Big Bison Ale - Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bison AleBig Bison Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

183 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 183
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 2
Gots: 15 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 62
Reviews by hoplover82:
Photo of hoplover82
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep amber color with an ivory colored thick creamy head that has great retention and lacing.

The smell wofts of dark fruits like prune and caramelized raisins. Very nice indeed.

The taste is kind of let down compaired to the aroma. It does have the dark fruits but a lot of astringency with it. Not fun when it's like that. But it's not too bad where it ruins the beer.

The mouthfeel is very average for the same reason. It's medium / full bodied with a dry finish and astringency.

It's pretty drinkable despite the astringency.

More User Reviews:
Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is their better beer. Pours, unfortunately, a filtered brown color. The aroma implies sweet raisin, spice, and caramel. The taste reveals a pleasant sweet caramel maltiness with a cinnamon and nutmeg spice note. While I would consider this a lackluster example of a Dubbel, it's still a good beer.

Photo of plfahey
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Amber mahogany in color with brilliant clarity and a moderately large cream colored head with fairly good retention.

Aroma-Aroma is not too strong, but still rather good-plums, raisins, grapes, and dark caramel are notable. Some ripe banana makes an appearance as well. Not overly complex, but pleasant.

Flavor-Slightly sweet, with plums and bananas in the forefront, which quickly dries out leaving behind a hint of dark fruit flavor and slight drying alcohol. The beer finishes rather dry, and without a ton of flavor, but is good enough to warrant continued drinking. Perhaps a slight note of diacetyl registers in the flavor as well.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderate carbonation. Dry in the finish with slight alcohol warmth.

The beer is decent, though it could use more in both the aroma and the flavor. It also seemed to have a hint of diacetyl which appears to be a theme in their beers, but if it was there, it was low enough and masked by other flavors that it wasn't overly offensive. One of their better offerings, but still not that impressive.

Photo of russpowell
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

Photo of GRG1313
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A light copper brown color with a yellowish/tan head.

Nice light pleasant pear malt nose.

Mouthfeel is medium but not detrimental considering good flavor profile and complexities.

Flavors are layered and somewhat complex and pleasing, although all characteristics would be better if just "a bit more assertive and strong." Belgian dubbel characteristics of plum and raisins with undertones of banana in flavor profile. Nice malt raisin front palate with thin sweet whiskey flavors and sweet burnt toast, carmel and light toffee flavors.

Finish is simple bitter coffee.

Photo of alleykatking
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a semi-hazed amberish red with hints of brown to it. Half finger off white head shows poor retention. Light lacing on the sides of the glass just fall back into the beer.

S- Plum and raisin really come out in the aroma which I found to be very pleasing. Sweet caramel malts in the middle shine for a short bit. Hints of biscuit in the ending with a light sweet alcohol.

T- The flavor is interesting. Plums and raisin do come out in the flavor but not in the same forward context as the aroma. Caramel malts do come out in the middle of the beer which leads to a sweetness in the overall beer. Alcohol does come through in the middle of the beer with hints of spicy alcohol. Light toasted malts on the backend of the beer. Spicy hops and alcohol come back through on ending of the beer and ends on that.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light plum, raisin, and caramel malts are left on the palate. Aftertaste is a lot of spicy alcohol, earthy hops, caramel malts, and light hints of toast. Flavors were balanced good for the beer with nothing overpowering anything else. No off flavors in this beer at all. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was pretty good. Nothing over the top which makes it a good everyday drinker. The ABV can sneak up on you. A nice drinker but I think it might be a little light for the style. Overall worth trying and you just might find a good easy going go to ale.

Photo of tone77
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is strong of dark fruits. Taste is good, dark fruits, spices, malts, flavorful and easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall this is a high quality beer.

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

High clarity copper, rising streams of carbonation, superior head retention with a ton of sticky lacing. Had no idea this was a Dubbel until I looked it up on BA.

Smells like dried fruit and cinnamon. Tastes similar, some vaguely Belgian yeast. A little light on the aftertaste, sort of smokey with stewed fruit. Body is fairly light, dry and spicy in the finish. It's not exactly Belgian style-wise, but a good beer nonetheless.

Photo of jsh420
2.48/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

pours clear dar ruby with a 1+ finger head that left some spotted lacing

smells of fruity malts some xmas spice???

taste - maybe they should use some belgian yeast?? if you want to brew a belgian beer

over spiced tastes like an xmas tree

mouthfeel is good lots of carbonation with a medium body

drinkability is not good - this makes me not want to drink anything else from this brewery

Photo of matjack85
2.82/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I found this 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's in Plainfield, IL for $1.49. There is no freshness date on the bottle and this one was in the discount bin, so there is no way to tell if this was a fresh sample or not.

The beer poured the color of buffalo hair but it only made 1 finger's worth of off white head that lasted about 30 seconds before dissipating to nothing. A decent amount of lacing clung to the glass as I drank it down.

Malt, nut, dark fruit, and alcohol smell. Nothing offensive, but nothing to make me say "ahh" either.

This is a very bitter beer - not dubbel-like at all. It's also lioght bodied instead of full bodied and loaded with malty sweetness. There is some malt in here, plum flavor, and a nutmeg/cinnamon thing going on along with noticeable alcohol, but when bitter hops dominate the flavor I can't rate this as a good dubbel.

Light bodied with medium carbonation and not sweet enough for the style it's trying to be.

I'm glad I only bought one of these as I won't be going back for more, although like I said at the top, I have no way of knowing if this was a fresh bottle.

Photo of eclaycamp
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Who would have thought a Belgian would come from a craft brewery in Missouri? 12 ounce bottle. I really like the label on this one. Nicely done. Pours a rich mahogany with little to no head. Great color. Aroma is of raisin and fig. The beer presents itself in a straightforward manner. Roasted barley up front, mild sweetness in the middle, and light bitterness at the end. Some heat in the finish due to the high alcohol content. Some spiciness abounds throughout. Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, etc. Honestly it feels like it could benefit from an infusion of amped-up Belgian yeast - it's usually one of the first things I taste that makes a Belgian a Belgian, and it's just not here, at least not a strong enough presence. Don't get me wrong - it tastes good but it lacks the complexity I like in beers of this style.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

RJT

Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.21/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, ruby/amber color with a two-finger tan head of thick foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - the brew hints at raisins, currants, plum, and dark breads. The nose was a little week with this one, kind of disappointing.

T - The flavors of dark fruits hit you first with layer of bitterness at the same time. The flavors at first seem like their about to attack your taste buds but flavors wash away fairly quick and give way to a bitter and alcoholic after taste. 

M - smooth and semi syrupy. Not too thick or thin and a nice fizz. 

D - The box it came in didn't state what kind of beer it was. Most breweries that have "big" in the title, usually refer to it's flavor. This one, being a dubbel, fell a little short. Not to say I don't like dubbels, but I have to try one that really truly delivers. This one was good but I think it was a little over priced; $12 at AFEES. 

Photo of biggred1
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, pumpkin-amber with a creamy light tan head. Coriander, toffee and fark fruit in the aroma. Mildly fruity with nougat and cocoa powder notes. On the lighter side of medium bodied with crisp carbonation. An easy drinker and pleasant all around brew.

Photo of BeerDocT
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of rrski198
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I didn't know the style of this beer when i bought it on tap or reviewed it.

A: deep dark brown with fluffy off white head. Great color change within the beer as the dark chocolate color at the top of the glass fades slowly to a dark caramel color at the bottom.S: Woonderful caramel and brown sugar smell with hints of bready malt and dark dried fruits (raisans, cherries, prunes)

T: Sweet fruit right up front. Dark belgian yeast and thena quick hit of spice. Very unique. I think the dark fruit and funky yeast remind me of a belgian quad (without the body and booze).

M: Full and spicy. On the tongue and on the gums. Great carbonation makes the booze really pop. Very refreshing and leaves me wanting more.

O: unique, interesting, complex. GReat beer worth a few more tries.

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I begin my tasting of this beer on a medium cold night with rain as i start my brew day. My thoughts are clear and my pallet is ready.

As I pour this beer I notice that it does not create much head, and the retention is only subpar. The color is perfect and I debate on the score, disagreing with the 20% weight and deciding to adjust for overall scoring purpose.

As I smell the beer, my taste buds dance with a delictable sense of delight. An almost candy-like raisin plum tantalizes my nose creating a sensation that my senses are dancing with the universe and harmony has been accomplished in the universe.

As I taste this beer, Ihe sensation of my nostrils is disappointed, like when you take a chick home from the bar who looks good, but then her boobs are kind of flappity and you're all like, well she's really cool and has a good looking face, so I'll go through with it anyways. Not bad, but kind of a story of mild disappointment having been so delightfully set up.

Mouthfeel is fairly big for the style. It's almost chewy with a little bit of of astringency.

As I've described before, this beer sets me up to be epic, but then slightly disappoints. Not bad though.

Photo of Biff_Tannen
2.35/5  rDev -36.8%
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.

Photo of sweethome
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found several beers from this brewery at Binny's - had never heard of them.

Label states Belgian Dubbel. Pour is carmel color, with pillow head of off white. A little different structure of the head than expected - not so rock as soft and pillowy. Decent lacing.

Nose is simple - a hint of brown sugar, not much more. Not bad, just not what I expect from dubbel, lacks the fruit and yeast I expect.

Soft feel on entry, almost feels like a lager with smooth and soft mouthfeel. Flavor profile is carmel malts and again, brown sugar. A satisfying flavor, nothing too complex or deep, but soft and flavorful. Finish brings in some dried fruit flavors.

No faults detected here - which is often saying something for a new brewery.

This beer did not quite meet my definition of a belgian dubbel, but it does not have any significant faults, has an enjoyable flavor profile and has a sneaky alcohol heft. I feel like I have downgraded it based on the style, but overall a nice job from a brewery I have not heard of!

Photo of BigBry
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of woodychandler
4.7/5  rDev +26.3%
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.

Photo of Oakenator
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful dark brown-amber pour. Filtered and clear. Minimal head and retention. Bottle indicates raison and plum - smells more like a prune and the taste definitely brings that flavor. Strange bitter aftertaste; different but a nice change of pace. I have preferred other beers flavored with raisins.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

Photo of Ford
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
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
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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Big Bison Ale from Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.
84 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.