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19th Anniversary Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
19th Anniversary Ale19th Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

379 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 379
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.04%
Wants: 9
Gots: 24 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 04-29-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

19th Anniversary Ale isn’t just a wood-aged ale. It’s a compass – a reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Brewed with pure birch syrup and aged on birch wood, this beer embraces reverential tradition and revolutionary innovation.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 67
Reviews by BeerForMuscle:
More User Reviews:
Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on April 22, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear golden orange with a moderate amount of carbonation. Solid two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: An interesting and sweet aroma of wood hints, caramel malt, fruit esters, and spices. Upfront barrel hints of wood, oak, vanilla, and whiskey. Big hints of the birch syrup. Spice hints of cinnamon and cardamon. Sweet malt presence with hints of caramel, toffee, yeast, and grains. Fruit esters of orange, apricot, tangerine, and lemon. Candied sugar sweetness. Also hints of butterscotch and honey. Fairly boozy. Quite a unique and interesting aroma.

Taste: As unique as it smells, a taste of wood notes, sweet malt, fruit esters, and spices. Big wood barrel taste upfront with notes of vanilla, oak, and whiskey. Noticeable taste of the birch syrup along with some butterscotch, candied sugar and honey. Fairly spicy with notes of cinnamon and cardamon. Malts with a taste of sweet caramel, toffee, yeast, and wheat grains. Citrus fruit esters of orange, tangerine, apricot, and lemon. Earthy with some notes of piney hops. Taste of alcohol is also noticeable to a degree. Taste is sweet but not cloying. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, syrupy, and slick. Fairly boozy but this goes down easier than expected.

Overall: This came out pretty good to me. Very unique, not sure what they were going for but it is tasty to me. Its almost like an aged IPA or barelywine aged on wood. Actually smoother than I expected.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.37/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Pours a thick viscous copper body with light beige head forming thin even after a vigorous pour, there's not much head wanting to erupt here. Fine speckled lacing not the worst looking beer ever. Bottled on 5/14/13, warming birch syrup it's almost like a woody honey or other concentrated sugar, minimal hops going on in the nose. Flavor warming alcohol big unfermented sugary body it's so rough it's unreal this needs another fermentation why release this keep this forever it will ferment forever if it was bottled conditioned sickeningly sweet beer, big alcohol wave hints of vanilla and charred oak with minimal aging this is young folks too fresh if you have a bottle don't drink it. If you have a bottle and your a diabetic get your local EMT ready to pick you up and take you to the ER. Overall it needs time, I won't be as mean as some reviews but this is the most sickeningly sweet beer I've ever tasted Birch syrupy should be barred from microbreweries.

Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber bottled on 14 May 2013. Poured slightly hazy copper with a decent head, but there is very little lacing.

Aroma: sweet with hints of soft, ripe fruits and wood chips. The high ABV is rather apparent here although hidden in both the flavor and feel.

Flavor: Not what I expected: more soft than harsh, less woody and with more subtle effects of the birch syrup. Lightly sweet into the mildly bitter-sweet aftertaste. Well-balanced and easy drinking, especially for >10% ABV. More depth and complexity than expected. Best in the finish and aftertaste.

Feel: smooth, full body with partially hidden alcohol, but ultimately warming.

O: a refined, satisfying, unique and interesting American Strong Ale that is worth seeking out.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
Bottles April 19 2013
A- This beer pours a slightly hazy aged orange body with a thin ring of white head and a slow carbonation of microbubbles.

S- The slightly sweet birch syrup note fades to a soft fusel head with a fresh wood furniture smell in the finish.

T- The gentle pine pungency hops lead to a birch syrup note with a touch of sweetness and a light woody note in the finish. There is a pine hop note that grows in the finish.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel is a bit thick with a bit of alcohol heat that grows and is enhanced by the tight fizz finish.

O- The big alcohol and soft pungent hop covers the delicate birch character and it takes on more of a furniture character.

Photo of GilGarp
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into a goblet. Bottled 4/22/13.

Great Divide's 19th is a slightly hazy copper color with thin white head. It settles fairly quickly and leaes some spotty lace.

Aroma is sweet and hoppy with a distinct wood-aged character. That vanilla and caramel come through here.

Flavor is really intense and truly unique. They make a similar beer every year for their anniversary but it always seems to be a little different. It's basically a hugely bitter double IPA that has been aged on wood and, in this case, with birch syrup added. There's a earthy woodsy taste but I'm not sure about aging IPAs. Maybe a barley wine would be better suited.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Very bitter but somewhat balanced with some subtle sweetness.

Overall a very good wood aged ale but maybe they could change things up for the big 20 next year.

Photo of russpowell
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled May 14th 2013

Pours amber with a thumb of pearl colored head. Stays effervescent, traces of lacing & head retention

S: Faint woody notes &pears, toffee, booze, some pineapple

T: Dry woody notes, some toffee, some pear brandy up front. Some faint herbal notes, apricot & pears, & orange peel as this warms, some passion fruit as well, & toffee. Finishes with orange, a bit of booze warmth, muted shortbread flavor & a bit of canned peaches

MF: Chewy, dry & near zero carbonation, decent balance for the style, warming

Not one of Great Divide's better anniversary offerings, but worth a try . Started feeling the ABV quite a bit

Photo of Gmann
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour a clear honey color with a short tight white head that settles into a sparse cap but left a sheet of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet. Candied honey comes to mind. There is a slight apricot fruitiness. The birch wood comes through towards the finish.

The taste is quite sweet as well and I have to assume it is from the birch syrup. The birch provides some vanilla and mimics bourbon to an extent. There is a woody flavor but is not as dry as oak. There is honey sweetness as well. It's sweet but not cloying. Perhaps a hint of pepper and grassy hop.

The feel is feel is moderate with prickly carbonation. I borders on being slick but the wood and hops keep it in check.

An interesting beer. Quite sweet and woody.

Photo of Bung
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Darker golden pour, nearly no head. Just a minimal run of white. Fairly viscous looking though.

Aroma, herbal and woody. Definete pancakes and syrup like sweetness.

Taste, faint citrus zest, quickly turns to a woody sweet. Malty caramel, some toasted malt notes. Some bitters and booze battle the sweet in the finish. The toffee stays with you though.

Quite coating, a good level of carbonation helps to keep the stickiness in check just a bit. A little warming, might be a better cooler weather beer. Would be interesting to see what some age does with this. It's perfectly fine now however.

Probably the closest thing I've tasted to some of Founders non-stout barrel aged beers. Rougher around the edges but very nice.

Photo of gillagorilla
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Golden blonde with a hint of copper more towards the center. Poured with no head. You can swirl it to get a nice head on it though.

S: Surprisingly, I smell a lot of lemon and citrus. Very light and with what seems to be some floral pine. Swirling it really brings out the pine and a hint of creaminess. I haven't really smelled birch or birch sap but that is probably the lingering smell,

T: It tastes like a really hoppy barleywine or an oak-aged DIPA. It is mostly pine or I guess it would be birch in this case. I guess I don't know what I was expecting out of this since I wasn't even sure of the style of the beer when I first got it. I hate when they just say ale. I thought it was a stout considering how dark the bottle was. It's good and is quite in line with their previous anniversary DIPAs of which I haven't had any but still know where I could get them. It is quite good and reminds me a bit of fresh Bigfoot. It kind of tastes like you would think a pinecone would.

M: Solid carbonation with a nice prickly coarseness.

O: It's pretty great, just not at all what you would expect. I was expecting something a bit sweeter, but this is a pleasant surprise. Good stuff but I don't know how it would stand up to aging even at the relatively high abv. I feel like this is probably best fresh. It seems like the hops are the main part of it and there isn't too much of the birch aging in there that I can taste. Aging might just bring the birch to the front, which would be interesting but probably not too good though.

Photo of jellikit
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle.
Appearance: Orange. Crystal clear. Super thin head.
Smell: sweetness. Maple syrup and a bit of alcohol. All aroma is faint.
Taste: Caramel, maple syrup, a little vanilla, alcohol,
Mouthfeel: medium to medium low carbonation. Medium body. Sweet. Warming alcohol notes.
Overall: I like this beer. Big and a little sweet. It's a sipper. Would buy again if it is available.

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear slightly orange golden color with a tight white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of touches of wood with some syrupy sweet notes.

Tastes of the light wood notes with some toasted malt notes underneath along with some slight grassy hops. The birch notes lead off with some birch beer notes. Touches of sugary sweetness along with some wood. Toasted malt notes come through and add to some of the birch beer notes, but don't make it too sweet. Grassy hops come through next. Finishes with the wood notes.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty, but the sweet birch beer notes don't get me too excited.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.53/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: center-pour into a tulip, pale-to-medium amber beer with a few fingers of off-white head, lace lines left behind

S: crisp hops of pine mingle with woodsy aromas over a delicate pale malt base

T: following the nose, crisp, bitter pie resin hoppiness, lots of wood flavors, touch of caramel-esque sweetness from the birch syrup, terrific malt profile

M: balanced between the soft and sharp, moments of bittering and coating sensation, brisk carbonation, medium weight

O: excellent use of birch, lending both sweet and dry moments; similar to a DIPA, but much lighter in feel and with great balance between the malt and hop character.Something of a hybrid between an English and American strong ale (think: Oaked Arrogant Bastard meets Fuller's 1845). An exceptional brew.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide tulip. Pours a medium burnished gold amber with a two finger light khaki head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of sweet malt, oak (birch?), light fruit, birch beer. Flavor starts with caramel malt, woody vanilla, toffee, birch syrup then develops a woody, earthy bitterness, finishing with a lingering bitterness that seems more herbal than hoppy. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An interesting strong ale tastes like an oaked hybrid of scottish ale and a sweet Belgian quad. Overall different and flavorful, but the finish is somewhat stark and a little astringent. The alchohol is well covered, but this is definitely warming. I completely missed this beers very brief availability at home and found this bottle 400 miles away. Although it is almost a year old, it seems to have held up well. This beer grew on me as a drank it, perhaps as my tongue got bitterness fatigue, which made the finish more pleasant. I like the vanilla flavors associated with oak barrelling and know know that similar flavors are associated with birch chips. Glad I found this.

Photo of Immortale25
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap at The Local Miami. Served in a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass.

A- Pours a clean medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Slippery, non-resilient lacing leaves clots behind on the glass.

S- Very sweet, almost candyish type of aroma with some vanilla notes.

T- Initial sweetness soon turns a bit woody then right back to sweet in the aftertaste. Smooth but with a bit of alcohol fume trailing behind it. The sweetness is semi-fruity but in a red cherry/caramel/burnt sugar context. Ok, I got it: rum. Tastes like a very sweet rum. Still, the alcohol is concealed quite well even as it warms.

M- Moderate booze bite with a slightly syrupy feel. Medium carbonation and a body that's just a tad light.

O- Totally unique, very tasty and quite surprising.

Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige colored head that died down a bit but consistently left a short head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of coconut are present in the nose along with notes of oak and hints of vanilla.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell but isn't quite as strong and also has some notes of toffee and hints of alcohol towards the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has hints of crispness along with a moderate amount of carbonation and some dryness. The alcohol makes its presence known by contributing a moderate amount of warming, particularly in the finish.
O: While this beer is quite drinkable considering its strength—because most of the alcohol is masked from the taste—the coconut aromas and flavors are unique and makes this an interesting beer to sip and savor. It reminded me like a lighter version of a barleywine.

Note: Bottled on April 19, 2013

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, with bottled on date April 19, 2013 printed clearly on the label. It's been a long time since I had anything from Great Divide, and since these were just turding up the shelf, I decided to try it out. Going in unbiased; I have no idea what to expect.

Poured into an over-sized wine glass.

A - Pours a bright medium orange colored body with less than a finger of soapy off-white bubbles that fades to a fat bubbly ring quickly. A lot lighter in color than I was expecting, but looks pretty nice. No lacing.

S - Smell is of beautiful creamy vanilla, wood, caramel malt, some earthiness, hint of yeast, faint alcohol fumes, & a hint of indistinct fruitiness. In a way, it reminds me of how the Great Divide Rumble IPA smelled.

T - Taste departs from the nose a little bit: earthy caramel malts come to the front, with some herbal tea leaf like sweetness. Creamy vanilla, the birch wood, and alcohol heat finish this one off.

M - Goes down smooth, creamy, and clean. Finishes with some mild alcohol / whiskey heat.

Overall, not the greatest, but it was well enough for what it was. Fairly poor duration of flavor, but it has some alright complexity. Big 10.20% abv is noticeable, but tolerable. A slightly above average offering at best. Glad to have tried it, but I wouldn't want it again.

Great Divide 19th Anniversary Ale ---3.5/5

Photo of ThickNStout
2.28/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22oz bottle from Hop City (Atlanta, GA). 8.99. Bottled 5/14/13. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours golden hued amber with a quarter finger of pale head that quickly retreats to a halo. Very few tiny pin points of "lace".

Muted aromas of sap, earth, flower petals and a kind of generic beer smell. Not too excited to move on after smelling this.

Oh. Hmm. Birch seems to be a much harsher wood than oak. Astringent bark, sweet sap (I assume that's the birch syrup?), subdued citrus peel, almost harsh pine, hot booze and black pepper. Not sure what's goin on here or what it's even tryin for.

Semi oily medium body with moderately high carbonation. Lingering "off" bittersweet wood and faint hop aftertaste.

An experiment gone wrong? If this is Great Divide's compass, as it says on the label, I'm not sure that I'm all that interested in where they're going. I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't finish the bomber. Quite a disappointment from a brewery I typically enjoy. I'd advise taking a pass on this one.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap at the brewery. Golden color with a tan rim. Super sweet and fruity aromas with a definite woody note. Taste is very fruity and a bit woody...very fruity actually. Its a bit over sweet but still scary easy to drink. You do taste the birch in the aftertaste and overall a good not great brew.

Photo of Santanax
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not Oaky at all... not a commin thing in the beer game but this beer is holding its own with rich dry birch notes... the sweet warm sensation that occurs with this beer is well worth the drink...perfect balance of scent, alcohol, dryness sweetness.... great falltime beer IMO.

Photo of stumac
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Going off partial drunk memory here. Keep in mind, I'm from Texas and I'm in Denver, so due to the high elevation here, I'm getting hammered off two beers!!! Had this at the brewery. Pours up yellow with a decent white head. Aroma is great! Apricot and peaches, slight malt and slight hops. Taste is suuuuper thick, syrupy, well balanced but so thick!!! Too thick in fact. Nice flavor. Pale malts, a little sweet. Good beer but too thick. Ahhh!!!

Photo of utfiero
2/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Color - clear golden wheat.

Aroma- sweet but sharp like a mild radish with honey.

Taste- Overwhelming and unbalanced. Starts sweet and strong, alcohol esters are strong (reminding us of accidentally tasting cheap cologne), finishing with a sharp woody and annoying aftertaste. Could this bottle have been spoiled in shipping in the Texas summer heat? Possible, but we'll never know.

By the way, I'm not biased against Great Divide at all. I've even filled my growler at the brewery in Denver. But this brew just didn't measure up.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 7/20/2013.

Photo of BKBassist
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A - Golden orange with a clean, small bubbled, fast dissipating head.

S - Oak (birch I suppose actually) forward, hints of vanilla and coconut.

T - I have no idea what a birch tree looks like or smells like or tastes like. To me, the wood notes in this beer are similar to oak aged beers I have had. It imparts a creamy, vanilla, hint of coconut and peach feel. The base beer of this was probably quite hoppy, as there is a DIPA like tropical backbone.

M - tiny carb, nice and solid feel. Typical of BA strong ales.

O - I like this beer. I can't say I can differentiate from a similar beer aged in oak, but it's drinkable for the ABV, pleasantly flavoured and well made.

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

Enjoyed this large bottle brew out of snifter glass.

A: Pours a golden hue with a thin white head that quickly dissipates leaving a wispy lace and no trail.

S: Floral earthy hop and malt aroma.

T: Very strong alcoholic and sweet flavor. Finishes like it starts – strong and sweet.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Very good DIPA – worthy of a try.

Photo of calebjross
4.8/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

The first in what I hope to be many videos on my beer review channel. I present 19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing. It's probably not in good form to make my first review one featuring a beer that probably isn't available anymore to most of you. Oops.

Watch my full beer review here, and subscribe for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY8dBty7JuQ

Photo of chanokokoro
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Great Divide Brewing Company branded snifter

Pours a deep golden with amber accents capped with a one and half finger fluffy bright white head that dissipates fairly quickly; splotchy lacing here and there. Fresh cut wood, grass, honey, and pear on the nose. Lightly sweet syrup, honey, and herbal/grassy notes with some breadiness midpalate. Finishes with fresh cut wood and accents of clean alcohol. Full bodied, syrupy and smooth; mild, gentle carbonation. This is truly an unique brew and a very enjoyable one at that. Highly recommended.

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19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.