2° Below Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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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

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Reviews: 573 | Ratings: 1,221
Photo of Radome
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet.

A - Medium gold color with orange highlights; very clear. Head is white and made of extremely fine bubbles. It is just a wisp on top of the beer, but makes lots of lacing on the glass.

S - Fresh hoppy aromas of citrus and tropical fruit with only a bit of pine and grapefruit. Behind that is some bready malt, and sugar. Maybe some spices like gingerbread, but very, very restrained.

T - Flavors emphasize hops, with tropical fruit, pine and grapefruit at about equal levels. There is some gingerbread malt in the background, but it can't compete with the hops. No yeast characteristics show through. Fairly one dimensional.

M - A little thin-bodied. Strong hop bitterness. Restrained carbonation. Slight alcohol presence.

O - A good beer, but a little disappointing to me when billed as a winter warmer/ESB. I think it could use more malt presence to provide balance and complexity. Still, it is clean, well-made and enjoyable.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.34/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in ribbed shaker pint

A: clear, dark copper color; very strong head and very robust carbonation; good lacing
S: dank hop aroma, rather light
T: caramel and hops; malt toasted nicely; well spiced, but not as much as other winter ales; bread/biscuit; strong estery taste on the back end detracts from an otherwise promising beer; dry--not very sweet

A decent try

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Photo of Immortale25
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a New Belgium goblet. Label says 23FEB14.

A- Pours a clean medium amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before dying down to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a bubbly ring behind.

S- Grainy, biscuity malt aroma. Slight tinge of alcohol.

T- Graininess follows through to the taste bringing some bready notes. A bit of butter, slightly sweet. Minimal hop bitterness and flavor.

M- Slick and thin with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- One of the less impressive ESBs I've had. It really is a difficult style to nail properly and bring out the subtle nuances. Nothing offensive going on though, so it doesn't lose out on too many points.

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Photo of SylviaFaye
3.06/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very fluffy off-white head gently laces the glass, persisting for an extended period. The clear body is the color of a new penny.

The smell is primarily of grass and ever green trees and is particularly pungent. The mouthfeel is slightly below medium, falling a bit flat.

Ales advertised as winter ales often have a lot of interesting elements to their flavor, but this brew does not deviate far from its smell with a blend of mildly hoppy grass and ever-green sap. The website lists it as a Strong Bitter, but I'm not exactly floored by its hoppiness either. While drinkable, the beer lacks the advertised warm afterglow and falls a little short of expectation. I quite like many other brews by this company.

If handed this at a party, I wouldn't turn it down, but I would not pay money for it a second time.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very light and see through that pours with lots and lots of carbination.

Smell - oaty and straw smell to this guy. some biscuit flavors as well

Taste - for the style the bitterness comes through with an oat and malty backbone.

Mouthfeel - leaves a nice bitter flavor on the tongue for sure.

Overall - i love that NB is bringing back their seasonals and this beer had a special place for me before every winter. Not a horrible beer, but there are lots of better winter beers.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Manzanita pint glass
From: VONS in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $14.99 for Folly variety 12-pack (w/ VONS card)
Purchased: Dec. 30, 2013
Consumed: Dec. 30, 2013
Misc.: Best before March 16, 2014

Poured a honey pale clear color with five fingers of frothy khaki white head. I had to stop my pour with the head almost pouring over. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Tons of sporadic foamy lacing along the sides of the glass on the way down. Great retention on the way top that stayed all the way down.

Smelled cherries, raspberries, faint Juniper berries, caramel, toffee and nutty malts.

Tasted nutty malts, vegetables, herb hops, Juniper berries and toffee. Lingering taste was bitter onions or radishes.

Light-to-medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Bitter finish.

This beer was all over the place. I originally dug it, but it became too much like a toned-down Rampant Imperial Ale. I settled on a 3.75 overall rating, but it probably should have been a 3.50.

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Photo of Kevin-Wieken
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2° Below Ale
New Belgium Brewing, Colorado
---from bottle to pint glass---

Bright and clean copper, two fingers of ivory head, excellent lacing.

Bright floral aroma, pine, bready.

Spicey herbal flavors give way to bready, bready and caramel malts, finishes with some bitter hoppy notes – reminds me of bitter apple skin.

Light to medium body, good carbonation, good lingering bitter calls for another sip.

I like this. Looks bland, but surprises you after every sip. A good bitter beer. Bready (did I already say that?) I like the apple notes. I could drink a few of these and be happy.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had a hard time finding this beer on here and now I see that hundreds of other people apparently did not. Oh well.

Appearance 3.5: Poured out a coppery golden color. Completely translucent. I mean like tap water translucent. Smallish CO2 powered head ran out of steam quickly and disappeared.

Smell 3.5: Interesting bouquet. I smell a big hit of grassy hops along with some light caramel grains. Somewhat subdued but still nice.

Taste 4.0: Front is very grassy and alkaline, obviously from the hops; nice. Middle is where more hops -these having even more of the chlorophyll flavor-- abound along with a light malty sweetness. Finish is pleasant and well-balanced with a nice malt punch tempered by a final hit of alkalinity. Aftertaste is short and focuses on the malt/hop marriage one final time.

Mouthfeel 3.5: Somewhat watery, but this does not detract from the enjoyment of the brew.

Overall 3.75: Very good beer. New Belgium is a brewery that is hot and cold with me, but with this beer it is running hot (in spite of its name). Great blending of hops and malt and just a drinkable and sessionable beer. I would buy this again and would love to find it on tap.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and hints of orange + amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy light beige head that reduces to a couple of medium to large patches of very thick film surrounded by a thin film and a very thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted bready malts with light to moderate aromas of herbal, spicy, and floral hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of lightly toasted bready malts with a slight hint of grainy sweetness. There are some light flavors of herbal, spicy, and floral hops which impart a light amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Enjoyable and a nice beer for a cold winter evening - reminds me of a slightly stronger version of the beers I would drink on cask in the UK when I was getting something stronger. Nice flavors.

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Photo of vkv822
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz : tulip

Clear, coppery orange with a foamy, off white head.

Herbal, spicy, floral hop profile with a malty bready base.

Medium body, foamy carbonation.

I don't see this as a particularly "wintery" seasonal beer, but it is a solid, tasty ESB. Happy to have a few bottles of it.

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Photo of zac16125
3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass
Best before: 09Feb14

A: Pours a crystal clear golden straw yellow with 1 fingers width of slightly off white colored head. Decent retention. Leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Doughy yeast, a wheat-like aroma, citrus, sweet malts, diacetyl.

T: A somewhat smokey flavor, bitterness, citrus, plastic, buttery.

M/D: Medium body, carbonation on the heavier side, drinkability is average.

O: Overall, its ok, but nothing special. I'll have no trouble finishing the other 3 that were in the sampler, but I dont think Id but it again.

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Photo of NeedBeerHere
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours out a nice dark orange with a one finger white head with fairly good retention. Smells of fruit. I get some pineapple and orange when I think of what sticks out. Actually smells fairly nice. Taste is pretty mellow and turned down. Definitely a session beer as I bought it for that. Not very hoppy at all. I definitely get more from the malt bill here. Taste is hard for me to pin down but malt forward and not very hoppy. It's very drinkable. Wish I could get more out of this but it's not a big beer like I'm used to. Mouthfeel is pretty thin but it seems well for the style. Overall a better beer than I was expecting. Basically a good session beer.

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Photo of Cyrion
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a shaker pint three months before its best before date of 23 Feb 2014.

Appearance: Aggressive pour brings a coppery, transparent beer with 3 inches of foamy off-white suds. Lacing is ample and lingers a while.

Smell: A balance of malt and hops, both being rather mild at this point and neither remarkable. Could be any bitter at this point.

Taste: Malt comes first, with a roasted biscuit flavor that borders on a cocoa taste. Reminds me of the malts in Fat Tire. Hops come next, presenting an earthy, leafy flavor. A few more sips and some warmth allows a citrus note to appear.

Mouthfeel: A teensy bit sticky, but remains thin. No alcoholic heat, and not a lot of bitter aftertaste, although the hops will stick with you longer than the malt will.

Overall: A decent approximation to a bitter, or ESB, or whatever New Belgium is marketing this as. I would classify it as a more hop-forward version of Fat Tire, which is difficult enough to classify by itself! I might have this again, but with Bass being so cheap, I'd probably stick to the authentic English pub beers.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a goblet.

A- Poured a mostly clear dark orange color, some visible carbonation with soapy off-white head that left some splashy lace.

S- Big floral, grassy, and citrusy hops. Big biscuit malt, toffee, cereal malt, and caramel sweetness.

T- Big biscuit and cereal malt notes, big floral, grassy, citrusy, and piney hope, quite a bit of caramel sweetness, toffee, bready, and light spice esters from the yeast. Moderate to high bitterness on the finish. with a big lingering hop finish.

M- Prickly carbonation, medium to lighter bodied, and semi-dry finish.

O- This winter ale has a ton of hop character and big malt backbone that really balance each other out well. Reminded me a little bit of a much maltier version of Celebration Ale, it seemed like the hop profile and hop bite was pretty similar.

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Photo of JimKal
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a NB globe.

A: Pours a light amber with a minimal head. The beer leaves behind very little lacing as it is consumed.

S: light malty aroma.

T: The overwhelming impression I got was that this tasted quite a bit like Fat Tire.

M: light mouthfeel.

O: Again, this reminded me of Fat Tire but perhaps a lighter version. I do enjoy Fat Tire but I think I prefer the original to this version. I got this as part of the NB Winter 12 pack.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Foam was white in color, thin and a little lacey. It had a dominate hops and citrus aroma with hints of anise and wheat. The color was a beautiful orange amber. The taste was a complete translation of the smell, a complete balance of hops and citrus with spices. Mouthfeel - medium bodied and crisp. Drinkability - not to bad. To me a simple balance of hops and citrus with some added flavors. Ok session.

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Photo of baos
4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From Notes:

Friend walks in with a growler of this fresh from the Mountains. I jumps up and downs und serve it in my 2 pinter that looketh like the one pinter. Beer has traveled 15 hours and 3 finger head with a shit ton of lacing that lasts the whole day through. I mean the whole glass through. Nice copper body with perfect clarity. Sterling and Liberty hops with nice roasted malty warmth fill the nostril-domis. I predict this motherfucker is gonna taste yummier than chuck. It does, the hops and malts are balanced pretty near perfectly. Enough dry hopping that brings the horse-hoofed malt taste away and finishes with a super nice bright and dry Christmas green hop gremlin. Mouthfeel is light and very nicely carbonated, again balancing the malt hop bitterness. A great present from a special fwend!

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass.

The beer pours a mostly clear copper hue with some streams of carbonation rising to the surface. Fluffy beige head of 2 cm foams up and fades slowly as the beer sits. Head is almost faint orange tint to it. The head leave very tightly packed lattice as it slides down the sides of the glass.

Aroma is some grainy malt and caramel, maybe some light fruitiness and a hint of grassy hops.

First sip reveals an average to light body and fine gentle rolling carbonation. Very easy to drink this smooth brew.
Flavor is mild but I get some grainy malt and caramel that mixes with just a bit of grassy mildly bitey hop on the finish. Actually kind of dry too, which I didnt expect.

Overall the beer is mild and very easy to drink. Not a bad choice for this fairly warm evening.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found a lonely bottle at the pick your sixer section at the tiny local liquor store! I had heard this may not be back for a while so I jumped on it! I can't read the freshness date but I would guess it's been there a little while. The beer was poured from the brown 12 oz bottle to a NBB globe glass. Clear golden color with a nice 2 finger white head. Solid retention and nice lacing. The aroma is mostly of a malty sweetness with a fair amount of earthy piney hop character. The nose carries over to the beer where the flavor starts with the malty sweetness found on the nose. Toasted grains with a little roasty character. The beer develops to a medium bitterness and hop character. Finishes crisp and clean. Good mouthfeel and good carbonation. Easy to drink.

I am not sure when this will be out again, but I have enjoyed the offering. I hope it's hiatus is only temporary!

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-09-2011 13:49:03

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(these notes are from December 23, 2010)
This is one I've had on tap at various locations, might have had a bottle, but what I tasted from this bottling did not remind me of what I had before. The winter ale from New Belgium Brewing, 2 (degrees) BELOW (hey, they're the ones who capitalize it.)

New Belgium 2 Below Ale…"We like to think we beat winter at it's own game a 2 BELOW Winter Ale, a bright warming blast of Sterling and Liberty hops along with tawny-roasted malts. By pushing our 2 BELOW into a final, nearly freezing state, it's ample structure develops a brilliant clarity, Dry-hopping during fermentation creates a bright, hoppy palate and a cheery warm afterglow. Serve at 3 C (37 F) Acl. 6.6% by Vol.)"

So that's what they say, here's what I say…

Crystal-clear, auburn appearance, pale crimson, with a dotted white head, leaving lace.

Aromatics, hops up front, lightly bitter and herbal, a mix of English and American hop characteristics, a little sweet fruit peeps in for a moment. Bitterness continues on the tongue, with, yes, a bright, cheery flavor below. Crisp and clean, but a little too lean in body for my liking. For a winter ale, I'd like to taste something darker and a bit heavier.

This pleases the pale ale/IPA lover in me, but my taste buds are yearning for darker malts when you say "winter ale." However, as I strive to judge beers on their own, versus what I wish they were, it's hard to really complain.

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Photo of bayougutter
2.56/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a clear light orange- amber with a two finger white soapy head. decent retention and lacing was ok.

Smell of bready yeast, slight malt aroma, and a little citrusy alcohol. Not bad, it just left me hanging.

Taste is bready malts followed by some citrus hops. A little confusing at the end with some metalic alcohol. Not so good.

Mouthfeel is ok with crisp dryness on the end.

Overall I didn't like very much, but didn't hate either. It's one of those.

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Photo of david18
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a sixteen ounce draft of this at the Holstein's at the New Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. I have mixed feelings about this brewery, liking some of the selections and not being impressed with many others. This one falls somewhere in between.

The appearance was a dark amber with an orange hue. The beer was somewhat uncarbonated but i guess that may be on purpose to make it "British pub" style.

Aroma was a bit bready but I wanted more from it.

The flavor had a good balance of malt and bitterness but again I was a bit underwhelmed by it.

In general not a bad beer from a good brewer but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: sharp deep orange, bubbly body, trace head, zero lacing.

S. big bready malt, hint of clean grass/pine.

T: firm malt body, with floral and earthy, low subtle bitter

M: med/light body, plenty of carbonation

D. Solid, but not spectacular. For some reason, when I drink this I don't think of it as a winter ale nor an ESB. Certainly not a bad beer.


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Photo of thegodfather1076
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Very cool label. I love NB Label artwork and bottles.

Appearance - Pours a clear golden amber color with a nice 2 finger white airy head. Has a slight carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Smell - Smells of bread-like yeasty maltiness with hints of pine.

Taste - Biscuit like malt taste with a piney hop flavor. Medium bitterness with hints of spice.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and lightly carbonated has a creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - An overall good drinkable beer that is very well put together.

Nothing sectacular but still a very good. I would recommend trying this if the chance arises.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.06/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a single recently and I popped it open this weekend...

Lots of sweet maltiness rolling off of this one along with a healthy dose of piney hops to boot... Much like the Mighty Arrow spring seasonal with a bigger malt base... an interesting take on a winter release...

Sweet caramel maltiness pervades and seems to dominate and mops the floor with hops quite frankly... extremely faint hoppiness lingers in the distance watching the sweet grainy malts do their thing...

A fairly decent drinker but probably not one I will await with bated breath next winter...

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