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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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 565 | Ratings: 1,178
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark amber poured, with stubborn head. Held up to the light it looks more golden.
Aroma of sweet malt and orange peel, alcohol, and something like nuts.
Taste was a bit bland; the hops came in to soften the malt and give a bit of a kick, but not bitter. Citrus was not present in the taste.
Felt smooth and warm, enough alcohol to notice it. A good seasonal if you do not like the darker stuff.

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4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always been a fan of Fat Tire, but not too interested in any of the other New Belgium offerings. The description on the bottle of 2 Below made me want to give it a try-- the "dry hopping" is something I always seem to favor in a beer!

The smell was outstanding-- like a great IPA. I expected it to have a lot of hoppiness, and I wasn't disappointed.

The beer poured well, and left a bit of foam even as I drank. The lace on the glass was nice, as well.

Taste was hoppy, citrusy, and malty at the end. Very drinkable beer. I could taste a bit of the "Fat Tire" recipe in this beer-- must use the same hops.

Glad to see New Belgium come out with a tasty, hoppy ale.

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Photo of RJLarse
4.33/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of benito
3.51/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The folks at New Belgium must have rushed this out in anticpation of the early winter that has struck CO's Central Mountains this winter. Really, wasn't their saison just released a month ago? Make no mistake--I'm not disappointed to get to try another tasty offering from New Belgium, but it seems like they might have left the fall 'saison' linger on a little more...

In any case, this is a handsome amber beer with a thin head and a bouquet bursting with pine and citrus. I thought for sure that NB had released a winter IPA when I got my first whiff of this, but the flavor itself is quite mellow--balanced by a strong, bready maltiness in the middle of the palate, this seems to sit more comfortably in the amber genre than the ESB one.

The overall impression is that of a competent brew, though the bright aromas of the bouquet got me excited for a more assertive and bitter flavor. It's drinkable and, for a winter release, light enough to serve before, during, and after dinner. It's not my favorite offering from New Belgium (another reason that I wish Saison would stick around longer), but it's interesting and worth a look nonetheless.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There's a little fat tire hiding in here.
Pours a medium golden amber with a small white head that melts to a thin layer of very sticky lacing.
Aromas are toasted amber malts and light caramel. Somehow I sense pine in the aroma as well.
Tastes of the amber malt but suddenly balanced out with citrus hops and a bit of caramel. Again, a little piney hop resin afterwards in the swallow
Aftertastes are slightly burnt caramel.
Clean mouthfeel.
Decent but not the winter warmer I was looking for...more like a soft warming amber but with nice piney hops. DEFINATELY not an ESB.
But definitely a wonderfully quenching brew...sort of a cross between an ESB and a warmer. I like it.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.01/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Best before 09Feb07 stamped on bottle neck.

Served at 52° not 37° like it says on the label.
I’ll put sample #2 in the freezer and try to drop the temp down to that level.

Amber color, lively carbonation, 1 finger tan head. Thick lace.

Piney, resinous aroma with a little caramel.

Flavor is piney, with some sweetness and a spicy finish.

Not really a "winter beer" but a solid offering from NB none-the-less.

2nd sample was placed in the freezer for about 10 min. temp was dropped to about 38 degrees according to 2 different thermometers.

Ice started forming in the bottle so it was pulled out and poured into a glass. temp quickly rose to just above 40.

At the lower temp the carbonation is slower, the body is a bit thicker, and the piney flavor is more pronounced, but not dramatically improved. Let it warm.

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Photo of Pooba001
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a coppery amber color, with a little head that dissipates quickly. Bottle says to drink beer at 37 degrees, I started at about 50 and drank slowly. Aroma is piney resinous hops, caramel/toffee malt, fruit, and another almost sprucy spice.

Taste is fairly muted, the hops promised by the nose don't show up in the mouth, there's just a little citrusy character. Toffee sweetness is there. Was expecting more.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, big and dry. Drinkability is ok, I could drink a few of these, but I think I'd want to switch to something else before too long. This beer's ok, but however you want to classify it there's better out there.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter. Per recommendations on the label to serve cold (3 C = 37 F), I took one straight from the fridge.

A: Light golden-copper, clear with a small fluffy white head and bits of slippery lace. Poured so cold that condensation soon clung to the glass...

S: Pretty good smell of spicy/piney hops (bottle label lists Sterling and Liberty varieties). Decent malt balance, dark roast with a bit of smokiness.

T: Well balanced malt/hop with a fairly assertive nuttiness roastedness and a nice resinous & bitter hop zing. 6.7% ABV is hidden pretty well, though there is a nice "winter warmer" quality in the huskiness of these flavors.

M: A little disappointing: medium body but with a mouthfeel that'ss sorta thin and slick. Not much lingers on the palatte, except for a so-so roasted bitterness. A touch above average.

D: Pretty good beer all-around. Nice flavors and aromas, well-crafted, easy to drink. I'm sure I'll have more this fall and winter - very worthy of a try.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice burnt orange beer with a small off white head, pretty clear, no carbonation visible. Lovelly aroma piney,resinous hops with a good spiced background Taste is nice also , quite malty to start then a great hoppy , dry bitterness takes over and is only broken by peppery spice then a great after taste. Quite good on the palate, does not get boring, semi-dry finish. A nice simple winter warmer type beer in the English style IMO.

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Photo of KoG
4.48/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saw this when I was at lunch and decided to try it.

Nice clear amber color with a frothy white head that laces the entire glass like it was frosted.

Smell is nice citric hops with a light malt undertone. Hints of biscuit are present.

Taste is very good. Nice and hoppy but not overpowering, finishes a bit sweet with a "Fat Tire"-ish hint that is kept in check by nice citric hop bite.

Extremely smooth and super drinkable.

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Photo of carln26
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber color with a fluffy white head. Caramel and toffee aroma, slight citrus hop on the finish. Taste has a lot of caramel. Not too sweet, just a pleasant mouth feel. The bitterness of a light citrus hop balances the sweetness. Nice full mouth feel very drinkable. The seasonals from New Belgium continue to impress.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Beer shows up a beautiful clear copper color with billowy puffed head that is completely gone by the time I'm halfway done. Nose I get big hop aroma here. Definately makes me think of homebrewing, smells just like hop pellets I've used when they come out of the fridge. Its odd that this beer has retained that raw aroma. Guess thats what happens when you dry hop with Liberty. I also get a lucious fruity backend in the aroma, but it isn't typical ale fruit, its more like a peach or apricot (some fruit of "the fuzzy family"). Also has a nice kick of hop spice. Kinda funky but very appetizing.

The taste is a sweet but resinous/ piney kind of base with faint spices, and peach or apricot and maybe pineapple all popping in and out in turns. Great depth of malt flavor with signature New Belgium toasted complexity. Hop spice lingers in aftertaste. As the pint warms and I dink more, I find that dry-hopped Liberty aroma really coming through in the taste. I feel like I'm practically drinking those hop pellets. Its beginning to beat down some of the fruit and while I find this flavor interesting as a brewer, it gets a little pushy for me as a drinker. I feel this would be worthy of the title "Double ESB" since it's flavors are so big and work together on a basis of contrast, rather than the subtle synergies of traditional examples of the style.

Mouthfeel is thick but has some carbonation and is approprite. Very good, very different beer, but I would really struggle to get more than one of these down in a night. Its kind of exhausting. This is a beer I like to revisit year-to-year. It is so unique and it is actually an effective winter brew despite staying just on the light side of the style spectrum.

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Photo of brewQ
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful brownish gold color.

Some delicate aroma- mostly of sweet malt.
the body leaves generous sheathing on the glass.

Similar house character to NB Fat Tire- which I describe as woody and enjoy.

Not sure what the intended style is but this is a
Very drinkable brew.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/30/05- Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- Via tap into a standard pint glass..

Appearance- Perfect example of an amber colored pour. I was looking to see if I could find any insects in suspended animation it was that perfect. 1/4 inch creamy sparkling white head with above average lacing.

Smell- Had to really sniff to get anything here. As the beer went down and I was really able to get my nose in the glass I caught a whiff of a muted hoppy scent with a canned fruit cocktail syrup scent as well as maybe a few spices.

Taste- Different and intriguing, with a light malty flavor. Small amounts of hops creating a bit of light bitterness. Strong tropical fruit flavors carry this beer. Bits of pineapple, peaches and apricots.

Mouthfeel- Sticky sweetness with a mid range to heavier mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Very nice fruity flavor, almost tastes like a fruit beer more than a winter warmer. Very tasty for whatever it is though.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium's 2°Below is best served cool (45-50F) into a logo pint or tulip glass. 2°Below pours up brilliantly clear with lots of lively carbonation. The color is distictively deep golden-copperish orange with a volumous white head that collapses fairly quick leaving lots of lacy rings behind. The aroma is distinctively houselike (New Belgium) with a classic ester (dried apple/pear-like) profile from the yeast and the signature toasted (cracker-like) maltiness, but hey now!...there's also some unexpected grassiness & dried floral aromas along with some pleasant spiciness from the noticeable dry-hopping e.g. Liberty. The background is full of citrus juice, toasted crackers & pepper spice which makes everything nice! The flavor starts off fruity & somewhat spicy from the emerging bitterness, but the grape nut maltiness is never too far behind. The hop complexity continues to flourish towards the lightly alcoholic finish that's loaded with dried fruits & toasted bread. This is a very smooth, creamy & finely crafted ale in the English Bitter tradition which makes it suitable for quaffing in mass-quantities. It's certainly one of the hoppiest beers that I've ever had from New Belgium. Try pairing 2°Below with some freshly roasted nuts & dried citrus fruits. Here's to coming in from the cold!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - 1/4" white head. Fell right away. Copper penny colored brew.

S - Similar malt aroma to Fat Tire. Much more hops. Muted pine aroma. Malt mingling in the background.

T - Tastes alot like Fat Tire (pattern forming??). Flash of piney hops fade quickly into a mild chocolate malt flavor. Sugary sweetness in the middle. Some evident alcohol. Light bitterness.

M - Thin mouthfeel. Good finish. Clean. Low carbonation.

D - Good. Unique flavor, mix of Fat Tire and an IPA. Lucky enough to obtain a bottled sample for this review. The classification of this beer seems a little off to me, although I can't come up with a better one.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the local Old Chicago:

Poured a nice reddish gold colour with a small head that dissipated before it even got to me.(Nitro-CO2mix)

The smell was hoppy and sort of fruity.

The taste was a mix of fruit and hops up front with more of the fruit in the middle and huge hop bitterness in the after taste that lingered like forever. The latter part of the drinking experience I liked muchly but....I've tasted better winter ales and since this is a draft only product, there's no need for me to seek it out.

That makes only 2 brews from New Belgium that I'm not really pleased with.(the other is the Loft)

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Yard House in Phoenix, AZ. Had a clear amber color topped with a foamy white head that trailed lots of sticky lace in its wake.
Nose had the aroma of orchard fruits - think apples, pears, lighter plum notes - up front under which lurked a more earthy malt base. Interesting that in the taste the roles were reversed with the malt profile coming to the forefront and the fruitiness taking the backseat. Has a nutty, earthy flavor. Hops bitterness is pretty mild. Faint metallic tang in the finish. The feel was light with a low level of carbonation.
Overall, not a bad effort by the folks at New Belgium. Definitely not your "normal" winter seasonal.

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Photo of masikon
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured to a transparent tennessee burnt orange with a fuzzy off white head about 2 fingers deep. A very visually pleasing beer with a lasting head that sticks around and pretty bubbles of corbonation that keep on rising. Unfortunately appearance is really this beer's strongest point. nose is plain and uninteresting with some mildly fruity notes. taste is almost exactly like a mack and jacks african amber for those who have tried it. puckers the mouth, a light mouthfeel and inoffensive taste brings up the drinkability score, overall not a beer I would drink again.

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Photo of Xadoor
5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is definitely one of the best tasting winter seasonals that I've tried so far this season. Aroma is lightly sweet and a little floral and fruity. Roasted caramel malt flavours to start but the bitterness from the hops slowly takes over. Finishes slightly dry. Higher alcohol is certainly noticeable in the affects, but not too detectable in the taste. Very well balanced. Certainly a beer that I could drink all night (and did). Definitely a must try if you haven't already.

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Photo of xoqx
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has what I’m now considering trademark New Belgium characteristics. I don’t know if it’s their proprietary yeasts or just the proportions of their recipe. I find these beers enjoyable, if somewhat predictable.

Appearance - This beer pours amber with a white, one finger head exhibiting moderate retention and heavy lacing.

Smell – The smells are like a more balanced Fat Tire – the balance coming from marked hop scents. Dark citrus and other fruit esters are detectable.

Taste - This beer tastes of caramel, fruit, herbal tones, fruit-hops with a medium-length finish. You can tell it's from New Belgium.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean and medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This is a Winter Warmer, but is very light for the style. I think it should be tried once even if only for comparison against some of the best of the style such as Deschutes’ Jubelale and Bridgeport’s Ebenezer Ale.

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Photo of karst
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the many taps of Patton Alley Pub 313 S. Patton Ave. Springfield, Missouri.
Across the street from the new brew-on-premises Pub by the same owners who plan the opening one month from now although the brewhouse is presently empty!

Nice pour was a light brown amber with a creamy persistant head. A fruity aroma of amarillo-like hops and yeast esters was very welcoming. Balancing the 50+ IBU bitterness was acomplished with a rich malt bill that also hides the alcoholic aroma (at least half way thru the pint glass) but a slight cardboard flavor took away from the mid flavors. A hop lovers delight that finishes up to its ESB style.
Wanted another but had promises to keep and 100 miles to go before I sleep.

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was surprised to have the waitress suggest a New Belgium seasonal I've never heard of before. I asked her about what style it was, etc, and she said "It's like Fat Tire". Well, not really, but at least she knew it was in the same family.

Appearance was a fairly clear, brown-amber. Nice subtle floral-hop on the nose. After a few swallows it reminded me of the textbook ESB style. The hops are plentiful but do not overpower; it's more of a strong bitterness rather than the citusy hop punch paramount in many Pacific Northwest winter seasonals. It finishes dry with mild lingering spiciness. 2° Below is one of the lighter winter seasonals available in mouthfeel and helps it to be quite drinkable, so it's surprising to learn the ABV is 6.6%. A dandy winter warmer.

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

After notice a table talker advertising this at a local bar I decided to give it a try, knowing nothing about the beer. Imagine my surprise when I get the typical warning from the waitress "It's a hoppy, spicy beer." Yes, fine I'd like one please, I reply thinking that everytime I here something like that I am let down because the beer is only mildy hoppy. I can't really falt here for saying that though because BMC drinker would be going Whoa, this beer sucks, too bitter!. I must admit I am pleasantly surprised.

Appearance: Served in a non frosted pint glass. Amber to coppery in color, relatively clear. Poured with a thin 1/4 inch head that did hang on before fading to a thin cover and ring around the glass. Most impressed with the sheets of lacing that formed on the glass.

Smell: Burst of hop on the nose (she wasn't kidding), some spice (I can't pin down an exact aroma, just spice). Also malt providing a faint aroma of caramel, slightly roasted. A little side note: this beer was not served to me near freezing like their macros. I don't know if it is kept not as cold or that they waited a few minutes after the pour to serve it to allow it to warm some (by accident or on purpose), but I definitely liked the temp.

Taste: Good hop bittering, warming spice, and solid malt backing keep this one well balanced. Caramel flavor is not overpowering nor too sweet, and the hop bite at the finish, while memorable, is not overpowering or over the top.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, lightly carbonated, hides its alcohol well.

Drinkability: I only had one, but I probably could have quaffed these all afternoon/night, but I would have had to walk home. Solid must try IMO.

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Photo of pjwilson
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

order this at a small town restraunt with 2 taps. Sierra Nevada and usually Fat tire, but they have this beer, two degrees below, instead. Well, I'll give a shot. Reminds me alot of Fat Tire, only with more chocholatly notes, perhaps a hair more hoppy. Carmel, bisquity and chewy are other good terms. I also thought it was an ESB not knowing anything, i think that's it's good label for the style. It's good, worth getting in a bar, and is pretty far from a beligum style. I liked it, but more than one might get old.

edit: website says it's 6.6, about what I expected. also Sterling and Liberty hops.

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.67 out of 5 based on 1,178 ratings.
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