Hibernation Ale - Barrel-Aged
Great Divide Brewing Company

Hibernation Ale - Barrel-AgedHibernation Ale - Barrel-Aged
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Old Ale
Ranked #23
Ranked #4,392
4.09 | pDev: 10.02%
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Hibernation Ale - Barrel-AgedHibernation Ale - Barrel-Aged
Notes: Over 12 months in whiskey barrels has completely transformed our prized winter seasonal, producing a Hibernation that starts with big whiskey flavors before mellowing out into luscious chocolate, dark fruit and vanilla. If you can only take one beer into your cave this winter, we suggest this one.
Reviews: 114 | Ratings: 401 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure who brought this to the Firestone Walker Festival pre party the night before in June 2017, but was glad to see it again, much less in 12 oz bottles this time around!

Pours a brown auburn like color right in the style guidelines wheelhouse. 1/4" light beige head. Aroma hit the whiskey stride, slight light brown sugar sweetness.

Taste kept pushing the sweet whiskey and brown malty notes. Little bit of vanilla worth mentioning. Does the trick, nice and smooth, not overhopped or too bitter. Sure there's some alcohol heat, but nothing 12.4% ain't supposed to bring. I don't really know how much of the dark fruit character is there (thankfully). Thought it had just as much, if not more, of a light chocolate and watered down cola note to it. Should mention wood.

Definitely found this barrel aged version to be superior to the already decent base beer. I dunno what 12oz bottles go for, but given the ability to age these a long time, I wouldn't mind throwing one in the cellar.

Jul 15, 2020
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stevoj from Idaho

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from cellar, 2017 vintage. Mahogany colored pour with light fizzy head. Malty aroma, sweet, tobacco, maple. Taste is more dark malts, earthy, leather. Whiskey barrel makes an appearance near the finish, bringing woody and boozy notes. This has aged quite nicely.

Mar 27, 2020
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Plush tan froth sits atop a brownish ruby brew.

Smells of brown sugar, molasses and persimmon.

Faint dark chocolate with more brown sugar, persimmon, red grape, pine and wood in the finish. The barrel aging shines as this one warms.

Medium w subtle heat. Smooth and a perfect accompaniment to a heavy holiday meal.

Jan 01, 2019
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Suds from Missouri

4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My wife picked this beer up for a special New Years Eve treat. From a foil covered bottle, this brew is dark, almost black, with a chocolate-milk colored head. The aroma is serious dark chocolate and coffee. Wood is notable in the background. The taste is warming, lightly sweet (more balanced than expected), with both smoke and malt flavor. Lingering finish.

Jan 01, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage, 2/16/16
Pours a nice frothy foamy bubbly 1 finger head that retains quite well, just kinda sits there, with nice lacing too, and decent legs, very dark mahogany brown color with almost no light coming through

Nose smells old, but in a good way, some oxidation notes but not a lot and some brandy like fruity aromas with that more than cardboard, although there is a little paper oxidation, soft aged malt, toasted brown malts with caramel sweetness and layers of sweet complexity, big vanilla and some barrel notes, toasted oak and vanilla barrel, whiskey is very light though, more complex fruits, fig, date, dried stone fruit, touch of nuts

Taste sweet rich complex, some chocolate out front this time as well as some vanilla, dark chocolate covered raisins, more dark fruits, raisin, fig, date, etc, and more of that brandy like fruity oxidation notes, a bit of alcohol but not overpowering bringing a bit of warmth, some layered soft toasted brown candy malts, plenty of vanilla, a little oaky barrel, toasted oak and vanilla mostly but also mild spices and a little coconut, a little whiskey again not much, some sweet layers, molasses syrup, caramel, little nutty, candy, drier quick finish, bit more alcohol, very little bitterness, a little stick but mostly dry

Mouth is med to fuller bod, nice fizzy carb, soft complex layers, a bit of alcohol

Overall pretty nice, wish the whiskey came through a bit more, but the base beer is quite nice and the vanilla barrel notes with oxidation fruits are good.

Dec 25, 2018
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Label states 2014 vintage, but the bottling date is 1/5/15. Bottle is 3.5 years old at the time of consumption.

A: Dark chestnut brown with a slight haze. The head settles after a moment and leaves little to no lacing.

S: Molasses and burnt sugar. Milk chocolate and caramel chews. Fruitcake. Subtle, complementary notes of sweet whiskey. Earthy and herbal hops are still apparent too.

T: Milk chocolate and bourbon ball candy up front. Caramel and some sweet whiskey. Subtle oak. Stewed plums and fruitcake. Earthy hops have subsided, but still bring undercurrents of slight pine and garden herb. Wood, whiskey, and chocolate on the finish.

M: Full bodied with some heft. Chewy and a bit coating. Round and smooth. Carbonation is soft and gentle. Warming alcohol soothes.

O: This aged well, and was well-rounded after being tucked away for a few years. The overall impression is sweet, with a lot of milk chocolate, caramel, and whiskey. I drank it with a strip steak, but found it more appropriate for a dessert pairing.

Aug 04, 2018
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 version (2/15/16) poured into a wine glass. Turbid dark brown with ruby highlights, a thin layer of head that retains well on the side of the glass. Smell is delish, a mix of dark fruit, whiskey, fig, and vanilla. The taste is similar, but more mellow and rounded. Soma cola notes. The mouthfeel is medium, not heavy or syrupy, with a low amount of carbonation. It does get a touch sticky when it warms. Been a while since I had the original, but this was worth the go, and the whiskey barrel is an plus addition.

Apr 14, 2018
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Stamped on label is bottling date of 'APR 27 2017'. Label has ABV% at 11.5.
Clear, amber brown colored body. Two finger head (light tan) upon pouring settles to thick and creamy cap. Sheets of lacing mostly settle but leave spots and strings on the glass.
Aroma of roasted malt, whiskey barrel, dark fruit, and a whiff of chocolate and vanilla.
Taste is rather sweet, with dark fruits, chocolate, and vanilla, and then later the whiskey barrel adds its mark. Has a little alcohol burn. No bitterness.
Medium to creamy mouth feel. A light behind the glass shows moderate level of carbonation (rising bubbles).
A very good winter warmer beer is made more complex with the aging in the whiskey barrels. Good balance and all flavors are allowed to be expressed. Sweet and slightly hot from the barrel.

Mar 21, 2018
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky brown with a thin cap of khaki bubbles that dissipate quickly, minimal lacing. The aroma is caramel and raisins with the bourbon barrel in the background. The flavor is caramel, molasses, raisins, and bourbon. Nice smooth feel with just the right touch of carbonation. Overall a wonderful beer.

Feb 08, 2018
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polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown with a minimum of head and not much lacing. Smell is caramel and dark fruits followed by the whiskey. A slight hops note also there. Taste is much like the aroma. The dark fruits and rich caramel worked in well with the warm and smooth whiskey. Medium body and just below average carbonation. Nice sticky finish.

A fantastic winter sipper. This was a 2016 vintage and it was near perfect. I'm going to seek more of this out.

Feb 04, 2018
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown with a two finger off white head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, brown sugar, raisins, vanilla and whiskey.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Caramel, brown sugar, raisins, figs, vanilla and lots of whiskey.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a sticky dry finish.

O - This is nice whiskey aged old ale. This is makes a nice sipper on a cold winter night.

Jan 18, 2018
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep brown with a medium sized head. The aroma features coffee, prunes, vanilla, dark chocolate, toasted nuts and cinnamon, a a deep muskiness. The flavor starts with masses of chocolate and cocoa, vanilla, and really just a load of whiskey. The mouthfeel is extremely thick and chewy, with moderate, foamy carbonation. Overall, while I like this beer, it seems like it needs more time. The really long barrel aging has left this a bit overdone, but it seems like it may integrate with some age.

Dec 09, 2017
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wmartin from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had a 2017 12 oz. bottle from small Teku at 38F warming to 65F. Did not grab me with strong flavors like some strong beers, but has a lovely, mellow bitterness to it along with some sweetness and barrel flavors. Very nice and wears quite well on the memory. A 12 oz. bottle really hits the spot on a cool, rainy evening.

Nov 12, 2017
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich dark amber, minimal head that quickly fades. Lots of caramel on the nose, burnt brown sugar, molasses. Big malty flavors here: lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, barrel juice, some vanilla. Finish is a little tangy. Full bodied syrupy mouthfeel, good carbonation. Overall I really enjoyed this bba version and would drink it again.

12 oz bottle dated 4/27/17
4.5 rating

Nov 05, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours an opaque raisin color with thin tan colored lacing and minimal carbonation.

S - Chocolate, dark fruit, some vanilla, whiskey. Overall aroma is subdued for a big beer like this (could also be the current serving temp is on the low side).

T - Dark fruit (dates, figs, and prunes), vanilla, chocolate, and a whole lot of whiskey. The alcohol hits hard up front with pretty low heat and the palate adjusts pretty quickly and the heat subsides.

M - Thick and full bodied, chewy, lip smacking sticky.

O - Really enjoying this one. Thanks again for this bottle SawDog505!

Oct 02, 2017
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz Signature Series Great Divide glass at near room temperature bottled in April of 2017. Pours a beautiful chestnut with a massive 3 finger off white head that leaves big thick lines of lace, as it slowly settles into a thin layer of bubbles.

Smell is biscuit, toffee, vanilla, worthers candy, and a little hint of bourbon tickles the nostrils.

Taste follows toffee, biscuit, vanilla, worthers, caramel, and a very nice shot of bourbon and molasses.

Mouthfeel is big, but like velvet, moderate amount life, maybe a touch dry, and at 11.5% ABV excellent drinkability.

Overall I love this beer, the regular version is excellent, but this is sublime. A treasure.

Jul 28, 2017
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ichorNet from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Hibernation aged for a year in whiskey barrels... now THAT's a big, bold idea. I've previously only seen this available in stores near me for close to 27 bucks for a big, 750 mL bottle. This was available as a single 12 oz bottle with a foil-wrapped neck for about $10, making this format a loooot better, price-wise. How's the beer within, though?

Pours a dark mahogany color with a slight clarity, though I think that's mostly due to how dark the base beer is, and not any kind of remaining "haze" left in the final product. The head is a creamy off-white color and sticks around at about a half-finger for almost the entirety of my session with this brew. Lace seems really strong here, too, presenting with consistent sheets around most of the entire rim of my glass. Beautiful presentation, here!

Nose is raisin, oak, toffee, molasses, earthy tobacco, barrel char and cocoa... almost in that exact order! This has a superb scent coming right out of the glass; practically jumping out, if I'm being honest. The year of whiskey barrel aging has certainly done some transformative things to the base beer. Though I've not had Hibernation in a couple years, I remember it being a very solid malty Winter Warmer style English strong ale (without any of the spices present in the common/modern WW style, mind you). This feels like it'll end up as a fortified, whiskey-influenced version of the same, and I'm not against that at all.

Strong barrel flavors with expressive oak tannins, whiskey heat, cocoa, burnt caramel, dark fruit and sweet undertones of vanilla. Super decadent and boozy. Not overly sweet, though, as the ethanol heat and slightly herbal hops help out toward the finish. Big, chewy toffee and molasses flavors with crème brûlée and chocolate coming out as the malt and whiskey take over the palate. Slight earthy and smoky tobacco in the mix as well. Quite nice, if a little normal and expected, in my opinion.

Feel is where this beer gets a little bit confusing. It's appropriately thick and chewy for the style, but I feel the carbonation is a little inappropriate. It's quite low and doesn't have any kind of pushiness on the palate, which makes even getting through 12 ounces of it kind of a chore. It's just a little too syrupy and sticky for me. I like the flavors a lot, but it's a little less complex than it should be with that much time in barrels. I was going to buy another bottle and age it for a while to see how it develops, but it doesn't seem like that kind of beer, honestly. Glad I waited on this one, as I definitely don't regret paying $10 for a 12 oz, but I could see myself being annoyed if I spent more than a buck an oz here.

Jul 20, 2017
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Scott17Taylor from Iowa

4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Okay, this is just amazing! I love regular hibernation ale and it is better with a year on it, the barrel blends amazingly with the base beer. It's still got the big toffee Carmel malts mild winter spice and a pleasant hoppiness on the finish being complimented by the vanilla and oak from the barrel. I wish this was easier to find at a better price. Even though it's incredible at $10 for a 12 oz bottle, I think I'd rather have a 6 pack of the regular, I'm still very happy I tried it.

Jul 15, 2017
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ShoeIn-BrewWin from England

4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: deep brown with a light tan head

Smell: heavy on vanilla notes, bit ashy, with hints of maple syrup

Taste: vanilla pops out immediately, hints of oak, syrup, and the always present whisky notes. Surprisingly smooth for the high alcohol content.

Feel: thick and bubbly

Overall: fantastic sipping beer with complex flavors and smells; very well balanced

Apr 19, 2017
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rmpic82 from Kansas

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe expectations are always (subconsciously or otherwise) part of the grading process. I'm not a robot, but I do try and separate the preexisting expectations from follow-through. Expectations were lower for this bottle, but I nearly scored it a 4.25 on a couple more ASTMO categories.

The barrel shows itself well, with a small helping of choco and an edge of coffee that is extremely additive. While this wouldn't be a "special guest" bottle, it could easily be on the regular rotation for good+ bottles to drink with friends.

Mar 29, 2017
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ccg from Virginia

3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled February, 2016 and opened March, 2017.

I think this beer looks great. It's a deep, dark brown, and the head is dense and fluffy and foamy. It leaves a ton of lacing on the glass.

The smell is very mild. There is some syrupy caramel sweetness and some aggressive hops. The smell makes me expect a bitter, hoppy ale.

The flavor is actually better than the smell. It has a nice caramel sweetness, and while the hops give it a hint of earthiness, there is no sharp bitterness. The bourbon is noticeable, but it's only moderate strength. I think it works well in this beer. The bourbon-barrel aging adds a layer of sweetness with some vanilla and oak, but it's not cloying or overpowering.

Mouthfeel is solid. It has medium carbonation and a nice creaminess.

This is a nice sipper of a beer for a chilly day. There's just enough going here to make it interesting, but not so much that I feel guilty for not saving it for a bottle-share.

Mar 12, 2017
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mschrei from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter from 2/16/16 bottle.
Dark brown with thinning edges and plenty of floaties. Scents of tobacco, chocolate, caramel, barrel. Taste is all of that with the barrel hanging out over it. Very smooth feel, alcohol is hidden very well.

Mar 03, 2017
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Deep brownish Amber with medium bubbles and an off-white head rising maybe one finger's length.

Smell: Sweet scotch scent consisting of grapes and whiskey.

Taste: Complex sweet and smooth malty flavors which honestly become addicting. Easy upgrade from the original hibernation ale.

Mouth: Sticky, thin body with medium carbonation. Like drinking malted whiskey.

Overall: Great brew, would definitely buy it without hesitation when and if I see it again. Drink with lust and enjoy. Salud!

Jan 23, 2017
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MMOSNN from North Carolina

4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle (2/2016) poured into a stemless wine glass.
Look - dark opaque mahogany in color with a sizable head for an aged beer and decent retention/lacing.
Smell - whiskey heat is pretty strong, brown sugar, bitter coffee, vanilla, some notes of dark fruit.
Taste - vanilla, semisweet chocolate, brown sugar, caramel and dark fruit round it out, but all of this is enveloped by strong hints of whiskey that linger in the aftertaste.
Feel - good carbonation, full body, and a smooth finish (especially for the style).
Overall, this beer does not disappoint. The selling point is extremely high (was given as a gift), but the complexity (almost) matches the price.

Nov 12, 2016
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Padron4KM from Arizona

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Oct 15, 2016
Hibernation Ale - Barrel-Aged from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 401 ratings