2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale
Liked This Beer
3.64 w/ 1,222 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,222 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of Mavajo
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly orange-amber color with a moderate white head that doesn't stick around too long. No or minimal lacing. Aroma has that roasty malty note typical of New Belgium's offerings. Taste is of roasted malts, caramel, and a slightly bready or woody taste. It's decent, but not really exceptional - the interesting notes of this brew can all be found in Fat Tire, which is a better beer all around, IMO. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the style, but medium overall. Appropriate carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but could be better.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks more like an amber ale. Dark amber. Good carbonation making champagne like tiny bubbles. Aroma is woody. Taste, malt predominance, a little hop presence that can't resonate on the palate because of the assertiveness of the roasted malt. Wood flavored almost to the point you would think there was minimal aging inside such a vessel.

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Photo of drperm
3.49/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

ESB? Wha...? Anyways, I rarely look at the style listing on here anymore.
12 oz. bottle poured into my Unibroue goblet.

A: Stunningly beautiful. A bright copper that has zero cloudiness or haze: translucent if not transparent. Lots of big bubbles rise to a thin white lacing. This is just a gorgeous beer to look at.

S: New Belgium-y to be sure. Malt-forward, with some hard-to-pinpoint spice notes rolling about -- cinnamon? Cassia?

T: Basic, malty, yummy, good, but not outstanding. Malts still predominate, with some of that Fat Tire burnt/roasted note. Subtle but enjoyable hop bitterness rounds it out.

M: Fizzy, scrubbing-bubbles. Slight sweet note lingers.

O: Not my favorite from NB but it's harmless and enjoyable, especially if you're a fan of malt-forward or Scots styles (I still don't get the ESB labeling). Try this one with roasted almonds or maybe good Mexican food.

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Photo of theghost3
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this on draft at the Mellow Mushroom in Columbia, SC. Pours a clear amber with a 2-finger light beige head. Medium lacing. Smell is caramel malts with some grassy hints. The taste a mix of honey, caramel malts, and grassy hops. Not that bitter. Mouthfeel is crisp, medium-bodied. This is OK in the drinkability dept. Not as spicy as I would have expected.

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Photo of blackie
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a golden amber color and sports a tight little white head, retention is average

s: biscuity pale malt body with a well-balanced, mild grapefruit hop aroma, just a touch of honey

m: soft, low-moderate carbonation on a light-medium body

t: the grapefruit hops from the nose come off on the tongue a little like jelly beans - somewhat artificial and candylike, standing awkwardly on a sweet, honeyed biscuit body, the bitterness is of a moderate level and seems out-of-place

d: not bad, but a little messy and sweet for higher drinkability

single from Whole Foods Cary

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Photo of thektg
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer at The Griffon in Charleston, SC on tap. This was my first time tasting this beer on tap, as I've had it in bottles previously.

A - Very clear orange/amber glow with one to two fingers of off-white head.

S - Minimal hops smell. Mostly a carmel, bisquity smell.

T - Not as spiced as I would have expecected from the smell. Rich and caramelly.

M - Medium body and mouth feel. Had smacks of Fat Tire.

D - Very drinkable since it is not as heavy as other Winter Ales. I recommend it.

If I was not on a mission of trying as many bars as possible, I would have had another. But, alas...

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Photo of BrewDoc12
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Jsut thought I'd give New Belgium another chance after the dreadful Fat Tire; again I was not impressed at all.
A - Pours a deep amber with a nice 1 finger off white head. Very little lacing.
S - Smells of grassy hops and maybe a lil coriander; still doin' alright at this point.
T - Here's where things start going wrong. Really grassy, and kinda sour. Slight maltiness hides beneath the fresh cut grass flavor. Feable attemp to imitate Blue moon or Hoegarden.
M - Not too rich, but not too watery. Pretty good balance.
D - I guess if I was really stopped up, I could knock these out one after another.
Not to knock New Belgium too hard; their Mothership Wit is pretty tasty. Keep at it fellas; you're showing improvement.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear coppery amber with a fine-bubbled, slightly orangy off-white head. Aroma is malty, fruity and slightly spicy. Lively, mouth-filling flavor is spicy with woody and hoppy undertones. Texture is tingly, fizzy and sassy. Definitely worth at least a try.

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Photo of smanders
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a 6'er of this at Albertson's in Las Cruces. Pretty good selection for a grocery.

Appearance - copper with an off-white head. Very clear.

Smell - grassy, herbal hops A little sweetness from the malt.

Taste - just like it smells. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel - thin.

Drinkability - High.

Not sure what I would compare this beer to in terms of style, but man, it goes down smoothly and tastes good. That's what the majority of beer drinkers are looking for, isn't it?

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a high clarity golden yellow maybe a hint of amber. The head is tight and foamy, nice lacing down the glass as well. Nose is very sweet and fruity, the hops are intermingled with the sweetness which is a nice effect. Taste is also pretty sweet and sticky hoppy. Not too bitter, but bitter enough. Malt backdrop is nice as well.

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Photo of Kylito87
2.84/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Another one of our party leave behinds. I hope it is as good as the first one.

Appearance- coppery reddish yellow with a white head that quickly slicks.

Smell- Hoppy with some grassy and grainy undertones. Also some honey sweetness and citrus notes there.

Taste- I was really expecting more from this beer it has alot of the same tastes elements as the smell but there is something there that I can't quite put my finger and it is kind of bugging me a bit. It has a comforting bready biscuity characteristic too. It has a very big alcohol bite at first but it seems to smooth out as you go along.

Mouthfeel- I am not sure if it is just me but I feel like the carbonation might be a bit much for this beer. I mean it feels crisp and clean bur I feel that if they would have toned the carbonation down just a hair this beer would have tasted alot better because some of it's subtler notes would have been brought out some more. It is not too thick and even though it has a relatively high ABV I think you could session it pretty nicely

Overall, I am disappointed because I thought this beer would be alot better. I mean it isn't horrible by any means. It is just not what I figured it would be. I don't even get the feel that this beer is a winter ale. I would say this is a beer that I might drink but I would have to either A be handed one or B it would have to be on super sale. I mean I usually like super hoppy beer but this just didn't do it for me. I had high hopes for this beer because I know alot of people that like it and told me to try it but it just didn't live up to the hype. I really tried to like it but I don't even think it will end up in my top 30.
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of bruachan
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

crystal clear amber with a very nice foam. an attractive mix of creamy and sudsy are reinforced by slow-rising bubbles

toasty, but not particularly sweet malt aroma. the spices so assertive to the taste are less notable here by degrees. a touch of honey

spiced up for the season. they give the impression of a drier brew, even more than it already is. hops contribute strong bitterness woody and dried herbal flavors, as well as something tea-like. finishes sweet

a seasonal ESB, eh? not bad but unremarkable. solid contribution to the ESB discussion

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Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass. Amber colored and very clear with a short white head. Teh head fell away quickly. Smells of biscuity malt and lemony floral hops. Tastes of bready malt with strong hop finish. Well balances. Mouthfeel is medium with good level of carbonation. Drinkability pretty good.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tangerine skin colored beer with a thin khaki cap. The head rises and falls quickly in the glass leaving some pitiful lacing on the sides of the glass. Large bubbles of carbonation grow at the bottom of the glass and then release themselves skyward. The bottle has it right when they describe it as brilliantly clear, I can see my fingerprints on the other side of my glass as they are magnified by the contours.

Smell is malty with a nice hop kick. The grains smell fresh and sweet while the hops hint at an earthy bitterness combined with a dull citrus pith.

Taste is a let down from the nose. The grains don't taste as fresh as the smell and the hops are herbal and earthy. Not much in the way of citrus but it does head in another direction. It has that dull sweet finish kind of like gumballs that have been chewed awhile and have all but lost their taste.

Mouthfeel is ok, it's light bodied and has an ok bitterness and carbonated bite. That being said it's only slightly above average and doesn't really shine with true character. It is what it is, and that's a solid pleasing beer but nothing special. Worth trying but I won't be buying again.

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Photo of justincolts
4.04/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Much, much, lighter than I would have expected from a winter style ale. Pours a very thick head that takes a while to disappear. Kind o a golden colored beer.

S-Mostly just a citrus infused hoppy smell. Probably more typical of what something intended for summer would encompass, but I'm willing to give something different a pass.

T -Certainly would be hard in a blind tasting to pick this out as a winter style beer. Its flavoring makes it seem more likely to be a hop infused summer beer that cools amidst the hot sun. A really good beer, just not what I expected.

M- Easy to handle, good texture, good flavor. Solid feel

D- Easy to drink, not heavy like you would expect from something designated as a winter beer.

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Photo of SykDoc
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a pleasant copper color. A 1 inch light tan head forms and slowly reduces to a full coverage lacing. Carbonation is visible, sediment is not.

The aroma is a nice blend of caramel sweetness and hoppy citrus/earthy notes. Not complex but good.

The taste again demonstrates a nice balance of hoppy citrus/earth notes with a malty sweetness a little hidden.

The mouthfeel was medium/light bodied. The carbonation seems just a bit high for the flavor. It goes down fairly clean and leaves a tingle on the palate at the finish.

Overall, this is a easily drinkable beer. The ABV is hidden and the flavors balance nicely. It is something I will enjoy a few times but would get tired of it until the next year comes.

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Photo of mikey711
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Fluffy white head on top of a golden orange colored brew. It is perfectly transparent and the head leaves nice lacing although it does not retain well.

S: Nice herbal and and citrus hops with a good amount of honey sweetness to balance it out. Simple but very well done

T: Nice subtle hoppy flavor with some earth and grassy notes. Some nice bread and biscuity notes. Pretty light sweetness

M: A little bit lighter in body than i would have expected which is disappointing

D: Very easy to sip on and goes down quite fast

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Photo of Beejay
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: copper in color, decent bit of white head, but sadly it has since dissipated.

S: mostly i am picking up grassy hops. Nice and simple.

T: malt backbone with a light biscuity bready taste, followed by hops. Slight carmel flaver. Like a hopped up fat tire.

M: clean, crisp, and carbonation is just fine.

D: good clean brew. Nicely balanced and something i could drink all night. Good, not great, but good.

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Photo of thistle3189
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: this beer is a copper red, with a nice white head; the lacing starts strong but subsides.
S: hops notes are there but not overwhelming, not a lot else
T: This beer is bitter per the style but not a dark or malty as others that I have had, there is a little alcohol bight
M: A little dryer or tannic than most of this style, this may be a characteristic of the brewery and there yeast strains for me.
D: No great drinkability I would probably look for something else.

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Photo of rgctlc
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Belgium's release in the Myrtle Beach area has been marketed towards gateway craft beer drinkers. You don't expect any extreme hop blasts or malt bombs or alcohol kicks with their beers so I wasn't expecting anything other than a nice holiday beer. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the hops up front with the sweet malt body followed by a nice clean finish. Definately more character than I expected. Not too heavy, and has kind of a belgian trippel vibe to it. Gets better as it warms and is very drinkable. All in all, a very decent offering.

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Photo of beer348
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I actually thought it was 2 below at some point when i was drinking this. Yes it was cold outside. Actually I wasn't surprised when I read the alcohol content on the side being at 6.6% I could really taste it at one point and was getting a little worried but it got a little smoother as I drank more..

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle. Pours clear amber in color with very abundant head of dense white foam. Retains foam well and leaves behind plenty of lacing down the glass. Very attractive looking brew.

Plenty of hops on the nose, a bit of grass with citrus, but not overpowering. There is malt here too, something light to moderate.

First pull has nice weight and comes forth with hops the most noticeable, but necessarily bitter. After just a second on the tongue, the malts come forward and there is a nice balance there. The tastes are a bit dry overall, and there is a quick clean finish with a slight bitter linger. Like many of the New Belgian brews, this seems a bit heavier after a few swigs than first thought.

Very nice brew! If you are fan of hops but don't like to 'chew' them through your beer experience, give this a shot. Very enjoyable and recommended.

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Photo of remmyreel
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Saw this at Whole Foods and felt like getting a holiday brew, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

It's New Belgium, s upon first taste I did not expect the hoppy bite, which gave me a bitter beer face. After I recovered, I went back to the bottle with the intent to taste it more fully and really enjoyed it.

I agree with other reviewers that the hoppy bitterness is a little overbearing at first, but it does smooth out and has a nice after taste.

I prefer IPA's over this, so I probably wouldn't buy it again. But the sixer I have is going to be a pleasant experience, regardless.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at a local bar/pizza place in Columbia, MO. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, orange-yellow with an average white head that lingered for a bit.

S: Super-hoppy in smell. Pine scent will really overtake anything else. No alcohol.

T: Surprisingly balanced after the smell. There were bitter hops up front, but it was well-balanced with a caramel taste underneath the surface. Pretty damn good, really.

M: Decent carbonation, medium thickness. Body was smooth and a little bit on the thicker side of things.

D: At first, I thought this would have almost no drinkability, but as I went on, the flavor really set in and made me want another (something I followed through on).

Another strong brew from New Belgium. Good for the winter season. It warms up the gut!

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Photo of jkrich
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker. Bright, new copper penny in color; clear with a slight, quickly receding white head.

My initial thought after smelling the strong piney aromas, was this is going to be a hop bomb.

There is noticeable hop bitterness but it is overtaken by caramel sweetness and an odd sour aftertaste. It is a unique flavor, but not always pleasant. As the ale warms. the flavors come into balance.

Somewhat thin mouthfeel for an ESB style with moderate carbonation. It is somewhat abrasive on the tongue with that faint sour aftertaste.

This is worth trying as a seasonal. It would not make my regular rotation. It drinks easily for 6.6 ABV.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 47.3% out of 100 with 1,222 ratings
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