Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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Barrel Aged Hibernation AleBarrel Aged Hibernation Ale
374 Ratings
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:
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.

Added by waltonc on 11-17-2009

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 374 |  Reviews: 107
Photo of heddar33
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of drunkenmess
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nrbw23
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FBarber
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wmartin
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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 l hits the spot on a cool, rainy evening.

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Photo of Tony210
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
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

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Photo of Hop_God
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jzeilinger
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

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Photo of jschott75
3.69/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of daem3384
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Erik-P
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SawDog505
4.61/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of JoeLev
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ichorNet
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 2,674 characters

Photo of zimm421
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of rawfish
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ShoeIn-BrewWin
4.71/5  rDev +15.7%
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

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Photo of evanwoertz
4.89/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Photo of rmpic82
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of ccg
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of luke12345
4.74/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mschrei
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Grackos
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 374 ratings