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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 (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 145 | Hads: 281
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some mild spice aromas. Taste is much the same with the spices coming through as more earthy than sweet. There is a mild roasty and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but more earthy than I was expecting.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head with nice lacing on a a dark body with reddish hues. The aroma is of light ginger bread and I was hoping for more. The tasting left much to be desired. This Ed a very watered down beer with malt and mild gingerbread notes. Kind of disappointing. Some bitterness to the finish. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall I expected a lot more out of this beer BUT it is organic so taking that into cOnsideration I must rate it as such.

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Photo of brentk56
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy chestnut color with a massive head (just too much) that does stick around and provide good lacing

Smell: It does smell a bit like a gingerbread cookie, with ginger, cinnamon and vanilla aromatics

Taste: Starts out with a nice biscuity, gingerbread flavor which, after the swallow fades in intensity; my bottle has oxidized somewhat so the flavor profile may not be an accurate reflection of where it was

Mouthfeel: Medium body, but a bit overcarbonated

Drinkability: 2005 bottling; has held up reasonably well despite the oxidation; with a bigger malt profile, this could be really interesting

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After having a few standard Bison brews, I didn't hold out much hope for this brew. Glad I made the purchase. It's good beer. Begins with a maltiness that I'd expect from sweeter English and Scottish ales, but with a serious ginger addition. Doesn't really come across a gingerbread, but with a fresh ginger addition. The malts pick up on a doughy, yeasty flare, but not rounded with the nutmeg, cinnemon, or allspice. Doesn't have to; the beer is well bodied, sweet, characterful, and balanced well with English hops. Lingers a bit too long with the sweetness and a hint of graininess late. One of my favorite winter warmers of this season.

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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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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a modest, reserved, half inch-high head of light beige foam.

Smell: Dark malts with a light whiff of roastiness and bittersweet chocolate. Within the aroma each member of the spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) is fragrant and well-represented. Subtle touch of dark fruitiness.

Taste: Opens with a taste of blackened barley coated in a thin veneer of brown sugar and chocolate of the darker variety. Background roast. Restrained sweetness. Clear-cut though never overbearing earthy spice character throughout. A light hop bitterness compliments the spice mix. Finishes with a tidy dryness and a lingering ginger bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit reminiscent of Anchor's OSA, though somewhat tamer. Just as their Chocolate Stout gets the job done being a chocolaty stout, so too does the Gingerbread Ale at being a spicy porter.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lightly spiced dark beer.

A hint of cinnamon, and I say it's cloves. Oh, gingerbread? Seems to be lost in the bitterness of the hops, but a pleasant spiciness nonetheless. Modest body, a hint of malt, a touch of roasted flavors.

This bottle has been around a while, on sale in Pacific Beach for $3.99/four. Surprisingly pleasant stuff. Let it warm up from fridge temp just a little, and it is actually a decent beer. Better than some of the recent Anchor Christmas ales in a similar style.

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Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
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

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear dark brown in color with significant garnet red highlights and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall tan head that very slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Huge amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of gingerbread with some lighter malty notes and some very light hints of molasses.

T: Moderately malty with some notes of brown sugar sweetness along with some stronger notes of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Some lighter notes of allspice and molasses. Light bitterness in the finish.

M: Just heavier than medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: I found this to be a very enjoyable holiday beer and really thought it was probably the best beer I have had from this brewery. I like the addition of the gingerbread spices and think it really hits on that flavor profile. Fairly easy to drink.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a smooth caramel scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It also has an awesome gingerbread aroma that is very enticing. The taste is good. It has a roasted toffee flavor that is sweet and smooth on the finish. It also has a mild, not over the top, gingerbread taste that is very enjoyable. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good seasonal brew. It's smooth and full of flavor; a good drinker.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/19/04- Part of a 10pk holiday beer case purchased at Cost Plus in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle poured into my Reaper pint glass. No expiration date available.

Appearance- Nice foamy head, deep red pour, but virtually zero lacing.

Smell- Just as it says...gingerbread, maybe some cinnamon and other spices.

Taste- Kind of like a porter taste with gingerbread and spice flavors. Maybe a bit of chocolate in there too.

Mouthfeel- Very light. Maybe a bit thin. Medium to low carbonated.

Drinkability- A definite interesting brew. Not really my favorite taste in a beer, but was a good experience to have. Not bad considering. Took me half the pint to get used to it.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.56/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: dark, deep amber hue with a mostly haze-free body and a strong effervescence. Head is almost two fingers of frothy tan foam with decent retention. Actually, it's pretty attractive.

Smell: very malty aroma with lots of toasty and biscuity character; admittedly not my favorites. The nutmeg and cinnamon come through nicely and actually complement the toastiness well. Not bad, but it doesn't really suit my palate.

Taste: not quite as biscuity and dry as the aroma. Sweeter, more caramel-like character comes through, along with a muted taste of the cinnamon and nutmeg. There's a hint of acidity here, too, perhaps as a result of using roasted malts. Bitterness is not particularly strong in this brew. It's OK, but still not among my favorites.

Mouthfeel: light body with a good level of carbonation; while not super creamy, it is getting up there and borders on being quite a satisfying texture.

Overall: I'm glad I tried this beer, although it turned out to not be my cup of tea. It tastes kind of like a pumpkin beer without the pumpkin, so if that sounds like what you are looking for then it may be worth a try.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.41/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 1.8.13

A - Pours an amber-brown with a small fizzy tan head with solid retention.

S - Coffee, cinnamin, biscuit malty.

T - Subtle coffee and cinnamin, some bitter malts.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Ok, but not as tasty as I was hoping for. Pass on this one.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.49/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Basically a gingerbread porter. Great head with strong retention atop a smokey, thick brown. Great smokey malts mixed with a much more authentic gingerbread aroma than expected. I was afraid it would be overpowering. The taste reflects the great balance of a good porter and the gingerbread. The roasty and smokey blend very well Would have gotten a five in that department except for the fact that it lost some of its balabce as it warmed up. As it warmed, it lost a little of its pleasant gingerbread quality. Smooth palate with a great linger that leaves a smaller and smaller impression of the beginning flavors.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Looks like a good porter maybe a touch thin with a clear amber hue. Head is a nice opaque color.

S - Not much roast or coffee but a nice balance of hops, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

T - Kind of lackluster very little porter flavors maybe some roast and cinnamon and nutmeg seems timid enough. Worst part is a chalky hard water flavor, boo!

M - Light to medium, thin not very chewy. Poor example of a porter.

Overall not worth getting and very disappointed since this has been on my tick list for a while. Not very gingerbread tasting at all, just a spiced weak porter.

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