2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale
1,223 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,223 |  Reviews: 573
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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Photo of Fnord
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Clear amber with a 1/2 finger head.

Smell - Hoppier than I expected. Flowers and pine predominate.

Taste - Some caramel, a quick bite of hop presence, alcohol, maple, pine.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation and thickness.

Notes - Much closer to an IPA than I expected. It's similar to Sierra Nevada Celebration, but doesn't seem quite as balanced to me.

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Photo of ImusBeer
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a nice orange/red with a quarter inch light tan head, heavy lacing on the side of the glass as I drank.

The heavy aroma of pine hops and pine sap. The taste paralleled the scent, mostly pine hop, with a bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was smooth with medium bitterness and high carbonation. The hoppyness limits this one for a session beer, one glass was just fine with me.

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Photo of dpasotti
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, light orange-copper color with small head that leaves decent lace. Some light malt on the nose, but mostly hops. Both citrusy C-hops and spicy Amarillo (although I am told otherwise by the bottle) flavors are present in a good balance.

Interesting taste that consists of Amarillo/Simcoe hops with a healthy floral bouquet in toe and the brewery's characteristic slight bready malt base. Moderate earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish.

Medium-bodied with med-high carbonation. Not my favorite of the style, but an OK offering. It is one of my favorites from New Belgium.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Unibroue tulip. Best by March 26, 2010. One inch of soapy, fluffy white head rests for quite a while atop a golden body. Aroma is of of fresh piney hops and some light sweet malts. Taste has some nice hoppy bitterness in the front and a touch of sweet malts with some light spicing. ABV is not noticeable whatsoever in this extremely pleasing winter ale. Extremely thick mouthfeel, kinda strange in a clear beer but noticeably thick. Pretty nice beer across the board.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark yellow, light orange from the bottle. No haze at all in the glass. Foamy head disappears fairly quickly. Smell is sweet malt and light hops. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and bubbly. There's something interesting up front in the taste that I'm not sure how to describe--it's pleasantly earth, almost pungent. This is a very drinkable beer. If you're looking for a winter session beer, this would make a good choice, I think.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a - deep golden color, two-finger dense white head with great retention and lacing, very clear

s - very grainy and bready aroma, hints of caramel, a little spice and bittersweet chocolate, not much alcohol

t - very malty and bready up front, caramel and mild spice on the mid-palate, finish dominated by moderately sweet maltiness and lots of grain and bread with some nuttiness, mild alcohol presense

m - medium-bodied, medium to lower carbonation, mildly dry finish, some alcohol warming

d - not too harsh on the palate, but pretty boring taste that could use some kind of a hop presence to balance out the maltiness and breadiness a bit

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Photo of Bung
2.8/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. Fairly bright orange pour, some white head. Nice malty aroma, some citrus and christmas cookie. Taste has some malt herbal tones, but an overwhelming cardboard and metallic flavor. Finish kind of blah, some fading maltyness. Body is fairly light, nice carbonation though. The cardboard/grass like flavors are really hard to get by.

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Photo of olmatty
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a light orange amber with a low white head and little lacing

Smell- Fresh and spicy hops and lightly sweet malts

Taste- Big on the earthy, spicy hops up front for a winter. Malts are lightly caramel sweet. Hops finish mildly.

Mouthfeel- Crisply carbonated and moderately thin body.

Drinkability- Tasty and overall nice. But, in my mind more of a spring of fall brew. Not enough body and too much hop for winter style. Like a hoppy Fat Tire.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brownish-copper color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with good amounts of floral and mildly herbal hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Grainy yet somehow smooth toasted malt flavors are joined quickly by noble hops. The hop and malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was surprised by this beer even being an ESB when I ordered it and more surprised at the hop levels. A solid, if nontraditional, ESB.

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Photo of jampics2
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One bottle from a six pack purchased at AJ's in Scottsdale.

Appearance is good. Good orangeish-red with small white ring of head.

Smell is OK. Getting hints of citrus and sweet syrup. Caramel from the malt. Appealing, but not overwhelming, but something is a bit funky here.

Taste falls short for me. What kind of ESB is this - I know English hops are appropriate, but why take this pseudo-American/Belgian take on it? Not a fan at all of the hops used for the dry hop when used in this capacity. Citrus then sweet sugars, followed by a weird mix of grass and fruit cup. Orange and pine or clove suggested, but this is just not what I look for compared to the classics. I appreciate the risk NB took, but this just isn't that good.

Mouth is good. Spot-on, nice carb bubbles, light visco.

Drink is OK. Not a fave, so I wish I could have bought a single instead of a 6. I remember having this on tap a year ago March, and I thought it was MUCH hoppier and smooth. Just an average offering and the weird flavors make this sub-standard IMO.

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Photo of seand
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very clear amber with a small amount of light tan head. Just a film retains, which doesn't leave too much lacing.

S: Sweet, somewhat caramel like. A bit one dimensional.

T: Much like the aroma, sweet, with the same off-caramel tone from start to finish.

M: Medium carbonation, medium body.

D: Drinks pretty easy, though there's a mild astringency in the finish that isn't altogether pleasant.

Not bad, but not particularly interesting either.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has an amber color with a good head.
Smells of hops and malts, a good mixture between the two.
Tastes like lightly roasted malts with some somewhat potent hops that give it an almost floral taste to it.

This is a great beer for winter, not too hoppy like the widmer, but not quite as dark as I like for Christmas. Even still a great winter beer.

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Photo of a10t2
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 12 oz bottle with best-by date of 19 March 2010.

A: Brilliantly clear gold with a bit of orange. Moderate carbonation, with minimal head but excellent retention and a little lacing.

S: Earthy and resiny English hop character is right up front. Just a hint of a toasted, bready character.

T: Hops continue to dominate, with some mild chocolate and fruity undertones. Then the aftertaste is all hops again, fading into a little bit of alcohol.

M: A lot more prickly carbonation than I would expect or like in an ESB. It's definitely light over the tongue, but not something you'll want to stop and savor.

D: Pretty high. At 6.6% this isn't exactly a session beer, but it's a refreshing alternative to the malt bombs everyone seems to put out this time of year. The carbonation is the only sore spot for me - it's high enough to be a bit unpleasant in my book.

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Photo of NStLincoln
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Two Below pours a transparent copper with a thick, creamy, off white head that leaves tremendous lacing.

The nose is very nice. Aromas of spiced carrot cake and a hint of caramel are what I pick up, and oh yeah that's good.

The flavor is okay, but not as good as the smell. The malt is mild with subdued hints of orange and cloves. There is a refreshing bite of hops at the end that intensifies the citrus.

Mouthfeel is not quite as thick as I like in a winter ale, but I served it a bit too cold and that may have had some effect on it.

I like Two Below, one of the lighter drinking, more hoppy winter efforts you'll find.

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Photo of nocheinsbitte
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this from a 12-oz bottle...first time having this bier.

A: pours a slightly orangish, amber color with a nice thick head that dissipates in a few minutes. Moderate lacing. Good looking bier.
S: Mild hoppiness detected; moderate sweetness there as well.
T: Hops with a slight orange flavor tossed in. No bitterness or high acid content. Very full flavor, enjoyable.
M: No problems.
D: Could have many of these without an issue.

Overall, this is the best New Belgian bier I have had to date. This was very enjoyable and one I recommend strongly. Prosit.

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

12oz bottle into a DFH Signature glass pours a crisp orange with a thin diminishing off-white head. Aroma is bitter hops and caramel malts. The taste is a nice balance of bitter Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts that maintains its balance all the way to the finish. The beer is on the light side of medium with it's 6.6% well hidden. This one is an enjoyable beer for a cold night.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This winter beer smells of resiny pine, with some malt sweetness.

Pours a deep amber with a one finger head; nice lacing left behind.

Initial bitterness fades to a very pleasant sweetness. There is a hint of alcohol warming at the end. Notes of spice and orange, with some hints of biscuit. This beer is very well balanced. The alcohol is very well masked, and the upfront hoppiness is perfectly matched by some subtle, lingering sweetness. Carbonation is low/medium which transcends to a silky smooth mouthfeel. There is some tang at the end of the swallow from the hops. When I was sensing for particular toasted notes I was able to find them, however I probably wouldn't have noticed them had I not been trying to look for them.

Overall, this beer is the perfect winter seasonal. A little bite with some equal sweetness. Definitely conjures up some feelings of warmth and happiness.

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Photo of northaustin
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a very clear yellowish copper with about two fingers of fairly even white head that has good retention and lacing.

big hop presence in the nose. mostly piney and citrusy. mixes pretty well with a nice subtle winter warmer type malt smell in the background.

taste: very nice balance of piney flavored hops and a fairly light malt presence. also pretty bitter.

mouthfeel: it does have a big hop bite and could perhaps be considered a little over carbonated. still nice though.

drinkability: the price is right on this beer and it is very sessionable. i think even alot of non-beer folk could enjoy this one.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear copper color with a decent foam head that leaves some lacing.

S- Earthy spicy hops with a hefty amount of toasted malt.

T- Mimics the nose quite well. Quick hoppy bitterness that fades into rich caramel toasted malt. Chestnuts, butterscotch, toffee, spice, and grains are all present.

M- Creamy medium body with nice carbonation.

D- Nice easy flavor that was quite different than I was expecting.

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Photo of Japerrault
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful golden amber with a thick, creamy white head, which lasted very long and left nice lacing.

S: Spicey, piney hops, sweet fruity aromas as well.

T: Lightly sweet, with the flavor of the hops showing through as mild sweet grapefruit and spruce. Toasted grain in the finish. No bitterness.

M: Nice smooth mouthfeel not watery at all. Well carbonated.

D: No bitterness, mild sweetness, good mouthfeel, pleasent aroma and flavors all add up to an easy drinking beer.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

always a favorite local seasonal of mine, finally going to give it a rating, here she goes...

A - clean and clear copper with good head retention and lacing

S - rich caramel malt,apples, butterscotch, nuts and a light kiss of floral hops.

T - very nutty and produces a light sweetness intitialy. just enough hops on the follow through. balance is sublime.

MF - medium bodied and low on carbonation

D - this brew continues to be a winter warmer favorite of mine. exceptional balance and flavor make this a no-brainer winter season session brew!

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

on tap, malt house

cell-phone notes

appearance: the seasonal from new belgium served in a large new belgium goblet. light amber body, full foamy beige crest

smell: nutty, fruity - apple primarily, toasted malt

taste: some similar characteristics as fat tire - heavy nutty flavor, apple sweetness. dry, toasted malts and toasted grain. not overly memorable

mouthfeel: medium body

drinkability: good

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Photo of GreenCard
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: light copper, great clarity, nice layer of off-white suds with good head retention

Aroma: biscuity malt with strawberries, passion fruit, and a floral hop scent

Flavor: medium-sweet, toasty malt balance with a leafy accent that I initially thought was some kind of spice (like kaffir lime leaf), but no such thing listed on the label; finishes semisweet with a lingering hop greenery aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, pert carbonation, soft texture, and a gentle warming in the throat

Other comments: This is kind of a "sleeper hit" of a beer. Looking at it you don't expect much, but then you're treated to a nice flavor complexity and a really palatable beer.

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Photo of srkeefe
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall, this beer is average. I found it drinkable and enjoyed the color and flavor. A little weak on the body.

I bought a six pack and I am going to drink all 6.

I drink a lot of Fat Tire and enjoy the New Belgium products. Will try it again when the snow flies to see if my opinion changes.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 1,223 ratings
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