Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

2,892 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,892 |  Reviews: 1,173
Photo of hustlesworth
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- clear russet brown with a rich creamy tan head that becomes increasingly wrinkled and pitted as it settles. thank you, dry hoppings. it doesn't really settle, though. it just kinda sits there making me anxious. ridiculously thick puffy lace.

S- powerful deep earthy malts, toffee and chocolate, and citrus somewhat soapy hops. brown sugar, praline, soil, dead grass, toasted marshmallow.

T- all that sweetness in the aroma is met head on by a load of hops that struggles to keep the flavor profile balanced. with a beer this malty i can't imagine even achieving a balance. mineral water, soil, coffee, chocolate, damp wood, sandalwood incense, brown sugar, toffee, candied nuts, pine, fig, date, burnt cookies, roasted grains, and a flash of that citrus cilantro like hop bitterness in the finish. sweet but not cloying and very complex. completely hidden alcohol.

MF- full and creamy would be an understatement. dry hopped alpha oil feel cuts through the richness somewhat, striking a pleasing balance. low end carbonation gives this one a super smooth nitro feel with non-grainy viscosity. i've had imperial stouts that don't feel this good.

D- i've only had a handful of old ales, actually only two or three, and i would expect an americanized version to be all pumped up but damn, this one is a malt bomb! dry hopping is a nice touch and adds to the already present complexity. it's a nice offering as a winter warmer and whether it's been aged or not, it's really just a big bold brown ale at heart.

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

Pours an almost solid, deep red with a light tan head that lingers and laces.

Smells of bready/cracker, raisins, fig, plum, dark cherry, and sweet caramel malt.

Taste is up front sweet, darky cherry/fig that fades into bready/cracker, sweet malt, and ends with a bitter and sweet note that lingers with some spicy hop character. Quite nice. Some slight astringency comes through as well.

Medium body with low to medium carbonation works well.

There are hints of molasses that work well against the cracker/dark fruit, cherry flavors and make this beer quite satisfying. One of my favorite winter seasonal beers.

*I will do a side by side of a year-old bottle soon.

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Photo of grilledsquid
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review of beer bottled in Sept 2010 on 10-19-11.

Poured into a North Coast pint glass. Appearance is a very clear amber/cranberry color with about 1/4" tan colored head. From the get go, I could tell this was a very malt-forward beer just by the fragrant aroma released from pouring. Smell is heavy malt, sweet candy, and dried strawberry. Taste is strong in malt, plums, some slight booze, and a bit of bitterness in the back palate which lingers through to the finish. It's a smooth drinker with light to medium carbonation. If it weren't for the slight booziness, It would be even easier to drink. I'll continue to buy this in the future.

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Photo of stercomm
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

A - Nice ruby color, very clear beer, got a nice tan head that receded quickly leaving a nice rim around the glass and some slight lacing down the sides.

S - Get toast, toffee and licorice, big malt profile.

T - Much the same, toffee and toast up front, lots of syrupy malt on the backend,alcohol is present. Licorice seems to come in on the finish.

M - Big and bold, lots of carbonation.

D - Good beer for a chilly evening and a piping hot bowel of beef stew.

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Photo of langm12
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - Beautiful Ruby color. Very small bubbly head that dissipates quickly. Hardly any lacing.

S - Toffee and leather, quite malty with touch of alcohol.

T - Toffee and dry hops right off the bat. toasted malty takes over after that. Alcohol present.

M - Nice medium body and very slick.

O - A very good ale. Great for a cold night.

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

A - Pours a red mahogany with a small .5 finger head that dissipates very quickly.

S - Good amount of dark fruits on the nose, nutty, some toffee and licorice, and even a good amount of booze.

T - Rich malts, sticky caramel with some dark fruits, still some of that toffee and chocolate. And a tinge of hop bitterness.

M - Very syrupy and sticky, a tinge of booze present.

Overall - I really liked it. It had some of those winter warmer characteristics, great, complex malts. Perfect for a chilly day.

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Photo of ksimons
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a clear ruby with lots of visible carbonation, thin ring of head around the top

S-smell is malt heavy, sweet sticky caramel, and a light hop bitterness

T-taste is similar to the smell, rich malts dominate again but the hop bitterness comes through more in the taste, sticky caramel, raisins and plums, and dark chocolate

M-medium body, moderate carbonation, syrup like mouthfeel

Overall a really nice tasting beer, lots of big flavors and nose, I enjoyed it

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

I usually view Great Divide as a weekday brewery: they make things that are good for everyday drinking, but nothing that stands out as terribly special. This one, however, stands out as terribly special. It's got an extremely rich aroma, dominated by coffee and leather, and a malty-rich taste that just gets more and more complex as it warms. Goes well with Dvorak and Brahms. Definitely a good one to have standing by in the basement during a cold New England winter.

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Photo of dankster
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- dark copper color with medium carb.

S- very malty with dark fruits like plum and current noted

T- creamy and heavy. almost like a malty blackberry making love to a plum.

M- slick and smooth- goes down well with a steak sandwitch.

o- love this beer. very good english old ale. i am not a huge fan of this style normaly but this one is something i look forward to every year

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Photo of secondtooth
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This dark red/amber English-style old ale pours with a massive and lovely retention on the glass. A strong start, for sure.

The aroma says roasty, peaty malts. Earthy, like wet leaves and yeast. Nice.

Taste is huge - strong peat-roasted malts, followed by a dry hops sharpness. The strong 8.7% alcohol isn't too apparent, but it is there underneath all the powerful flavors. I get even more of a pungent licorice, raisin, and tobacco taste upon slight warming. A potent, heavy, and complex ale. High marks here.

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

2010 vintage, served in a shaker pint at Papago.

Maple syrup in color, dark yet clear. Dense tan foam rises to about a finger in height before dissipating to a whisper-thin layer of froth.

Spices permeate the aroma. I'm fairly certain there's cinnamon, clove, nutmeg...allspice? It’s like a winter potpourri. As it warms, more fruits and malt emerge, in the form of toffee and dates.

The flavor differs wildly from the aroma. Big toffee and burnt toast don’t surprise, but subtle bitter chocolate does. Dollops of plum sauce cover chocolate crumbles and lingering toastiness. Alcohol squeezes in betwixt the other stuff, but never raises its voice. It’s almost like syrupy bread pudding, if some of the bread was burnt. Finishes surprisingly dry.

Carbonation is fairly high on this medium-bodied brew. Smooth and mouth-filling without being heavy. Ethanol fumes swirl in the mouth as the beer moves, and while they don't get too out of control, I'd have expected them to die down by now.

Hibernation does a great job of showcasing wintry flavors. They don’t completely come together, and the alcohol could be a tad better-integrated, but the beer would be good on a cold night.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into oversized wine glass:

A - Pours a deep amber color with a tan, 2-finger head of nice creaminess. Retention is fair, and it leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet caramel and toffee notes mixed with piney and earthy notes. Bright floral dry hopped notes.

T - Toffee malts and a strong piney dry hopped taste. High ABV is apparent in taste, with some subtle alcoholic flavors present. Toasted malt character is prevalent as well.

M - Smooth and wet. Perhaps a bit lighter mouth feel than I was expecting, but it compliments the beer well.

D - I'm not too familiar with this style, but it's a good beer. I agree with others that this beer could probably spend some time aging to fully accentuate the malt character.

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Photo of jdense
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 2010 'vintage', from John's Marketplace, S.W. Beervana, Or, into HOTD tulip, 9.25.11.

Nary a quarter finger of light tan head, quick dissipation with broken layer of head, a bit of lacing. Light dark (ugh( brown head, some golden highlights in bottom of glass under light, pretty light for the style. Good amount of caramel, peat, some well worn leather, hops pretty tame, floral. Taste mirrors nose, though note the leather is pretty muted. Mouthfeel as aspected a bit above medium, good effervescence. This is a really nice old ale, the characteristics re tobacco and leather, that I look for. Wish I had the patience to age this a bit longer. Well done.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle 1 yr old.

App- Mahogany with a thick creamy head.

Sm- One year has already done wonders to this. Add sweet caramel onto the standard toasty fruity malt you would normally get.

Ta- Malty, malty body with toasted biscuits, hint of chocolate and sweet toffee. Hops make a slight appearance in the finish.

Ov- Excellent winter beer. A year does wondering in mellowing it out and deepen the complexity. One of my favorites.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Descibed as an Old English Ale, I was blown away by the flavor in this beer. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the color was a dark copper with an equally menacing head. Sweet cocoa ascents tickled the nose even before the first taste. The flavor begins as dark chocolate milk and finishes like a creamy coffee flavor stout. Hints of the sweet initial taste still nip at the tongue through the aftertaste.

One might not expect so much flavor in this beer. This being the second time of have had it, I know the flavor was not a fluke. Well done Great Divide!

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

Bottled on 10/29/10.

A- Pour yields about 3 fingers worth of light sienna brown with great retention. You can listen to this beer like pops cereal with the head crackling. The beer is a dark ruby, almost red wine color but you can see through it.

S- Bittersweet chocolate syrup. Loads of caramel malts and almost no trace of hops. Heavy doses of nougat and toffee. This beer smells just like dessert.

T- A smoky flavor offers a nice curve ball in the beginning, but then makes way for that of a candy bar. Milk chocolate, caramel, rich toffee, and wafer. The alcohol is hidden very well. I can already taste what this would be like aged from a bourbon barrel but I'd rather not, I feel that would bring too much heat into this.

M- Medium bodied, easy drinking brew. This is slightly creamy in texture, and not much carbonation if any is felt. But it works for this as you wouldn't expect that feel for dessert.

O- This is the best Old Ale I've had to date. I'm glad I picked up a case of this when I was at Shangy's, just sad it went so quickly. This beer has almost a year on it and it tastes great, can't imagine a short shelf life. Great Divide delivers again.

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Photo of TheStove
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into an open mouth glass from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance is similar to that a good brown ale with only a slight bit of head despite my attempts to build it in the glass. Sweet malty smell with a subsequent whiff revealing the dry hopped character.

An interesting beverage for sure, the malt flavor mixes well with the dry hop character providing multiples layers of sweetness. The flavors and influence of both seem to trade places in my mouth as it eventually finishes with a nice light hop snap. Leaves a nice maple-ish syrup flavor on tongue.

Excellent flavor. This is a nice malty beverage and I like how the dry hopping gives this a consistent hop character without being overwhelming. I'd call this one dangerous winter warmer. I get some slight booziness towards the end but overall this seems almost too easy to drink for something nearly 9%.

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

Oct. 2009 bottle cracked on Aug. 2011.
This is a beer meant to be aged; a year and a half ago this had that dry-hopped aggression, but now it's thick and malty. This feels like it can sit another year or two.
Toasted malt, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, and only a tickle of hops.
I pick this up for about $10/6pk. With time and patience this is a great deal for an old ale.

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Photo of litheum94
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 11/10/10. Reviewed on 5/9/11.

Burnt umber color. Slightly murky, with a one-finger, tan head. Settles slowly, leaving lacing on the glass.

Aromas of rich toffee malts. Chocolate. Soy sauce an umami aromas (if that makes sense). Citrus hops in the background. Raisin and prune aromas. This smells fantastic.

Earthy grains and flavors of chocolate, toffee and coffee jump on the palate right away. Burnt malts, like overcooked toast. Some hazelnut tones mid-palate. Citric and earthy hops on the finish, with minimal bitterness lingering. Low carbination, and a slightly thick mouthfeel.

A great example of the style. Hops are nicely restrained, and the dominate flavors are awesome. Exactly what I want from a barley wine.

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Photo of Allpe45
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottled Nov 9th, 2010

During the pour it appeared an interesting orange hue, dark copper/red in the glass with a huge foamy head that leaves behind a fair amount of lace

Smells like sweet malts, caramel and toffee, with faint alcohol and subdued but spicy hop aroma.

Tastes chocolatey up front. Pleasant surprise as I didn't pick up any of this in the smell. Rich malty sweetness and caramel follow shortly. The 8.7% makes itself noticeable by providing a warming finish without significantly impacting the flavors.

Medium-heavy body but well carbonated, creamy feeling with a residual stickiness.

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Photo of pjs234
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown color, with a one finger off-white head. The beer is very cloudy and there is not a lot of carbonation. Smells sweet, with the prevailing smells being those from dark fruits and maybe a touch of caramel. The taste is a little too sweet at first, but the finish is better, as it ends up a little dry. There is little to no alcohol burn with this beer. Overall, it is a nice tasting beer. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. I did enjoy this beer, but not the best Old Ale that I have had. I would like to try this with a little more age on it.

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

This is the final bottle I sampled from the Great Divide Variety Pack.

Bottle date was 11/11/2010

Enjoyed in a DFH Pint Glass

A - Pours a rather deep brownish-red color. A one finger head on the initial pour that fades rather quickly. Decent lacing.

S - A rather sweet, chocolate smell. I'm also getting some kind of fruit-like smell, maybe raisins.

T - A nice tasting beer. A combination of fruit, chocolate, cinnamon and slightly burnt malts are the predominate flavors. The alcohol does make a slight appearance but never takes away from the other flavors.

M - A slightly tangy bitterness lingers after each sip. Medium to heavy consistency.

O - I enjoyed this beer. It was sampled in May but this really is a winter-type of beer. Maybe a one or two a night type beer due to its heaviness. As the final beer in the Great Divide Variety pack, I'm really pleased with the quality of this, as well as, all the beers I've had from Great Divide.


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Photo of OrangeAmps
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is red-brown in color with a one finger head. It looks amazing in the glass, and the lacing is great.

The smell is malt heavy, without much aromatic hop presence. Brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, booze, and cinnamon all come to mind.

The taste is even better than the smell. Pretty complex and on par with every other old ale ive had (Old rasputin, Founders Curmudgeon, etc.). It is my favorite one thus far. The hops are present in the bitterness, but not in the flavoring, which makes a nice counterpoint to the sugary malty flavors. For some reason, i really tasted cinnamon or something very similar to cinnamon in this beer.

This beer is amazing.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. 2006 vintage.

4.0 A: Pours a deep amber mahogany color. Still plenty of carbonation in this as I got about one finger of creamy beige head. The retention wasn't so great, but there was a decent amount of lacing left.

4.0 S: Lots of caramel and, to a lesser extent, toffee. Dark fruits galore with plum, fig, and raisin. Perhaps a touch of chocolate. Finally, I am picking up some Milkbone (the dog bone brand) aroma and it is unmistakeable.

4.0 T: Taste for the most part follows the nose. There is, however, a lot more chocolate in the taste. Still plenty of caramel, dark fruit, and yes, the Milkbone is there as well.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Still plenty of carbonation. In fact, it has a just-right amount. Reasonably creamy and smooth.

4.5 D: Some of the categories were borderline next-best-level, so that's why this is a 4.5. I don't believe I've ever had this fresh, but as it stands now, it's a pretty damn good beer. I'm not sure how good it would be in another couple years though. I wish I had another one so I could find out.

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Photo of Samp01
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with a small tan head. Aroma and Taste of sweet spices, brown sugar, sweet malt. raisins, light earthy hops. Palate is nice full body, good carbonation, nice smooth mouthfeel. Finish is sweet toasted caramel malt, some brown sugar and raisin, ending in a sweet hoppy biitterness with a nice long slightly dry finish. A very nice holiday brew.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,892 ratings.
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