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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,212 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,212
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 97
Gots: 119 | 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: 2,212 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev 0%

Pours a rich crimson color with a creamy off white head that stays put thru out the duration of drinking it,deep caramel aromas along with some milk chocolate quite sweet.Absolutely sublime creamy mouthfeel just glides down smooth,flavors of caramel and brown suger hit ya up front but there is a decent dryness midway keeping it from getting to sweet.I wouldnt say earthy maybey more herbal in the finish,its quite heavy a one or two and done for me.This is a doozy a great winter beer,it would real warm ya up,not that I need that down here in NC.

oberon, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%

12oz with the notch on the label indicating that this was bottled in '05, poured into a pint glass.

Clear crimson, with a light tan head that is less than an inch, shows decent retention, and leaves a nice sheet of bubbles inside the glass as it goes down.

The aromas is Slightly alcoholic with piney hops and chocolate. The malt aromas are something close to a stout but it stops short of that. Interesting.

The taste follows along the same lines as the nose. Caramel and hop pine upfront with some alcoholic warmth followed by a touch of chocolate. The finish is hoppy with the lingering chocolate. Old Rasputin comes to mind. I love it!

Nice mouth that approaches full but backs off at the right time. Slight residual oils, but they are not unwelcome. Despite the abv, this is quite drinkable in light of it's merits.

ypsifly, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of battlekow
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Hibernation Ale is a cloudy, caramel colored brew with a minimal head that quickly fades. Big notes of chocolate rise from the glass, with just hints of the 8.1% ABV. Taste is also quite chocolately, but there's a strange hop flavor providing dissonance, almost like fresh parsley. Finishes with some hop bittering. Mouthfeel is very thick. Overall, I was very pleased with how chocolatey this was, but the hops and the malt just don't mesh well. For the most part though, a fine strong ale, and it hides its alcohol quite well.

battlekow, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of macpapi
4/5  rDev -0.7%

First taste of this beer. Interesting to say the least.

Pours a nice dark brown color with a hint of amber in the light. There is a slight white head, and overall tint makes this beer quite opaque. Good lacing.

There is a nice malt smell. Chocolate, caramel, toffee and a bit of nut aroma are also present. This is a very full and balanced whiff.

Tates like heavily roasted malt with a good deal of sweet chocolate. A very bold and tasty flavor. Some hop bitterness is also there at the end of the swallow.

In the mouth Hibernation Ale is creamy and bitingly sharp at different points. Not terribly carbonated.

Overall this is a very nice beer. Strong tasting and pleasant, with a good deal of substance. Impressive.

macpapi, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of jaluria
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%

A medium-brown color with cream colored head that remains thick and foamy for quite awhile. Great lacing is left behind once the head begins to dissipate. Aromas of malt, nuts, caramelized sugar are present. The taste is lovely with hop bitterness in every sip right upfront followed by an assertive malt finish. Additional flavors of apricots and plums become apparent as the beer warms. The finish is dry with a lingering sweetness leaving behind a warming alcohol sensation. Overall, this is a very enjoyable brew that I can see myself having by a fireplace in the dead of winter, perhaps in a ski lodge!

jaluria, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%

Appearance: This beer poured a deep amber red, with an emphasis on the red, that was relatively clear. I poured the beer rather aggresively and was rewarded with a beige, two-finger head. It dissipated slowly and left a thick covering of foam on the side of the glass. As I drank, there was a ton of lace left behind.

Smell: Right after the pour, the aroma was huge with thick, sweet malt. After a little time, though, it mellowed out and became much more balanced. It was still heavy with malt, but roasted and chocolate malts dominated. The chocolate was definitely noticeable. A little raw grain gave it a bit of an edge. Just the slightest hint of hops came through.

Mouthfeel: On the upper end of medium-bodied. Creamy smooth, mouthfilling, and slightly coating.

Taste: Thick with a combination of sweet, roasted, and chocolate malts. Like the aroma, the chocolate was strong. In the middle, medicinal cherry and an herbal hoppiness arose. The finish was a continuation of these, along with some spirit-like alcohol and a stronger sweetness.

Quaffer, Nov 10, 2005
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.

Sephiroth, Nov 10, 2005
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.

KarlHungus, Nov 09, 2005
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).

BuckeyeNation, Nov 03, 2005
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.

allengarvin, Oct 31, 2005
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.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Oct 24, 2005
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?

TheBungyo, Oct 21, 2005
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.

warriorsoul, Oct 18, 2005
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.

unklesyd, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of asabreed
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.

asabreed, Sep 16, 2005
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.

SkeeterHawk, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
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.

beveragecaptain, Aug 06, 2005
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.

pentathlete, Jul 16, 2005
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!!!

NeroFiddled, Jun 15, 2005
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.

tavernjef, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of WesWes
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.

WesWes, May 16, 2005
Photo of Rastacouere
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.

Rastacouere, Apr 21, 2005
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 13, 2005
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.

dauss, Apr 07, 2005
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.

beertastegood, Apr 02, 2005
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,212 ratings.