1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

279 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 15.59%
Wants: 6
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bison Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-03-2001

20 IBU
View: Beers (17) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 144
Reviews by Hex92:
Photo of Hex92
2.85/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

My wife bought this as part of a mixed 'winter' beers sixer for Christmas. Definitely my least favorite beer of the bunch. It pretty much misses the mark across the board.

It doesn't look like much, there is too much carbonation and it doesn't smell like much either.

The taste is pretty much non-existant. I don't taste ginger, cinnamon, malt, nutmeg, or even beer. This was the first beer I tried from Bison. I would be reluctant to buy another.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is truley a winter warmer,why I bought it in hot June is beyond me but its pretty darn good.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep mahogany brown with a tight fluffy beige head that kept form well for quite some time.Ginger is the main element in the nose wich is expected along with some earth and brown sugar,a little thin and sharp in the mouth but it mellows after a bit.A good mix of spice and earth on the palate,the ginger doesnt overpower but is the main attraction,ther is a solid dry earthiness in the finish.Bison makes some decent organic beers and this is no different.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a mohagany-colored beer with a huge chocolate-colored head maintained by vigorous carbonation. Smells are very light and prettymuch smells like a molasses cookie with a wisp of English hop in the background. Ginger taste takes the forefront, backed by cidery tastes of light molasses and brown sugar, along with a light roasted character. Not a bad beer, but lacks robustness. Mouthfeel is light and thin. I have no specific complaints, but didn't find this beer that drinkable. I think as much as I like it other places, ginger is a little off-putting to me as a beer ingredient.

Photo of magictrokini
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly dark pour with a solid tan head. Gingerbread aroma with some malt. Taste was unexpectedly good, given Bison's track record. The porter quality really comes out; malty, roasty, and chocolatey. Nice hop bitterness works really well with the gingerbread in the end.

Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

While perusing the beer section at my local grocery I came across this interesting sounding beer. "Gingerbread ale", the text described it as a porter but after pouring this into my glass i realized it really isn't a porter at all, far too light. A pretty brew nonetheless, dark brown and only slightly translucent, the head was small and faded quickly with no lacing. Smell was very interesting with clear ginger scents at the nose. Unfortunately this scent doesn't transfer to the taste as well as I hoped with the ginger being noticeable but very faint. Tastes like a flat brown ale, or a very light porter without much in the way of roasted flavors. Mouthfeel was extremely light considering the dark hue of this beer, very confusing. After all this beer is interesting and worth trying, its just that nothing jumps out to make me want to try it again.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a deep dark almost black hue with some mahogany brown highlights coming through the dark color of the body this beer has. Head forms thick, foaming khaki tan head forms fine even lacing as it dwindles down. Aroma is super spiced especially after finishing an Anchor OSA with the subtle spice this one is really popping with Christmas spices. Nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon with caramelized sugars and a touch of dark roasted malts. Flavor is really harsh with spices, dark roasts, and a slightly burnt roasted malt coffee accent. It clashes with the base beer which is an organic porter. Wtih my next few sips I'm starting to adjust with the high level of spices and dark roasted malts, minimal herbal hops are masked by those spice additions. Mouthfeel is medium bodied finishes super dry with the bitterness from the spice additions. Overall a decent Christmas beer experience I'm glad I just picked up a bottle, good in small quantities, definitely a specialty holiday ale.

Photo of chinchill
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Poured very dark brown with a semi-durable beige head.

Aroma: excellent balance in a blend of porter and gingerbread.
Flavor: not so balanced as the aroma, but richer and with more ginger. Also a touch of spicy hops. Lingering bready malt and ginger flavor.

Feel: medium-light body and medium+ carbonation; lively; enough ginger to add to the feel.

O: good but may improve with a little aging.

Photo of OStrungT
4.47/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brownish red color. It has a light brown head that fades quickly, leaving very few laces. The aroma is a little hard to describe. It smells like a gingerbread man. It has a spicy aroma also, but mostly, just gingerbread. It also tasted like a gingerbread man. A liquid alcoholic gingerbread man. It is better than I expected. It is quite good. It has a spicy taste also. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnimon. It also tastes a little sweet. I cant really detect any hops over the spicy flavors. This beer is mild, and refreshing. It leaves a spicy ginger aftertaste. It might be a little overcarbonated, but not so overcarbonated that it detracts from the beer. I think this beer would make a great session beer. The flavor is quite appealing, and I dont think it would get old. Also, the alcohol content, while not stated, is rather low, I think, and that means you could drink a few of them. If you see this one, buy it. Try it. You might like it.

Photo of watermelonman
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured to medium brown color with a small head. Lace is minimal.

The smell is unique and appealing, with plenty of gingerbread flavor. Vanilla comes through too. The taste also has a lot of gingerbread, but it doesn't come out as well. Malt content seems minimal. It is pretty light in the mouth.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not just a holiday ale...this seems to be a respectable Porter underneath it all.
Pours very dark amber...almost black with a tan head that becomes a sticky ring of lacing.

Aroma is dusty cinnamon and very light ginger spice with a lot of toastiness going on in the background giving it a bready aroma.

Flavors are smokey, toasty malt without a lot of sweetness, followed with spices such as powdery cinnamon and dry gingerbread spice...again without a lot of sugar.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with tiny carbonation and aftertaste becomes dry and quenching from noticeable hops.

Very interesting spiced holiday brew, to be sure.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a soapy head that reduces to a thin skim quickly. Shoe-polish black in color, with very quiet, mellow bubbles.

Spices hit the nose immediately, reminding of a fragrant pumpkin ale. And, indeed, it reminds of gingerbread with each whiff. While the other, more everyday beer elements are missing in the aromas, this smells so good that I don't mind.

But when the spices are the only thing present in the flavor, I start to wonder where the beer is. They got the spice combination right, resembling gingerbread in the flavor, but some of the heartier, more robust elements central to any good ale have been left behind.

Mouthfeel is too thin, especially when the spice flavors would demand something stickier and thicker.

A nice spicey indulgence that was not a pain to drink, but it lacks the complexity it needs to be a super-recommendable beer. An enjoyable beer with a bit of a difference, just nothing outrageously good.

Photo of Magpie14
3.94/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured much like a thin porter with a ruby crusted brown being the dominant hue. Closer inspection displays dark oranges and murky burnt brown shades. Lacing is subpar and a foamy top ceased to exist after a rigorous pour

S: delicately sweet gingerbread smells with some toasted caramel malts. As my whiffs continue, I find this brew relies on a hearty dose of spices mostly cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cloves. It is by far the best gingerbread smell I have partaken in without actually having a piece in front of me

T: the flavor profile has much of the spiced whiffs already mentioned. Cinnamon, brown sugar, and ginger play gingerly on the tongue. In addition to this, the maltiness is taking on a molasses sugar cookie with toasted crystal malts flavor. Along with this is a light chocolate bitterness floating about. I am digging this brew for its unique flavors and style. It finishes just a touch dry and grainy

M: if any improvements could be made it would be here. I think the feel, considering the flavors, is kinda thin and would gain strength with a heavier body. I classify the body pretty mild that is just shy of being creamy. Still, it moves pretty slick down the hatch and overall it has a decent feel

D: tasty flavor experience and a nice compliment for the season. I give props to Bison for the adventurous style of melding gingerbread and beer together. I think it works!

Photo of hreb
2.85/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle served in a chalice. Beer pours cola brown, crystal clear, and with no appreciable head. Smells like the aforementioned molasses cookies. Tastes like a highly carbonated version of the same. Actual ginger flavor here is, to my palate, too washed out, like all too much bad gingerbread. And unfortunately this beer hasn't got much else going for it. Mid-grade over-gassed molasses cookie beer.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's extremely deep chestnut body appears black in the glass, but displays brilliant ruby highlights when held to the light; and the creamy, yellowish-tan head maintains a solid 1/4" cap throughout the glass and leaves some nice lace along the way. Cinnamon is evident in the nose along with some mild, dark fruitiness and a dry, bready maltiness. It's mildly crisp in the mouth to start-off with as its medium body releases its median carbonation; and it warms to become lightly creamy as it crosses the palate. At first its flavor is dominated by a cinnamon spice that seems to dull it's bready, lightly toasty, and even slightly chocolatey malt; and then a ginger note steps forward to totally eclipse whatever maltiness may have been there - and it finishes very dry (but not bitter) with a lingering note of ginger. The spices are there, clearly; just not the sweet malts needed to back them up.

Photo of cjgator3
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish black color with a light tan head with good retention and lacing. The aroma is holiday spices and dark roasted malts. The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts up front with some sweetness and the spices coming through in the finish. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount if carbonation. Overall, not a bad little holiday porter that is worth a try.

Photo of bradleyp
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks again to the Bier Stein for carrying this beer.

Pours a medium brown.

Smells like a very bready gingerbread cookie. Very nice aroma througout.

It has a nice spicy taste, with again the gingerbread. Obviously, the brewer knew what he was doing when he wanted to get that gingerbread taste. Some other spices hit the tongue like cinnamon. This tasted like a liquid waffle almost.

I believe this is a seasonal beer, so I probably won't be purchasing this again, at least until next year. My girlfriend is a vegan, so she really likes the fact that Buffalo Bills has a good amount of organic beers. She could drink this beer "all year long" as she stated.

Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours Mahogany/black with a sliver of mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Ginger bread period!

T: Ginger, black bread, & grainyness. More gingerbread spice, brown bread & a slight tinge of molasses once warm. Finishes spicy & dry, reminds me more cheap gingersnaps than ginger bread, plus a touch of squashyness

MF: Light/medium bodied, low carbonation , warming

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not a bad offering, but more maltyness is required

Photo of SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love Christmas beers and gingerbread and saw this. I know I shouldn't have spent so much money and gotten a four pack on something I knew I'd probably only want one of, but oh well!

Appearance - Pours a hazelnut color into my SA Perfect Pint. About a finger of tan head is achieved that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing.

Smell - Honestly, gingerbread. That is all.

Taste - Damn, straight up ginger (almost a biting sensation on the tongue) with bready malts, molasses, and other spices like nutmeg. I will give them points for the fact it does taste like a liquid gingerbread house. It is not as off-putting as you would think - honestly I could see this being a Short's beer in the near future. It really is exactly how it is labeled (which I find Short's does quite well).

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, decent carbonation.

Drinkability - Yeah, even one of these is a chore honestly. It is a good novelty beer to be honest, and actually does it well, however, it is a bit much. To be truthful, I am glad I picked this up and am saving one for when my parents visit and will have them try it with me to see their reactions. Not horrible at all.

Photo of aepb1
3.96/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown body with a light brown head that dissipates quickly

S- Gingerbread, very much gingerbread

T- Bready malts and gingerbread, molasses and more gingerbread

M- Medium-bodied, good carbonation

D- The novelty of a beer that tastes this much like a gingerbread cookie makes this an anticipated seasonal

Photo of ocelot2500
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mahogany color with a tight, off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of light roasted notes with some spices coming through.

Tastes of solid roasted notes with a drying spicy end. Notes of cocoa, coffee, and molasses come through with a mild sweetness. Hop earthiness comes in the middle with some bitterness coming out as well. Finishes in a ginger and cinnamon swirl that really dries everything out.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a slightly assertive amount of carbonation.

Overall, a pretty solid beer that does have the promised gingerbread effect, but I would like it to be sweeter with a bit bigger body.

Photo of isualum12
1.79/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Sorry for the low score butihad to remove the secod drink from my mouth. This is not all something I could finish.

Look dark dark tasty looking pour with a nice floating Cooper tan head.

Smell- lots of spice with ginger

Taste- ginger root. Not gingerbread ginger root. Thought ihad actually got a clump of dirt with the root.

Mouth feel couldn't get through the beer toreally get a good feel but the carbon is sitting on my throat still.

Overall- it's not for me.

Photo of Dukeofearl
2.9/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Let me start by saying that I'm not a big fruit beer or herbed/spiced beer lover. And so, this Christmas gift, is not one I would have picked up on my own. But I'm always up for a new taste adventure (ok, I'm up for almost any new adventure, but that's another story, or maybe several other stories). But I digress.

This beer pours a burnt gingerbread brown, with a moderate head after a vigorous pour that quickly dies to nothing. The aroma is herbal/spicy, having been told it's gingerbread, I can't argue with that as the premise. My first sip made me do the old double take- it really surprised me. It's all herbs. Maybe some roasty malt, but no caramel-toffee-chocolaty malt.

Mouthfeel is ok, maybe a little thin for the style.

Overall, I drank this beer, and was glad for the opportunity to do so, but I was not excited by it.

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I'm a fan of pumpkin beers and that's what this beer reminded me of, since gingerbread and pumpkin spice contain some of the same spices. In actuality, this beer didn't remind me enough gingerbread. I did enjoy the lightness of the beer but if it was a bit creamier or had more of a ginger flavor, I think I would have enjoyed it better.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

medium and hazy amber color coming forward right away. A nice tuft of white coming through on the top of the glass, settled down into a smooth and subtle crown that faded out quite fast leaving a bare top.

The aroma was far too light to be really noticeable. Lots of citrus hops here and a nice touch of light spices, mostly pepper, but again it was just not strong enough to really set itself apart from anything. The flavor again was light, spices, citrus, and a touch of pepper all mingling about. Very light feel here now as the flavors were all gone far too quickly.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 6% abv. Pours deep brown, with some slight ruby edges. Tan head fades to a ring rather quickly.

Roasty malt aroma, with a healthy amount of ginger. A bit of a bread-like feel in the nose. Maybe some nutmeg or other spices as well, but ginger is the theme.

Malt character is roasty, and very dry. Some ginger, and an earthy, herbal feel. Not much really going on here.

Light body, a good amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Overall, not as interesting as it sounds. Disappointing.

to view more.
Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.