2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

BA SCORE
83
good
1,221 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States
newbelgium.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,221
Reviews:
573
Avg:
3.66
pDev:
12.3%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
117
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,221 |  Reviews: 573
Photo of diabecktic
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
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.

Smell:
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.

Taste:
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.

Mouthfeel:
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.

Drinkability:
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.

Summary:
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.

 1,828 characters

Photo of HotterThanHell
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer in my Texas Tech pint glass with a pretty 3/4 inch head and then took a wif...Liberty hops and then some more Liberty Hops. This craft must be dry hopped with an entire crop. Also just a hint of malt. Nice!

Although I'm not much of a hop head, this beer is fantastic. The best I've had from this Brewery.

The taste is malty with just a little sweetness floating about your mouth, but once swallowed the hops reimpose their dominance on the pallet.

Not real dark for a winter ale, but everything else is wonderful. Not sure what others have given this but I think it should be high 80's and is definitely worth your precious beer drinking time.

Hi TTU94

 681 characters

Photo of JayS2629
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep amber with a creamy 2 finger head. Awesome spiderweb lacing.

S- Bready, toasted biscuit on the front of the nose. A piney hop with hints of vanilla in the back.

T- Nice balance of hops on the front. Opposite to the smell. The malts are bready and toasted but in the middle. Mellow and nutty. Earthy with hints of caramel.

M- Nicely balanced, creamy with a crisp finish.

D- Very nice and complex. Mellow and nutty throughout with a slight sweetness. The sweet and hoppiness are very nicely balanced. Very good winter beer.

 533 characters

Photo of ybnorml
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clean yellow/orange colored beer. Has a nice smooth creamy white head and lacing that looks like a milk mustache . The aroma has a strong spicy hop character and an light biscuit malt note with a hint of clove in the background. The start of the taste begins with a light biscuit malt note on the front of your tongue. Followed by that nice spicy hop character on the back edges of your tongue and mouth. That leads to a crisp and refreshing finish.

 451 characters

Photo of RJLarse
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a six pack of 2° Below Winter Ale at a grocery store. I had seen it on the shelves for a couple of weeks, and figured to give it a try. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a rich amber color and is crystal clear. A foamy three finger off whit head forms and is very resilient. The head is rocky and created ridges and valleys as is breaks down. There are curtains of lace on the side of the glass.

The smell is floral and fruity. There are fruit fragrances like peaches, and some evergreen scents like Juniper.

The taste is very good. Some roasted caramel malt flavor and a multi-dimensional, zippy, bitter hop taste. The flavors are difficult to describe and well balanced.

The mouthfeel is light crisp and clean.

This is a very drinkable beer. They say it has a warming aftertaste, and is a winter ale, but it would be good year around. This is a nice easy drinking, full flavored, hopped up brew. I will definitely be having more of this beer.

 986 characters

Photo of johnyeast
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a slight white head. Smells of sweet tarts. A slight hint of hops and flowery notes last. First taste is not as tart as one would seem, but the bite of hops is there. This beer warms the belly. A highly drinkable offering from New Belgium that changes with each taste. As the beer gets warmer and is exposed to more air, the more it develops or becomes more complex. 3rd taste. It's starting to settle down. Not as much of a bite. This year's version is better than last year. Much better. This time of year in FC, this beer is a great choice.

 563 characters

Photo of drseamus
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 below pours a nice amber color with a full finger of pure white head that falls within half a minute or so. In hind sight I don't know what I was thinking, but when I saw a winter label with the name 2 below, i expected a spiced ale. Clearly I forgot that Peter runs things over there and there is no such thing as style or expectations. Even before I get the beer to my nose I can smell the pungent piney aroma of hops. I was surprised by the taste though. I expected it to be all hops, but it was actually more balanced than I would have expected. The taste of hops were there, but it was more the floral taste and aroma than the regular bite of the bitterness of hops. There is a sweet matliness that attempts to balance the hops and only falls a little short. Personally, I think that this is labeled incorrectly as a ESB and I think Peter would agree, although he would disagree with the labeling in general and I would disagree with only the specific label applied. If you enjoy the flavor of hops, you're gonna want to drink this beer. I just might do the same again.

 1,076 characters

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.

 486 characters

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

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Pours a clear copper, with a nice off white head that drops fairly quickly. Good lacing.

Aromas of bread, earthy hops, flowery and fruity.

First sip is of earthy and floral hops, sweet biscuity malt, a hint of juicy fruit gum. Short bitter finish. A bit of a carbonic bite.

Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, with a light prickle of carbonation.

Very drinkable winter warmer, with an american hop touch. Good to sip next to a fire on a cold winter night.

 492 characters

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

Good stuff. Poured into a mug. The aroma is medium, and of a typical ale, but with a piny hops note. The head was only 1 finger, and dissipated quickly. It was a medium gold color. The taste starts out with a good ale flavor, and then a few extra spices thrown in, followed by a medium piny taste. The hops, although, obviously present in a good portion, did not produce much bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer. Think Fat Tire with less malt, and mor hops.

 463 characters

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

Pours a bright and crystal clear copper with a nice off brown head, with slightly better than average retention, along with decent side lace.
S: pine and floral hops most prominant, along with some roasted malts showing up.
Taste: Toasty, bready malts, a little sweet up front, then finishes with some piny hops along with a hint of caramel.
Well balanced, enjoyed this one, very drinkable.

 390 characters

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
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!

 548 characters

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

 888 characters

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

Clear honey/amber, lots of bubbles, thin white, creamy head.
Bready/biscuit malt aroma with citrusy hop background.
Excellent flavor combination. The maltiness rests on the front of the tongue and the bitter on the back. Like liquid bread with orange or apricot marmalade.
Medium mouthfeel. The flavors have a nice long rest on the tongue without expanding into the nose.
The flavors are not so overwhelming that you can't keep drinking these. Keep'em comin!
An excellent, very well balanced beer.

 502 characters

Photo of dcook11
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed out of a pint glass on a semi-chilly November night. I've had this beer out of both a pint glass and a snifter, but I am now reviewing out of the pint.
.
A- An aggressive pour reveals 2 below to be a medium orange color with a two finger head and fantastic spider web lacing. Fine bubbles are present and rise to the top of the glass to contribute to head formation. The head itself is soapy and the lacing is reminiscent of sea foam splattered on the side of a dock. The carbonation is light to medium bodied and begins to dissipate about five minutes after the actual pour. The beer looks very nice in the glass and is very close to being rated a five.

S- Although the snifter reveals more smell, the pint glass does an adequate job of capturing this ESB's pineyness and malt sweetness. The initial sniff reveals a moderate hop aroma that is reminiscent of fresh pine. This pineyness is followed by a malt/cherry odor that seems to almost blend together. The smell is a winner mainly due to its uncanny balance between malt sweetness and hop spice. A definite winner and very sessionable,

T- Hop burn fades into cherry and malt with a very slight bitterness at the termination. The cheery is almost a candied cherry in that it is artificial. Although pleasant, the taste begs one to make the distinction.

M- The mouth feel is light, approaching medium bodied. Very easy drinking, mostly because of how balanced this beer is.

D- The overall balance of this beer make it very drinkable as the hops and the malt blend very well together. The cherry flavor and the bitterness on termination add to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Although not very complex, 2 below provide the drinker with an enjoyable session due mostly to its impeccable balance and drink ability. Definitely a great choice for fall and winter nights.

 1,838 characters

Photo of 1050Sudz
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2 Below Winter Ale

This beer, as most New Belgium productions, is very well presented.
It pours nicely, leaving a moderately thick head.
It does not look or smell like an ESB, but offers a fantastic malty flavor packed with strong alcohol, winter wonders, and hoppy flavor that leaves a lasting impression.
2 Below is an easy drinker that carries a heavy load.
It is now my favorite New Belgium!

 398 characters

Photo of Atron67
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this bitter, a smooth lightly malty and sharp hop bite at the end that is really delicious. a great sipper that i wish was more available around here. a definite huge winner from new belgium. crisp hop presence gives a really nice lingering character.

 265 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A solid 2 finger off-white head rests on top of a brilliant amber hued body. Thick vertical strips of lacing.

S - Huge cracker based malt, sesame seeds, pine nuts, toasted white bread, almonds, and berry fruit.

T - Excellent cracker malt, with notes of toffee, Granny smith apple peels, butterscotch, and caramel. A slight tang of citrus plays with carbonation to add a zesty bite. Citrus blends with hints of pine to add a freshness. Some nuttiness pokes it's head in. Finishes with a sweet caramel sweetness but has a spicy back to balance everything out.

M - Medium body, perfect carbonation for the style.

The malt is super complex with variations of breads, cracker, and simple caramel to make this beer a standout. The hops play their role but don't get in the way of the excellent malts. This is a must try if you like ESB's!...or any beer. I can't say enough about the malt profile.

 899 characters

Photo of goochpunch
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper amber body with rather active carbonation and a thick off white head that settles down to some peaks and plateaus along with lacing all over the place. Hops hit me in the nose first off. Lots of grassy, herbal, and floral aromas. Following that is a whiff of butter followed by smells of bread, both fresh and toasted. Flavor is big on herbal hops up front, with an underlying fruity ester quality. Something about the mix of the hops and malt flavors remind me of watermelon bubblegum just for a second. Follows through with some bready malts and toasted notes. Finishes dry, slightly bitter, with a little alcohol kick and slight astringency. Herbal hop flavor sticks through the entire way. Mouthfeel is amazing. Smooth and of moderate body. This is dangerously drinkable, especially at its alcohol level.

 823 characters

Photo of BrewmasterNPB
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a refreshing change of pace for most winter brews out there. The Malt flavor is awesome, it's clean but has plenty of flavor. Good balance of toastiness and sweetness. Just enough hops for me, perhaps a little low for the style, but I think that's what the beer is going for.

 283 characters

Photo of mjkingman
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of beerbrains
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of Zorro
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I noticed about this the moment I poured this is its excellent good looks. Clear amber colored ale with strong orange tint to it. Good thick and fluffy tan colored head.

Smell is strongly of hops. Malty with a strongly citrus scented hops kick in the nostrils. Lesser hop scents of menthol, tobacco, leather and tea. Toasted grain and malt aroma mostly caramel, vanilla and faint coffee.

Taste is mildly malty and hoppy and woody at the start. Wood and citrus are mostly what I taste in this good amount of grapefruit and a little bit of a bitter snap in the finish. This pretty much stays a dry woody and hoppy beer, a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is full.

Very easy to drink, tasty yet not punishing.

A good tasty and hoppy winter ale. This is a very good choice for the time after you have had your fill of too much sweet from you usual winter warmers. Hoppier than you would think, you burp after one of these and you will know it!

 963 characters

Photo of TaylorK
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of abernethyj
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,221 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.