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Big Bison Ale - Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bison AleBig Bison Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

156 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 156
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.64%
Wants: 2
Gots: 9 | 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:
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 added by: Vancer on 05-11-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 156 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KC9LDB
5/5  rDev +33.7%

KC9LDB, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of Steedee
4.95/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For me, the best "double" beer I've ever had is Licher Double Bock. Found only in Giessen Germany, and only at Christmas time.
This beer is a very close second IMO...
At first swig, I thought it could easily be classified as a double bock instead of an Ale. Its color is hazy dark brown, and the taste is malty, with a perfect balance of very mild bitterness.
There are some mild fruit flavors that jump out, and a nice warming sensation because of the high alcohol content.
A very nicely BALANCED and drinkable beer. Perfect on a cold winter day, and it doesn't take to many before inebriation.

Steedee, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of bsuedekum
3.43/5  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.

bsuedekum, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of fltmedic
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a large snifter a very nice light tan creamy head forms. The color is a gorgeous dark red-orange with a small amount of bubble coming up.

The smell is very light with some nice caramel notes. Even with some time to concentrate in the top of the glass as the head settles, not much aroma to betray the flavors.

The entry is malty and sweet and quickly moves into the body. Here there is a mouthful of Belgian dubble with malt, molasses, cashew and some yeastiness coming through. It fades with a nice warming of the alcohol just enough to remind you that this is a big beer (7.2 abv) but isn't off putting in the slightest.

Mouthfeel is warm, full and slightly chewy. There is slight carbonation.

This is a beautiful beer as nice to sip as it is to look at. I'd like to have one again on a cool night with a plate of cheeses.

fltmedic, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of plfahey
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

plfahey, May 24, 2011
Photo of rrski198
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

rrski198, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of bnes09
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Deep caramel, toffee colored ale. Creamy colored head with solid retention and lace lines.

Complex aroma of dark fruits, sour dough bread and spicy hops.

Most prominent flavor is sweet caramel and dates. Underlying herbal hop spice adds a bitter dimension. And of course, the bready malt provides a solid foundation with an interesting sour character. Highly flavorful and well blended.

Light to medium body. Seems slightly thin for the style but adds to the drinkability. Moderate carbonation. Could definitely use a more sturdy consistency to match the depth of flavor.

So easy to put down! The alcohol is almost indetectable. Rich in flavor and aroma. An excellent Belgian-style brew.

bnes09, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

alleykatking, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of DCon
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
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...

DCon, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of biggred1
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

biggred1, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

jasonjlewis, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of hoplover82
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

hoplover82, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

GRG1313, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
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. 

dotsonjamesg, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of Rhettbuck
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Rhettbuck, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of spointon
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a clear red/amber color. With an aggressive pour down the middle of the glass this raised a 1/2" off white head. The head dropped to a very thin skim and didn't leave any lace to speak of.

S= I found aromas of dark fruity esters, sweet malts, and a hint of biscuit.

T= Started off with a balance of caramel/treacle sweetness and dark fruity esters. This then progressed through a kiss of toast, raisin, and then some spicy alcohol. Oddly it finished dry with a kiss of hops and more spicy alcohol. This ale tasted as much Scottish as it did Belgian.

MF= Medium bodied with a crisp carbonation level.

D= A very interesting beer that I would drink more of if I had it. I stand behind my assessment that this "Belgian dubbel" is very reminiscent of a Scottish/Scotch ale. It has me wondering if they fermented it with a Scottish strain of yeast instead of a Belgian strain. Either way its tasty and malty and easy to drink despite the higher ABV.

spointon, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

jrallen34, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +7%
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.

zeff80, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of OlRasputin989
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into Duvel tulip...

A: Pours a rich, reddish brown with a 2 finger tan head that fades to leaves branches of lacing

S: sweet aromas of black cherry, plum skin, belgian candy sugars, and rich caramel malt.

T: sweet upfront, though not as much as the nose would lead you to believe, with more black cherry and plum, has a small amount of hop spice and bitterness, and a metallic caramel fade.

M: light-medium body with an oily mouthfeel, and a dry and resiny fade

Overall, not a bad beer, though it does stray from traditional belgian dubbels in a few aspects: not as sweet or yeasty as the classic belgian examples, a little hoppy for the style, and its too light. Although it does miss on these points its still a beer worthy of my fridge-space and my pallate.

OlRasputin989, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of eclaycamp
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

eclaycamp, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of jsh420
2.42/5  rDev -35.3%
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

jsh420, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of scruffwhor
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

scruffwhor, May 10, 2010
Photo of matjack85
2.78/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

matjack85, May 05, 2010
Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

brownbeer, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of BeerMePlze
4.7/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Found this at the Binnys in Lakeview.

Relatively new beer in Chicago.

I thought this was a fantastic, flavorful beer. Extremely drinkable for Dubbel style. Definately lighter mouthfeel than traditional Belgian Dubbels, but not lacking anything in taste or aroma.

I guess these guys have a whole line of beers too, I'm looking forward to quite a bit more sampling!

BeerMePlze, Mar 25, 2010
Big Bison Ale from Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co.
84 out of 100 based on 156 ratings.