2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

1,222 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,222 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of wcudwight
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep copper in color with a thin wispy head. The head never really developes but what does develope holds it's retention well.
Interesting aroma that's part sweet homemade bread and part earthy spiciness.
Flavor is just as interesting. Lot's of caramel malt or toffee flavors with just enough spicy earthy hoppiness to add interest. For such a varied flavor profile it works and comes off very nice. I can't believe the balance of this beer.
Mouthfeel is medium and neither adds or detracts much.
Very tasty beer that I will be getting more of. Thanks Fugazme.

 562 characters

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

Poured a crystal clear copper color, white head settling fairly quickly. Nose is less fruity, caramel malt, spice, nutmeg and very tasty A nice malty brew, with just enough hops to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is fairly mild, not too complex. Drinkability is high due to its taste and smoothness.

 301 characters

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

Leave it to New Belgium to release a non-standard seasonal.

The pour produced a clear, copper colored liquid with some reddish hues and a pretty large off-white colored head, that seemed to have pretty average retention.

The aroma certainly does emit a nice hop character, sort of spicy and somewhat citrusy but there is a pretty strong malt presence as well, mostly caramel or toffee-like notes.

the flavor is a lot more malt-forward, with a fairly strong toffee flavor as well as some breadiness, with the hops following suit right towards the end, with an spicy, somewhat earthy punch, which hints at a strong bitterness but the beer ultimately finishes sweet.

Fairly easy to drink and quite unique,and I feel that it is very well balanced. This is not a bad choice and overall it tastes pretty good.

 807 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into NB globe.

A: appears reddish golden, foamy 2 finger heady forms, head sticks around, thick lacing

S: spicy hops, earthy hops, and a bready grain profile

T: hops are the highlight of this beer. The hops have a piney and spicy profile which is followed by caramel malts and bread flavors. The alcohol also comes through slightly hot on the end

M: Sharp, bubbly, high carbonation

D: This is a winter seasonal that is hopped up! I think this is one of NB's stronger offerings as it provides that hop craving one may have during the winter months. The drinkability isn't the best as it is a bit sharp and hot. Nice warming beer though!

 660 characters

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

I thought that the most interesting think about this beer was the dry hop aroma. Even without reading the label, you would instantly know that this was dry hopped. I also noticed that the smell and flavor improved as the beer warmed up. I enjoyed it much more 15 minutes after I poured it than I did immediately out of the bottle.

Overall, I think that this offering from NB is very similar to many of their beers...good but not great! I would have liked it to have a bit more body and substance beyond the nice hop aroma.

I will probably buy it again but it definitely won't be something that I seek out.

 607 characters

Photo of weazal
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

S: Instantly bright, crisp, piny hops...almost effervescent.

T: Hops aren't as in your face in the flavor. More of a tangy maltiness with just faint traces of mildly bitter pine hops in the background. The flavor doesn't overwhelm or fill the palate. It seems half absent, you kind of have to work for it. This, however, creates an easy, more drinkable sensation.

 364 characters

Photo of originalsin
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on a whim--looks like I won't be seeing Hoptober around until next year. Oh well.

Pours a caramel color with a nice off white head that settles quickly and laces relatively well.
Of all the beers I've ever smelled, the smell of this one reminds me most of some sort of weed. Odd, as I don't smoke, but there's a lot of grassy and herbal resin notes here.
Taste is of toasted malts and burnt caramel with a dose of cherry. Nothing too special, and likely not something I'll pick up again. I'd like to try it on tap, though, so maybe sometime in the near future.

Anyway, cheers. 2 left in my 6 pack and then it's off to bed.

 643 characters

Photo of MOB210SA
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good looking 1 1/2 finger bone color head dies to about 1 finger.

Bright clear, golden amber with some nice amount of cascading lacing

A fruity almost peach taste that has a malty/biscuity aftertaste

mouthfeel was light but an enjoyable NB.

Drinkablility goes down easy and not my favorite type of beer but im sure plently would find it enjoyable enough. I could finish a 6 pretty easily but i wouldnt want to by myself so the scores getting knocked down a notch.

Not the best, but decent IMO.

 499 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance> Slightly hazy, lively, small head dissipates slowly.
Smell> Hoppy and sweet. Quite inviting.
Taste> Surprisingly more complex than I like for a bitter. Malty, sweet, hoppy, far more resin than I expect in an esb, but it softens to a sweet but alcoholic hang.
Mouf> too sudsy
Drinkable> not to shabs

 325 characters

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

Enjoyed this at the NB Hub in Denver Int'l Airport. The ale is a clear reddish tan with generous head and lacing. Nothing extra special to look at but moderately inviting. The brew was light on aroma, just a hoppy smell one notch stronger than faint.

The taste was (to me) a bit unusual for an ESB - I call it "bitter fruity". The hops were not distinctive, but there were flavor notes of juniper berry and cherry. The malt was probably the best part and it was pretty plain

Mouthfeel had a distinctive pucker to it, medium bodied, some malt stickiness, and definite alcohol warming in the mix. It made for a drinkable beer, but a mysterious experience overall. I'd have it again, but it makes me yearn for more hops.

 719 characters

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

taste- brite, acidic, light, complex maltiness

color- rosy-copper

clarity- clear

smell- sour apple and chocolate

body- soft mouthfeel, light-medium hop/malt balance

appearance- light white head, light carbonation

overall impression- interesting brite beer

notes- sterling and liberty hops with tawny-roasted malts. dry hopped during fermentation. brite hoppy palete. serve this beer at 37 degrees. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: tulip

serving temp.- 38.1 degrees

 500 characters

Photo of ghostofpaulman
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A:looks almost identical to fat tire.amber red with creamy beige foam.

S:spicy and skunky like high grade marijuana!

T:Biscuity like fat tire.also matches the smell with a marijuana like taste.

M:Fairly light but just a little too carbonated.

D:I could polish of a sixer with no problem.

 291 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium's 2º Below Winter Ale pours a clear orange-amber body beneath a creamy off-white head that holds remarkably well and leaves sheets of thin lace behind.

The aroma delivers a solid maltiness that's bready, doughy, toasty and caramelish with a suggestion of spice that's probably just hops... it's spicy, peppery, and kind of earthy and grassy.

The flavor follows suit and the hops are a bit more floral and spicy. The bready and toasty malt remains, and it's very well balanced by a firm bitterness. It's very well rounded, and it finishes with a touch of lingering bready and caramel-drizzled malt and a bit of drying spiciness.

Overall it's a really nicely done malty beer that never gets sweet, and isn't too bitter. Additionally, it's really pretty unique in that it kind of suggests spices where there are none. Quite nice!

 842 characters

Photo of willjschmidt
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours an golden amber color.

S: Nice hop aroma with some malt in there as well.

T: Doesn't really fit the listed style. Floral and cirtusy hops overlayed over the bready malt. My friend said "tastes like a hoppier version of Fat Tire." I more or less agree.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: A very average beer, wouldn't buy again.

 373 characters

Photo of natelocc787
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance-Dark Golden-Caramel colored. Nice head! Nice lacing and retention seems good. Nice beige creamy topping.

Smell-hoppy! Spices are present like cinnamon and hops are dominant. Think carbonated cherry bourbon. Fruits are there, spices are there, hops are there...hhmmmm can't wait.

Taste-watery and light-this brings nothing that the smell suggested. Hops and alcohol. Medicinal almost. Herbs and florals. Not very bold. Hard to believe after that powerful nose.

Mouthfeel-medium bodied with less carbonation than expected. Watery.

Drinkability-The nose gives an english pale ale type aroma as the glass comes to you but then a weird mixture of beer ingredients hits the taste buds in well... a different way. It tastes like somebody threw a mystery recipe together and this is what came out.

 805 characters

Photo of MTNboy
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first thing I noticed was the amazing off-white almost tan head. The head poured about two fingers and was almost perfectly level. This smooth and frothy beer has a red amber body. It has a piney and inviting aroma. There are also some spice and bean esters. There is definitely clove and malt tones. The taste is also piney, clove like and herbal. There is sort of a vegetable aftertaste. It is a medium bodied beer with a bit of carbonation bite which is weird because you do not see the bubbles.

 502 characters

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

Hazy scarlet red. Thin off white head. Lacing is thin. Grassy hop nose with a toffee like malt aroma too. Snappy hop presence gives this ESB some character. English malt backbone is sufficient lending toffee notes to the flavor profile. Dry and grassy finish. Easy drinking ESB. Nice stuff.

 290 characters

Photo of Bigfatbino
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A = nice dark amber color, about a half inch head on the pour, left a decent amount of lacing in the glass as I drank it. Head did not last too long, but also didn't really diminish until about 1/3 way through the brew.

S = Smells flowery, hoppy and clean.

T = A brisk but mild bitterness. a little bit of sweet in the background. Mild hoppiness, and slight undertones of chocolate

M = medium body and a little resin is left on the tongue. carbonation is a little low, but fits will with the overall body of the beer.

D = This one could be a Satruday night party mainstay. Not too much of an alcohol kick, but not too weak either.

Overall: I like this one. I think I would pick up some for my friends. at 9 bucks a six pack, it's a bit pricey. But it is a nice Ale.

 771 characters

Photo of 1fastz28
4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a really great looking reddish amber color with a big white head on it. has a wonderful mixture of hops and biscuity maltiness to it, really looks and smells great. taste is just as impressive, the hops and malt conteract eachother wonderfully. has a rich full flavor to it, just awesome all around. mouthfeel and drinkability are great too

 346 characters

Photo of Riccymon
4.55/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a nice dark copper from the bottle with an impressive two fingers of tan head rising just above the lip of the pint glass. The brewery describes the hoppiness as bright, and I think that's a great description for what I get in the nose among a great deal of biscuity, nutty, New Belgium aroma. The taste is also malty and wheaty up front, with leafy hops and a bit of lemon and pepper in the finish. 2 Below has a pleasant, silky smooth texture, but does leave my mouth a bit dry after each sip. The balance, delicious flavors, and low ABV all combine to make this very, very drinkable, no matter the weather.

My favorite offering from New Belgium, and something to which I'll return each winter to come.

 713 characters

Photo of Psilo707
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good looking copper beer with minimal lacing but many bubbles rising to the top of all sizes. The smell is very malty, but can detect a lot of hoppiness as well. Maybe a slight hint of lemon and other citrus inside. Tastes very bitter immediately and fades away smoothly, leaving a good aftertaste settled in the mouth. Mouthfeel is a bit on the light side. Drinkability is good, and would be able to go through many of these no problem.

I love New Belgium brewery and this is a fine release from them once again.

 514 characters

Photo of sacullen
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a NB globe.

A: Pours a deep copper with good head that slowly settles into a crown. Left less-than-average lacing.

S: The aroma is a blend of hops and malt. Neither one overpowers the other, and there is just a hint of citrus. I think I would prefer a more hoppy smell.

T: The malts really come into play at the front with only a slightly bitter taste at the end from the hops. The malty taste lingers as an aftertaste.

M: Light-medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D: Easy to drink more than one. However, I'm not sure this is a good example of an ESB.

 587 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served a light clear copper color with a 2 finger of white rocky head - thick sticky lacing was left on the side of the glass. Nose is of yeast and breadiness with some citrusy hops. Taste starts with the hops spiciness and kick and then leads in to tastes of bread and yeast. Mouthfeel is rather light. I expected a bit heavier feel to it. It was almost watery but not quite watery. Overall a decent beer that went down smoothly, and could sit with for an evening.

 479 characters

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

12 oz bottle into a pint

A - Pours a heavy golden color. Hazy looking. Head formation is light and white. Leaves only a small film. Light amount of carbonation showing.

S - A light hop citrus smell is the most evident on the nose. A bit of piney notes and orange as well. A light sweet scent hides in the background. Floral all the way around.

T - Starts off lightly sweet with some phenolic background. Bitterness quickly comes into play to bring the beer into balance. Finishes with a bitter note that is balanced by a citrus hop hit. Very noble hopish. After taste dominated by a fresh hop note.

M - Thick and creamy on the tongue. Carbonation bite is almost non-existant. Aftertaste is oily.

D - Moderate drinkability - the assertive hoppiness is not overbearing, but doesn't necessarily lend to a session beer. Lastly, the ABV is over the top for a ESB.

Stylistically, I think this beer misses. However, I do find this a very interesting try.

 956 characters

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

This comes poured in a pint glass at the airport brewpub in Denver as a clear bright light amber with a fair fuzzy off-white head and very good lacing. The aroma is a pleasant toasted floral hops with some rye bread thrown in. The flavor brings out more of the hops, almost more of an orange citrus with a floral finish, sweet and nice. There is a goodly peppery accent throughout, very refreshing with a decent creamy feel that brings a subtle touch of clove nutmeg but is entirely drinkable. This could fit in with some folks idea of an IPA and I did like it. Very much recommended.

 584 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.