Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

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: 186
Avg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 2
Gots: 14 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 61 | Hads: 186
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.

 307 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.48/5  rDev -33.5%
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

 390 characters

Photo of matjack85
2.82/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

 1,109 characters

Photo of jwinship83
2.86/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle with no freshness information drank out of my st bernardus chalice.

A- this one pours out a clear brownish red colored body with a small khaki colored head. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind a wall of lacing along the edges of my glass.

S- the first thing i notice is how sweet this one smells. lots of sweet bready and fruity malts. mostly plum, raisin, fig, and apple. there is also some cinnamon like spice in here, which seems out of place.

T- the taste is different compared to all other dubbels ive had, and not in a great way either. that cinnamon like spice i could smell comes back in a big way. the bready malts take a distant back seat to it. the fruit i could smell is back, but not nearly what i was expecting it to be. there is also a lot more alcohol than i was expecting.

M- light bodied and thin. very highly carbonated. small warming from the alcohol. about what i was expecting given the style.

D- i found trouble getting to the bottom of this one, and i dont know what ill do with the rest of my six pack. the cinnamon smell/taste kind of ruined it for me.

 1,109 characters

Photo of drpimento
2.97/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a decent foamy frothy tan head and a tiny bit of lace. Head mostly died down quick. Color is a nice clear amber red. Aroma is malt, circus peanuts, dates, spice, and funk. Flavor is about the same with a sweet bitter finish. Body is on the thin side with ok carbonation. Wouldn't go out of my way for this. Can see what they're trying to do, but didn't quite get it.

 378 characters

Photo of enfield249
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a copper red in color. The bottle was a gusher, and there is a about 1 fingers worth of foam that sticks around on top of the beer.

S - I get malt and some spicy hop aroma.

T - This tastes for all the world like a barleywine. More hop flavor than I would expect from a Dubbel, but all the malt flavors and spice of a dubbel.

M - Medium to full. Lots of CO2.

O - Not a bad beer, but seems to be off style.

 419 characters

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.

 1,019 characters

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.

 632 characters

Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
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. 

 918 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.22/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had on tap at Twisted Spoke into a pint glass...Pours a light brown that is clear with ruby highlights. Light tan head with low retention and lacing...The taste and aroma have the normal qualities of a dubbel but way too sweet. Raisons, dark fruits, tons of candied sugar present mostly. Super sweet plums and sugar dominate and make this uncrushable. The feel is really watery.

A typical American attempt at a Belgian classic that falls short in quality and execution.

 472 characters

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

 1,515 characters

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.

 517 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

 576 characters

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.

 469 characters

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.

 343 characters

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.

 663 characters

Photo of bsuedekum
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Went to this brewery over the weekend and had their sampler of 8 beers. This was my favorite of the bunch so I decided to review it.

A - This the best part of this beer. Rich dark mahogany color that isn't cloudy at all but carries a clean, clear look. Nice carbonation and head when fresh (three days into a growler now and the carbonation has faded quickly). This looks like a good Dubbel should.

S - Fruits, bread yeasts

T - For an American Dubbel made in the sticks of MO this is quite tasty. It doesn't compare to a quality Belgian Dubbel by any means, but doesn't fall on it's face either. Heavy on the bread yeast and carries a weird, very faint, lager taste somehow that I don't care for. If they could tone back that yeast taste it would make the beer much more balanced and if they could eliminate that off-lager flavor I'm getting it has a great base flavor to it... just not quite there overall. Nice sweet fruit flavor with a background of caramel is what I like about this one.

M - Pretty solid for a Dubbel. Could stand to finish a little more crisp as I typically expect Dubbels to have a refreshing aspect to them.

O - I've had an entire growler over the last few nights and do enjoy this beer. Not something to seek out, but worth trying if you ever stumble across it and it's reasonably priced. It's very easy to drink for 7.2% so bee careful if knocking back a 6-pack.

 1,393 characters

Photo of Oakenator
3.43/5  rDev -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.

 301 characters

Photo of eclaycamp
3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

 818 characters

Photo of HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Deep amber with nice clarity. The head is an inch of dense beige foam with good retention and scattered lacing.

S: Rich bready malt blends with pronounced dark fruit esters that impart notes of plum, raisin, and prune. Earthy notes are pervasive. I detect a faint spiciness and a hint of alcohol.

T: Rife with fruity esters: plum, raisin, and date. Malt is rich and sweet, reminiscent of bread and a whisper of caramel. I get a hint of grape and a touch of brown sugar. The finish is lightly spicy with more bready malts and esters.

M: Medium body with lower medium carbonation.

Overall: Not immediately identifiable as a Dubbel, but a solid beer nonetheless.

 677 characters

Photo of DCon
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the Wolf Public House in Ballwin, MO. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass but couldn't determine a B.O.D.

Appearance- Brown in Color and Medium haze, Not enough to cloud up the beer. Head was 1/2 a finger and had great amount of retention. Leaves a Belgian type of lace on the head (very thick).

Smell- I can most definitely smell the plum (like it says on the bottle) but my most dominant scent was of bread firstly and then strong alcohol.

Taste- Would like to say Crown Valley did a great job but everyone else can't seem to understand my taste buds at the Wolf. We will not be carrying this ale anymore because the taste was too strong for everyone! I say it is good but could've had different Aromatics! Not a good enough background for the average person who is trying a Dubbel.

Mouthfeel- There is a great amount of carbonation in this Full-Bodied Ale. Also a warming sensation hits the mouth as I keep it in for a few seconds.

Drinkability- This was our first Belgian Style beer at our place and even though it didn't sell worth shit, I would buy and drink any night of the week. I would recommend to anyone who likes Belgian Styles but if not, don't bother...

 1,194 characters

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.

 300 characters

Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

 302 characters

Photo of Rhettbuck
3.66/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer from Crown Valley Brewing, and while its good and certainly drinkable, its not out of this world.

Appearance: Strong brown color, with an amazing head that never really seems to dissolve away.

Smell: The bottle says the beer has notes of raisin and plum which really come across on the smell of this beer. Really unusual to smell something like this. I would say the plum is a bit stronger than the raisin, but both are present.

Taste: This is where the beer starts to fall apart for me. While you do taste the notes of raisin and plum, neither are particularly strong on the palate. Sadly, it tastes like most ales. Which is not to say this beer is bad, far from it. It is tasty, but you won't wake up in the middle of the night craving one.

Mouthfeel: Crisp is what comes to mind when I drink this beer. Almost a bit too carbonated, which makes me wonder if I wouldn't have rated this beer higher on taste if I didn't have to wade through the bubbles. Finishes clean with a slight residue aftertaste. Overall good.

Drinkability: If the price is right, and it was for me, then this beer would be a great companion on a snowy night. I drank mine while watching my favorite football team. Its not too heavy, but also not too light, rather it settles in a perfect balance. Could easily drink four or five without feeling full.

 1,353 characters

Photo of plfahey
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 1,116 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Big Bison Ale from Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.
84 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.