Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

145 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 280
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 5
Gots: 17 | 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: 280
Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.67/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (521 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev +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. (482 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (417 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
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... (808 characters)

Photo of mynie
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (703 characters)

Photo of illidurit
2.56/5  rDev -27.1%
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. (756 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.49/5  rDev -0.6%
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. (2,374 characters)

Photo of hopdog
3.87/5  rDev +10.3%
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 (285 characters)

Photo of Reidrover
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovelly looking dark brown ale with a very handsome beige head, thick and creamy. Nice aromas, of ginger cake, spices,coffee,chocolate and sherry .Like it. Taste ginger snaps,esspresso,faint rum cake,chocolaty, slightly toasted malts. No hops. Ok on the palate maybe a bit on the thin side to carry so much different flavours. Overall..I kinda enjoyed this one, unusual and good, though not an everyday drinker..even in the Festive Season. (439 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - very dark brown color with a beige head that thinned to a ring.

S - gingerbread and holiday spices.

T - the ginger and spices are there but they aren't over powering as I'm tasting plenty of roasted malt on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation, goes down smooth.

O - a decent porter with a holiday touch. (373 characters)

Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blackie sent this for my BA annv – again, many thanks!

‘cause an enticing Bison brown, almost black pour greeted me, nice ivory head on this critter. Spotted sheet lacing.

And, wow, the woody and spicy aroma is strong in this one. Very nice taste, too. Kinda like a porter on a spice crack kick. Malty and quaffable, still fairly dry in the finish. I’m not noticing <gingerbread> in this, not surprising as I’m not into it.

This brew seems to have some root beer nestled down deep. Nice. (506 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - burgundy hue with a touch of browm. A light mocha head fluffs up to a thin finger before settling in at a thin but kind of sticky cover. Some decent legs of lace maintain as the beer level drops.

Aroma - light molasses sniff, the malts giving support, maybe giving a cola-esque smell. Some nice roastiness with warmth.

Taste - malty and molasses, as billed. The balancing bitterness is there, I'm not sure it's needed though. The brew isn't especially sweet, but the hops do their job to provide some offset to the sugars. Nice roasty element on the swallow, even some coffee notes in there. More roasty grain than molasses on the finish, especially as this warms up.

Mouthfeel - crisp, moderately weighted, decent body.

Drinkability - my first bottle of this I didn't care much for. Tonight, after baking up several dozen gingerbread cookies, I took another crack at it and liked it much better. Could use more breadiness - it doesn't hit me as a full on gingerbread beer, but it's got enought to merit some holiday props. Nice job, Bison. (1,057 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.07/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (866 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a really dark amber/brown color with a faint white head.

Aromas are of brown sugars, almost a little burnt, with some ginger as well.

Taste is a little odd. Not bad, but not really good to me. Some light spicy flavors, funky ginger, some roasted nuts, and not much sweetness which kind of surprises me. Finish is kind of tart and dry.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, a little prickly from the carbonation too.

Drinkablity is so so at best. In my opinion this one is a miss, just doesn't hit the dark, ginger, and sweet flavors I was expecting. Not a bad beer, but not a real good one either. Pass... (609 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a soapy head that reduces to a thin skim quickly. Shoe-polish black in color, with very quiet, mellow bubbles.

Spices hit the nose immediately, reminding of a fragrant pumpkin ale. And, indeed, it reminds of gingerbread with each whiff. While the other, more everyday beer elements are missing in the aromas, this smells so good that I don't mind.

But when the spices are the only thing present in the flavor, I start to wonder where the beer is. They got the spice combination right, resembling gingerbread in the flavor, but some of the heartier, more robust elements central to any good ale have been left behind.

Mouthfeel is too thin, especially when the spice flavors would demand something stickier and thicker.

A nice spicey indulgence that was not a pain to drink, but it lacks the complexity it needs to be a super-recommendable beer. An enjoyable beer with a bit of a difference, just nothing outrageously good. (941 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.89/5  rDev +10.8%
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 (478 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
Served in a pint glass

A - It pours copper colored with an inch of tan head.

S - I smell ginger right off the bat. I get some faint toast as well.

T - I taste the ginger. I also get plenty of spiciness, clove.

M - Medium with plenty of carbonation.

O - I was hoping for a pleasant experience only to be disappointed. This beer is overspiced for my liking. I keep trying to imagine gingerbread, but I can't make that stretch. (442 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
3.16/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yet another weird taste combo that works from Bison. Deep brown color, small head. Very slight Gingerbread flavor to this porter. Malty and spicy, not very hoppy. Nice beer, but the gingerbread flavor was very subdued, I was expecting a little more flavor. But interesting. (273 characters)

Photo of atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a DFH Signature glass a dark brown with ruby highlights and a decent khaki head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is ginger and sweet caramel malts with slight cinnamon and brown sugar. The taste is a nice blend of sweet malts, ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar with a nice sweet finish, very reminiscent of a gingerbread cookie. The beer is on the light side of medium with well hidden alcohol. This one was very enjoyable, one of the best beers from Bison I've had yet. (531 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
3.93/5  rDev +12%
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. (851 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bison Gingerbread- If you put it on the label, it shoudl taste like it, low aromas, low ginger flavor, but there, dark brown ale. we had a large xmas beer tasting. this was a solid beer but when you put gingerbread on the label you should make that noticeale. (259 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 6% abv. Pours deep brown, with some slight ruby edges. Tan head fades to a ring rather quickly.

Roasty malt aroma, with a healthy amount of ginger. A bit of a bread-like feel in the nose. Maybe some nutmeg or other spices as well, but ginger is the theme.

Malt character is roasty, and very dry. Some ginger, and an earthy, herbal feel. Not much really going on here.

Light body, a good amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Overall, not as interesting as it sounds. Disappointing. (510 characters)

Photo of hosehead83
3.57/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown with ruby highlights, rather short head of tan foam.
Aroma-Gingerbread and nutmeg
Taste-Soft flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and gingerbread. Rather thin-bodied and seems to go flat in a hurry. More of "everything" would greatly help things out here. Decent at best. Maybe for washing down some real gingerbread cookies. (383 characters)

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