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Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barrel Aged Hibernation AleBarrel Aged Hibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

71 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 71
Hads: 239
Avg: 3.94
pDev: 20.3%
Wants: 159
Gots: 93 | FT: 9
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 71 | Hads: 239
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

2011 vintage. Bottle # 2411.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and shows some solid bourbon barrel aging along with the base beer.

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Photo of pattermj
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I grabbed this even knowing the price as I love standard hibernation. Grabbed a bottle at the brewery, 2011 at $27 +tax + tip so not a cheap beer.

It pours a very nice hazy beer, not dark but definitely a beer which should have flavor. Noticed the same color with other barrel aged beers, not quite the color of unfiltered beers but close. The smell was of oak, bourbon, and dark fruits. I was somewhat hopeful but wondering where the malt and spice had disappeared to from the original hibernation. Some bourbon but honestly not huge compared to the strait barrel. The flavor to me was just flat, very little from the olfactory sense and nothing from the original beer. I was hoping for more and sadly disappointed. Barrel, bourbon, small dark fruits, and nothing else, Mouth feel, it had a little carbonation. Upon pouring a slight head appears but nothing stuck. Could feel it in mouth which was nice but didn't help with the lack of depth in the taste.

Overall I am disappointed. I love hibernation and plan on buying another case when it comes out. Price to flavor I would say this falls flat and I would recommend against it. Maybe with just 1 year on it, it would maintain but not what I had.

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Photo of Rutager
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 bottle, thanks willandperry!

Appearance. Pours a hazy chestnut brown with half a finger of off white head that doesn't last long.

Smell. Whiskey, dark fruits, brown sugar, caramel, molasses, tobacco, chocolate.

Taste. Brown sugar, whiskey barrel, caramel, light and dark fruits with a slight tangyness.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, below medium carbonation.

Overall. A good big beer. Nothing amazing going on, but solid and drinkable.

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Photo of FTowne
4.46/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml foil-wrapped and capped bottle. Thanks to doktorzee for the Mile High hookup...er, that sounds a little weird, eh? 2011 edition, enjoyed while spending my first Father's Day at the homestead with my Dad, looking out over the rolling Southern Alberta prairie.

This beer pours an opaque, orangish-brown dirty dishwater colour, with one skinny finger of thin, bubbly beige head, which leaves little beyond some sparse islet lace around the glass as it weakly checks out.

It smells of semi-sweet rye whiskey - spicy grain, vanilla, and caramel - musty toffee, wet ash, an oily nuttiness, aged black fruit, some dusty cellar, and a yeasty cracker essence. The taste is reservedly sweet caramel, musty dank wood, of the aging rye whiskey sort, bittersweet cocoa, middling, muddled dark fleshy fruit - plum and cherry, predominantly - a bit more sodden, mouldy ash, and a subtle flinty, metallic alcohol edge.

The carbonation is fairly understated, just a wee fuzziness throughout, the body medium-heavy in weight, and generally smooth, in a bridled boozy sort of manner. It finishes rather sweet, the caramel, vanilla, wood, fruit, and sublimated alcohol all present and glad-handing each other.

A rather pleasant barrel-treated old ale, the big selling points of each side hefty, but agreeably integrated. This took a long time to put back, familial interactions and all that, so rendering the big ABV a surprisingly moot point. If you think your typical old ale could use a bit more booze and grainy wood, then this is the beer for you.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 2011 bottle

A-Almost black in the glass, clear ruby when pouring, not much carbonation, one finger head.

S-Oak, caramel, vanilla, bourbon and malt.

T-Oak, caramel, vanilla, not much bourbon but still there. Molasses. Balance isn't quite there though.

M-Medium bodied, slightly watery, not much carbonation either.

O-For the price not worth it, however because it was aged for a while that could have been the issue.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of Dope
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch. Bottle 1499.

A: Pours a beautiful mahogany. Small fizzy light brown head. Head fizzes away quite fast, leaving zero lacing at all. Well, maybe a dot here and there. Not much to talk about. Small ring of foam remains but that's it.

S: Big big whiskey notes. Caramel and dark fruits abound with some oaky vanilla. Get some decent brown sugar and spices too, swear I get cinnamon sometimes. Smells more like a barrel aged winter warmer than an old ale.

T: More whiskey and lots of it. Warming caramel and toffee. Dark fruits likes plums, raisins and prunes, almost a little tart at times - possibly a result of slight oxidation (sherry-like). Glad I did not age this one. Chocolate mixes in briefly too in the middle. Sharp alcohol burn in the finish with boozy whiskey lingering in the aftertaste. A little spiciness in the aftertaste too.

M: Lower carbonation, heavy and sticky.

O: Hmph, I have to say that I think regular hibernation is better than this one. Barrel aging doesn't seem to have improved it much, it ends up being very sharp and boozy while also tasting a bit oxidized which does not help. Barrel overwhelms too, in my opinion. Overall still quite good, but not an improvement. Especially for the price and and difficulty to obtain.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #0877.

3.5 A: Dark brown, near black color. Just a quarter finger of beige head formed, but didn't stick around long.

4.25 S: The beer and barrel really integrate well in this one. Leathery whiskey offers a light smokiness, a touch of mineral, apple orchard, and melon. The base offers plum, caramel, tobacco, raisin, biscuity graham cracker, light toastiness, brown sugar, and toffee.

4.25 T: Tastes like the nose. Barrel and whiskey contribute leather, smokiness, light mineral, melon, vanilla, and apple. Plum, caramel, tobacco, raisin, toastiness, brown sugar, toffee, and biscuity malts. The only issue is that I'd like the overall intensity to be upped a bit.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation, but lacking creaminess. I'd also like it to be a bit thicker, but it's still good overall. Booze is very well hidden.

4.0 D: Good beer, but not worth the $30 this cost me in Pittsburgh. I guess I should just be happy it made it out to here.

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Photo of Treebs
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle served in a Southern Tier tulip. 2012 vintage.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a khaki head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin cap that leaves some splotchy lace.

S: Whiskey notes up front with some underlying chocolate malt. Light spices with some fruity ale yeast.

T: More of the barrel comes out with some caramel sweetness. Whiskey notes with some spiciness as well. Sweet malt with some mild fruitiness. The barrel takes over mostly.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. Very smooth.

O: Pretty solid overall. The whiskey barrel is prominent without being hot or overbearing. Definitely enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Googs
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, 12.4% ABV poured into a goblet.

A: Thick reddish brown body, minimal amounts of carbonation showing with some lacing on the glass. What I would expect.

S: Really nice. whiskey and oak heavy upfront on the nose, followed by sweet toffee malts.

T: Like the nose, whisky hits you first, and hard. Then come vanilla, cocoa and caramel flavors. The transition ain't the smoothest nor is this the most balanced brew of the style, but it's pretty good barrel-foward beer.

M: Somewhat viscous, but not chewy. Alcohol makes itself known, in taste and the warming in your throat. English take on the style, so it's it's on the dryer side with not much of a hop presence.

O: I payed $32.00 for this beer and I wouldn't do it again. Seems like this beer is somewhat hard to get, and it's pretty good, so I'm not unhappy about the purchase. I had a BA 4D last night as well, and this isn't standing up to it, especially for that price tag. If you like whiskey or boiler makers, get this brew. I enjoyed it because of that, but at the same time prefer a bit more balance and malt/sweetness presence in this kind of beer. Can't wait to try BA Old Ruffian and Yeti.

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of mmapes
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my friend for sharing and going out of his way to get this beer, which I am told is somewhat hard to acquire. Popped this bottle on Dec 3, 2012.

I love barrel aged beers. I really expected a lot more from the beer..expectations were high, but at best, this was maybe slightly above average and needs some work by Great Divide. A: cloudy dirt brown. S: nothing special. T: tastes were muted and bland, very average...I really really wished and hoped there were more, but it just was not there...it seems the barrel aging gave this beer a kinda musty taste. M: somewhat weird combined with the off tastes, not that enjoyable. O: a let down...

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Photo of woosterbill
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 vintage, bottle 137/492. Huge thanks to Chris for sharing this one.

A: A little cloudy medium-brown body under some coarse tan foam. Decent retention, light lace. Not bad.

S: Smells very, very old: sherry oxidation and earthiness dominate, with molasses and spice also playing prominent roles. I like it.

T: Wow. Huge toffee, sherry, pecan, fruitcake, and molasses. Some booze and spice on the finish. Really rich, really tasty.

M: Medium body, creamy carbonation. Nice.

O: Strange beer. From the smell, I would have thought it was close to a decade old already. The oxidation was heavy, but in the flavor it complemented powerful residual sweetness quite well. Definitely a sipper due to its sugar content, but not boozy at all. It's crazy that I've had this and still haven't ever tasted the regular version...


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Photo of Jwale73
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for sharing. Bottles 219/492. Pours a dull mahogany hue with no head, just a cluster of bubbles pooling in one corner. Nose expresses bourbon notes, wood and a hint of ethanol. As the brew begins to warm I also get a lightly sugared and toffee-like character. Taste is fairly subtle. While it is somewhat consistent with the nose there is also something else happening in the flavor profile - not quite sour or tart, but definitely a character that cuts through the anticipated sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with a mild carbonation and a slightly oily texture. Overall, a very drinkable Old Ale with a well-hidden abv. Not my favorite BA Old Ale, but it is quite pleasant and goes down so easily.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 190 of 492, 2009 bottling; sampled October 2011
A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head that disappears down to a thin ring fairly quickly. The beer is a murky, concentrated amber color, that shows more of the same just lighter in hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of sweet, toasted coconut and raisins, and perhaps a touch of sherry at the first. A second pas reveals smooth whiskey aromatics, smoothly spicy oak that gets a touch more spicy once I move away from the kitchen were some food is braising. This beer is clearly dominated by the barrel influence, there are touches of caramel, which mix well with the ample barrel vanillin notes, there is a slight savory maltiness here, as well as touches of toasted whole grain character and even some grassiness / herbal character somehow; though this last seems mainly to be contributed by the whiskey barrel and actually becomes quite prominent after some time (though it also has an ample green, pepper like note)

Up front flavors of caramelized crystal malt, vanillin, toasted coconut, toasted whole grain, touches of toffee and caramel mix together on the palate. The finish is quite spicy, very woody, and even sort of has a green grassy or spicy herbal note to it; this morphs into a green peppery note as well as a lingering tannic bite.. The beer is fairly light bodied for its strength, though I am not overly surprised as that often happens with beers like this that get aged in barrels; there is some viscous character to this beer, and it even manages to linger a bit on the palate, but the spicy oak character ends up wiping the palate clean. After some time, the finish really starts to taste like a whiskey, spicy, somewhat hot from the alcohol, and it even has that sort of fruitiness that I get in a whiskey or bourbon.

Not bad, but I was expecting a bit more; the barrel character runs a bit roughshod over the base beer. If this had a lot more caramelized maltiness and quite a bit of a richer, hell even sweeter, body that could stand up to the barrel influence, this would be a much better experience. The beer actually seems to do well in very small amounts; if I come back to it after a while I can take a small sip or two that maintains a balance to it, but it ends up getting thin, somewhat too spicy, and a bit too hot after any more than this.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of claspada
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 127/492 shared at a recent tasting.

Pours a murky moderate brown color with little to no head leaving minimal lacing.

Aromas begin with a good amount of toffee as well as some light caramel. Some brown sugar and light barrel character there as well. Not super complex, but the barrel character was certainly present and quite dominant.

The taste begin with a great deal of dark caramelized malts, sweet toffee and barrel. Lots of dark fruits, bourbon boozeyness and oaky dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes dry, oaky, fruit-forward with a bit of Bourbon pop.

The mouthfeel was ridiculously smooth and lacked nearly any alcohol presence. Low carbonation and a medium body.

Overall this was a nice offering, but lacked the overall quality I was hoping for with this beer. The whiskey barrel really overwhelmed the base beer leaving the flavor profile slightly one dimentional. While is was tasty, I won't be seeking out any more with great effort in the near future.

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Photo of claytong
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

appearance - ruby brown in color, minor bubbles with minor lacing and minor sticking.

smell - a variety of malts, old malts, roasted malts, brown malts, oak, vanilla, figs and chocolate

taste - same story with the malts, vanilla...past its prime i think, but good.

mouthfeel - thin and not much carbonation, yikes. heres where the age murdered the beer.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 128/492 Poured into a Great Divide Globe ( Just had to)

Thanks to Rake for the In person trade

A-- Poured a deep, dark mahogany color. Just touches of ruby at the bottom of the glass. Very little carbonation showing. Light brown head that went to film and stayed at film through drinking. Lots of spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Rich and full smell. Buttery vanilla, rum, molasses,
brown sugar, and dates. Just slight bits of oak in this.

T-- Warm, melted brown sugar, butter, vanilla, rum, and dark fruits.

M-- Mid palate is very thin. Kind of sad really. Get just short bursts of what it was. A bit slick and sweet and and a rum spice finish but just lacking zest and too many gaping holes in this. Not much of the barrel though.

O-- Knocking off one of my biggest wants and realize I am getting to this about a year late. Flashes of how good this was does make this worth it for me though.

Edit: Really picked up with a lot of air. Thin gaps disappeared more but still evident, so a slight correction in rating.

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Photo of Lunch
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 431/429 received in a great trade with JMBSH, thanks!

Served in a Great Divide snifter because I can and I will. Pours fairly thick and I can already smell the Stranahan barrels. Mahogany brown in color with a light tan head that recedes quickly.

Smell is sweet malts with notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel and oak surrounded in whiskey. Taste follows nicely with rich flavors providing a fairly sweet Old Ale that is thick with low carbonation. Glad I got a chance to try this one.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andre for splitting this one.

Bottle 208 of 492.

18 months in a Stranahan's bottle and 18 months in bottle.

Cloudy brown body beneath a light tan head.

Aromas of rum soaked fruit cake, raisin, fig, a touch of oak and some oxidation beginning to develop.

Toffee, molassas, rum raisin, fruit cake, spice, more like rum than Stranahan's, light oak.

The body becomes thin on the mid palate and that's my primary complaint.

Darn good and yet, I am dissapointed. Maybe its past its prime. I don't dislike it, but its not as good as I was hoping for. A bit too boozy, a touch too thin, but still very good.

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Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.