1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Bison Organic Honey Basil - Bison Brewing

Not Rated.
Bison Organic Honey BasilBison Organic Honey Basil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

191 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 16%
Wants: 5
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bison Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 11-01-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (17) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 80
Photo of Nerudamann
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a stein glass.

Look - dark amber/medium brown in color, fairly clear, with about one finger of foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - a bit of a musky smell, probably from the earthiness of the herbs, but not sure. Hop presence is very minimal.

Taste and Mouthfeel - musky in the taste too, but only at the very beginning of the taste, after that in the middle it's got a little bit of a bite to it, but nothing like that which you would get from something like an IPA. The finish is slightly sweet. Texture is pretty well-balanced. I don't taste the basil too much though. I do note the presence of the honey though.

Overall - very decent brew. Not overwhelming at all, but interesting in its taste. A very good surprise from an organic beer.

Photo of Shaw
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love basil and never thought of putting it in beer. So I had to buy a bottle when I saw this on the shelf at my local Total Wine & More.

It's a deep amber in color with a short white head.

Aroma of bread and toast with a hint of basil.

This is a slightly sweet beer with herbal tea-like flavors coming from the basil. The basil combines very well with the malt flavors. If I didn't know otherwise, I'd think this had tea or some other spice in it: It's not like eating fresh basil. The herb is used in moderation.

Good body with lots of substance.

This is a very creative beer and it's worth seeking out. Though at $10 a four-pack, I won't be drinking it regularly.

Photo of aleckpa
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- I really liked the appearance on this beer. It poured an amber red, orange, brown color. It had about 1/2 a finger head, and then just laced the glass. Carbonation was springing from the bottom.

S- Well, honey and basil, what else would you expect? I smell more honey than basil. The baisl is sublte.

T- Honey, basil, orange, and lemon.

M- Very light. Fresh and crisp. Despite that carbonation, tastes flat at the back of the mouth.

O- This beer is good and fresh. I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it. I mean, I had this at a beer tasting and I enjoyed it so I picked up a bottle. It was something new and different (for me).

Photo of cjgator3
2.76/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a nice clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is dominated by the sweet honey. If I really try, I can detect some of the faint basil notes in the background but they are pretty subdued.

T- The taste is malt and some sweetness from the honey up front. There is some herbal hop notes in the finish. The finish is a little medicinal which turns me off to the taste a bit.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I didn't enjoy this one all that much. As a big fan of basil, I was excited to try this offering. The basil was pretty much non-existent and the rest of the beer was uninspiring. 

Photo of trappistlover
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(On draught at Papago). Pours clear golden-orange color with white head. Aroma has loads of basil, sage, herbs and honey. Taste is surprisingly bitter with a sweet honey-like malt backbone. Medium bodied with oily, slick texture. Bitter finish. OK, but something I would not search out

Photo of bradleyp
2.89/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in a sixer-mixer pack at the Bier Stein.

A: A light brown/amber color with a minimal amount of head, and light bubbly carbonation bubbles streaming up the side.

S: I could really pick up some honey notes at first whiff, followed up by a little bit of basil. I guess that's expected. Not too much other than a dry malty smell.

T: More basil and other greenery taste (lettuce, Broccli) than the honey. Not really what I enjoy in my beer.

M: Smooth, not too overbearing. Could not taste the alcohol aftertaste at all. Pretty decent for a 6 abv. beer.

O: Sort of impressed, but not all that really. The roomate enjoys these types of beers with fruits and honey and such, but I'd prefer a nice dark stout instead.

Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a good-looking, translucent, amber/orange color with almost no head.

S - A basil herbal smell that's not very heavy with some faint earthy scents. I was expecting more to be honey or sweetness on the nose but it really wasn't there.

T - Very malty and herbal. You can taste some of the basil in there but not too much. No honey taste at all. Did have the pleasure of having one of these with Thai food. nice pairing. I imagine pasta with a tomato based sauce would be good too.

M - A crisp start but then flattens out.

O - Not bad. I was expecting more honey taste however. I'm a fan of the natural sweetener so I was a little disappointed there. But this beer does pair well with some foods.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.04/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish amber brew with a moderate head and no lacing.

S - Basil - actually smells a big like oregano (possibly the interface of basil with hops), peppercorns

T - Honey malt and a bit of tomato aftertate (in the beers foretaste). The aftertaste is of seltzer water, lingering malt and very faint peppery hop bitterness.

M - Smooth, thin, pretty refreshing.

D - Eh, not bad. I'll pass in the future. Interesting enough to try though.

Photo of Spica66
2.8/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received from gwuilliums while bottling batch #6 & 7 at his place.

A: Medium gold color. Good head formation, no lacing. After the pour, the carbonation seems to have left the building.

S: Sweet honey-like malt and definitely - Basil.

T: Tastes like it smells. Sweet and basil-herbal. No hop profile at all.

M: Dead on the tongue. Slightly sweet-sticky, which is odd for a honey beer.

O: If you want this type of beer, good on ya. Neither of us finished our pour.

Photo of DopeRawBrewing
4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass.

This beer pours an nice orange-amber color, somewhat clear but not superclear. I like.

The smell is herbal basily, brings to mind juniper.

The taste is similar to the smell. Nice and sweet, malty basil flavor, reminds me somewhat of a Sahti I had recently. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability? Uhh... I could drink this all day!

This brew is truly novel and balanced, a balance between the unfamiliar and that which is comfortable, it has me feeling bright. I once again could drink it all day.

Cheers to Bison for rockin' tasty, Organic, Living brews.

Photo of katybee
3.26/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm. I was hoping for a bolder flavor.

Very pretty amber translucent color, but almost non-existent head.

Smell if any, is very subtle, a little medicinal if you strongly inhale--that would be the basil I imagine.

The taste of basil here, is rolled off the tongue and breathed out. The basil is much more subtle an infusion than I'd hoped for, but it does create a mild beer with very little hops and slightly smokey barley and more herbal overtones. Definitely a residual aftertaste which is slightly sweet but very basil.

The low carbonation gives a flatter feel with more attention to flavor and less disturbance of the tongue. Minimal body, although slightly smoother than say, PBR.

Very drinkable, though only subtley distinguishable from average beers. Must be taken more slowly to appreciate the subtlety of the herbal malty character which could easily be missed. Not really a memorable beer itself, although it would be great with food, say pizza or fish or perhaps pasta. Could be savored as a session beer based on the residual aftertaste.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.2/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: A hazy honey-brown body with a creamy off-white head. The initial pour gives you about 2 finger head, but it quickly dissipates leaving somewhat decent lacing yet it does not have good head retention.

S: A strong honey nose with a malty backbone. Subtles hints of basil and other spices and herbs.

T: A weak tasting beer that definately needs more of something (could be lack of good organic malts out there). What I get is a fairly sweet honey flavor on the front of the tongue and a bitter hoppiness in the back of the tongue. There are some malt flavors, but it's faint, as well as herbs/basil. The aftertaste is not very long lasting, but not very pleasant either.

M: A light body with light carbonation. A watery texture.

D: This taste like an amateur beer that needs more of a malty backbone or hops. Don't think I would drink this again anytime soon.

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up just because I thought it sounded rather interesting.

Pour: As expected, it's a rich honey color. Slighly hazy and a small ring of head that dissipates quickly and doesn't really lace the glass at all.

Smell: Wow! Basil, basil, and more basil! Honey definitely in the background. A slight malty aroma and not much hops.

Taste: Honey is the star of the front end. Underneath it is a bready malt flavor with a little bit of banana. Middle is smooth and caramel which finally gives into a zesty basil and spice finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium and surprisingly creamy (I would guess this is from the honey). Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, refreshing, and satisfying.

Final Notes: I actually really like this beer. A nice sweet beer and one to check out for the honey lovers. Good beer to have with breakfast.

Photo of Patrick999
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

OK. I like honey, I like basil. How can this fail? I can see no reason why I wouldn't like this. Let's go...live review.

Poured into a Squatters IPA glass. Head sticks and does a good job of replenishing itself with some furious effervescence. Looks IPA-ish, in fact, with a clear amber gold.

Hah! Definitely basil in the nose. Kinda smells a little like Saison du Buff. That's a good thing.

I get the basil on the back palate. There's almost a little too much sweet malt going on here, though. I hate to criticize a beer for bringing the malt bill a little too high, but I could go a bit drier here. The tongue gets a thin coating of sweetness. It seems that with every honey beer I've had, the honey ferments out completely and you're left with a very dry beer. Not this one...well, it's dry up front, it just leaves you with some residual sweetness. Even though I think it could be better, it's still likable.

It made a show with carbonation upon pouring, but now the beer has seemed to go almost still. Not entirely lively.

Easy to drink. And would probably be another good food beer. I like the suggestion of pizza another reviewer put forth.

Photo of atsprings
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Corsendonk tulip pours a crisp orange with a decent eggshell head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is basil and garlic with just a touch of honey, only a mild malt presence appears on the nose. The taste is sweet malts up front with an interesting spice balance. The beer is light, smooth and very easy drinking. I believe this beer would pair nicely with pizza, I'll have to try that sometime!

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange amber with little head. What head there is fades to a very thin swirl. Smells very sweet. with lots of honey and a vague herbal flavor on top. I'd like the expression of basil to be clearer, as is the aromas are too sweet and muddled. Almost medicinal at the end. The flavor is a little better, with less sweetness and more balanced herbalness with a finish that has some more noticeable basil flavor, and some light firm maltiness. Drying toward the end. A little bit watery, but overall fairly drinkable.

Photo of nickfl
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with half a finger of off-white head sitting on top of a hazy, orange-brown body. The foam settles quite quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Grainy malt with some spicy honey notes and a definite herbal quality. I don't know if I would identify it as basil, but there are notes of ginger, apple, and maybe oregano.

T - Sweet, bready malt up front with a bit of caramel. Some biscuit notes in the middle accompanied by spicy notes of caraway and allspice. Finishes increasingly watery malt character and bolder, darker spices that oddly remind me of rye bread. Some lingering malt sweetness along with coriander, caramel, and finally a little basil.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - This is an odd beer, it tastes much more like a spiced winter beer than I would have expected. The honey is present in the aroma but only survives as a background note in the flavor. The spice character is all over the place and is clearly influenced by the caramel malt character. The only clear basil note I get is in the aftertaste and even then it is obscured by toasted malt and lightly fruity yeast that seem to produce spice notes, such as coriander, that apparently aren't there. Interesting, but a bit cloying on both the sweetness and the spice notes and not all that drinkable. Worth a try, but I'm glad I don't have a six pack of this.

Photo of oregonskibum
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a very clear orange color with a light eggshell head that quickly disappears.

S: Very herbal smell, although it would be a stretch to pick up the basil. Some citrus (lemon) and almost minty notes. Very much like an herbal tea.

T: Very mild. Honey shows up mid taste and compliments the herbal tastes nicely. A slight about of hop bitterness, but hardly enough to notice.

M: Fairly light mouth feel with medium to high carbonation.

D: Enjoyable mild ale with simple herbal flavors that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the beer. Light and refreshing, this would be a good beer to crack on a hot afternoon.

Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.

This beer really surprised me. we had it early and I was like this is goign to suck. Wow. great ise of honey and the basil gave it a nice herbal lemon flavor. not overpwering in any area and a solid beer at that.

Photo of cdizinno
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy amber color, almost the same as a cider. Nice off-white head with mild lacing.

S: Mild honey and I can smell the basil, knowing that it is there, otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to identify it as anything other than spices. Someone mentioned herbal tea and that is probably a good comparison.

T&M: Nice flavor with a slightly rough feel as the carbonation is light but tingling. Fairly sweet with a mainly malty character. Some very faint hop bitterness and floral taste that is probably a result of the honey more than the hops. Dry finish. Light-bodied.

This is a really good beer, probably more similar to a saison. Very drinkable if you like something a bit different.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint.

Pours into a general ale amber color, with a standard creamy head. The aroma is similar to an amber as well, with hints of hops, a sort of wheatiness, and (and here's where it starts to get unique) there is a hint of, surprise surprise, basil. The taste follows suit, with the basil receding a good deal into the background. There isn't much of a honey flavor involved, though I do believe it added a bit of lightness to the body (without resorting to uber-effervescence), which made this brew a rather drinkable one, despite it's overall lack of general character.

Photo of MadeInOregon
2.8/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I heard about this one from Bison's website a long time ago but had never come across it until last week at Whole Foods. Had to try it!

Poured into a glass the Honey Basil looks like a pale ale with its standard light bronze body and stable, fluffy yellow head. Looks like a nice, micro-brewed ale.

It smells like...pizza! Seriously. Very weird.

Unlike many others who've reviewed this beer I found the basil to be not only present, but dominant. The first taste to hit the palette is surprisingly strong in basil. The basil fades a little as the flavors progress but it never vanishes. A lager-like hopiness emerges after the first hit of basil but it is not enough to overpower the strength of the basil. The hopiness is nice and reveals that underneath all the herbalicious spice there is a pretty good beer being used as the base. I could not detect the slightest tinge of honey anywhere.

The main sensation while drinking this brew is that it is weird. It tastes like drinking a light beer with your mouth half full of pizza. I'm sure Bison's Honey Basil could be good if you are in fact eating pizza with it (or salad, or something Italian) but drinking it alone, eh, not so much.

I have never had a beer drinking experience like this so Bison definitely gets props for creativity. So, if you want to try something totally odd go find this one--if you can. As for me, I'm just glad I bought a single and not the whole 10-dollar 4-pack!

Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a frothy ecru head that delivers a bit of lacing as it descends

Smell: Herbacious aroma, though certainly not basil; more like herbal tea

Taste: Opens with a tea-like character, but the flavors burst forward by mid-palate, with the honey providing a sweet element and the basil adding an herbacious twist; cannot say I would have called it out as basil, however, but it does add a spicy bitter element that persists after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I came to this beer with exceedingly low expectations but wound up really enjoying it; bet it would pair nicely with spicy Asian cuisines

Photo of avalon07
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of aroma, except for the obvious honey.

T: Like the smell, honey was the star in the taste. Also had some hops and malt and just a hint of basil (but not much). A sweet, flavorful beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: An oddly drinkable beer.

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

08/30/09- Purchased at Draegers, in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, did not look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Deeper golden colored pour, about a 1/2 inch head which quickly disappates leaving very light spotty and watery lace.

Smell- Not really any notes of much. Maybe a slight sweet honey nose with absolutely no basil noted..not really any hops of malt noted either...really a non scented beer.

Taste- Holy crap! Wondering how a scentless beer can have such nice flavor. I'm not tasting any basil to speak of, but the honey really comes in strong with a nice malt base and even a splash of hops at the end.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth and a bit creamy. Carbonation is average, maybe a bit ligher than average.

Drinkability- I was always hesitant of trying this beer because I couldn't picture what basil would taste like in beer...well, this one doesn't taste like basil, but it does taste very good. It's one of the easier drinking beers I have had as well.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Bison Organic Honey Basil from Bison Brewing
80 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.