Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

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Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

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1,105 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,105
Hads: 2,641
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 16.87%
Wants: 126
Gots: 284 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,105 | Hads: 2,641
Photo of gbontrag
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Without any details I could put away a half dozen of these on any given day and be quite jolly. I mean, this is delicious! Calling winter warmer lovers: I dare you to find another better... Call it a strong ale, whatever, it's released for winter consumption.
Regarding specifics: Polished cherry wood, splippery on the glass, excellent on the palate, and quick on the wit. Short on aroma, but long on the finish. Mucho maltiness, great divide on the palate with appropriate hoppiness. I love what Great Divide does for me in the winter time. Check out their old Ruffian, too. After one sip this beer sits in the glass like a fine lady standing up and inviting you into the bedroom. You gonna enjoy that just once? Come again, I want it 6 times repeated at least. Get yourself a sixer too.

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Photo of rowew
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz longneck with notched label for year produced. This one definitely seems to be made to age. A short description of the beer and the awards it has won are also on the label.

Appearance: Dark mahogany color with a nice thick head that disappated to leave a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Spicy aroma with a nice balance of hops and caramel also showing through.

Taste: Nice thick mouthfeel that is still very smooth. Caramel and roasted flavors seem to dominate, with hops showing up at the end. Nice finish of bitterness provided by the hops. Slight taste of the high alcohol content, but it meshes well with the other flavors.

Overall Impression: Great winter beer. Nice balance of alcohol and great mix of flavors. Probably would be great to age, but no way it will survive long enough in my house!

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Photo of karengarys
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm not a correander winter brew person - the correander spice doesn't make a lot of sense to me for a beer... ...maybe someday I'll understand this more...

This pours very nice. Hazy reddish brown with a head that sneaks up on you (get ready to hold it over the sink). the head then remains, the outside having an organized uniform arrangement of bubbles, with the inside being a fluffy light brown cloud-like foam. Lots of lacing.

This tastes rather thick (which I like) but heavy in the correander (as explained earlier, I don't). It also is a bit maybe peppery, plus a touch of.... nutmeg? Included is a dark odd sweetness I can't describe. To me, this is too much Christmas tea and not enough beer.

I was fighting between 3.0 and 3.5 on the taste scale. 3.5 because it is flavorful and rich. 3.0 because I feel the flavors were too spicey. if you really really like that spiceyness, and the correander, the taste category could easily go to 4.0. Since what I am drinking here is not quite how I would like this style interepreted, I'm rating it at 3.

The mouthfeel is quite creamy, and stays that way throughout the drink until the very end.

When done, there is a bit of an ugly spicy aftertaste I do not like.

I could drink a few of these, but I wouldn't call it a session beer.

It is worth trying, but unless you really like correander (sierra nevada or anchor winters, for example) try to get only one. If you really like the correander, grabbing a 6 is recommended.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Christmas is always reserved for only the best beers . As good a day as any to review this awesome ale my sister in Estes Park sent me. Pours dark mahogany brown with a creamy oatmeal-colored head. Aromas are caramel and chocolate malts, cinnamon, oak, and citrus and evergreen hops. A sip reveals a hearty, delicious brew worthy of Christmas day! Sweet malty flavors of butterscotch and oaky vanilla, leather, dates, and light holiday spice give way to a flash of grapefruit citrus and sprucey hop notes. Mediumish in body with a nice and aggressive piney hop finish that lingers. A very nice ale, I wish I had another. Worth checking out it you live in CO, or know someone who does!!!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep maroon cola color, translucent, with a massive creamy, tan head. Smells strongly of alcohol and a raisin and biscuit smell. Taste is very intersting. Strong alcohol presence, with woody and a slight coffee tinge. Mouthfeel is slightly grainy, with a sizable amount of carbonation. A very interesting beer, that I would definitely recommend.

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Photo of skybluewater
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a bottle that I bought at the brewery during the BA GABF pub crawl. Great job on that day Todd!!
The bottle is notched as a 2000 bottling. I am drinking at room temp in a snifter. THe brew pours a cloudy dark mahogany with no lite passing through. A small beige creamy head foams up and fades to an edge layer quickly. Aroma is sweet and fruity with plums and raisins leading the way. Also some pears and a mix of floral and piney hops. I also get a little sweet malt like brown sugar. Nice robust body with very faint carbonation. Flavor is a bit of piney hops to start than all sweet malt with plums toffee and molasses careening across my palate. The finish is slightly warming in my belly. Overall a well made brew and easy to drink. Alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of cncbofh
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark mahogany color with a decent foamy head which quickly dissappeared.

I could smell floral hops and a very sweet bread-like malt.
The taste was incredible. Great combination of citrusy hops and chocolate (minty?) malt. The alcohol is well hidden. A very warming drink with hints of sherry and port.

I'll be picking this up a few more times during Winter Season.

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Photo of mntlover
2.77/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a dark dark red with brown highlights a tan head that is gone mighty fast no lace. Sweet fruity malt raisins plums sugar drops dance threw my head very light on hop aroma. Taste is lightly carbonated sweet malt flowing with fruity flavors great start. Goes all to hell has a strange sour finish? Beer was fine smelled good even tasted good until the lingering sour aftertaste . Is it bad and if so wouldn't it be worse if contaiminated? If anyone knows beer mail meI can't believe that was whta they were going for. Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkability is of course not good do to sour taste. I will have to try this again to be sure some day.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown with not a whole lot of head but plenty of carbonation. Malty aroma with some hops and a touch of sourness. Taste... woah. This is not a beer for the faint of heart. The taste is pleasant but intense. I don't know what it is about this beer, there's a ton of chocolate, caromel and some ripe fruits, but also a lot of hops. Nothing about this beer is subtle. It would be an excellent beer for a very cold day. It gets marked down a little in drinkability because I feel like its a little rough around the edges.... lots of interesting taste sensations, just no balance. The 8.1% alcohol however is well hidden.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Wine & Beer - Westpark, Richmond, VA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the mahogany brew. Laces well. Aroma is deeply malty, with an easily apparent alcohol component. Taste is based on the dark malts, but some dark fruits add a slight sourness to the flavor. Mouthfeel and drinkability both very good, especially for an old ale. The smoothness and lack of alcohol burning is appreciated.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with some nice ruby highlights and an creamy offwhite head about a half inch thick. A nice lacing is left on the glass. Aromas are of bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts, along with a little molasses in there as well. Initially this beer hits up from with a nice barrage of roasted malts, then progresses towards nice chocolate and carob flavors. A little nut flavor sneaks in there as well along with some molasses. This beer finishes still very malty but has a nice bitter hop finish that lingers in the mouth. Overall a nice creamy rich body with just the right amount of carbonation. Super drinkable at 8%

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Photo of aracauna
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark red-brown body and a smallish head. The aroma is pretty hefty with caramel and cappaccino. The flavor brings in notes of nuts and a hint of chocolate all followed up with a bit of alcohol. A bit of woodiness is involved in the flavors and aromas and the fruit isn’t huge, but does complement the rest nicely.

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Photo of avylover
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours out a very dark brown with ruby highlights. There is a tan head that died quick leaving big frothy bubbles floating atop my beer. Aroma is very malty & complex. Malted milk, citrous zing, coffee & chocolate, others. The taste, while still hefty on the malt, is overpowered by a lemony zing, making for a weird combination. Alcohol is evident in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and thick, but the drinkablity suffers from from the lemony zing I spoke of. Not something I'd want another one of in one sitting. The flavors are just all over the place in this one.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a deep brown with a reddish hue and has a nice thick tan head. The body looks a bit murky with some bits of stuff swimming around in it. It has decent head retention and leaves a nice lace about the glass. The aroma is strong with dark fruits and chocolate and as it warmed the citrus hops and alcohol seemed to stand out more. Very malty taste with a fruity sweetness standing at the front and a bit of hops to tame down the sweetness so it doesn’t overpower the flavor. There are also nice hints of dark fruits and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a good with a nice full body and a lingering flavor. Great beer that is highly drinkable, pick one up if you haven’t already.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2001 Vintage.
Brewed with Northwest 2-row, Brown, Dark Caramel, and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Centennial and Cascade.
8.1% ABV.

Pours out to a murky, sediment-rich, clogged drain looking dark amber, forming a small dark beige with no retention or lacing, despite a chugging pour. Looks like the last bottle of homebrew from a primary. Carbonation is moderate to mild. Aroma is rich with dates, figs, golden raisins, milk chocolate syrup, and some mild resinous hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, with a medium-dense body, and semi-dry earthy finish. Taste begins with some initial malt sweetness and amber malt body, followed by mild resinous hops which escalate into a medium-strong herbal bitterness and pronounced earthiness in the finish...lots of astringent earth and wood with a semi-dry finish and touches of peppery alcohol, tobacco, darjeeling, ethopian harrar, and cedar. Cleanly fermented with no off-flavors.

A little light in the malt sugar department, this one has fermented dry, and would benefit from more complex sugars. Probably better young. Decent, but not very impressive for the style.

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Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 2003 Edition.

A dark murky brown/ruby red colour with a small, tight head of tan/brown foam. The aromas are strong. I smell leather, deeply roasted malts, alcohol, dark fruits, spices, citric hops, chocolate, and more. The taste is quite malty, with the hops in the middle, and the dark fruits and chocolate in the lingering finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and right where it should be and the drinkability is damn nice. Overall a quality brew.

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Photo of Beaver13
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard brown bottle, with a the year brewed marked (’03)
Aroma: A deep cloying malt odor, with a light perfume of hop. As the beer warmed, some nice chocolate started coming out.
Appearance: A dark red/amber, clear, with a tan head that died down to a light coat. Some good lacing was noted.
Flavor: Balance is toward the malt, as it should be for style. There are enough hops to keep it from being overly sweet, but no more. I didn’t get the hops kick many others noted. Some minor dark fruit, plum, hint of dark cherry. Alcohol flavor really kicks in at the end, but doesn’t burn. Again, as it warmed, a nice chocolate note came out.
Mouthfeel: Bit thin for all this malt, and a bit of an alcohol pucker at the end. Have to put it at a medium-heavy body.
Overall Impression: This beer is true to style, but the overall taste just doesn’t rock my boat. I may have started it a bit too cold, because my opinion really warmed as the beer did. While I’m going to give this beer fairly high marks, it just isn’t my cup of tea. I like big beers, and old ales, but the flavor just didn’t match my taste buds. I think I’ll try next year’s version and revisit my review.

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Photo of filabrazilia
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a nice light brown head that retains it character throughout the drinking. The lacing shrouds the glass like a curtain.

Aroma - Roasted chocolate malts, carmel, toffee and hops waft from the beer to the nose.

Taste - The chocolate malt dominates the flavor with an exceptional hop finish. Fantastic balance that leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied and rich with a smooth dry finish. Fantastic balance of sweet and bitter. Just a nice example of what a beer should feel like in the mouth.

Drinkability - With such a full body, it's hard to imagine putting many of these away in one sitting. This is an excepitonally smooth sipping beer. A great winter beer from Great Divide.

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Photo of Crosling
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Metallic red in color when held up to the light. Fine full-bosomed long lasting head with lacing like a splatter all over the glass. Enticing ring of head along the side of the glass. Large bubbles stick out like icebergs.

The nose was hit with cranberries, caramel, sugar coated raisins and dark cherries dipped in alcohol. Nice nose!

Very very very flavorful. Rich and extreamly malty. Flavors of blueberries, suddle chocolate, sour cherries, caramel and a definate tart undertone trying to break through.

Very well balanced and very well made.

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Photo of Jon
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Bottling.

Deep garnet color with a foamy tan head. Nice retention and additionally attractive trails of lace down the glass. Biscuity malt, resinous hops, toffee and chocolate notes resonate in the nose. Additional emphasis on toffee, caramel, ripe fruit and unsweet chocolate linger on the palate along with a rich, earthiness induced by the addition of piney, sappy hops. Warming alcohol presents itself on the long finish. Sweet malt flavor dominates, however, and will continue to do so as this beer matures. Chewy mouthfeel is smooth, round and full. A nice, complex and warming old ale in the British tradition. This beer, while drinking quite well young, could certainly stand to be laid down to mellow further. A perennially solid achievement from Great Divide -- this year is no exception.

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Photo of BeerBard
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking a 2002 vintage I've been keeping for nearly a year. Looks and smells great. Cloudy motor oil colored murky stuff with a bit of floating chunks. I suppose the taste is pretty great (see the other beer freaks' descriptions...most of whom I agree with), and the only reason I don't rank it higher is that there's a metallic taste to the beer that's a bit hard to ignore. May be that it doesn't keep more than 6 months or so. It seems to be a hyperspiced old ale in the most general sense, though, so I anticipated it would keep better. I'll try it again this year, as should you, dear reader. Maybe it takes a couple of years for it to optimize?

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 fluid ounce bottle, the label is nicked on the right hand side indicating that this is a 2002 bottling.

Appearance: The pour allows the head to form slowly at first, that is, until the clear chestnut colored beer reaches half way in my goblet shaped Glass, when it then explodes into life, its yellowy-beige color giving it a very distinctive appearance. A solid mass settles to about ¾” deep and leaves a mix of Belgium and ringed lacing. High levels of inherent carbonation are evident as the beer is swirled.

Nose: A balanced nose of sweet caramel malts and some dark toffee soaked in alcohol.

Taste: Starts smooth, and it has strength that never dominates but reminds you politely not to ignore it from the off. Dark toffees, sweet malts and dark fruits in the middle suddenly make way for a decisive bitterness in the back end, which almost has a spearmint chocolate tingle right at the death. Strong but very well made, and incredibly well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Pretty big, solid and chewy at times. A meal in its own right. Warming and Wholesome.

Drinkability: The balance of this Ale makes it an easy drink, even given its strength. Obviously fabricated from high quality ingredients, and this certainly shows.

Overall: A very nice offering indeed that reminded me so very much of some English Strong Old Ales that I often drank during the Winter months whilst back in Limey-land.

Cheers BigHuge, you’re a Gentleman BA.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,105 ratings.