Hibernation Ale (Great Divide Brewery)

Week 3 of MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK takes us to the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. Great Divide Brewery has been serving the people of Denver for almost 20 years and in that time they made quite a few fantastic brews. Today we’ll be discussing their multiple award winning Old Ale.

Hibernation Ale LabelHIBERNATION ALE is available seasonally (in the winter time, obviously) and comes packed with a warming 8.7% ABV.

Hibernation AleHIBERNATION 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.

The beer poured a dark brown with maroon highlights around the bottom of the glass. A wisp of brownish white foam appeared and disappeared before I even had my camera ready. No real lacing or carbonation was noted.

This is where things start to get interesting with this beer. Aromas abound in the nose. Dark roasted malts, sherry, stone fruit, and peat were all quite noticeable and stood on their own. A dash of oak and chocolate also appeared as the beer started to warm up.

Sometimes a beer has such a distinct and unique flavor that I have a hard time getting past my initial reaction to find the idiosyncrasies in a beer. Hibernation Ale is a perfect example of this. My first impression of this beer was oak-aged ice tea with a touch of cigar/tobacco. I noted these flavors in other Old Ales before, but never so prominent and “complete” (for lack of a better term). Notes of dark malts and sherry with a hint of chocolate were there but very understated.

Mouthfeel is light-to-medium with a touch of stickiness. It doesn’t hang around long, which is surprising for the style, but it does leave a slight residue. I was also caught off guard by how little the 8.7% ABV was present in the drinking experience.

I could easily see sometime drinking a snifter full of Hibernation Ale while smoking a cigar next to a fireplace, which is also the impression I initially got from looking at the label. Although the flavor profile might not lend itself to a long night of drinking (the ice tea and tobacco is pretty prominent), the body and mouthfeel does. This beer would be a great way to wind down after a long day of watching football out in the cold.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

As an OLD ALE: 8.5 out of 10


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