Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Barrel Aged Hibernation AleBarrel Aged Hibernation Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by waltonc on 11-17-2009

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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 310
Photo of Padron4KM
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Feb 18, 2016. Aroma is caramel and raisin up front, with lots of oak and vanilla as it warms. Flavor is whiskey, vanilla, spice, creamy chocolate, dark bread, oak. Never gets too boozy, nice whiskey flavor without the heat. $27 a bottle brings it down a bit.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The problem with "old ale" is that they rarely exhibit any "old" character, unless cellared properly. But with extended age in bourbon barrels, the Hibernation ale from Great Divide is able to take on the oxidation, develop the fruit, offer a mild acidity and mellow into as smooth yet boozy, savory and sultry mix.

With bourbon, molasses and dark fruit wafting about the nose, hints of sherry, fig and savory sweetness prelude even the first sip. Dark crimson to bark brown, the beer's tawny edges show lightness while its body is deep and dark. And once its savory sweetness splashes on the tongue, a multitude of malt and complexity arises- brown sugar, toffee and molasses carry and rummy spice cake flavor with toasted pecan, dark fruit, dark chocolate and coffee picking up steam.

The middle palate continues to release its secrets to the palate. The sweetness is met with a sharp rebuttal from bourbon. Its caramels, vanillans, cherry, coconut and oaken nuttiness offers tannic support with thinning booze action. Fig, date, raisin, cherry, apricot and plum all seem of the grilled variety and weave into a tangy, spicy brandy-like taste. Peppery late, the beer's peppery hop taste gives it a slight boggish peat character as the finish awaits.

Full, lavish and decadent, the beer's lingering sweetness mixes with whisky for a sweet and spicy affair- one that's well suited as replacement for dessert after a savory and satisfying dinner. Save for cold winter's nights, a good book or great company. A long savory linger of molasses and whisky trail well into the next sip.

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Photo of arizcards
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 750 ml bottle from TW Arrowhead in early June for $26.99. Bottled on 2-16-16.

Beer poured burgundy brown with a nice off white head that is leaving behind.

Nose is chocolate malt with hints of whiskey.

Taste is chocolate forward, hints of dark fruits, and nicely enhanced by hints of whiskey. Initial sips are warming.

Feel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall this is a very nice enhancement to the base Hibernation beer which I have enjoyed over the last 10 years or so. The price point is crazy but it was worth a one-time splurge!

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Photo of KansasBeerLover
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Draught, served in a large tulip glass.
L: Dark bronze colored body with 2 fingers head.
S: Smoky and complex, dark fruits and chocolate.
T: Little whiskey taste, oak from the barrels, malt and a touch of vanilla & chocolate.
F: Full bodied, alcohol
O: My first experience with this beer was from a bomber, I like the draught better. Not a beer for the novice. The price for the pint on tap was a mere $4.00. The Anchor didn't have much profit on this one.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750 mL foil wrapped capped bottle. Poured into a wine glass.

Look: Dark brown, almost black. Off white, khaki colored head. Settles to a nice cap of foam, the leaves a good amount of lace behind. Looks great.

Smell: BOOZY! Notes of cocoa, tannic dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Some musty cellar notes, and distinct spicy oak. Vanilla beans and bourbon can be detected as well.

Taste: Warm buttery toffee flavors right up front that give way to dusty cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. Some dark fruits linger in the background, but this is all brown sugar/toffee/maple syrup up front. There is some coffee or dark fruity like tannic bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Feel: Quite soft, and a touch oily. Carbonation is light, body is medium heavy with a bit of sticky/syrupy quality.

Overall: Pretty rad. Booze is quite apparent. Flavor is great.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2016 bottle. I have to concur that I'm not getting a ton of barrel flavor, and that's okay, but it's somehow less than satisfying.

I'm a big fan of the base beer and I love bourbon barrel aged beers, but these haven't quite come together right... At least not at this price point.

Still, I'm not upset about drinking it. Love GD.. Cheers!

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Photo of bobhits
2.19/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

You know I'm getting a lot of sour notes, leather, super over oaked beer, citrus coffee beans, brown sugar flavor but not feel. The feel is of a sour ale really in texture and cold I get flavors.

The look is what you'd expect, old ale over oak with move abv, so kinda muddy and sorta flat with less legs than 12% should do.

Mouth feel is about the same too, thinner than you'd want.

But really this was in bourbon barrels? I get oak barrels but ZERO bourbon.

Even as it reaches room temp, less sour but still not bourbon, too much citrus and sour notes. I'm starting to get some vanilla flavors at the finish but nothing indicate this was in a bourbon barre. I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or if they changed things up.

I'm a know harsh grader but on this one, I'm really being nice. 23 bucks and this is just not good. Even at a buck a beer I'd pass on another. I don't know if I got a bad bottle or what but this is not just below great divide's standards but below professional brewery standards. I'd score it lower but I like oak a lot and I don't hate the over oaked effects but they're completely wrong here. This flavor is more at home with a home brew.

Just to add I know this review is all over the place, I'm sorry but I'm just not sure how to review this one. It's either a bad beer or I have no idea what they were doing or why it tastes so off.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2016

A: Pours a deep reddish brown/mahogany color with a surprising 2 fingers worth of head that sticks around for a good while

S: Lots of maltiness, whiskey, vanilla, and caramel up front with hints of dark fruits and dark chocolate. A bit of oak in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the malt and whiskey and slowly goes through the caramel, dark chocolate, and dark fruit notes. Oak comes out towards the end along with some lingering whiskey notes. The whiskey and oak cut a lot of the initial malt sweetness, as does the alcohol. Finishes with lingering oak, whiskey, and malty notes

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: This is a perfect sipper for a cooler night around a fire or just in general. The alcohol is hidden decently and provides plenty of warmth. An enjoyable BA old ale that hits the spot

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Photo of HopHunter19
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - murky r brown with an off white head that dissipates but leaves nice lacing
S - big chocolate malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla
T - pretty harsh bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate and caramel malts, really just needs some age
M - medium-heavy mouthfeel, alcohol present, aftertaste is bourbon, oak
O - can't give this one a bad rating in good conscience. It's pretty damn good but a little harsh/has some burn. Just needs a little age.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Airforcehops, thanks. Slightly hazy tawny brown with a thin bubbly off white head. Rich brown sugary caramel with hints of tart pitted fruit. Barrel character adds a nice layer. Tasty.

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Photo of lemmy187
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage consumed about 18 months after bottling date...

Pours a murky brown with a quick fading one inch head. Love the nose....oak, whiskey, and dark fruit. Taste is balanced between the fruit and barrel notes....pick up a lot of raisin and fig. There is a slight tartness to this beer....which is unique for the style. Both feel and carbs are medium. Good beer and worth aging....even with the high price tag.

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Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a murky dark tan with a medium head that hangs a while. nose; vanilla, dark chocolate, & light oak. taste; chocolate malt, oak, toffee, molasses, hops, & vanilla. slightly vinous and the huge 12.4% abv is hidden remarkably well. medium+ carbonation & mouthfeel. malts aren't as big as i was expecting, but the barrel flavors carry the show well. not super complex. a pretty good beer, but definitely overpriced.

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Photo of phishgator
4.54/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. The dark amber with almost no head; unfiltered. The smell is of stale dried fruits. The taste is complex. There is the dried dark fruit mixed with chocolate notes, a bit of fig and cake bread. The alcohol comes through as you finish the glass. One of the true old ales made in America. It reminds me of an English Barley Wine.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A pretty beer. Dark red/brown color with a small tan head. There was a bit of lacing.
Boozy aroma. A little chocolate and some fruit.
Whiskey taste, mellowed out by vanilla. Some chocolate and plums.
Very smooth and easy-drinking.

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Photo of KevCan
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ordered on tap at the brewery in downtown Boulder.

Look: Dark brown and very hazy. Small head.

Smell: Smells of toasted malt, Bourbon, oak, and chocolate.

Taste: Tastes slightly of coffee, strong Bourbon flavor, slightly raisiny. High ABV is well hidden. Sweet, pleasant aftertaste.

Feel: Thick and full bodied.

Overall: Excellent.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish murky brown with a bit of particulate and an active head of foam.

Dark fruit, caramel, subtle vanilla/creamy oak notes, and spicy whiskey.

There is definitely some oaky, vanilla, and whiskey coming out, but it's rather overpowered by an interestingly tart dark fruit character. Not nearly as complex or interesting as I was anticipating.

Heavy-bodied, low-medium carbonation, thick, chewy, and surprisingly tart.

Overall, I hate to say it, but I expected a lot more from this beer and was unfortunately let down. There is an almost bizarre tart and sourness going on aside from a lack of flavor this isn't really something to look at either. Considering the $30 price tag I will not be purchasing this again.

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Photo of Gryphon69
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L- A nice mahogany with a beige head that was about 1/2" high and light lace

S- Oak, Vanillas, light dark fruit

T- Similar to the nose but more brown sugars, with a very light tartness. Some light chocolate

F- Medium to full.

O- Wont get again, overpriced for me and didn't live up to what I was expecting, worth trying if you get it on-tap or can share the cost.

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Photo of draheim
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Opening this one for Super Bowl 50, rooting for the Broncos this year since the Seahawks are out. We'll see how that goes.

750mL (2014) into a tulip. Pours a deep mahogany w/ a nice fluffy 1-finger head.

Aroma is sweet and fruity. Dates, caramel, molasses, and whiskey (I would just say bourbon, but I think technically the barrels used to make this beer are whiskey barrels, not bourbon).

Taste follows nose. Warm dried stone fruits (dates, figs), brown sugar, whiskey/oak, vanilla, caramel, vanilla. Nicely warming. Sweetness is tempered by a gentle bitter/sour balance that keeps it from being syrupy.

Mouthfeel is balanced, full bodied but again not syrupy or thick. Lingering aftertaste.

Overall a really nice barrel-aged old ale.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Another sucker here for this taste of "Rare" like others I love the regular Hibernation ale it goes down as one of the top old ales I had. Barrel aging it does seem to raise the price almost 10 times the retail so I am not sure how this is factored still I want to try it. 2014 vintage into a goblet

A - As expected this is a much darker version of Hibernation with an impressive 1/2 inch of deep mocha head which seems it held up quite well for almost a year.
S - Toasted oak and bourbon mostly in the nose. Seem the base beer is no longer shining with its bright hops fading months ago. Still its not musty with some char roasts and vanilla bean shining now.
T - Very unexpected taste not really soured but slight wine barrel like sourness greets the palate. Next is bourbon warmth followed by toasted marshmallow, vanilla bean and the finish with some faded citrus hops. The sour wine aspect catches me off guard every time but it is somewhat enjoyable.
M - 12.40% or what the bottle reads as 10.5% either way its quite smooth silky sweet with balanced hops and bourbon notes its downright dangerous.

Overall call it herbal or slightly sour it doesn't seem to be infected so I assume this is the way they wanted it to taste. Can't say it was bad at all but me thinks I still should have sprung for the Barrel aged Old Ruffian. Enjoy able Halloween Brew!

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Photo of brentk56
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: A lovely bubble show builds an impressive beige head; the liquid is a hazy chestnut; impressive clumps of lacing

Smell: Caramel, whiskey, fig, molasses, nuts and plum

Taste: Caramel and molasses forward and, out of the blue, a vinous, sour character overwhelms; plum and red wine grape tones in abundance, elbowing out the other flavors detected in the aroma; in the finish, the whiskey becomes more noticeable but the damage to the palate is already done

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Loved the regular Hibernation but tremendously disappointed in this, particularly given the price

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Photo of zac16125
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle into a snifter
bottled on: Jan 05, 2015

A: Very dark mahogany, opaque, 1 fingers width of light tan head dissipates away quickly and leaves essentially zero lacing. 4

S: Cocoa, chocolate fudge, dark fruits, barrel notes with charred oak and vanilla, subtle booze. Big sweetness, but the booze balance keeps it from being cloying. Fantastic nose. 4.5

T: The aroma doesn’t translate into the taste as well as I’d hoped. The same characters are there but its kind of a messy conglomerate. The upfront taste is a somewhat harsh, very vinous red wine-like dark fruit notes; it kind of dominates. I also get semi-sweet cocoa, some roasty characters, herbaceous notes, and lots of oak. Booze on the back end. Its decent, but the aroma is so glorious, and it just doesn’t come through in the taste. 3.5

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the lower end which is appropriate, ABV is noticeable but not in a bad way, drinkability is average. 3.5

O: Its an interesting beer, and I enjoy interesting. I do wish the vinous, red wine like characters in the taste were a little muted. Worth a drink, but not worth that heavy price tag IMO. 3.75

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

look: Deep mostly clear ruby with a creamy, full tannish head and messy lacing.
smell: Gotta say that I love the base beer and i love barrel aged big beers but at least the nose is not improved by the barrel aging imo. The whiskey is overwhelming the aromatic spices in the base beer. The nose is weirdly enough less complex and interesting with the barrel aged treatment.
taste: Much like the nose, the base beer characteristics and the whiskey barrel treatment are working against each other.
overall: Man I would love to see what a "double" base beer recipe and barrel aging would do.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

All whiskey, all the time. Soda taste, cola, liquorice. Wood barrel, tangy around the edges, astringent. The taste follows the nose, but a little weaker. Very one-dimensional. Mouthfeel is thin, low carbonation.

Very drinkable for 10.40% (not 12.40% like BA says), but far from exciting. Reasonably priced at $20 at a bar but I will not revisit.

I enjoyed Barrel Aged Old Ruffian a lot more

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage bottled 2/6/2015. Pours fairly crystal clear very dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, vanilla, bourbon, oak, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness. Light herbal bitterness/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, toast, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, cocoa, brown bread, nuttiness, leather, raisin, plum, fig, light herbal, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged old ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, oak barrel, and moderate fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. Much more dark fruits and less hop character than the regular version, with great barrel balance. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

good, not great....trim tab old ale tastes just as good and pretty much the same and is way cheaper I'm sure there are regional equivalents that are equally valid

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Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 310 ratings.
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