Great Divide Hibernation Ale

Last Thursday’s tasting at Nikki’s was a winter beer tasting.  I was excited to see that he had Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale.  Great Divide is one of my favorite breweries.  You just can’t go wrong with any of their beers.  Their website said this is a limited seasonal.  I was thinking it was super limited, but I am glad I was wrong.  Anyway, I picked up a 6 pack of this great beer after tasting it at the tasting and had one the next evening.  It’s an Old Ale, though it’s very reminiscent of a Scotch Ale.  The beer pours a dark brown/ruby color with a small tan head.  The smell is immediate smoke with a slight hint of some caramel.  The flavor goes the same way.  While I was hoping it was going to be better, at 8.1% ABV it should age for a year or so just fine (it even won an award for best aged beer in 2005 or 2006).  I am not saying this is a bad beer, but I’m hoping that in a year some of the smoke flavor will go away.  Aside from the up front smoky flavor, there was some caramel and a slight roasted flavor in there as well.  I’m hoping to get some fruitiness that is characteristic of Old Ales after aging it for a year.  I put 3 of them in my fridge (though there’s now only 2 after drinking that one) and I’m going to age the other 3 until at least next winter.  I’m hoping some of those other flavors come out.  There is a very slight alcoholic warming quality to it, but it’s not overpowering.  In fact, you can barely tell how strong it is until you finish the glass.  Having this after 9:30 at night knocked me out.  I have some high hopes for this one after a year, but even fresh, it’s still another solid offering from Great Divide.

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