Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,627 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,627
Reviews: 1,114
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 116
Gots: 274 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,627 | Reviews: 1,114
Reviews by intensify:
Photo of intensify
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fast Review**

Dark tones of caramel, roasted malts, coffee and a hint of toffee as well. Nose is pretty on-que with the taste. Medium mouthfeel with an oily finish. A pretty good and suprisingly big on the roasted malts.

A nice seasonal beer for a cold Colorado night.

More User Reviews:
Photo of ARoman
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Transferred from previous notes - 1/4/2014 & 11/6/2014
12 oz bottle poured into brandy snifter. It starts out with the sweet smell of vanilla and chocolate, with a touch of butterscotch, with perhaps a note of earthiness to it. As the head recedes, the aroma morphs into something more similar to ripe, tart dark red cherries with some woody notes (maybe some raisin in there too?). A deep, dark cranberry coloring to the beer stands out (although it’s probably more mahogany, but the fluorescent lighting is playing tricks on me) with a tan head that sits atop the beer as a moderate to thin film with some sparse lacing. A moderate sweet-tartness is most noticeable, in moderate amounts, with some light toasty, woody notes. After a little time, some hop bitterness pokes through along with a touch of sour cherry. An average amount of carbonation keeps the beer relatively medium to light bodied, although it definitely has a slightly syrupy quality to it. There’s a mild aftertaste consisting mainly of toasted malt with some dark chocolate and floral notes. By mid-glass, this taste changes into a smooth caramel with some light spice - the floral notes are still present. There’s a pleasant warming quality to this beer at the finish.

One year later, this same batch take on more roasted notes of coffee, raisin, and cacao with some port wine alcohol, a hint of ginerbread, and grapes late. The color of the beer is now an oily dark caramel brown color with noticeable sediment floating within. The head thins out a bit with just a thin soapy ring and a wispy surface. The body gains some weight to it as the slick and slightly sticky beer is more full bodied with toasted notes and flavors of cacao. There's an earthiness as well as a touch of a metallic and burnt characters and a hint of gingerbread. It finishes with a port wine warmth and a clean resin licorice spiciness. The aftertaste is astringent and slightly metallic with note of spice, dark chocolate, dark cherries, and nuts.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich crimson color with a creamy off white head that stays put thru out the duration of drinking it,deep caramel aromas along with some milk chocolate quite sweet.Absolutely sublime creamy mouthfeel just glides down smooth,flavors of caramel and brown suger hit ya up front but there is a decent dryness midway keeping it from getting to sweet.I wouldnt say earthy maybey more herbal in the finish,its quite heavy a one or two and done for me.This is a doozy a great winter beer,it would real warm ya up,not that I need that down here in NC.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes composed on 12/3/10.

I'm f****n cold. It's time to hibernate.

Hibernation Ale pours mahogany-brown into a very large snifter. A dark tan, half-finger head looks lovely and leaves a full-covering film of retention. The lacing is nice - fine and sticky.

A musty, malt-heavy smell headlines the bouquet. There is a bit of an earthy, citrus hop profile that complements the maltbill. Aromas of brown sugar, caramel, freshly disturbed earth, orange rind, plum, and fig result from the beer's ingredients.

Right from the start of the sip, grassy, citrusy hops make their presence known on my bitter receptors, while that musty, caramel and brown sugar malt profile hits my sweet spots. After smelling the beer, I am a bit surprised at how hoppy it is. Contrary to my general love of hops, I actually think I would like a little less of the hop profile and a little more of the malt profile on my palate. I would guess that I would enjoy the flavor more after a few months of aging (bottled on 10/13/10).

A stinging bite from the hops, with a decent medium, rounded out feel in the middle of the sip when the sweet malts kick it up a notch constitutes the mouthfeel. The carbonation is on the low side, but is suitable for this beer.

This Is not really a memorable beer in my mind, but it is a well-crafted and pretty tasty one. I would like to try this beer again with a little more age on it.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.26/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

NOTE- This is two reviews, one with fresh beer and one with 2-year-old bottle. Score is for fresh bottle.
2006- Fresh...This a reddish plum colored barleywine with a minimal tan head. It leaves no lacing in my globe glass. The nose is a delicious mix of yeast, alcohol, and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.

The taste starts deceptively smooth for a barelywine. The base is a rich, thick, caramel. As it sits in my mouth I taste citrusy hops, light brown sugar, clove, nut, cherry ester. The end is where the catch comes. The alcohol comes out of hiding and attacks viciously with strong vapors wafting into the nose. This, combined with that slight estery cherry I mentioned, land this brew in my "tastes like medecine" file. I like barleywine, but a few of them have this medicinal quality I just can't get past, and this is one.

The mouthfeel is very interesting with a surge of carbonation that doesn't seem to be released until the beer has rested in the mouth a moment or two.

Though this is a well-built barleywine, its just not my style, and anyone who can take more than one has my respect.

NOTE- 2006 vintage, tasted March '08
A- 3 fingers of espresso cream head die to a thin layer and leave an arched lace. Impressive show of carbonation for an aged beer. Beer is clear, and a deep, dark, lovely rosewood color.
S- raisins, brown sugar, pepper, plum, luscious fruit bouquet,rich malt aroma, faint earthy hop, amazing nose here, except I get not even a whiff of alcohol.
T- Beer is overall, suprisingly lite on the palate. Does not have the overwhelming malt of many high gravity beers, nor the alcohol burn. What I get here is a firm, fully attenuated crystal malt base with some depth but very little residual sweetness. It is simple, you can tell it had a terse grainbill. Some very soft fruit esters,maybe a cherry note, and a peppery Belgian-esque quality from the yeast/ alcohol. Earthy hop flavor comes out a little in the finish and the beer shows a perfectly balanced bitterness.
M- While the alcohol escapes being hot at any point, it makes itself very known in the finish through an odd numbing sensation, and soft but abundant vapors. Nice soft, low carbonation helps fill out the light mouthfeel. This is one of the lightest high gravity beers I've ever had.

This is an elegant and balanced beer, but it bores me a little. It lacks big, bold, flavors but is a little too rough around the edges to pull off "refined", which I'm afraid relegates it to the realm of the mediocre, despite the obvious skill of its brewer.

Interesting to note that I recall this beer as being a drainpour when fresh. After consulting my previous review, which sadly, is about to be deleted, I can say this beer mellowed and changed significantly in aging. It has obviously benefitted a great deal from a few years in the bottle. I would like to taste a 4 or 5 year old bottle, to see if things finally come together.

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber with alot of reddish overtones. Smelled of mild vanilla and a touch of rum soaked fruit. Nice taste. Good diacetyl coming through mixed with milk vanilla and good malt flavor. Hops come through bitter on the end to balance out the sweet. Flavor coats the tongue and lingers then disappears with the hoppy bitterness coming though at the end. I enjoyed this beer. The alcohol comes through a little strong but I'm holding some back in the cellar/closet to age for a while. Should mellow nicely.

Photo of explosivebeer
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has a beautiful deep red color with a thin residual head. The aroma is full of toffee, grains, and malt. The body is full and tastes of malty goodness, with only mild bitterness underneath. It finishes with a malty, grainy aftertaste. This graininess isn't quite a barnyard wet blanket flavor, but a subtle form of that. The alcohol is slightly noticeable and contributes to the experience. Overall it's a very tasty, interesting beer.

Photo of blackearth
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. Pours a very dark amber body with a rocky, light tan head. Aromas of caramel and chocolate make this beer very inviting. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Flavors of roasted caramel malt and nutty brown sugar lead to a burnt sugar finish that is slightly warming. Great drinkability.

Photo of skybluewater
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rust color, with a fair amount of lace. Smells a bit musty with a bit of malty sweetness as well. Taste is fairly a malt explosion, with a little chocolate and maybe some fruit (cherries?). Alcohol is well-hidden, with only the barest hint of burn. Mouthfeel's a touch thin, but no big deal.

I haven't been too impressed with Great Divide's other 12-oz offerings, but this one is top notch, right up there with Titan, Hercules, and Yeti. Well done, GD!

Photo of blitz134
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear mohagony body. Half inch white head on top which didn't stay around for too long. Aroma is caramel sweet with some chocolaty hints. A bit of dark fruit and floral hints with a touch of alcohol aroma, not much though. Taste is a unique blend of flavors. Comes across initially like an IPA with a sweet floral flavored hops and a touch of bitterness. Finishes with bits of chocolate. Alcohol is well hidden in the flavor. Mouthfeel is fairly full and coats well. Drinkability is very good. This is a super balanced brew that goes down easy. A nice dose of hops and some malts to round it out. Very nice.

Photo of JasonA
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Carmel pour with a beautiful, thick foamy head at least 2 fingers.

Wow. Earthy, ABV, carmel, med malt. Wow, smells like a Barley type wine, like the other old Ale's ive had. Im very excited.

Medium malt, little citrus, subtle hops. Something else sweet, not sure exactly but quite yummy.

Smooth, creamy, extremely well balanced. Carbonation is very well done.

Im in heaven. Im glad I finally found this. I will be trying to get it every year to see how it ages over time.

Photo of elinash
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a La Chouffe glass.

Appearance is cherry wood dark, though relatively translucent (no yeast). Lacing is sticking slightly.

Aroma is toasty, with cereal notes and (this is going to sound strange) fish food! weird. Though the aroma isn't as strange as I've made it out to be. It's fairly warm, and I'm getting some earthy aromas as it warms more.

Taste is malty rich with some smokiness. Mouthfeel is tight and smooth. I think I might prefer if it were a little more carbonated.

Finish isn' too lasting, but I'm excited that Hibernation isn't as hoppy as I thought it might be.

Very drinkable. Of all the winter offerings out there, I like this one quite

Photo of Todd
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive creamy foam head, wonderful aromatics, sweet and malty with an assertive dose of spicy kick-ass hops. Mega chocolate in the aroma and flavour -- with the hops, a bit like those minty/chocolate Andes Creme de Menthe Thins. Pick up a bit of sherri too.

A most enjoyable and warming Winter offering from the folks @ Great Divide.

Photo of Beaver13
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 2003 Hibernation Ale poured a deep mahogany with a creamy tan head that went to a thin skim and laced the glass the whole way down. It smells of fig and malts with hints of chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. The taste is comlpex yet well balanced and appealing. It has a sweet malt start with a lightly hopped, crisp, slightly acidic finish. There are also some woody flavors mixed with a fruity fig/raisin taste. It has a subtle alcohol warming as well. The palate was full-bodied and creamy. Overall, a terrific winter warmer found late in the season. This is up there with Anchor OSA as my favorite of the season.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, very dark amber color with a big, creamy, tan head. Terrific lacing to boot. A nice foam ring is left in the wake of each sip. Smells fruity, dark fruits in particular, figs, sweet malts, and citrus notes. Taste is more sweet, dark ripe fruits, figs, cherries, malty, and finishes with a great dry hop bite. Mouthfeel is rich, full bodied, right amount of carbonation for the style, with a dry finish. Nice warming effects going on as well without any harshness in the flavor. Very drinkable on these cold winter nights.

Photo of Duster72
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark ruby with little head and no lacing. Aroma is very pleasant dark fruit and berries with chocolate and alcohol - excellent aroma. Taste is slightly overroasted malts with a mild alcohol burn and hints of brown sugar and dark fruit. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very pleasant. Very drinkable winter warmer, definitely a beer to pick up every winter.

Photo of Jason
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with a “Year Produced” (Hint, hint) freshness date notched on the side of the label. Bragging about awards and a bit of info about the beer is also on the label.

Appearance: A hard pouring yields a fluffy cream coloured head that dissipates into a bubbly lace with interwoven rings of Brussels lace. Decent clarity with a mahogany reddish colour that is quite stunning.

Smell: Both astringent grain and hop try and claim territory though the fruity estery alcohol in not far behind at all. The hop aroma plays a little rough n’ tumble on the nostrils and makes a path for the toasted mildly astringent malt and fruity estery alcohol.

Taste: Fat and chewy full body with a slick malty mouth feel, moderate carbonation adds a nice smoothness and a well structured texture shows a full-hearted stab at trying to make this beer more quaffable. Overtones of toasted malt engulf the taste buds, in its wake explosions of caramelized fruit, ester alcohol and the beginnings of a slightly belligerent hop character. Hops flail around coarse flavours of bitterness and earthy leaf that border on astringent. Chocolate flavours come around middle to end while fumes of alcohol come from the mouth and warm the body. Hops kick in even more towards the end with an encroaching coarse earthy flavour some residual sweetness is leftover though is mostly blanketed by the hops.

Notes: This beer is a drop-kick to the tongue, lots of flavours going on with a multi-leveled complexity. Fresh and in the raw, aging this beer for a year could do good though if you are looking for a raw kick in the pants strong ale then drink it now.

Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 vintage, according to the notched label, served slighly chilled into an imperial pint glass. This pours a cocoa powder brown, with a gigantic, light brown, head, that is rocky, and billows over the top of the glass. Towel, please! Lots of suspended "floaties" are frollicking in the body. Sticky patches of lace are left all over the side of the glass.

Aroma is seriously malty. Molasses, toffee, and butterscotch are up front in the nose, with a vague, floral hops note in the background.

Mouthfeel is slick, and medium bodied. Carbonation is medium, in spite of the overcarbonated appearance.

The taste is rich and complex, with a malty dominance. Toffee, molasses, and butterscotch echo the aroma, with a dark fruit presence, as well. There is a prominent hops presence, that seems floral or herbal, that provides a pleasant, bittering balance. The finish is somewhat sour and yeasty, as the "floaties" have now settled at the bottom of the glass. I'll pass on the last sip, as it's mostly sediment.

This strong old ale has a few Doppelbock characteristics in the flavor profile, but is more tart and hoppy. The floral hops character has a lasting presence, and lends a nice balance. Plenty of complexities in this one. I wish I had been more careful with the pour. Still, this is an ale that I look forward to trying again.

Photo of Billolick
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer with year brewed info notched on the label (2006), pours dark mahogony, semi clear, dark tan head, not much retention, leaves some scattered lacing upon a moderate swirl. Tiny bubble film oozing around on top. Nose is moderatly of darkish malts and rum. Moderate carbonation. Tasty, bold brew, notes of smoke, rum/bourbon, wood, vanilla, spicy honey...nicely crafted, complex, go get some. Fine late night sipper.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big "thanks" to Beerguy (Frank@Diversified Imports) for this one...should be hitting the shelves in RI soon.
Pours a dark rust color w/ some mahogany highlights w/ some assistance from light...a half a finger of tan head forms w/ an agressive pour and has very attractive lacing.
Inviting smell...brown sugar, carmelized malt, dark chocolate and maple syrup blended in a very aromatic explosion.
The taste is quite excellent...so much thicker than I was expecting and as forewarned, a malty treat.
A dash of espresso, but mostly chocolate, spice, fig, and a gentle smokiness finishing it off. A warming character, but not a lot of alcohol overall...even as it works it's way towards room temperature.
As mentioned, the mouthfeel is fantastic...finishes w/ a bitter and somewhat dry finish, yet it has a sweetness that keeps drawing me in.
I could drink quite a number of these and it's not even winter yet...I will need to make a road trip to RI to stock up for the season if this one does not make it to MA.
Another winner from Great Divide and a very unique offering IMO.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled a recent tasting. I believe this one was provided by thirdeye11.

2006 vintage sampled in May 2010. The beer pours a nice brown color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the caramel, chocolate and toffee malts. The flavor is chocolate milk and toffee. The alcohol is faded and this is extremely easy drinking. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 vintage.

Appearance: Very pretty clear and deep amber on the pour. Due to the aggressive pour, I was rewarded with a billowy, rocky tan-colored head that distinctly rings the glass quite nicely.

Smell: Given the appearance of the hops on the label, it came as no surprise that there was a citrus-floral aroma detected, mellowed somewhat by a following malty sweetness, mixed in with an "earthy" aroma.

Taste: Complex. That is probably the best descriptor for this beer. A whole lotta something going on in my glass. Tastes of caramel sweetness, the alcohol, hoppy bitterness, toasted nuts, even a bit of sweet chocolate trace a path across the taste buds for a second. Finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness/toasty malt/earthen flavor. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Another very "chewy" beer. Mouthfeel is very creamy smooth, though not as much so as other barleywines I've had.

Drinkability: Still a bit harsh. I would like to try this in a year or two to see if it might be a little more civilzed. All in all, though, a very complex and enjoyable beer.

Photo of bsp77
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Relatively dark reddish-brown that glows ruby red in the light. Minimal head but leaves light lacing lines.

Smell: Brown sugar, toffee, cherry, dark fruit, English hop spiciness and alcohol. The English hops become more apparent as it sits in the glass.

Taste: Complex malt profile that seems both sweet and dry at the same time. Hard for me to separate the individual flavors, but cherry and caramelized sugars appear to be in the mix, with notes of bitter chocolate, peat and a stale mustiness. The English hop spiciness/bitterness is apparent throughout, especially at the finish. However, it does grow more malty and deep as it warms.

Feel: Low carbonation, full body, with a mostly dry (and warming) finish.

Drinkability: Very nice example of an Old Ale which begs to be sipped. However, I feel like I enjoyed it a little more last year when it was a little lower in alcohol and the malts seemed to be richer in comparison to the spicy hops. Not sure if the beer or my palate is different. Either way, still a great beer.

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served into a nonic glass from a 12oz long neck brown bottle,crimp on cap.

Reddish brown,very mirky with a creamy light tan 1" head.retentative sticking down the sides of the glass.
Complex malty nose,very chocolately,carmelly,roasty,aromas of sweet molassess.Label said dry hopped,just got a slight hint of spicyness.
Robust tasting,very chocolaty,roasty,sweet caramel,bit nutty,and the taste of molassess.Very malty,just a bit of spicyness,with a sharp semi-sweet chocolatly finish a slight burnt flavor also.
The mouthfeel was thick and sticky,by no means a session brew,still tasty and quite enjoyable. A good beer for a cold winter night,a warming sensation at the very end,feeling the alcohol.

Photo of Kraken
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a 20oz glass. Bottled 9/3/08. Firm pour yields minimal head that evaporates surprisingly quickly. Head leaves nice rings around the glass. Color is a deep Ruby Brown.

Nose- Deep caramels slightly burnt, toffee, light coffee, nice amount of hops.

Palate- burnt caramels, toffees, nutty. A little hot but thats winter warmers are about. A pleasant sweetness about it. Nice long bitter finish. Very tasty. Warming.

Mouthfeel- A bit on the thick side, mildly cloying

Drinkability- Good, but could only drink a few of these

Very nice, this is my first warmer of the season. I was impressed

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,627 ratings.