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

61 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 61
Hads: 185
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.71%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 185
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. (576 characters)

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. (431 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | 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 - It smelled of dried, dark fruits. There was a nice caramel nose, too.

T - It leads off with dried, dark fruits - like raisin and plum. There was a strong maltiness with a touch of yeasty spice.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good brew. One of the better offerings from Crown Valley so far. (489 characters)

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. (1,019 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
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 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! (910 characters)

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. (1,249 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
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 HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

5/8/2012

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 Tone
4.24/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber/copper. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, yeast, slight dark citrus, toffee, slight earthiness, and slight caramel. Fits the style of a Dubbel. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong yeast, strong sweet malts, slight earthy malt, slight caramel, toffee, and hint of hops in the finish. Overall, good blend, body, complexity, and aroma. (459 characters)

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. (253 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a vermillion amber color with a one finger head that leaves a half circle of foam after a few sips. Nice bubbling and some quick lace stickage.

Candi sugrlightly sprinkled on French toast aroma. Good toasted malts and no noticeable hop aromas.

The taste starts toasted and breaddy. The middle brings up some sugary sweetness with a slightly metallic mouthfeel. This metallic twang disapppears as the beer warms. The alcohol takes on a soft wrm and atringent quality combined with very soft, earthy hop flavors.

Pretty balanced dubbel, but the palate was missing a little carbonation and a longer lasting malt bill. All in all pretty good. (649 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.22/5  rDev -13.4%
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 bsuedekum
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
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 drpimento
2.97/5  rDev -20.2%
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 jmdrpi
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (357 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (230 characters)

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. (301 characters)

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 (390 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a cervoice glass, this looked good with the clear mahogany brew topped by a thick tan head. Plenty of Brussels lace left behind as I progressed down the glass.

Aroma was mostly caramel and malt, but the Belgian yeast and sugar cane really came through in the hearty quaffs. The finish added notes of dark fruit, plum and raisin. Still, enough hops and spice to balance it out - this paired well with the Bison sausage and hot pepper cheese bought at the Crown Valley country store.

Very tasty brew, you have to try it - watch out for the 7.2%, it's well hidden. (577 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
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 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 (617 characters)

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. (1,109 characters)

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. (555 characters)

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. (296 characters)

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