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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,240 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,240
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 97
Gots: 122 | 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: 2,240 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rodrot
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottling. Poured a pretty reddish amber color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that left some lacing on the glass. Aroma was malty and caramelly with a slight nutty smell in the nose. Taste was roasted malts up front with some smoky notes and almond flavors mixed in. The finish had a light hop bitterness along with some burnt grain. Mouthfeel was medium on the palate. Alcohol was present but not overly so. This brew reminds me more of a Scotch ale due to the smoky character. A pretty solid offering and one that I believe would benefit from some cellaring. My next sampling will be a 2004 bottle that I've been holding on to.

rodrot, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of WeisGuy
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage

a - deep brown color, fairly clear, small tan head, good retention, decent lacing

s - strong alcohol profile nicely balanced with roasted malt and a nice hoppiness

t - sweet maltiness up front with a spicy, bitter body, finish is dominated by sweetness and alcohol

m - not much by way of carbonation, medium-bodied, very dry finish, nice warming sensation

d - not very drinkable, alcohol is a little strong in taste to drink much of this, one bottle lasted me awhile

Another great beer from Great Divide, though it's probably my least favorite of their "top-tier" brews. A good example of the syle and a great beer for a cool fall or cold winter night when you want something a little different than a stout with its great warming sensation.

WeisGuy, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of jhscarborough
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage

Though the company website says this is available from Novemeber 1 I bought mine in September. With that in mind....

At a serving temperature of 53° Hibernation poured crystal clear, oak aged bourbon colored, malty nose, balanced with hop notes slightly up front, and the alcohol suppressed in the flavor profile though there was a noticable numbing effect on the tongue. As the ale warmed the toastyness of the malts start to come through giving me the impression of a cross between a brown ale and a porter. Further warming reveals caramel notes, and reminences of cold coffee.

At this point in the '06 version's life, I would have to say that it is not yet ready to drink. I wonder why the early release? Hibernation 2006 is extremely quaffable now, but lacked the character I expected based on past experiences.

I'll revisit this one in a few months, and then again next year

jhscarborough, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 vintage

A: Nice carbonation on this one...huge puffy cotton ball oatmeal colored head. Lightly murky dark amber copper body. Nice rings being left here.

S: Coffee house ambient aroma, elderberry, toasted pine nuts and minor mocha.

T: Sort of a malty chilled coffee flavor to start things off. Moves towards sweet berries..perhaps rasp or boyzen mixed in with definately roasted malts and pronounced piney bittering hops. Earthy brew with woody characteristics and recognizable alcohol on the center of the tongue. Hints of peat along the way. Finishes with some mild spicyness and continueing estery berry malts on the back sides of the tongue which is slightly cloying.

M: Thick yet thin whick I will take as condensed but the water is hard. If that makes any sense at all.

D: Good. This beer has things that I like to see in winter beers....but its a fine line. Most winter beers make the mistake of going too over the top in one direction and forget to rebalance the flavors. This one has some lingering flavors that can and will be cloying after one bottle. I wouldn't choose to open a second immediately afterwards. All in all I enjoyed this beer though.

Westsidethreat, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pors a mostly clear reddish amber. Has a thin tan ring for a head, and leaves no lace.
The aroma initially reminded me of chocolate covered raisins. Dark chocolate and kinda fruity.
Has more of a burnt cocoa flavor. some cheery like fruit flavor as well as a bit nutty. Some hop flavor shows up in the back as the beer warms up a bit.
Medium to full bodied. Okay carbonation. Has a good traction to it that helps push the flavor around.
Fantastic! I do see how this would be a good winter holiday beer.

BeerRun13, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of Vancer
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Holy smoly, what a brew! Great burnt amber pour, sticky tan head and laces…yum.

Massive amounts of caramel and winter spices in the aroma, along with some chocolate notes. Pine and a hop kick for a finish. Very rich and complex in the mouth – gimme a spoon for this one. Well balanced with a hearty malt start, and a full hop complement in the end.

This brew should be about 10% abv, I can notice the alcohol trying to work through the malts and put me in hibernation mode. More than one could do it. (see its 8%) so the alcohol is still kinda hot on this 2005 bottled version.

Vancer, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of burnstar
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark opaque coppery brown with an off-white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smell is very sweet with hints of fruit and alcohol. Taste is sweet with a roasted earthy bitterness. There are notes of dark fruit with some citrusy hops and alcohol coming in in the finish. Medium to full bodied and lightly carbonated. Not extremely drinkable but pretty tastey stuff.

burnstar, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of Mdog
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep red, thick head, and lots of lacing.

Smell: Smells like a doppelbock, caramel, brown sugar, alcohol.

Taste: Bready, surprisingly spicy, sweet, finishes with a coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Not too thick.

Drinkability: Pretty good, but not a beer you should have more than one or two at in a sitting.

Pulled this out of my "cellar" to give it a taste at 6 months. A very solid beer from a good brewery.

Mdog, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of znarf
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the first of the strong seasonal ale that I found at my local specialty store. Being seasonal has an advantage since you will never get tired of it before it goes away for another year.

This brew pours medium to dark in color. The alcohol content is very apparent. The flavor is full bodied with a nice balance of hop and malts. Never a disappointment and a wonderful winter brew for those cold northern winter nights.

znarf, Jun 22, 2006
Photo of maek228
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was expecting a strong ale when I poured this beer. After I poured it, I had to say I was extremely satisfied with what I saw. This beer looked liek a strong ale. It had a thick fluffy head atop a burnt amber body. Much to my liking, the head clung hard to glass. This gave a nice spiderweb visual to the glass.

The ale smells kinda average...some malt and hops, but nothing distinct. The taste is much like an old school ale. No frills, just thick malts and bitter hops. Some people may be put off by the simplicity, but not me. When I get an American Strong Ale I'm expecting just that and nothing more. This beer offers that.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin but the drinkability is quite good, almost too good.

maek228, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of doubleipa
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has been in the cellar for six months. Aroma is toasted with some mild coffee, raisin and port. Head was creamy that completely vanished in 15 seconds. Hazy brown. Medium to full body. Not as much of an alcohol taste as 6 months ago. Upon further inspection, this was not bottled in Dec '05 BUT IN Dec '04. So it took 1.5 years for this to show some improvement. This should be even better in another 6 months.
Had another one of these last night (10/26/06). Now has distinctive oak flavor and aroma. Was very surprised. This is now much better than when it was fresh.

doubleipa, Jun 19, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty, well-spiced unique winter warmer. Without an x-mas and iverally snowy picture on the front. Body is a bit light, and a nice toastiness, all making it more drinkable. Carmel, nicely moderatley hopped. Must have again. This is 2005. Alcohol hammers by the finish.

Sammy, May 14, 2006
Photo of mmmbeer
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. It pours an unfiltered dark maroon/brown that looks blood-red when held to the light. There's some sediment at the bottom and it builds a half-inch khaki head that sticks fairly well and retains a collar throughout, leaving some lacing. The aroma is big on roasted/chocolate malts, and there's a hefty dose of citric (orange?) hops to balance. Near the end I find notes of pear, black cherry, and some other kinda berry. The flavor is very much the same, with chocolate, roasted, nutty, and caramel malts predominating, but the hops lend a medium bitterness and green/citric/minty/piney qualities, and there are hints of dark fruits. It has a medium to thick body that is very smooth and creamy, and doesn't let you know how strong the beer is. Overall this is a very well made beer that is complex, yet quite drinkable. I gotta get more than a single bottle next time to see what the cellar will do to it.

mmmbeer, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of Litterbean
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, minimal head. Looks nice.

Strong smell. Mix of coffee, citrus, pine. A bit of alcohol.

Taste starts off with the coffee mentioned above. Roasted malts and a bitterness from that. The hops impart a grapefruit-like taste, with earthy undertones. Smooth, creamy finish, with a great aftertaste that lingers.

I'm all about this brew. Damn tasty, well balanced, but very bold. Alcohol is hidden well, and that makes for a supremely enjoyable beer.

Litterbean, Apr 10, 2006
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage

A - 1/2" tan head. Dark brown tea color with some red tint. Head falls to a cap in less than a minute. Some lace.

S - Chocolate. Earthy malt. Underlying hop presence with a subtle tang. Alcohol. Some fruit.

T - Rich malt. Chocolate dominates the flavor. Earthy and nutty. Light roasted malt. Hint of caramel. Hops are muted in the initial flavor but shine through in the finish. It is a long finish.

M - Full, creamy mouthfeel. Rich and chewy. Slick. Mid-level carbonation.

D - Superb drinkability. Great nightcap.

Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served in a Chimay chalice. It was a color that reminded me of red wine. There was little head. The smell was fruity with some hop notes. The taste was very hoppy and semi-sweet. There was an alcohol presence in the mouthfeel. You know you are drinking a big beer. The drinkability is good on this beer, just take it easy. I could session this beer only if the session was real short.

Enola, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of ski271
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy, deep reddish-copper with a small, off-white, creamy head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. Good lacing. The smell is... wow... sweet like candy. In fact, it actually smells kind of lot like a tootsie roll, I kid you not. Malts and alcohol esters duke it out for top billing with a light hops presence in one corner, but malts are kicking arse with the sweetness in their corner. The sweetness is almost a little too much... almost. The flavor is almost as malt dominant as the nose suggests, with flavors of chocolate, dark bread and toffee. The hops come out nicely on the finish adding a light bitterness and balance. It has a full body, syrupy texture, and moderate carbonation. This is one hell of a desert beer, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this one is nicely done. Not very sessionable if that’s what you’re going for, but then again, it’s a barleywine, so if you’re looking for a sessionable barleywine, that’s kind a of contradiction right there.

ski271, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a hazy tea brown color with a modest head that declines to a ringlet without leaving much lacing behind

Smell: A nice range of aromas from dark fruit to bittersweet chocolate to resinous pine

Taste: Starts out with a nice dark fruit profile that lingers for quite a while before being joined by a burst of bitterness; mid-palate, some graininess kicks in, along with a bright almost minty-hop finish

Mouthfeel: Nice and chewy with a healthy level of carbonation

Drinkability: Very complex and enjoyable - now this is what a Winter Warmer should be

A revisit of a fresh 2010 bottling in 12/10 shows much of the same, although the younger beer was much better looking, with a clear color and loads of lacing

brentk56, Mar 15, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep crimson, nearly opaque with a breifly thick tan head that becomes a bubbly topping. Malty sweet, nutty aroma with light chocolate and an underlying earthy hoppiness. Taste is sweet upfront, chocolate mousse with nuts followed by a tasty rush of woody/earthy hops. Addictive flavor. Very fluffy yet full mouthfeel...chewy and warm with a long dry finish.

A deliciously well-balanced strong ale. This could be the only reason I look forward to next November.

wedge, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in early 2005 or late 2004 and it has been sitting in my cellar aging away until this weekend. The beer poured a nice deep brown, almost black color with no light getting through. There was a medium tan head with big bubbles and good lacing. The aroma was a good mix of hops and definite chocolate and coffee notes. The taste was of bold coffee and chocolate and for a non-coffee drinker, this was a very enjoyable beer. The coffee taste is not overpowering and mixes well with the other tastes. Although the abv is over 8%, I find this beer bery drinkable but a bit heavy so I would not find myself drinking more than a few on any given night.

ggaughan, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This twelve ounce botlle was bottled in 2005.

Appearance- Pours a pretty beige, two-finger head with good retention and film formage. No visible lacing. Colro is a deep blood red mixed with potato skin.

Smell- An odd mix of bright hops, chocolate, and coffee grounds.

Taste- This was an odd yet delightful mix indeed. Starts out as medium strength hop bitterness, but is quickly replaced with the flavor of strong dark coffee mixed with a splash of chocolate syrup. The finish is a bittersweet mix of hops and leather. WOW..

Mouthfeel- This beer relaxed my palate. The strong hops had some comforting help with the coffee. A great nightcap beer. Wouldn't want to share with food.

scruffwhor, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of Backer2004
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was definitely the best beer I tried last noight. Man, it's strong but not overpowing with alcohol smell or taste. Great balance of yummy malts and hops, nice dark bronze and little head. Notes of fruit and caramel. At 8.8%, it is definitely not a session beer but easy enough to finish. Worth a go around, againa and again.

Backer2004, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of BrewMan13
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was very pleased when I came upon this in my neck of the woods and promptly picked up a 6er. So far is this is one of my preferred winter warmers/strong ales that I've had this winter, and thankfully its not a glorified (or regular) amber ale like so many others.
Appearance is a dark but clear mahogony. A moderate head (~1 finger) forms and slowly dissipates, but leaves a fair amount of lacing behind. Smell is hard to decipher anythign specific (at least for me).
Taste is predominantly malty with hints of cocoa powder, caramel, and roastiness but nothing that dominates. The hops take over in the finish and provide a very dry, slightly bitter finish that lasts and lasts; feels like it coats the tongue.
For being robust, I find its not overly heavy. I'd say slightly higher then medium.
While "balanced" is a matter of opinion, I find this to be incredibly balanced. Not sweet and not bitter. Maybe it leans a little towards the malt, but only slightly.
Tired of the spiced ales (I like em, but not everyone does) or amber ales masquerading as winter warmers? Then snag some of this, you'll be glad you did. Robust like a ww should be, but its not gonna knock you out in 1 glass.

BrewMan13, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of tastybeer
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cherry/mahogany wood in color, clear and glowing. Head is huge tan. Turns into a nice layer wth thick lacing. Aroma is sweet. Caramel apples, buttery malts, toffee and thick cream comes to mind. This beer does a nice job welcoming the season. Smell matches the taste very nicely. In addition to the things above you get a little hoppiness at the end that meshes seemlessly with the other flavors. Very relaxing brew. Drink it only slightly above room temp.

This helps make NE winter not so crappy.

If this beer could talk it'd say, "Have a happy winter."

tastybeer, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

NOTE- This is two reviews, one with fresh beer and one with 2-year-old bottle. Score is for fresh bottle.
2006- Fresh...This a reddish plum colored barleywine with a minimal tan head. It leaves no lacing in my globe glass. The nose is a delicious mix of yeast, alcohol, and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.

The taste starts deceptively smooth for a barelywine. The base is a rich, thick, caramel. As it sits in my mouth I taste citrusy hops, light brown sugar, clove, nut, cherry ester. The end is where the catch comes. The alcohol comes out of hiding and attacks viciously with strong vapors wafting into the nose. This, combined with that slight estery cherry I mentioned, land this brew in my "tastes like medecine" file. I like barleywine, but a few of them have this medicinal quality I just can't get past, and this is one.

The mouthfeel is very interesting with a surge of carbonation that doesn't seem to be released until the beer has rested in the mouth a moment or two.

Though this is a well-built barleywine, its just not my style, and anyone who can take more than one has my respect.

NOTE- 2006 vintage, tasted March '08
A- 3 fingers of espresso cream head die to a thin layer and leave an arched lace. Impressive show of carbonation for an aged beer. Beer is clear, and a deep, dark, lovely rosewood color.
S- raisins, brown sugar, pepper, plum, luscious fruit bouquet,rich malt aroma, faint earthy hop, amazing nose here, except I get not even a whiff of alcohol.
T- Beer is overall, suprisingly lite on the palate. Does not have the overwhelming malt of many high gravity beers, nor the alcohol burn. What I get here is a firm, fully attenuated crystal malt base with some depth but very little residual sweetness. It is simple, you can tell it had a terse grainbill. Some very soft fruit esters,maybe a cherry note, and a peppery Belgian-esque quality from the yeast/ alcohol. Earthy hop flavor comes out a little in the finish and the beer shows a perfectly balanced bitterness.
M- While the alcohol escapes being hot at any point, it makes itself very known in the finish through an odd numbing sensation, and soft but abundant vapors. Nice soft, low carbonation helps fill out the light mouthfeel. This is one of the lightest high gravity beers I've ever had.

This is an elegant and balanced beer, but it bores me a little. It lacks big, bold, flavors but is a little too rough around the edges to pull off "refined", which I'm afraid relegates it to the realm of the mediocre, despite the obvious skill of its brewer.

Interesting to note that I recall this beer as being a drainpour when fresh. After consulting my previous review, which sadly, is about to be deleted, I can say this beer mellowed and changed significantly in aging. It has obviously benefitted a great deal from a few years in the bottle. I would like to taste a 4 or 5 year old bottle, to see if things finally come together.

JudgeRoughneck, Feb 20, 2006
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,240 ratings.