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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: 113
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 MrMonkey
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received recently from dangle47. Thanks Rodger!

Pours a murky dark brown with a 1/4" light tan head that quickly disappears. Virtually no lacing.

Smell is oily, piny hops, a bit of worcestershire, toffee, plums, a bit of booze, and molasses.

Taste starts with some piny hops and a hint of smoke, before some warming alcohol. Sweet caramel, toffee, and plums with some chocolate and molasses lead back into some peppery alcohol and more hops in the finish. Hops can seem a tad harsh at times.

Thick, full-bodied mouthfeel with a moderate level of carbonation. Smooth.

Enjoyable, but a bit harsh at times. I'd like to see what some more time will do to this one.

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

Fist off I would like to say that I really Enjoyed this beer and I wish would of got one to take home with me for a night cap.

Served from a tap into a snifter.
A. Pours a rich ruby dark red with brown highlights. A brown head with a dark red tint. After every drink brown lacing clings to the glass.

S. The smell is alcoholic in nature. No hiding the alcohol here. Smells of molasses and roasted malts. A hint of hops and dried dark fuit.

T. The taste of roasted malts. Dark molasses with dark cheeries. The hops come bursting in at the end with a good warmth of alcohol. The flavor profile is deep and complex. Added with a hint of wood.

M. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Full of body. Warm alcohol lingering.

D. Ah Yes, the drinkability of the Hibernation is exhilirating to say the least. Sip on this beer all night and hope it does not catch up with you. The Hibernation Ale could be the perfect night cap.

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

A. Served on tap into a snifter. Light brown with a slight off white head. Some nice lacing.

S. Roasted malts, a bit of hops.

T. A robust and roasted flavor, almost smokey. Hops are there to balance in the background. Very good taste indeed.

M. Medium bodied and a bit heavy at that.

D. Very good, despite the ABV. I could sense this had an old ale feel, even though it was described to me as a strong ale. Whatever it is, I like it.

Photo of orcasteve
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice amber malt and big on hops, a real good ballance from start to finish. i think that this one would celler very well, it might take away the slight ruffness of the the alcohal. i wish that i had more than one of theese! for a style i dont usaly like, this one is good.

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

2nd Beer on my 4th July American evening.

poured into a Westmalle trappist chalice.

Deep Ruby red, dull until held up to the light, then you could really appreciate the clearness and true shades of the colour. A light tan head soon faded away to a thin scummy covering.

Smell of dark chocolate, roasted malts and coffee beans, all blending together to produce an interesting and well balance aroma.

Tasted of slightly burnt brown sugar on toast, with plums on top. Coffee appears in the aftertaste and the alcohol could be felt lerking in the background all the time. The hops also come into play, along with a peat fire type of infusion.

Impressed and a lot better than the Yeti I opened the evening with (in my opinion).

Photo of dsa7783
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single, twelve-ounce bottle copped from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
Pours a ruby-red, deep-amber, tawny hue with a modest head that left a copious amount of lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Great, malty aroma with strong nuances of chocolate, caramel, mocha, and slight hints of vanilla...
Taste strongly complemented the smell, rendolent of dried figs, dehydrated fruits, sweet malts, a touch of hops, dates, prunes, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and mocha nuances... Very creamy, thick, rich, flavorful mouthfeel and full-bodied taste...
No detection of the hefty 8.1% ABV...
Definitely recommended...

Photo of kkipple
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My Sam Adams glass was smelly and I am lazy. Into my St. Bernie goblet it goes!

Hibernation is a transparent red clay brown with a skimpy white head that is scared to death of commitment.

Let it warm, but if you do, you'll be rewarded with a bouquet of malt and roast notes that are simply fascinating. Chocolate, earth, brown sugar and nuts, a hint of tobacco and dark fruit, alcohol and a fine subdued hop bitterness are all blended extremely well here. Nothing is overemphasized, but the sweetness shines through, giving you fair warning to brace yourself.

The flavor doesn't quite live up to the hype spread by the nose, but it's very good. Big boozy malt envelopes the palate and teases you with complex bitter roast coffee and sugar notes. Chocolate and walnuts... yum. There's a simple hop presence that's strong, but certainly plays second fiddle to the grainy sweetness. The complexity on display here is all the more impressive for being so drinkable, at 8% this is just shy of being, I daresay, sessionable....

Mouthfeel is fine, a little highly carbonated and leaves a tasty boozy, mocha malt dryness behind. The aftertaste is quite pleasant.

Hibernation is not only one of the better American Old Ales I've had, it may be the single most drinkable. It's delicious and a feather in the cap for Great Divide. Stock up when you see it to get you through the year!

Photo of jayrod20
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium to dark copper color with an off white head that laces down the entire glass. Smell is piny hops, and a bit of dark chocolate. Taste has a bit of caramel and chocolate. Creamy mouthfeel moderate carbonation. Not a bad brew. Definitely a sipper. Nice beer for a cold night by the fire.

Photo of Slynger
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hibernation is a deep reddish amber colored brew, with a creamy, slim, light tan lid.

The aroma is sweet and malty, chocolate and roasted, with some raisin/fig fruitiness, nutty, earthy, hops and cinnamony spice.

Heavy and smooth with a nice amount of creamyish carbonation. The taste is bitter chocolate malts and lightly roasted malts settling in to gentle dark fruits and some citrusy, and earthy-bitter hops with nuts and spice.

Hibernation is a solid Old Ale. The flavors and aromas meld together nicely. It is a very pleasant and smooth sipper and it's a-makin' me about ready for a nap.

Photo of SchmoTerp
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cooked a light fish dinner and was looking for an ale to try it with. I was looking for more of a pale ale and was thrown a bit off guard with the darkness and robust-ness of this ale. Then I read the label and realized that it was a winter old ale and tried it again and it all made a bit more sense.

Pours with little head and a brown-red color. Although it is fairly clear in color, its taste is anything but clear. Malty and thick, this beer is robust with some hoppiness to it, particularly toward the end of the taste.

Certainly worthwhile and I would recommend. I imagine it would be much better if drunk during winter months.

Photo of soupyman10
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Eyes: Nice big head off-white head on top of a deep amber beer. Solid lacing as the beer drains. Bubbles eventually dissolve down to a film.

Nose: Coffee, lots of roasted malt, caramel. Only hops character is in the coffee-bitterness. Minor dried fruit aromas. Not as sour as some.

Mouth: Very nice flavor. Starts mild, then gets into the toffee malt. Roastedness shows up as well, and moves nicely into the surprisingly hoppy finish. Slight vinous. A nice swirl of fruit. Feel is fairly full with a nice extended aftertaste.

Overall: A really tasty brew. One of the best Old Ales I've had, although Bell's still tops it out.

Photo of mynie
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THIS is what an old ale is supposed to taste like? Woah, I get it now. After years of drinking old ales that were poorly brewed or else came from Englands and were (ironically enough) spoiled by their age, I've finally found an old ale that lives up to the hype.

This falls somewhere between a brown ale and a strong IPA. Or, hold up let's do this in the proper order:

Pretty pour, dark brown. Came out kind of flat-looking but sure enough a very fine head wound up on top of my glass when all was said and done and it's stuck around ever since. Impressive, considering the ABV.

My first reaction was that it smelled like a combination of a brown ale and a strong IPA, but after thinking about it a little bit I don't think that's accurate. The hop profile isn't that big or varied, even, but it's still strong and present. What it does borrow from a strong IPA is a lightly syrupy maltiness, but to this is added a wonderfully biscuity brown ale malt. So, instead of having a firm malt acting as a background to a complex hop profile (as it the wont of so many big beers right now), we have the exact opposite.

It tastes like it smells. Firm hop up front, leading into delicious malt profile. The softer, biscuity malt veers more into winter warmer territory than a simple brown, with nice nodes of fruit and overall a zippier taste than simpele brown malt. The flavor transitions gracefully into firm hop again, and--a surprise at the end--a delicious, sweet aftertaste like candy.

Wow what a beer. And at 8.10% what a dangerous beer! If I ever find this on tap I might not make it home in one piece...

Photo of Ch1mpy
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown producing a small yellowish head which rapidly disappears leaving only a thin layer of foam behind.

Saturated smell of coffee and hops.

One of the first things you notice about the taste is the strong presence of alcohol. But in reality that isn't a major turn off, soon intense tastes of malty fudge soon become apparent.

Mild in terms of carbonation and in the end it goes down smoothly. With a mild hoppy wave rolling in over your tongue as a finish.

Photo of Tilley4
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to tayner for this one!! Thanks, Dana!!

2006 Vintage.

Pours out a murky deep brownish orange with a small tannish head... Interesting appearance, attractive..

Vanilla, loads of dark fruit like figs and raisins, maybe some cherries in the aroma... Smells like a nicely aged barleywine. I'm excited about this one... Let's get to it..

What a remarkable brew this is..Loads of sweet dark fruit coupled with rich, dark roasted malts make this one a real treat.. As it warmed, I actually got a little chocolate on the finish. It was just a really great brew..

This is the best Old Ale that I've ever had and that includes Old Stock...

Thanks again to tayner for this gem!

Photo of cookin420
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to BlackBearForge for this.

Bottle poured into a chalice.

Color is a very deep brown with huge Red tints. The head is small and does not last but leaves nice, thick splotchy lace as I drink. A very slight haze is the only thing keeping this brew from being crystal clear as there is no sediment.

Many prominent smells emerge as I swirl the glass; Vanilla, caramel, grapes, alcohol, a bit of oak and, well, chocolate covered cherries. The dry hopping gives a slightly fruity and very floral aroma.

Well bittered and heavy on the alcohol, the flavors are not as well pronounced as the great aromas led me to believe. I taste the cherry and caramel but the bittering addition and dry hop flavor s overshadow what is an otherwise killer malt profile. This is very good but I expected more complexity and bolder malt flavor. I felt that the yeast was understated and would've added a much needed dynamic.

Slick and smooth on the tongue, well carbonated for the style but finished a bit dry.

I was impressed with the drinkability of this brew. I think that though the dry hopping took center stage, it made for a crisp taste that I could see drinking very easily.

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

A nice dark chestnut brown with a little off-white head at the top, leaving a nice lace on the glass as I drank.

Smells of hops and earth, nothing really outstanding in the smell but by no means unpleasant.

Taste of hops and earth and some coffee, somewhat bitter. No negative aftertaste, but it did leave my mouth a bit dry.

This was a really good ale and if I didn't have to get back to work I would have drank quite a few more.

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

2007 Vintage

A: Crystal clear deep ruby red with a dense, frothy off white head. Great retention and beautiful lacing

S: Rum, plum, alcohol and sweet malt. Just a hint of cream

T: Medium to full-bodied with plum, raisin and malt. Alcohol on the finish.

M: Good body, well carbonated

D: It's cold and i want a sipper and this hits the spot

**Edit 30 July 2012**
My other bottle of the 2007 vintage.

The nose is nice! Rich leather, some crystal malt, toffee and a hint of burnt sugar. Hops have died down here. The palate is great. Smooth, creamy, full in body with minimal oxidation, there's a blend of leather and dark crystal malt. While that's a flavor I've come to hate, it actually kinda works here, lending a mild astringency that complements the smooth, creamy, toffee flavors. Mild fruity oxidation is present, thinning out the body a little bit. Alcohol is well-hidden. Solid stuff, quite enjoyable IMO.

Photo of hopflop
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 12oz bottle. Courtesy of jessecarr!

Cracked this bottle open and the carmely sweet malt smell started oozing out of the bottle! Poured into a pint glass with a nice lite white head. Had a nice reddish copper color with moderate lacing left on the glass.

Took a nice big mouthfull. Had a great sweet carmel malt with a nice hoppy balance. with a touch of alcohol. I could definetly could drink a couple of these a nice cold winter day. Another great beer from the guys at Great Divide.

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

had a 12 oz. bottle last night with hopflop

The pour into a pint glass left a nice one finger, foamy head. There are undeniable caramel and malty aromas--exactly what you want in strong winter ale.

The appearance is a deep brown that almost comes off a bit murky.

The taste and drinkablility are wonderful. This deep ale rings with malty and sweet hints that are finished off with an unexpected hoppy punch. A really wonderful beer, and I felt I could easily have three in a row of these bad boys.

I can't wait to try next year's batch.

Photo of Suds
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a heavy beer, notable in it's taste and apperance. It has a syrupy character, but a relatively slight head. The liquid is a woody brown color, opaque, and somewhat attractive. The nose is all malt, with just a touch of hops. There's also a distracting medicinal, or chlorine-like aroma. The taste is rich and sweet, with copious malt flavors. Drinkable and enjoyable, I'd certainly have this again.

Photo of jackorain
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. Its topped with a 1/2 inch off-white head that falls to a splotchy coat over a fairly respectibel time period. Also exhibits a nice collar and lace.

Smells of earthy and spicy hops with sweet caramelized/dried fruit. A hint each pr pepper, coffee and chocolate.

Tastes of earthy hops than caramel and mollases. Some coffee comes through in the middle. Warming alcohol effect as well. Nice hoppy finish with a lasting medium to high bitterness. The bosy medium to full and the carbonation good

I could drink several of these on a cold winter's night. Great offering. One of the better warmers I had this year.

Photo of blackjack000
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish/burnt-orange/dark-brown. A thin layer of tan head sits on top and fades away quickly.

Smell: Sweet, sugary smell comes from the beer, along with alcohol, nuts,

Taste: Nutty, with some evident alcohol. There are sweet, brown sugary flavors that come and go, cedar; a rich and full flavor. The beer has a great lingering aftertaste of balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Feels a good weight and body on the tongue, which pleasantly complements the taste.

Drinkability: The beer was aptly named; it has great warming qualities.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Val-Dieu chalice.

Bottled in 2007.

A: Pours a clear deep-dark red color with a smallish khaki colored head that leaves a thick bubbly ring and a healthy sheeting of lace.

S: Nice nose full of caramel, toasted malt, chocolate, red apple, toffee, hazelnut, and alcohol.

T: This starts off with flavors of toasted caramel malt, roasted nut, and chocolate. As it warms, flavors of apple, toffee, hops, toasted bread crust, spice, and a touch of tart berry and lemon begin to emerge. Finish flavors are rife with toasted malt and pan roasted nut.

M: Loads of dry and toasted malt. Thick, sweet and chewy at the onset which turns dry, spicy, and bitter during the middle and on through the finish.

D: The alcohol flavors come on pretty strong towards the bottom of the glass. Thankfully, that's balanced nicely by the all of the roasted/toasted characteristics of this beer.

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

A: Dark amber/brown... medium bodied offwhite head with decent head retention and mediocre lacing...

S: Bold roasted malt aroma (caramel, chocolate, spices) and some floral hop bitterness towards the beginning of the nose

T: Follows the nose... sweet roasted malts dominate.. caramel takes the forefront... floral hop finish... not much in the way of alcohol on the tongue...

M: Medium bodied.. decent carbonation... smooth from start to finish... crisp hop bitterness at the end...

D: Well hidden alcohol with a nice sweet malt taste is rather pleasant... drink this before the warm weather gets here...

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

Pours a clear, dark cranberry red with a modest head that levels out normally. Leaves some rings on the glass after each swig.

Smells strongly of berry--like cran-rasberry juice--and bready malt

Taste & Mouthfeel
Immediate enjoyment, remarking "I like it," right after the very first sip. Tastes of berry and spices. The tart berries and hefty malt, as well as luscious texture, make this a really enjoyable brew.

This is a tasty beer that should be enjoyed each season. I could easily drink this as a session beer. I'm looking forward to building up a vertical collection of these over the coming years.

Update: 11/7/08
After sitting in the fridge since January, I popped the top on this '07 bottle to see how it had aged over the past year.

Appearance - Brown like iced tea with ruby-tinted edges; less red in the color than I remember; low carbonation

Smell - Sweet, candied fruit, brown sugar, maybe hops in there somewhere, but overall pretty sweet, reminding me of a Belgian Strong Dark.

Taste & Mouthfeel - First sip grabbed my tongue with caramelized sugar and toasted malts; some fruity notes begin to appear but they're not as vibrant as when fresh (I prefer those fresh cranberry-like notes); hops are still somewhat there, but strangely only noticeable in the finish; texture is still silky but the body seems much thinner than I remember; maple syrup and those berries come through later in the glass.

Overall - Flavors have really mellowed and meshed, making it harder to dissect; it's very pleasing to drink, but this has become quite a bit sweeter than when fresh. Also, I'm not sure how much this would have changed if it were kept at a warmer temp (will find out next month). In the end, I like this better fresh, but I'm holding out hope that 2+ year-old bottles will really develop into something remarkable.

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