Tire!

2 Below is a solid ale and very drinkable. I didn't find it to be an overly unique brew relative to NB's line up though.

As far a seasonal ales go, I will probably look for other, more interesting beers.

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Photo of diabecktic
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This light copper brew pours with a very nice creamy, white head that's ~2 fingers thick. Retention and lacing are both excellent, and I can see a little bit of carbonation slowly rise throughout the translucent body.

The aroma is largely hoppy and spicy with a nice sweet base that helps add balance. As far as specific notes go, I can pick out cloves, caramel, dark fruit (perhaps raisin or plum), toffee, and nutmeg.

Crisp hops are apparent in the early portion of the tasting. As the beer sits in my mouth, the dark, roasted malty sweetness progressively intensifies. The aftertaste resembles something like clove and toffee. The balance between each flavor is excellent.

The crispness experienced during tasting eventually leads to a dry sensation. Alcohol is fairly well-hidden during the smell and taste portions of the test, but I think its lingering effect is likely responsible for the aforementioned sensation. The elements which are responsible for the dark sweetness likely account for the moderately heavy body.

Excellent balance, body, and taste all make this an extremely drinkable beer. I never would have guessed that this beer was 6.6% ABV, so you might have to be careful if you feel like drinking several of these during a setting. For all of its complexity, the beer isn't dense enough to hurt this aspect of the tasting.

I liked the New Belgium beers that I had tried in the past, so I expected this beer to be good; however, it was MUCH better than I could have ever fathomed. The complex flavors, excellent balance, and adequate body make this an outstanding beer to enjoy during the coldest months of the year. As the style suggests, this beer is both "extra special" and "bitter" - I urge you to try this if you haven't done so already.

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Photo of NODAK
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma here is buttery, a little sweet, with notes of biscuit and toffee showing up. A small hoppiness is also present.

Taste has a definite pine and spicy taste to it, with some creamy, buttery biscuit as well. English hop bitterness on the finish is of medium strength and about on par with most of this style.

It is a pretty good winter seasonal. A solid ESB here. The creamy nature of the beer is awesome and while I'm not sure if it is the signature diacytl of an ESB, it's delicious.

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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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