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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

145 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 281
Avg: 3.47
pDev: 15.56%
Wants: 5
Gots: 18 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 145 | Hads: 281
Photo of isualum12
1.79/5  rDev -48.4%
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.

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Photo of RaysHops
2.1/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

At first I was pleased with the fragrance and overall look of the brew...but I think I got it a little too late on the shelf. I'll try it again when it's fresh.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.19/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Dark brown/ black body with a creamy, light tan head (about .5-1 finger depth and that's with a hard pour). Good lacing.

S: What a surprise! It smells like gingerbread cookies. I get some dark chocolate malts, cinnamon, clove, & nutmeg. No hops.

T: The aroma of this beer made me think that this was going to taste pretty good, but it sure didn't. Not a very strong flavor, but one can pick up some chocolate malts, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. Leaves a weird soapy and acidity taste in the back of the throat.

M: I don't know why, because I've never drank soap water, but that's what the texture felt like. A light-medium body and medium carbonation.

D: I would never drink this again nor would I recommend this to a friend. I feel like it was an amateur beer experiment gone very very wrong.

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Photo of Crotor
2.26/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a clear, bloody ruby, with one finger of dense, off-white head with good retention.

There's a mild gingerbread spice aroma, a bit of brown sugar, and something slightly vegetably.

The beer tastes slightly roasty with minor floral hop element - quite like a mild, brown porter. The spicing, however, somea across as dry, chemically, and unpleasant. The beer is not nearly sweet enough to stand up to the spicing. The weird vegetable element carries through - this tastes somewhere between Newcastle Brown and a celery stick (with gingerbread spice, that is). It does taste vaguely gingerbready, but the spices attack the tongue with weird and unpleasant drying flavors, and the base beer is ulimately mediocre at best.

This beer's biggest failing is in the mouthfeel. The body is waaaay too low for the strength of flavors in a spiced beer. The drying chemical off-flavors of the spices also negatively impact the mouthfeel.

This beer is an utter failure. A drainpour if I ever saw one. The core of the beer's problems may be in the low quality of organic malt available - I've noticed similar failings in other organic beers I've tried. Whatever the case, this beer is woefully unbalanced, and is screaming for a heavier malt element.

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Photo of jjboesen
2.29/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.75

"Organic." The single word that sends shivers into the taste-loving beer drinkers of America. Add to this vile word, the name Berkely, which is home to dirty, freedom-hating hippies, union memebers and communists. The math does not look good.

Nor does this watered down ginger ale. It begins in a massive froth tat fills the glass, and quickly subsides into something that resembles a flat Pepsi.

The nose is bored by a few whisps of apple and cider - nothing substantial. (Imagine your grandmother in her kitchen making apple cider. She stops. Shakes her head and dumps it all into the basin screaming, "This is not fit for my grandchild!"

The taste - what there is - comes across as bland with a minor trickle of apple and bubble gum that is stalked by a shallow spot of malt, one that is either lost or unqualified for a real beer. The mouthfeel is a cross between being harsh and spectacurlarly underwhelming. Bison Brewing. What did the bison ever do to you?

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Photo of Dave1999
2.49/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black with a foamy white head which dies done quickly.

The smell is quite faint, roasted malts and some spices, nutmeg and cinnamon.

The taste is weak,there's a slight roasted malt flavour. Tastes watery, pretty bad.

Mouthfeel is watery and highly carbonated, like drinking carbonated water.

This beer was terrible, watery and flavourless. This is the 2nd bison organic beer I've had and they've both been awful. This is a drain pour, glad I only got 1 bottle.

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Photo of illidurit
2.56/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Clear dark brown with a nice tan head. Overspiced aroma with, in order of intensity, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. There's also this slight off-note that I can't really put my finger on. Rotten pumpkin? Melting plastic? It's very minor but it's there. Flavor is watery porter with the expected gingerbread character dominating. Doesn't taste artificial but it's just too much for me. It's like on Christmas if someone makes gingerbread cookies and you eat like 12 of them and then you never want to taste gingerbread again. That's how I feel three quarters of the way through this beer. Mouthfeel is dry and bitter with roastiness but there's a significant astringency also. Cloyingness detracts from drinkability.

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Photo of rowew
2.66/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: 22 oz bomber with an organic label over the cap. No date information.

Appearance: Pours reddish brown with a thick head that fades to a fairly substantial amount of lace.

Smell: Slightly sweet malts and spices - cinnamon and ginger.

Taste: A bit too much spice, and not enough beer. The flavor is dominated by the cinnamon and gingerbread flavor, and there just isn't enough malt backbone to hold up and keep it tasting somewhat like a beer.

Overall impression: An interesting enoug beer, but I certainly won't be seeking out more.

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Photo of AlexJ
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light brown pour with a fluffy off-white head that quickly dissapears. Minimal lace.

Aroma is toasty malts, a hint os cocoa, some light nutmeg and ginger notes, and buttery diactyl. It has the same funky bready yeast aroma as the other Bison products I've sampled. Ringwood?

Flavor follows closely with light caramel, roasty malt, light sweet spice, and plenty more diactly mushiness. Not very good at all.

Body is a hair above light, with a soft undercarbonated flat mouthfeel. Glad this was just a small sample.

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Photo of rallison
2.77/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Winter 2005 Release (sampled for a second time now - first time was a year ago, fresh - sorry, wasn't into reviewing then!). Poured from a bomber at cellar temp into a Chimay goblet.

A: Nice Ruby red/brown color with a 3 finger billowy off-white head that sticks around extremely well.

S: Gingerbread (I guess ginger more specifically) and cloves are overpowering (and, in my opinion, not in a good way!).

T: Same as the smell. Lots of gingerbread, with a ton of clove sort of flavor - a spicy sort of kick actually. Some licorice and just a touch of dark fruits. Maybe some hops back there too? Also reminds me a bit of Coca Cola. Kind of artificial tasting.

M: A bit too fizzy. A bit light in the body for me.

D: Flavors are too unbalanced and bordering on the artificial to make this really drinkable - but, I'd say a 3.0 here is fair. Edit: Drinkability down to a 2.0. Why? I could not finish the bomber. Each sip was worse than the last. I'd love to say I've had a good Bison beer, but, unfortunately, that would be a lie.

This beer really could be good, but suffers significantly in a few areas. If this were better balanced, not quite as fizzy and didn't have that artificial sweetener quality, it would make for a nicely spiced Belgian dubbel. Interestingly enough, I remember my first sampling of this (when fresh) to have WAY too much gingerbread. This sampling seems to have toned that down some, in a very good way. Overall, I can't recommend this, but it is better than I remember it being. Can't complain too much for the 99 cents I spent on the bomber at BevMo.

And an edit: Does Coca Cola use ginger in their soda? This beer just keeps on reminding me of that flavor profile.

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Photo of shand
2.77/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bison Gingerbread Ale pours brown with next to no head. The aroma is full of holiday spices, with ginger taking the forefront. The taste... well. The taste doesn't just quite work. I taste the porter base, and I taste the spices, but they never come together at all. Instead, it's like taking a swig of ginger beer, sprinkling a little nutmeg in, and chasing it with the most generic porter body imaginable. The mouthfeel is weak and watery, and the drinkability is alright. Overall, Bison's Gingerbread Ale is just a slightly below average beer. It's drinkable, but never really reaches enjoyable.

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Photo of misterscooter
2.79/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Hmmm, gingerbread, eh? There's no getting around it with this beer. It pours a dark maroon with not much light getting through but the liquid is clear. About a finger of khaki foam, not real firm, sat and top and disappeared at a good pace.

The smell of gingerbread is strong with this one and overpowers any other smells that might be there.

Surprisingly, the taste of gingerbread isn't quite so obvious. It is there, but you get some sweet and hoppiness, too. However, with the smell of the gingerbread enhancing the flavor, it makes it stronger and you either have to keep from breathing while sipping or put up with it. It gets old fast, though, and I hard a hard time finishing one.

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Photo of Miranda54
2.79/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I read all of the reviews of this beer before trying it out, and really thought that maybe it wouldn't be as bad as the majority of people were saying... I was wrong. While the beer itself was a little lighter than I thought it'd be, which was nice, the taste itself was lacking.

I love anything gingerbread, so I thought this would be my new favorite beer, but I honestly didn't taste anything resembling gingerbread. If you're on the fence about trying this, I'd say to pass. I couldn't even finish my bottle, which is rare.

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Photo of hreb
2.85/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of Hex92
2.85/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
2.9/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.95/5  rDev -15%
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.

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Photo of colts9016
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass at 40 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger off white head that has poor retention. The head is creamy and foamy. The color of the beer is dark garnet color with hues of mahogany. The clarity is poor with some carbonation. The head left some lacing not to much, but the lacing disappeared quickly.

Nose: A rich roasted malt aroma with caramel, toast, and chocolate. There are notes of yeast, ginger, phenols, and floral. The beer had a bread aroma too.

Taste: A rich roasted malt that had notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel, and a mild toast. There were notes of ginger, yeast, floral, and phenols.

Mouth feel of the beer was dry, slightly carbonated, and a touch astringent.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the is medium full. I really did not get any traditional ginger bread flavors. I was hoping for a cardamom note. The beer is descent and fairly easy to finish off.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
2.96/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a porter, smells like a porter, tastes like a porter (or stout). Am I missing something? Did Bison accidently fill my 12 oz. bottle with a porter or is this REALLY their "Gingerbread Ale"? Very disappointing! Good thing I only bought a single!...

This beer looks like a decent porter: very dark brown to black, nice creamy khaki lacing, good body.

There is the faiiintest aroma of ginger or cinnamon but I feel like I was REALLY stretching for it...and could very well have been imagining it because I was expecting this to actually taste like gingerbread. In reality, this smells like a good porter or a stout: dry, yeasty, chocolatey, coffee, and some hops. No spices. None. Zero.

The flavor, yeah, well the label reads: "Beer brewed with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon" but they really need to kick it up a notch because truthfully this just tastes like a stout to me. A GOOD stout, mind you, but a stout nonetheless. As with the smell, there might be a touch of spice in there but, honestly, I could've just mistaken it for the coffee bite. So disappointed, Bison. Why don't you just call this a "Holiday Porter" or "Seasonal Stout"?

The only thing positive about my disappointing drinking experience was that this beer is actually VERY GOOD...once I got past the frustration of it not tasting anything like the way the label said it would! It's a smooth, somewhat robust, stout and it's very drinkable and enjoyable. But it is NOT gingerbread ale. Don't let them fool you. Buy their "Chocolate Stout" instead. Don't waste your time on this.

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Photo of barczar
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear deep brown with ruddy highlights. A half inch beige head dissipates into a coating of light foam, leaving hints of lace.

Aroma is sweet caramel and toasted brown sugar, very sweet, with significant ginger and cinnamon present. An acrid roast character is apparent. As it warms, I realize there's a very prominent cola smell.

Ginger dominates the flavor profile, with subdued toasted malt carrying through to the cinnamon, brown sugar, slightly bitter finish. It's almost peppery. There's an acrid slightly sour flavor that is unwelcome. Chocolate comes out in subsequent sips.

Body is medium light, with moderately high carbonation. The finish is a bit astringent.

Overall, not a bad beer for what it is, but the acrid malt flavor is offputting. I'm not a ginger fan, so not my fave, but...

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.07/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear dark amber brown with a low off-white head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was gingerbread spice and cinnamon spice with some light caramel maltiness. Almost the aroma of allspice one finds in a pumpkin beer.

The flavor was chocolate and caramel and ginger/allspice. The flavors were muddled and more akin to a brown ale with some spicing added. The chocolate and the spice just did not work very well together and the flavors collide in a battle that neither was well suited to win. Some slight bittering also detracts in the flavor.

The finish was dry, bone dry, with some chocolate and a slight coffee flavor coupled with low spice into the afteraste. The body was medium light and a bit watery. Not a favorite, just to muddy in the flavor to be worthwhile.

22 ounce bottle. Purchased in GA.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

For some reason Raul's homie bought a 4 pack of this swill and brought it to Big Sur for the annual thang thang. So like Raul is gonna do, Raul did.

Not that I had any hope for this Christmas-esque beverage, I was still surprised at the the poison-like tinge that it had in the aftertaste. (Apparently not everything organic is good, my children.) It was almost as if someone told the Orkin man that the ant colony presided in the Gingerbread Ale tanks, so he gave them all a lil squirt of DDT. That may be all fine and dandy in the postwar 50's, but in 2013 our cars come with seat belts and nurses stick thermometers in our mouths instead of our... I mean, times are a changing, you know?

It wasn't the worst. And if Raul could compliment it, it actually tasted similar and a bit better than Newcastle. But unlike Katy Perry, this thing didn't make Raul "Ro-o-o-o-o-o-oar!"

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.11/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Dark, dark, opaque brown with a brownish, creamy head that doesn't want to form.

Smell: Gingerbread + DMS (cooked corn) = what the hell? This isn't really bad; the gingerbread spice aspects are quite nice, but the DMS kind of crashes the party. Overall, smells kind of like minestrone.

Taste: Gingerbread spices and mildly sweet, dark (molassesy and chocolatey) malts predominate. There's a very light hop character that comes through in the finish, but it's certainly not the focus of this beer. They're really trying to faithfully replicate the taste of real gingerbread, it seems, and they almost get there... but there are just too many off-flavors that get in the way.

Mouthfeel: Frothy, creamy, full. Very good.

Drinkability: I can see myself really enjoying this on a cold winter's eve. I'd like to try another batch, because this one is just too weird.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my father-in-law for bringing this out to Virginia for some post-Thanksgiving tasting. Served in a Bruery tulip.

The color is dark brown with a half-finger off-white head that quickly settles down into just a ring of light lacing around the edges of the glass and a few bubbles on top. The nose is fairly weak with a bit of roasted malt, chocolate, and a tad bit of sweetness.

The flavor has a bit more depth with a bit of roasted malt, some light cinnamon and ginger, and a very mild chocolate character. The feel is a tad bit light with low carbonation. It drinks easy enough, though it's not terribly tasty and is a bit bland.

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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.