Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1242) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 17, 2014
Old Ale is not a style many breweries are doing as they were traditionally made (i.e. actually aging beer for a significant period of time). Most breweries just brew a barleywine ad call it an old ale, but in the case of Great Divide Hibernation Ale, it appears to be a traditional brew (according to BJCP guidelines, that is). It’s a good beer to drink to appreciate that dedication to classic brewing techniques, and it’s also a good beer to drink because it’s a good beer.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 8/27/14 and cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark reddish/brown hue with sediment particles in suspension. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: Sweet confectionary aromas, especially chocolate and toffee, but with a strong dark malt base. Some dark fruit notes as well.

Taste: It’s no surprise that the malts are the stars of the show here. Rich sweetness right away in the form of dark fruit notes, similar to that of a barleywine. A general mélange of cherry, fig and raisin as well as distinct syrupy flavors of toffee and chocolate-covered burnt toast. What’s curious is there’s actually quite a strong hop presence in the form of flavor and bitterness. I get light citrus flavors, but a fairly strong dry bitterness. There’s also some tanginess most likely due to oxidation (though this is normal). The alcohol imparts a warming sensation and accentuates the confectionery flavors but creating a slight vanilla character. Overall, it’s a tasty brew and a great example of how this style can be done today.

Drinkability: With a soft mouthfeel and smooth texture, Great Divide Hibernation Ale is quite pleasing to drink. Plenty of body and raw weight at 8.7% ABV, though there’s no abrasive heat from the alcohol. A slight lingering dryness on the tongue. It works well as a sipper. 
Grade: 8/10

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