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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 Mitchster
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2001 Vintage.
Brewed with Northwest 2-row, Brown, Dark Caramel, and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Centennial and Cascade.
8.1% ABV.

Pours out to a murky, sediment-rich, clogged drain looking dark amber, forming a small dark beige with no retention or lacing, despite a chugging pour. Looks like the last bottle of homebrew from a primary. Carbonation is moderate to mild. Aroma is rich with dates, figs, golden raisins, milk chocolate syrup, and some mild resinous hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, with a medium-dense body, and semi-dry earthy finish. Taste begins with some initial malt sweetness and amber malt body, followed by mild resinous hops which escalate into a medium-strong herbal bitterness and pronounced earthiness in the finish...lots of astringent earth and wood with a semi-dry finish and touches of peppery alcohol, tobacco, darjeeling, ethopian harrar, and cedar. Cleanly fermented with no off-flavors.

A little light in the malt sugar department, this one has fermented dry, and would benefit from more complex sugars. Probably better young. Decent, but not very impressive for the style.

Mitchster, Jun 09, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 vintage, according to the notched label, served slighly chilled into an imperial pint glass. This pours a cocoa powder brown, with a gigantic, light brown, head, that is rocky, and billows over the top of the glass. Towel, please! Lots of suspended "floaties" are frollicking in the body. Sticky patches of lace are left all over the side of the glass.

Aroma is seriously malty. Molasses, toffee, and butterscotch are up front in the nose, with a vague, floral hops note in the background.

Mouthfeel is slick, and medium bodied. Carbonation is medium, in spite of the overcarbonated appearance.

The taste is rich and complex, with a malty dominance. Toffee, molasses, and butterscotch echo the aroma, with a dark fruit presence, as well. There is a prominent hops presence, that seems floral or herbal, that provides a pleasant, bittering balance. The finish is somewhat sour and yeasty, as the "floaties" have now settled at the bottom of the glass. I'll pass on the last sip, as it's mostly sediment.

This strong old ale has a few Doppelbock characteristics in the flavor profile, but is more tart and hoppy. The floral hops character has a lasting presence, and lends a nice balance. Plenty of complexities in this one. I wish I had been more careful with the pour. Still, this is an ale that I look forward to trying again.

merlin48, May 05, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 2003 Edition.

A dark murky brown/ruby red colour with a small, tight head of tan/brown foam. The aromas are strong. I smell leather, deeply roasted malts, alcohol, dark fruits, spices, citric hops, chocolate, and more. The taste is quite malty, with the hops in the middle, and the dark fruits and chocolate in the lingering finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and right where it should be and the drinkability is damn nice. Overall a quality brew.

francisweizen, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of Beaver13
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 2003 Hibernation Ale poured a deep mahogany with a creamy tan head that went to a thin skim and laced the glass the whole way down. It smells of fig and malts with hints of chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. The taste is comlpex yet well balanced and appealing. It has a sweet malt start with a lightly hopped, crisp, slightly acidic finish. There are also some woody flavors mixed with a fruity fig/raisin taste. It has a subtle alcohol warming as well. The palate was full-bodied and creamy. Overall, a terrific winter warmer found late in the season. This is up there with Anchor OSA as my favorite of the season.

Beaver13, Jan 29, 2004
Photo of HardTarget
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard brown bottle, with a the year brewed marked (’03)
Aroma: A deep cloying malt odor, with a light perfume of hop. As the beer warmed, some nice chocolate started coming out.
Appearance: A dark red/amber, clear, with a tan head that died down to a light coat. Some good lacing was noted.
Flavor: Balance is toward the malt, as it should be for style. There are enough hops to keep it from being overly sweet, but no more. I didn’t get the hops kick many others noted. Some minor dark fruit, plum, hint of dark cherry. Alcohol flavor really kicks in at the end, but doesn’t burn. Again, as it warmed, a nice chocolate note came out.
Mouthfeel: Bit thin for all this malt, and a bit of an alcohol pucker at the end. Have to put it at a medium-heavy body.
Overall Impression: This beer is true to style, but the overall taste just doesn’t rock my boat. I may have started it a bit too cold, because my opinion really warmed as the beer did. While I’m going to give this beer fairly high marks, it just isn’t my cup of tea. I like big beers, and old ales, but the flavor just didn’t match my taste buds. I think I’ll try next year’s version and revisit my review.

HardTarget, Jan 10, 2004
Photo of filabrazilia
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a nice light brown head that retains it character throughout the drinking. The lacing shrouds the glass like a curtain.

Aroma - Roasted chocolate malts, carmel, toffee and hops waft from the beer to the nose.

Taste - The chocolate malt dominates the flavor with an exceptional hop finish. Fantastic balance that leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied and rich with a smooth dry finish. Fantastic balance of sweet and bitter. Just a nice example of what a beer should feel like in the mouth.

Drinkability - With such a full body, it's hard to imagine putting many of these away in one sitting. This is an excepitonally smooth sipping beer. A great winter beer from Great Divide.

filabrazilia, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of Crosling
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Metallic red in color when held up to the light. Fine full-bosomed long lasting head with lacing like a splatter all over the glass. Enticing ring of head along the side of the glass. Large bubbles stick out like icebergs.

The nose was hit with cranberries, caramel, sugar coated raisins and dark cherries dipped in alcohol. Nice nose!

Very very very flavorful. Rich and extreamly malty. Flavors of blueberries, suddle chocolate, sour cherries, caramel and a definate tart undertone trying to break through.

Very well balanced and very well made.

Crosling, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of Jon
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Bottling.

Deep garnet color with a foamy tan head. Nice retention and additionally attractive trails of lace down the glass. Biscuity malt, resinous hops, toffee and chocolate notes resonate in the nose. Additional emphasis on toffee, caramel, ripe fruit and unsweet chocolate linger on the palate along with a rich, earthiness induced by the addition of piney, sappy hops. Warming alcohol presents itself on the long finish. Sweet malt flavor dominates, however, and will continue to do so as this beer matures. Chewy mouthfeel is smooth, round and full. A nice, complex and warming old ale in the British tradition. This beer, while drinking quite well young, could certainly stand to be laid down to mellow further. A perennially solid achievement from Great Divide -- this year is no exception.

Jon, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of BeerBard
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking a 2002 vintage I've been keeping for nearly a year. Looks and smells great. Cloudy motor oil colored murky stuff with a bit of floating chunks. I suppose the taste is pretty great (see the other beer freaks' descriptions...most of whom I agree with), and the only reason I don't rank it higher is that there's a metallic taste to the beer that's a bit hard to ignore. May be that it doesn't keep more than 6 months or so. It seems to be a hyperspiced old ale in the most general sense, though, so I anticipated it would keep better. I'll try it again this year, as should you, dear reader. Maybe it takes a couple of years for it to optimize?

BeerBard, Oct 25, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 fluid ounce bottle, the label is nicked on the right hand side indicating that this is a 2002 bottling.

Appearance: The pour allows the head to form slowly at first, that is, until the clear chestnut colored beer reaches half way in my goblet shaped Glass, when it then explodes into life, its yellowy-beige color giving it a very distinctive appearance. A solid mass settles to about ¾” deep and leaves a mix of Belgium and ringed lacing. High levels of inherent carbonation are evident as the beer is swirled.

Nose: A balanced nose of sweet caramel malts and some dark toffee soaked in alcohol.

Taste: Starts smooth, and it has strength that never dominates but reminds you politely not to ignore it from the off. Dark toffees, sweet malts and dark fruits in the middle suddenly make way for a decisive bitterness in the back end, which almost has a spearmint chocolate tingle right at the death. Strong but very well made, and incredibly well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Pretty big, solid and chewy at times. A meal in its own right. Warming and Wholesome.

Drinkability: The balance of this Ale makes it an easy drink, even given its strength. Obviously fabricated from high quality ingredients, and this certainly shows.

Overall: A very nice offering indeed that reminded me so very much of some English Strong Old Ales that I often drank during the Winter months whilst back in Limey-land.

Cheers BigHuge, you’re a Gentleman BA.

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 02, 2003
Photo of Loki
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle with year produced indication. My sample was from 2002.

Poured a slightly cloudy, dark, caramel brown from the bottle. The pour produced a mountainous head, with a rounded center peak that was filled with bubbles and holes. Very unique in that the center was a near perfect circle that dipped into almost a moat that sloped back up near the edges, but not as high as the center. Head retention was amazing and the head lasted longer than the beer did. Incredible lacing, ribbons, peaks, and spots throughout the inside of the glass that just hung completely oblivious to gravity.

The aromas were of malt that had been slowly roasted to perfection, sweet caramel, and subtle chocolate or maybe toffee scent that seemed to just hover in the back. There was also a promise of some bitter, or maybe dry hops.

The taste was, well perfect for an English style ale as the bottle touts. Like the nose, the taste started with slowly roasted malt, sweet caramel, and subtle chocolates that lead into a slightly bitter slightly dry hop finish. The finish almost leaves the feeling that this was a cask-conditioned ale. I think if this was put into a blind tasting I might say it was cask-conditioned, or bottle conditioned at the very least.

This could be the finished English ale I've had this side of the pond. truly amazing, my only regret is that I have no more. Oh well, I've been looking for an excuse to go to Colorado anyway!

Loki, Jun 05, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to finish my winter beers before I put in the air conditioner. I do like this one, a pretty, deep reddish brown brew with a tan/orange head. The aroma is a complex malt ( brown sugar,molassas) and earthy, citrus hop. The body is a very drinkable medium to full with a very nice finish of roasted/nutty malt. The flavors are very complex too. This one has chocolate and tobacco with baking spices (esp. cinnamon,nutmeg and ginger) with a little earthy hop flavor elbowing it's way in. This is a nice winter warmer (or evening sipper in spring) that has a balanced sweet and spicy flavor that hides the alcohol well. And it went really well with Swiss chocolate.

jeffboo, May 19, 2003
Photo of Dogbrick
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber/brown with a very thick light tan head. Aroma is toasty and malty. Somewhat rich body, it started out strong with roasted malt and sticky sweet caramel and gradually phased into a more bitter hops and grapefuit presence. Good warmer to start but becomes almost too bitter by the end. Still the best from Great Divide I have tried so far.

Dogbrick, Apr 28, 2003
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. It forms an off-white head with excellent lacing. The aroma is sweet malt, fruity, date-like, and bready. Excellent aromas. The flavors are fig and dates, with a nice breadiness. It is a medium-full bodied beer, with a semi-sweet finish and a slight bitterness that lingers. I found this to be an excellent beer.

BeerBuilder, Apr 25, 2003
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 vintage.

Appearance: Very pretty clear and deep amber on the pour. Due to the aggressive pour, I was rewarded with a billowy, rocky tan-colored head that distinctly rings the glass quite nicely.

Smell: Given the appearance of the hops on the label, it came as no surprise that there was a citrus-floral aroma detected, mellowed somewhat by a following malty sweetness, mixed in with an "earthy" aroma.

Taste: Complex. That is probably the best descriptor for this beer. A whole lotta something going on in my glass. Tastes of caramel sweetness, the alcohol, hoppy bitterness, toasted nuts, even a bit of sweet chocolate trace a path across the taste buds for a second. Finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness/toasty malt/earthen flavor. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Another very "chewy" beer. Mouthfeel is very creamy smooth, though not as much so as other barleywines I've had.

Drinkability: Still a bit harsh. I would like to try this in a year or two to see if it might be a little more civilzed. All in all, though, a very complex and enjoyable beer.

OldFrothingSlosh, Apr 21, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nebulous mahogany color on the pour, the head planetary in size, frothy in texture, the color a light tan, as it evanesces, the lace formed is a thick and sticky sheet that seals off the glass. A hint of fusel alcohol, a bit of bubble gum, sweet malt, caramel, fresh and inviting, a real pleasure to sniff this one, start is sweet malt, the top middling in feel. Finish is perky in its acidity, the hops straight forward in their spicy bite, dry and a real treat. A bit of alcohol warming as it hits the tummy, a fine beer at any rate.

Gusler, Apr 17, 2003
Photo of bditty187
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy, dark-brownish hue, a fingers worth of creamy-brunette head that caps the beer nicely; admirable retention and equally excellent lacing. Appeasing nose… citrus & floral hops at the front… then an earthy-organic and toasty malt aroma quickly follows and begins to dominate. Lightly bitter and equally light on the sweetness, very organic (strongly influenced by the hops), malty but not cumbersome. Loads of caramel notes as well. The finish is dry… slightly husky, woody. Low carbonation aids to a pleasing mouthfeel, albeit a smidge too thin. The abv is well hidden, dangerously drinkable! Well worth a drink… I’ll have another.

Year Produced: 2002

bditty187, Mar 24, 2003
Photo of chilidog
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew was a find for me that I sought out from another BA in Colorado, who Highly recommended it. Im glad I took his trade offer for I sure would of missed a true beer gem. Great Divide's limited edition brew was not available in Ohio, at 8% abv, until now. I think the brewer sums it up best as a robust ale. It pours a deep mahogany with a nice off-white head and lots of sticky lace. The aroma of hop over alcohol with hints of roasted malts and nut. This is a stick to your ribs brew that the taste and mouthfeel reflect. Its a full bodied, smooth, yet robust, well balanced blend of toasted malts, hints of nutty chocolate topped off with assertive hops to warm the chest. A great winter warmer that can be enjoyed now or later. If you like to cellar or collect for later, this is a gotta-a-have!!

chilidog, Mar 02, 2003
Photo of yen157
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Huge cream colored head which almost had a pinkish hue. The whipped looking foam raised itself almost 2/4 inch above my shaker glass before settling into the beer leaving a rocky top capping the deep red beer with millions of tiny particles in suspension. Nose of the beer consisted of a sweet and sour malt with some subtle hints of hops and toasted grains. Slick, sour malt flavor with some charcoal hiding in the background. I’m not sure if this beer was bad, but it sure was sour. It did get sweeter as my mouth became acclimated to the acidity. I’ll have to come back to this one.

yen157, Feb 18, 2003
Photo of Morris729
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2002
Pours a brownish chestnut color with a creamy off-white colored head that fades into a bubbly lace. Nose is sweet malts and buttery caramel blended with some spicy hops. Fairly full-bodied with a creamy and chewy texture. Taste is toasted sweet malts at first quickly followed by notes of rich buttery toffee, caramelized fruit, and dark chocolate. Raw hop leaf flavors come through in the end to balance out the sweetness very nicely. A thoroughly enjoyable belly warmer for a cold day.

Morris729, Feb 15, 2003
Photo of BeerAngel
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer at the BA-Texas gathering at the Flying Saucer on January 25th, but I was in no shape to review it at the time. I found this at the Mr. G’s store.

Bottled 2002: Pours a clear but dark brown/amber color with a nice 2-finger light tan head. The smell of sweet buttery muffins and a light malt aroma are quite nice. But sometimes this much of a buttery smell means too much of a diacetyl taste. Let’s hope not! The taste is a strong alcohol taste along with a cough medicine flavor, butterscotch, and also light hops. Perhaps aging would help. It’s definitely not at all bad and it has a medium-bodied creamy mouthfeel and a definite warming effect, it’s just a bit raw “as is” and that is going to affect my drikability score. I’d like to age a bottle of this for about a year and then try this again. It has a lot of potential! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Feb 13, 2003
Photo of marc77
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2002. Clear ruby hue, topped by a well retained light beige head that leaves spotty foam. The aroma is dominated by a deep melange of floral and lightly citrusy hops with a mild undertone of earth. Perhaps a combination of Goldings and Willamette. Caramel malt morphs into a berryish red licorice fruity sweetness towards the end. Trace butterscotch. Concomitantly estery, caramelly and redolently hoppy aromawise. Flavorwise, a combination of fruity and medium lovibond caramel malt sweetness is perceived upfront, then yields to mellow impressions of dry roasted nuts. Mild diacetyl complements the malt profile, lending a subtle brittle like impression. Pleasant raspberry like esters couples with residual sweetness, yielding a lately emerging candied fruit impression. Hop bitterness is mild, and attempts balance, but malt sweetness prevails. Lightly bodied, perhaps deceptively so, and consequently quaffable. Finishes simply sweet at first, with lingering hints of buttery malt. Hibernation ale is a very enjoyable brew. Complex and flavorful, but a notch shy in body. One of the most drinkable strong ales I've had thus far. Big thanks to Jaybeerman for the bottle.

marc77, Feb 05, 2003
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 edition. Pours reddish brown with a tan head. Aroma made up of roasted malt, fruit, and hops. Taste is quite complex. Big, sweet malt flavor that seems caramel in nature. A fruity flavor I can't quite place. Hops are quite evident. They balance the beer nicely and provide some bite on the finish. Some alcohol as well. As it warmed, the malts seemed to take over more and the last third of the glass was much smoother and easier drinking than the first 2/3. Good mouthfeel. Good drinkability that improved as the beer warmed. Overall, a very good beer with a lot going on.
Right now I'd have to say I prefer Great Lakes Christmas Ale to this one, but I'm definitely looking forward to a second sampling of this one in the very near future.

PhantomVodoo, Jan 23, 2003
Photo of TXHops
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Malts: Northwest 2-Row, Brown, Dark Caramel, Chocolate
Hops: Centennial, Cascade
(Great Divide declined my offer to provide more technical information. If I get really motivated, I'll put some Hibernation into my hydrometer and work up all the technical info...)

MAN!! This is one of the greatest winter beers there is. Hibernation pours a clear, mahogany color (if the yeast is left to settle in the bottle) with a lace-prone tan head that can't quite hold itself up forever in my Nonick pint glass... The aroma is intense and awesome--like fresh cracked grains, even though this stuff was brewed last July and it's now January. It smells "dry"--not the beer or wine term "dry" just dry; like dry rocks or dry dirt or dry air. However, not in any bad way--it's an appealing dryness... If the beer is roused, I can also pick up on the American hops, though I personally wouldn't have been able to tell they were American through the earthiness of the specialty grains. Honestly, I might have said Fuggles, though they seem a bit minty...

The taste is exquisite--overwhelmingly malty, but at the same time, perfectly balanced to avoid cloyingness or a one-dimensional flavor profile. All the flavors come together at exactly the same second in my mouth--sweet, chocolaty malt (kinda like cocoa powder), bitter, drying hops and flavor enhancing, warming, sweetening alcohol meet precisely at the same time on my tongue to create an infinitely complex beer that I just can't get enough of. After all that, there’s also a sense of vague, distant fruitiness (dates possibly?) that lends another aspect to the multi-faceted complexity I’m already dealing with.

An incredible beer—way more balanced than so many winter offerings. This one doesn’t have the overwhelming hoppiness of a young SN Celebration, or the chewy, off-balanced maltiness of Pyramid Snow Cap. In this everything comes together perfectly. It’s one of those rare cases where a beer is actually great.

TXHops, Jan 21, 2003
Photo of aaronh
1.85/5  rDev -54.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer pours a deep copper color with amber highlights and a decent tan head which seemed rather loose and rocky. The aroma was strong on malts and fruit, bringing pears to mind. The taste is very sour, with a bitter lemon aftertaste. Almost like rotten lemons. The extreme sourness of this beer hid almost any other flavor. A bit of hop bitterness and maybe a touch of caramel poked through the sharp edge of this beer, but nothing else. The mouthfeel felt like lemon juice as well, thin and astringent. With the putrid taste, drinkability was virtually nil. The only thing I can see this beer should be used for is bringing something out of hibernation. It could probably wake the dead, or kill some of the living! A souring disappointment.

Note: After reading some of the other reviews, it is possible I had a bad bottle. Unfortunately, one was all I had, and I'm not sure of the age. It expired in March '03. I plan to revisit this beer at a later date.

aaronh, Jan 06, 2003
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,240 ratings.