Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

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Barrel Aged Hibernation AleBarrel Aged Hibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

220 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 220
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 159
Gots: 90 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  12.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: waltonc on 11-17-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 220 | Reviews: 71
Photo of seedyone
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

03/12/14 From bottle.

Where to start?

Let's go with the science. 12.4 ABV.

I have come across the Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey barrels before. That was with the Breckenridge Well-Built which is a superlative ESB.

This bottle was dated 2011 & numbered.

There was a familiar aroma/initial taste that pulled me in. It was very different from my previous experience, but I cannot come to a preference without being side-by-side & better judgement dictates that I don't do that.

Bottom line: If circumstances allow, open the bottle & call a cab because this one kicks butt. It will be worth it, promise.

Photo of Lookalive07
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer at Donnelly's in Fairport, New York. Exceptional taste and surprisingly high in ABV, despite it not tasting like it should be. I would definitely recommend this beer to those looking for a very flavorful beer that's not incredibly heavy.

Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at Great Divide tap room tonight. Pours dark caramel in color with ample tan head. If this is bottle conditioned, Great Divide did a great job ensuring it's properly carbonated. Beautiful aroma of caramel, toffee, vanilla, whiskey, oak, and a hint of tart dark fruits. Taste follows - all of the same traits as the smell. Somewhat sweet, but not overly so. Whiskey is not overpowering. This is a well rounded, focused barrel aged old ale. Reminds me a bit of Anchor Our Barrel Ale in that it's not a blow-out-the-palate whiskey bomb. Though this is definitely bigger than OBA. Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Great brew overall.

Note: if you don't like barrel aged beers, or are expecting this to taste like regular Hibernation, don't bother with this one, as the barrel aging has completely changed the character of the beer from regular Hibernation. But if you like BA brews, you'll probably like this one a lot.

Photo of mentor
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pulled out of my cellar, Bottle 488/492. Pours a thin layer of dark tan head over a dark brown liquid. Smells wonderful. Nice vanilla, caramel oxidation, lemony-piney hops, bourbon and oak, and brown malt. Strong alcohol is clean and enticing as it carries some pear esters and fig newton cookie.

Tastes delicious. Great oak, bourbon, malt, and fruity in comparable intensities and somewhat complementary. Could use a bit more melding, but still quite nice. Malt is brown and some toast. Vanilla, caramel, waxy wood, and a dash of cherry. Esters are pear and fig with some fibery flavor to it. Finish dries from alcohol sting and a bit of bourbon zip. Aftertaste is a bit waxy with nice retro-nasal dry chocolate and hazelnut. Warming in the belly.

Creamy md-light in the mouth with mild carbonation. Great drinkability and this will improve in a couple years as the alcohol heat settles more and the flavors meld together.

Photo of FTowne
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: huge head with a mild pour, however it dissipated quickly. Darker shades of brown with dark red highlights on the edges.

Smell: dark fruits, vanilla, bread, and slight liqueur.

Taste: bourbon soaked vanilla wafers! Yum! Followed by a slight tart cherry/plum aftertaste. You can definitely tell that this spent time in a barrel. Right in my wheelhouse, even though I'm not usually a fan of the dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: the huge head that I seen on the pour scared me in to thinking that this would have a very thin body. Not the case whatsoever. While its not "chewy", I wouldn't categorize it as thin in any way. I'm not well versed in this style, but I'm assuming that it shouldn't have the heavy feel of a BA stout.

Drink ability: FTowne cannot give a proper rating in this category, because everything up to and including Black Tuesday is highly drinkable to me. I will try to pace myself and enjoy this bottle for more than an hour.

Overall (with minimal knowledge of the style) I'd rate this at a 4.5.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice. 2014 Vintage with a bottled on date of January 05, 2015.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with hints of amber. About one finger of beige head that quickly fades into a thin patchy layer.

Smell: A rich, toasty, and nicely boozy malt forward aroma with good hints of bourbon, caramel, and chocolate. Good barrel presence with some upfront hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Toasted barley malt with bready hints of biscuit, toast, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and yeast. Sweet hints of brown sugar. A very good toasty aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a nicely toasty, as well as a little hint of leather. Dark fruit hints of fig, raisin, and dates. Also some earthy hop hints rich, and boozy malt driven taste with good notes of whiskey, chocolate, and caramel. Good barrel taste with notes of bourbon whiskey, sweet vanilla, oak, and wood. Toasted barley malt with good bready notes of biscuit, toasted bread, chocolate, toffee, caramel, nuts, and yeast. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Solid dark fruit esters with undertones of fig, dates, and raisin. Also some notes of leather and tobacco as well as some earthy hop bitterness. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the heavier side. Carbonation is moderate. Rich and slightly slick. Finishes dry. Alcohol heat is hidden pretty well.

Overall: A very good barrel aged version of an already good malty beer. Nice mix of whiskey flavors with the toasty malt and fruit undertones.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: brown ale, essentially opaque displaying low viscosity; a bubbly half-finger of tan foam rested atop briefly; clean shine left down the glass

S: sweet molasses and caramel and warm nuttiness, delicate airs of whiskey barrels; vaguely earthy and herbal with hints of vanilla

T: like light brown biscuit and bread malts with nuts and light brown sugar, distant suggestions of dark soft fruit like raisin and fig; whiskey gracing all the flavors; drying wood and chewy herbs throughout

M: slim-bodied and smooth, slips quick across the palate; not a trace of alcohol other than the airy vapors of whiskey and wood

O: super take on the style, which always benefits from barrel aging - stays light and easy to drink despite the decent abv - finely crafted and highly recommended

Photo of drabmuh
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lunch at a recent tasting, been looking forward to this beer for a while. Thanks Paul.

Beer is brown and dark with a slight haze to it. There is a weak head of medium brown / tan bubbles that doesn't leave lacing on the glass. Carbonation is steady.

Aroma is really nice, sweet caramel, toffee, mild liquor and booze, smells great.

Beer is medium in body and quite sweet like candy on the front. There is a nice bourbon presence in the midpalate and the finish is appropriately heavy and not dry. There is not much bitterness at the back, less than I expected which shifts my focus to the front half of the beer, leaving me with nothing to linger on in the back. The flavors of toffee and caramel are a nice counterpoint to the booziness of the midpalate and booziness is not out of place for the overall experience of the beer. I really enjoyed, a sleeper beer for sure, people should be more excited about this one. The base beer is also quite good.

Photo of Bardwashrind
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed at the brewery, lucky first day release. The first thing noticed was the slow forming head as it was poured into our goblet glass. Beautiful dark autumn leaves colored head building into a tightly beaded crown of bubbles. The aroma was a wave of comfort. Baking spices, ginger bread, subtle whiskey and an undeniable element of oak. One of those beers where the first sip is delayed because of the time spent just admiring the lovely smells.

The taste was full of graceful integration of wood and malts. A bold flavor of charred American oak was distinct and a bit sharp but a soothing, nearly blissful, combination of caramel, milk chocolate and toasty hops made for quite the long finish. One of the best parts of this beer was the delicious after taste. Warm and complex with a great luscious booze-soaked-bunt-cake quality. The beer continued to open and change a bit as we got through the bottle. The oak was still obvious and the whisky never stood out as being to 'hot'. I was amazed at how many regular Hibernation characteristics could still be found.

So many barrel aged beers can be a bit too 'rough around the edges' with their big punch of oak or bourbon. Using the local Stranahan's whisky barrels helped from over taking the soft subtle perks of Hibernation. Not too rich nor too sweet, Stranahan uses no corn for their spirt and I really think that helped infuse the whisky/beer qualities nicely.

An amazing beer that would be perfect for those cold nights by the fire. Or just any time worth remembering.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Note: I'm an old ale fan...bias may stand out :)

Well, this is like the Hibernation with a twist. But unlike some BA versions of other beers, the BA on this isn't the center piece. Sure, it adds some vanilla and caramel, some booziness and a bit of oak smoothness. All this complements the old ale qualities of the Hibernation, which I like a lot. This is almost a "better" version of regular Hibernation...and old ale I'd probably find in England as a "normal" old ale.
While this is a great beer, the price just isn't worth it, unless it came is smaller bottles and in a 6 or 4 pack. Highly unlikely, but drinking a 750ml needs more than 1 person. But I don't want to waste it on "people" :P

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i always passed this one up because of the price tag, but thats been a mistake, what a wonderful brew this is, tasting not a whole lot like its original base beer, but becoming something entirely different, more like a barleywine than anything i think. deep rustic brown color, glowing amber, but deep and darker than that. think light khaki head on top caps it off. the nose on this is awesome, layers of sweet oak and molasses come out, warming alcohol, rich caramel malt, and of course bourbon, a lot of bourbon. the taste too starts off with a warming alcohol vanilla hit, followed by waves of sweet grain and old oak. i even get a little charred spice in there towards the finish. the alcohol is so subtle here, its there, but way back. a perfect winter beer, especially when its warm. it takes regular hibernation to a whole new level. the barrel has not only added flavor and strength, but a refinement of the feel. carbonation has settles, body has amplified, and this drinks like a glass of cognac. really special stuff from great divide. among their best.

Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/19/11 notes. Thanks to Lunch for providing this one, another want to mine. Bottle 431 of 492, served in a tulip.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with one inch of an off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, oak, dark fruit, oak, and vanilla. Light bourbon, but not much in the nose.

t - Tastes of caramel, oak, vanilla, bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, and toffee. Much more bourbon than the nose, and a big step up in my opinion.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy body. Not too hot and pretty amazing. A little more carbonation and this would have been perfect.

d - Overall I thought this was a really great old ale. I loved the taste and would have liked a little more bourbon in the nose and carbonation in the mouthfeel, but still an awesome beer. Would love to try again sometime.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was shared by Paul (King of all that is barrel-aged) last weekend. Thanks man!

Bottle 431 / 492

The beer is dark brown and for the most part, transparent. The tan head stands in at 1/4" and leaves a decent amount of lacing in its wake.

The aroma brings sweet malt, alcohol, oak, caramel, toffee.

A very enjoyable brew, and a fine choice for sipping on the deck during the last days of winter. The beer is slightly sweet, with alcohol and barrel flavors prominent throughout.

The feel is creamy and smooth, remarkably so given the 11.1% abv.

Overall, a very tasty offering. I'm glad to have tried it and would certainly enjoy having it again.

Photo of mmapes
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking a 2011 vintage in December of 2012 (bottle 2001). Pours dirty brown. Cloudy. A little ugly, actually.

Smells of barrel, carmel, whiskey, maybe some funk.

First sip is rich, sweet, with a sharp finish that tapers. Wood and whiskey are noticeable. More flavorful on second taste. Probably explodes with flavor when warmer (we started with refrigerator temps).

Would probably be good with a blue cheese (sweetness and richness would go well), maybe with a steak, or as a standalone dessert.

Would buy again, even though it's pricey.

Photo of rye726
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head. Light lacing and nice retention.

Nose has nutty malts, chocolate, subtle spices, whiskey, oak, vanilla, pecans, dark pitted fruits, toffee and caramel.

Taste has bready malts, cocoa, plums, cherries, molasses, bourbon, wood, vanilla, roasted nuts and carmelized candy.

Medium body is well carbonated. A bit thin in the finish.

Drinks well for 11% and should age well for years to come.

Photo of Preluderl
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite BA old ales. Rating is for my first tasting, 2011 vintage. Second bottle, also 2011 vintage, was an oxidized drain pour.

Photo of zhanson88
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2009 vintage, bottle 333/492.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, deep auburn color. Just a trace of khaki head forms, which has minimal retention and lacing. Right after it poured I was a bit concerned about the carbonation level, but it seems to be fine, albeit minimal, after a bit of study.

Smell: Smells of caramel and dark fruits, with barrel flavors rounding everything out. Definite wood and whiskey notes still apparent after several years of aging. Light hints of oxidation as well, but minimal and not as bad as I had feared after reading some recent reviews of the '09 vintage.

Taste: Lots of dark fruit flavors with lighter caramel notes as well. Mid palate and into the finish, the barrel influence kicks in. Whiskey notes still remain pretty dominant. Also a bit of vanilla along with oak tannins. Finish is very warming. Light oxidation present, but not too noticeable.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium-full mouthfeel with low carbonation. Pretty slick. Overall this was a good old ale, and I was very glad to get the chance to trade for it and try it. Held up pretty well with age. Definitely a dessert-type beer, as it does have a good amount of sweetness. It probably drinks harder than the ABV would suggest. Definite sipper.

Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to Rake who sent me this one in a past trade! 2009 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured reddish brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wood, very sweet alcohol, toffee, subtle brown sugar, and a touch of caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, sweet alcohol, wood, toffee, caramel, and subtle brown sugar. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a fairly solid brew. The barrels really shined through on this one and made their presence known. I wasn't expecting this as the brew had been aging in my cellar for this long, but was pleasantly surprised what I did find. A solid offering from Great Divide and I look forward to trying the bottle of BA Old Ruffian I have in my cellar to conplete the set.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage bottled 2/6/2015. Pours fairly crystal clear very dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, vanilla, bourbon, oak, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Light herbal bitterness/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged old ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. Much more dark fruits and less hop character than the regular version, with great barrel balance. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. 2011 bottle #3993.

Appearance - Murky reddish brown. Nice off white head. Thick collar.

Smell - Awesome oak, vanilla, and bourbon aroma. Super oaky. Deep brown sugar. Wet sock kinda aroma.

Taste - Bourbon. Lots of brown sugar. Earthy malts add depth. Hot alcohol. Extremely oaky. Tannins as it dries out. Very oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Hot. Good body before it dries out. Very oaky finish.

Overall - Really nice barrel character. Overpowering, almost. A very nice treatment.

Photo of MinorThreat
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Adam and Brian for setting me up with this, you guys are the best! Served from a 750ml into snifter

A- Pours a murky, muddy brown with no head and/or lacing. High abv so not surprised on the lacing/head. The really long time in the barrel has to be the reason this looks pretty unappealing.

S-Boom goes the whiskey! Straight up Stranahan's whiskey with figs, prunes, molasses and brown sugar-fruit cake. I mean that in a great way. Booze bomb but a really nice nose.

T-The barrel really pulls to the front on this. Lots of boozy vanilla and oak with raisins, figs and treacle sweetness holding it all together with a little heat in the chest after each drink. Its bold and boozy but again in a nice way.

M-Viscous and creamy, low carbonation and some booze make it really smooth as a sipper

O-I love whiskey so this is right up my alley, it is 100% whiskey barrel forward and can be fatiguing in quantities over 6-8oz but a nice barrel aged winter warmer.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 750 ml bottle at Euclid Hall in Denver, poured 6-29-14. Pours dark brownish amber, slightly murky, with a small off white to khaki head. The head recedes quickly and there is just a rim around the edges by the time I take a sip. Aroma is big bourbon notes, heavy caramel malts, light molasses, vanilla, oak, and more bourbon. Flavor follows the aroma rather closely with a nice caramel molasses feel, supported by bourbon in the background. Light vanilla notes are there, but not as strong as when fresh I would guess. Body is thinner than expected--especially after loving regular hibernation so much--but maybe a slight nitpick. Still some decent carbonation in this one. Definitely a beer to seek out if you can find it. Not sure it was worth the $54 price tag at the restaurant, but hey, you only live once.

Photo of Kaiser81
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rye726 for this. I opened with Jerz and Vacax.

Bottle # 231/492

A - Dark brown in color, minimal head, and minimal lacing. Nice looking beer for a barrel aged old ale.

S - It smells like a typical old ale (dark fruits, some malts, etc.) mixed with just a hint of bourbon.

T - Dark fruits are mixed with some bourbon. It's clean and tasty, and the compliments of Hibernation and bourbon go well together. no alcohol bite for 11%

M - Heavy body with mild carbonation.

D - It's good. i could drink plenty of this.

Photo of OrangeMen
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Jan 5 2015 bottled on date.

Pours a deep mahogony, dark amber-brown, ruby red hues. Off white colored head w/ spotty lacing on glass.

Aroma is nutty, chocolates, earthy oak, subtle whiskey notes and a sweet fruitiness.

I really like the spicy quality that the barrel adds, spicy oak and whiskey notes. It also compliments the chocolate and vanilla flavors as well. Much more roastiness on the taste, some sweet fruits as well, but big chocolates as there is in the base beer.

Feel like my bottle is a tad overly carbonated, the feel is a bit thin. But is creamy.

Overall this is a nice beer, the barrel isnt in your face, but it is a nice compliment to the base beer. A pretty nice balance in this beer for how many layers of flavor there are.

Photo of sweemzander
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 Vintage. Thanks for sharing Matt!

(A)- Pours a murky dark mahogany color. Minimal off-white froth dissipated quickly.

(S)- Sweet yet oaky caramel meets leathery tobacco and toffee. Barrel is subtle but there. A sexy aroma for sure.

(T)- A little bit of fig meets caramel and subtle leathery oaky tobacco. Plenty of barrel on the finish.

(M)- A surprisingly higher carbonation level for the style sadly, which keeps this from being great for me; it gets in the way of the sweet and rich flavors this has. I do love the leather and tobacco notes this has. Gets to be a bit hot as it warms up.

(O)- Overall, it has alot of rich rustic flavors to it, but that really high carbonation level gets in the way of total enjoyment for me. Glad to have finally tried this one.

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Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 220 ratings.