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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

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279 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
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 (17) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 144
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.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz'er pours into a tulip with a massive frothy beige densely packed cap over an eggplant purlpe hue just allowing glimmers of light around the edges.

Nose of spice wafer and gingerbread with a hint of chocolate cocoa.

First swigs: Initially a porter flavor of cocoa, red grape and toasted malt. An influence of ginger bread is not to be overlooked, but mostly rich porter abounds. Bready suggestions. A linger of Dr. Pepper rootbeer finishes off the aftertaste.

Crisp feel with a brisk carbonation that holds up firmly. Medium bodied with a touch of a sugary linger.

Last swigs: This seemed like agood beer right in the heart of Christmas season. Intersting beer to say the least. A well done novelty that is worth trying.

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 Drew966
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale pours a very dark brown with a thick tan head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is definitely spice, cinnamon stands out. I quite like the taste, it's basically a brown ale with some chocolate and coffee notes and gingerbread spicing. A nice beer for the holidays, it makes me want to get a slice of pumpkin pie to go with it.

Photo of geetlord
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with light reddish hints around the edges of the glass and had a thick tan head that it maintained for quite a while.

The aroma contained nuts, chocolate, and hints of gingerbread

The flavor caught me by supprise. for a beer with such noticable gingerbread smell, the flavor was very hard for me to find. Instead the flavor carried dark roasted malts, coffee chocolate and some MILD ginger flavor in the finish. I found the mouthfeel to be a little too thin for the flavors that were present.

Overall this beer wanst bad but it certainly was not what I expected out of a ginger beer.

Photo of NCSUdo
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a 22 oz. bottle today, Oct. 29, which was surprising because Bison website said look for this beer in November. Considering I'm on the other side of the country, didn't expect to see it around this soon.

A: Poured a dark brown, with hints of red along the sides and bottom of my pint glass. Creamy light brown head that stuck around for the duration.

S: Right after pour, huge gingerbread odor. Eventually subsided to a mostly ginger odor with hints of chocolate.

T: Not to much like gingerbread. The ginger is there, just nothing really tying it to a bread like flavor. Ginger eventually gives way to a bitter chocolate. Bitterness sticks around along with some slight chocolate flavor.

M&D: Mouthfeel is decent. Medium-full bodied, not much carbonation which is good I fell for this style. As for drinkability, well it went pretty fast but I couldn't see myself drinking to much more then the 6 or so ounces I have left in the bottle tonight.

Overall it is a decent spiced beer. Needs something more though to tie everything together. Reminds me too much of ginger ale at times rather then the guy who ran around trying not to be eaten. Maybe I'll give it another try around Christmas when it's colder and the spirit is gingerier.

Photo of Iguana
4.05/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being the season for the winter beers I like to try em all, and when this one caught my eye I had to grab it. Pour was a bit shocking, I guess I was expecting a lighter beer originally, but this poured a dark brown with a nice half inch head that slowly receded to lacing. Smell was a nice balance of gingerbread and chocolate. Taste caught me offguard, again I was kinda expecting this to be lighter, but was rather delighted by the taste, which was basically like a gingerbread porter. Really unique compared to anything i've had. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but not too bad, quite enjoyable. Drinkability was pretty good for me, this is a nice beer to have with a dessert or just to sip for a festive occasion. A pretty tasty offering from Bison.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of rowew
2.66/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: 22 oz bomber with an organic label over the cap. No date information.

Appearance: Pours reddish brown with a thick head that fades to a fairly substantial amount of lace.

Smell: Slightly sweet malts and spices - cinnamon and ginger.

Taste: A bit too much spice, and not enough beer. The flavor is dominated by the cinnamon and gingerbread flavor, and there just isn't enough malt backbone to hold up and keep it tasting somewhat like a beer.

Overall impression: An interesting enoug beer, but I certainly won't be seeking out more.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Dark, dark, opaque brown with a brownish, creamy head that doesn't want to form.

Smell: Gingerbread + DMS (cooked corn) = what the hell? This isn't really bad; the gingerbread spice aspects are quite nice, but the DMS kind of crashes the party. Overall, smells kind of like minestrone.

Taste: Gingerbread spices and mildly sweet, dark (molassesy and chocolatey) malts predominate. There's a very light hop character that comes through in the finish, but it's certainly not the focus of this beer. They're really trying to faithfully replicate the taste of real gingerbread, it seems, and they almost get there... but there are just too many off-flavors that get in the way.

Mouthfeel: Frothy, creamy, full. Very good.

Drinkability: I can see myself really enjoying this on a cold winter's eve. I'd like to try another batch, because this one is just too weird.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass; one for me and one for my lady. Very small head forms on top of a translucent but very dark brown, gingerbread colored beer. Pretty looking beer.

Aroma is gingerbread, cinnamon, chocolate.

Tastes a lot like a porter. Some hop bitterness with gingerbread, followed by chocolate and coffee.

A little bit of astringency and grainy quality is present. Medium body. This would probably taste great after a bit of aging.

First beer rating after receiving my Initiate mug. Woo Hoo!!!

Photo of BrewMaster
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 2005 release, 22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. The beer is a dark chocolate brown color with fdaint red hues when backlit. The head is creamy, tan and mildly sticky leaving slow sliding lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Nice toasted malt aromas coated with sweet gingerbread smells of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Opens with a roasty, nearlt burnt, malt flavor. Chocolate malts make a nice showing in the flavor. The flavor is surprisingly mild when it comes to spicing. Very little spice sweetness but there is a grainy brown sugar sweetness in the malt. It is a bit thin on the palate, especially for a porter. There is a distinct watery patch in the middle of the flavor where one would expect a more chewy, fuller bodied feel. As the beer warms there is some very faint ginger and cinnamon flavor that shows up, but nothing like the nose. The ending has some faint peppery hop bitterness to round out the ginger.

Drinkability: A decent porter that I wouldn't mind having again, but nothing spectacular. It's missing some texture on the palate and even a bit of flavor. Besides the sweetness and roastiness there isn't the chewy malt that is claimed on the bottle.

Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

While perusing the beer section at my local grocery I came across this interesting sounding beer. "Gingerbread ale", the text described it as a porter but after pouring this into my glass i realized it really isn't a porter at all, far too light. A pretty brew nonetheless, dark brown and only slightly translucent, the head was small and faded quickly with no lacing. Smell was very interesting with clear ginger scents at the nose. Unfortunately this scent doesn't transfer to the taste as well as I hoped with the ginger being noticeable but very faint. Tastes like a flat brown ale, or a very light porter without much in the way of roasted flavors. Mouthfeel was extremely light considering the dark hue of this beer, very confusing. After all this beer is interesting and worth trying, its just that nothing jumps out to make me want to try it again.

Photo of JISurfer
4.34/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I guess I got a better bottle than the average of the reviewers, but I really liked this one. I actually had this one a long time ago, but luckily I found the review I wrote down. I also will never forget the taste of the beer. The taste and the smell of the beer were very similar. They both had a strong taste of ginger and spices, very much like gingerbread. It was so much like gingerbread, it was uncanny. It also had a bit of a hop bite in the end, so it wasn't all malty. I would suggest this brew to most anyone, especially ones you want to show what craft brews are like.

Photo of AlexJ
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light brown pour with a fluffy off-white head that quickly dissapears. Minimal lace.

Aroma is toasty malts, a hint os cocoa, some light nutmeg and ginger notes, and buttery diactyl. It has the same funky bready yeast aroma as the other Bison products I've sampled. Ringwood?

Flavor follows closely with light caramel, roasty malt, light sweet spice, and plenty more diactly mushiness. Not very good at all.

Body is a hair above light, with a soft undercarbonated flat mouthfeel. Glad this was just a small sample.

Photo of baiser
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting ginger flavoured beer. I was never a big fan of ginger, so obviously this won't be one of my favourites, but I'll try to be objective. Pours a light clear brown body, thin white lace. A subtle gingerbread aroma, reminiscent of gingerbread cookies. Sweet, sharp and slightly fruity. Medium bodied, easy drinking and refreshing.

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.07/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Photo of OStrungT
4.47/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brownish red color. It has a light brown head that fades quickly, leaving very few laces. The aroma is a little hard to describe. It smells like a gingerbread man. It has a spicy aroma also, but mostly, just gingerbread. It also tasted like a gingerbread man. A liquid alcoholic gingerbread man. It is better than I expected. It is quite good. It has a spicy taste also. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnimon. It also tastes a little sweet. I cant really detect any hops over the spicy flavors. This beer is mild, and refreshing. It leaves a spicy ginger aftertaste. It might be a little overcarbonated, but not so overcarbonated that it detracts from the beer. I think this beer would make a great session beer. The flavor is quite appealing, and I dont think it would get old. Also, the alcohol content, while not stated, is rather low, I think, and that means you could drink a few of them. If you see this one, buy it. Try it. You might like it.

Photo of misterscooter
2.79/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Hmmm, gingerbread, eh? There's no getting around it with this beer. It pours a dark maroon with not much light getting through but the liquid is clear. About a finger of khaki foam, not real firm, sat and top and disappeared at a good pace.

The smell of gingerbread is strong with this one and overpowers any other smells that might be there.

Surprisingly, the taste of gingerbread isn't quite so obvious. It is there, but you get some sweet and hoppiness, too. However, with the smell of the gingerbread enhancing the flavor, it makes it stronger and you either have to keep from breathing while sipping or put up with it. It gets old fast, though, and I hard a hard time finishing one.

Photo of Dukeofearl
2.9/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Let me start by saying that I'm not a big fruit beer or herbed/spiced beer lover. And so, this Christmas gift, is not one I would have picked up on my own. But I'm always up for a new taste adventure (ok, I'm up for almost any new adventure, but that's another story, or maybe several other stories). But I digress.

This beer pours a burnt gingerbread brown, with a moderate head after a vigorous pour that quickly dies to nothing. The aroma is herbal/spicy, having been told it's gingerbread, I can't argue with that as the premise. My first sip made me do the old double take- it really surprised me. It's all herbs. Maybe some roasty malt, but no caramel-toffee-chocolaty malt.

Mouthfeel is ok, maybe a little thin for the style.

Overall, I drank this beer, and was glad for the opportunity to do so, but I was not excited by it.

Photo of Crotor
2.26/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a clear, bloody ruby, with one finger of dense, off-white head with good retention.

There's a mild gingerbread spice aroma, a bit of brown sugar, and something slightly vegetably.

The beer tastes slightly roasty with minor floral hop element - quite like a mild, brown porter. The spicing, however, somea across as dry, chemically, and unpleasant. The beer is not nearly sweet enough to stand up to the spicing. The weird vegetable element carries through - this tastes somewhere between Newcastle Brown and a celery stick (with gingerbread spice, that is). It does taste vaguely gingerbready, but the spices attack the tongue with weird and unpleasant drying flavors, and the base beer is ulimately mediocre at best.

This beer's biggest failing is in the mouthfeel. The body is waaaay too low for the strength of flavors in a spiced beer. The drying chemical off-flavors of the spices also negatively impact the mouthfeel.

This beer is an utter failure. A drainpour if I ever saw one. The core of the beer's problems may be in the low quality of organic malt available - I've noticed similar failings in other organic beers I've tried. Whatever the case, this beer is woefully unbalanced, and is screaming for a heavier malt element.

Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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 BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
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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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.