Hibernation Ale
Great Divide Brewing Company

Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
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Old Ale
Ranked #26
Ranked #5,478
4.05 | pDev: 10.86%
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
Notes: 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
Reviews: 1,205 | Ratings: 3,002 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy from Idaho

4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap in Caldwell ID and served in a snifter; man this brew surprised me and I loved it. Fairly opaque black with some light showing through on the edge of the glass, with a very small creamy off-khaki head that leaves some lace. Smells and tastes like a stout to me, with some winter-y influences; I get lots of coffee and roasted malt, mild chocolate, some nice woody notes with an impression of molasses and spice. Warm body; rich and complex and full-feeling. Outside of the rich, somewhat sweet (at times) malt profile, this doesn't fit the bill of an Old Ale (to me, at least) but this is delicious and hugely enjoyable.

Apr 19, 2021
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KenjiN from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is a beautiful dark mahogany color; it's got a thick, lasting yellowish head.

There's an extremely appealing graham cracker note to the nose.

I was concerned that the dry-hopping might clash with the other characteristics of this malty beer. No worries; it works fine.

The beer is sweet -- but not too sweet. There's real complexity here. There are notes of brown sugar, chocolate, and coffee.

This fine winter ale is warming and full-bodied. The late, great Beer Hunter Michael Jackson would have deemed it soothing. I liked it very much.

Mar 23, 2021
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Nass from Florida

4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I like the can art, great use of color. The pour is dark brown with a thick & frothy bone colored head. The 8.7% abv is well hidden. The taste is roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, & toffee. I like this better than the 2 other English Old Ales that I've had. Cheers! A-

Nov 20, 2020
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Peach63 from New York

4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours copper with a 1 inch thick, foamy tan head, which lasts. Moderate lacing to the end. Suspended particles.

Aroma is malty, toffee, toast, molasses.

Taste is malty, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, slight oak.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Semi-sweet finish.

This is a pretty good English ale.

May 03, 2020
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Viaduck from California

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish brown, modest light tan head. Pleasant but weak aroma. Sweet with a nice balance of bitter & salty. Strong & very enjoyable flavor: dark chocolate, toasted malts, caramel & a complex mixture of hop flavors. Moderate carbonation with a smooth feel. A great way to hibernate during the pandemic.

Apr 04, 2020
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Giantspace from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer

Have read about this for years. Found a case for $30 and bought it. 13 September 2019 cans.

From a 19oz nonic

As this warms it has chocolate, coffee and nice caramel along with pine. Finish is lightly bitter and sweet. Good medium body.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer.

Mar 15, 2020
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wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can into snifter. Pretty much black with a rich tan, one finger head. Moderate coffee, toast, and chocolate notes on the nose with plenty of a sort of piney hoppiness and earthiness. Some nutty malt and a little caramel. The malt hits strong at the start of a sip, while a lingering coffee roast comes behind. Some booze, some chocolate, a bit of dried fruit. A little sweetness just balanced by bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium.

Feb 27, 2020
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MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz can

Pours a massive 2+ finger tan head into my can-style glass. Very pillowy, a little creamy. Retention is above average. Initial lacing looks great. Body is a very dark brown, nearly black, with hues of burgundy. Great looking beer so far.

Nose is great. What first came across as a predominantly chocolate nose quickly turns into burnt toast and a semi bold bitterness. Cocoa and chocolate do still linger in the background. Really a lovely, well balanced nose that generally gives off more of a rough skin feel, but has plenty of malty sweet/candy/desert notes to it as well.

Flavor is quite the same but I would say leans back a tiny bit on the malt and gives way to a little more hop presence and a little tangy booze from the alcohol – not any bite, but a little flavor, not too detrimental here. As far as the malts, that burnt toast hits first, followed quickly by some chocolate, finishes with a brief malty sweetness. Dare I say some figs as well?? The booze is just slightly unwelcome, mostly because it gets in the way of the flavors more than being offensive itself. Still a very wonderful flavor, pretty complex, and extremely well balanced.

Mouthfeel is quite unique and even a little confusing. Certainly bitter for a dark beer, but there are definitely sugars here as well. I would not call this dry, but it probably comes across a lot drier than it is. Carbonation is medium-low. Body has some nice girth to it. This is engaging, and adds more character to an already enjoyable beer. Overall a solid mouthfeel.

Drinkability is pretty nice, considering the mild booze, which does fade away as the beer warms.

Appearance turned out wonderful. Head retention was very impressive, and lacing was incredibly thick.

Overall this is a killer beer. Complex, engaging, tasty.

Dec 03, 2019
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Hooded from Texas

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 11/30/2019.
From a can into a tulip. L Dark brown with gd head retention.
S Caramel and coffee.
T Malty and smooth.
F Medium thickness.
O The taste is interesting. I like it. I would buy it again.

Dec 02, 2019
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can bought at Urban Bottle. Canned September 13th.

Pours a dark brown with reddish hues, nice abundant head of off white foam, it bloody looks malty.

Loads of caramel malt in the smell. Some toffee, maybe a little bit of nuttiness, perhaps some coffee??

Taste is semi sweet, caramel malt, toffee, kinda nutty, light bitterness that I will accredit to coffee.

Excellent mouthfeel, tasty beer. A Winter offering for sure and a darned good one.

Nov 02, 2019
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haines710 from Delaware

4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 9/13/19 and drinking in early November. Nice packaging and great nutty smell upon opening the can. Nice dark color and rich taste. I feel nut and toffee and caramel. Great mouthfeel with warming feeling. I loved this for fall/winter

Nov 02, 2019
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AmeriCanadian from Tennessee

4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Apr 07, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Apr 04, 2019
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StJamesGate from New York

4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Feb 15, 2019
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mjurney from Texas

4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Jan 27, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

4.17/5  rDev +3%
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.

Dec 28, 2018
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Dec 13, 2018
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mothmanscott from Georgia

4.17/5  rDev +3%
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.

Dec 01, 2018
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depechemode1983 from Texas

4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Nov 04, 2018
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JimboBrews54 from Michigan

5/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

Oct 25, 2018
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Vidblain from Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

Sep 28, 2018
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qjholler from New Mexico

4.09/5  rDev +1%
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.

Mar 30, 2018
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BrendanHurley from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Feb 23, 2018
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stcules from Italy

3.03/5  rDev -25.2%
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.

Feb 08, 2018
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Jan 30, 2018
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 3002 ratings