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 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.

 239 characters

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!

 204 characters

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.

 315 characters

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.


 600 characters

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.

 357 characters

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.

 255 characters

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.

 385 characters

Photo of NickSMpls
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Oh yes! While not a winter warmer by style, this Old Ale does the "warm" thing very well indeed. Dark, rich brown and moderate carbonation. Aroma is bready yeast notes along with a hint of fresh hops. Very nice, complex taste...pick up the malts and subtle hint of some sweetness. The mid-range ABV is handled well. I'd take this over many others.

 353 characters

Photo of MNJR
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Heavy duty, garnet colored brew with rewarding, strong flavors, and a dry finish. The dryness seems intrinsic to this style of beer and is a welcome change from the sweet and/or heavily spiced holiday beers that dominate the current market. This is beautifully crafted beer... raisin, toffee, earthy cellar-y flavors abound. The finish has a hint of chalk, as do most old ales I've tried. This is a solid beer for people who like a massive amount of character and flavor (and alcohol). A robust and superb experience. But, you have to "get" the old ale flavor profile, since it is very rich and unusual for the uninitiated.

 631 characters

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

L: deep copper colored with 2 fingers of white foam
S: Smells sweet, with raisins and grain
T: Malty, fruity, slightly spicy, tastes like dried fruit in a boozy fruitcake with bracing bittering hops for balance.
F: Feels a little thin and well carbonated
O: A complex and tasty brew, but it doesn't wow me in any way. I am curious what a little more time in the bottle would do for the taste. Or trying the imperial/barrel aged version.

 436 characters

Photo of Mongrel
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flavor is nutty with tons of toffee. Very English in that regard. Some fig, prunes, plum and even grape emerge. Also some slate or chalkiness. Overall, mild by American standards, but certainly a sturdy, interesting sipper.

 223 characters

Photo of stompilator
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. glass (2014) into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep, ruby brown. Thin, off-white head.

S - A ton of caramel, vanilla, a bit of booze, subtle stone fruit esters, and classic old ale oxidation and mustiness.

T - Very heavy caramel from the get-go. Intense but smooth flavors that follow the nose, without the alcoholic warmth. Gives a barrel impression without a barrel. Not as musty as the nose, but has a warming, estery sweetness. Esters sneak up throughout the palate, and has a dry, vinous finish.

M - Medium body keeps it out of barleywine territory. Light carbonation, with a slightly dry, sticky texture.

O - A fantastic example of an old ale as a style distinct from barleywine. Not the richest or heaviest old ale I've had, but wonderfully complex.

 775 characters

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aromas are chocolate and a nuttiness, almost resembles a candy bar. Taste follows, I'm follow the candy bar theme snickers almond and baby ruth. The malts are perfect, candy sweet while the hops add the needed bitterness. With a head that lasts the entire session how can I go wrong. This bottle is less than a month old, and showing no alcohol. Near perfection.

 362 characters

Photo of DevWand
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall very drinkable winter/seasonal brew,,,

Love the deep amber/brown hue; poured into a chilled glass, head dissipates with haste.
Very mild smell, I'd describe it as a malty winter spice. Picking up a bit more spice upon drinking the beer, with a nice malty finish. I was expecting a bit more flavor or a noticeable edge from the Hibernation Ale (it being 8.7%) and was a bit disappointed due to said absence...I'll just blame it on the can, and hopefully will have a in the future, to have the brew on tap!

 513 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle (bottled Nov 3, 2014) into a pint glass, dark red brown colored with a short light tan head that dissipates quickly leaving very little lacing, clear

S: dark fruits, raisins, figs, prunes, cherries, wood, leather, tobacco, brown sugar

T: dark fruits as above, earthy, taste closely follows smell, huge malty flavor

M: thick and warming, low carbonation

O: complex malty beer perfect for sipping after a rich meal

 446 characters

Photo of TH28
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled 10/2/14. Appearance: Dark brown and opaque with hint of ruby. No head. Aroma: Roasted coffee along with leather, toffee, and caramel. Taste: Deep rich malt sweetness with flavors of caramel and molasses, raisins, chocolate, leather, and a hint of peppery spice. Mouthfeel: Medium body with little carbonation. Not quite the viscosity and alcohol warmth. Finish: a slight roastiness and dry peppery spice lingers on the tongue. Overall: A really complex ale perfect for those cold winter nights.

 515 characters

Photo of TDotScott
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled October 10, 2013. Poured into a wine glass

L- Dark garnet with an off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S- Roast, with raisins and nuts.

T- A little heavy on the roast for my liking, but the sweet malt and dried fruit is still there, on the finish in particular.

F- smooth, fullish body with a prickle of carbonation.

O- Good, but better at 12 months.

 366 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

6/8/2015 - Vintage 12oz bottle dated from October 2014 served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: dark brown with hints of ruby. Protein coagulation in the glass, beautiful creamy head and curtains of tan lace.

Nose: roasted malt, aged hops, toffee, very barleywine like nose, chocolate and dried fruits.

Taste: very smooth with almost no carbonation. Roasty, toffee, fruity, fig and hops, milk chocolate. No bitterness and a bit on the thin side.

Overall: this old ale is a barleywine-light. I wish it had more body like North Coast Old Stock ale but I suppose that one is a classic example of style. Still, this is a great brew that is elevated by the roasted character in the malt. Probably won't age very well given the light body. I see this one thinning out too much and given the low carbonation it will be downright watery.

The beer had thinned out a bit and taken on some pleasant oxidation notes of sherry and port wine. Very low carbonation, lots of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. The chocolate notes are gone and replaced by those port and sherry notes. This beer is progressing nicely but I think it is ready to drink now. Nice aging experiment here and very affordable at about $12 for a six pack.

 1,231 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: brilliant ruby tinged chestnut under a 3” rocky foam collar providing ample thick lacing on the glass as you drink it.
S: Mid to dark malt aromas with a little dried fruit and a touch of herbal hops that also comes out in the taste.
T: This malt driven beer begins with rich, but not syrupy or cloying, malt tastes with the fruit rising a little in the middle and then relaxes into a pleasant, lingering malt aftertaste with a bitter hop accent.
F: Smooth, full bodied, medium low carbonation, creamy.
O: a very welcome winter ale.

 540 characters

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

A - Dark, nearly opaque brown brew with a touch of red, a light, off white head, forms up short and fades to a thin patina over the top. Lacing is moderate but present.

S - Grass, mint, menthol, alcohol, malt, and caramel.

T - Follows the nose, with a big burst of mint and menthol hoppiness, followed by a rush of sweet malts in the form of brown sugar and molasses, closing with a bitter turn, slight hint of aspirin. Over all, a strong punch of alcohol that muddles the senses.

M - Slick and cloying in the open, but quickly overtaken by the spiky alcohol and a moderate burn, drying in the close that lifts much of the blanket from the open off and keeps things from becoming immediately overwhelming. Impressive trick, really, given the hit by a truck nature of this brew.

O - Even with a full year to settle down, this one is a bear of a brew. Lovely malty caramel, and a nice combination of medicinal hops and stinging alcohol to balance off the sweetness. The finesse of this beer is well hidden by the bull in the china shop delivery, but surprisingly there is a careful line walked. Not necessarily my go to style, but this is a well crafted old ale.

 1,170 characters

Photo of ARoman
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Transferred from previous notes - 1/4/2014 & 11/6/2014
12 oz bottle poured into brandy snifter. It starts out with the sweet smell of vanilla and chocolate, with a touch of butterscotch, with perhaps a note of earthiness to it. As the head recedes, the aroma morphs into something more similar to ripe, tart dark red cherries with some woody notes (maybe some raisin in there too?). A deep, dark cranberry coloring to the beer stands out (although it’s probably more mahogany, but the fluorescent lighting is playing tricks on me) with a tan head that sits atop the beer as a moderate to thin film with some sparse lacing. A moderate sweet-tartness is most noticeable, in moderate amounts, with some light toasty, woody notes. After a little time, some hop bitterness pokes through along with a touch of sour cherry. An average amount of carbonation keeps the beer relatively medium to light bodied, although it definitely has a slightly syrupy quality to it. There’s a mild aftertaste consisting mainly of toasted malt with some dark chocolate and floral notes. By mid-glass, this taste changes into a smooth caramel with some light spice - the floral notes are still present. There’s a pleasant warming quality to this beer at the finish.

One year later, this same batch take on more roasted notes of coffee, raisin, and cacao with some port wine alcohol, a hint of ginerbread, and grapes late. The color of the beer is now an oily dark caramel brown color with noticeable sediment floating within. The head thins out a bit with just a thin soapy ring and a wispy surface. The body gains some weight to it as the slick and slightly sticky beer is more full bodied with toasted notes and flavors of cacao. 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. The aftertaste is astringent and slightly metallic with note of spice, dark chocolate, dark cherries, and nuts.

 2,002 characters

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

Poured a rich, cloudy deep reddish brown body with a minimal lacing of tan head. Overall impression of appearance is of an Old Ale indeed, old looking and quite beautiful. Scents begins malty rich, with a massive amount of sweet burnt caramel, molasses, rich chocolate and light roasted malt and supporting notes of dried fruit, cherry and raisin mostly, and warming alcohol. Overall impression of aroma is of a very malt forward Old Ale, with rich supporting aromas lending a warming quality overall. Flavor begins malty sweet with notes of burnt caramel and toffee and nutty malt, balanced by a mild bitterness of dark chocolate and roasted malt. Middle middle opens up further chocolate and roast malt flavors, with a light smokiness and notes of dried cherries, evident, yet light warming alcohol and light notes of leather. Finish is lightly dry with flavors of roasted malt and dark chocolate mingling with notes of caramel, molasses and dried fruit and medium levels of warming alcohol. Aftertaste is lightly sweet at first, with notes of caramel, becoming gradually dry with notes of rich dark chocolate and roast malt. Overall impression of flavor is of a very old feeling Old Ale. It tastes rich, deep and malty, yet is also warming and tastes musty and old. A pleasant combination in this beer that lends it a warming, rich, satisfying quality. Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy and rich with light carbonation and a sticky feel. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a fantastic Old Ale. Overall this is quite the nice Old Ale. It feels rustic and warming in all respects, as the style should feel. A malt-forward aroma and flavor are aided by warming alcohol and a thick feel to make a rich, satisfying beer.

 1,719 characters

Photo of scotorum
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn stemmed flute.

a: Clear dark ruby/copper with an inch thick tan head which receded to rocky surface foam and dense spotty lacing.

s; Mild dark fruit.

t; Follows the nose with a smoky malt chaser and a moderate hop bite. Buitterness lingers lightly at the sides of the tongue on an otherwise mostly dry finish. High ABV is well concealed.

m; Medium, very good body, some carbonation tingle.

o; A pleasant and rather meaty strong ale, approaching barleywine style. Fine winter warmer.

 541 characters

Photo of jpro
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle dated Nov 2014 poured into a fat tulip glass... Body is murky brown - a shade lighter than expected, with about a finger of almond-hued foam that leaves a few strands and specks of lace. Aroma primarily of toffee, light cocoa and nutty. Taste follows the nose with some complex malt flavor... Rich caramel, toast, hazelnut, with some leafy hops / tobacco on the end - lends to the earthiness of the beer. A touch of alcohol in the finish, which aging would help diminish. Mouthfeel is medium-full with slightly high carbonation. Overall, a delicious winter ale!

 580 characters

Photo of mtomlins
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on Aug 2012; Poured on Feb 2015

Pours a nice rich brown with 1-2 fingers creamy tan head with nice lacing. Nice nose, rich in sweet malt, raisins and currents, plums, burnt brown sugar, almonds. The grains have really developed with age and come through full and round; heavy raisins, toasted grain, molasses and toffee. Good carb and a medium body. A great beer!

 376 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.