Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

1,164 Reviews
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,164 | Ratings: 2,862
Photo of kmcnair
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2005 vintage. Pours a dark tan to red hue and makes a thin off white head. Aroma is very rich with sweet malts, loads of medium roast caramel, and a hint of flowery hops. Flavor starts with a spiced bitterness on the tongue, strong complex malted backbone and assertive hop flavor, I seem to taste quite a bit of chinook. Finish is bitter chinook hops. Medium bodied, light cabonation goes down creamy and gently coats the palate, finishes dry. Not bad, a nice winter brew.

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Photo of Naes
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This one is a dark brown ale with some orange hues around the edges. It has a small tan head that quickly retreats to just a few bubbles.
Its aroma is not much to speak of, but has a dark malt sense.
The flavor is of dark malt, dark fruit and has a bit of an alcohol warming. It is also quite roasty. Though it is dominated by the malts, there is a slight hop presence as well.
Mouth feel is full bodied and a bit syrupy. The carbonation is low.

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Photo of NClifestyle
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

from the looks and the smell, you would think i liked this beer more. appearance was extremely dark amber, medium creamy head of tiny off-white bubbles that left a nice, tight layer on the beer. smell was warm bread, spicy hop, and malty goodness. so far so good. taste was over the top sweet, chewy, spicy hop. there was quite a bit of malt in there, and what malt was there, sugary cinnamon bread, was quite nice. however, it was continually overwhelmed by the hops, in the front and middle of the mouth and in the aftertaste. this beer wasn't terrible, far from it, it was not bad at all. however, maybe it was just tonight, and i was in a porter mood, because i couldn't have another one. i'll give it a try again soon.


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Photo of ChrisA
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark carmel color. One inch head. Nutty chocolate notes in the nose. Can definitely taste the 8.1% ABV. Strong hops are balance by complex maltiness. I think I taste some butterscotch. This is certainly a celbratory seasonal. Another excellent bottle from Great Divide. The label is superb. Happy Holidays!!!

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Photo of bigbelcher
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A really nice holiday beer. Lots of spices and hops. Just the way a holiday beer should be. One flavor I percieved that I don't see in too many beers was pepper. Gave the beer a nice spicy note. Color was a deep dark brown. Good head retention. I am going to buy some bottles of it and lay it down as I think it will be a good beer to age.

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Photo of charlatan
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a peaty colour with a reddish hue and a decent head which left a little lacing on my glass. The nose was on the sweet rather than roasted side of malty.

Malt dominates the taste here. While I am sure there are plenty of hops in the brew they are dominated by a great rich malt flavour which seems to grow and grow in the mouth before gradually fading away. This feels creamy and tastes sweet with the faintest hint of chocolate.

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Photo of blitz134
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear mohagony body. Half inch white head on top which didn't stay around for too long. Aroma is caramel sweet with some chocolaty hints. A bit of dark fruit and floral hints with a touch of alcohol aroma, not much though. Taste is a unique blend of flavors. Comes across initially like an IPA with a sweet floral flavored hops and a touch of bitterness. Finishes with bits of chocolate. Alcohol is well hidden in the flavor. Mouthfeel is fairly full and coats well. Drinkability is very good. This is a super balanced brew that goes down easy. A nice dose of hops and some malts to round it out. Very nice.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a good seasonal, and quite an interesting blend of flavors. The beer pours to a dark nutty bown color with a ruby hue. The head cascades quite beautifully to form a nice two inch head that leaves curtains of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is minimal, but the head sticks around for most of the drink.

The smell is the weakest aspect of this beer. There is hardly anything there. Only a small hint of malt, herbal hops, and an even tinier hint of berries.

The taste is good. Tastes like a strong amber ale with plenty of hops and even a little assortment of berries. Gently roasty and bitter with some caramel sweetness to back it hop. Slightly biscuity.

Overall it's good, but it's not quite as good as I was expecting from one of my favorite micro brewers. I probably won't bother to seek it out again, but that is not to say it is bad... all I'm saying is that if this was available on the shelf, you could be damn near certain that the Yeti is also available. This was good, but almost nothing beats a Yeti during the cold winter nights.

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Photo of benito
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GD's much-hallowed seasonal poured a brownish-red with a PERFECT off-white head, and nice carbonation. The head held on beautifully, as though at attention and waiting to dissipate until I had taken my first sip. A beautiful looking beer all-around. The bouquet, similarly, is impressive: very roasty and chocolaty with the slightest hint of apple (or some non-citrus fruit). Moreover, it's full and consistent, a strong and present nose to be sure.

The flavors are heavy-duty: a robust and smooth maltiness that is well-balanced and finished by a distinctive woody, nutty bitterness. The carmel flavors pull through and are well-suited to beer with this deep body. They do a nice job of masking, though not eliminating, the alcoholic flavors, which are a surprisingly nice addition.

I'm excited to cellar a few bottles of this and see where it goes in the next couple of months (or longer). GD brews a small get-it-if-you-can-find-it batch of this each year, and I feel lucky to have found a sixer right here in Leadville. Highly recommended.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish amber bordering on mahogony with ample, fluffy head. Very beautiful lacing.

Smells of roasty malty goodness, with spices to boot, perhaps something like cinnamon.

Tastes deeply malty, with spices and a warm, subtle undertone from the alcohol. Well balanced, yet robust. There is perhaps some chocolate undertones toward in the middle. Body is smooth and silky, a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition Appearance: Dark ruby hue with an off white tan head fine bubbles leaves smooth layers of uneven lacing with each sip. Aroma: Rich blend of piney hops warming alcohol with bready spiced malt layers mixed with a touch of tart cherries and citrus scented hops. Taste: Doughy malt base is sugary but the big hop addition balances the flavor out so that hops have at least one up on the malt profile here. Up front strong bitterness and slightly rough pine and alcohol soaked fruit including cherries and citrus with a touch of chocolate and spices thrown in the mix very nice. Mouthfeel: Medium body lighter carbonation with a slight syrupy texture. Drinkability: Really good English style Old ale another winner from Great Divide.

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Photo of Franchise
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown and leaves a sticky beige lace that sticks to the side of the glass. This beer smells of honey, brown sugar, citrus rinds, and lemon grass. As I taste this beer the bitterness from the hops and a slight sweetness from the caramel malt comes out on the palate. I also get a slight aftertaste of the alcohal that lingers on the palate but is really hidden with the sweetness of the beer. Overall this is pretty good beer one that is a def winter time sipper.

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Photo of mentor
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 bottling. Pours a half finger of caramel light brown head over a ruby-edged brown liquid. Crystal clear and shining like a gem. Wow, this is a gorgeous looking beer. Smells cocoa and dry bis-quick powder. Woody and dried fall oak leaves. Tastes dry cocoa, dry leaves, with a buried alcohol flavor. Not so much alcohol sting as alcohol flavor. Some rough hop edge, but hidden by the strength of the chocolate. Biscuit malt dryness and a touch of roast. Nearing the bottom of the glass, the alcohol is standing strong and has developed some sting. Thick mouthfeel that's creamy and somewhat dextrinous. Overall, this is an enjoyable winter warmer. The flavors just don't quite meld to make it a savoring experience. I may pick up some bottles so I can age them a couple years. I think some of the alcohol heat would settle and the flavors could form some kind of union.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy off-white head.

Aroma is malty and mild with subtle dark fruit notes in the background.

It's flavor is very big on caramel malts up front. Lots of caramel malts, some toffee, yet only moderately sweet. Some booze warmth is present. Hops really kick around towards the finish. This is a fun beer to drink, and one I'll be having again sometime soon.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with great carbonation. A robust, sturdy beer.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage: Pours a murky mahogany with some ruby tint, and a thick, creamy tan head...very nice especially for a cellared beer. The aroma is quite hoppy with big citrus (tangerine, orange and lemon rind, grapefruit) character, caramel sweetness, alcohol, toasted bread, and some esters. The flavor is quite hoppy initially with citrus and floral character, followed by some sweet caramel malt, fruity esters, alcohol and some toasted bread. While i enjoyed this beer, honestly it seemed too similar to their barleywine (which is fantastic) but i was expecting a much different beast than old ruffian and that is what this beer most resembles to me. The mouthfeel is chewy and rich and drinkability is good but the alcohol is somewhat warming.

2009 vintage:
Bottled on 11/19/2009, ever so slightly less than a year old. Pours a slightly hazy mahogany color with a thin tan head that retains OK. The aroma has a ton of sweet malts initially (notes of caramel, bourbon, toffee, turbinado sugar) along with some piney and citrusy hops in the background, along with some cocoa, pecans and almonds, dark fruits and some alcohol. The flavor has some citrusy and piney hops upfront (but more muted compared to when fresh), along with caramel and toffee, rum cake, dark fruits, caramelized pecans, and some alcohol The mouthfeel is really smooth and drinkability is much improved. I'm really digging this with a year on it, the hops have faded and the malts come to the forefront and the alcohol has really mellowed...I've got another bottle I'll leave alone for a year or so to see how this one matures further.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, Riley's

appearance: pale mahogany, pretty clear, light tan rim, not much in the way of lacing

smell: nutty, sweet dark fruit, alcohol, dark chocolate, plums, slightly citric...smells full

taste: sweet alcohol soaked plums and cherrys, smooth dark chocolate, vanilla, walnut, toffee, slight caramel, roasted malts..quite well balanced, enjoyable

mouthfeel: full and chewy, yet smooth...mild alcohol burn

drinkability: only a few of these

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

Pours with a frothy amber-tan colored head that is a finger and a half thick. The beer is a deep amber color that shows a brilliantly clear deep ruby color when held up to the light. The aroma is quite malty with notes of caramel and toffee up front moving to a dry lightly roasted note and a bit of burnt grain astringency. The finish reminds me of toasty brown ale. Perhaps there is a bit of cherry like fruit character as well, but this is fairly subdued.

The beer has a medium full heft to it, but does not really coat the mouth to much. The beer is lightly sweet with notes of toffee and a light molasses. The finish is a mix of toasted malt notes, a bit of coffee, and a roast grain character that also includes a hint of burnt grain astringency. There is a combination of flavors that make me think of Rum; a combination of the sweet malt notes and the slight alcohol heat in the finish.

This beer is actually quite nice, not very many breweries do a English style Old Ales. The malt character is refreshingly unhoppy, and makes for a great sipping beer. This will age pretty well, and I think I will have to pick up a couple bottles for next years holiday season.

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Photo of bruachan
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great divide has yet to disappoint me, and hibernation brought up their stock, in my opinion

a hansome cranberry/garnet color with a decent foam on top. started off at a finger's width and never fully vanished, leaving some frosting

complexity in the malt: rich dark fruit up front and a great lingering toastytoffiness. big malt all around goes hand in hand with judicious hopping. nice floral hop aroma and balanced bitterness

big, but balanced

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Photo of carln26
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep brown very clear in color with orange highlights. It was topped by a thick tan colored head that recedes quickly. The aroma is dominated by sweet, dark malt. Mild citrus (orange) and spice on the finish. The taste has more of the malt up front, toffee, figs. The hops come out mid-flavor, nice citrus, grass, a little hop flower. The spice wakes up on the finish. Hard to characterize. I think there is some coriander and all-spice. What a great mouth feel. I’ve only had this full rich mouth feel in Imperial Stouts and Dubbles. Very nice, and very drinkable.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice reddish-brown with very little head. Head drops to a spotty film but leaves some scattered lace.
Smell is malt, hops and floral notes.
Taste is malt, hops, alcohol, smoke, molasses and a piney/floral combination. Smooth and full-bodied with a nice warming coming in slowly at the end. A good brew but could be better.

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Photo of Bcant
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage, sampled 11/2005.

The way you pour this beer changes the taste not insignificantly. I big pour with lots of distance and air will yield a large fluffy head. A more conservative pour will produce a decent head that is more compact, and has greater staying power but leaves less lacing. I know this is true for most brews, but particularly so for this one. My review is for a conservative pour.

Deep red/brown…almost purple, lighter when shown to light. The smell is the weakest part of this beer. Not that it is bad; it is just a very thin bouquet. What is there is floral, reveling more of the hop character of this well balanced ale.

Very smooth, in the bourbon not light beer way. In fact when swirled, like a whiskey, this brew leaves long legs. Lots of flavors: dark chocolate cherry liquors and brandy beans, spices, and spruce-like hops. Yet age has blended these flavors well, mellowing what could be a chaotic mix.

Very round and chewy. Nice carbonation level. Refreshing for a beer with such a big malt character but also warming. A very nice offering.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in '05 (couldnt wait to try it) from a bottle with a new design than what is displayed. Poured out a very dark, but transparent brown with red thining through the light coming out of the glass. A tan head appeared with good aromas of creamy caramel and i thought peanut butter chocolate. However, when the head went down, it was quite hard for me to catch anymore aromas coming out of the beer, including the ones i smelled with the head.

Taste is creamy and slighly fruity with lots of natural flavors of nuts. The 8.1 alcohol is present too, but not overwhelming. Roasted malts come into play too, as well as the hops (which surprised me a little). But after so many sips, this beer kinda killed my palate to it and was hard to distiguish anything.

Mouthfeel is great. Creamy and covers your mouth with some carbonation. After a sip i can feel it really cover my mouth, like a teaspoon of butter.

I have to say this beer is highly drinkable. My head told me to sip it, but my mouth told me to gulp it. thats gotta mean something. I will cellar i think 2 of them to see what happens, but i think they are quite drinkable fresh.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep reddish brown color was almost an exact match for the label on this 12 oz. longneck bottle. The body was clear, and the head creamy, one finger thick, and beige in color, and lots of lace, too. The earthy sweet aroma was that of chocolate, hazelnuts, and toffee, all standard fare for a Strong or Old Ale. The taste was sweet and mellow, with a brown sugar and vanilla flavor up front, a hint of mocha, which was followed by a nutty character. The hops were more noticeable with the classic Great Divide flair, and added an extra layer of citric and leafy complexity. The beer was velvety smooth in texture with a lingering faintly woody aftertaste. Well crafted beer that felt more vigorously drinkable than the other stodgy examples of this style.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear dark amber with a creamy head that laces well. Smells like chocolate covered raspberries aboard a wave of caramel malts. Cigarettes too. Flavor has toffee with some ash and alcohol. The caramel maltiness is annoying in that plastic-bodied way that feels so fake. Finish is a little like a sugary cigarette butt. Needs some more bitterness. Plastic-coated big body really ruins this beer for me, which is too bad considering that I was digging the aromas and flavors.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I must say that I have very mixed feelings about this one. I poured a very red colour with a nice fluffly off white head with decent head retention. Nice lacing. Looked fantastic. The smell was nice with a bit of malt and loaded with hops. Not my cup of tea, but still I thought it had a pleasant smell, hoppy or not. The taste? If you are a hop fanatic, then I highly recommend you try this of out. I am not a hop fanatic, so I'll finish this 6 pack off and never ever buy this again. Very very hoppy. Bitterly so, perhaps "perfume like". The only thing I did enjoy about the taste was that it seemed to me to have a bit of a toasted malt-like finish. Don't know if that is indeed what I am tasting, but that is the only way I can describe it. The mouth feel was quite smooth and easy to drink with little carbonation, and at 8.0+abv, they did a nice job concealing the alcohol. Overall, this was okay I suppose, but this style is just not for me. I'll take a heavy milk stout, thanks.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,862 ratings.
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