Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
HIBERNATION ALE has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.

1997 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal, Strong Ale/ English-Style Old Ale
1998 World Beer Cup, Silver Medal, Strong Ale/English-Style Old Ale
2003 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal, Old Ale
2006 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal, Aged Beer

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,193 | Ratings: 2,983
Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2017 bottle consumed in spring 2019

Not sure how it grades as a pure English Old Ale, but as a dark (ish) and bold BA beer, it’s excellent. Heavy and multi-layered barrel character on the nose and tongue. Caramel, toffee, booze-soaked oak, molasses, dried figs and dates, very woody. And a fascinating buttery note in the front of the tongue but late in the sip. Not very pretty, and the feel is fairly thin, but the aromas and taste are really fantastic.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/4/14; drank 7/24/15 @ the Yarchives.

Purple/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small tan head; decent lace.

Roasted coffee bean & plum notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Roasted coffee bean & plum flavors up front; sweet caramel notes on the finish.

Robust & drinkable, if a hint too sweet.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear chestnut with stick tan foam; cherry stones, wood, butter toffee + carob on the nose; red currants, cakey malts, fig, slight milk chocolate then some orangey hops; clean + medium with drying end. More chocolaty as it opens.

4 4.25 4 4 4.25

So this is from back in the day when an American “microbrewery” said, “Here’s an [insert classic English style here]!” and nobody knew enough to argue. This starts out like a Christmas cake, but instead of going sherry or barrel, there’s some unexpected Cali citrus notes. That works in a mulled wine kinda way, but when “the defining quality is the impression of age” (sez the BJCP) the hops just make it taste so… fresh. On the other hand, heat buried, very drinkable, good winter brew, etc. so it’s not like I’m unhappy.

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Photo of mjurney
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep Mahogany color, barely see through. Medium-fast rising bubbles. Thick creamy head, beige color. Good head retention. Leaves a very nice lacing behind.

Sweet bready, deep caramel, brown sugar, toffee, hint of dark fruit, alcohol is noticeable, but not overwhelming.

Rich, bready, deep caramel, brown bread, brown sugar, some toffee, just a hint of dark roast. Dark fruit character, dried prunes. Slight spiced rum from the alcohol. Hop bitterness is almost unnoticeable. Finish is dark roast, yet dry, lingers medium. Heavy-medium bodied, slight warmth, smooth, low carbonation.

It's an outstanding English-Style Old Ale.

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Photo of jkblr
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz canned 10/12/18 (2 months ago) poured into a becher glass at fridge temp 8.7% ABV. The beer pours bright medium brown with chestnut highlights and prolific light brown head. The head recedes to a fat ring and leaves some lacing. The aroma is mild with baker's chocolate, toasted bread and caramel malt. The taste is heavily toasted malt with notes of caramel, cocoa, wood, and an earthy slightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, very good to excellent for style. Huge malt on this one, but the toasted malt restrains the sweetness without the need for excessive bitterness.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark amber color. White head 1 finger with nice lacing on the glass.
Not too much to the aroma. Hard to describe what's there.
Taste- slightly sweet on the front. A bit of a roasty flavor.
The body is fairy decent. Semi thick. The sweetness lingers.
Interesting beer.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From notes 1/9/12: Pours a hazy, dull brown with 2 fingers of frothy, light tan, lasting head that leaves webby lacing. Aroma is roast, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar and a little chocolate. Taste is similar but very sweet up front with more intense chocolate, some roasted nuts and a touch of coffee with a lightly bitter hoppiness in the finish and aftertaste. Very malty. Alcohol becomes more intense as the brew warms and takes on a brandy like character.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a deep brown with a beige two finger head. Retention is most excellent. Dense on the bottom with a foamy top. It leaves lots of sticky rings of lace around the glass.

The nose has a strong chocolate profile with an ever so slight hint of coffee. You also get some raisins and caramel. It leans towards the sweet side but there is a nice hops balance to it. Over all its very aromatic.

Big chocolate taste with the coffee gone. Sweet fruit and caramel come in through the middle. The finish is a fading sweetness with a lingering bitterness that comes through to balance it out.

The mouthfeel is thick, smooth, and well carbonated. It doesn't feel to heavy despite its boldness.

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Photo of JimboBrews54
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours copper, small but lasting off-white head, nice lacing. Aroma of bread, freshly baked bread! Notes of roasted barley and chocolate. Tastes bitter-ish, boozy, lot of roasted barley, cocoa, coffee, grass, dark fruits. Unpleasant grassy and booze finish that takes over too soon. Medium body, viscous, very light carbonation. This is a sipper.

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Photo of Vidblain
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In comparing to barrel-aged Hibernation Stout, the beer pales a bit - the barrel and booze imparted makes this a truly special beer. Prior to barrels, it's just fine - it's pretty accessible and reasonably priced, but not all that interesting.

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Photo of qjholler
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A) Pours a rich brown with a substantial tan head that leaves some light lacing on the glass as it subsides. The body has a beautiful dark ruby hue when held up to the light.
S) A bit of chocolate mixed with a strong scent of dark fruits and some caramel. Malty and sweet.
T) The dark fruit and malt tastes are immediately apparent and strike a nice balance of sweetness and complexity. The initial flavor is followed by hops, light spices, and a bit of alcohol.
M) A little thinner than I had anticipated. Carbonation is pretty light. I would have preferred a bit more body to the beer but it doesn't detract from the experience by any stretch.
O) A tasty beer that does a good job of hiding how strong it is. This review was done on a warm spring day, but I imagine this would be extremely pleasing on a cold winter evening, as the name suggests.

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Photo of BrendanHurley
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: poured from draft in pint glass at Indo bar. Brown opaque appearance with a light fluffy head. Looks to be a beer with a lot of substance
Smell: Rich roasted malts with hint of dark chocolate.
Taste: Taste follows the smell appropriately with rich full flavor of sweet malty flavor that gives a nice kick of alcohol and spices towards the end.
Feel: Thick, frothy and full. Full bodied beer with good carbonation.
Overall: I am very pleased overall with my experience drinking this old ale. I dont drink this beer style often but can tell that this beer has great flavor and purpose.

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Photo of stcules
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark clean amber, one finger of good beige foam.
In the smell amrican hops (citrus and light piney). A bit tii much for an english old ale, maybe.
Still, after that, full malty notes, light caramel.
Again malt and caramel in the taste, a bit too heavy. Again american hops.
The body is a bit thin.
In the end, a bit unbalanced.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$ 9.00 (Including tax)/12 oz capped bottle ($ 0.75/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA.
Bottled on Apr 27, 2017 (On label), stored at 42 degrees and served at 55 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque. There is some sediment in the bottle.
Head – Average (Maximum 3.7 cm, aggressive pour), tan, low density, initially fizzy, rapidly diminishing to an irregular five to eight mm thin lacy ring and a thin complete layer.
Lacing – None. As expected in an 11.5% barrel-aged brew.
Pour – Dark brown, hazy.
Aroma – 4 - The bottle emits an aroma of chocolate and fruit, like chocolate-covered raisins. The glass smells like predominantly dark fruits with some hints of whiskey. These fade with time.
Flavor – 4 – Begins with dark fruit with some chocolate and caramel appearing mid-palate. Ends with chocolate and whiskey. Only minimal warming occurs, surprising for a 11.5% ABV drink. There is a fleeting taste of barrel vanillin but no other inklings of barrel appear. No obvious hops or malt, no diacetyl.
Palate – 3 – Medium to full, syrupy, soft carbonation.
Impression and summation – 4 - The palate and appearance are typical for the style – nothing to see here – move along. The aroma is certainly pleasing. I was surprised by the greater chocolate notes from the bottle than from the glass (More theoretical plates in the bottle, perhaps?). The flavors are pleasing although the whiskey is a mite rough. Perhaps, if the sediment in the bottle is yeast, further aging might smooth this out. Overall, a decent representative of a young Old Ale at a decent price point.

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Photo of Bo0oRadley
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It's a darker beer which is nice in winter. It has an aftertaste of warmth, with a stronger coffee afternote. There are subtle hints of toffee and caramel, and some chocolate. Its head is sexy af foamy and large, almost overflowing if not watched. Very good beer for its price, and perfect for this cold weather.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a 12oz can, dark caramel color, frothy tan head that leaves filmy, bubbly mess on the side of the glass. Beautiful.
S: Caramel and toffee.
T: Toffee, caramel and coffee.
F: Great body and carbonation.
O: Need to grab a few cans to see how it ages. I got a Great Divide Brewers Collection for Xmas and it had a BA version of this. Anxious to try it!

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Photo of andrewh995
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red with some haze and an off white head. Smells of caramel, coffee, toffee, and malt. Tastes of rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, and sweet malt. Medium-heavy body with medium-light carbonation. Overall a very tasty old ale.

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to an Ora et Labora taster.

A: Body is brown to black-ish. Head is minimal but it's light beige to white. No retention nor lacing.
S: The aroma is very rich of soft coffee flavours and giant chocolate touches. Very interesting for an Old Ale.
T: Taste starts off with a green-ish touch of coffee, like some coffee from Ethiopia. It then moves to a watered down profile of chocolate that isn't as prominent as the aroma. In the end, a slight bitterness is present. Not great but good.
M: Body is medium. Carbonation is medium to high. Bitterness is low. Sweetness is high.
O: This is my first Great Divide beer and the first Old Ale in a couple years. I find it very pleasing, being a very interesting half way between a chocolate-y stout and very expressive porter. Good.

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Photo of stegmakk
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured dark burnt sienna. Good lacing small bubbles
Smell of chocolately bread/something?
Tasted better than it smelled...Roasty / malty ...coffee or chocolate? Either way...very well balanced flavors...nothing overpowering.
Mouthfeel medium. Not too heavy or thin. Not overcarbonated.
Overall is surprisingly very good. This can go into rotation as an excellent winter beer. Will definitely buy again

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Photo of woodychandler
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have several Great Divide bottles hanging around & what with today being NBS (Week 653), I decided to make this the fourth beer in my next brewery horizontal. There is an upside to The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody & the opportunity to conduct & CANduct such horizontals is it.

From the bottle: "HIBERNATION ALE has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile, and hearty, warming character."; "Malty[,] Robust"; "Gold Medal Great American Beer Festival, 1997 Silver Medal Great American Beer Festival, 2006 Silver Medal Great American Beer Festival, 2003"; "Great Minds Drink Alike"; "Suggested Food Pairings: Romano, an aged hard Dutch cow's milk cheese, grilled beef tenderloin, apple crisp with ginger ice cream."

I Pop!ped the cap & began a very gentle pour into a bulbous glass. Once sufficiently decanted, a vigorous in-glass swirl raised two fingers of dense, foamy, fizzy, deep-tan/light-brown head with very good retention that left loads of lacing as it fell. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity & ruby highlights. Nose smelled like toffee! It was sweet, slightly boozy and definitely like toffee. I now wish that I had purchased another bottle for cellaring as this seems to have great potential for aging. Mouthfeel was big, thick & viscous, like a dollop had been scooped onto my tongue. Oh my. This was a beer for savoring. I just allowed it to roll around in my mouth & on my tongue, warming as it did so. It was quite sweet & malty with an unrelenting toffee flavor accompanied by a fusel alcohol heat. This was a beer to be sipped and savored, not simply quaffed. The past few days have seen a cooling trend, making this much more palatable than it would have been on a typically hot, humid summer's day. The burnt caramel/toffee/crème brulee flavor seemed to intensify as it warmed. Finish was dry, more due to its inherent heat than anything else. I think that aging would mellow this out nicely & perhaps even render it sweet or semi-sweet.

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Photo of drmeto
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

-pours a clear ruby red with a medium,foamy,sand-coloured head
-low to medium carbonation visible
-coffee,rye bread,pine,licorice,raisins,maple syrup
-Follows the nose+plums+nutty+toasty
-high bitterniss for the style
-low to medium carbonation
-light to medium body
-alcohol noticeable
More along the lines of an American Brown Ale than an English Old Ale.
Great Beer though.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance has a ruddy brown color with a one finger white foamy head. It dissipated nicely leaving some nice stringy sticky lacing. The smell had a decent chocolate maltiness and a light coffee aroma. The taste was sweet and roasty through the malts. A light rolling roasty chocolate/coffee aftertaste leads into a sticky sweet/roasty finish. On the palate, this sat about a medium on the body. I’d say a good sipper but the alcohol isn’t felt. Overall, I’d say this was a good old ale for the style and for me.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Nice deep copper - red color. Crystal clear too. Decent head retention - some lacing continues.

Smell: Sweet caramel, nuts, wood, and slight smokiness - slight dirty funk.

Taste: Slight hop bite at first. Fades right into deep roasted malts and nuts. Starts sweet, then dries out. More hops fade in towards the end.

Feel: Medium bodied. Dry on the tongue.

Overall: This is a great beer. Flavorful and rich. Roasted and caramel flavors are very enjoyable.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice smell all about the toffee and some estery (pear, apple). The taste is quite dry and less fruity than the smell and is more on the wood and the nuts. The hop presence is low to moderate but the bitterness is interesting. Might benefit from some years to round it up

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Photo of Stooven
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a standard pint glass. Pours an enticing, deep blood red with minimal head or lacing. Taste and mouthfeel are slightly limp. Old ales and strong ales typically put me in a state of false nostalgia, but there was something overall flat and muted about the whole package. First time I've felt let down by GD.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 2,983 ratings