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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Ratings: 1,222 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of Groenebeor
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle into a pint glass.

Looked so good! Light amber color with a small white head.

Smells like the typical amber ale - with a little more hops. Like a Jr. IPA!

Tastes like - like an Amber ale with more hops. What more can I say? Nothing spectacular about this. Interesting to drink seasonally.

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Photo of Duxx
4.09/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass from a 12 oz bottle.

A: Pours a very pale amber, kind of like those fake honey packets at KFC. There was a 1 finger beige head that faded quickly but the froth clings tightly to the side of the glass until the last sip. The film from the carbonation was almost as uniform on the side of the glass as the film from whole milk. This beer was crystal clear with no evidence of any protein haze. While I thought perhaps it should have been a little darker for an ESB, its still a very pretty beer to look at. If only I could drink it slower so I could stare at it.

S: Very mild hop aroma. There is some kind of off scent in the nose. I can't pin it down. Its not metallic but what to call it? It is slightly off putting but not all together objectionable but I rated this beer down slightly because of that.

T: I really like the taste but then I'm a big English bitter fan anyway. I found it to be well balanced between hop and malt. Not to sweet. Very mild malt flavor with a pronounced but not assertive hop bite.

M: I found the mouth feel to be a little thin but the carbonation level was just right for my idea of a bottled ESB.

D: Very easy to down several of these. It had a good clean and dry aftertaste. I guess my biggest surprise was that this beer was an ESB (one of my favorite styles) because I thought I was buying a more "traditional" winter warmer. Even after reading the label I still didn't know this was an ESB. After my first taste I realized I really liked this beer. Then it dawned on me that...wait where's the cinnamon and spice? This ain't no WINTER WARMER! IT'S AN ESB...SWEET! Hey, New Belgium, this needs to be one of your regular offerings. I think I'll grab a case or 2 before this is gone.

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Photo of bsp77
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into a tall glass.

Appearance: Clear light copper with a large off-white head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Biscuit, caramel, heather-like herbs, citrus and metal.

Taste: Sweet caramel, biscuit and slight citrus upfront before turning more bitter with a strong herbal and metallic finish, which leaves a slightly unpleasant aftertaste.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, slightly creamy but a strange finish.

Drinkability: Interesting hybrid type beer. I am going to steal the "German ESB" term from BuckeyeNation (although I like it better than him), as it seems to have Marzen qualities to it. It also really seems as if they add Heather to it. Good, not great, beer overall. If it wasn't for the aftertaste, it would have been better.

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Photo of aval89
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orange almost copper with a head that left a thin film.

First smell was roasted malts with a hint of caramel. Also just a hint of citrus hops in the mix. Maybe even a bit resiny?

My initial drink was...blank. I expected a little more. So the next sip I put all my senses together and found the taste. Biscuity, with alight caramel notes. Leaves somewhat of a hop finish. Somewhat floral. But not much lingers on the tongue after its down . Its not a bad beer, just expected a bit more. Drinkability is above average especially @6.6% abv. No evidence, well unless u drink a few haha. But it didn't quite do it for me. For a winter brew.. I'll stick with celebration ale.

Onto the next beers in the Folly Pack from NB

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Photo of womencantsail
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a fluffy off-white head that leaves some nice lacing.

S: A toasted, biscuity aroma with a fairly light hop aroma.

T: I was a bit let down by the nose, but the flavor was an improvement. The toasted malt is the main flavor but there is a nice hop bitterness as well.

M: The body is light and the level of carbonation is moderate.

D: The alcohol is moderate, which makes it easy to drink. It's just not a terribly complex beer, but certainly not bad.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber color with nice, frothy off-white head, good head retention and moderate lace.

Aromas of fragrant floral hops with some grassiness and inviting, bready, caramel malt.

Flavor is delicious, with a some clean fruity flavors that remind me of melon and grass, as well as a crisp, flavorful biscuitty malt character.

medium body- creamy and satisfying. Appropriate carbonation.

Would love some more if it were more readily available in Ohio. A greatly balanced session beer.

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Photo of barleyman
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12oz brown glass bottle into my straight sided tumbler. Very nice dark amber color, normal amount of lace as I drink it down. Smell is of spice, clove, with a nice hop balance. Taste is of dark fruit, raisin, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is a little thin, could use a bit more body. Drinkablility is on par with other winter warmers. I'm glad I tried this seasonal from New Belgium, its better IMHO than their flagship, Fat Tire, which I find as having a sort of weird flavor.

Just a thought,


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Photo of webbcreative
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a lighter than expected orange color with 1 finger white head, that left good lacing.

Aroma is toasty, with a minimal floral hop presence.

Flavor is toasty, and just a little sweet, and has a mild bitter finish, for an ESB it should really be more pronounced.

Mouthfeel is pretty good for me, nice medium feel.

Overall, this is a easy drinking beer, which I would expect from an ESB, but come on - where are the hops man! Hop bill needs to be reworked to get more Bitterness, Aroma, and Flavor. Malt although tastes good, needs to be punched up a bit more, they have a good base, but there needs to be more of it. But I could easily throw back 4 of these while watching a game or something.

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Photo of californiakulak
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a bottle of this beer into my Anchor Steam pint glass.

A. A little lighter than I expected. This beer is an orange amber color. Thin head without much lacing.

S. Altogether mediocre aroma. A little maltiness comes through but not much else.

T. Better than the smell. Kind of bitter like an esb should be but not very interesting. Some caramel and slight roasted notes.

M. Thin but with good carbonation. Crisp and dry.

D. It hides the alcohol well but too average to drink too many.

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Photo of avalon07
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a completely clear texture. There was a very small amount of foamy head and fairly good lacing.

S: Aroma of malt, mild spices, a little hoppiness and an herbal quality.

T: Tasted of malt, spices, hops and a bitter herbal quality. Not a very big flavor, but not a bad ESB.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super-dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: A drinkable beer, if you're into ESBs. Not a particularly complex brew, but good enough.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pale golden, decent head retention

smell: herbal, orange and citrusy

taste: not a powerful beer, good session pale with some floral, citurs hops flavor.

mouthfeel: light to medium bodied

drinkability: I was very suprised and really enjoyed this beer. Not a hoerum but fefinitly a solid selection.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.16/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale stemmed glass. Serve at 37 degrees F in a stemmed glass, 6.6% ABV, Best By 19MAR10

A - Delicate carbonation streams up to a low white head, poorly retained but full of patchy lace. The color is a beautiful honeyed golden light pumpkin orange.

S - Initially, the aroma bursts with clean, round floral-like hops that are inviting if a bit resiny. Unfortunately I pick up a lot of grass clippings and mulch here too, a hop variety New Belgium likes to use frequently. Toasty light malts hide behind the hop nose.

T - Mellow spices combine well with a caramel sweet toasted malt flavor right off the bat. It's unfortunately taken over quickly by the blast of hops in this. Again, the grassiness is off-putting to me. If backed off a bit, we'd really be talking.

M - Very crisp with a good, smooth cleanliness to it. Light-medium in body with a low dry, bitter finish.

D - I've had this a number of times and it's never received that well by others. All cause of the hops. The makings of a good winter brew but overshadowed by grass clippings. My opinion...this will probably be my last encounter with the 2 Below.

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Photo of jmalex
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to my buddy Tim for lugging this one back from North Carolina over Thanksgiving. What a good opportunity to try these beers from one of the few breweries that don't ship to PA.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my New Belgium globe glass a crystal clear copper gold with 2 fingers worth of fluffy white head on top. It drops slowly to a full cap with constant help of the nucleation sites in the glass. Lacing comes in sheets creating a picture perfect ale.

SMELL: Some really fresh herbal hops really stand out initially. They combine with a strong spiciness and some mild fruity esters to create a beer with quite a bit going on.

TASTE: Quite unique, yet oh so reminiscent of none other than Fat Tire. The signature toastiness is there in full force. But the fresh hops lend a killer balancing act to cut the sweetness of what seems like a decent bit of malt sweetness. Some esters are quite present here in the flavor as well (English? You never know from a place called "New Belgium").

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied, but a lower than desired carbonation makes the beer seem slightly watery. Though if it was attempting to be English-style, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

DRINKABILITY: Quite high. It doesn't quite remind me of winter, but this is one of the fastest-drinking seasonals I've had all winter. Well done.

Well, it was definitely nice to sit down and review a beer again after a week's worth of sickness. And even nicer to start off with a fine beer such as this one. I look forward to the days when New Belgium finally enters the Philadelphia market (the day will come eventually). This one may well find its way onto my shopping list when the weather starts getting cold.

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Photo of Gremner
3.44/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pretty amber with a good creamy head and great lacing.

S- Smell was weak. I got hints of hops, citrus and evergreen.

T- Nice biter hops up front with citrus dominating from there on out. Hints of spice and evergreen.

M- Light/medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Nice, crisp finish.

D- Pretty drinkable. Maybe the most refreshing beer I've ever had. The powerful citrus combine with the bitter hoppy kick quenches a thirst like none other.

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Photo of mjurney
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Appearance]: Light copper-orange color, clear, quite a few bubbles, foamy head that disappear really quick, lacing looks alright on the glass.
[Smell]: Typical "New Belgium" beer smell, spicy on the nose, earthly malts, maybe some hint of fruity.
[Taste]: Spicy hops up front, earthly-sweet malts, fruity at the end of the palate.
[Mouthfeel]: Medium-light bodied, almost creamy mouthfeel, carbonation is pretty moderate, very crisp, but slighly dry finish.
[Drinkability]: Very drinkable.

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Photo of thedrewski86
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter, left 1/2" off-white head. Pretty nice lacing going down. Smell is very nice, like fresh bread, grains and a good amount of maltiness w/o being sweet. Taste is a little surprising, there's an unavoidable artificial spiciness that I guess is supposed to be wintery. Not really my bag. The more I drink it the more it becomes evident in the smell. I read another review that described the taste as being like redhots candy. That is EXACTLY what this tastes like. Eh. Mouthfeel is medium, typical carbonation. Drinkability is so-so; if you like this taste you would want to drink more I guess. I'm not a fan.

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

had on tap at burger jones in a 12 0z NB goblet..the pour was a clear copper color with a medium fresh head and clinging lace..the smell is malt toast caramel and hops.the taste is hops in the mouth with some citrus some nice malts with bread and toffee in the background very crisp and fresh ..this is one good winter seasonal (ESB) it is on the lighter side both in color and taste... none the less is was very good..recommended

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Photo of Goliath
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean clear copper color with a one inch off white head. There is nice head retention and a bit of lacing.

The aroma is nice. There's a nice citrusy hop aroma which is quickly followed by some nice malting. A bit of raw grain and a hay like aroma help to round out the nose. There is also a rye like aroma, but I'm not sure if there is any in this beer or not.

The taste is ok. There's a bit of citrusy hops with a showing of toasted grain, phenol, and soap. Not terribly impressive.

Mouthfeel is thin with a low dose of carbonation.

Drinkability is moderate. The flavor profile is a bit uninticing at times which doesn't bring me back for another sip. The ABV is moderate, but well incorporated so it doesn't sway me either way. Just a "meh" beer for me.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a big 3 finger beige head, body is a clear honey color. Lots of bubbles rising to the top. Head retention and lacing were good.

Smell is of piny, resinous hops. Next comes sweet caramel malt with some honey.

First taste is of bitter hops. They're mostly pine and herbaceous. Sweet caramel is in the background and honey/diacetyls balances out the bitterness. Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel is above average. Carbonation is on the agressive side and body is pretty light for a winter seasonal, even though its an Esb. Head added a little bit of texture to the beer

Drink ability was good. Pretty sessionable beer with a nice alcohol kick. Pretty odd choice for a winter beer but its a good substitute for all the dark ales that pop up this time of the year.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the Denver airport today

The pour is gorgeous, amber in color with a creamy off-white head with excellent retention and lacework. Clarity is pretty solid too. The nose is mellow with a blend of brown sugar, toast, caramel and an earthy and leafy hop character. A touch spicy as it warms up, the nose is pretty solid.
The palate opens mildly bitter with a combination of hop and burnt whole wheat toast bitterness before the brown sugar and a light molasses character come in. Mildly spicy, I swear I taste nutmeg, but it could be the combination of the alcohol and the bitterness. Drying on the finish with a grainy astringency, this medium-light bodied beer has a high level of carbonation . Solid stuff, I'm not sure I'd drink an awful lot, though.

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Photo of seanbhudson
3.61/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a drink 09Apr10 date. Pours a clear gold/amber color with a medium off-white head. Significant lacing.
Light to moderate aroma of earth and spice.
Earthy malt, herbs and a light spice.
Medium body with a light dry / crisp finish. Moderate carbonation.
A decent beer but I would have preferred a doughy malt instead of earthy.

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

Pours a deep amber with a big off-white head. Head falls to a minimal one. Decent lace.

Aroma is of hops. Get your nose buried in there and you find the malts. Some spices, smells a bit like a forest.

Nice hop taste. Bit sweet. Tastes a little like pine needles.

Rather decent mouthfeel. Somewhat full and sharp on the tongue.

Not bad, rather easy drinking beer.

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Photo of jera1350
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near perfect looking pour. Deep amber orange color with a two finger head of fluff. Leaves lots of lacing.

Really crisp citrus smell. Big orange peel scent and some lightly roasted malt.

Moderately rich malt followed by boozy pineapple. Almost like a dark rum over pina collada taste. A bit of orange peel, but not as citrusy as the nose.

Medium bodied with a smooth feel. Nice soft carbonation on the tongue. Mildly bitter finish.

Quite drinkable. A bit boozy. One or two of these on a chilly night would be just right. I'm a poet and I don't even no it. It's been a while since I've had an ESB and this one makes me want to seek out more. Very nice beer.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz. bottle as pictured.

UPDATE 01-03-10: Best if poured into a pint glass. Much better on subsequent tastes.

A: Orange-amber color with a minimal white head that lingers. Heavy lacing.

S: Aroma has that roasty malty note typical of New Belgium's other brews. Some minimal undertones of spiciness.

T&M: Taste is of caramel and roasted malts. It's very watery though. Not a very deep taste with a minimal hop bitterness fade. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the style, but medium overall. Appropriate carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, but flavor could be better.

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Photo of thecarster1
2.73/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into my dfh signature, crystal clear tawny brown coloring, one finger head that fades fase to a layer of lace with a ring around the glass.

s- lots of malt in the nose, hard to pinpoint what else i'm getting here, littly citrus hops, very bready, kind of odd.

t- interesting, slight bitter finish, some spice - AHH, i got it - it's redhots pure candy redhots, some citrus, lemon, finish is slightly medicinal, the redhot flavor intensifies as the beer warms, and i've gotta say, i'm not enjoying it.

m- medium body with decent slickness.

d- i was very much looking forward to tasting this beer, but it didn't live up to my standard at all, the redhot - fake cinnamon flavor was offputting, which is odd because not many of the reviews for this beer mention cinnamon, but thats definately what i got out of this, kinf of a let down unfortunately.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,222 ratings.
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