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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.
BA SCORE
78
okay

278 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 278
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 (18) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Photo of atrocity
2.5/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of flagmantho
3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of Lare453
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.37/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Photo of harpus
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Axnjxn
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Gusler
4.04/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after its extrication from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a slightly beclouded deep mahogany with a modest semi-creamy tan head that’s dissipates leaving a thick and sticky sheet of lace to obfuscate the glass. Nose is like sniffing a gingerbread cookie, sweet with hints of vanilla, fresh a quite appetizing; start is sweet with a rich malt profile and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is striking in its acidity with the hops purposeful in their spiciness, the ginger noticeable in the devastatingly dry aftertaste, different for sure.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.49/5  rDev +32.1%
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.

Photo of avalon07
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: Once you open the bottle you get a big whiff of the ginger element of the beer. Also smells of sweet malt and a little hops.

T: Tasted of ginger, cinnamon, malt, a little hops and some other spices. A very tart and sharp.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry, smooth finish. Light-bodied.

D: A drinkable beer, but not something I'd readily drink again.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3/5  rDev -11.8%

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 KevinGordon
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of enelson
2.75/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of Dogbrick
3.32/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Pours reddish-brown with a medium thin off-white head with good retention. Thin patches of lacing throughout. The aroma is spiced gingerbread and earthy malt. Medium-bodied with a spicy character. Gingerbread flavor is not too strong, and there are some hops and caramel flavors as well. The finish is short and spicy with vanilla and malt aftertaste. Slightly above average overall.

Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick black hue with good head on top of a sharp ginger smell with hints of cinnamon, caramel and bready sweet malts with no real hop presence. The body is medium-to-full and a little sticky but maintain a bready, ginger spice feel although isn't completely natural and not as smooth as I would've hoped. Not as chewey as slushy and finishes with a dry backbite that reminded me of faint bitter chocolate or toffee. A good beer but just seemed like it could've been better.

Photo of illidurit
2.56/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.49/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22oz Bomber, picked up for $3.49. Most noticeable is the purple & charcoal paper strip that covers the crown cap and which is adhered to the front of the tall neck by a green and white roundel sticker that has the words ‘USDA Organic’ on it. The main label lists the beer as ‘Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale’, stated as 6.8% by Vol. No freshness date.

The blurb states “For the last 9 winters we have brewed this medium bodied Porter with its chewy dark malt flavor, gingerbread spices, and mahogany color.”

Appearance: To the naked eye it is a dark brown polished color, but when backlit it has a deep ruby red hue. A massive light tan head forms with an uneven surface and stays at least 2” deep when first poured. As it slowly settles it collapses leaving some lace on the walls and a more uniform appearance. A smooth thick looking head sits atop the beer for the whole drink.

Nose: It certainly has a Gingerbread nose, though it is restrained and mixed amongst the malts, but there is a light spice to the aroma, a Xmas spice, something like cinnamon.

Taste: Lightly roasted malts envelop the start and middle of the beer. A spicy ginger entrains the center portion with some brandy-snap qualities, which develop a distinct chocolate feel once the beer warms to ambient temperature. Astringent finish, only broken when you get to eat the moist currant eyes of the Gingerbread Mans Head.

Mouthfeel: It has a rich thick high quality malted-bread feel, like biting into a piece of Parkin or a Ginger Sponge Cake. Spices lightly coat the tongue and cheeks. The Beer is very much like a Gingerbread Man, light and airy with concentrated tastes. This Ale has a very nice mouthfeel indeed.

Drinkability: The one bottle was enough. Difficult when cold but much more palatable when warmed, it is most certainly a quality beer that drinks well. It is not however a session beer.

Overall: I happen to like the traditional Ginger Beers, so a GingerBread Ale or Porter to be more specific was intriguing. I think Bison pull it off to be honest, but it will always be specialist in its appeal I feel. Unfortunately my fridge has somehow reset itself recently, and I served this one far too cool to start with. Let this offering warm up to get the very best from it for sure. Very enjoyable, and a nice twist on the Porter theme. Worth trying.

Photo of mynie
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty pour, be all lookin' like a winter warmer n' shit. Nice head, with a semi-translucent dark ruby body that's actually trying to look dark ruby (unlike, say, a translucent stout, which tries and fails to look black).

Smells like allspice, cinnamon, and malted barley. It's a nice combination, but not very complex and a little thin.

Tastes wonderful, at first. Like you're biting into a gingerbread man, just about, with pumpkin pie spices mixed with surprisingly strong nodes of burny ginger. But then the spice nodes just drop away, as if into the aether, and are replaced with a rather generic, heavily malty beeriness. The break is disconcerting, and the back end really drags down the front.

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

A: This poured a nearly clear black cherry with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like ginger and coffee, with a little clove and dark chocolate and a bit of cinnamon.
T: It tasted like dark chocolate and coffee, with some ginger and a little clove and cinnamon. It had a mostly clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Fairly light body.
D: This was not that great of a beer, with the ginger character not mixing well with the porter base. The body was pretty weak too. It wasn't difficult to drink, but it wasn't very enjoyable either. Not recommended.

Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.