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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,212 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,212
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 97
Gots: 119 | FT: 0
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: 2,212 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwillcourt
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%

Served from a bottle into a wine glass. Bottled on 10/28/09, less than three months ago.

A - Deep brown, nearly black. It appears deep ruby when held to the light. I think mahogany is the best word for it. Finger-sized, tight, tan head disappears in a couple minutes to a film. There is no lacing.

S - Strong caramel malt and toffee smell with slight nutty and hop aromas.

T - Toasted malt, caramel, and milk chocolate are the dominant flavors. Slight nutty flavors lurk beneath. Bitter hops and oak in the aftertaste. This is firmly on the malty side of the spectrum, but it is not unbalanced.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. It feels sticky and chewy for the style.

D - Delicious and smooth. Alcohol is warming and not harsh. Among winter seasonals, I definitely prefer these malty, complex ales the over winter-spiced varieties.

jwillcourt, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of Minkybut
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a nice mahogany color with a nice head that was off white. The smell was malty and hoppy. The beer was very malty tasting and had a slightly sweet finish. More sweet than I liked. I might would try it on tap if I could find it.

Minkybut, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of kylejohnson03
4.03/5  rDev 0%

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Smith pint glass. Bottled on Oct 22, 2009. Picked up a couple sixers when it came out, and this is my last bottle.

A: Pours a rich brown with brilliant ruby red notes. A swirl of the glass gives beautiful lacing, which slowly fades but leaves traces all over the glass.

S: Malty, yet complex. Brown sugar sweetness, and a nutty component.

T: Roasted malts, caramel, oaky and nutty flavors. Chocolate in the middle seemingly comes out of nowhere, but it give this beer a richness that sets it apart. Finishes spicy, a little bitter, and the alcohol warms as it goes down.

M/D: Full bodied, but not a great deal of carbonation. Works well for the style. Don't expect to finish one of these off quick, a high ABV makes it one to be enjoyed at a slower pace.

A great winter beer from the folks at Great Divide, makes me wish I could get a case and go into hibernation for myself. As the warmer weather comes, beers like this will slowly disappear. But thankfully, there's always next year!

kylejohnson03, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.95/5  rDev -2%

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Medals won, food pairings, 8.7% ABV, Bottled on Oct 22, 2009.

Thanks to Sweemzander for this bottle!

A - Hibernation ale pours a completely clear dark mahogany color with a one finger head. Despite the terribly tall pour, it was rather quiet. The light khaki head lowers slowly leaving lace all over the glass til only a ring of foam is left.

S - The nose is filled with deep toasted malts with low hints of both wood and nuttiness as well as light caramel and semi sweet chocolate. Curious is that the nose is also overrun but a very grassy hop scent, something I usually can't stand, but here I can. An incredibly light alcohol scent comes out too. Deep and robust.

T - Heavily toasted malts provide the backbone and a good portion of the flavor to this beer. A toasted bread flavor combines with some earthy flavors like wood and nuttiness til the earthy hops come in. Again, full of grassy flavors that usually aren't particularly tasty to me, it sort of works here. The flavor ends with a dry cocoa-like chalkiness and slightly bitter hint.

M - Rather crisp and carbonated for an old ale, this beer is full-bodied but feels less-so. Robust but still "thin" not chewy. The finish is dry and bitter. Nearly chalky.

D - A solid old ale that has a few flaws. Some conflicts with my palate, but overall a good beer. There are a few beers I'd pick over this for an Old Ale but it's still nice. Some more age could mellow the hops a bit and let the malts do most of the work which would be nice.

BeerFMAndy, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of dudecandle
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Bottled Nov. 2009:

A: Very dark reddish brown, transparent body, with a dark off-white head which quickly dissipated, leaving a slight cap on agitation.

S: Chocolate with some roasted nuts, a bit yeasty, some dark fruit and some very light herbal hops. They all work great together.

T: Chocolate is milky, and the toastiness is very nice. The herbal hops give a nice spice to round the dark fruit out, and the chocolate finishes off wonderfully.

M: Quite full but not overwhelmingly so. Great finish.

D: Alcohol is barely detectable, taste is quite robust, but it's still quite drinkable. The chocolate is wonderful, the fruit complements it very well. All in all, given the big flavors, it's impressive how easily it goes down.

dudecandle, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of cnally
4/5  rDev -0.7%

I wish I could go into hibernation for the winter. This beer will hopefully take me closer to spring.

Red/brown coloring in the beer, off-white head, sticky, very crisp and clear looking.

Sweet and malty, a little musty in the aroma. Fruity at the finish, cherry and apple.

The flavor is very caramel malty, a little apple and nutmeg in the middle, and there is a very bitter finish.

Crisp, even carbonation, very slick but not syrupy feel.

Nice flavor, nice feel and a decent brew.

cnally, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of Apellonious
3.95/5  rDev -2%

12 oz bottle bought at frugal mcdougles, bottled 11/18/2009

A - pours a dark ruby brown, with a finger size head.

S - smells of plum, sugar, malt. Something else is in there I can't quite place...ah, yes.... A whiff of alcohol.

T - There a lot of things going on here. A syrupy sugary plum taste, with a heavy dose of malt. The alcohol can be tasted, but is not overbearing. But you will FEEL it by the time you finish it. Sort of like running into a big tire at semi full-speed. One mild negative is the aftertaste, which has a slight metallic presence.

M- The mouthfeel is perfect, except at the end, when it becomes overly syrupy.

D - definitely not a session beer, unless your session calls for passing out after 3 or 4 beers. Best consumed with food as a winter evening relaxer ( hence the genius of the name).

Apellonious, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of tjd112
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%

Presentation: Poured into Flying Fish Pint glass

Appearance: Dark ruby with well-retained tan head and one of the best lacings I've ever seen

Smell: Very malty

Taste: Like cocoa and booziness, a bit of hops can be detected

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and dry finish

Drinkability: A meal in a glass

Overall: Best Colorado beer I've had

tjd112, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of BierFan
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on November 18th, 2009.

Appearance: Thin creamy tan head has good retention. Body is dark reddish brown. Kinda looks like a porter.

Smell: Cocoa and spicy hops. So far it's unlike any old ale I've had before.

Taste: More chocolatey cocoa powder followed by a good smack of oily spicy hops. I was skeptical at first but it does seem like it makes a pretty good winter seasonal.

BierFan, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled Oct. 22, 2009.

(A)- Pours a dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights that produced a quickly dissipating gray to off-white head.

(S)- Roasted caramel & toffee with a bit of walnuts & almonds.

(T)- Precisely like the smell dictated. A little bit of fig-like raisins to top it all off.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. Has a rustic feel to it that brings out the northwoods mood in me. Makes me want to sit by the fire and have a good cigar.

(D)- A solid example of the style. Generally a higher abv is associated with old ales, but this one is definitely more drinkable than usual for the style. Good, but I think at this stage of its age in the bottle that it needs more time or that it should be drunk fresher. Only time will tell on my last bottle.

sweemzander, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of afausser
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%

This one marks my 50th review as a BA so I'll try to be good about it and actually make it helpful!

A: A robust pour yields a fluffy two fingers of light mocha crème foam. It's a perfectly clear, crisp ruby red with hints of red tinted woods, and has a ton of (somewhat slow moving) super fine carbonation bubbles. The head gets smaller, but sticks around for quite a bit, and is made of the tiny bubbles except for the top, which is sort of the consistency of seafoam, which as it warms turns into a hazy, wispy, film. Very thick, sticky lacing lines the glass. A quite unique looking beer.

S: Lots of malt scents come through, blending with a nice, heavy vanilla and woody oak. There's also cream and chocolate notes, which come through as hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. Even a little bit of brown sugar, and in the background, a hint of coffee. Nice and sweet--almost syrupy sweet--in the nose, and even a bit of toffee, cherries, and brandy as it warms.

T: Not syrupy or even as sweet as the smell would have you believe. The first thing I notice in the taste is bitter hops which blend very nicely with the only-at-first-secondary malts, which make the brew incredibly smooth and creamy. The vanilla from the smell carries over and works really nicely here, along with lime, anise, and licorice. There are slight tart apple and raspberry notes, but they aren't present until the nice, hoppy aftertaste. There's also an ever so slight hint of smoke and ground black pepper in the background, and a slight impression of barrel and whiskey notes. Somewhat minty (and an odd funky cheese note) as it warms, which has the odd effect of it actually having less heat.

M: Quite smooth. Great Divide, in my opinion, has the right idea with the tiny sized carbonation bubbles. However, the fact that they are so small is not really tempered well with the amount of them. The little bit that's there, at times, expresses itself in a sort of foamy way, and though I can imagine the nice, crisp, flowing bubbles that they might have been going for, this one's not exactly there, especially as it warms. There's little heat at first, but it turns up eventually.

D: One to sip, but certainly drinkable. With some more dense carbonation, this one could be pretty great. The strangest thing, though, about this brew (at least for me) is that while the carbonation in the mid-stage is less than desirable, when it nearly entirely disappears (and when the minty smell presents itself as it warms) it's quite cool and refreshing, which bumps up the score.

afausser, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of rapidsequence
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%

12 oz bottle. $2 from Magnolia in Lynchburg.

Appearance: This is a pretty perfect looking Old Ale. It is a perfectly clear deep, dark ruby color that almost shines. The head is a thick, light brown, bubbly, uneven thing that sticks around for a while and leaves floating islands when its mostly gone. Nice foamy lace in sheets.

Smell: First off, I'm surprised at the hoppiness. The dominant smell though is a rich, toasty maltiness with some raisiny hints. There's also a hint of medicinal, band-aidy phenols.

Taste: Big sweet toasty maltiness with some dark fruit is balanced by the hoppiness. I almost wish it wasnt balanced so well. The hops are a little spicy and intrusive (what am I saying?) and draw the focus away from the malt a bit. Really good, but different. Oh, I really dont taste the phenol as much as I smelled it.

Mouthfeel: Huge. Chewy, thick. Coating and slick on the tongue. Great.

Drinkability: Its a little bit of an oddball too me, being so hoppy. This one is young at just 2 months old, so I would guess some age would make it even more to my liking. A damn good beer though. I can feel it.

rapidsequence, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%

12oz bottle purchased at Rozis. An old favorite I'm excited to revisit. Bottled 10/15/09, consumed early January 2010.

Pours a great brown with reddish edges and an eggshell head.

Smells like roasted malt, much like a brown ale. Slight hop aroma as well. A few kinds of malt, complex. Nice nose.

Taste is wonderful, like the first time all over again. Nice complex malt, caramel sweetness, roast, coffee, chocolate. Moderate bitterness but not floral, methinks these hops were added early in the boil.

Great heavy body and nice carb. Creamy and satisfying.

Strong beer, but this went down easy. A really nice winter beer, now I'm debating seeking out the BA version. Glad to see you again old friend!

jampics2, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of stewart124
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%

Pours a deep copper color with an inch of tan head that develops in a nice lace.

Lots of malt in the nose along with a bit of toffee, caramel and a strong spice.

The taste is super smooth and complex. There is a background of spicy hops. Loads of malty sweet caramel malts, some chocolate notes and a sherry quality. Big and did I mention complex? There is a slight alcohol warming character in the end.

This really drinks well and could sneak up on me on these cold winter nights. Mouthfeel is as smooth as can be. Finish is piney, spicy and a bold warming tingle from the alcohol. A very nice old ale.

stewart124, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of DrDemento456
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%

I was able to find this for 2.75 a bottle at my local shop. One of the cheapest Great Divide beer I have seen so I made this my first one.

A - Hazy brown color with little to no head.
S - Smells of sweet figs and raisins. Hope it delivers the same.
T - Holly french wood! What a strong wooden barrel taste, but it actually rounds out pretty smooth. Not as sweet as the smell.
M - Sort of creamy and the ABV is hidden.
D - I would be happy to try other Great Divide beers since my experience from this one is so great.

Overall the price was right, the ABV was high, and the beer was smooth. Whats to complain about?

DrDemento456, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of beerman207
4/5  rDev -0.7%

A: This one is dark brown with a head that doesn't last long leaving some decent lacing behind.

S: Smell is malt, figs, and some hops

T: Taste is suprisingly bitter with the hops playing a more dominant role than expected. The figs come through as does the malt. Finish is very nice with a sweetness that warms all the way through.

M: Creamy and bold

D: I'd definately pick this up again. Solid offering from Great Divide as usual.

beerman207, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%

Jan 10, 2008
2007 vintage. Pours a dark copper/brown with a big foamy tan head that leaves plenty of sticky lacing. This was a warm-ish pour, as I found this tastes better when it's not straight-from-the-fridge cold. Aroma is rather subdued, but the flavor on this is HUGE and unique. Caramel, brown sugar, coffee, chocolate and some spice. Rich creamy velvety mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. Gently warming. Wonderful, wonderful brew. Haven't encountered a Great Divide brew I didn't like. Highly recommend!
Aroma 6/10, Appearance 4/5, Taste 8/10, Palate 4/5, Overall 17/20

Jan 17, 2010
2009 vintage. Pours dark brown, somewhat thin, with a one finger tan head. Reduces to a wispy ring and leaves a fair bit of lacing. Aroma is sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar, some chocolate with a bit of a hop presence. Flavor is caramel malt, brown sugar, with a somewhat hoppy, bitter finish. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, a bit oily, medium carbonation. Aroma is nice on this one compared to other years, but the flavor and mouthfeel aren't quite there.
Aroma 7/10, Appearance 3/5, Taste 7/10, Palate 3/5, Overall 17/20

Jan 17, 2010
2008 vintage. Pours brown with a two-finger tan head that leaves a nice covering and some sticky lacing. Aroma is very malty, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, coffee, chocolate. Flavor is another caramel malt bomb with some brown sugar and toffee, some light piney bitterness. Mouthfeel is rather rich, smooth, a bit of carbonation bite. Very, very nice after a year.
Aroma 8/10, Appearance 3/5, Taste 7/10, Palate 4/5, Overall 17/20

elgiacomo, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of sitarist
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%

A- Looks like bourbon with a tan head. Very clear, very red.

S- Brown sugar, molasses, kind of like a nut roll.

T- Molasses, caramel, pecan, dates, with some hop bitterness. Too much going on for my taste buds.

M- Medium to full body which is nice but the finish is like several types of beer mixed together. Not well balanced. Sweet + Malt + Bitter = Weird.

D- Still a very drinkable beer especially when you factor in the apv.

sitarist, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of Telix
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head chalice.

A: Hibernation Ale is really nice deep chocolate ruby, tremendously clear with a tan head and nice carbonation levels. The clarity and color is appetizing and beautiful.

S: Cocoa, malt, and caramel grains stand out. There are some bitter hops lurking, with a slightly sour mash and vegetative smell lurking in the background.

T: The taste belies the smell in some ways. It's malty, sure, with some caramel sweetness evident, while certainly not syrupy. There is controlled bitterness behind the roasted maltiness, and the flavors are well-integrated. There are some vegetative flavors on the finish, but the cocoa helps cover it up. It has a long finish with lingering bitterness.

M: It's a tough nut to track, here, the high carbonation and good level of IBUs really keeps it lively in the mouth, and balances the malt, but I'm almost wondering if those aspects are a bit overdone.

D: Eh, it's not a great beer, but if you like the style you might be into it more. It's nothing special, and if Great Divide hadn't made it I'd probably be even harder on it.

Telix, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
2.05/5  rDev -49.1%

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a totally flat clear medium amber with a barely a poof of a head and no lacing.

The aroma is very light and right off the start it smells really weird to me, like old gym socks soaked in urine or just bo. there is a little amount of spice.

The taste is better, stale and has smoke. It tastes like an ale, but not a good one.

jrallen34, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of Cylinsier
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%

From a 12 oz.

Pours a maple syrup brown that glows red to light. Light tan lacing of a head.

Smells first of rich brown sugar or molasses, followed by cinammon spices, and finishing with wet hop floral bitterness.

The taste is rich and malty and a bit spiced, with mild hoppiness that isn't actually bitter. There's a smokiness to it.

The feel is moderate in body, with light but sharp carbonation.

Smells great but I feel a little let down by the taste. Its not bad, its just not what I was expecting I guess. Seems like a decent beer.

Cylinsier, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of argock
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Freshness date Nov 19 2009 on front label. Purchased as 6-pack at Market Street Wine Shop (Charlottesville, VA) for $10.49.

A: Reddish brandy look with thin rim of beige head that leaves an array of spotty lace.

S: A tad medicinal and alcoholic but still plentiful with dark fruitiness, caramel malts, chocolate, and earthy, herbal, leafy hops

T: The flavor is musty and herbal, right on style with strong dark fruit such as prune and raisin with caramel and chocolate notes. The alcohol is a bit raw and tingly. Hops deliver swiftly in the finish with an herbal, leafy bite.

M: A tad of astringency in the finish hurts an otherwise super-smooth, medium-full bodied feel. Aftertaste is musty, leathery, and herbal hoppy.

D: A nice brew that will be interesting to revisit with a little time under its belt. Reloading every months aounds about right for the rest of the 6-pack.

argock, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of alejandro
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

One of my favorite styles of beer. I tried to be fair but, the beer may have bested me. Smelling of, light molasses, sweet biscuit and roasted malts how could one resist a taste. Rather than inhaling the beer I sip. A sweetness envelops the senses followed by a very mild bitter finish. This is definitely not a refreshing beer; this is a sipping by the fireplace beer. This beer provides what one would hope for in its style, sweetness (molasses & caramel, dark red fruit), sticky in the mouth (not cloying), roasted malts, nearly smoky. As for the beer's beauty, the least of its worries, the hew would be better described by poets describing sunsets and clouds.

alejandro, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of philbe311
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%

A - A murky medium brown color with ruby highlights... Thin lush creamy inviting medium tan head... Modest retention gives to a thin veil of lace with a minor frothing around the edge of the glass...

S - Caramel... Toffee... Dark fruits... Cough syrup... Candied sugars... Perhaps a hint of cinnamon...

T - Heavy medicinal presence... Minor hints of dark fruits... A distinct alcohol presence... Muted brown sugars... Some caramel and toffee... A vague spiciness...

M - A stellar initial lush creaminess quickly fades... On the fuller side of medium bodied... Sticky... A minor alcoholic warmth permeates... Sturdy... Slightly chewy...

D - A solid fixture in the world of winter seasonals... Interesting and enjoyable, but not overly memorable... I wouldn't turn down a chance to drink again in the future, but I'm not sure that I would necessarily seek out either...

philbe311, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of notlob
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%

Bottled 12.09.09. Consumed 12.30.09 in a goblet.

Aroma: Rich caramel, sweet alcohols, a little bit like raisons, roast and slight dark chocolate and coffee.

Appearance: Dark ruby-red to brown. Half a finger of off-white head that dissipates moderately fast.

Flavor: Rich, moderately roasty, with warm alcohol sweetness - not fusel, and some coffee-toffee notes. Not very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thin, but gives a nice coat of rich flavors that lingers to a dry finish.

Overall Impression: Very well balanced big beer. I think I could drink a couple of these before succumbing to gravity. I would very much like to get some more and let them age for a few months.

notlob, Dec 30, 2009
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,212 ratings.