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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

253 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 253
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.96%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | 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:
20 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 253 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of olbubba
4/5  rDev +17.3%

olbubba, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of IlludiumQ36
4/5  rDev +17.3%

IlludiumQ36, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of CWiggins
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this at The Good Beer store in Chapel Hill. Later, I was told by a local distribution rep. that this beer was supposedly long gone (it's seasonal). So I feel rather fortunate to have one in my possession to try.

It pours a dark, dark brown into my pint glass. Almost no head formed; what little did scattered within a few minutes. I dig this aroma; it's mainly of toasted malts and honey, with nice hints of winter spices. No cloves, however. The taste is a little different: it's lean in body with a good bit of dark molasses, combined with a some cinnamon and honey. Very tasty. The aftertaste has hints of dark coffee and just the right amount of hop bitterness.

Now I'll have to try Bison's Chocolate Stout, which I've purposely been avoiding for some time.

CWiggins, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of marcpal
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into large goblet. Brought this one back from trip in Cali, good.

A: Dark espresso color, much darker than I had expected. Pretty nice attractive tan head with very light lacing.

S: Gingerbread right in your face. Nutmeg spices as well, reminding a bit of pie.

T: Spiciness is what hits you up front, not a ton of ginger. Cloves and chocolate are more prominent but it has the taste of a nice mushy cookie. I like this one.

M: Somewhat syrupy but thin at the same time. Little carbonation

D: First I have had from Bison, and would recommend it. Similar to anchor xmas style but not as crisp as theirs. Still worth a try.

marcpal, Feb 04, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer and food pairing #2 for tonight: French vanilla ice cream with gingerbread ale. It sounds like a winner, and I know the ice cream will be good. What about the beer? On to the beer:

I didn't know if I'd get something pale or something dark. I end up getting a very dark brown color with a semi-creamy head on top, which is thick and holding up well. The aroma....it does kind of smell of gingerbread. The ginger and nutmeg are most obvious to the nose. Very light in the dark malt department.

This has a nice flavor. It does remind me of gingerbread. The ginger is well placed, some cinnamon emerges, and there's enough dark malt (reminiscent of doughy bread and toffee) to make a decent enough beer without the spices. The body is very smooth and kind of creamy. Easy to drink as well, unlike some of the other spiced beers.

It's possible the ice cream pairing enhanced my experience with Bison's Gingerbread Ale. I wasn't sure how this would pan out, but it has turned out for the better. This is a Bison product I would surely do again.

DoubleJ, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of chumba526
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appears dark brown with a small tan head.

It smells, strongly of cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet ginger, and allspice.

It initially tastes like gingerbread. The cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and all spice flavors associated with gingerbread come through strongly. There is a mild toffee and brown sugar sweetness that comes through as well. The sweet spice flavor is balanced with a subdued hoppy bitter flavor. This beer nicely balances a sweet malt flavor, a gingerbread flavor with a subdued hoppy bitterness. This beer has a very nice flavor and it is not over the top.

The carbonation is moderate high. Perhaps a bit too high.

The drinkability is pretty good as the beer has a nice balance to it.

Overall this is a pretty good beer that has a nice gingerbread quality to it but also has a nice balance. This was far better then I thought it was going to be.

chumba526, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a rather fizzy, white/tan head, with poor retention and no lace, though I do like the colour.

S: Full smell of freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon, dark bread, and coffee.

T: This definitely tastes like a spiced porter. Ginger is there in the background but it is light, the main flavour is a heavily spiced roasted malt. I taste nutmeg, definitely cinnamon, and maybe a bit of mace. Dark malts are abundant lending a burnt, and chocolate taste to the brew. All and all, a tasty Winter Warmer/Spiced Beer.

M: Medium-bodied, though it does thin out at times, smooth, and a little syrupy.

D: An interesting beer, one of the more heavily spiced Winter beers out there on the market, would go great with pumpkin pie or a holiday meal, a tasty beer from Bison.

Halcyondays, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of aepb1
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
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

aepb1, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of HardTarget
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber body shows some clarity with back light. Tiny bubbled tight knit head drops to a full cover and spray paints the side of the glass with sticky lace.

Smell: What it says on the tin... mostly. The Gingerbread smell is there, doughy with some ginger spice, but like most spice beers, the line between strong full aroma and dusty overload is a pretty thin line. Mild artificial element to the smell, hard to describe.

Taste: Mild, almost watery. Thin malt profile with some roasted grain but not much. Spices are pretty well in line letting the beer come through. Balance seems between the spice and malt, hops don't show up.

Mouthfeel: A tad fizzy, light bodied, dry chew in the finish.

Overall: A nice beer. The Organic label scares me more than attracts me, but this comes off with just a hint of rain water and unwashed tin.

HardTarget, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Minkybut
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this interesting beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was nearly black and poured a really nice tan colored head. The smell was spicy and so was the taste. Definitely could taste the ginger and other holiday spices in this one but it was not so strong that is blowed you away. I would buy again.

Minkybut, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of 1234Jack
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brownish orange color. nice color.

mild head.

smells of ginger and spices.

taste of ginger. not too sweet.

barely bitter, no strong affects on back-sides of tongue. most of the palate is near the front.

bready after-taste

thickish feel. frothy feel.

not noticeably hoppy, more malty.

good taste, i like this.

1234Jack, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heavily garnet-bejeweled walnut brown with light visible on the opposite side of the glass. The head is toasted tan in color with a pitting, pocked top. The foam is reasonably sticky and leaves small chunks of lace on the glass as it falls to a thick, whipped cream-like disk. Nice appearance.

The nose is of toasted caramel malt with plenty of spice; ginger to be specific. The label says that the beer smells like 'fresh baked Gingerbread men' and I can find no fault with that rather poetic description. The flavor is of sweetish caramel malt with the aforementioned ginger and some cinnamon.

There's also quite a bit of bittersweet chocolate--more sweet than bitter--and a hint of coffee as well. I can also appreciate a little hoppy bitterness, especially on the tending toward dry finish. Unfortunately, there's a lighter than average porter body in place. A more expansive, more creamy mouthfeel would improve this beer considerably.

Herbed/Spiced beers are hard to do well in my experience. Plenty of brewers seem to have trouble getting the flavor profile and the degree of spicing just right. I'm not saying that Gingerbread Ale hits all the right marks, but it is a good version of the style. I'll also give Bison points for originality; a gingerbread porter is a new one on me.

BuckeyeNation, May 06, 2004
Photo of Magpie14
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

Magpie14, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of July2Nov
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a big 'ol three-finger,cream colored head on this ale, that soon deflated to a respectable one-finger size. The foam lasted and lasted on this one. Very dark for an ale...has a dark brown hue that shows no light coming through it.

Smell: Dry-roasted nut smell that has a tinge of barley and a bunch of sweetness coming out. Slightly "earthy".

Taste & Mouthfeel: Once you get through the foam, your instantly greeted with the gingerbread taste...spicy and nutmeg hit you first, then a fullness engulfs the mouth during the middle and the spice eases up a bit during the finish. Leaves the taste buds with slight tingle that mellows the mouth. Slightly carbonated, but doesn't take away from the life of the beer very much. For some odd reason i'm reminded by a milk taste while drinking this one. Really good spiced, winter ale.

Drinkability: Perfect accompaniment to any winter, Christmastime activity. Unique as it really does taste like gingerbread...even after the "novelty" factor wears off, it still comes through as a very solid beer. Try if you get the chance...plus it's organic! If that means anything to you in the slightest :)

July2Nov, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well kiss my grits and call me Flo, I didn't know that Bison had moved all the way to Ukiah...Guess they get to party it up with the "oh so awesome" (insert scathing sarcasm here) AFI!!! Pours an dark, dark red...It's like dark black cherry soda in color. Looks brown/black in the glass, but up to the light is a vibrant, dark, evil red...Pours a finger of soapy head, highly carbonated, and leaves very little lacing. Aromas are loaded with Holiday spice - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove - but the big surprise here is the huge, wild ale like sour character that dominates the aroma profile. It smells like a Flemish sour, to be honest. Very nice. And, moving to the flavor, it does invoke gingerbread. It's certainly loaded with holiday spice - mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a great, sharp roasted malt tang up front. The malt really carries throughout the taste, all the way to the finish. Some hops on the finish balances it out nicely. I really like this ale, the finish is a tad thin, but the rest is unique and enjoyable. Very well-priced at $7.49/4-pak so that's great for drinkability...

What I like most: The awesome, unique aromas

What I like least: the thinner than I would like finish.

Verdict: Very good and well-priced make it worth tracking down.

SolomonGrundy, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of Spaghett
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I actually enjoyed this beer. Almost as if I dunked gingerbread cookies in my porter I just poured. If only mom let me have this for an afternoon snack.

Interesting concept, I could only drink one and feel like I didn't eat a big ol' plate of cookies though.

Spaghett, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of BeerManDan
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured, it showed a dark brown with very little foam and there was some lace. The smell of spices and roasted malts filled the nose with a pleasant aroma. The taste had a spice and roasted malt feel on the palate. Spices like nutmeg, all-spice and cinnamom and a hint of dark bitter chocolate. Nice bitter/sweet finish that was not overpowering!

BeerManDan, Nov 26, 2003
Photo of Drew966
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale pours a very dark brown with a thick tan head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is definitely spice, cinnamon stands out. I quite like the taste, it's basically a brown ale with some chocolate and coffee notes and gingerbread spicing. A nice beer for the holidays, it makes me want to get a slice of pumpkin pie to go with it.

Drew966, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of hopdog
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Poured a dark brown color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of gingerbread with some chocolate and spices. Tastes of gingerbread, spices, and chocolate. The gingerbread was definitely there. I was a little surprised (pleasantly) by this one.

Notes from 12/16/07

hopdog, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of HoosBrews
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A much darker appearance than I had anticipated. A very slight amount of ginger in the nose, but not much at all. More malt than ginger in the nose. Taste is malty and spicy, with very subtle ginger. The carbonation really promotes a very complex mouthfeel which is particularly tasty. Overall, a very impressive and unique seasonal!

HoosBrews, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Very dark brown with alot of red at the bottom of the glass. 1/2 inch head and ok retention

Smell: Gingerbread cookies in a glass. Spot on based on the name of the beer

Taste: Flavor falls just a tad bit short based on the nose. There is some subtle gingerbread spice with traces of coffee and cinnamon

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation

Overall: It's a good beer but nothing great. One of those beers that if it's cheap enough I could drink it all the time

DarthKostrizer, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of Neehan
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a shiny, dark, dark brown with an offwhite head and good lacing. Very cool effervescent bubbles make their way to the top before dissipating. The smell is er, gingerbread with cinnamony spices and a malty character. Very nice crisp taste with a nice bitter finish that I enjoyed. This seems more like a dark lager than an ale, but a very good one at that. Makes an excellent change-of-pace if you want to sample something new.

Neehan, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of Talisker
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The first beer labeled "organic" that I've enjoyed. And the "gingerbread" take is unusual, interesting, and ultimately successful.

Poured from a 22oz bottle in late Feb-08 - no freshness date, but probably brewed around around Oct-07. Some dark ruby character to the transluscent deep brown - no head to speak of, just some big bubbles around the edge.

Aroma is the king here - bitter chocolate, some roast, and definitely the right hint of that gingerbread spice (without being an overspiced potpourri). The taste delivers nicely on the promise of the aroma.

Unfortunately the texture is a little thin. A touch more body would really help here, lacking some silkiness. That hurts the drinkability for me.

But this is a very good beer, wiith the spices done at just the right level. Worth seeking out, and enough to show me that "organic" doesn't always mean "subpar".

Talisker, Feb 27, 2008
Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. I definitely was able to detect some pumpkin cinnamon and allspice on the first whiff with bready ginger notes that really make seem like a gingerbread cookie but in liquid form. The taste was a little light on the pumkin spices and cinnamon but had gingerbread man cookie notes and brown sugar accents; really intresting. The brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bready, slight spice, and mild toasty finish. It drank decent but it definitely a novelty beer that was quite intresting. I would one day try to pair it alongside some gingerbread cookies.

Gobzilla, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of towersfall
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown pour with a pretty cream colored head that lingers.

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg come first quickly followed by some caramel malts maybe? Its a great smell (I wouldn't say gingerbread) that reflects strongly on winter time.

Taste: Wow! A delicious gingerbread taste (created by the cinnamon and nutmeg) really greets the taste buds.

Mouthfeel: A medium body with a good aftertaste.

Drinkability: I liked it, but I don't know how much of the cinnamon/nutmeg taste I could stand. It is quite delicious though for 1 or 2.

towersfall, Dec 27, 2009
Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.