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: 2,874
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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Photo of AndoBrew
3.37/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*did not like would not buy*

app: really great looking. light tan head. copper ruby colored.

smell: dry cocoa coffee toffee.. smells like a porterish type thing. smells a tad spiced.. christmasy.. like festive, but more mild.

taste: very dark toasty malt flavors. some pine type hops hiddin in the back zazzing it up.. the pine and sharpness adds up as you drink starting to cover the malts up like a blanket. I wish the malts would stay stronger.
I feel like I have taste things a lot like this.. I guess this holding 8% and some of the other beers like this.. anchor christmas or festive being lower, I will pick this one as better. not a favorite style of mine. But this is good..

an imperial brown ale?

mf: I need it a bit thicker, and more spritz.

drinkable?: a little.. it just builds up to many offensive hop flavors to quickly.

it looked like it was going to be so good up front.. then.. oh well.

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Photo of Dizzy
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 bottle.

Pours reddish brown, kind of a darker shade. Great head retention, creamy tan head. Malty aroma with lots of hops. This beer leaves some stickiness on my lips. This is very malty with some fruitiness and hop flavor/bitterness. Some roastiness and faint noticeable alcohol. Medium bodied. This is quite drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of rodrot
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottling. Poured a pretty reddish amber color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that left some lacing on the glass. Aroma was malty and caramelly with a slight nutty smell in the nose. Taste was roasted malts up front with some smoky notes and almond flavors mixed in. The finish had a light hop bitterness along with some burnt grain. Mouthfeel was medium on the palate. Alcohol was present but not overly so. This brew reminds me more of a Scotch ale due to the smoky character. A pretty solid offering and one that I believe would benefit from some cellaring. My next sampling will be a 2004 bottle that I've been holding on to.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage

a - deep brown color, fairly clear, small tan head, good retention, decent lacing

s - strong alcohol profile nicely balanced with roasted malt and a nice hoppiness

t - sweet maltiness up front with a spicy, bitter body, finish is dominated by sweetness and alcohol

m - not much by way of carbonation, medium-bodied, very dry finish, nice warming sensation

d - not very drinkable, alcohol is a little strong in taste to drink much of this, one bottle lasted me awhile

Another great beer from Great Divide, though it's probably my least favorite of their "top-tier" brews. A good example of the syle and a great beer for a cool fall or cold winter night when you want something a little different than a stout with its great warming sensation.

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Photo of jhscarborough
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage

Though the company website says this is available from Novemeber 1 I bought mine in September. With that in mind....

At a serving temperature of 53° Hibernation poured crystal clear, oak aged bourbon colored, malty nose, balanced with hop notes slightly up front, and the alcohol suppressed in the flavor profile though there was a noticable numbing effect on the tongue. As the ale warmed the toastyness of the malts start to come through giving me the impression of a cross between a brown ale and a porter. Further warming reveals caramel notes, and reminences of cold coffee.

At this point in the '06 version's life, I would have to say that it is not yet ready to drink. I wonder why the early release? Hibernation 2006 is extremely quaffable now, but lacked the character I expected based on past experiences.

I'll revisit this one in a few months, and then again next year

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 vintage

A: Nice carbonation on this one...huge puffy cotton ball oatmeal colored head. Lightly murky dark amber copper body. Nice rings being left here.

S: Coffee house ambient aroma, elderberry, toasted pine nuts and minor mocha.

T: Sort of a malty chilled coffee flavor to start things off. Moves towards sweet berries..perhaps rasp or boyzen mixed in with definately roasted malts and pronounced piney bittering hops. Earthy brew with woody characteristics and recognizable alcohol on the center of the tongue. Hints of peat along the way. Finishes with some mild spicyness and continueing estery berry malts on the back sides of the tongue which is slightly cloying.

M: Thick yet thin whick I will take as condensed but the water is hard. If that makes any sense at all.

D: Good. This beer has things that I like to see in winter beers....but its a fine line. Most winter beers make the mistake of going too over the top in one direction and forget to rebalance the flavors. This one has some lingering flavors that can and will be cloying after one bottle. I wouldn't choose to open a second immediately afterwards. All in all I enjoyed this beer though.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pors a mostly clear reddish amber. Has a thin tan ring for a head, and leaves no lace.
The aroma initially reminded me of chocolate covered raisins. Dark chocolate and kinda fruity.
Has more of a burnt cocoa flavor. some cheery like fruit flavor as well as a bit nutty. Some hop flavor shows up in the back as the beer warms up a bit.
Medium to full bodied. Okay carbonation. Has a good traction to it that helps push the flavor around.
Fantastic! I do see how this would be a good winter holiday beer.

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Photo of Vancer
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Holy smoly, what a brew! Great burnt amber pour, sticky tan head and laces…yum.

Massive amounts of caramel and winter spices in the aroma, along with some chocolate notes. Pine and a hop kick for a finish. Very rich and complex in the mouth – gimme a spoon for this one. Well balanced with a hearty malt start, and a full hop complement in the end.

This brew should be about 10% abv, I can notice the alcohol trying to work through the malts and put me in hibernation mode. More than one could do it. (see its 8%) so the alcohol is still kinda hot on this 2005 bottled version.

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Photo of burnstar
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark opaque coppery brown with an off-white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smell is very sweet with hints of fruit and alcohol. Taste is sweet with a roasted earthy bitterness. There are notes of dark fruit with some citrusy hops and alcohol coming in in the finish. Medium to full bodied and lightly carbonated. Not extremely drinkable but pretty tastey stuff.

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Photo of Mdog
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep red, thick head, and lots of lacing.

Smell: Smells like a doppelbock, caramel, brown sugar, alcohol.

Taste: Bready, surprisingly spicy, sweet, finishes with a coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Not too thick.

Drinkability: Pretty good, but not a beer you should have more than one or two at in a sitting.

Pulled this out of my "cellar" to give it a taste at 6 months. A very solid beer from a good brewery.

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Photo of znarf
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the first of the strong seasonal ale that I found at my local specialty store. Being seasonal has an advantage since you will never get tired of it before it goes away for another year.

This brew pours medium to dark in color. The alcohol content is very apparent. The flavor is full bodied with a nice balance of hop and malts. Never a disappointment and a wonderful winter brew for those cold northern winter nights.

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Photo of maek228
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was expecting a strong ale when I poured this beer. After I poured it, I had to say I was extremely satisfied with what I saw. This beer looked liek a strong ale. It had a thick fluffy head atop a burnt amber body. Much to my liking, the head clung hard to glass. This gave a nice spiderweb visual to the glass.

The ale smells kinda average...some malt and hops, but nothing distinct. The taste is much like an old school ale. No frills, just thick malts and bitter hops. Some people may be put off by the simplicity, but not me. When I get an American Strong Ale I'm expecting just that and nothing more. This beer offers that.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin but the drinkability is quite good, almost too good.

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

This has been in the cellar for six months. Aroma is toasted with some mild coffee, raisin and port. Head was creamy that completely vanished in 15 seconds. Hazy brown. Medium to full body. Not as much of an alcohol taste as 6 months ago. Upon further inspection, this was not bottled in Dec '05 BUT IN Dec '04. So it took 1.5 years for this to show some improvement. This should be even better in another 6 months.
Had another one of these last night (10/26/06). Now has distinctive oak flavor and aroma. Was very surprised. This is now much better than when it was fresh.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty, well-spiced unique winter warmer. Without an x-mas and iverally snowy picture on the front. Body is a bit light, and a nice toastiness, all making it more drinkable. Carmel, nicely moderatley hopped. Must have again. This is 2005. Alcohol hammers by the finish.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. It pours an unfiltered dark maroon/brown that looks blood-red when held to the light. There's some sediment at the bottom and it builds a half-inch khaki head that sticks fairly well and retains a collar throughout, leaving some lacing. The aroma is big on roasted/chocolate malts, and there's a hefty dose of citric (orange?) hops to balance. Near the end I find notes of pear, black cherry, and some other kinda berry. The flavor is very much the same, with chocolate, roasted, nutty, and caramel malts predominating, but the hops lend a medium bitterness and green/citric/minty/piney qualities, and there are hints of dark fruits. It has a medium to thick body that is very smooth and creamy, and doesn't let you know how strong the beer is. Overall this is a very well made beer that is complex, yet quite drinkable. I gotta get more than a single bottle next time to see what the cellar will do to it.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 2,874 ratings.
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