Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

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2,484 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,484
Reviews: 1,086
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 111
Gots: 193 | 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: 2,484 | Reviews: 1,086 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheSteiny
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- poured out a dark, dark brown. Head didn't have a very impressive size, though it did have a very good light cream color, as well as a good texture. Sadly, it dissipates into a thin film rather quickly.

S- A little hoppy, but sweet smell to it. I can't quite place anything specifically. That being said, I will admit to some level of disappointment that nothing popped out to me. I'm hoping it was a result of the pour, and I will update at a later date if my opinion changes.

T- Very solid taste. Started bittersweet, with a little nuttiness. There are malty tones towards the end, as well as what feels like mint. The mint is actually a very refreshing addition to the palate, given it's only a hint rather than something overpowering.

M- Carbonation was kept low. For this particular lineup of flavor and flow, I would've liked a little lower bubbly in my brew. Past that, it was pretty smooth and has a comfortable amount of weight going down.

D- Decent brew. It's a little high on ABV for being a session brew. Despite that, I'm a little disappointed my local beer shop didn't have any cases. It's definitely worth having at least two glasses to get the full range out of the beer.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a mahogany brown with good carbonation leaving a beautiful towering dirty white head

S: Old wood, chocolate mainly and some caramel

T: This 09 vintage tasted of old wood and Earth mainly, with a tannic taste to it throughout, some chocolate and caramel. Hints at some allspice

M: Sordove bitter, funky and medium to heavy bodied

D: It was good but I wont drink again

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A dull brown, translucent body with not much head. Decent lacing.

S: I get two scents. One is that of malts, the other of citrusy, somewhat minty hops. Actually reminds me a bit of a few aged American barleywines I've had.

T: Starts off with a bit of citrus. Then the mintiness comes in, along with a slight sour note and a bit of must as well. The malt finally makes a bit of an appearance towards the end with some roastiness. A decently-long aftertaste features the bitterness and mintiness of the hops. After the beer has warmed up a bit, I get some sweet maltiness in the background of the middle of the sip, slightly bumping up the score.

M: No problems, but unremarkable. Medium body, not particularly thick or silky, strong carbonation at the start that is pretty much gone by the end of the sip.

D: It wouldn't be hard to drink a second one of these, if I wanted to.

Old Ale seems a fairly odd categorization of this beer to me. It seems much more like an American barleywine. Hopefully some aging will turn this into the rich, malty brew that I was hoping for, but I am not impressed by this fresh version of Hibernation.

Photo of silentjay
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a muddy mahogany brown with a smallish khaki head that quickly recedes but leaves chunky lacing.

aroma of wet leather, dark fruits, and some toasted grains. meh.

flavor is very fruity with dates, plums, raisins, and other dried, unsweetened dark fruits. a bit tart with some apple peel. far on the fruity end of the spectrum.

a touch lighter than anticipated with generous carbonation and a tiny bit of alcohol heat and a slight acidity left behind on the palate.

drinks ok. not very harsh, pretty smooth drinking, but nothing memorable.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a deep burgundy hue, high clarity, with two fingers of creamy beige head. Retention low, no lacing to speak of.

Smell -- Cocoa, caramel, sliced plum, Citrus, gentle spice.

Taste -- Again, there's a prominent chocolate malt flavor that is really surprising with raisin and plum, gentle citrusy hop flavors. Finish is toasted malt and gentle grapefruit pith bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Malty, medium-full in body with an abundance of gentle carbonation. Feels pretty good, almost reminiscent of a Quadrupel. Alcohol presence is nonexistent.

Drinkability -- Truthfully, I'm not sure why this beer has such a high rating. Not that it's bad, but it's pretty middle-of-the-pack for an Old Ale. Nice flavors, nothing remotely offensive, but lacking the decadent and somewhat sweet character I expect from the style.

Photo of Frosty80
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours golden, medium brown. sits clear, dark ruby. good looking thick, creamy, tapioca head with excellent retention and never totally disappears

Smell: rich, malty character with dark chocolate, some nuttiness, dark fruit/vinous character and roast. balancing hop presence

Taste: balance of complex maltiness and hop character. alcohol obvious throughout but never harsh. dark chocolate and fruit with a little nuttiness and roasted character. hops are very apparent with a low-medium bitterness. finish is dry with light roasted, dark chocolate flavor and a low, lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: low-full body. smooth with moderate carbonation.

Notes: very strong old ale with not as much fruit complexity as i was expecting. a little too much hop presence (flavor/bitterness) and could use a little bit of that light sour, aged character

Photo of rarbring
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is clear dark red with hints of brown, a tan head with unevenly sized bubbles, some lacing and good curtains.

The smell is earthy, dried peas, hay, dark bread and brown sugar.

Initially sweet nuances from bread, dark syrup, burned crust, dates, nuts, then some short fruit acidity, pears and mango, and a bitter finish in the coffee bean area.

Medium carbonation, a thick oily feeling, a heavy body and slightly dry finish.

A solid slow sipping beer after dinner.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark red, almost brown with almost no head but a small sticky ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Sweet caramel and a little bit of sandalwood which is enhanced by the hop resin tones that come through well in this beer.

T - Sweet and malty, toffee and sugar come through and are followed by a spice from the hops which also leave a deep flavor of their oils and plenty of fruitiness.

M - Light yet lingering. The carbonation seems a tad high, but I'd probably say that about most brews.

D - Great for a chillier evening, yet drinkable most times. GD made a fantastic beer that is very notable in my book.

Photo of alli4051
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint.

Pours a dark, chrystal clear, garnet color with a bronze head. Head is of average size and leaves some thick lacing when it goes. Nose is a bit lacking, faint notes of earthy malt and hops with some fruit notes. Where the nose lacked the taste more than makes up for. Kind of a murky, earthy, dank balance of malt and hops, and I mean that in the best possible way. Some roasted malts with lots of citrus and fruity hop flavors with a hing of booze in the finish. Medium bodied with a bit of a sticky finish. I've been on a bit of a hot streak lately, seems like everything I have picked up recently seems to live up to the hype. I should offer a warning though, the 8.7% is hidden well and can definitely sneak up on you.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light brown color with some amber hues. Provides a small off white foam head that quickly dissipates. Some patchy lacing.

S: Lots of roasted coffee, burnt toast, brown sugar, dark chocolate, dark fruit and some booze.

T: Tons of malt flavor up front and throughout. The roasted coffee and dark fruit mesh well with the cholocate and alcohol flavors.

M: Leaves a slightly toasty burnt taste on the palate.

D: A nice winter beer. Perfect to sip on.

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

A - Deep, clear, varnished mahogany. Well formed head on the pour, although it doesn't hold for long, leaving a good lacing around the walls of the glass and a mottled skim of foam across the surface. Looks great, and the deep red tinge brings forth festive allusions.

S - The aroma isnt hugely complex, but it caught my attention the moment it hit the glass. Malts present caramel and mocha with a hefty backdrop of traditional vanilla ice cream. Dark fruits are also present, but somewhat veiled.

T - While the berry and fruit play on the tip of the tongue, this beer really is all about the inextricable interaction of malt and hops. Wonderful arrays of caramel expression, particularly medjool date; loads of coffee bean, and espresso; vanilla, and clotted cream; and a distinctive charred bourbon on the finish. The coffee performs an encore in the finish, tying the whole show together, and worthy of a standing ovation. The final impression is akin to an irish coffee with extra sugar.

M - fairly high carbonation for this style, but it helps cut through the malty thickness, and along with the 8.7%, a pretty good balance is achieved

D - The malty stickiness prevents it from being an all night event, but each sip provides a longevity that will see a whole glass outlast at least a couple of logs on the fire.

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

A: copper/leathery brown with a brief yellowish half inch head and a dash of lace.

S: nice sour yeast esters, dark roast coffee beans, alcohol of cognac variety, grassy manure smell (in a good way though), roasted grain.

T: leather and charcoal are prominent, asparagus (interesting, I've never encountered that flavor in beer before), bitter chocolate, whiskey. Finish is malty/grainy sickly sweet and throat coating.

M: medium bodied, moderate to low carbonation, a nice warming alcohol finish.

D: I found this really interesting. I can't think of a beer that I've had that is all that equivalent. It's kind of a blend of different styles, part American pale ale, part English old ale, part Belgian strong ale. I would imagine it would be hard to drink more than one of these in a sitting, but that's just because the different flavors and the overall strength of it are a bit overwhelming and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Perfect for a cold winter night--not that I get a lot of those in Austin, but still.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of xnicknj
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a deep cherry mahogany with burnt orange hues towards the bottom of the glass. A fairly thin, yet firm toffee head slowly fades into retained film, leaving spots and clouds of lacing on the glass.

Roasted dark malt, bitter chocolate, a hint of coffee, and some slight hop presence in the nose.

Plenty of heavily roasted dark malt right up front, which swirls with some hoppy bitterness. A bit of sweetness provided by chocolate and toffee flavors poke through. Some richer tones become apparent, before a bit of alcohol warms the palate. Finishes with a hint of pine hops, booze, and sweetness.

Full bodied, fairly rich and creamy, medium carbonation. Smooth, slow drinking, but the alcohol isn't overdone. Nice warming feel during the winter season, making this a pretty easy choice.

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

Cracked a bottle from 09/08 (reviewed below) tonight (11/11/10)

Appearance is equally stunning, although a slightly more caramel hue with a good bit of haze and sediment. Head is a bit less and lacing is also a bit more sparse, but still stunning.

aroma has shifted beautifully. a hit of hops followed by candi sugars, plum, caramel, raisins, toast, bittersweet cocoa. the hot, booziness has been replaced by an almost-delicate sherry/bourbon/dark fruit aroma.

Taste is stunning. roasty and rich with dominant honey, figs and plum. burnt caramel, black currant, pumpernickle, chocolate. sherry. oaked bourbon. port. but subtle and well-rounded. I hate bourbon, but it works here. The aftertaste provides impressive cocoa and tobacco notes that are stunningly beautiful. I want this aftertaste to last forever.

mouth remains full, without the sharp bite on the tongue I remember. carbonation has mellowed significantly (much longer and it might fade too much) and everything is near perfect. still a hint slick.

wow. I can't recall an old ale changing this much over two years. I'm blown away. And kicking myself that I didn't throw more down in the cellar. I was so un-impressed by Hibernation fresh, I never imagined it would improve this much with time. Get yours now, bury it in your backyard, and dig it up two years from now.

Poured from a fresh bottle (bot. date: sept. 08) into a goblet.

a. a truly stunning light mahogany with ruby grapefruit hues glows in the glass, capped with a thick and fluffy cream-colored head leaving behind some incredible lacing.

s. Initial bitter hop bite in the nose quickly yields to an intermingling of fruit, astringent alcohol, and some fermenting malt. A touch of roasted malt emerges as the glass warms, and the alcoholy esters rear their many heads overpowering the nostrils with ethyl acetate, fruity esters, and an almost varnish-like aroma. Definitely smells hot.

t. The roasted malts are definitely there, and a bit of the honey and figs try to peek through, but they're drowned out by the fruity alcohol verging on sourness and the bitter hops. Definitely a strong but rough merging of flavors akin to a tumultuous thunderstorm in the mouth. Sour fruit, roasted malt, a bit of toasted grain, and a finish of a bit of bitter piney hops.

m. Smooth but slick, with some hop oils and alcohol-esque slipperiness confusing the tongue slightly. A bit heavy on the carbonation given the strength and style, but all in all a pleasant one for sipping.

d. acidity, sourness, hop pineyness, and pure alcoholic hottness combine into a strong brew. It tastes even higher abv than labeled, which isn't necessarily appealing. Granted, I'm reviewing this one less than a month after bottling, which makes it very fresh, hot, and powerful. I'd imagine that with a bit of age, this one will turn into something incredible.

fresh rating: 4.5/4/3.5/3.5/3.5

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into tulip. From notes

This beer poured a deep, scarlet red to mahogany. The off white head dissipates quickly with little lacing. The smell is dark fruit, plum and currants, with some malt sweetness. I am not overly familiar with this style, but wow, this tastes really good. Semi-sweet malt with some peppery spice, aforementioned dark fruit, and just a slight hint of bitters. The mouthfeel is medium to slightly heavy with noticeable tackiness. The high ABV is well hidden. I will be headed back to the fridge to grab another one tonight. Very good.

Photo of babaracas
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dull ruby with cream colored head that quickly settles to a thin ring, leaving only a couple blobs of lace. Smell: lots of dark fruit - roasted plum, a little fig, caramel, earthy hopping, a wee booze. Taste: dark brown sugar, dark fruit, bready, enough piney/earthy hops to keep it from being too sweet. Big cocoa in the sticky finish. Pretty good. 10/6/10 bottling.

Photo of Bizz88
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear mahogany amber with a thick creamy two fingered tan head with lots of sticky lacing. Aromas of carmel, malts, and vanilla with hints of piney hops. Bitter sweet chocolate, burnt carmel, and booze on the palate. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. With a little more ageing, this brew would pull solid 5.0s in taste and mouthfeel. A rock star performance by GDBC.

Photo of AdamGarcia
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in SA Perfect Pint. Bottled 10/13/10.

A: Dark mahogany with chestnut highlights. Firm, off-white head. Good retention. Leaves some lace. Beautiful color.

S: Nutty aroma. Layers of fruit. Woody, earthy scents. Maybe some leather. Spice. Cassia bark?

T: Deeply sweet malt. Overripe fruit. Brief, citric hop burst. Spicy. Oak and a little vanilla. Caramel. A bit of cocoa powder. Slight warming alcohol.

M: Full. Soft, creamy feel. Coating. Missing something, though.

D: Solid. It's a sipper, but it's relatively high complexity keeps it interesting. Lovely beer.

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

A-Pours a deep amber with a one finger off white head that fades rather quickly and left just spots of lace.

S-Nice nose here. Dark fruit, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, roasted malt. I really like it.

T-Rich malt, hints of chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, molasses, brown sugar and hints of piney hops. Very, very good.

M-Just on the cusp of being full bodied. Smooth and a bit creamy. Low carb level suits the beer well.

D-Goes down easily and another is certainly doable.

A very nice offering from Bell's. I'll certainly pick this one up again.

Photo of grittybrews
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark mahogany with brilliant ruby highlights. Just a touch of thin, filmy head. Sweet aroma of toffee, plum, vanilla, and gentle spicy hops.

Moderate carbonation leads into a thick, chewy mouthfeel. Dark fruit, biscuit, and brown sugar up front with hints of cocoa and smoke. Some subtle pepper and earthy notes on the lingering hop finish with a slight metallic bite.

A well-balanced brew that more than offsets the initial sweetness (the higher alcohol is almost undetectable). Very drinkable and satisfying.

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

A: Deep, clear mahogany mahogany color. Poured a 1 finger light tan head that dissipated to a skim that was thicker on the edges. Lace washed down the sides of the glass.

S: Rich dark fruits. Toast and wet grain. Floral and pine hops.

T: Toasted malt up front. Dark fruit, brown sugar with a little toffee or cocoa. Earth and wood in the middle too. Piney hop finish with warming alcohol. Lot going on; very complex.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation. Smooth, sweet and flavorful with an easy balanced finish.

D: Flavorful and complex. Might not be sessionable due to ABV, but the last five will last.

Photo of Bonis
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Deep amber in color, very much filtered. Nice thick half inch of light tan head. Pretty nice lacing on the glass.

S - Malty, bready, and roasty. A nice hop presence is apparent, lemon, citrus, and slightly floral. Lots of sweetness, toffee and dark fruits most notably.

T - Surprisingly I get a lot of hops at first. They are mostly fruity mixed with some pine and a nice floral note, but mildly apparent overall. The malty sweetness following makes it taste almost of candy, with a slight earthy character. A finely balanced beer overall. There is a slight alcohol taste to it, especially in the aftertaste, but it isn't any type of turn off and the bottle states "warming character" anyway...

M - Quite crisp, clean, and refreshing considering the alcohol content, but there is a slight sugary alcohol burn on the way down. Carbonation seems low, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

D - This seems incredibly easy to drink given the ABV. This is a beer I'd drink a few of in a night. Definitely more six packs of this to come for me.

Photo of tehawful
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A deep cherry mahogany color with very little head. The rich quality of the dark red color is really nice.

Smell: A rich fruit characteristic combines with the sweet malt aroma. Finishes with a pine-scented hops smell that works very well. Overall, I am really impressed with the aroma.

Taste: Wow, so much going on here. Starts with an intense malt foundation which supports the flavors of chocolate, dark fruit, and brown sugar. The malts take their time, but transition to a woody tone with a slight hint of alcohol that introduces a finish of floral pine-like hops. I have rarely taken the time to enjoy a beer as much as I did this one. The complexity of all the flavors work well with each other, but are still interesting enough that not every sip tastes the same.

Mouthfeel: So smooth, yet still full-bodied. It almost melts in your mouth, which only adds to an already great experience.

Drinkability: A great Old Ale, which I will definitely introduce into my regular winter rotation. The ABV may not be ideal for a session ale, but the complex characteristics in all categories makes this a great selection if you are trying to pair it with a meal or if you are just looking to sit back and enjoy a great beer.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours red/brown in color with less than a finger of head that dissipates quickly into a ring around the glass and has moderate lacing.

S - Has a very earthy nose. Lots of roasted malts, caramel, nuttiness, a touch of coffee and cocoa, and mild floral hops.

T - Lots of layers here. Toffee malts, lots of cocoa, brown sugar, along with a bit of smokiness. Hop presence is somewhat masked by the huge malts, but provides a nice mild bitterness. Again, this is a hearty earthy beer in my opinion.

M - Medium, very smooth and creamy, well balanced.

D - Very nice winter beer. Big, bold and delicious.

Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,484 ratings.