Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Hibernation AleHibernation Ale
2,945 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:
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Ratings: 2,945 |  Reviews: 1,182
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Mahoghany color, very clean. Head a bit sparse.

Very dry, somehwhat smoky aroma. Tastes like a really dry porter with a kick. Pairing fantastically with some oatmeal taken cookies. Oat & cinnamon & nutmeg really bringing out the flacors in the beer.

Every year I pick up this beer, I end up wishing I had gotten more.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Blood red/brown, transparent, with a creamy light brown head and no lacing.

S - Lots of sweet and roasted malts, some chocolate, and an over all robust aroma.

T - The taste is malty sweet, with some hints of hot chocolate, no noticeable alcohol, a lightly hopped.

M - Medium in body, but on the somewhat lighter side. Creamy and smooth though. little to no carbonation.

D - The drinability is good. I could drink another. The alcohol is tame, it smells great and it's a nice robust old ale.

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Photo of artcurtis
5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my Great Divide Tulip.
A - Pours beautifully, with a small, light, white head. It fairly quickly dissipates down to a fine, white layer of bubbles. It is a very dark reddish brown. When held up to light it shows to be perfectly clear. Leaves a light bit of lacing.

S - mmmm....this smells so good. Rich and roasty. Definitely some hop presence here. Carmel malts and the slightest bit of alcohol finish off the nose.

T - Man, this is easily my favorite winter ale, and one of my favorite beers. Great Divide does a lot of things great, but this is the one they do best. The first is a wonderful, deep roast, quickly followed by a nice spike of warming alcohol. The booze doesn't overpower, and is perfect for a winter warmer. It follows with a nice kick of hop bitterness. Again, not overpowering. This Ale is wonderfully balanced. Everything blends into a wonderful whole.

M - Nice and smooth, fairly light bodied for how big a beer it is. A nice small bit of carbonation really seals the deal

D - Amazing. Not really a session beer, at least not for me. But two definitely hit the spot. And this beer is absolutely wonderful with food. Try some blue cheese, trust me, its perfect.

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Photo of rrski198
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Fire red and deep brown colors. Translucent with a big off white head. Outstanding lacing

S: Great roasted caramel malt with hints of cherries, plums. Alcohol is present but welcome.

T: THere is a bitterness I can't put my finger on here. It isn't quite welcome. Alcohol is nicely present. Slight metalic taste as well. Besides the lingering bitterness, its quite good.

M: It coats my mouth nicely and the hops and alcohol provide a log lasting tingle/burn. Average carbonation.

D: A quality offering. Although, with all the seasonal beers out there, it would be tough to purchase again. Not a great session beer but the spice makes it quite pleasant when its 10 degrees outside.

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

Pours with a frothy amber-tan colored head that is a finger thick. The beer is a clear deep amber color that shows a deep ruby color when held up to the light. Loads of lacing. The aroma is quite malty with notes of caramel and toffee up front moving to a dry lightly roasted note. Tastes like a toasty brown ale with more alcohol and malt. Perhaps there is a bit of cherry like fruit character and cocoa powder as well, but this is fairly subdued.

The beer has a medium full heft to it, but does not really coat the mouth too much. The beer is 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. There is a combination of the sweet malt notes and the slight alcohol heat in the finish.

This beer is actually quite nice. The malt character is rich, and makes for a great sipping beer.

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Photo of beertunes
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a very attractive, clear, reddish-mahogany color, with less than 1/4 inch of dark khaki head that had decent retention and lacing.

The beer had a solid malty base, not as sweet smelling as I might have expected, with some hop aromas floating in the background alongside some yeasty spice scents. The flavor was about what you'd expect, solidly malty, a bit sweet, some hops and spice and a touch of alcohol heat on the finish.

The body was full, smooth and well rounded, pretty much what you're looking for in this style. Drinkability was very good, very easy to consume, especially at this strength.

Overall, a very nice brew, I might have preferred the flavors to be a touch bolder, that is certainly worth trying if you haven't. If you have, I suspect you probably have a couple in the fridge already.

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Photo of Ambiorix
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark coppery pour, ruby highlights, dense foamy tan head with really good lacing.

S: Earthy, spicy, caramel, raisins, malty.

T: Flavor is sweet caramel malt, coffee, earth, alcohol (though not hot), dark fruit. Nicely hopped finish that balances well with the maltiness.

M: Medium, nicely carbonated.

D: Very fine old ale. An extremely well-balanced brew that compares well with others of the type. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of jamex
2.8/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On draft at Pizza Port, Ocean Beach.

Had an amazing beer before this so maybe my sights were set too high. Wasn't that into it.

Strong malt and some hint of some spice, but the sharp taste was too bitter/sour for me. Had trouble getting this one down. Almost tasted like something "was wrong" with the beer. Regardless, I won't be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass. Color is a deep rich mahogany. Aroma is very sweet and chocolatey, almost like a rich chocolate syrup. Has a somewhat earthy, woody character in the nose, kind of like coffee and cream. First taste is full throttle, with the richness of the beer slamming you back in your seat. Rich chocolate starts, before giving way to an amazing roasted caramel character in the middle. Mild spicy alcohol warmth finishes the beer. A very unique beer, almost like a scotch ale minus the peat, or something like a cross between a robust porter and barleywine. Very complex, but never muddled and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of bobhits
2.65/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is just about perfect appearance. The deep dark red, 3 finger off white cream head, lacing, lots of bubbles, just well done.

Amber and caramel malts that aren't doing much. I have a feeling this will get better as it warms so I'll come back.

A very malt dominated beer. The hops work to add a touch of a bite at the end but they really don't make much of an effort to be a part of this beer. Some cherries, alcohol esters, very complex flavor. That said it isn't exciting.

I find this beer dull to drink and it's not overly fun to drink. The body is fairly heavy but well carbonated. Just doesn't drink exceptionally well.

I'd recommend buying a single if you can. That said the price is pretty reasonable.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hibernation on tap at Max's B'more, MD, served in a pint glass.

Appearance: A close-to-perfect head, very fluffly and white. Dies quickly, though. Unexpectedly, almost no lacing or retention- just bubbles. Chestnut color, slightly transparent.

Smell: Spice, cardamom, nutmeg. Some vanilla. This is like the whole spice rack in one whiff. Comes strong after pouring, then smooths out and becomes a hushed nose.

Taste: Carbonated chestnut flavor right away, followed by some hoppy carrot cake. Bunch of fallen leaves gently lying on the forest by the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, something is cooking on the old iron stove and is coming out nourishing and warming. Definitely wintery!

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body and flavor. Nice bitter kick at the end of the sip. A tad thin, though, and yet enjoyable nonetheless.

Drinkability: High. 8.7% but drinks easy, just as nice as, say, the 5.50% Anchor Christmas Ale. The spice becomes, as this beer warms up, a tad too much. Drinkability then suffers, but still notable.

Not a fan of warmers in general- but this one is really well-played, just like Paladino's horse.

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

12oz 2010 bottle poured into a brandy sniffer.

Pours a dark amber with a bit of a head and some facing.

Smell is of sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, figs and the dry hopping.

Taste is really nice malty notes of caramel and toffee, along with dark fruits, and a bitterness which rounds out the beer.

Somewhat dryer than I thought it would be. Probably could use a bit of weight to it.

Nice and drinkable. The hop character isn't exactly old ale like, but it's still good. I'm going to store a bunch of bottles for next year. I think this beer is much better with some age on it.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recommended as a winter warmer at my local beer store which ended up being a nice selection. Pours an iced tea color, dull brown with some red hues. The head is tan and short lived.

Malts dominate the smell, perhaps some fruits and alcohol as well. The taste is spicy and sweet. Once warmed from my way too cold fridge the flavors become more identifiable. Ripe fruits and caramel malts are present with strong spicy alcohol that warms my belly on this frigid Atlanta night. Very unique flavors, but my newbie palate is keeping up and enjoying every sip and occasional gulp.

The mouthfeel is medium, not watery, and satisfying. Pretty drinkable for a high ABV ale.

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Photo of bradleyp
3.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 11/3/2010. Thanks again to the Bier Stein for stocking this beer.

A: Brown-redish combination with itty bitty carbonation bubbles streaming up the side. Nice lacing on the glass.

S: Smells like a spicy, malty mixed bag with scents of cinnamon, cherry, and possibly some raisin.

T: Meh. I usually like GD beers, but I wasn't too happy with how this tasted. Not very boozy in flavor, but I will say it did go down easy.

M: Very smooth. It did go decent with my turkey sandwich.

D: I don't think I would buy this beer again, because I think GD makes much better beers than this. My girlfriend did like this one however.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle -- 2009 vintage -- served into a tulip glass

Pours a gorgeous ochre color. Hold it directly to light and the red tones in the body absolutely come alive. It looks a shade under crimson, with soft amber filtering through it. Unreal. It is crystal clear; you can see a fairly active carbonation stream jutting upwards. The head? Perfect. Light khaki in color, two fingers in size, a dense, creamy consistency that looks like a pastry sitting on top of there. Lacing like whoa. This is a perfect looking beer. Beer cannot look better than Hibernation Ale does.

I wasn't expecting this to be spiced, but I'm picking up some cinnamon aromas and even something approximating cardamom. The malts are dryer than I expected, too. Sweet, but not in a caramel way; more of a day-old cookie. Gingerbread, actually. Yeah, this smells a lot like gingerbread. Some sherry characteristic to this beer as well. Smells like it's advertised: a winter old ale/strong ale.

Yup; there's some definite oxidation going on. A bit of cardboard taste with a sherry finish. That's okay though; the cardboard kinda sorta works with the gingerbread flavors. I'm sure there's some spice, cinnamon likely, used here too; the gingerbread changes into a snicker doodle cookie flavor on the finish. Sweet, but fairly dry at the same time. There's hops here, too! They come across as minty, which is a neat extra layer of complexity. This would pair well with pastry or cookies. A dessert beer, for sure. It doesn't hold up well to salt, trust me.

The age has thinned the body out a little bit. Despite the great head and visible carbonation, this bottle of Hibernation Ale is on the flatter side of the spectrum. Drinkability is, well, here's the thing: I don't think this is an "Old Ale," or at least it isn't the same style of beer as other Old Ales coming out of America (North Coast, Bell's, Founders). This is more of a Strong Ale. For a Strong Ale this is quite drinkable. Manageable ABV% and clean malt body.

I wouldn't think that Hibernation Ale is a long-term celleraing candidate. While I enjoyed this year-old bottle, I can see that it is declining. Drink them relatively fresh, but do drink them. Hibernation Ale is a very good beer.

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Photo of greygooose
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - alluring, clear, brown & amber hues, thin lacy head

S- mild flowing alcohol, nutty, lots of rich sweet malt

T - yeasty, malty, sweet without being cloying, toasty, nutty, slight hops kick in the finish

M- creamy, velvety, satiating

D - a well built winter brew with many layers to explore. very fitting to the season in which it's meant to be enjoyed. would definitely have another one.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the rich and pleasing winter warmer.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Overall Great Divide layout with the silhouetted image of a cross-country skier against a forest backdrop in blue tones. Side narrative notes awards, main ingredients, general description of the brew, and food pairings. Shows an illegible (poorly printed) bottling date , and Alc. by Vol. (8.7%). Served in a tulip glass.

A - Clear brown to ruby brown pour wit a towering creamy head, good retention, nice surface memory and rich lacing.

S - Aroma is nice but rather tamed, sweet malty nose with some caramel and a brief insinuation of the alcohol profile.

T - Here the brew shows off with a potent malty sense, long with plenty of caramel, hint of dark fruit with a faint dash of roasted spice in the bitter touch.

M - Medium/full body with soft but nicely woven carbonation, and an overall creamy sense coating a boozy sense that emerges with warmth.

D - Great dark ale, flows very pleasingly highlighting the richness of its malty profile.

Notes: Very nice ale from Great Divide, glad to have got my hand on a six pack of them this year. Short of the aroma, this is quite a nice brew for the style, I´ll sure revisit it again.

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Photo of witster18
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a deep redwood.

not much on the nose - a little alcohol and choco from the maltiness.

WOW. Thats nice. Warms with the alcohol instead of overwhelming with it in the taste. This is actually quite smooth. I should mention I'm diving into this thing at 58 degrees.

NUtmeg, prunes, vanilla. That's what I'm getting. A strong malt backbone. This thing is a massive warmer - my chest feels like someone just smothered it in vicks vapor rub.

As smooth as this abv can be, but I'm starting to think that it might even be better around 52-55 degrees as this thing is getting more ominous as it warms. I'm getting dried apricot here too.

these high abv's are always short on head - so I won't dock pts for that... This gets points for it's tasty malt and warming quality that isn't overwhelmed by alcohol in the taste - AT LEAST not for this abv. This kicks this pants off some other HGB's. Says Old Style Ale and this definately is true to the style and a fine example - though moderation is the key on this one.

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Photo of kagent777
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from Oyvind in Denver! Cheers to Great Divide for putting bottling info clearly on their labels. This one was bottled on Nov 9, 2010, so less than one month in the bottle. I am planning on aging most of the rest of the six pack. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Wonderful Garnet brown and filtered crystal clear. Head quickly settles to a ring around the edge of the glass, leaving a little lacing as it goes.

Smell: Caramel Malty and alcohol. Maybe some cocoa thrown in for fun.

Taste: Caramel malts with a nice kick of hops bitterness in the finish. Maybe some pine notes from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth with flavor, nice and thick. The carbonation is lower so it does not cut into the thick maltiness of the beer.

Drinkability: I would not want this when the temperature outside was greater than about 50. This will hit the spot when I want a thick malty beer. I can't think of a Utah Brewer that makes an Old Ale.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.49/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours dark tea brown, with a tan head that soon recedes, but sticks to the glass. Smell is mega milk chocolate, with some caramel overtones, like a milky way candy bar. Just a hint of spices. Taste starts off warm and soothing, with a nice dash of hops that leads to a satisfyingly bitter and nutty finish. The candy and toffee flavors are omnipresent as well. Very complex, and a very nice beer. A nice warmer for the holidays.

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Photo of blackc5
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a 12oz into a large wine glass. Slowly developing, but nicely linger tan head. Nice dark ruby color with good lacing as well.

S - Deep aromas of malty goodness with a nice balance of dark fruit. Sweetness from toffee and caramel.

T - Heavily malted - biscuit, toffee, caramel. Very nice fruit notes especially dark raisin and some nuttiness. Hints of the hops remain - just a bit of citrus to cut the sweetness. Sweetens and loses what little bitterness it has as it warms and approaches a good malty barleywine.

M - Medium bodied and low to medium in carbonation. Smooth with a warming finish.

D - Definitely hit the spot on cool night. A great winter beer and one I will look for again.

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Photo of mattsdenney
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a bottle in FL over Thanksgiving to bring home to TN.

A: Deep cherry color, pours clear.

S: Chocolate, alcohol, dried cherries.

T: Dried Fruit and malts at first. Finishes w/ decent hops and grain. Very warming.

M: Thick.

D: Great tasting, warming ale. Perfect on a cold night.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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!

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Photo of dhilltop2000
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one surprised me! Pours dark red-amber and is nice and thick. Smells sweet, malty, toffee, almost barley winey and goes down without any notion this beer packs over 8% alc. It is nicely balenced with enough hops to not make it too sweet. Nice find!

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

Had this last year and pretty sure this is hoppier. The malt is still the star of this fine old ale, that has a great blend of hops, malts, and spiciness. The appearance is dark brown with a nice one inch head and soem good lacing. The smell is a great mix of hops, sweet malts, and spice. A terrific winter beer for sure!

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 2,945 ratings