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Big Bison Ale - Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bison AleBig Bison Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

61 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 187
Avg: 3.73
pDev: 22.79%
Wants: 2
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Vancer on 05-11-2009

Great lengths were taken to ensure its authentic characteristics. German and Belgian malts, noble hops and a unique yeast strain are all necessary to produce this unique ale. It is aged for one month; beer that tends to please red wine drinkers and is definitely not for the novice beer drinker.

23 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 187
Photo of bamberger603
3.36/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I love the way this beer looks. Pours dark brick read with a half inch of fine off-white foam. The smell is pleasant; floral and slightly sour. The taste leaves something to be desired; surprisingly sour with a decent, funky malt finish. Not much to say about the mouthfeel- not creamy, but not entirely unpleasant. I certainly didn't hate this brew, but I'm not sure I would buy it in a bottle again. Definitely need to try this on tap next time I have a chance.

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Photo of Suds
3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reddish brown in color, with a modest white head. Slight haze. Restrained smell...a bit of yeast and malt. The taste is a bit drier than expected...acidic and hop forward for the style. Still, a drinkable and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with plenty of carbonation rising to the top. The head sucks: not even a finger high (off-white in shade), yet its retention is still poor. No lacing either, natch. (2.75)

Smell: This has a significant note of molasses coming through - early indications are that it might be too sweet. Still, the dark fruits I look for in the style are there in full force, along with a subtle touch of Belgian yeast. Like I said, it might end up being overly sweet...but who knows, it could be totally legit, too. (3.5)

Taste: At first, some dark fruit flavors come through, with a kiss of tartness to boot. Afterwards, the malty flavors (molasses, brown sugar, and caramel) all appear alongside a small yeasty flavor and earthy hints. It seems to fall victim to the problem many American-brewed dubbels do - it's too sweet on the back end. Pouring in the dregs in seems to muddle the flavors slightly, but it also balances them better (read: the finish is a touch less sweet). Your choice; personally, I prefer it with the dregs. (3.25)

Mouthfeel: It's relatively clean for a dubbel (before the dregs go in), although its beefier body relegates it to sipping territory. Carbonation is slightly low for the style. (3.25)

Overall: A fine attempt at a dubbel, but not on par with the Belgians. It just strikes me as being a bit 'boring'. But as I always say, it's far better to be boring than be flawed... (3.25)

3.28/5: Fairly competent, but far from great

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Photo of ENogueira
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

12 oz. bottle poured in a glass. Medium head, dissipates quickly but sticks to the glass. Fruit flavor and candy notes. Malt. Strong earthy, floral aftertaste with a combination of sweetness and bitter oak/wood. An interesting, complex taste.

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Photo of Henrich
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours deep, translucent reddish-brown with 1 cm of white foam. The foam dissipates quickly into a slight cap. Looks almost wine-like in the challice. Decent lacing.
Smell: Smells very bready and slightly plumby with a slight smell of booze. Smells sweet.
Taste: Slightly toasty, with raisiny, caramel sweetness with something reminiscent of dark chocolate and figs. This is followed by a pleasant bitterness.
Mouth-Feel: Slightly thick, but nicely carbonated. Nice carbonic bite.
Overall: Great job! This is a very tasty brew. The smells and flavored are tuned up strongly and in a good way. It isn't overt balanced, but unique and delicious. It isn't that often that I am impressed enough by one beer to be motivated to check out a brewery's other offerings; this is one of those times.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crown Valley Big Bison Ale has a thick, fizzy, cream-colored head, a murky, lighter, reddish-brown appearance, but with a brilliance, when the sunlight catches it, a thin lace sheeting, and racing bubble streams. The aroma is of rich, sweet, fruity, bread crust, some booze, brandy, and rock candy. Taste is of all those elements, with specifically fig, caramalized syrup, and a noticeable, but not harsh, bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat slick, and Crown Valley Big Bison Ale finishes semi-dry, dessert-like, and sip-able. Overall, this is a most excellent beer and another winner from the brewery.


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Photo of Boca-X
4.09/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Off white head, faded fast. Dark brown amber...some faint yellow trying to peak through, foggy haze but no flotsam. Minimal lacing.

Warm biscuits and chocolate caramel cake on the nose.

First sip...medium carbonation, nice even mouthfeel...a big punch of sweet caramel upfront. Mellows in the middle...a nice slice of German chocolate cake. Sweet then sour dough bread on the finish, slightly bitter and then the juicy caramel comes full circle resting on my tongue. The 7.2 ABV is very well hidden...little to no throat warmth.

This is a VERY good Dubbel...personally I think this it is better than Paulaner Salvator Double Bock. I reviewed Salvator last night and am comparing the two this evening. They are very similar but Crowns is slightly denser in mouthfeel and a slightly richer in taste...

If you can find this beer I would suggest trying...cheers!

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up to fill up a mixed six so had no expectations, just giving it a run. Decent looking beer with an excellent smell. The taste is very good, but not overly strong or interesting. Overall it is a very good beer but not sure if I will buy in the future, it will really depend upon cost.

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Photo of Biff_Tannen
2.35/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sorry, but this just didn't do it for me. Total molasses bomb. Supposed to be a dubbel but didn't taste like any dubbel I've ever had. This was unfortunately a drainpour for me. I really wanted to like it but just wasn't happening. Sorry Crown Valley. You make good wine but I'm still not sold on your beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, no date.

appears lighter in color than expected. dark copper colored. nice head of fine bubbles, that stays awhile - good head retention. earthy & malty aroma, a little burnt sugar and caramel. same flavors in the taste. good balance, neither sweet nor dry. medium body and carbonation. body could be fuller. overall - not exactly to style.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi-hazed auburn. Half finger off white head shows poor retention. Light lacing on the sides of the glass just fall back into the beer. Ripe sweet cherries and raisin really come out in the aroma which I found to be very pleasing. Some caramel malt, alcohol, yeast and biscuit are in there too. The flavor is heavy with prune juice and raisin. The cherry component is actually quite tart. A spicy bitterness presents itself, but it does not last. Very little Belgian yeast notes. Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is average. Texture is watery.

This beer is a good take on the style, although it tastes a little "young." It is tasty without being too heavy.

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Photo of MickeyD
4.16/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clean tulip glass.

Appearance: the beer's color was a dark red with slight carbonation, head was a little more than two finger widths and dissipated quickly.

Smell: sweet and floral.

Taste: nice nutty/caramel notes with a slight floral crispness.

Mouthfeel: Light and thin and maybe slightly flat.

Overall: I like this beer mostly malty with a little hop. I did find it a little thin and fairly close to the style.

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Photo of russpowell
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Never saw this in Mizzou, but pick it up at Biergarten in Jenks, OK USA!

Pours a slightly hazed orange/caramel with 2 fingers of cream colored head. Sheets of lacing & impressive head retention, never cleared up all the way

S: Nice whiskey notes, not much else

T: Oakyness, figs, dryness, a touch of vanilla & charcoal up front. Smooth whisky mixes with a bit of pear, plum & cherry as this warms, a little bit of taffy nibbling at the edges. Finishes oaky, with vanilla, cherry & a bit of sour mash

MF: Medium bodied, over carbonated for the style, but kind of helps with the big flavor profile, warming. Carbonation mellows out as this warms past cellar temp somewhat

An enjoyable tipple, but the dubbel aspect is getting steamrolled by the barrel aging. Easily the best beer I've had from these guys. I only bought this because Freddy ( the proprietor at the Biergarten) endorsed this. He did me right!

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Photo of dtivp
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a clear reddish copper with a two finger foamy tan head, very good retention with heavy lacing.

Aroma of dark fruit, spice and malt.

Taste the sweet plums, raisins, with hints of caramel, malt and a slight spice finish.

Mouth Feel was medium body, light carbonation, crisp and smooth with a nice sweet, spice balance.

Overall a very nice beer, I wouldn't classify it as a dubbel,however, it was a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this new beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a nice amber color and poured a really nice tight packed head that was tan in color. The beer smelled a little sweet but did not taste so. Alcohol while over 7% did not affect the taste of the beer like sometimes can happen. A very nice beer that I would drink again for sure.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No date. Fizzy head leaving some splotchy lacing. Fairly subdued on the nose: some sweet dark malty breadiness. Flavor is stronger, with dark dried fruit and caramel. Not unbalanced. Mouthfeel is bit fizzy, but I may be drinking this beer too warm. Still a nice creaminess. Overall, not a bad dubbel.

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Photo of Ford
3.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

I'm very excited. This is my first review using my new "scale of deliciousness!" Basically when I drink a beer I judge if it is delicious or not. Pretty simple. But for others, that might not be enough info.. as it leaves a lot of room in between.

So I came up with five delicious ratings.

From best to worst.

Magically Delicious
Somewhat Delicious
Lacking Deliciousness
Not Delicious

This beer has the right deep brown amber color. It smells delicious. Taste is certainly that of a dubbel style. Not the best I've had, but certainly a good one.

I judge this one Delicious.

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Photo of Gavage
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: nice orange amber color with a 2" head that last a long time. Nice lace develops.

Smell: very little bread aroma with a hint of citrus.

Taste: caramel, bread, mild citrus, A touch of honey, and a mild bitterness makes up the main flavors here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Light crispness to start, a bit smoother and a touch dry at the finish. Short lived aftertaste.

Overall: a malt centric beer that is pretty straight forward and easy to quaff. I can see having one or two of these in a session.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into ye old chilled tulip.

Appearance 4.0: Very attractive opaque, deep amber color. Nice, 1/4" head that dissipated into a foamy swirl that lasted the entire session.

Smell 4.0: Gorgeous deep and rich malty bouquet. I also smell low alpha/beta hops and caramel. Nice.

-Taste 4.5: Front is smooth and caramel. Middle is big and malty with hints of dried fruits and dark honey. Finish is where the hops pop up and then it dissolves into a fine and dandy aftertaste which accentuates the caramel and the malt. Delicious and well-balanced.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Great mouthfeel on this brew. Creamy and it accentuates the tasting experience.

-Overall 4.0: Excellent beer. Refreshing and at the same time nourishing and deeply enjoyable. Tastes light enough to be a pleasurable session beer, but strong enough to end your session a bit early if you are not careful. This beer is delicious and is highly recommended.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this beer shortly after visiting Graceland, in Memphis, and heading down the road.

Much more of an amber hue than I was expecting. Not really sure what I was expecting actually. I may just be tired and thought: hey, that is quite amber. Nose is very much like cheap apple juice, though that settles and it is more candy like. Flavor is a bit too sweet for me, though it isn't so far out there that it's completely ridiculous. There is a dough tone to it that comes in as an accent. Belgian ales are hard to pull off. This one is okay. A bit out there. Some ironing of the wrinkles and a bit more definition would do it well.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A: A clear copper with a tan half finger head. Good retention. Significant lacing.

S: Dark fruits, leather, malts.

T: Like the bottle says: Raisins and plums highlight the show. Sweet toffee and bready malts. Didn't pick up the Belgian yeast.

M: Medium with great carbonation. Chewy.

O: Drinks more like a Belgian strong dark ale (which I love, anyway). Great with Pringles Sour Cream and Onion chips dipped in Sour Cream and Onion dip. What a taste sensation.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

I was gonna kick things off with a parody of Spinal Tap's "Big Bottoms", with "Bisons" tossed in for comedic effect, but I thought better of it (plus, it's grammatically awful). Lucky you. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear russet-amber topped by a finger of glowing cream-white foam. The nose comprises bread, red apple skin, mild honey, light maple syrup, and a tiny modicum of fig. The taste brings in more of the same, with the red apple and fig really popping now, and some semblance of brown sugar and clove finally coming through, the only hint of any Belgian yeast character we're gonna get here. Too little, too late, I'm afraid. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, this is a limp excuse for a dubbel. It's not bad a Belgian-inspired brown ale (I use the word "inspired", 'cause there's hardly any real Belgian character to it) or something of the sort, but it just barely passes for a shadow of the target style.

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Photo of acevenom
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Pours translucent toffee brown with a finger-length off-white head. The carbonation appears to be immense with lots of tiny bubbles visible from the sides of the glass. The head recedes, but a little remains on top to form a nice cap over the beer. The lacing seems to stick to the sides of the glass. The aroma has some breadiness from the malts with some toffee sweetness rising to the nose. There's a little bit of a dark fruit aroma that is typical of the style. The dark fruits that come to mind are raisin and prune. The expected dubbel flavor notes are there. The strong bready malt backbone is accompanied by some nice toffee sweetness and dark fruit flavor. I get notes of prune and raisin that I picked up in the nose. There's some hop bitterness on the back end to help balance this beer's flavor. The alcohol is pretty well-hidden in the taste. The body is medium to full with strong carbonation. The beer finishes very dry. This is an excellent beer.

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Photo of BigBry
3.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Catching up more reviews from notes.

Draft pint while in St. Louis.
Clear, reddish brown color with thick tan head of foam. Good retention, sticky rings of lace on the glass. Smell of caramel toffee and dark fruits.
Taste has deep flavors of raisin and plum. Very nice malty sweetness, with a bit of spicy yeast at the end. There was a strong maltiness with a touch of yeasty spice. A touch of alcohol warmth. A great sipper. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium body, crisp and dry finish despite the sweetness. A very enjoyable brew, my first from Crown Valley.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.7/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My thanks to my local in-person trader, Tone77, who keeps me plied with bottles so that I do not forget that beers other than in CANs exist.

From the bottle: "Brewing a Missouri Legend"; "Big Bison Ale is Crown Valley Brewing's version of a Belgian style Dubbel, full-bodied and rich with notes of raisin & plum."

The crown cap came off of the Crown Valley Brewing bottle and I was off and running. The big, malty nose was immediate upon commencing my pour. I initially had two fingers of tawny head, but it fell pretty quickly, leaving sticky lacing in its wake. Color was a bright copper, like a new penny or one of my ex's hair, with NE-quality clarity. I really leaned in for the nose and it smelled like Christmas fruitcake! Talk about truth in advertising - not only did I fully get the raisin and plum, but the bready malt and the yeast pulled together to make liquid bread in a way that I have not experienced in some time. Mouthfeel was dense and full and the dark fruit flavors were lovely in the mouth. I really wish that I could get some more of this one for the upcoming holiday season! Finish was semi-sweet, fruity, but not cloying. I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by this one and highly recommend it to others.

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Big Bison Ale from Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.
84 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.