Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

1,170 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,170 | Ratings: 2,879
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Brown, dark brown, minimal head, 1/4". Plenty of toffee, dark fruit and alcohol on the nose.

Taste was more toffee, alcohol was less prevalent than in the nose, good mild chocolate and brown malt intrusion. Still plenty warming.

Not much bitterness or hopping evident. Decent beer, would be a lot better if it had a Bigfoot kind of hopping and bitterness going for it, they're kinda similar but for that one big difference.

 429 characters

Photo of ricke49
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned on Sept. 25, 2015. Nice malty ale with that subtle hop finish that shuts off the sweetness nicely. In other words, balanced. Color is perfect, bring anticipation of sipping. While I do enjoy a more 'decadent' style English Old Ale too (i.e North Coast, Old Stock), this was a nice change from that. I drank it (at first) a little too cold...it really began to shine as it warmed.

 393 characters

Photo of Every1sgrudge
2.78/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviews are misleading; too hoppy, head ache inducing, almost porter like in taste. Way too boozy to taste anything other than alcohol. Smell is deceiving; you're expectation gourmet deliciousness only to be hit in the tonsils with McDonalds flavor.

 251 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful, slightly hazy, mahogany red beer with a nice light tan head. Minimal lacing left but head stays around the edges and continues to stream from the nucleation site of the glass. The smell is sweet malts with strong caramel/toffee notes. There is also a yeasty smell with a faint scent of hops. The taste is sweet and malty with a caramel and slight bitter chocolate appearing here. The swallow is finished with a pleasant hop bitterness that balances the sweetness very well.

 484 characters

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 09/17/14 poured into a Russian River “tion” glass. Back of the fridge find. Sipped on while jamming Magic Circle.

Appearance: A down the middle pour produces a thin cap of off white head which quickly dissipates to a bubbly ring. Body is a glowing mahogany with yeasty chunks floating around from accidentally pouring in part of the bottom. Looks like a great strong ale.

Aroma: Up front a slight oaky, woody smell from the combined malts and fading herbal hops. The malt profile here great. Lots of toffee and brown, sticky malty goodness. Not sweet but rich. Chocolate, peanut brittle, maple syrup, brown sugar, and toasted oak.

Taste: More that rich malt build with a mild bitterness in the middle. Brings to mind toasted oak, light smoke, vanilla, toasted brown sugar, bags of malt, and a nutty pecan bite. Small alcohol presence on the finish.

Mf: Low carbonation with a light/medium feel. I don’t know if it’s thinned out a little bit but a more full body would go great with the light carbonation. Warming.

Overall: One of those nice accidents. The malt build as well as the fading hop bitterness combine to produce a beer with great malt depth. As the label suggests, this would go great with salty foods or rich desserts. With a slightly more robust body this would tasted great out of a barrel. Reminds me of the first time I tried an aged beer, Old Ruffian, years ago due to a similarly complex brown sugary malt taste. Recommend (but you know that).

 1,518 characters

Photo of tmryan21
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 Version - opened a year and two months after bottling date.

Look: Dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Lacing stays throughout.

Smell: Toffee, coffee, caramel, and booze.

Taste: Toffee and coffee are most prevalent. Caramel and a little bit of dark fruits. Some booze.

Feel: Thinner than expected, which I liked. Booze was present all the way through, but not in a bad way.

Overall: A very good Old Ale. Drink this one warmer - the flavor comes out more and its more enjoyable.

 493 characters

Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

smell: butterscotch, wood, caramel, slight hop aroma
taste: woody, slight citrusy hop presence, chocolate, caramel, toffee
feel: a little dry, medium body, chalky

 162 characters

Photo of Foyle
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass.

Appearance: 2"+ tan head falls slowly with plenty of lacing. Color is dark reddish-brown. Plenty of streaming carbonation.
Aroma: rich roasted barley and a definite citrus rind hop background.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied and slightly astringent, dry finish.
Flavor: dark fruit flavors, raisins, caramel, and molasses along with citrus rind.
Overall: very well done.

 406 characters

Photo of aggiearcher13
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

 1,326 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/27/15.

Pours a really nice reddish copper body and light tan head, which exits quickly leaving a narrow ring around the glass. Not getting anything strong on the nose, maybe a little something sweet.

Hits the tongue and gets kind of chewy, although it doesn't finish terribly thick. Tastes of malts and dark fruits, slight bitterness toward the end but nothing too staggering. Pretty easy to drink and a really excellent feel.

Overall I really like this style and this example of it. Haven't tried it in past years, but I'll look forward to it again next winter.

 577 characters

Photo of kinglouix
2.77/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Don't understand the high ratings. Of the winter beers I find that his one rates towards the bottom of all that I have tried this year. Don't know how they can even call this an old ale because of the strong overbearing hoppiness. Similar in that aspect to Sierra Nevada Celebration ale. Flat nose with no distinction, initial burst of bitterness and no soothing follow through, maybe faint chocolaty finish but nondescript. I wouldn't purchase this again.

 456 characters

Photo of psycHOPathy
2.67/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Dark cola color with half a finger of fine grained head
Roasted sweet malts, cocoa, coffee. Some leather
Woody, chocolate, coffee, rye, walnut. A weird almost chemically taste up front. Like hairspray. That's what this tastes like: cocoa hairspray.
A little slick and oily. Minimal carbonation
In every variety pack of beer there's the one "mystery" or "brewer's choice" beer that is just the bad beer they're trying to get rid of. I think this is it. Wish it tasted as good as it smells

 487 characters

Photo of ThaneMcC
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

 733 characters

Photo of TeachChefs
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great flavor, even if according to the label it was bottled almost a full year after I drank it. opened on 28-Dec-2015 bottled on 15-Dec-2016. Go figure.

 155 characters

Photo of oldn00b
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a shaker pint. Dark rust colored with a foamy tan head that retained well.

Nose is big on spicy malts.

Flavor is fantastic - nice hop bittering to go with the big malt bill. Decent amount of spice and roasty from the malt profile. Very nice.

Feel is pretty great - nice drying bitter, no jagged edges. Overall, very nice beer.

 354 characters

Photo of KensWorld
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle dated October 2 2014. Massive cream colored head that does not want to die. Smells nice and sweet with malty aroma. Tastes nutty, Earthy, and nutty. Very different tasting. Slight hints of toffee but mainly nutty tasting. Overall quite unusual taste, nice smell, and incredible head and retention. 4.50

 317 characters

Photo of SABERG
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can dated 10/15/15 into the modified tulip glass.
A - Deep mahogany in color, translucent and striking with direct light passing through. A loosely constructed froth cap rides the top, supported by a group of glass hugging tiny bubbles.
S - Lightly roasted malts, some dark brown sugar, soaked dark wood, barn cured tobacco leaf. A bit earthy in a good way. Hints of mint and Assam black tea.
T - Slightly sweet, none of that roast gets to the palate. There is some dried dark fruit flavors, fig, a bit of raisin. Caramel and toffee, and light molasses keep the flavor train moving.
M - Heavy medium in body, the coating is thorough and complete, the start is a bit sweet, next comes a quick dry out, with a rine wash cheese kind of finish. A bit thin but that does not take away from he experience.
O - In this world of hops and more hops ( not complaining) this offering is a nice treat, The execution is
solid, add some heft to the body and it will be a home run. The malt bill and slightly floral elements are delightful. I will be running out to get some more.

 1,080 characters

Photo of breadwinner
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big. Malty. Sweet. Though not cloying. Little spice. Something like smoke, perhaps? Gives it some earth, some foundation. Light alcohol burn in the finish, but not unpleasant. A beer to hibernate to.

 199 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10V 03 2015. 10 oz. DFH Tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark ruby brown with 1 finger khakhi head that fades to islands of bubbles with a thick ring of bubbles at the edge. A little visible carbonation. Very nice lacing, which says a lot, because I have a hard time getting lacing in this glass.

Aroma: Malty. Roasty. Hoppy. Dark fruit and a bit of alcohol. Plums, figs, and hops. Smells like an American Strong Ale.

Taste: Off-sweet, very malty arrival. Heavy malty middle, lots of depth, but somehow lacking in complexity. Slightly medicinal hop and alcohol on the finish. Fairly clean finishing. If this can be aged, I suspect a couple of years age would do this well. The more I drink, the more I think hops just really overpower what I think should be a malt-focused beer. Bell's Third Coast was more drinkable, and that was 10%+ ABV.

Mouthfeel: Lighter side of heavy. Fair carbonation; not a lot, but kind of high for the style. Not slick; has a little lingering medicinal hop, but very clean.

Overall: I'm a little disappointed with this. The only other beer of this style I've had is Bell's Third Coast Ale, and it struck me as more complex and had sherry-like nutty notes. This is pretty straight heavy malt, with some extremely strong hop bittering. I think this is just too hoppy for the style. Not that I dislike it; but if I want a hoppy malt bomb, I have better local options (Seventh Son).

 1,429 characters

Photo of DenverHopHead
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 10/5/15; into a pint glass.
Appearance - mohagany, almost brown hue that reveals some Amber against the light. Some streams of carbonation noticeable against the light, which forms a medium almost toasted marshmallow head. Lacing is streaky.
Smell - sweet caramel, molasses and barley.
Taste - follows the nose but with clear identifiable booze.
Feel - medium body; sweet upon the first sip, a hint of hops in the middle, with a malty, boozy finish.
Overall - nice beer for this time of year, but not a beer or style that I'll be seeking out.

 589 characters

Photo of seedyone
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Deep caramel color topped with a light cream colored head that leaves a thick lacing. Aroma has slight smoky/oakey smell that doesn't assert in the flavor. Less sweet than a barleywine but swweter than an ale, old or otherwise.

Strongest plus is the distinctively wintery texture. Very, very smooth.

Not sure at which end of the hibernation this belongs, so I recommend both, although it may be hard to shake the cobwebs loose with a 8+% ABV.

Straight up, this should rock through the fall & winter.

 532 characters

Photo of Jim_Benz
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Way better than I expected. Beautiful mahogany color, thick head, lots of lacing. Smells like raisins and currants. Taste is well-balanced between malt and hops, far less sweet than I expected, a little spicy, a little fruity like the nose. Body is lighter than expected, but I guess I'd call it a medium body. Carbonation is relatively light. Overall, one of the nicest surprizes I've had in awhile. Will definately buy it again.

 430 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours deep deep mahogany. a nice combination of brown/red. solid head as well.

smells like charred malt. some sweetness and smokiness to it as well.

taste is sweet and mellow. finishes dry and bitter. easy drinking as well. a good sipper for sure! goes down smooth, has a full body without being thick. enjoyable!

overall this is a pretty good beer, glad i picked this up. has a good strong taste to it. goes down smooth and looks good in a glass.

 451 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottling date of 10/26/15

Appearance - Pours cola brown with a khaki colored, near finger width head. Fair retention, then dissipates to a thin, broken layer across the top. Lacing consists of misshapen blobs and a multitude of spots found around the glass.

Smell - Equal notes of coffee, toffee, caramel and chocolate with a touch of dark berry.

Taste - Follows the nose, precisely. Strong, equal notes of coffee, toffee, caramel and chocolate with a touch of dark berry fruitiness. Finishes much the same, with a touch of earthy, nutty character that develops in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. Texture has a slight chalkiness, but not to detriment, with a mostly dry finish.

Overall - It's simple in that it's tight and cohesive, yet there's a beautiful array of flavors found here. This is a gem in any given variety pack; the kind you'd begrudgingly buy even if the other beers were average. Rest assured though that this Great Divide variety is pretty damn awesome, and this might be the best of the bunch.

 1,060 characters

Photo of maedhros09
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Deep mahogany with 1-2 fingers of tan head and a smidge of lacing.
Smell: Dark fruit, boozy
Look: Deep dark fruit, caramel, and a bit of roasted malt character followed by a pronounced bitterness that with the alcohol leaves a tingling sensation on the tongue.
Feel: full-bodied, smooth, fairly carbonated for style. Not as syrupy as a barleywine.

Overall: A densely malty beer but not quite to barleywine proportions. In this sense it's not dissimilar from Founders Dirty Bastard (technically a scotch ale), The main difference is a serious kick of hops bitterness. To my taste the bitterness is taken too far but it is close to the borderline.

 657 characters

Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,879 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.