Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
83
good
564 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States | website

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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
564
Ratings:
1,176
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
17.98%
 
 
Wants:
26
Gots:
101
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 564 | Ratings: 1,176
Photo of Doppelmax
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm not a fan of belgium style beers so with some trepidation I purchased this hoping it would be a decent winter type ale.
Nice head and lace on the glass. Medium amber but hazy. Strong hop smell, kind of piney I thought. The flavor seemed a bit strong on the hops and for my taste could have had a more pronounced malt flavour. Lots of carbonation, average body. It was ok but personally I wouldn't buy it again.
I like my winter ales more malty and darker.

 461 characters

Photo of smc143
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend brought me some New Belgium Brewery's 2 Below, which was really quite tasty. It was my first beer of the night, and I dug it a lot. Since this is an ESB, I expected it to be a little more aggressive than your average beer in terms of hops and alcohol content, but nothing overpowering. It is really not bitter at all, but balanced between hops and malts. I drank it right out of the bottle, like a classy broad, so I didn't really look at color or head, but it is a basic copper colored ale, and it was quite quite tasty.

 530 characters

Photo of rye726
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A coppersih body with a tan head. Lots of carbonation. The smell is basic with light hops and faint smalts. No big flavors here either. Slight hoppy bitterness. Pretty light body. A good session beer I suppose, but nothing special. How can they sell this for the same price as 1554?

 282 characters

Photo of BrewDoc12
2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

 724 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.96/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 11/25/2006 (12oz bottle):

Served chilled straight from fridge. Pours a good big head. Foamy, good lacing. Malty brownish reddish color. Very hoppy aroma, some malty aroma. Somewhat spicy, malty taste. Good taste, but not much unlike other malty beers like fat tire. Just a little spicier.

 298 characters

Photo of thedrewski86
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

 627 characters

Photo of Philly82785
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours a clear dark amber color with rocky white head. The nose is floral citrus, notes of milk chocolate and toasted white bread. Comes across the palate with a dominant toasted malt bread biscuit and wild flower flavor. This has a medium bodied mouth feel and continues throughout.

 291 characters

Photo of dcscientist
2.9/5  rDev -21%

This isn't my favorite winter warmer, simply because it's kind of light but still somehow too bitter for my taste. If you like that, then give it a shot, but I prefer other winter seasonals more.

 196 characters

Photo of crayphish
2.9/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The ESB offering from New Belgium poured a radiant clear copper. A fluffy head leaves a decent amount of lacing as I consume. Smell is typical malty biscuit that NB is known for. An additional amount of subdued fruity hops. Taste is essentially Fat Tire with a fair amount of bittering hops. The fruitiness apparent in the nose is lost on me here. Mouthfeel is clean and fresh, and I found the brew to be drinkable tho a bit boring.

 432 characters

Photo of udubdawg
2.89/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle
pours acoppery amber color, nice clarity, and the cream colored head left sizeable clumps of lace here and there as it slowly receded.

Nothing in the nose is bad...it just isn't very strong. Lightly toasted malt, vague herbal hop aroma. Aroma (and taste) just don't seem very winter seasonal-ish to me.

Again I'm not sure where the 6.6% is coming from - there just isn't a lot there, and the flavors I AM getting aren't my favorite. Toasted grain, light earthy qualities. I wouldn't call it very sweet, or very bitter, or very complex. It does feel a bit grainy in the mouth, not at all smooth. Prickly carbonation.

I'd have little trouble drinking another, but have no desire to do so. Pretty average.

 718 characters

Photo of khiasmus
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Clear light amber with a moderate amount of soapy head that retains like foam on a beach.

S- A bit metallic, hops smell brand new and piney, malt in the back.

T- Initially some weak sweet malt, giving way to a bit of hop balance, then a bit of metal, vegetal, and sulfur.

M- Thin, watery, relatively low carbonation and a dry, lingering finish.

D- It's alright, but not one I'll go for again. The flaws seem to outweigh the good parts of this beer, sadly.

 462 characters

Photo of jampics2
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

 1,041 characters

Photo of HeadyLamarr
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Drunk straight from a 12oz bottle.

Initial impression is a slightly sweet dark brown roast. It's lightly hoppy, with a nice tingle, and maybe a bit of citrus? It wants to be a full-bodied rich beer.

But the joy quickly fades. Aftertaste is bitter and the overall effect is a very mild, unimpressive drink. I'll put away a couple of these with dinner, but they aren't a beer to sit back and enjoy.

 399 characters

Photo of marksto
2.85/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber colored and crystal clear - no doubt due to the cold conditioning described on the label. Aroma displays some restrained fruity esters along with a distinct hop aroma and a slight breadiness. Flavor continues with a slight fruitness along with malt and a hop bitterness that overlies through the finish. The bitterness is again distinct and different from any I am familiar with. I'm guessing this is from the sterling hops. I'm not particuarly fond of this character, it exhibits a harshness bordering on metallic that I don't find appealing.

Overall, not the best among New Belgium's many excellent labels. Skip this one and go for one of the others.

 665 characters

Photo of Kylito87
2.84/5  rDev -22.6%
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

 1,696 characters

Photo of Bung
2.8/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

 338 characters

Photo of macktbone
2.78/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a standard pint glass, enjoyed in the month of November as a Winter warmer should.

A- Deep golden color, not really that edge that I would call amber though. True climb on the head that causes wonderfull lacing on the glass. After settling for a while it looks creamy.

S- cream and spice with a touch of vanilla.

T- All Spice with a hint of beechwood that Lends itself better to a macro than a micro. Not as special as I had hoped.

M- good for the style of ESB.

D- Two sips and it's already hitting me as a bloat beer. The flavor and experience isn't pulling me to withstand the bloat that I am envisioning.

 624 characters

Photo of zdk9
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- This beer is the color of liquid pumpkins, with just a half finger of froth and no lacing.

S- Some corn. a bit of woodiness. viniousness.

T- Lightly toasted bread. Slight green grape.

M- There's a wierd amount of alcohol I'm getting here which isn't flatering for the beer.

O- I'm not sure if this is not the best stored bottle or not, but I'm not a big fan of this beer (could be the style too)

 402 characters

Photo of thecarster1
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
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.

 866 characters

Photo of KodyBrannon
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured an amber color with a white 2-finger head that left a nice amount of laceing all the way down. The smell was very malty, And the taste was slightly hoppy and bitter. The overall mouthfeel was watery and light, not really much carbonation detected either. Overall this beer was decent. I expected more from New Belgium.

 364 characters

Photo of a2marzman83
2.69/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear light amber with one inch of tan head that fades with some lacing

Huge pine aroma from the hops hits my nose first. Other earthy tones follow, almost a fresh soil smell. A sweetness is present that fits nicely with the piney hops. This is an interesting specimen for sure. I would not call this a WW or an ESB but I enjoy the smell of whatever this is.

What I liked in the nose is what I don't like in the flavor. Very complex, not very harmonious. The bitterness is overpowering all other flavors which may be a good thing since what I do detect seems also disjointed. A Sweet breadyness mixed with earthy hops with a bunch of random spices thrown on top.

Mouthfeel is ok, medium body slightly over carbonated.

My guess is that this one will be a love it of hate it for BAs. It had me at hello and then lost me in too many competing flavors.

 852 characters

Photo of DavidEddie
2.69/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by Feb 15 08

Appearance - Translucent amber with a thick white head.

Smell - Bread dough, biscuits, and light hops.

Taste - Sweet malt, bread, light roasted grain, and very light bitter hops.

Mouth feel - light bodied, kind of thin and watery.

Drinkability - Just okay, easy to drink, reminded me a lot of a slightly hoppy Fat Tire.

 343 characters

Photo of mastodonj
2.68/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

a - lacing may be the best thing about this beer; color medium amber
s - very little to talk about
t - average "amber ale" type but this is a seasonal so expectations are for something more; no spice or anything special; abv of 6.6 gives it a little something to talk about
m - good full body with good thick head
d - would not want to have more than one

 354 characters

Photo of PaleAlien2
2.66/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Bright orange with a frothy head.
S: Smells kind of weird. Roasted malts, some hops and an off herbal, earthy smell. Maybe some type of spice. Whatever it was, it didn't really smell good.
T: It tastes just like the odd smell. I can't tell if it's a roatiness or if it's in the hopping.
M: Finish is a little filmy, but pretty good.
Overall: I credit them for trying something a little different, but it just came out weird to me. Wouldn't buy again.

 454 characters

Photo of aaronh
2.65/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure what expected out of this beer. Copper colored body topped by an off-white head. Aroma of malt and a bit of funk. Flavor was OK, but a bit thin and dry on the finish. Very reminiscent of Fat tire with a bit more malt and peppery hops. Body is fairly solid, but the carbonation was aggressive and the finish was dry. Drinkability is OK, but not very enjoyable, unless you're a big fan of Fat Tire.

 405 characters

2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe