Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

1,163 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: 1,163 | Ratings: 2,861
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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of JWU
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a porter glass

A- a deep, slightly translucent red/amber with an ice light khaki, head, nice lacing.

S- some light floral hops and a big wallop of cocoa/chocolate and a hint of dark fruit

T- It's a cross between a porter and a barleywine. Big roasty chocolate notes, crossed with some dark fruit/caramel notes. straightforward.

M- medium-full, ample carbonation

O- An interesting offering from Great Divide. I'd certainly have it again.

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Photo of ta_hagen
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is beautifully crafted beer... raisin, toffee, earthy cellar-y flavors abound. Malt notes are toasty, caramel, toffee, and just a hint of cocoa or coffee, probably brought out by the hop bitterness. Nice mouth-feel perfect level of carbonation. There's an earthiness as well as a touch of a metallic and burnt characters and a hint of gingerbread. It finishes with a port wine warmth and a clean resin licorice spiciness. Might try to age this and get more spices out of it. But I like it!

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, (dated at one year old). I did a mini vertical with a fresh can and the year old bottle.

Look: Both pour the same, dark brown with a beige head that lasts about 30 seconds.

Smell: the one year version has more complexity, including dark fruits and sweetness; the fresh one smells mostly of malts, and then alcohol.

Taste: both taste about the same: malty and sweet.

Feel: Both have roughly the same mouth-feel, medium, smooth (the fresh has an alcohol burn on the finish), and easy to drink.

Overall: I like both vintages, but I prefer the one year old, due to the more complex aroma.

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Photo of chase_cakes
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. can, crystal clear dark copper color, light tan head that stays through to the end of the class. Nose is malty with toasty, caramel scent with a touch of roasty, almost coffee, malt, no hops. The flavor is malty with a decent hop bitterness to balance but not much hop flavor (not a bad thing for a winter ale). Malt notes are toasty, caramel, toffee, and just a hint of cocoa or coffee, probably brought out by the hop bitterness. A very enjoyable drinker, I'm warm and inside but if I were outside (30 F) this beer would definitely get a bump for being such a great cold weather beer. Oh and I forgot: at 8.7% ABV its a great value, can't wait for the barrel aged version!

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Photo of Whiteturtle
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First Great Divide beer for me!

Pours a muddy/nutty brown. About a 1 1/2 finger head, dissipates rather quickly. Interesting that a cluster of foam forms in the center and some larger bubbles sneak over to the edge of the glass. hmmm...

Nose: The first thing I smell is dark rum, which I was not expecting. I also get hazelnuts, cinnamon, honey, roasted marshmallows, and milk chocolate. It smells amazing.

Tongue: Toasty/Roasty grain-rye bread hits first. Chestnuts, cocoa, cream, and molasses come next. Its reminds me of a creme Brule, minus the lactose. I think the hops are what is hibernating in this ale, I'm only picking up the slightest hint that they came for the ride. I am getting a bit of a kick on the back end, like a light cracked black pepper?

Body/Mouthfeel: Thinner than expected for the style. Its sugary and creamy. A lot of stout qualities to this beer. Its balanced and masks the 8.7% fairly well.

Overall: I really liked it. I can't wait to finish this review, light my pipe, and finish hibernating this beast. I love that there is a winter seasonal out there that isn't jam packed with spices. I like them in moderation, but they get overwhelming. This is a malt forward ale, and tastes like a stout. Its perfect for the winter and does it without anise and allspice up the a&%. If you're lucky enough to find this snag it up before it really hibernates.


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Photo of lastmango
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish brown with thin cream head. Faint aroma of chocolate malt. Malty taste in the beginning fading to a lingering hop bitterness, which surprised me. This beer has medium carbonation and also surprised me as being a bit thin.

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Photo of wumpshire
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The nose is sweet, very malty. The taste follows, a slightly more hoppy old ale compared to others, but its not an IPA. The malt is the star and thats a good thing. Toffee and a hint of smoke, great beer!

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Photo of Hoss76
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I typically don't like many Great Divide beers so this was a nice surprise. Great appearance and slight caramel head. Weakness was aroma and GD beers seem to be nil for me. Nice taste with hints of chocolate and coffee even better as it warmed slightly. Nice mouthfeel perfect level of carbonation. ABV well hidden.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice warmer pours a clear reddish brown with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thick ring, thin layer, and nice lacing. Nose of moderate chocolate aromas, grain alcohol, and a good does of bright and spicy hops. Flavors follow the nose with chocolate and spicy herbal hops that fade to a light pine and herbal hops note on the back blending nicely with brown sugars and caramel notes. Smooth mouth feel, good carbonation, warming and sweet aftertaste with a grain background mingling with piney and herbal hops. Excellent.


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Photo of Strike00
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a dark amber red color. A head that dissipates quickly.
S: A slightly sweet, malty smell. a little spice on the nose. Nothing too strong.
T: Malty and a little sweet. Not much bitterness and a alcohol warmth that that doesn't rise to boozy.
F:nice and smooth. Medium body with medium carbonation.

O: A good beer for a winter night for sure.

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very robust. I find this to be a different take than the many old ales that I have enjoyed. This leans more on hop bitterness and flavor than the typical malt complexity. This is the first old ale that I had that I did not think would improve with age.

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Photo of SFNC
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look; Deep garnet, very clear, small head that vanishes quickly minimal lacing.
Smell; Faint toffee smell, some red wine notes.
Taste; Bready, slightly sour, prune and molasses. Bitter hops in the back end. Alcohol very present.
Feel; Not much carbonation, but a full and thick feel.
Overall; I've had more enjoyable Old Ales. Not bad, but not feeling the urge to have another soon.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,861 ratings.
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