Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

1,167 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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Reviews: 1,167 | Ratings: 2,875
Photo of chadspivey
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a mahogany color, not easy to see through. head disapears pretty fast.

S: Roasted nuts, caramel, masks alcohol, doesn't smell like 8 percent.

T: nuts, bitter hops, really nice blend of flavors. aftertaste: did i just eat a bag of nuts?

M: velvety, not too thin, not too thick. awesome mouthfeel. almost perfect.

D: very drinkable considering the alcohol content. I could drink a lot of these when it's cold outside, something about the cold weather...

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.21/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle - 2006 edition

Pours a clear mahogany brown with rich ruby highlights. Creamy tan head that thins, webbed lacing on the glass.

Aroma is full of cocoa and hops with a light toasted nuttiness.

Roasted malt and cocoa flavor upfront leading into a bitter bite and mild hop flavors. Finishes with a lingering bitterness. Some booziness is noticeable as it warms.

Full body, decent carbonation.

Drinkable, but disappointing. Not quite sure what they were going for with this one, they could have done better....

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark golden amber in the glass with a decent white head that melts very slowly to a top capping ring of white.
Aromas are nutty malts, caramel and a little alcohol. The nutty scent is very strong.
Taste is toasted dark malt and nuts (walnuts and toasted almonds) finished with a bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is rich and creamy.
Aftertaste of nuts.
This is an excellent version of a winter ale.
It reminds me of a thin barleywine.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz with a Nov. 09, 2006 bottling date stamped on the case.
Clear mahogany color with a 2 finger khaki head, nice lacing.
Strong smell of blackened malts, roasted nuts, chocolate with a whiff of fresh hops.
Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.
Great taste follows the smell with rich, roasted malts and nuts with a lightly bitter hop and alcohol taste to finish.

Only 8 days in the bottle it's one of the freshest brews I've tried.

This beer also ages quite well if you're the cellaring type.

A very good winter brew here.

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

Dark amber brown with a tan head. Smells of caramel, a bit of alcohol and a tiny bit of smoke almost saltey. To be honest soy came to mind. Red Berries as well. Taste bitter, not as much alcohol as you might guess, dried fruits and dill. This one really evolvs from from the first sip to say the third. It gets better by the minute. After taste malty and sweet. Very drinkable, which is kind of hazardous for such a strong ale. This could be a treat in dark winter eves or the start of a very soaked evening.

Great beer.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber/brown with a nice off white head that laces very nicely. Smells of chocolate, slight toffee, nuts. Taste is the same as the smell. Very nice mild chocolate notes at first, mild hop presence. This is mostly about the malts and it is done very nicely. This warms really well, the chocolate comes out more, the carbonation mellows out and the whole thing is much smoother. Let it warm in the glass to get the experience of how it changes.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 oz. bottle (2006 model year) and poured to a pint glass. Warmed for about 20 minutes outside the fridge.

A: Deep ruddy brown, clear, with a good deal of carbonation. Head is minimal - starts at less than 1/2 finger and soon is a film covering about half the top surface. Little streams of carbonation keep replenishing what head there is.

S: Big sweet roasted malts. Smoky and nutty. Traces of alcohol, dry berries, chocolate and enough spicy hops to give it balance.

T: Robust and savory smoky malts. Chocolate bitterness and sweeter caramel. Peaty and earthy roughness. Hops that lend spice and some citrus sourness. I really like this one, nicely evolving and balanced flavors. Serving at 55F or greater, maybe getting some extra flavor. Whatever, it's pretty damn good...

M: Good fullness in the mouth, big body, 8%+ abv is pretty well masked though there are hints of an alcohol burn. A little sticky/gummy - due to the high malt content(?).

D: A tasty winter seasonal. I'd recommend this one and will look forward to having it again.

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

12oz bottle -> imperial pint

Pours chestnut brown with a full fluffy 3 inch head that settles to a thin tan layer. Leaves sheets of lace which slide down the glass leaving a ton of small little lace dots. Visible carbonation is low.

Big rich malty nose. Roasted malts, alcohol, chocolate, caramel and some hops also make appearances. Something in there smells smokey as well. Awesome smelling brew for sure.

Taste: Very malty upfront, with the chocolate burnt malts really coming to the front. Finishes with an allright bitterness, which lingers along with a smokey maltyness that last. A little boozey but not overdone. As the beer warms (my beer was stored at room temperature, albeit on a cold floor) you really pick up the alcohol and i think if it got too warm it may become a tad overdone, but since i don't let my beer get too warm i enjoyed this one.

Mouthfeel is just a pleasure, thick and thin at the same time. Feels full in the mouth, but goes down thin.

A very drinkable beer for the cold months. Although, high in alcohol, the alcohol is well hidden and non offending. A sixer of this over the holiday season would be a welcome treat.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served into a nonic glass from a 12oz long neck brown bottle,crimp on cap.

Reddish brown,very mirky with a creamy light tan 1" head.retentative sticking down the sides of the glass.
Complex malty nose,very chocolately,carmelly,roasty,aromas of sweet molassess.Label said dry hopped,just got a slight hint of spicyness.
Robust tasting,very chocolaty,roasty,sweet caramel,bit nutty,and the taste of molassess.Very malty,just a bit of spicyness,with a sharp semi-sweet chocolatly finish a slight burnt flavor also.
The mouthfeel was thick and sticky,by no means a session brew,still tasty and quite enjoyable. A good beer for a cold winter night,a warming sensation at the very end,feeling the alcohol.

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Photo of malty
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage;

Bottled on Nov. 12, 2008

Pours a brilliantly clear glowing russet with a tinge of ruby. Very loose and fluffy light beige 1 1/2" head. Very little visible carbonation. Crazy clumpy, craggy sheets of sticky lace all the way down.

The nose is boisterously fresh and blossoming a full spectrum: starting with earthy, leafy hops and moving into dark fruits and cherries with graham crackers and powdered cocoa somewhere in the middle. There's a carob scent that is soooo fresh, its crazy. This has to be one of the most interesting smelling ales I ever had.

Whoa nelly! This thing starts out very malty and sweet, but as quick as a whip, the tongue curling hops slap you on the behind. The cocoa/carob scent is translated into a smooth dark malt flavor with a bit of leather and vanilla. The leafy and earthy hops pair very nicely with the sweeter malts, very English in the way of flavor balance - it's just amped to the Nth degree! The alcohol is apparent, but not brutal.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied with a lovely oily and creamy smooth texture. Long, sweet & dry flavorful finish. The carbonation is low, but still maintains the silky, creamy mouthfeel - again, very English.

Drinkability is very good, but this baby is filling. If you've got the tummy capacity, you'll want a couple for sure.

If you want something to warm your feet and cheeks, look no further. If you're looking for an English natured ale with an American turbo boost, this ale's for you. I still am amazed at how silky/creamy/velvety the mouthfeel & texture are - almost Cream Stout-like. I'm glad I tried this fresh so I could experience the quality hop profile as it keeps it's head afloat on this crazy ocean of sweet and delicious malts. A fantastically big and ballsy Old Ale that I'm very glad I tried.

(Reviewed on 01-04-09)

Ultra fresh 2006 vintage.

Pours a ruddy copper bronze with a substantial tight 1" beige head. Visible active carbonation rising at a moderate pace. Crazy lace for sure.

Scents of vanilla, cherries & almonds riding on a sturdy platform of toasty sweet malts engulf my nostrils. Dark fruits (plums, raisins) soaked in Meyer's dark rum come to mind. The aromas are very fresh, lush and seductive.

The flavors charge my palate with a strong hop profile escorted by the hearty sweet toasted malt foundation as first revealed in the scent. The hops are a welcomed surprise as they were stealthy in the aroma. Burnt caramel flavors along with an earthy bark-like thing going on as well, kind of like charred wood but very subtle. The rustic, raw hop flavors reveal themselves well in the long flavorful dry finish.

Mouthfeel is dandy. Fine carbonation really keeps this hearty ale vibrant and deft and gives separation to the maltiness & hoppiness. On the lighter side of full bodied.

Drinkability is great for a cold day. Very well placed for the season.

Overall a fine chewy rib-sticking ale from Colorado. I really dig how the hop component springs a trap on your taste buds following the aroma, never saw them coming. A bit heavy handed but like a gentle giant. Well balanced for such a malty beer. Very good indeed.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is the 2006 vintage of Hibernation Ale. The beer is served in my trusty Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: This beers body is a lovely shade of chestnut brown. Slow active carbonation dance to the surface of the beer. This slow active carbonation helps maintain a thin creamy biege head. The lacing on my glass is thick like pancake batter. Yeah this beer looks very good in the glass.

Smell: The beer has a intriguing combination of chocolatey, nutty, smoked, roasted and toasted maltyness. This is supported by Christmas Tree like hoppyness with a brief kiss of boozey citrus.

Taste: This beer reproduces the smell in the flavor. The alcohol provides a slightly spicey alcohol burn to the beer. Some guys may not enjoy the boozeyness of this beer. For me this is a welcome addition to the beer. I wonder if Great Divide has done a Bourbon Aged version of Hibernation. Some how I think Bourbon Aging would be a natural.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a full body with a slightly oily texture. The slow carbonation helps break some of the oilyness up. This is a dam fine seasonal strong ale. This wouldnt be a good sessionable beer for many beer drinkers at 8%. Being a 220 pound man I find this nearing sessionable. I look forward to a few more of these this year.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an outstanding beer. Nice craggy three finger head. Smells of fruity esthers on the nose. Has awesome lacing down the glass and mega hops to balance this sucker out. Not for the weary, I can tell you that. Reasonably priced and a tremendous beer, just stay outta the car after consuming a couple of these.

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

This ale does indeed have a lot going on with it. Deep color. Lacing. Malty, boozy aroma. The first taste slaps you upside the head and says hello. And then it keeps a slappin'. And that's not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it feels like once I finish this beer, and if I have another, it will be as if I have gone a few rounds with George Foreman.

My taste buds are not offended, but somewhat overwhelmed. Since I usually drink just about all beers barely cold, the flavor really comes out, and in this case, there is a ton. This would be an outstanding beer to have if you were having just one. More than that, and it's too much.

I guess I'm complaining about too much of a good thing. I would proudly serve this to any beer snob friend and I would certainly never refuse one of these (unless I had to drive somewhere)!

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

pours a deep copper, with a dense off white head it was two finger thick, then dropped down to a very thin sheet but it sustained the duration of consumption.
the aroma is very malty with a good hop back bone
the flavor is malty, carmelized malt, toffee, hopsack, citrus, creamy.
this is a great beer on par with the yeti. thumbs up!

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Photo of lagomswedish
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

New seasonal intake at the Systembolaget in Sweden

Appearance: Chestnut brown with appealing tan marshmellow head that lasted.

Smell: Wow there's a lot going on here. Definate liquorice, roasted malt, wonderful floral hops and caramalised sugar. Brown Ale meets American IPA.

Taste: And here's where it started to go wrong for me. A very chewy malt backbone to this beer, unfortunately complemented by a beef stock cube/meaty flavour I found hard to deal with. Would be a good beer to marinade meat for a BBQ.

Mouthfeel: Strangely soft, with a kiss (alright, more like a snog) of alcohol and slightly oily from the malt. Tounge-curly hop at the end, but it's the whiskyish residual alcohol heat that marks this beer down for me.

Drinkability: A complex and powerful beer, but not one I'm going to rush back to. As refreshing as a run up stairs, and the lingering raw spirit taste is a turn-off for me.

The bottle cap proclaims 'Great Minds Drink Alike'. Well in this case, apparantly not.

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Photo of gonzo138
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a very deep cloudy brown with very red hues when held up to the light has a white/cream colored head that did not retain incredibly well but did lace nicely

S- rich malty sweetness at first, a little chocolatey, a little bit fruity-kind of plum/raisin/grape aroma, also has a strong citric hoppy profile, alcohol smell is also somewhat present towards bottom of glass

T- complements smell, strong malty sweetness, very chocolatey, has the same strong grapefruit like hoppy bitterness at the finish

M- heavy body, good carbonation, tingley at the tip of the tounge, very sticky sweet and mouthcoating

D- a bit to alcoholic and full bodied to have too many of but for such a strong beer with such a deep flavor and such a high ABV still goes down very easily, will definitely be looking for this one in the years to come

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Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber brown. Thin tan head, good rentention, and lacing. Smell is of roasted chocolate malts, with a bit of hops. Body is medium,with some carbionation. Taste is malted up front.Sweet fruit combine with a roasted nut flavor. Hops in the finish make for a good experience!

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Photo of Gavage
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark copper in color with a two finger head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam. Thick lace coats the glass. Lovely looking beer that yells "Drink me".

Smell: caramel, roasted malts, and hop bitterness are easy to detect.

Taste: full bodied beer as roasted malts, caramel, a hint of pepper, and a bit of fruity sweetness. Loads of hops balances this out nicely. As it warmed I noticed some bready goodness and touches of alcohol too.

Mouthfeel: light crisp at the start, smooth towards the finish. A little more body than a medium bodied beer, but not heavy at all. The hearty malt and bitterness stick to the tongue after swallowing.

Drinkability: a superb winter ale everyone should try.

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

Pours from the 12oz bottle a pretty chestnut color with deep golden highlights when held up to the light. Head is a half-inch or so of creamy tan goodness that recedes to a thin halo after a couple of minutes. Roasty aroma indicates a blend of mostly caramel and a touch of dark malt, with notes of mocha and peat smoke. Palate is mostly roasted malt, with a touch of caramel and brown sugar sweetness up front. Mid-palate the mildly bitter hops come out a bit, leaving on a slightly dry, warming finish with a good amount of alcohol. Body is a bit rich and fairly well-rounded. Overall, a pleasant winter ale that really does the trick on a cold night.

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Photo of krberg
2.56/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2


Pours exactly like I want: brown with copper highlights and a thick custard like off white head.

Smells like caramelized sugars and chocolate malt. I'm not a huge chocolate malt fan.

Chocolate malt, chocolate malt, chocolate malt! Some sweetness in the background. Not what I was looking at all.

Nice thick, rich mouthfeel with very moderate CO2. Spot on for a winter warmer.

High booze content and way too much chocolate malt make this a one time only beer.

Overall, I was hoping for an old ale, not an overgrown brown ale. I'm really freakin' disappointed.

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Photo of trep
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz offering thanks to JeffKrenner

Perfectly clear dark brown with a bubbly off-white head. Head fades quickly and theres a decent amount of carbonation rising to the surface. Smells very alcoholic, sweet, rich malt lies underneath the alcohol.

Nice and bitter with an incredible malt profile. Really creamy and sweet and yum. Toffee I believe is the flavor i'm getting. Alcohol is there, as I expected, but not too bad. Hops are quality, nice and bitter to keep it balanced. Not too shabby.

Medium bodied with a bit of an oily texture to it. Nice carbonation to keep it balanced. Only giving it low marks on drinkability due to the alcohol presence.

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Photo of biking4beer
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage. 12 ozb bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

Bit 2 1/2 to 3 finger head that has a nice creamy apperance. Beer is deep brown/amber. Nice lacing that sticks around.

Smells of roasted malt, caramel, with a slight hoppy pine in the background. Slight alcohol smell that is pleasant. Really come through when taking a whiff with a sip in your mouth. The apperance and smell make me think of a mild barleywine.

Taste has a nice tangyness to it. Somewhat orange. The malt is the overwhelming flavor and a nice moderate alcohol taste that warms on the way down. Just what it is supposed to do!

Very smooth and creamy in the mouth. A nicely balanced beer. Watch out for these, they could be dangerous. I could definitely kick back a few.

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Photo of boulevard2
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter of 2005 batch

Pours a rich thick carmel colored head that slowly calms to tight laced bubbles. Beer clings to glass like a fine wine. Scent of caramel and toffee with a hint of chocolate goodness.Smell of alchohol is present but not overbarring and just right for this winter warmer. This is a great beer for after dinner or just watching the game. Be easy with this one though with its 8.1%abv you'll be doing snow angels in your underware before you know it!

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

Appearance: Pours a rather good-looking burgundy body with a creamy, off-white head.

Smell: This beer definitely has a hugely sweet aroma! Candy sweet caramel with a dusting of cocoa powder. There's plenty of alcohol esters present, along with some subtle citrusy hops lurking underneath.

Taste: Rich maltiness through and through. Toasted caramel and brown sugar as well as the distinct taste of dry cocoa. There's a slight ripple of fruitiness along the way. Lastly, some pine hops and smokiness rounds out the finish. The result was a beer which retained the luscious flavor of the malts, but which still imparted enough hops and spice that I felt I had really LIVED this beer, and not just chugged it down.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but further fullified by its syrupy texture.

Drinkability: Truly, this beer is an enjoyable malt-forward ale and a solid winter release.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great Divide's Hibernation Ale pours a very nice looking amber colour with a frothy but creamy off-white head that leaves a fair share of residue on the glass.

The aroma is a bit earthy and rugged, but also has a fruity, almost juicy at times, base to it as well, along with a decent general hop characteristic as well.

The flavour is, again, malty and rugged, with fewer fruit/sweet notes along with fewer hop notes as well. If anything, I pick up a bit of bitter chocolate here and touches of alcohol intermingled throughout as well. Hops are really only mildly present in any burps that may come about. Mouthfeel medium bodied and is a bit harsh and fairly average overall.

I don't know what to think about this one overall. It's got flavour but the mouthfeel turned me off a bit, moreso than I actually expected. It's still pretty good stuff overall, just not as good as expected.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,875 ratings.
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