Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
2,949 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,949 |  Reviews: 1,183
Photo of litheum94
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
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 +1.5%
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 -7.7%
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 -0.5%
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 +21.4%
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 +2%
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 -2.5%
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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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This could be a great beer - it's definitely situated in the English (I guess) Old Ale style - but the hop presence, bitterness and pine nuances, though pleasant on its own, obfuscates the caramel-toffee malt deliciousness that is definitely hiding underneath and further thins out what is apparently an already smooth, clean, light-medium body.

The curious bold presence of hops in this type of ale seems like a cool experiment, but ultimately distracts in just about every facet from what should be a celebration of complex malt lusciousness. Worth a try - actually, I hope that GD will put out a straight-up Old Ale - this recipe, but shrinking the hop bitter and vegetal characteristics. Please. You've got a winner being stifled.

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Photo of claytong
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just had a 2007 Hibernation Ale in April 2011. It was pretty terrific. The chocolate gets a little steroids from the aging. Actually a lot of steroids. The malt and alcohol blend nicely together twisting on the tongue tip. I highly suggest aging this brew. A terrific success of aging.

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Photo of RickS95
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany brown with lighter tones around the edges. There's almost no head to speak ok.

There's not much smell, but what's there is all malt with caramel notes. Smells like it's going to be sweet.

I can't put my finger on the ingredients, but its sweet and creamy early on, followed by some alcohol.

The mouthfeel is a bit strange. There's a richness to it that I've only felt once before. Regardless, you'll pick up sweet and heat during each sip.

A little different than what I'm used to, but not a bad beer at all. It's something I'd want to keep a bottle of in stock.

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Photo of rawfish
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Simple. Pours hazy, the same color as the bottle into a tulip glass. Off white half finger head with weaves of lacing on the glass.

Smell is light but hop forward surprisingly as mix of pine, backed with earthy and citrus hops. The malt aroma comes in like a scotch ale, molasses, caramel and chocolate at the end. Hoppy then sweet. Touch of sour apple and honey as well. Really light but I can't say I've had a beer with a nose like this.

Malty and slightly sweet on the initial drink molasses and syrup character present along with roasted nuts, chocolate and some holiday spices. The rest of the drink really threw me for a loop, hop flavors pine and citrus that starts from grapefruit and evolves to a biting lemon. Not much bitterness rather a dry and biting acidity on the finish. Refreshing but actually quite shocking. Sweet to sour with nice complexity and ideally balanced.

Medium bodied with a really pinching carbonation, active and biting at the same time. Dry mouth feel on the finish that is extra crisp and doesn't leave any aftertaste.

Never had this style but it has great balance and is really unique in its delivery. Sweet to acidic transition with all the character of a well hopped scotch ale. Not quite La Folie on the smoothness but actually quite comparable for a fraction of the price. Not sure what GD was aiming for on this one but I will come back.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks almost like a bock and smells just as wonderful. It has a sweet molasses smell mixed in with a chocolate milk smell and a bit of citrus mixing in with those 2 smells. The taste is just as delicious with that sweet molasses malt being the very first taste that hits your tongue then at the end you get the milk chocolate taste mixing in with a long dry finish with an herbal bitter hop. chocolate milk taste and the hops seem to be contributing to that pretty dry finish the most. Its actually a straight froward beer even with the thick rich taste it has. You also get a citrus hop in the back as well. The dryness is the only thing that could turn anybody off from this beer. Even though its a really dry finishing beer with each sip the sweetness balances it back out. Very cool beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle into a glass.

Hibernation pours a burnt orange shade with some copperish hues and a sustaining inch of thick tan foam, sturdy, leaves some clunks.

Smell is a whole lot a English malt smacked over Caramel, a touch of chocolate and dark fruit. A nice honey aspect and dank hops.

Taste is much better than expected, truth be told I did not even know about this beer till now. Ripe dark fruit, cherry soaked in caramel/sweet honey, Plum, ripe apple, sugar, a sting of hops.

Very rich and approahing near full bodied, the carb is there and leaves a tinge and the sweet stays a bit afterward. I could not read the date on the bottle but the semi bittering hops makes me guess this is semi fresh.

A nice old ale and one of the richer offerings from GD. A good night timer.

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Photo of bnes09
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber, semi-transparent ale. Not too much head forms yet produces a nice lacing.

Big malty aroma of dark fruits and sweet molasses. Spicy and rich.

Malt flavor is complex and robust. Deep maple sweetness. Raisins and prunes. Toffee and roasted almonds. Hops are shy and have a subtle earthy tone. An alcohol bite (warmth also) and nutmeg spice finishes off.

Full-bodied and bordering on the syrupy side. Well-carbonated. Thick and filling.

Overall, a highly complex and delicious old ale. Sure to warm any cold body during the winter. If I were a bear, I would love to drink one of these before hibernation.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a conical pint.

A: Pours a deep caramel with a cream-coloured head.

S: Smells of sharp hops and high lovibond crystal malt.

T: Taste is remarkably smooth and complex. Dry fruits and figs with rock candy sweetness and sharp, bitter hops. Sweet, spiced, and bitter at the same time.

D: Alcohol is very well hidden and taste is complex and interesting.

Overall: This beer blew away my expectations. It's very complex and just plain delicious! I really wish I had picked up another sixer because they're all gone by now.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours dark copper brown and sits deep dark brown/red. Head is about 1.5 fingers with good retention that ends up quite foamy. medium lacing.

S- musty and malty off the bat, thats got a sweeter kick toward the end of the first whiff. sweetness is more pronounced now. interesting smell.

T- mellow sweetness thats pretty tame. tiny bit of sweetness or very light bitterness left on my tongue. pretty tame taste with lots of malt.

M- smoooth with very small amount of carbonation. warm in the mouth and has a medium mouthfeel

O- not to crazy about this beer. maybe its the style or the beer itself. its refreshing to try something new so i cant count it out, but ill let the other 3 in the mix pack hang out for a little while

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very dark mahogany brown, slightly lighter brown on the periphery. Very solid one finger, off-white head forms up and reduces to a thin layer on top. Leaves nice sheets of lacing down the sides.

S: Very malt, lots of caramel and some burnt sugar. A little molasses and some nuts.

T: Similar to the nose, heavy on the malt. Lots of caramel and nuts. A little bit of dark fruit (some raisons and grapes) and a slight alcohol presence right at the end.

M: Definitely fuller bodied and on the thicker side, but goes down smooth. Only a slight bit of alcohol right at the end.

O: Pretty good, my first old ale, and I like the heavy malt bill on this one. Its a sipper and I am enjoying it at slow pace, not something I would drink ovr and over again

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Photo of Duhast500
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz.bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a dark maroon with a finger of foamy off-white head and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is roasty and is slightly mixed with a burnt matchstick aroma with some malty sweetness that is there in the background.

The taste is also a bit roasty with some bready toasted malt flavor. There is a creamy flavor that take coats the pallet in sweet malts. There is some earthy goodness that makes this beer an interesting winter type beer.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied and is smooth going down but does have some interesting creamy feel to each sip.

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Photo of beaker2651
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The deep, malty flavor of a porter, the hop bite similar to a black IPA and the drinkability of an english brown ale. Low to medium carbonation, as expected. Flavors blend extremely well to produce an overall exceptional beer. Not something to drink all night long, but if you're looking for a lot of flavor with a definite kick, this is a beer definitely worth trying, over and over again!

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Photo of webbcreative
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 version.

Dark brown mahogany color with 1 finger off white head.

S= sweet, chocolate malt, some dark fruits. A touch of alcohol present, but this is still pretty young also.

T=sweet! and chocolate malt is most dominate to me. Again the alcohol shows its head. no real hop bitterness to speak of.

M= nice medium mouthfeel, that leaves sticky lip smacking goodness.

O=Pretty good beer, I would like to see how this progresses with some more age to it thought. There is not one component that jumps out to me that makes me say wow, this is a great barley wine, there are many more I would pick up in place of this.

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Photo of northaustin
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

reviewing the 09.

pours a solid, murky brown with ruby highlights. a fat finger of white head which settles quickly into an even head which leaves dotted lacing.

smell: super vanilla followed by mellow roasts. a sort of old grassy/dirty hop note is also present still.

taste: lots of toffee/vanilla type flavors followed by a nice caramel blast. rounded off by an earthy/woody finish.

mouthfeel: very slick in the beginning but over time builds up and leaves a filmy feeling.

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Photo of zrab11
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a Nice Brown Ale with some ruby color showing through .Off white head

S-Smeels of malts and old yeast, with some hoppy and chocholate notes

T- HAs a nice sour malty taste at first then finishes with a smokey nutty ending.

M-Medium Bodied with good carbonation

D- This is a great beer by Great Divide. Like it alot. Will def. get this beer again

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Photo of hickmancase
3.59/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from Total Wine.

Electricity went out in my apartment, so I decided to make the best of the situation by cracking open a beer and playing my bass.

A: I can't really see it. It was difficult to poor. I think it's dark brown. I know there's a good two-finger head on it's top.

S: Brown sugar. Caramel. Malts. Nutmeg or allspice...or both. Whatever, smell has a hint of pumpkin pie.

T: It has bite. Not like the smell. Piney. Hopefully its better when it warms up. It does!

M: Thick and sticky. Good but too many bubbles.

D: Good brew, but would probably skip on it in favor of some other winter beers.


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Photo of JamisonM
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark mahogany color with a tan head

S: cinnamon with brown sugar milk chocolate and plums wow this smells great! perhaps some nutmeg as well.

T: up front its deep sweet brown sugar with a more dry finish then you would expect I am also getting some wonderful chocolate notes plums and nutmeg too.

M: med to heavy mouth with med to low carbonation

D: very drinkable very nice to drink on a cold night by the fire

overall: one of the best winter seasonal's out there I will buy this again no question about it.

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Photo of Transatlantic
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass

A - Dark copper reddish brown. Crystal clear with an off white foamy head that sticks around for a while. No carbonation bubbles (to no surprise)

S - A dark malty sweet smell with a strong milk chocolate in the background presence. I'm not picking up any hop aroma but the smell is beautiful on the nose.

T - Oh wow, it's just like chocolate milk. A very tame but sweet sweet malty chocolate taste is the first taste you get and the last taste you get. I could say I taste some roasted coffee in the aroma, but i'd be lying. The taste of this beer is very straightforward. It's a milk chocolate beer and nothing more. (to which I love)

M - Medium to Full Bodied. Extremely creamy, hinting at the taste of chocolate milk.

D - If this beer weren't nearly 9% abv, it'd be drank like chocolate milk. Unfortunately, a pint or two of these will keep you warm enough to keep a smile on your face.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,949 ratings