19th Anniversary Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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19th Anniversary Ale19th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
19th Anniversary Ale isn’t just a wood-aged ale. It’s a compass – a reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Brewed with pure birch syrup and aged on birch wood, this beer embraces reverential tradition and revolutionary innovation.

Added by Jason on 04-29-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 384
Photo of Sabtos
2.17/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Gold amber with a white collar.

I don't know what went wrong with this one--I think maybe it isn't right.

Smell is parmesan, corn, grapefruit.

Taste is that crisped up parmesan that fell off the pizza onto the baking tray.

This is downright funky and pretty bitter. Dry yet slick. Blech!

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Photo of jellikit
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orange. Crystal clear. Super thin head.
Smell: sweetness. Maple syrup and a bit of alcohol. All aroma is faint.
Taste: Caramel, maple syrup, a little vanilla, alcohol,
Mouthfeel: medium to medium low carbonation. Medium body. Sweet. Warming alcohol notes.
Overall: I like this beer. Big and a little sweet. It's a sipper. Would buy again if it is available.

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Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber bottled on 14 May 2013. Poured slightly hazy copper with a decent head, but there is very little lacing.

Aroma: sweet with hints of soft, ripe fruits and wood chips. The high ABV is rather apparent here although hidden in both the flavor and feel.

Flavor: Not what I expected: more soft than harsh, less woody and with more subtle effects of the birch syrup. Lightly sweet into the mildly bitter-sweet aftertaste. Well-balanced and easy drinking, especially for >10% ABV. More depth and complexity than expected. Best in the finish and aftertaste.

Feel: smooth, full body with partially hidden alcohol, but ultimately warming.

O: a refined, satisfying, unique and interesting American Strong Ale that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of calebjross
4.8/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

The first in what I hope to be many videos on my beer review channel. I present 19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing. It's probably not in good form to make my first review one featuring a beer that probably isn't available anymore to most of you. Oops.

Watch my full beer review here, and subscribe for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY8dBty7JuQ

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Photo of flagmantho
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a light haze and light effervescence. Head poured a finger of frothy ivory foam with moderate retention and leaving a nice lace after dissipating.

Smell: richly malty with a fair dose of lemony hops and a bit of an alcoholic bite. Not too bad, although not especially complex.

Taste: strong, sweet malt with plenty of buttery diacetyl -- not exactly my favorite flavor compound. Hops remain citrusy and relatively strong. Bitterness is high, but not quite enough to balance the huge sweetness. Decent, but it could lose that diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: big body with a moderate carbonation and a decent creaminess. Not bad.

Overall: pretty drinkable for a strong ale. It could use a little more bitterness and a little less butterness, but other than that not too bad.

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Photo of laituegonflable
2.84/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a copper colour, clear, lacklustre head of large off-white bubbles. Lacing is unspectacular, but has spirit. Good for you, lacing.

Smells fruity but somewhat empty. Notes of mango and banana, touch of metal and not much else. Maybe a late touch of spice, but it's like artificial additives to provide aroma are doing most of the work here.

More oomph on the palate. Malty, with brown sugar, molasses and treacle. Touch of booze towards the back but certainly one-dimensional. Sweet, with a whisper of bitterness and maybe some very overripe fruit - kiwi and peach mostly. Doesn't excite; doesn't inspire.

Thick feel really. Fairly smooth, but definitely big and almost gluggy. Not a lot of texture; needs something to cut through.

Drinks heavy and sweet. Definitely needs a different angle - something to freshen, cut through or just elevate this thick, syrupy flavour. Note I was served this blind; I was even more disappointed to discover it's an anniversary ale.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.

Pours an extremely clear deep golden colour, bright and fairly thickly bodied. Head forms a pocked mesh of white bubbles that only really stay around through perturbation. Lacing is minimal. Carbonation forms in fine streams when tilted. Looks pretty heavy and very decent.

Nose is rather muted. There's perhaps a slight woody tone to it, but there's also a pretty pronounced sugar-fermentation character that gives a little cider or vodka. Perhaps a touch of smoke lacing to the booze too. The malt gives a rather flat cardboard note, a bit like grain husk. I'm not going to lie, I'm deeply unimpressed.

Taste is certainly a lot better. Here, while the booze character is still present, there's also a pleasant buoyant peach note that comes through, and a lightness towards the back that allows some of the woody notes to have a bit of range. Finish has fragrant fruit and some sharp boozy sugar characters. Smooth feel throughout: despite the suggestion of thinness on the nose, this is quite thick and gelatinous.

Overall, though, it's a rather disappointing beer from Great Divide, who have to be one of my favourite American breweries. That's not to say it's bad, just that it's genuinely below the standard I expect from them.

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Photo of Dan_Inreallife
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice golden color with a thin white head and strong lacing. Incredible oak and vanilla flavor with a very pleasant malty sweetness and slick mouth feel. Carbonation level is perfect for the style and the ABV is deceptive. It goes down very smooth for over 10%

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide tulip. Pours a medium burnished gold amber with a two finger light khaki head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of sweet malt, oak (birch?), light fruit, birch beer. Flavor starts with caramel malt, woody vanilla, toffee, birch syrup then develops a woody, earthy bitterness, finishing with a lingering bitterness that seems more herbal than hoppy. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An interesting strong ale tastes like an oaked hybrid of scottish ale and a sweet Belgian quad. Overall different and flavorful, but the finish is somewhat stark and a little astringent. The alchohol is well covered, but this is definitely warming. I completely missed this beers very brief availability at home and found this bottle 400 miles away. Although it is almost a year old, it seems to have held up well. This beer grew on me as a drank it, perhaps as my tongue got bitterness fatigue, which made the finish more pleasant. I like the vanilla flavors associated with oak barrelling and know know that similar flavors are associated with birch chips. Glad I found this.

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Photo of utfiero
2/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Color - clear golden wheat.

Aroma- sweet but sharp like a mild radish with honey.

Taste- Overwhelming and unbalanced. Starts sweet and strong, alcohol esters are strong (reminding us of accidentally tasting cheap cologne), finishing with a sharp woody and annoying aftertaste. Could this bottle have been spoiled in shipping in the Texas summer heat? Possible, but we'll never know.

By the way, I'm not biased against Great Divide at all. I've even filled my growler at the brewery in Denver. But this brew just didn't measure up.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 7/20/2013.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-dark dusky orange with just a thin white head. Not much action to it.

S-very bold scent of citrusy honeycomb and syrups. Smells quite boozey

T-comes in with a flavor of honey combs, like the cereal, and a heavy syrup flavor. Disappointingly I get no birch. Some citrus to it. Matching after-taste.

M-sticky and heavy. Low carbonation.

O-well there's an absence of birch, which is basically the only reason I decided to drop $14 on this bomber. So yea it was a big let down. Other than that, it was a mildly okay strong ale. Somewhat drinkable. Will not buy again.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours a deep, slightly hazy honey gold. White sudsy lacing for a head.

Smells of honey, molasses, biscuits and rich citrusy hops.

Honey and biscuit malt, rich and flavorful, with a mild bite of citrus hops.

Medium body with a mild fizzy carbonation on the tongue. Warms a bit going down.

A nice strong ale, goes down easy and has a good flavor. Very worth trying. Hides its strength pretty well until the mouthfeel where you really notice it.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St Bernardus glass. Bottled on 19 April 2013.

A: No head. Murky, sickly yellow-brown. Muddy.

S: Blackstrap molasses. Crazy floral yeast.

T: Weird beer. It's oddly bitter, like unsweetened molasses. I suppose this is the birch syrup. This never really goes away. I'm not sure I like it. Wood. Earthy. Lingering bitterness.

M: Thinnish and sorta astringent.

O: I don't know how I feel about this.

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Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
3.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a snifter. Pours a clear golden with a short lived white head and light visible carbonation. A lot going on with the aroma on this beer. Syrup and wood up front, but there is toffee, banana, sourdough bread, some earthiness, and light alcohol are all detected. Taste is very sweet with some light bitterness throughout. A touch of heat is detected on the finish. Mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy, and there is a moderate length finish of wood and toffee.

Overall: I think this was done well for what it is, and I think it is very complex. What I'm not sure about is how much I actually like it.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into a pair of large snifters. 12 AIP 0912 is the bottle code.

Looks nice -- first half is clear, golden with a small head. Second half is a bit cloudy. Smell is surprisingly lagery. Yeasty with a bit of a tang. Something unidentifiable but kinda fruity.

Taste is overly sweet, a little nutty, syrupy, Something funky, maybe banana. Surprisingly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light, smooth. Overall, it's not bad, but it's not great.

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Photo of steph1974
3.52/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A honey gold, small head dissipates

S weird, hard to identify. Alcohol, honeysuckle, pepsin, unidentifiable fruit, barrel, whiskey as it warms

T. Oddly fluffy but high alcohol. Sweetish, but not cloying, somewhat like a triple-quad-hybrid. Vanilla, cream soda, floral nectar, bitter green tea.

M. Fluffy, smooth, creamy, awesome. Followed by lingering alcohol warmth

O. Very interesting, still not sure if I really like it. Appreciate it's step outside the lines. My opinion aside, very solid.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, with bottled on date April 19, 2013 printed clearly on the label. It's been a long time since I had anything from Great Divide, and since these were just turding up the shelf, I decided to try it out. Going in unbiased; I have no idea what to expect.

Poured into an over-sized wine glass.

A - Pours a bright medium orange colored body with less than a finger of soapy off-white bubbles that fades to a fat bubbly ring quickly. A lot lighter in color than I was expecting, but looks pretty nice. No lacing.

S - Smell is of beautiful creamy vanilla, wood, caramel malt, some earthiness, hint of yeast, faint alcohol fumes, & a hint of indistinct fruitiness. In a way, it reminds me of how the Great Divide Rumble IPA smelled.

T - Taste departs from the nose a little bit: earthy caramel malts come to the front, with some herbal tea leaf like sweetness. Creamy vanilla, the birch wood, and alcohol heat finish this one off.

M - Goes down smooth, creamy, and clean. Finishes with some mild alcohol / whiskey heat.

Overall, not the greatest, but it was well enough for what it was. Fairly poor duration of flavor, but it has some alright complexity. Big 10.20% abv is noticeable, but tolerable. A slightly above average offering at best. Glad to have tried it, but I wouldn't want it again.

Great Divide 19th Anniversary Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of beergoot
3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a solid gold colored body with a nice yet quickly dissipating white head; thin sheets of foam continue to coat the glass. Very appealing citrus/orange and malt aroma; orange marmalade. Very soft, very smooth mouthfeel with a bold citrus, malt, and strong (yet well-tamed) alcohol presence.

Smooth and orange-y describes this high ABV ale overall. I can't say where there predominant orange-like smell and flavor come from, but it actually works well with the malts and boozy character. A rather unique yet intriguingly approachable big beer.

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Photo of Pencible
3.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear gold with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like wild honey and sweet caramel, with some biscuit and a little copper.
T: It tasted like sweet honey and sugary caramel, with some woody biscuit and a little copper. It had a sweet and clean aftertaste.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Great big body.
D: This was a nice brew. I don't know birch that well, but this definitely had a unique and sugary scent and taste. The body was excellent, and the finish was smooth with well hidden alcohol, so it was easy to drink. Doesn't need age, but it might not hurt either. Very enjoyable beer, even if not terribly exciting.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Taphouse in Seattle. Deep golden to copper pour with small creamy head. Vanilla and big oak aroma on top of citrus and toffee malts. Flavor is toffee and citrus with definite wood presence that dries it out on the finish. Heavy and slick, not really the type of beer I was looking for. Decent brew, but tough to handle more than one glass. Had this without food so it hit me pretty hard to start out my night. The booze is definitely there.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz, April 2013

A: Fainter than I thought it was going to be. Clear medium orange color. Thin layer of off white head. Alcohol feet.

S: Smells very interesting. Definitely getting that sweetness from the birch syrup. Almost butterscotch like. Booze.

T: Very sweet. Oak. Birch syrup. Booze. Lingering sweetness in end.

M: Full bodied. Creamy

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Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige colored head that died down a bit but consistently left a short head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of coconut are present in the nose along with notes of oak and hints of vanilla.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell but isn't quite as strong and also has some notes of toffee and hints of alcohol towards the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has hints of crispness along with a moderate amount of carbonation and some dryness. The alcohol makes its presence known by contributing a moderate amount of warming, particularly in the finish.
O: While this beer is quite drinkable considering its strength—because most of the alcohol is masked from the taste—the coconut aromas and flavors are unique and makes this an interesting beer to sip and savor. It reminded me like a lighter version of a barleywine.

Note: Bottled on April 19, 2013

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10 oz. into a tulip at Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg, VA. From notes.

A: Pours a dark golden color. There's about a finger of white-colored head that's bubbly in texture. Head duration is solid, and lacing left behind is plentiful.

S: A rather sweet brew, as expected. I don't pick up much oak aging, but I do pick up plenty of sweet caramel, treacle, citrusy hops, and maybe a touch of dark fruit. It's not as hoppy as I anticipated.

T: It starts off with a prominent treacle flavor. This transitions into a faint bite of citrusy hops and booze drying out the aftertaste somewhat. Really damn good, if slightly lacking in complexity.

M: The feel is both thick and creamy, while the drying bite on the back end doesn't strike me as being remotely harsh. It's quite drinkable for something so big. Carbonation pokes through the full body quite well.

O: This exceeded my expectations slightly. Even if it's not the deepest, it's drinkable and more pleasant than its gravity would suggest. I enjoyed killing this, but I don't think it would have been this good straight from the bottle.

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Photo of bpasquini
4.14/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Nice light copper color, very little head from pouring, head goes away quickly leaving very slight lacing around the glass

S: Smells boozy at first then is followed with some slight caramel and malts, the birch syrup is definitely present as well

T: Very malty, some caramelized sugar, very slight hop presence which is predominately pine, the syrup is slightly noticeable as well, has a slight bitterness at the end as well which compliments the taste, it takes your palate away from all the sweetness

M: Not what I was expecting, it is surprisingly light but the beer is heavy, you definitely notice a little bit of the syrup texture as well

O: Not what I was expecting at all, but still a strong brew, like the sweetness and slight bitterness mix, and the birch syrup really compliments the beer, wouldn't recommend going out of the way for this one but if you're looking for a new beer to try and its there I would recommend grabbing it

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Photo of Santanax
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not Oaky at all... not a commin thing in the beer game but this beer is holding its own with rich dry birch notes... the sweet warm sensation that occurs with this beer is well worth the drink...perfect balance of scent, alcohol, dryness sweetness.... great falltime beer IMO.

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19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 384 ratings.
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