860: Hibernation Ale

Name: Hibernation Ale
Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Co.
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Denver, Colorado
Style: Old Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 10%
First Brewed: 2004
Price: $1.99

Tasting Notes
Plenty of noticeable chocolate and spice early on, plus a good roasty character (both nuts and hints of coffee bead) on the nose and in the mouth. Caramel and dark fruit flavors, as well as their sweetness, are nicely balanced by an earthy, husky mouthful.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I have had this beer before. I had this last year, and don’t remember it being this good. But this year, it is incredible. The beer is 10%, but you would never know it. There is a ton of sweetness… barleywine like sweetness. But that’s OK. I like sweet beers. This beer, with such a high ABV, could sit for 1-3 years. We drank 5… but left one for the blog. Maybe I will grab another bottle before spring. I would love to try this in 2 or 3 years to see how it changes. Anyway, Sheryl really likes this beer. I dig it too. Let’s start drinking the Great Divide Hibernation Ale. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: I could smell this before I even started pouring. But I will get to the aroma in a second. In the glass, it has a dark amber color with a really nice thin white head. The lace is weak, and I am sure the longer this sits (in the bottle), the more it will settle. When I cellar a bottle of beer, I almost want to see how flat we can get it! The beer is very inviting and has a nice appearance.

Nose: Like I said, I could smell this one before I even poured it. This beer has a VERY sweet aroma. I am not familiar with a lot of Old Ales, but this one came highly recommended. This is also the Great Divide seasonal release, so I had to try it. I am trying them all this year. From the Celebration Ale to the Winterbraun, I am trying all of the winter beers. Tis the season!

Flavor: Drinking this cold, it has an INCREDIBLE flavor. I am talking thick, sweet, and all kinds of delicious. We are drinking this right from the fridge, and it still packs a punch. Coming in at 10%, you would never know it. There is a very subtle heat toward the finish, but you might not realize that is from the booze. Very polished for a 10% beer. The hop profile is weak, and while you still get some tasty hops toward the finish, they stay hidden by the overwhelming malty goodness this beer produces.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It is thick, hearty, and leaves a thin layer of flavor on your tongue for later enjoyment. It is almost like they put forces on the mouthfeel more than the aftertaste. I wonder, when brewing at this capacity, where the mouthfeel comes into play. Regardless of what they are doing over at Great Divide, they can keep it up. This beer is delicious on every level.

Aftertaste: Sweet. That’s about it. It has a very sweet finish. It reminds me of a barleywine. Old ales tend to have similar characteristics, and should usually be served slightly colder than a barleywine. But man, this aftertaste is one for the books.

I am a HUGE fan of this winter offering from Great Divide. They make a lot of great beers, and this (for their 12 ounce seasonal offering) is one of the best. The label has also changed over the years. I remember when the label used to be red. Now the label is blue. Who cares what color the label is… I am focused on the flavor of the beer! Bottoms up, people.

Hibernation Ale – The bottle says: “HIBERNATION ALE has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.”

“SUGGEST FOOD PAIRINGS: Roomana, an aged hard Dutch cow’s milk cheese, grilled beef tenderloin, apple crisp with ginger ice cream.”

Rating: 5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

I’ve actually been drinking this beer quite a bit lately.  Ricky brought one home a couple of weeks ago, and I really liked it and wanted a six-pack.  We discovered after that that it was actually on our list of beers for this blog, so we saved the last one to drink for a review.  And here we are.

The beer looks kind of reddish brown in the glass, with not a lot of head.  It’s pretty transparent, and when you hold it up to the light, you can just see a hint of tiny bubbles floating to the top.  It has a great smell to it, with the scent of some cinnamon, brown sugar, and nuts coming through.  It has kind of a malty scent to it.  Let’s find out if it tastes just as malty.

There is a lot of malt to it, but those other flavors come through pretty effectively as well.  There’s just a slight hint of hoppy aftertaste, but the initial taste is full of flavor.  There’s a nuttiness that matches the smell, but other flavors balance that out as well.  There are spices, nuttiness, and malt, with just a hint of hops at the end.  This beer is really good.  I love the richness of the flavor.  It reminds me a bit of a barleywine, and I love a good barleywine.  This is definitely a beer I would buy again, since I did, obviously.  I made this six-pack last as long as I could, and I’m sad to see it go.

Rating: 4/5

859 bottles of beer on the wall…

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