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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,594 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,594
Reviews: 1,107
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 112
Gots: 261 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,594 | Reviews: 1,107
Photo of ritzkiss
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 12oz bottle with Bobsy at Volo. Pours an attractive mahogany, earthy brown with a finger plus of off white/tan head, good retention, nice lacing.

Nose is full of chocolate malts with a nice spiciness, earthiness and hints of raisin.

This is a really nice, earthy old ale. It differentiates itself from many other in the style which lean toward the sugary, sweet end of things or the bourbony, woody end - this is a nice spicy, earthy, chocolate malt creation. Hints of cloves, soil, caramel, touch of wood, raisins, molasses, toasted pecans, faint coffee notes. Nice mouthfeel, medium body, just the faintest hints of the alcohol in the finish but on a cool night there's nothing wrong with that.

A nice fall/winter drinker for sure. Would gladly revisit this one.

Photo of bobsy
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with ritzkiss for Tuesday's nightcap at Volo.

Pours a clean oak into my goblet, with two fingers of creamy, smooth light tan head. One of the smoothest heads I've seen, and one that exhibited great retention and lay down some pretty impressive lace.

The malt heavy aroma is dominated by chocolate, but surprises me with a heck of a lot of brown ale notes. Joining the chocolate we have brown bread, toasted nuts and a distinct earthiness. The alcohol isn't evident, and neither is the sweetness found in a lot of old ales.

Now this is the kind of beer I could love. Earlier in the evening we shared an aged bottle of Jackie Brown, and I remember thinking it had transformed into a brown ale / old ale hybrid. Well, this beer tastes like an old ale / brown ale hybrid! Malt dominates, first in the form of chocolate, then with a strong brown breadiness, before moving on to weak coffee grounds. The old ale aspect brings light dark fruit mid-palate and a touch of sweetness. Not content with letting the malts be the star of the show, the hopping is perfectly in tune, and its earthiness heightens the brown bread and nut flavours. The body also helps, as its slightly fuller than medium, and seems to bulk up the malt impression.

What an interesting old ale! Here was me thinking that they're all going to be high alcohol sugar bombs, and then Great Divide comes along and surprises me. I shouldn't have been caught unawares, though, as Great Divide is one of my favourite breweries, and this is another hit for them. Highly recommended.

Photo of Rayek
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Great Divide Tap Room.

A: Deep copper with very good clarity. A dense and foamy beige head has nice retention and leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: Smells heavily of pepper, clove and toffee. A bit of charred wood rests in the background.

T: Starts out rather bitter, with a healthy pepper and clove bite. Once the bitterness passes, toffee, baking chocolate and a hint of burnt wood come through. Alcohol adds a touch of warmth to the finish.

M: The medium body feels slick on the tongue. Carbonation could stand to be a touch lower.

D: The is a nice Old Ale. The beer's strength makes it a good candidate for a nightcap. A very well done offering.

Photo of david18
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite Old Ales from one of my favorite breweries.

Great dark color, flavor has great malt but not too strong. Aroma has a lot of dark fruit. Carbonation is good, especially for the amount of malt and ABV.

This is one to get every time.

Photo of JoeBloe
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the mudville 9 -
poured a rich brown with a 1 finger head, dissipated quickly -
sweet malty aroma, with pungent dried fruitiness - really tasty with flavor in suit with it's aroma - a little heavy with minimal alcohol presence, at least until i finished this, whoa -

Photo of wl0307
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coming in a slim 355ml brown bottle, BB 09/2008, served mildly chilled in Hapkin's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer. NOTE: this is an "English-style Old Ale", the label specifies, or as far as the awards it has won are concerned...

A: pours a deep purple-red to mahogany hue, with very faint trace of carbonation and a creamy and tight beige froth that slowly dissipates into a thin cap to last throughout the drink.
S: big hoppy and densely fruity-malty upfront, showing fat raisins, overripe plums, date preserve, dried longan-fruits, toffee-ish/creamy malts, lots of oily Cascade(-like) flowery scent, etc., all packed in one relaxed sniff; constantly in the background is deep, underlying edge of chocolatey and roast-walnutty crystal malts (the latter providing a weight-lifting effect overall). Indeed, this is very much like a ripe and juicy premium bitter, but not quite the same as any English-style old ale as the hoppiness comes in its "buckets" that is usually more subdued in the English counterparts; also, there's no trace of staleness in this ale, hence not quite "old" as in a long-aged cask ale. That said, I whole-heartedly welcome this hop dominance!
T: the smooth and liquidy swallow of thick, dark-fruity malts with plentiful aroma of dried dark stone-fruits (as identified on the nose, but in particular smoked dried longan-fruits) gradually introduces a lightly dry, citric-scented and piny hop aftertaste, laced with mildly burned and dry-ish hint of roast malts (a bit like crushed aromatic coffee beans), toasted walnuts, and a light but lasting note of licorice-flavoured black-sugar candy. The finish benefits from a moderate level of hop bitterness that complements the overall flavour almost seamlessly.
M&D: softly carbonated, the palate is rounded, mellow, with a depth that hides behind the juicy hop façade and rich-but-not imposing malt body. All in all, this marvellously balanced and surprisingly light-bodied ale is in every way a "digestive" type of drink in its own right. I don't find the overall aroma and flavour terribly "English" (again, due to the hop input, yet not least), but the impeccable balance does tell some truth in this light. Also, this is an outright balanced, delicious and satisfying darker-version barley wine, if you ask me, as there really is nothing "OLD" about it. High recommended, regardless of styles!

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a clear crimson brown color with two fingers of creamy light tan foam. Aromas and flavors consist of sweet malts, caramel, sweet biscuits, fruity maybe some figs, toffee, earthy hops. Approaching full bodied and adequately carbonated for the style. Certainly worth your time if you are a fan of old ales.

Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A deep brown reddish ale, with a nice looking tan cap of foam above. Caramel, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and a hint of hops in the nose. Powdery dry on the medium-bodied palate. Cocoa, toffee, toasted malt. It moves through the center nicely and finishes with some earthy bitter hops. A sweetness is present throughout but avoids becoming cloying. Overall not bad. Given the summer weather, hibernation is not on my mind, but if it were a little cooler this brew would hit the spot.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a translucent chestnut body with an off-white head. Nutty caramel malt aroma is near intoxicating. Rich caramel malt and toffee with a mild bitterness in the finish. The body is smooth, syrupy thick, but still creamy. Great old ale, not the most complex, but it is affordable, quaffable and dangerous at 8.1abv. This is consistently one of my absolute favorite winter seasonals. Can't wait to try the Stranahan barrel aged version.

Photo of markaberrant
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - brilliantly clear, deep red, creamy tan head, leaves lots of lacing behind.

S - rich malt, toffee, toasted nuts, light sweet chocolate, just a hint of fruit, really nice and dense

T - it's malty, but there is a lot of earthy hop flavour and bitterness cutting through to keep the sweetness well in check, the aftertaste is incredible; dry chocolate and nuts, very decadent

M - medium body, not huge, low carbonation, smooth, dry finish, has some noticable alcohol warmth

D - full of complex flavours, a very interesting take on the style.

So Great Divide calls this an English-Style Old Ale, but I've never tasted an Old Ale with this much hops in it; this is very much an American interpretation. I wouldn't call it "rich," but it certainly has depth, lots of great flavours going on, and intermingling. Should do well in a cellar, and is excellent with fine cheeses such as 5-year cheddar or gouda.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a seethru brown with some ruby tints and a two-finger head that died slowly and left lace down the glass. A strong malt smell of roasted and toasted malts along with some caramel; also hints of herbal hops. Medium-bodied and smooth
with a large malt base in the mouth. Roasted, toasted and caramel are at the forefront giving this beer a balance of dryness and sweetness, and there is some fruit flavoring (not much) from the hops. There is a little alcohol poking through on the backend making this a sipper, but overall this is an enjoyable beer to relax with.

Photo of Beefeater57
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber-brown color, tan head with decent retention. Nice amount of lacing.

S: Malts, definitely some roasted malts in there. Some coffee, ash, tea leafs, and spicy notes.

T: Very sweet maltbase. Brown sugar, coffee, and some alcohol. Hop oils in there, some herbal hops. A little metallic and hop bitterness works with the alcohol.

M: Oily, slick feel I get from hop oils. Smooth body with some alcohol warmth. Metallic on the sides of the tongue.

D: Smooth rich malts are very nice. Besides the high ABV, it is drinkable. Smooth and sweet.

Photo of froghop
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear brown with a red tint and a small light beige head, and a really good lacing.

smell of burnt carmel, brown sugar, and some vanilla.

taste is semi-sweet, woody, caramel, and roasted nuts, ends on the bitter side.

overall a very good strong ale.

Photo of hoplover82
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is very VERY impressive.

A-Pours a deep dark copper, slightly hazy color with a CREAMY tight dark ivory head that leaves strong sticky lacing.

S-The aroma is pungent of earthy hops at first. Then as it warms, it moves to a warm toffee and caramel and slight notes of chocolate. WOW! Very complex and pungent nose. Man it's soooo good, just to smell.

T-Strong caramel and toffee notes. Hefty bitterness to keep the sweetness in check. But the bitterness is clean, not harsh. Some earthy hop flavor too.Very nice.

M-Very creamy and smooth. Full bodied and easy drinking. Not much astringency at all. And a soft bitterness that lingers well.

D-Smooth drinking all the way down. This is one of those beers you don't want it to end. I wish I had a case.

Photo of cowens22
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Duvel tulip. Thin head on pour. Generated frothy head when swirled in tulip. Smoky, malty, caramel, and molasses in the nose. Taste of malts (roasted), molasses, almost a port taste as it gets room temp. All of these are quickly diminishing as it rolls off the tongue. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than expected from the style but still a middle of the road mouth feel.

Definitely expected more from this beer. I am a huge fan of everything that Great Divide does but this one is just not for me. I expected a little more mouthfeel than that and even though it is an english style old ale, I was found myself wanting more of a hop character.

Photo of evantwomey
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Date on bottle Sept. 4, 2008 (7 months old). Poured into an oversized snifter. Appearance is perfect. Color is a deep, dark red. Good clarity, thin layer of fuzzy foam, and plenty of lacing. Smell blew me away. The dry-hops which seemed weird after reading the bottle really seem to meld nicely with the malt-assault my nose is currently experiencing. Alcohol barely noticeable. Plenty of dark caramel, dark fruits, butterscotch...like a rich double bock. On the first sip, the first thing I notice is the almost slippery mouthfeel. Reminiscent of some imperial stouts in its 'chewiness'. Taste is extraordinarily malty, with a sweet finish and a lingering alcohol/hop burn. However, the boozy/bitter finish is welcome in a beer this malty. No oxidation noticeable, I think this beer would age beautifully. I would say the drinkability is relatively low due to the high viscosity, but I wouldn't think twice about drinking 2-3 of these. Will definitely buy this again.

Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, roasted malt, hops, a sugary sweetness, and a hint of smoke. Fits the style of an English Old Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with an average carbonation level and a high bitterness level. Tastes of alcohol up front, then some good smoke flavors, roasted malt next, a sweet malt and hop background, and more alcohol in the finish. Overall, great flavors, but the alcohol is not hidden very well. I'd still recommend this brew but it does pack a punch.

Photo of ProfessorHops
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I hope I have the right beer. My bottle looks a little different and advertises the brew is English style old ale. I think I'm right, a lot of the other reviews sound the same.

Appearance- Dark brown.

Aroma-Copper and taffy.

Pallet- Very good... Sweet caramel, incased in malt.

Finish- Long and smoky.

Guzzle Factor Per Style- Newcastle goes down easier. This beer bitter bight's hard. But still very good

Texture- Ale like

Extra: Very good beer. Very bitter but still has robust malt. Not a quencher. But a great pizza beer. I am going to enjoy my second bottle with pizza. Can't wait.

Photo of erosier
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a nice amber copper color with a tall and medium bodied off-white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, some caramelized malts, some nutty aromas and a hint of hops at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted and caramelized malts, some nutty flavor, and a nice faint hoppy finish. Hints of vinous fruit throughout as well.
M: Very smooth, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, I would recommend this for sure.

Photo of WilliamD
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass. Copper-red with a very thin, white head. Many small bubbles rising from the bottom.
Malt aroma is prominent. Caramel and cream as well.
Very pleasant malt taste. Rich and creamy, balanced well with slight bitterness. Nice complex aftertaste.
Crisp, slightly sticky, and warming.
Didn't really notice the booze despite the high ABV. Quite tasty, but rich. Two would be the limit for me in one sitting. But this fine ale is not meant to be consumed in large quantities, so no knocks against it for drinkability. What was consumed was consumed with ease as well as much enjoyment.
Purchased as a single--might have to pick up some more.

Photo of stumac
4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love it every winter when I can get this beer.

Pours up a reddish amer color with a nice big, frothy tan head. Great retentive lacing. The nose is caramel, toffee, sweet malts, a little diacetyl, a little juana aroma comin off my shirt. I taste craziness from mel in the air, a nutty, malty, smoothe start to a bitter, scratchy, hop biting finish. Damn I love the finish. Definitely not a typical "Christmas" beer but for sure one of my all time favorite "Winter Releases"...

A perfect beer...

Photo of Onenote81
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a massive bubbling tan head that spills all over my counter. Great retention paired with beautiful sticky lacing. Smells of nuts, some coffee, vanilla, and malt. Decent.

Mouthfeel is weak and watery. For a "big" beer like this, it is disappointing. Decent carbonation, just too slick. Taste is a big wallop of nuttiness that I was not expecting. Some of the bitter walnut aftertaste in there. I'm also getting some raisin, booze, and slight spiciness. Not bad. I'm glad I got this, and I'd most likely get it again next winter, but I wouldn't drink more than 1 at a time.

Photo of TheThirdFloyd
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Murky dark bronze, with great tan 2 finger head that laced well throughout. Impressive carbonation
S- Great aroma- Nuttiness, a little booze, floral and hint of citrus hop notes, coffee? Maybe my imagination of "hibernating" in a cozy cabin somewhere but a campfire/oaky scent?
T- One word- balance. I am a hophead, so I really enjoyed the upfront estery, citrusy hop elements here that are quickly answered by lightly warming booze, nutty and deeply flavorful biscuit malt flavors, and again after no research on this beer do I taste oak again? Not sure about the aging method if this is truly an American Version of a stock ale/old ale
M- I really like the added tingle from somewhat heavy carbonation in addition to the lightly noticeable booziness. Overall, this stays right down the middle for me. Not too watery, not to thick, a little oil, a little perceived grit so again the balance theme we're talking about here.
D- The only drawback would be the ABV. I could see where some might be turned off by some of the booze that comes through here (at least for me) but I find it to be a greatly balanced beer where the booze is necessary. I may want to drink more of these than I should because I think this is a superb, excellently balanced beer that I think is one of the more underrated selections out there. I'd love to age this stuff another year, but I drank it all and can't find anymore around Chi-town. Big fan, and one of my personal favorites

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12/8/2007 (bottled 2007):

Pours a dark brown colored body, with a tannish colored head, okay. Has a very hoppy aroma, with some malts, fresh & fizzy smelling, also coffee. Has a coffee taste, malty nutty, balanced somewhat by the hops. Some alcohol.

Photo of FrognutUnl
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep brownish red in color with a scant tan head that fades away rather quickly.

S - Smells of chocolate and caramel permeate the nose with notes of fruitiness and a slight bit of alcohol.
T - A bit earthy and sweet with heavy chocolate overtones. The alcohol comes through a slight amount in the finish, but not nearly as much as the nose would have indicated. As the glass warms just a touch some peppery, spicy flavors become very apparent.

M - A little over carbonated in my opinion, but not by much.

O - This certainly a delicious brew that is well balanced in flavor with a fair amount of complexity and a bouquet. I would love to see what this does in a year or two.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,594 ratings.