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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,206 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,206
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 97
Gots: 117 | 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: 2,206 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sephiroth


4.3/5  rDev +6.7%

2005 Bottling: Pours with little apparent head, but the little that is there is staying put. Nice lacing. Nose of chocolate, caramel malt and slight nutty character. Hops smell fresh and herbal.

This beer is a lot better fresh like this than when I tried last year's batch with six months of age on it. Caramel malt, chocolate nut malt, and grassy, herbal, resiny hops. The mouthfeel is thick, a bit syrupy. This is a sipper. Big thanks to AlexJ for the trade.

11-10-2005 01:02:37 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of KarlHungus


4.8/5  rDev +19.1%

This brew pours a clear dark red color with a small white head that recedes quickly. The aroma is dark and malty. Chocolate, and caramel, with citrusy hops peaking through. It actually smells of warmth, as though it will keep you warm the whole winter. The taste is very balanced. Perhap, it is the most balance big beer I have had. The mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth, with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a very good beer worthy of its name.

11-09-2005 01:53:10 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.03/5  rDev 0%

Bronzed dark brown with fiery orange peel highlights. With backlighting, the beer becomes dim magenta. The head is a beautiful shade of golden beige and would look at home on the hoppiest IPA. Thick, rich and creamy, it resembles mousse, or even sherbet, as it falls. The lace display is impressive as well; thick, yet still intricately lace-like. Well done.

Since I'm drinking the 2003 vintage, I would have expected the alcohol to have matured by now. Perhaps it will have on the palate, but it's still a young whippersnapper in the nose. The aroma is malt-dominant, with chocolate being something of a surprise. There are earthy notes as well, which I guess I should attribute to hops. Unfortunately, the nose is somewhat medicinal and isn't as varied or as complex as it could be.

The flavor is a definite step up. Hibernation Ale tastes like a combination of several different styles. The principal elements are a roasted black and chocolate maltiness, along with an unripe fruit sourness that is kept in check by hop bitterness. There's a lot going on and it all fits together reasonably well. A good comparison would be equal parts porter and baby barleywine.

The fruitiness is more figs, dates and tart apples than the darker, richer raisins and prunes. I have no idea what sort of hops have been used. Hop flavor has been plastered over, even as the hop bitterness has survived intact. Unlike the nose, there's very little alcohol noted on the palate. The finish features a nice interplay between sweet, sour and bitter, and lingers for several minutes at least. The mouthfeel is roughly midway between a big porter and a barleywine, to keep the above comparisons alive.

Hibernation Ale has held up well during its 2 years of... uh... hibernation. Like many strong ales, it doesn't fit neatly into any one category. It is an enjoyable sipper, though, and one that would be good to have around when the thermometer dips into the single digits. Thanks to prAna for the bottle, although he's probably forgotten this long ago trade (the first one I ever made).

11-03-2005 16:30:37 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of allengarvin


4.33/5  rDev +7.4%

Dark, opaq reddish-brown color with a thin, lasting head of foam across the top. Big malty aroma, plenty of toasty caramel and dark, savory fruits. Taste, unsurprisingly, squarely emphasizes the malt: thick and delicious toffee, toasty (almost roasty), dark cocoa, with moderate bitterness that keeps the sweetness at bay. Finishes surprisingly clean. Full-bodied with a soft creamy texture.

An excellent, well-crafted winter beer.

10-31-2005 14:35:39 | More by allengarvin
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS


4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Yet another fantastic beer from the brewers at Great Divide, good job.

Brown. Ruby. Interesting, many times you come across beers where there are such slight similarities that you have a difficult time differentiating. This one is just slightly out of that category.

Malty and chocolaty. Does that make it malt chocolate?

Undeniable chocolate flavor. Not a huge fan of that product, but this is nice. Almost like a creamed chocolate, not overwhelming but a nice reminder.

My local gets in the freshest of the fresh. I got this barely chilled from the delivery. Considering it has come half way across the country, it is remarkably fresh and is a deceivingly sweet treat.

10-24-2005 03:29:19 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of TheBungyo


4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Waiting for something unlike what you’ve tasted before? Rush out and pick up a Hibernation Ale.

Yeah, not one aspect of this beer is much like what you’re used to I’d imagine. It pours in the darkest of rubies, almost black to those who may not pay the closest of attention. Even before you’ve poured the entire bottle, the smell hits you. Somewhat like dark chocolate, and some sweet kind of fruit. It took me a couple minutes to think of how to describe it. Very little head.

Chocolate covered cherry … are you kidding me? That’s all I taste the first couple seconds before the bitter hops show up to kick the party in high gear. Yum.

I wouldn’t spend an entire night drinking this, but it is very unique and very tasty. Can Great Divide do anything wrong?

10-21-2005 19:27:18 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of warriorsoul


4.47/5  rDev +10.9%

A big "thanks" to Beerguy (Frank@Diversified Imports) for this one...should be hitting the shelves in RI soon.
Pours a dark rust color w/ some mahogany highlights w/ some assistance from light...a half a finger of tan head forms w/ an agressive pour and has very attractive lacing.
Inviting smell...brown sugar, carmelized malt, dark chocolate and maple syrup blended in a very aromatic explosion.
The taste is quite excellent...so much thicker than I was expecting and as forewarned, a malty treat.
A dash of espresso, but mostly chocolate, spice, fig, and a gentle smokiness finishing it off. A warming character, but not a lot of alcohol overall...even as it works it's way towards room temperature.
As mentioned, the mouthfeel is fantastic...finishes w/ a bitter and somewhat dry finish, yet it has a sweetness that keeps drawing me in.
I could drink quite a number of these and it's not even winter yet...I will need to make a road trip to RI to stock up for the season if this one does not make it to MA.
Another winner from Great Divide and a very unique offering IMO.

10-18-2005 23:43:23 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of unklesyd


4.93/5  rDev +22.3%

I had to stop what I was doing to write this, so strong was my desire to tell the (advocate)world to go get yourself some of this RIGHT NOW!

Right away I noticed that this beer's aroma was intoxicating enough to take me straight through to the end and more. Terrific complexity: toffee, dried fruits, caramel malt (slight).

Fantastic color and clarity, head and lacing.

What a brew: caramelized, biscuity, slightly nutty, warms down the throat.

Usually I don't drink more than one bottle of the same beer at a time, and I decided to go back for another (which was a tough call since I only had two). Needless to say, I'll be hitting up the beer store quickly to stock up.

10-09-2005 22:41:49 | More by unklesyd
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.88/5  rDev +21.1%

A bottle of the 2004 variety, so this guy's a year old I suppose.

Well, it's not winter, and seeing as I'm in Richmond it doesn't even seem like fall's approaching. Then again, I've been waiting to crack this sucker open for a while, as the reviews and recommendations from others have gotten me quite excited.

Appearance: A beautiful hybrid between almost a stout and an amber (though closer to a dark amber). It's toward dark, but no opaque like a stout. When light hits you can make out the red and brown tints, making it glow a bit. Lacing is strong, though head dissipates faster than I wanted. But good Lord, the color, maybe one of the best I've seen as far as repetitive eye candy goes.

Smell: Immediately the idea of "quality" comes to mind, which oddly enough reminds of me many beers I can't presently pinpoint. By quality I mean you can tell that the hops and malt are quality hops and malt, and if you don't know what I mean, maybe you need to be drinking and getting into (especially with the nose) more quality brews. Now I get an almost porter and stout-like roasted malt quality, dark, not burnt but toasted, and heavy -- chocolate, coffee, mocha? All of it seems to be there, yet not overpowering. And still a slight floral quality comes through, a floral aroma of hops mingling nicely with the thick, toasted, and sweet malt character. Very balanced and expertly crafted.

Taste: I hate to compare the taste as it warms to one of my favorite beers, which is Rogue Chocolate Stout, but it does indeed remind me of it. However, there's plenty of hop bitterness here, and the coming together of both is stupidly satisfying, and way beyond balanced. I rarely use the term purity, but this is so pure it's like a drug to me. Excellent malt and hop collision, a lingering aftertaste of coffee, chocolate, and some hops. This is amazing.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, so damn creamy. Cloying? No, not at all (I think thanks to the hops). Beautiful carbonation levels. I'm beyond impressed.

Drinkability: Too good to make a session, but not as expensive as I think it probably should be. This beer is amazing. Great Divide has proven itself already, but this just makes me more of a believer.

My new goal is to get everything I can by Great Divide. And if you haven't noticed by my review, you should try to seek this out.

09-16-2005 02:09:24 | More by asabreed
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.85/5  rDev -4.5%

Appearance: Mostly clear deep Mahogany color with about 1/4" head of mixed size bubbles on top. The head stood for a good while. Very light lace.

Aroma: Lots of rich malt and caramel with some noticeable alcohol in the nose. There are some more assertive hops used in this beer. They may not be a huge player, but you can pick them up in the aroma. As it warms, you can definitely pick out raisins.

Taste: Really rich flavor! It has loads of malt and here, but there are some evident hops here to balance it out. It starts out with some malt presence, and then the hops kicks in to leave you with an almost balanced finish and a warm alcoholic burn in the throat. There is noticeable fruit in the taste. I can pick out Red Apples specifically, but there is also some raisin lurking in here.

Opinion: This is a very well crafted beer! I am a little surprised that the alcohol is only 8.1% because it adds some noticeable heat. I guess the fermentation was a little warm to bring out the fruity aromatics. It tastes like it is over 10% to me.

08-13-2005 02:01:25 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -8.7%

12 ounce bottle. 04 version. Hazy dark brown with a large head. Brown sugar and chocolate aroma with dark fruits. Smells quite hoppy too. Dark malts with a caramel and toffee flavor. Some dark fruits and nuts. Hoppy in the finish. There are plenty of good flavors in this beer, but the flavors could meld together a little better. Full mouthfeel. The high alcohol takes away a little from the drinkability. This beer is pretty good, but there are plenty of better beers of the same style.

08-06-2005 21:03:15 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of pentathlete


4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

Bottled in 2004. This is a garnet colored beauty. Minimal head and carbonation. Smell is coffee and alcohol-soaked dark fruitbread. Taste is a charming blend of coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and alcohol bite. The mouthfeel is medium, with a firm body and a wonderful burn in the finish. Tasty and easy to quaff for the style.

07-16-2005 02:23:17 | More by pentathlete
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%

In my last review, I stated that I thought the Hibernation wouldn't age well beyond 8 to 12 months. But the bottle I have in front of me is at least that old and still has a bright hoppiness.
I also noted oxidation in my last review, but there was none here. Very nice!!!

06-15-2005 22:55:34 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of tavernjef


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%

Opaque-like glimmer of burnt reddish brown. Soft, medium-sized cap of dark tanned froth lathers the top. A residual light skim blankets the top once the cap fades as does a firm collaring. Small, wimsical fabrics of lace line the glass.

Aroma is quite nice. Very caramel loaded. Dark malt base mainly with a lisp of roast. Some controlled burnt hop edges are within lending some chewy pine sap, fresh leafy cones, and grain sugars. Smidgeons of chocolate, plum, and dark cherry snoops in as it warms as does a bit of black malted alcoholic vapor.

Taste has length with a long dark malt detainment of indifferent blackenedness. Caramel smooth underneath. Slight roast and heat attached sweetness trailing on and on to where smidgeons, as the aroma eluded to, of chocolate, plum, and cherry play its small part. Dark and peculiar. Bitterness holds off til late with a leafy roasted hop sap. Orange laced acids feather at the tonsils. It has a broad range of length, substantially so, but a bigger energy and character was needed to boost it to the next level of greatness for me.

Perhaps here is where the problem lies as its body is a bit low and not as full or bold as I thought it was gonna be based off its aroma. A somewhat weaker medium body makes it seem solitary and conserved. Carbonation is nice. Solid smoothness with just the right amount of give for the style, aptly rough enough in areas, and the right amount of hints to the alcohol. One nice aspect of the Hibernation is its gradual warming feel that slips across your memory as you decide to open another. That I liked.

So, as it goes, this brew is not fully impressionable but has that satisfyingly casual appeal that makes for a nice experience and keeps a favorably easy drinkability to its disposition worthy of Great Divides' reputation.

06-14-2005 02:58:52 | More by tavernjef
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.3/5  rDev +6.7%

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite/tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is perfect. It has a warm and rich malty scent that is sweet with crystal malts and toastey with roasted barley. The taste is good. It has an earthy, sweet, and toastey malt flavor that goes down smooth and finishes dry and warm. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It has awesome aroma and flavor; a great drinker.

05-16-2005 23:38:15 | More by WesWes
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -9.9%

Dark caramel to orange hue, very foamy off-white film presents decent lacing as the norm wants with GD. Interesting caramel malt, earthy and slightly alcoholic. Vegetal and mellow hops blend in with ease. The aroma feels a bit soft. It’s not trying to impress you, it’s well contained, woody, earthy, well rounded caramel and fruits, bready with a growing green hops bitterness. A bit watery toward the ending, but medium bodied and creamy besides. Unexceptional, but another respectable GC offering.

04-21-2005 15:32:20 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.83/5  rDev -5%

Appearance - pours a deep amber/red, light mocha head. Extra cloudiness when the last few ounces are poured in, making the beer a murky red color.

Aroma - malty raisiny smell with pervading, piny hoppiness. Settles to a pleasant malty nose.

Taste - heavily malted, sweet caramel and roasted grain. Hops check in post-swallow. Sweetness, coffee, and chocolate on the finish, would like to have tasted that sooner. Alcohol is completely hidden until well into this beer.

Mouthfeel - full-bodied, lightly carbonated, leaves a tart residual.

Drinkability - doesn't taste as potent as it is. Not as flavorful as I'd hoped, the coffee and chocolate arrive too late for me. Still, not many 8% sippers are this drinkable.

04-13-2005 15:52:25 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of dauss


4/5  rDev -0.7%

Presentation: standard 12oz. bottle, 2004 edition.

Appearance: Clear deep amber ruby. A light tan head forms, poor retention, but leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

Smell: very sweet and strong toffee, caramel, and a touch of chocolate. A lot of spicy hop aroma and alcohol.

Taste: Very thick and full of rich malty sweetness. Light carbonation along with the slick mouthfeel gives it a wonderful sort of creaminess. A lot of roasty character, with a little bit of plums. Mild hop bitterness throughout the taste. Finishes sweet with hop bitterness, alcohol, and slick.

Notes: Still a little hot, nice hop bitterness, and tasty. Could use some aging, but its still tasty.

04-07-2005 04:11:07 | More by dauss
Photo of beertastegood


3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

12-oz. bottle, 2003 production.

Pours a dark amber with a creamy inch-high tan head. Smells of dark fruits, raisins and plums, alcoholic aromas and spices with just a bit of hop aroma apparent as well. Taste: big malt flavor with cloves and peppery notes, fruity overtones and just the right amount of hop bitterness. Finish is slightly sweet and clean. Chewy body with little carbonation. A very well done winter warmer.

This bottle is a little old, but it appears to have aged pretty well. I would like to try a fresh one, but this is the only time I have ever seen it at the local Spec's.

04-02-2005 04:46:21 | More by beertastegood
Photo of GeoffRizzo


4.7/5  rDev +16.6%

2004 winter edition. Light shoe brown hue with some red wine highlights, bubbling tan head that creates a ¼ inch clasping ring. Fresh hops, caramel malts and some tender estery alcohol make the presence on the nose. First impressions are important, no? Creamy, big and bold – a chewy, full bodied explosion right from the first sip! Some caramelized sugars, rich dark roasted malts, coffee beans and mocha are all to be found. Oh so smooth and inviting, flavorings obviously increase with warming; cherries, vanilla beans and a smidge of hops grace the palate, chocolate and mint offerings come and go towards the finish. A true winter winner and a great catch, absolutely wonderful! Massive flavorings along with a true-tummy warming affect; perfect for winter nights, o.k. perfect for any night!

02-20-2005 03:49:02 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of nomad


4.05/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours a strong burgundy color with a thin off-white head. Well-retained appearance with delicate, pervasive lacing. Unlike many old ales which look dead in the glass, both clarity and lacing are strong with this beer.

Smells toasty with whisps of light molasses and light roasted coffee, but more along the lines of cocoa. Quiet malt backing is peppered with the zip of citrusy/piney American hops.

Tastes of burnt caramel and a large and assertive toasty flavor, all covered in a light cocoa powder overlay. Hops are just enough to balance in a drying finish (no true hop flavor shown), and the alcohol is relegated to a mere hum in the throat. Mouthfeel is moderate and none too slick or round, rather moderate in fact.

Not a beer I would cellar for a time, but I do prefer this beer with some age - like, say, around mid-summer or early fall. The large toasty wallop and dry cocoa notes calm some into a smoother malty beer. Regardless, a good English-styled Old ale and a seasonal to which I always look forward.

02-17-2005 13:44:03 | More by nomad
Photo of maxpower


4/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a hazy dark red with a decent creamy light brown head that leaves good lacing in my glass. Fruity dark cherry and plum aromas. Bready, nutty, chocolate-caramel and fruit flavors, full bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, alcohol well hidden, finishes with a pleasant bitterness, well done.

02-04-2005 21:11:12 | More by maxpower
Photo of Gagnonsux


4.43/5  rDev +9.9%

2004 vintage. Hibernation is dark brown with a ruby glow in the light. Head is light brown; and nice and creamy. Pretty good lacings around the insides of my glass. The aroma is strongly malty. Chocolate and coffee smells are noted. A nice hop bite is also in the mix. Taste is fully malty with a nice touch of hops. Chocolate tastes are followed by that of coffee in the finish. An ester taste is noted too. Body is full and chewy. The 8.1% ABV is only noted by a warming feeling. This is another enjoyable beer by Great Divide, I've always enjoyed their brews that I've tried.

01-23-2005 03:26:59 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of Bierguy5


4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

Bottled in 2004. Chestnut color with ruby highlights. Thick tan creamy head, which stayed for a good period of time. Some patchy lace on the sides. Wonderful roasty aroma along with alcohol, and maybe some chocolate. Spices too. Caramel and toffee-like malt. Not very sweet. Robust. Big amount of spicy hops. Not too bitter, and somewhat smooth. Alcohol presence noticable. Medium to full body, low carbonation. This is a very solid strong or old ale. Probably ages fairly well.

01-20-2005 02:56:46 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of sweethome


4/5  rDev -0.7%

A big piney nose with the alcohol present. Starts lighter than the nose suggests, but kicks it up nicely. A big, hoppy, complex stew. Figs, toast, and pine flavors come through. The piney hops tend to dominate - but I like it! Just enough alcohol to ward off the cold. Very bitter finish. Nice job.

01-17-2005 03:13:14 | More by sweethome
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,206 ratings.