1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,460 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,460
Reviews: 1,078
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 108
Gots: 183 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hibernation Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,460 | Reviews: 1,078 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SchmoTerp
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cooked a light fish dinner and was looking for an ale to try it with. I was looking for more of a pale ale and was thrown a bit off guard with the darkness and robust-ness of this ale. Then I read the label and realized that it was a winter old ale and tried it again and it all made a bit more sense.

Pours with little head and a brown-red color. Although it is fairly clear in color, its taste is anything but clear. Malty and thick, this beer is robust with some hoppiness to it, particularly toward the end of the taste.

Certainly worthwhile and I would recommend. I imagine it would be much better if drunk during winter months.

Photo of soupyman10
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Eyes: Nice big head off-white head on top of a deep amber beer. Solid lacing as the beer drains. Bubbles eventually dissolve down to a film.

Nose: Coffee, lots of roasted malt, caramel. Only hops character is in the coffee-bitterness. Minor dried fruit aromas. Not as sour as some.

Mouth: Very nice flavor. Starts mild, then gets into the toffee malt. Roastedness shows up as well, and moves nicely into the surprisingly hoppy finish. Slight vinous. A nice swirl of fruit. Feel is fairly full with a nice extended aftertaste.

Overall: A really tasty brew. One of the best Old Ales I've had, although Bell's still tops it out.

Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THIS is what an old ale is supposed to taste like? Woah, I get it now. After years of drinking old ales that were poorly brewed or else came from Englands and were (ironically enough) spoiled by their age, I've finally found an old ale that lives up to the hype.

This falls somewhere between a brown ale and a strong IPA. Or, hold up let's do this in the proper order:

Pretty pour, dark brown. Came out kind of flat-looking but sure enough a very fine head wound up on top of my glass when all was said and done and it's stuck around ever since. Impressive, considering the ABV.

My first reaction was that it smelled like a combination of a brown ale and a strong IPA, but after thinking about it a little bit I don't think that's accurate. The hop profile isn't that big or varied, even, but it's still strong and present. What it does borrow from a strong IPA is a lightly syrupy maltiness, but to this is added a wonderfully biscuity brown ale malt. So, instead of having a firm malt acting as a background to a complex hop profile (as it the wont of so many big beers right now), we have the exact opposite.

It tastes like it smells. Firm hop up front, leading into delicious malt profile. The softer, biscuity malt veers more into winter warmer territory than a simple brown, with nice nodes of fruit and overall a zippier taste than simpele brown malt. The flavor transitions gracefully into firm hop again, and--a surprise at the end--a delicious, sweet aftertaste like candy.

Wow what a beer. And at 8.10% what a dangerous beer! If I ever find this on tap I might not make it home in one piece...

Photo of Ch1mpy
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown producing a small yellowish head which rapidly disappears leaving only a thin layer of foam behind.

Saturated smell of coffee and hops.

One of the first things you notice about the taste is the strong presence of alcohol. But in reality that isn't a major turn off, soon intense tastes of malty fudge soon become apparent.

Mild in terms of carbonation and in the end it goes down smoothly. With a mild hoppy wave rolling in over your tongue as a finish.

Photo of Tilley4
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to tayner for this one!! Thanks, Dana!!

2006 Vintage.

Pours out a murky deep brownish orange with a small tannish head... Interesting appearance, attractive..

Vanilla, loads of dark fruit like figs and raisins, maybe some cherries in the aroma... Smells like a nicely aged barleywine. I'm excited about this one... Let's get to it..

What a remarkable brew this is..Loads of sweet dark fruit coupled with rich, dark roasted malts make this one a real treat.. As it warmed, I actually got a little chocolate on the finish. It was just a really great brew..

This is the best Old Ale that I've ever had and that includes Old Stock...

Thanks again to tayner for this gem!

Photo of cookin420
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to BlackBearForge for this.

Bottle poured into a chalice.

Color is a very deep brown with huge Red tints. The head is small and does not last but leaves nice, thick splotchy lace as I drink. A very slight haze is the only thing keeping this brew from being crystal clear as there is no sediment.

Many prominent smells emerge as I swirl the glass; Vanilla, caramel, grapes, alcohol, a bit of oak and, well, chocolate covered cherries. The dry hopping gives a slightly fruity and very floral aroma.

Well bittered and heavy on the alcohol, the flavors are not as well pronounced as the great aromas led me to believe. I taste the cherry and caramel but the bittering addition and dry hop flavor s overshadow what is an otherwise killer malt profile. This is very good but I expected more complexity and bolder malt flavor. I felt that the yeast was understated and would've added a much needed dynamic.

Slick and smooth on the tongue, well carbonated for the style but finished a bit dry.

I was impressed with the drinkability of this brew. I think that though the dry hopping took center stage, it made for a crisp taste that I could see drinking very easily.

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

A nice dark chestnut brown with a little off-white head at the top, leaving a nice lace on the glass as I drank.

Smells of hops and earth, nothing really outstanding in the smell but by no means unpleasant.

Taste of hops and earth and some coffee, somewhat bitter. No negative aftertaste, but it did leave my mouth a bit dry.

This was a really good ale and if I didn't have to get back to work I would have drank quite a few more.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage

A: Crystal clear deep ruby red with a dense, frothy off white head. Great retention and beautiful lacing

S: Rum, plum, alcohol and sweet malt. Just a hint of cream

T: Medium to full-bodied with plum, raisin and malt. Alcohol on the finish.

M: Good body, well carbonated

D: It's cold and i want a sipper and this hits the spot

**Edit 30 July 2012**
My other bottle of the 2007 vintage.

The nose is nice! Rich leather, some crystal malt, toffee and a hint of burnt sugar. Hops have died down here. The palate is great. Smooth, creamy, full in body with minimal oxidation, there's a blend of leather and dark crystal malt. While that's a flavor I've come to hate, it actually kinda works here, lending a mild astringency that complements the smooth, creamy, toffee flavors. Mild fruity oxidation is present, thinning out the body a little bit. Alcohol is well-hidden. Solid stuff, quite enjoyable IMO.
4/4/3.5

Photo of hopflop
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 12oz bottle. Courtesy of jessecarr!

Cracked this bottle open and the carmely sweet malt smell started oozing out of the bottle! Poured into a pint glass with a nice lite white head. Had a nice reddish copper color with moderate lacing left on the glass.

Took a nice big mouthfull. Had a great sweet carmel malt with a nice hoppy balance. with a touch of alcohol. I could definetly could drink a couple of these a nice cold winter day. Another great beer from the guys at Great Divide.

Photo of jessecarr
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

had a 12 oz. bottle last night with hopflop

The pour into a pint glass left a nice one finger, foamy head. There are undeniable caramel and malty aromas--exactly what you want in strong winter ale.

The appearance is a deep brown that almost comes off a bit murky.

The taste and drinkablility are wonderful. This deep ale rings with malty and sweet hints that are finished off with an unexpected hoppy punch. A really wonderful beer, and I felt I could easily have three in a row of these bad boys.

I can't wait to try next year's batch.

Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a heavy beer, notable in it's taste and apperance. It has a syrupy character, but a relatively slight head. The liquid is a woody brown color, opaque, and somewhat attractive. The nose is all malt, with just a touch of hops. There's also a distracting medicinal, or chlorine-like aroma. The taste is rich and sweet, with copious malt flavors. Drinkable and enjoyable, I'd certainly have this again.

Photo of jackorain
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. Its topped with a 1/2 inch off-white head that falls to a splotchy coat over a fairly respectibel time period. Also exhibits a nice collar and lace.

Smells of earthy and spicy hops with sweet caramelized/dried fruit. A hint each pr pepper, coffee and chocolate.

Tastes of earthy hops than caramel and mollases. Some coffee comes through in the middle. Warming alcohol effect as well. Nice hoppy finish with a lasting medium to high bitterness. The bosy medium to full and the carbonation good

I could drink several of these on a cold winter's night. Great offering. One of the better warmers I had this year.

Photo of blackjack000
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish/burnt-orange/dark-brown. A thin layer of tan head sits on top and fades away quickly.

Smell: Sweet, sugary smell comes from the beer, along with alcohol, nuts,

Taste: Nutty, with some evident alcohol. There are sweet, brown sugary flavors that come and go, cedar; a rich and full flavor. The beer has a great lingering aftertaste of balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Feels a good weight and body on the tongue, which pleasantly complements the taste.

Drinkability: The beer was aptly named; it has great warming qualities.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Val-Dieu chalice.

Bottled in 2007.

A: Pours a clear deep-dark red color with a smallish khaki colored head that leaves a thick bubbly ring and a healthy sheeting of lace.

S: Nice nose full of caramel, toasted malt, chocolate, red apple, toffee, hazelnut, and alcohol.

T: This starts off with flavors of toasted caramel malt, roasted nut, and chocolate. As it warms, flavors of apple, toffee, hops, toasted bread crust, spice, and a touch of tart berry and lemon begin to emerge. Finish flavors are rife with toasted malt and pan roasted nut.

M: Loads of dry and toasted malt. Thick, sweet and chewy at the onset which turns dry, spicy, and bitter during the middle and on through the finish.

D: The alcohol flavors come on pretty strong towards the bottom of the glass. Thankfully, that's balanced nicely by the all of the roasted/toasted characteristics of this beer.

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

A: Dark amber/brown... medium bodied offwhite head with decent head retention and mediocre lacing...

S: Bold roasted malt aroma (caramel, chocolate, spices) and some floral hop bitterness towards the beginning of the nose

T: Follows the nose... sweet roasted malts dominate.. caramel takes the forefront... floral hop finish... not much in the way of alcohol on the tongue...

M: Medium bodied.. decent carbonation... smooth from start to finish... crisp hop bitterness at the end...

D: Well hidden alcohol with a nice sweet malt taste is rather pleasant... drink this before the warm weather gets here...

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

Appearance
Pours a clear, dark cranberry red with a modest head that levels out normally. Leaves some rings on the glass after each swig.

Aroma
Smells strongly of berry--like cran-rasberry juice--and bready malt

Taste & Mouthfeel
Immediate enjoyment, remarking "I like it," right after the very first sip. Tastes of berry and spices. The tart berries and hefty malt, as well as luscious texture, make this a really enjoyable brew.

Overall
This is a tasty beer that should be enjoyed each season. I could easily drink this as a session beer. I'm looking forward to building up a vertical collection of these over the coming years.

Update: 11/7/08
After sitting in the fridge since January, I popped the top on this '07 bottle to see how it had aged over the past year.

Appearance - Brown like iced tea with ruby-tinted edges; less red in the color than I remember; low carbonation

Smell - Sweet, candied fruit, brown sugar, maybe hops in there somewhere, but overall pretty sweet, reminding me of a Belgian Strong Dark.

Taste & Mouthfeel - First sip grabbed my tongue with caramelized sugar and toasted malts; some fruity notes begin to appear but they're not as vibrant as when fresh (I prefer those fresh cranberry-like notes); hops are still somewhat there, but strangely only noticeable in the finish; texture is still silky but the body seems much thinner than I remember; maple syrup and those berries come through later in the glass.

Overall - Flavors have really mellowed and meshed, making it harder to dissect; it's very pleasing to drink, but this has become quite a bit sweeter than when fresh. Also, I'm not sure how much this would have changed if it were kept at a warmer temp (will find out next month). In the end, I like this better fresh, but I'm holding out hope that 2+ year-old bottles will really develop into something remarkable.

Photo of tiger88
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having been pleased with other Great Divide beers, this one was as pleasing as it's predecessors. Kind of reminded me of a ramped up Hot Shot ESB. Lots of caramel to the taste although the alcohol is a little upfront for me. It pours an attractive deep copper with a copper-white head to match. Head hung around for a few minutes, which was asthetically pleasing. Overall, I would drink this again but I would probably space them out.

6/12/2008
Drank another one last night...alcohol laid down a bit but the caramel was still pretty strong. This beer tasted completely different in 3 months time. I really enjoyed it more than I did and it wasn't bad to begin with. I raised the drinkability from 3.5 to 4.

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

Recently this beer has been available in Holland.

It pours a clear, brown reddish color with a thin head.

Smell is full with notes of roast and caramel. Probably SpecialB malt gives the beer a woody, roasted flavor. Clear citric US hops and Chico Ale yeast.

Taste is bitter with citric US hoppy notes, pretty aggressive hop bite. The bitterness is supported by malty and roasted notes. The beer is not sweet, just a little sticky. To me this beer tastes like a hybrid between an IPA and a barleywine. I am not sure why this is an old ale, let alone what an old ale actually is. Just grabbed a slice of blue cheese with this beer and wow, this beer tastes great in combination with that. The woody notes of the beer are great with the salty taste of the cheese.

Photo of morebeergood
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack for last Saturday night. Poured into a stemmed beer glass. The color was dark, dark amber. Had to be careful with the second beer, as it forms quite a head. The smell reminded me a lot of a winter warmer, with spice present. The taste was very good. A nice combination of coca and cinnamon on the tongue. This old ale had me thinking of a porter's mouthfeel along with a winter ale's hearty flavor. A great combination. Drinkability being the only issue, as it's over 8%, you could start to feel it kick in after two. I would love to see how this beer would age over time. It would be nice to see more breweries release an old ale in six pack format, as I could see this style become one of my favorites.

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

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

A: Dark brown with a bit of carbonation and a good on inch head.

S: Smells dark malts with hints of dark chocolate. No hops in the nose.

T: Nice dark malt flavours with barely any carbonation. There are hints of dark chocolate and a slight bit of fruits. The bitterness comes from the malts rather than the hops. This beer doesn't knock your balls off, but it's incredibly tasty and very well balanced. The dark chocolate taste is phenomenal!

M: A bit of carbonation and it feels pretty thick on the tongue.

D: This is a drinkable beer; however, I don't know I'd want to drink much of it because of the high alcohol content.

Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my Great Divide pint glass. Poured a dark, translucent amber. Half-inch off-white head dissipated into a thin skim of spotty foam; very little lacing present during the tasting. Nose presented primarily as roasted malt with a touch of hops also detected. Taste was surprisingly more complex given the nose. Flavors of coffee and caramel with a slight hops bitterness at the finish. Full-bodied mouthfeel with a fair amount of effervescence considering the lack of a head. Very drinkable. Alcohol was well-hidden and the taste, overall, was very much reminiscent of a nice malty coffee porter.

Photo of BigRedN
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a dark amber, nearing brown in color. My pour produced a 1/2 inch tan head which faded rather quickly to a patchy cover on the liquid. Left splotcy lacing.

Smell: Mostly malty (roasted malt with an aroma of chocolate and spice). A faint floral hop aroma is buried in there as well.

Taste: Malty at the start (little sweet). There is a balance provided by a slightly bitter and spicey hoppy finish. As the beer warms there is a bit of a boozy alcohol aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a smooth finish. There is a slight alcohol burn in the throat as the beer is consumed.

Drinkability: A nice winter sipper. I got two as part of a mixed six pack of winter beers. The two are enough for me, a nice little treat on a cold night near the end of winter. A good tasting beer, just not one I want a lot of (leading to the lower drinkability).

Photo of champ103
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: A deep clear amber/brown color. A large foamy white head forms and leaves plenty of lace down the glass.
S: This is not that aromatic, but it is pleseant none the less. Malty with a bit of chocolate and some nice hop aromas.
T: Plenty of chocolate and caramle malt. It is well balanced with some hop bitterness. A bit of warming alcohol as well.
M/D: Creamy, rich, full body and not watery at all. The alcohol is a bit harsh and takes away from the drinkability. Though this is a fine sipping beer

I like this beer. Well balanced with a great mouthfeel. You don't want to drink this very fast though.

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a five finger light tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Clear ruby/amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Smoky/malty nose. Flavor is smoky, malty with some sweetness. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.

Photo of cer40
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this brew from a 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. It was dark brown with a light tan one finger head. It smelled of roasted malts and nice floral hops. coldn't wait to take a drink. Flavor delivers on all fronts. Nice bitterness from the hops is balanced with the malt sweetness.

Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,460 ratings.