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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,119 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2119
Reviews: 1061
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,119 | Reviews: 1,061 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty, well-spiced unique winter warmer. Without an x-mas and iverally snowy picture on the front. Body is a bit light, and a nice toastiness, all making it more drinkable. Carmel, nicely moderatley hopped. Must have again. This is 2005. Alcohol hammers by the finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2006 04:21:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 10/3/11.

Pours a clear brown color with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin film. A nice latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, roasted nuts, and some alcohol. Taste is of toasted/roasted malt, roasted nuts, and some very mild hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium roasty bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium body and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good old ale that is very toasty, roasty, and malty. A bit one dimensional in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 06:08:17 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bronzed dark brown with fiery orange peel highlights. With backlighting, the beer becomes dim magenta. The head is a beautiful shade of golden beige and would look at home on the hoppiest IPA. Thick, rich and creamy, it resembles mousse, or even sherbet, as it falls. The lace display is impressive as well; thick, yet still intricately lace-like. Well done.

Since I'm drinking the 2003 vintage, I would have expected the alcohol to have matured by now. Perhaps it will have on the palate, but it's still a young whippersnapper in the nose. The aroma is malt-dominant, with chocolate being something of a surprise. There are earthy notes as well, which I guess I should attribute to hops. Unfortunately, the nose is somewhat medicinal and isn't as varied or as complex as it could be.

The flavor is a definite step up. Hibernation Ale tastes like a combination of several different styles. The principal elements are a roasted black and chocolate maltiness, along with an unripe fruit sourness that is kept in check by hop bitterness. There's a lot going on and it all fits together reasonably well. A good comparison would be equal parts porter and baby barleywine.

The fruitiness is more figs, dates and tart apples than the darker, richer raisins and prunes. I have no idea what sort of hops have been used. Hop flavor has been plastered over, even as the hop bitterness has survived intact. Unlike the nose, there's very little alcohol noted on the palate. The finish features a nice interplay between sweet, sour and bitter, and lingers for several minutes at least. The mouthfeel is roughly midway between a big porter and a barleywine, to keep the above comparisons alive.

Hibernation Ale has held up well during its 2 years of... uh... hibernation. Like many strong ales, it doesn't fit neatly into any one category. It is an enjoyable sipper, though, and one that would be good to have around when the thermometer dips into the single digits. Thanks to prAna for the bottle, although he's probably forgotten this long ago trade (the first one I ever made).

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 16:30:37 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coffeee color brown, with a thick, rich cream color head, that laced the whole class. Great Looking for sure.Smell was hops, but alot of roasted caramel smells, nutty as well. Smells like a winter ale should. Taste was umm, nuts and caramel, with a hop finish. Very well rounded. Just the right amount of carbonation on the way down. This is a good beer. Full of flavor, and feels like a meal. You will not be dissapointed with this one!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2006 01:11:31 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a clear, dark mahogany color with a minimal off-white head forming that quickly dies away.

S: Mildly sweet toffee, brown sugar, and molasses come through up front. Some mild hints of dark fruits, namely plums and black cherries. Not really any alcohol, which is good.

T: Not quite as impressive in terms of the flavor. Toffee and molasses, with perhaps a hint of nutty bread. Not really sweet, or bitter, or fruity. Sort of boring.

M: Medium body with a low carbonation that is somewhat smooth.

D: The aroma of this beer got my hopes up, but the flavor was certainly a let down. Maybe a little age would help this one out.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 00:06:30 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a hazy tea brown color with a modest head that declines to a ringlet without leaving much lacing behind

Smell: A nice range of aromas from dark fruit to bittersweet chocolate to resinous pine

Taste: Starts out with a nice dark fruit profile that lingers for quite a while before being joined by a burst of bitterness; mid-palate, some graininess kicks in, along with a bright almost minty-hop finish

Mouthfeel: Nice and chewy with a healthy level of carbonation

Drinkability: Very complex and enjoyable - now this is what a Winter Warmer should be

A revisit of a fresh 2010 bottling in 12/10 shows much of the same, although the younger beer was much better looking, with a clear color and loads of lacing

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 01:51:01 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of BeerandBlues2: Poured a clear dark brown color ale with a small foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of rich caramel malt with some medium sweetness. Taste is mix between good caramel malt with a medium bitter finish. I thought the body was a bit too thin for the style and alcohol was very well hidden. Overall, I thought it was interesting but lacking a little something to bring to the next level.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2007 19:15:30 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A return to this ale tells me that the malty rich substrate and its decorative spice delivers a sultry and stern taste that's both gentlemanly and boisterous.

Its dark brown hue is nearly opaque, except for a piercing penetration of highlight that's ruby in color. While a formidable head swells to medium-strong stature, its retention is unfortunately light. A broken necklace decorates the glass, yet the beer leaves me wanting more.

High chocolate, toffee and molasses set the tone in initial aroma and taste. Deliciously smooth, the scent of the beer strongly favors malt and only offers the slightest of wood and walnut-type bitterness. Lightly earthy, the ale's malty tone is balanced and robust because of the slight roast, toast, and medium weight.

Rummy, toffee, and warmly sweet, the ale is mid-full but heightened because of the lingering chocolate, alcohol, and sweetness. It nearly reaches semi-dry stature, but its maltiness can't help it- its a malty-dry closure.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 00:17:36 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown color with an off-white head. A bit of lacing. The nose is fairly complex with some nice notes of caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, and some light pine and citrus hops. The taste is a bit of a letdown after the nose, as there are some notes of brown sugar and caramel, but nothing like the nose. The feel is a bit heavy and nice with some really light booze. Drinks well enough, but there's nothing drawing me back for more.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 16:57:02 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark mahogany in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin dense beige head that quickly faded away, leaving only some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Aromas of plums and raisins are present in the nose along with notes of sweet malts and hints of alcohol. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The overall taste is rather malty and has complex flavors of raisins, toffee, caramel and brown sugar. There are some notes of sweetness and hints of alcohol and chocolate. A slight amount of bitterness is present, which helps to prevent any cloying sweetness.
M: It feels a bit shy of full-bodied and slightly syrupy on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There a bit of dryness and warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: This is a nice easy beer to drink on a cold winter night – the alcohol gives some warming but is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 03:45:01 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a rather good-looking burgundy body with a creamy, off-white head.

Smell: This beer definitely has a hugely sweet aroma! Candy sweet caramel with a dusting of cocoa powder. There's plenty of alcohol esters present, along with some subtle citrusy hops lurking underneath.

Taste: Rich maltiness through and through. Toasted caramel and brown sugar as well as the distinct taste of dry cocoa. There's a slight ripple of fruitiness along the way. Lastly, some pine hops and smokiness rounds out the finish. The result was a beer which retained the luscious flavor of the malts, but which still imparted enough hops and spice that I felt I had really LIVED this beer, and not just chugged it down.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but further fullified by its syrupy texture.

Drinkability: Truly, this beer is an enjoyable malt-forward ale and a solid winter release.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2006 17:41:58 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2005 02:02:06 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Mader's 0.5L glass boot.

Thanks to taiyed for this bottle!

Bustin' out Mike's boot fer the next few brews tonight. This one pours a straight clear garnet topped by a half-finger of dirty ecru foam. The smell arrives in waves, beginning with some white lettuce, followed by darker spinach, then moving into some rich toffee. As each wave hits, it builds on the one that came before it, creating an interestingly layered scent. The taste holds notes of minty orange peel, light cocoa, and toffee. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a nice old ale, but not really one I would reach for all that often.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 23:52:47 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In my last review, I stated that I thought the Hibernation wouldn't age well beyond 8 to 12 months. But the bottle I have in front of me is at least that old and still has a bright hoppiness.
I also noted oxidation in my last review, but there was none here. Very nice!!!

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2005 22:55:34 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, a souvenir procured at the nearby King Soopers grocery during my visit to Denver for GABF last month. This past weekend's big dump of snow definitely has me thinking along the lines of this offering's moniker.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, dark ruddy amber hue, with one chubby finger of tightly foamy, and bubbly tan head, which leaves some tacky webbed lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of musty, stale nuts - pistachios and oily almonds - grainy, biscuity caramel and pale malt, toasted whole wheat bread, a bit of dark cocoa, instant coffee powder, and a weak herbal, grassy hoppiness. The taste is more of the same - musty, dank cellar-stored and forgotten nuts, charred caramel malt, toasted bread, chalky milk chocolate, bittersweet coffee, dark fruit (dried cherries, mostly), and gritty, earthy, hay-like hops. A slight hint of alcohol warming is evident in concert with the elapsed time.

The bubbles are fairly low-key, just a faint hum as they go about their basic support functions, the body a wavering medium weight, and a bit oily in its otherwise straight-up smoothness. It finishes quite dry, the musty, nutty, cocoa, coffee, and roadside cuttings notes all culpable and laudable.

Given that this was bottled a little under 2 months ago, the 'old' essences are rather astounding, even if they're a bit different from those of the progenitors of the style. Nutty and toasty, this one is, and duly warming, in that 'don't know it 'til it hits you' sort of way. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2013 01:40:05 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark purple/garnet in color, fluffy, creamy head. Nose is spicy, warm, sweet, buttery, notes of cramel, cinnamon, toast, nutmeg, nuts. An excellent aroma bouquet. Smooth mouthfeel, great texture, full body. One of the most sweet, smooth, and comforting dark ales of any style I've ever come across. An excellent beverage, rich in texture, full with malt, little bitterness but a woefully short finish, for all it's flavor. This one goes in my Hall of Fame of winter ales!

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2002 17:24:15 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pilsener glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, a little chocolate and some hops.

T: The taste is full of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit flavors along with a touch of chocolate. There's a decent hops presence and a good malt character. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, good kick, not too filling, it has a lot of qualities that make it similar to a Barleywine, this is a nice beer to drink for a while, but not one that you would want to drink too quickly.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2007 15:38:20 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label dated 2010, the month/day are illegibly printed, looks like "Nov 13" possibly.

Bright garnet tone in the light, with a full head of tan foam when first poured. It dissipates after a few minutes to a broken skim, with an intricate ring of lace around the edges.

Smell is lightly medicinal, earthy, sweet and malty. Bready too, with a twinge of perceptible alcohol when swirled. Some vanilla comes through at room temperature.

Very malt driven, slightly sweet at first becoming dry in the finish with very mild residual bitterness. Multigrain bread, walnuts, leaf tobacco, and some mild hop herbals in the aftertaste. Light feel, the 8.7% ABV isn't overwhelming, but certainly one to respect and take time with. Not sure that i'd get more, but wouldn't turn one down.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 01:05:56 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Other than the (2007) year bottled, no obvious salient facts on the label...

Pours caramel/ruby red with 2+ fingers of tan head pillowy head into my Gordon's Scotch beer snifter. Good lacing & above average head retention

S: Caramel, cakeyness & molasses as this warms

T: Dry, caramel notes, whisky, & brown sugar up front. Slight alcohol burn & leafy hops in the middle & a hoppy ( earthy & piney ) finish

MF: Chewy/chewy & low carbonation, a great one to combine with cookies or brownies!

Drinks so easy, but not one to take lightly. Usually among top 2-5 of winter/x-mas beers I try every year & this will be the case this 07-08 season!

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2007 04:21:58 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite/tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is perfect. It has a warm and rich malty scent that is sweet with crystal malts and toastey with roasted barley. The taste is good. It has an earthy, sweet, and toastey malt flavor that goes down smooth and finishes dry and warm. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It has awesome aroma and flavor; a great drinker.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2005 23:38:15 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not what I expected at all. Beer is reddish / dark brown and mostly clear with a thin head, served in a RR wine glass. Head leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Here's where my surprise started. It smells mildly sweet but very roasty, almost like a foreign export stout but lighter. Interesting.

The lead off is not sweetness, although its subtly there, its almost grainy bitterness, it tastes good but I was hoping for some Treacle or some toffee or something but its just not there. Overall it comes off as a little simple. Old Ales are your opportunity to make a big, complex beer with dozens of flavors that will wax and wane as you age it for a decade, this was average, middle of the road, run of the mill big beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 17:58:47 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2010 18:39:40 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a reddish brown color with a tan, one-finger head. It left large rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of malt and hops.

T - It tasted strongly of malt and nut. It also had a grassy flavor. Some clove and spice was present, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - A very good Am. Strong. It really is flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2007 14:58:49 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Next on my list of winter beers up for review, comes the Gread Divide Hibernation Ale.

A: Nice frothy head rises up in the glass to almost 2 fingers, with lots of big bubbles and doesn't want to disappear. Very clear rusty brown maroon color.

N: Mmm, toasty brown malts, slight brown sugar and other sweet malts. Some light hoppy aromas also come out a little bit. Some faint roasted malt aromas dance out of the glass. A slight caramel aroma and toffee almost are also very light. Perhaps a faint detection of chocolate malts.

T: Wow, lots of nice roasted malts, and tons of chocolate milk flavors. Creamy with chocolate malts add a nice touch. A slight toffee and caramel flavors sneak out as well. Pretty rich and thick. It has a nice mellowed malt flavor almost as if it was aged. Some light spicy and earthy hop character finds its way through as well.

M: Thick and creamy, decent carbonation, don't really even detect the presence of alcohol.

F: A slight bitterness comes out. Still pretty creamy, and the roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, and rich creamy flavors linger for a short while. It has a nice clean finish as well, with a touch of bitterness that doesn't really build, but touches the senses nicely. The alcohol presence is still pretty much nowhere to be found, they hide it very well. This is a dangerous beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 02:51:52 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a frothy amber-tan colored head that is a finger and a half thick. The beer is a deep amber color that shows a brilliantly clear deep ruby color when held up to the light. The aroma is quite malty with notes of caramel and toffee up front moving to a dry lightly roasted note and a bit of burnt grain astringency. The finish reminds me of toasty brown ale. Perhaps there is a bit of cherry like fruit character as well, but this is fairly subdued.

The beer has a medium full heft to it, but does not really coat the mouth to much. The beer is lightly sweet with notes of toffee and a light molasses. The finish is a mix of toasted malt notes, a bit of coffee, and a roast grain character that also includes a hint of burnt grain astringency. There is a combination of flavors that make me think of Rum; a combination of the sweet malt notes and the slight alcohol heat in the finish.

This beer is actually quite nice, not very many breweries do a English style Old Ales. The malt character is refreshingly unhoppy, and makes for a great sipping beer. This will age pretty well, and I think I will have to pick up a couple bottles for next years holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 01:19:18 | More by Gueuzedude
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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,119 ratings.