Hibernation Ale
Great Divide Brewing Company

Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
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Old Ale
Ranked #26
Ranked #4,834
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: 1,202 | Ratings: 2,996 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ThaneMcC:
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ThaneMcC from Germany

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

On draft at Whole Foods – purchased a growler full to sample extensively.

Pours a deep amber/brown with off white head. Smells pleasantly of toasted malts, bread, some notes of leather/wet earth. Tastes far less sweet than I expected – pleasant well balanced sweet malts, caramel at front with smooth transition to hoppy notes, some nutty, piney notes and hints of dark, dried fruits (prune/fig) and rather clean finish. Medium bodied, well balanced with a clean finish.
Overall, rather good. A style I’m not accustomed – has qualities of porter, stout with strong hoppy notes. A pleasant and easily quaffable ale – though my preference in the winter months leans towards the thicker bodied and maltier stouts and porters.

Dec 30, 2015
More User Reviews:
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ARoman from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Transferred from previous notes - 1/4/2014 & 11/6/2014
12 oz bottle poured into brandy snifter. It starts out with the sweet smell of vanilla and chocolate, with a touch of butterscotch, with perhaps a note of earthiness to it. As the head recedes, the aroma morphs into something more similar to ripe, tart dark red cherries with some woody notes (maybe some raisin in there too?). A deep, dark cranberry coloring to the beer stands out (although it’s probably more mahogany, but the fluorescent lighting is playing tricks on me) with a tan head that sits atop the beer as a moderate to thin film with some sparse lacing. A moderate sweet-tartness is most noticeable, in moderate amounts, with some light toasty, woody notes. After a little time, some hop bitterness pokes through along with a touch of sour cherry. An average amount of carbonation keeps the beer relatively medium to light bodied, although it definitely has a slightly syrupy quality to it. There’s a mild aftertaste consisting mainly of toasted malt with some dark chocolate and floral notes. By mid-glass, this taste changes into a smooth caramel with some light spice - the floral notes are still present. There’s a pleasant warming quality to this beer at the finish.

One year later, this same batch take on more roasted notes of coffee, raisin, and cacao with some port wine alcohol, a hint of ginerbread, and grapes late. The color of the beer is now an oily dark caramel brown color with noticeable sediment floating within. The head thins out a bit with just a thin soapy ring and a wispy surface. The body gains some weight to it as the slick and slightly sticky beer is more full bodied with toasted notes and flavors of cacao. There's an earthiness as well as a touch of a metallic and burnt characters and a hint of gingerbread. It finishes with a port wine warmth and a clean resin licorice spiciness. The aftertaste is astringent and slightly metallic with note of spice, dark chocolate, dark cherries, and nuts.

Apr 13, 2015
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aggiearcher13 from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on Oct. 3rd, 2011, consumed and reviewed on Jan. 17, 2016. Yes, I've been hanging onto this for 4 years and change, it has spent every day since I picked it up quietly sitting in my cellar (ok, a chest freezer with a temp controller). I tend to Ron Popeil this beer: Set it and forget it. In the cellar that is. It's so much better with a year+ age on it, and that's a tip I got straight from the tap room several years ago.

L: Deep reddish-brown, some coagulated bits settle to the bottom. A thin head forms and hangs around, lacing clinging to the glass.
S: Toffee, malty, cocoa, raisiny and faintly boozy.
T: Maybe 4 years is a bit too long for this guy. Not oxidized, but astringent and bitter. Malt has faded from what it was a year ago, a little disappointing. Toffee and that's about it.
F: A little thin, not something I've experience before from this beer, I'd attribute it to the age.
O: I'm confident it's been stored well since I picked it up winter 2011/2012, but I think I hung onto it for too long. Only me to blame for that, but I learned something. 1-3yr old versions of this I'd rank 4.5+ in every department. Overall, I still finished it and I did enjoy it, just not as much as younger mature versions of it. I will have to pick a more recent batch from the cellar to review soon.

Jan 18, 2016
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stompilator from Texas

4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. glass (2014) into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep, ruby brown. Thin, off-white head.

S - A ton of caramel, vanilla, a bit of booze, subtle stone fruit esters, and classic old ale oxidation and mustiness.

T - Very heavy caramel from the get-go. Intense but smooth flavors that follow the nose, without the alcoholic warmth. Gives a barrel impression without a barrel. Not as musty as the nose, but has a warming, estery sweetness. Esters sneak up throughout the palate, and has a dry, vinous finish.

M - Medium body keeps it out of barleywine territory. Light carbonation, with a slightly dry, sticky texture.

O - A fantastic example of an old ale as a style distinct from barleywine. Not the richest or heaviest old ale I've had, but wonderfully complex.

Oct 25, 2015
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TDotScott from Canada

4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled October 10, 2013. Poured into a wine glass

L- Dark garnet with an off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S- Roast, with raisins and nuts.

T- A little heavy on the roast for my liking, but the sweet malt and dried fruit is still there, on the finish in particular.

F- smooth, fullish body with a prickle of carbonation.

O- Good, but better at 12 months.

Jun 13, 2015
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Whiteturtle from New York

4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First Great Divide beer for me!

Pours a muddy/nutty brown. About a 1 1/2 finger head, dissipates rather quickly. Interesting that a cluster of foam forms in the center and some larger bubbles sneak over to the edge of the glass. hmmm...

Nose: The first thing I smell is dark rum, which I was not expecting. I also get hazelnuts, cinnamon, honey, roasted marshmallows, and milk chocolate. It smells amazing.

Tongue: Toasty/Roasty grain-rye bread hits first. Chestnuts, cocoa, cream, and molasses come next. Its reminds me of a creme Brule, minus the lactose. I think the hops are what is hibernating in this ale, I'm only picking up the slightest hint that they came for the ride. I am getting a bit of a kick on the back end, like a light cracked black pepper?

Body/Mouthfeel: Thinner than expected for the style. Its sugary and creamy. A lot of stout qualities to this beer. Its balanced and masks the 8.7% fairly well.

Overall: I really liked it. I can't wait to finish this review, light my pipe, and finish hibernating this beast. I love that there is a winter seasonal out there that isn't jam packed with spices. I like them in moderation, but they get overwhelming. This is a malt forward ale, and tastes like a stout. Its perfect for the winter and does it without anise and allspice up the a&%. If you're lucky enough to find this snag it up before it really hibernates.


Dec 07, 2015
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slowdaddy from Alabama

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Aug 21, 2012
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DavidEddie from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby brown appearance. Off white head falls to some sticky lacing. Aromas of carmel, toffee, green leafy hops. (Kinda has a herbal smell.) Tastes of chocolate, malt, carmel, roasted nuts, spice, and has a nice earthy piney hop finish. Slight alcohol warming after each sip. Mouth feel is medium bodied and sticky. Drinkability is fantastic. I couldn't put my glass down. If I have the will power, it will be interesting to see how this one does with some time in the cellar. Another solid brew from Great Divide. Highly recommended!

Jan 10, 2008
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jera1350 from Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 08, 2015
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poppyjohn from Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Jan 21, 2012
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gravity pour @ Blind Tiger NYC.

A-Pours a lurid brown hue. Head is very small; it can barely even form an even layer. Head consists of an outer-ring and patchy bubble clumps in the beer's center. Barely any head to comment upon.

S-Aroma offers notes of maple syrup covered chocolate pancakes. Light roast with a tickle of hop. Nutty and even a bit of churned earth. Vanilla bean. Broad spectrum of malty sweetness. I must say, I really enjoyed the nose.

T-The flavor is also a success. I get some pumpernickel bread, light wood, more chocolate and mellow coffee. Also, I detect some flat cola as well as the slightest hint of anise/black licorice. Dried dark raisins and figs. All of this is wrapped in a warm caramel and molasses helmet. Very mild earthen hop pops up on the finish.

M-A sipper, but a pleasant sipper. The PERFECT snowy Nor'easter ale (which I happened to be caught in). Just look out the window…sip…enjoy…look back out the window. Thick and syrupy and warming. Booze hides behind the body, but its girth can be detected. The flat feel (due to the gravity pour) really adds to the smoothness. Velvety.

O/D-I enjoyed this one more than I was expecting to. Textbook Winter grog. The gravity pour really enhanced this beer for me. I will seek this one out. I also may not be shy in sticking a couple away and sitting on them for a year or so.

Nov 09, 2012
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htc from Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Jan 16, 2013
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mkennedy119 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Jun 05, 2012
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TargaFlorio from Indiana

3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 15, 2016
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Eziel from Ohio

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

May 26, 2015
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Octobers_CJB from Texas

4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

May 04, 2017
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qcghost from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1.2%

Oct 04, 2014
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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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ski271 from Pennsylvania

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

Pours a slightly hazy, deep reddish-copper with a small, off-white, creamy head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. Good lacing. The smell is... wow... sweet like candy. In fact, it actually smells kind of lot like a tootsie roll, I kid you not. Malts and alcohol esters duke it out for top billing with a light hops presence in one corner, but malts are kicking arse with the sweetness in their corner. The sweetness is almost a little too much... almost. The flavor is almost as malt dominant as the nose suggests, with flavors of chocolate, dark bread and toffee. The hops come out nicely on the finish adding a light bitterness and balance. It has a full body, syrupy texture, and moderate carbonation. This is one hell of a desert beer, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this one is nicely done. Not very sessionable if that’s what you’re going for, but then again, it’s a barleywine, so if you’re looking for a sessionable barleywine, that’s kind a of contradiction right there.

Mar 19, 2006
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ROGUE16 from Delaware

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Dec 27, 2012
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Hojaminbag from Colorado

3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hibernation has a translucent brown body that is highlighted by shades of ruby. Numerous streams of carbonation bubbles begin at the bottom of the beer and travel until they reach a tan head that is at least two fingers tall, with a face that is cratered and rocky. Retention is very good, while the lacing is fairly good.

The aroma begins with rich malts: toffee, caramel, a hint of bitter chocolate. The aroma, however, finishes with bitter odors of pine and citrus that promise a good amount of hops to go along with the malt.

Just as its aroma suggested, Hibernation has a good amount of both malt and hops, but I would say that the malt is the stronger of the two, which is what I want from an old ale. Baker's chocolate and a little bit of roasted malt start things, reluctantly giving way to a rich toffee flavor and a little bit of caramel. The hops take over after that, beginning with a bit of pine that turns into a menagerie of citrus fruit flavors. Bitterness comes in around the same time as the hops, and progresses from prickly to tongue lashing as the hop flavors intensify. The finish also has a distinct alcohol warmth to it. The aftertaste leaves both rich malts and lively hops on the palate.

The mouthfeel is great; pretty full bodied with carbonation that makes it feel full and smooth.

Drinkability is pretty good, but the intense hops and the noticeable alcohol keep this from being a malty treat that I could drink all night. Maybe 6 months in the cellar would do the trick, but it's cold now!

Dec 02, 2010
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WorldWideStout from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A dull brown, translucent body with not much head. Decent lacing.

S: I get two scents. One is that of malts, the other of citrusy, somewhat minty hops. Actually reminds me a bit of a few aged American barleywines I've had.

T: Starts off with a bit of citrus. Then the mintiness comes in, along with a slight sour note and a bit of must as well. The malt finally makes a bit of an appearance towards the end with some roastiness. A decently-long aftertaste features the bitterness and mintiness of the hops. After the beer has warmed up a bit, I get some sweet maltiness in the background of the middle of the sip, slightly bumping up the score.

M: No problems, but unremarkable. Medium body, not particularly thick or silky, strong carbonation at the start that is pretty much gone by the end of the sip.

D: It wouldn't be hard to drink a second one of these, if I wanted to.

Old Ale seems a fairly odd categorization of this beer to me. It seems much more like an American barleywine. Hopefully some aging will turn this into the rich, malty brew that I was hoping for, but I am not impressed by this fresh version of Hibernation.

Nov 20, 2010
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mdfb79 from New York

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

From 03/20/12 notes. Had this on tap at Arlington Rooftop. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark amber brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, raisins, figs, sweet fruity malts, light roasted malts, light caramel malts, and some toasted malts. Very nice nose and fruit-forward, and pretty sweet.

t - Tastes mirrors the nose; a lot of sweet dark fruits, fruity malts, roasted malts, and caramel malts. Not too sweet, but nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. No alcohol coming through which is nice.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good beer. It is a bit sweet but certainly not too much so; while I'm not sure I'd want to drink a few of these in one night, I had no problem getting through a full pint of it, and would certainly order it again. A nice sweet old ale that isn't boozy. Worth checking out.

Mar 21, 2012
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DCon from Missouri

3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar in St. Louis, MO for $4. Tapped from the brown/black tap handle w/ Hibernation in the "Box" & the red Great Divide logo brand above it into a 12oz Pint Glass.

Aroma- Malty, sweet, and has light alcohol in the background. Not much of anything big here and wish there was more complexity.

Appearance- Received with a less than .5 finger head that dies immediately. Has a dark amber/reddish brown colored body and clear. Leaves this lacing behind.

Flavor- A medium malt flavor starts this one off and very sweet. Easy going and no alcohol like in the aroma. How is this one 8%? Seems very lacking in quality and attribute. Light bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light Carbonation, Smooth, and finishes sweet with tons of malt.

Overall Impression- Where is the body and strength?!?! I'm not sure I could appreciate this one as an old ale! Lacked quite a bit but did have some good qualities along the way. Would like to seek out in bottle form and compare.

Dec 29, 2011
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jrutigs from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +23.5%

Nov 26, 2011
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2996 ratings