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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

262 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 262
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.96%
Wants: 6
Gots: 10 | 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: 262 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

zestar, Oct 16, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
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

brentk56, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.18/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

BEERchitect, Dec 03, 2006
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 ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -12%

ygtbsm94, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

mikesgroove, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev +5%
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.

kylehay2004, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Oct 29, 2013
Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

oberon, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of largadeer
2.5/5  rDev -26.7%

largadeer, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev +5%
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.

NeroFiddled, Aug 28, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

WVbeergeek, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

nickfl, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

RblWthACoz, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
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

russpowell, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev +5%
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.

mactrail, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of MarkyMOD
2.5/5  rDev -26.7%

MarkyMOD, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

WesWes, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

GClarkage, Dec 20, 2004
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 wrightst
3.75/5  rDev +10%

wrightst, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

dbrauneis, Nov 22, 2012
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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 262 ratings.