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Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

1,155 Reviews
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Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,155 | Ratings: 2,825
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish amber bordering on mahogony with ample, fluffy head. Very beautiful lacing.

Smells of roasty malty goodness, with spices to boot, perhaps something like cinnamon.

Tastes deeply malty, with spices and a warm, subtle undertone from the alcohol. Well balanced, yet robust. There is perhaps some chocolate undertones toward in the middle. Body is smooth and silky, a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition Appearance: Dark ruby hue with an off white tan head fine bubbles leaves smooth layers of uneven lacing with each sip. Aroma: Rich blend of piney hops warming alcohol with bready spiced malt layers mixed with a touch of tart cherries and citrus scented hops. Taste: Doughy malt base is sugary but the big hop addition balances the flavor out so that hops have at least one up on the malt profile here. Up front strong bitterness and slightly rough pine and alcohol soaked fruit including cherries and citrus with a touch of chocolate and spices thrown in the mix very nice. Mouthfeel: Medium body lighter carbonation with a slight syrupy texture. Drinkability: Really good English style Old ale another winner from Great Divide.

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Photo of Franchise
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown and leaves a sticky beige lace that sticks to the side of the glass. This beer smells of honey, brown sugar, citrus rinds, and lemon grass. As I taste this beer the bitterness from the hops and a slight sweetness from the caramel malt comes out on the palate. I also get a slight aftertaste of the alcohal that lingers on the palate but is really hidden with the sweetness of the beer. Overall this is pretty good beer one that is a def winter time sipper.

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Photo of mentor
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 bottling. Pours a half finger of caramel light brown head over a ruby-edged brown liquid. Crystal clear and shining like a gem. Wow, this is a gorgeous looking beer. Smells cocoa and dry bis-quick powder. Woody and dried fall oak leaves. Tastes dry cocoa, dry leaves, with a buried alcohol flavor. Not so much alcohol sting as alcohol flavor. Some rough hop edge, but hidden by the strength of the chocolate. Biscuit malt dryness and a touch of roast. Nearing the bottom of the glass, the alcohol is standing strong and has developed some sting. Thick mouthfeel that's creamy and somewhat dextrinous. Overall, this is an enjoyable winter warmer. The flavors just don't quite meld to make it a savoring experience. I may pick up some bottles so I can age them a couple years. I think some of the alcohol heat would settle and the flavors could form some kind of union.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says its won numerous awards as an English Style Old Ale.

Pours a beautiful mahogany color with a creamy off-white head.

That dry-hopped aroma is very evident in the nose. A little roasted/malty character in the smell as well.

Taste is very English. Reminds me of those darned English pale ales, but stronger. Its got some bite up front, and an interesting aftertaste. Maybe smokey?/nutty? The malty flavor is complex, and just never seems to sit right with the hops in this one. Quite a robust tasting brew, probably could be more balanced.

The mouthfeel is full, and it has an almost-puckering finish. The drinkability is nice especially considering the 8.1% abv. A nice session beer.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage: Pours a murky mahogany with some ruby tint, and a thick, creamy tan head...very nice especially for a cellared beer. The aroma is quite hoppy with big citrus (tangerine, orange and lemon rind, grapefruit) character, caramel sweetness, alcohol, toasted bread, and some esters. The flavor is quite hoppy initially with citrus and floral character, followed by some sweet caramel malt, fruity esters, alcohol and some toasted bread. While i enjoyed this beer, honestly it seemed too similar to their barleywine (which is fantastic) but i was expecting a much different beast than old ruffian and that is what this beer most resembles to me. The mouthfeel is chewy and rich and drinkability is good but the alcohol is somewhat warming.

2009 vintage:
Bottled on 11/19/2009, ever so slightly less than a year old. Pours a slightly hazy mahogany color with a thin tan head that retains OK. The aroma has a ton of sweet malts initially (notes of caramel, bourbon, toffee, turbinado sugar) along with some piney and citrusy hops in the background, along with some cocoa, pecans and almonds, dark fruits and some alcohol. The flavor has some citrusy and piney hops upfront (but more muted compared to when fresh), along with caramel and toffee, rum cake, dark fruits, caramelized pecans, and some alcohol The mouthfeel is really smooth and drinkability is much improved. I'm really digging this with a year on it, the hops have faded and the malts come to the forefront and the alcohol has really mellowed...I've got another bottle I'll leave alone for a year or so to see how this one matures further.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, Riley's

appearance: pale mahogany, pretty clear, light tan rim, not much in the way of lacing

smell: nutty, sweet dark fruit, alcohol, dark chocolate, plums, slightly citric...smells full

taste: sweet alcohol soaked plums and cherrys, smooth dark chocolate, vanilla, walnut, toffee, slight caramel, roasted malts..quite well balanced, enjoyable

mouthfeel: full and chewy, yet smooth...mild alcohol burn

drinkability: only a few of these

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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

great divide has yet to disappoint me, and hibernation brought up their stock, in my opinion

a hansome cranberry/garnet color with a decent foam on top. started off at a finger's width and never fully vanished, leaving some frosting

complexity in the malt: rich dark fruit up front and a great lingering toastytoffiness. big malt all around goes hand in hand with judicious hopping. nice floral hop aroma and balanced bitterness

big, but balanced

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Photo of carln26
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep brown very clear in color with orange highlights. It was topped by a thick tan colored head that recedes quickly. The aroma is dominated by sweet, dark malt. Mild citrus (orange) and spice on the finish. The taste has more of the malt up front, toffee, figs. The hops come out mid-flavor, nice citrus, grass, a little hop flower. The spice wakes up on the finish. Hard to characterize. I think there is some coriander and all-spice. What a great mouth feel. I’ve only had this full rich mouth feel in Imperial Stouts and Dubbles. Very nice, and very drinkable.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice reddish-brown with very little head. Head drops to a spotty film but leaves some scattered lace.
Smell is malt, hops and floral notes.
Taste is malt, hops, alcohol, smoke, molasses and a piney/floral combination. Smooth and full-bodied with a nice warming coming in slowly at the end. A good brew but could be better.

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Photo of Bcant
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage, sampled 11/2005.

The way you pour this beer changes the taste not insignificantly. I big pour with lots of distance and air will yield a large fluffy head. A more conservative pour will produce a decent head that is more compact, and has greater staying power but leaves less lacing. I know this is true for most brews, but particularly so for this one. My review is for a conservative pour.

Deep red/brown…almost purple, lighter when shown to light. The smell is the weakest part of this beer. Not that it is bad; it is just a very thin bouquet. What is there is floral, reveling more of the hop character of this well balanced ale.

Very smooth, in the bourbon not light beer way. In fact when swirled, like a whiskey, this brew leaves long legs. Lots of flavors: dark chocolate cherry liquors and brandy beans, spices, and spruce-like hops. Yet age has blended these flavors well, mellowing what could be a chaotic mix.

Very round and chewy. Nice carbonation level. Refreshing for a beer with such a big malt character but also warming. A very nice offering.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in '05 (couldnt wait to try it) from a bottle with a new design than what is displayed. Poured out a very dark, but transparent brown with red thining through the light coming out of the glass. A tan head appeared with good aromas of creamy caramel and i thought peanut butter chocolate. However, when the head went down, it was quite hard for me to catch anymore aromas coming out of the beer, including the ones i smelled with the head.

Taste is creamy and slighly fruity with lots of natural flavors of nuts. The 8.1 alcohol is present too, but not overwhelming. Roasted malts come into play too, as well as the hops (which surprised me a little). But after so many sips, this beer kinda killed my palate to it and was hard to distiguish anything.

Mouthfeel is great. Creamy and covers your mouth with some carbonation. After a sip i can feel it really cover my mouth, like a teaspoon of butter.

I have to say this beer is highly drinkable. My head told me to sip it, but my mouth told me to gulp it. thats gotta mean something. I will cellar i think 2 of them to see what happens, but i think they are quite drinkable fresh.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep reddish brown color was almost an exact match for the label on this 12 oz. longneck bottle. The body was clear, and the head creamy, one finger thick, and beige in color, and lots of lace, too. The earthy sweet aroma was that of chocolate, hazelnuts, and toffee, all standard fare for a Strong or Old Ale. The taste was sweet and mellow, with a brown sugar and vanilla flavor up front, a hint of mocha, which was followed by a nutty character. The hops were more noticeable with the classic Great Divide flair, and added an extra layer of citric and leafy complexity. The beer was velvety smooth in texture with a lingering faintly woody aftertaste. Well crafted beer that felt more vigorously drinkable than the other stodgy examples of this style.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear dark amber with a creamy head that laces well. Smells like chocolate covered raspberries aboard a wave of caramel malts. Cigarettes too. Flavor has toffee with some ash and alcohol. The caramel maltiness is annoying in that plastic-bodied way that feels so fake. Finish is a little like a sugary cigarette butt. Needs some more bitterness. Plastic-coated big body really ruins this beer for me, which is too bad considering that I was digging the aromas and flavors.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I must say that I have very mixed feelings about this one. I poured a very red colour with a nice fluffly off white head with decent head retention. Nice lacing. Looked fantastic. The smell was nice with a bit of malt and loaded with hops. Not my cup of tea, but still I thought it had a pleasant smell, hoppy or not. The taste? If you are a hop fanatic, then I highly recommend you try this of out. I am not a hop fanatic, so I'll finish this 6 pack off and never ever buy this again. Very very hoppy. Bitterly so, perhaps "perfume like". The only thing I did enjoy about the taste was that it seemed to me to have a bit of a toasted malt-like finish. Don't know if that is indeed what I am tasting, but that is the only way I can describe it. The mouth feel was quite smooth and easy to drink with little carbonation, and at 8.0+abv, they did a nice job concealing the alcohol. Overall, this was okay I suppose, but this style is just not for me. I'll take a heavy milk stout, thanks.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat muddied amber color. Decent head at first. Big slick, malty aroma. Toffee and resiny aroma. Malty flavor upfront-oak, some vanilla. Quite earthy. Great body. Just a big ole hunk of malty goodness. A great beer. The whole package is really great. Almost too drinkable for my own good. Get some.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A twelve-ounce bottle in a mix-and-match sixer at Wilburs, in Fort Collins, CO, $7.49 for the sixpack. Bottled in 2005: this winter's edition of Great Divide's winter warmer. The bottle calls this an "English-Style Old Ale."

A: Lovely dark red cloudy brew is topped by a large chunky off-white head. Really quite nice looking, with steady streams of tiny bubbles running up through the body. Frothy lacing paints the entire inside of the glass.

S: Hops are trying to climb over the top of the fruity malt here. It's like a war, with the malt coming out on top. Lots going on here.

T: The war escalates in the tasting! There's a lot of malt sweetness here and a lot of hop bitterness as well. Chocolate and pine go best four-out-of-seven, and the match is still tied. Burnt cherry and leaf-smoke are in the tenth round of fifteen, both bruised and bloodied. Neither the hops nor the malt are about to throw in the towel. This is definitely a grab-your-tastebuds-by-the-throat beer! So much flavorescent onslaught that the alcohol is virtually unnoticeable.

M: Sticky, almost syrupy. This is a monster.

D: At 8.1%, it's dangerous - you will go into hibernation if you have three. So, while it's really slurpaliciously quaffable, not in quantity.

Overall, what a pleasant surprise -- a couple of sixers of these are certainly in the offing for after Christmas, and that "long winter's nap."


The 2006 release is, if anything, a bit more complex. There's a walnutty note to the smell and the finish that is delightfully surprising, and it adds a depth of mouthfeel. I would raise both the smell and mouthfeel numbers to 4.5, yielding an overall average for my 2006 rating to 4.45.


The 2007 edition is, if anything, much more chocolatey and espresso-y. Still complex and rich, way too easy to drink for an 8.1% beer. This year's numbers, same as last years:
A - 4.5
S - 4.5
T - 4.5
M - 4.5
D - 4.0
Average - 4.45


The 2008 version is much more strong on the chocolate-coffee end of the scale. Smells like mocha espresso. Really rich and warm! Not as much carbonation or head retention as previous versions. Also a bit less thick and chewy.
A - 4.0
S - 5.0
T - 4.5
M - 4.0
D - 4.0
Average - 4.40

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev 0%
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.

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

12oz with the notch on the label indicating that this was bottled in '05, poured into a pint glass.

Clear crimson, with a light tan head that is less than an inch, shows decent retention, and leaves a nice sheet of bubbles inside the glass as it goes down.

The aromas is Slightly alcoholic with piney hops and chocolate. The malt aromas are something close to a stout but it stops short of that. Interesting.

The taste follows along the same lines as the nose. Caramel and hop pine upfront with some alcoholic warmth followed by a touch of chocolate. The finish is hoppy with the lingering chocolate. Old Rasputin comes to mind. I love it!

Nice mouth that approaches full but backs off at the right time. Slight residual oils, but they are not unwelcome. Despite the abv, this is quite drinkable in light of it's merits.

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Photo of battlekow
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hibernation Ale is a cloudy, caramel colored brew with a minimal head that quickly fades. Big notes of chocolate rise from the glass, with just hints of the 8.1% ABV. Taste is also quite chocolately, but there's a strange hop flavor providing dissonance, almost like fresh parsley. Finishes with some hop bittering. Mouthfeel is very thick. Overall, I was very pleased with how chocolatey this was, but the hops and the malt just don't mesh well. For the most part though, a fine strong ale, and it hides its alcohol quite well.

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Photo of macpapi
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First taste of this beer. Interesting to say the least.

Pours a nice dark brown color with a hint of amber in the light. There is a slight white head, and overall tint makes this beer quite opaque. Good lacing.

There is a nice malt smell. Chocolate, caramel, toffee and a bit of nut aroma are also present. This is a very full and balanced whiff.

Tates like heavily roasted malt with a good deal of sweet chocolate. A very bold and tasty flavor. Some hop bitterness is also there at the end of the swallow.

In the mouth Hibernation Ale is creamy and bitingly sharp at different points. Not terribly carbonated.

Overall this is a very nice beer. Strong tasting and pleasant, with a good deal of substance. Impressive.

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Photo of jaluria
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A medium-brown color with cream colored head that remains thick and foamy for quite awhile. Great lacing is left behind once the head begins to dissipate. Aromas of malt, nuts, caramelized sugar are present. The taste is lovely with hop bitterness in every sip right upfront followed by an assertive malt finish. Additional flavors of apricots and plums become apparent as the beer warms. The finish is dry with a lingering sweetness leaving behind a warming alcohol sensation. Overall, this is a very enjoyable brew that I can see myself having by a fireplace in the dead of winter, perhaps in a ski lodge!

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Photo of Quaffer
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a deep amber red, with an emphasis on the red, that was relatively clear. I poured the beer rather aggresively and was rewarded with a beige, two-finger head. It dissipated slowly and left a thick covering of foam on the side of the glass. As I drank, there was a ton of lace left behind.

Smell: Right after the pour, the aroma was huge with thick, sweet malt. After a little time, though, it mellowed out and became much more balanced. It was still heavy with malt, but roasted and chocolate malts dominated. The chocolate was definitely noticeable. A little raw grain gave it a bit of an edge. Just the slightest hint of hops came through.

Mouthfeel: On the upper end of medium-bodied. Creamy smooth, mouthfilling, and slightly coating.

Taste: Thick with a combination of sweet, roasted, and chocolate malts. Like the aroma, the chocolate was strong. In the middle, medicinal cherry and an herbal hoppiness arose. The finish was a continuation of these, along with some spirit-like alcohol and a stronger sweetness.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Bottling: Pours with little apparent head, but the little that is there is staying put. Nice lacing. Nose of chocolate, caramel malt and slight nutty character. Hops smell fresh and herbal.

This beer is a lot better fresh like this than when I tried last year's batch with six months of age on it. Caramel malt, chocolate nut malt, and grassy, herbal, resiny hops. The mouthfeel is thick, a bit syrupy. This is a sipper. Big thanks to AlexJ for the trade.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,155 ratings.