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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

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278 Ratings
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 flexabull
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
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...

Photo of HoosBrews
3.84/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A much darker appearance than I had anticipated. A very slight amount of ginger in the nose, but not much at all. More malt than ginger in the nose. Taste is malty and spicy, with very subtle ginger. The carbonation really promotes a very complex mouthfeel which is particularly tasty. Overall, a very impressive and unique seasonal!

Photo of July2Nov
3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a big 'ol three-finger,cream colored head on this ale, that soon deflated to a respectable one-finger size. The foam lasted and lasted on this one. Very dark for an ale...has a dark brown hue that shows no light coming through it.

Smell: Dry-roasted nut smell that has a tinge of barley and a bunch of sweetness coming out. Slightly "earthy".

Taste & Mouthfeel: Once you get through the foam, your instantly greeted with the gingerbread taste...spicy and nutmeg hit you first, then a fullness engulfs the mouth during the middle and the spice eases up a bit during the finish. Leaves the taste buds with slight tingle that mellows the mouth. Slightly carbonated, but doesn't take away from the life of the beer very much. For some odd reason i'm reminded by a milk taste while drinking this one. Really good spiced, winter ale.

Drinkability: Perfect accompaniment to any winter, Christmastime activity. Unique as it really does taste like gingerbread...even after the "novelty" factor wears off, it still comes through as a very solid beer. Try if you get the chance...plus it's organic! If that means anything to you in the slightest :)

Photo of hopdog
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
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

Photo of Reidrover
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of magictrokini
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of Talisker
3.86/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The first beer labeled "organic" that I've enjoyed. And the "gingerbread" take is unusual, interesting, and ultimately successful.

Poured from a 22oz bottle in late Feb-08 - no freshness date, but probably brewed around around Oct-07. Some dark ruby character to the transluscent deep brown - no head to speak of, just some big bubbles around the edge.

Aroma is the king here - bitter chocolate, some roast, and definitely the right hint of that gingerbread spice (without being an overspiced potpourri). The taste delivers nicely on the promise of the aroma.

Unfortunately the texture is a little thin. A touch more body would really help here, lacking some silkiness. That hurts the drinkability for me.

But this is a very good beer, wiith the spices done at just the right level. Worth seeking out, and enough to show me that "organic" doesn't always mean "subpar".

Photo of marcpal
4.02/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into large goblet. Brought this one back from trip in Cali, good.

A: Dark espresso color, much darker than I had expected. Pretty nice attractive tan head with very light lacing.

S: Gingerbread right in your face. Nutmeg spices as well, reminding a bit of pie.

T: Spiciness is what hits you up front, not a ton of ginger. Cloves and chocolate are more prominent but it has the taste of a nice mushy cookie. I like this one.

M: Somewhat syrupy but thin at the same time. Little carbonation

D: First I have had from Bison, and would recommend it. Similar to anchor xmas style but not as crisp as theirs. Still worth a try.

Photo of Stoneman78
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is clear dark brown with ruby highlights, craggy off-white head erodes to half its original thickness, moderate lacing on the glass

Smell is amazingly fresh gingerbread cookies, some coffee and chocolate tones linger in the back, cinnamon and spices

Taste is fairly light bread and roast malts, surprising sweet chocolate presence, hints of smoke, cinnamon, gingerbread, and sugar tones, some very subtle bitter hops near the end

Mouthfeel is light-to-medium bodied, thin yet creamy texture, mild carbonation

Drinkability is fair, this is a unique winter beer with great spice profile, there is a bit of a disconnect between the aroma and taste (gingerbread lower than expected, chocolate higher than expected), the alcohol is well-masked but the spices make it hard to finish even the whole 22oz bottle, good recommendation from the guys on Craft Beer Radio podcast but I doubt I'll be craving this any time soon

Photo of Halcyondays
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

Photo of brentk56
3.57/5  rDev +5%
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

Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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 thaichile
4.12/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an espresso brown with a perfect lattesque head. Nose is completely gingerbread with a cup of Joe on the side. Flavor is really nice. I am not a porter person but this was real nice. Continued gingerbread notes with light coffee and maybe a sprinkling of some dark cocoa powder. Added sweetness reduces almost all of the bitterness and makes for an incredibly smooth experience. Recommended. Thanks to nathan15 for the bottle.

Photo of dgfair
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle poured into imperial English pint glass.

A - Huge, fizzy white head on top of a ruby-tinged brown body. Head sticks around nicely, leaving lacing on the glass and a nice thin layer for the whole time.

S - Definite sweet, fresh gingerbread with a little bit of an orange zest underpinning. A little bit of the traditional roasted malt flavor of a porter, but not much. Smells a lot like the Sam Adams Holiday Porter.

T - Very interesting flavor. You get the flavors of a traditional porter mixed with the sweet doughy gingerbread flavors. This has good creativity and I think it strives to be like the anchor christmas beers but just doesn't quite pull off the balance of flavors.

M - A little thin for the amount of competing flavors. Kind of fizzy and finishes sticky sweet. Not great.

D - It's a fairly drinkable beer, but certainly not something to sit around and drink all night. I would much rather have a balanced traditional porter, or an anchor christmas ale if this is the style i want to taste.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not just a holiday ale...this seems to be a respectable Porter underneath it all.
Pours very dark amber...almost black with a tan head that becomes a sticky ring of lacing.

Aroma is dusty cinnamon and very light ginger spice with a lot of toastiness going on in the background giving it a bready aroma.

Flavors are smokey, toasty malt without a lot of sweetness, followed with spices such as powdery cinnamon and dry gingerbread spice...again without a lot of sugar.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with tiny carbonation and aftertaste becomes dry and quenching from noticeable hops.

Very interesting spiced holiday brew, to be sure.

Photo of rallison
2.77/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

Photo of CWiggins
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this at The Good Beer store in Chapel Hill. Later, I was told by a local distribution rep. that this beer was supposedly long gone (it's seasonal). So I feel rather fortunate to have one in my possession to try.

It pours a dark, dark brown into my pint glass. Almost no head formed; what little did scattered within a few minutes. I dig this aroma; it's mainly of toasted malts and honey, with nice hints of winter spices. No cloves, however. The taste is a little different: it's lean in body with a good bit of dark molasses, combined with a some cinnamon and honey. Very tasty. The aftertaste has hints of dark coffee and just the right amount of hop bitterness.

Now I'll have to try Bison's Chocolate Stout, which I've purposely been avoiding for some time.

Photo of Neehan
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a shiny, dark, dark brown with an offwhite head and good lacing. Very cool effervescent bubbles make their way to the top before dissipating. The smell is er, gingerbread with cinnamony spices and a malty character. Very nice crisp taste with a nice bitter finish that I enjoyed. This seems more like a dark lager than an ale, but a very good one at that. Makes an excellent change-of-pace if you want to sample something new.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Photo of dblinkhorn
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with a bubbly tan head that quickly dissipates to a ring of bubbly foam around the edge of the glass. Also a very thin patch of lace on top of the beer. It is a hazy brownish amber in color with little visible carbonation activity within. Little lace is left as you drink.

Smell - You can definitely smell the gingerbread right away, but it blends nicely with the rest of the aromas. Some wet-like hop smell with some mildly roasted malt character behind that. Little alcohol scent on the nose.

Taste - Moderate bitterness and some sourness up front from the hops. Some mild alcohol warmth comes in immediately afterward. This is quickly followed by a mellow roasted, bready malt flavor. Also some peppery spiciness throughout. The aftertaste has some slightly strong earthiness with lingering roasted malt flavor as well. Slightly warming alcohol throughout.

Mouthfeel - Some carbonation bite up front with a wet and somewhat thin mouthfeel. Overall it is a medium-light-bodied beer with a refreshing and tingly carbonation character.

Drinkability - Moderate flavors and nothing especially strong about this beer. Overall it has good drinkability.

This is a decent holiday brew. I do enjoy the gingerbread flavors. I haven't had too many gingerbread beers, but overall this beer can definitely hold its own. It's a fun and festive beer that tastes good too! Recommended.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer grew on me as it warmed up. At first I was mildly repulsed but the acidity decreased and more the nutmeg came out as it warmed. Poured a dark brown (almost black) in color. Incredibly thick, foamy head. Quite resilient too. Nose is the best part for me--full of ginger. Flavor is like ginger bread. At first it was stale cookies but as it got closer to room temperature more of bread-like flavor came out. Just a tad acidic. Medium mouthfeel and just a tad sticky. Alright, after it warmed.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +22.1%
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.

Photo of watermelonman
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured to medium brown color with a small head. Lace is minimal.

The smell is unique and appealing, with plenty of gingerbread flavor. Vanilla comes through too. The taste also has a lot of gingerbread, but it doesn't come out as well. Malt content seems minimal. It is pretty light in the mouth.

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