Bison Organic Belgian Ale | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Belgian AleBison Organic Belgian Ale
62 Ratings
Bison Organic Belgian AleBison Organic Belgian Ale

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 12-01-2003

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Ratings: 62 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carefully poured, Bison's Organic Belgian Ale delivers a beautifully clear, golden-orange body beneath a short but creamy head of bright-white foam that dissipates quickly but still manages to leave some nice lace about the glass. Coriander is clearly evident in the nose, backed by some honeyish malt and notes of citrus rind. It's somewhat dextrinous and smooth across the palate; although it's very-fine bubbled, natural carbonation initially lends a light zest to the tongue. Fruit dominates the flavor once a quick sprinkling of spice has passed, with notes of peach, apricot, orange, and a subtle hint of lemon. (And the actual flavor from the grain is very nice... they must be using some good malt!). It's sweet, but not overly so; and the spice is nicely balanced to lend both flavor and a bit of zest. The bitterness is kept to a minimum, as it should be, and the spice helps to balance its sweetness and usher in a raspy, dry finish that lingers with coriander and a drip of honeyish malt. It's clean throughout; and there's no hint whatsoever of the 8.1% abv. A bit more complexity would be nice, and the lack of head retention is a bit disappointing; but overall this is a really enjoyable beer with a rich character and a good deal of drinkability.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.16/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 19 oz crystal sniffer. This beer is just glorious in appearance. A beautiful golden orange color with equisite dancing carbonation coming from all sides. A perfect 2 cm white head that has the best head retention on any beer I've ever had. I drank this one slowly and after an hour and half there was still a thin head on top. The 2 cm head lasted for at least 30 minutes. Sweet sassy molassy, it is pretty. The head is made up of very fine bubbles that make it look so creamy but keeps it stiff. It was artwork in a glass.

Smell: True to the tripel style aroma. Lots of corriander, citrus, pear, sour Granny Smith green apple, a touch of alcohol and some very light lavender and cinnamon scents. Very pretty. Something about the aroma makes me think of very clean water high up in the mountains. They could have used the tap water in Berkley to brew this beer for all I know, but it smells great nonetheless.

Taste: My first thought was that this beer is not what I expected from the color and aroma. This beer is very malty up front. There is some puckering sourness to start followed by tasty notes of light spices and sweet fruit flavors. The fruit flavors are mostly Granny Smith apple flavors along with pear-like wateriness and white grape juice. There are some floral characteristics to the flavor as well but they are very light and more like a perfume. The beer is sweet and oddly sour in the same way as a good, fresh apple. There is a very slight touch of bitterness on the end that sits in the rear of my tongue. Also, as the beer warms up the fruit flavors come out a lot more. The spiciness subsides and it is mostly fruity. Very tasty all around.

Mouthfeel: This beer is grainy and sandy but ever so smooth. The texture makes this beer very enjoyable as it waltzes across the palate. It also leaves a good apple-like aftertaste that is sweet but not sticky and annoying.

Drinkability: If I was looking for a good and readily available tripel I would gladly buy this one again. It's very well balanced and easy to drink. It's also one of the best looking beers I've ever seen so I might just buy it again for eye candy!

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit milder than the average Tripel, which can get a bit rough around the edges at times. Nice level of sweetness, with some fruity notes that were not cloying. Smooth at the end, and the abv was not evident with any heat or pepper in the flavor. Drinkability was quite nice.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a flattish clear golden brew, looks like a Belgian trippel.

Smell is sweet with a scent of coriander and flowers. The bottle says there is a plum scent, I didn't smell that, just coriander and flowers.

Taste is sweet but not overly so. Mild coriander flavor and the flowers, tastes more like a Saison than a Belgian really. Fruit is there and is milder than most trippels.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty Belgian style brew, this is a good one for those that find most Belgians too sweet.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.89/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The body is “flat soda” orange and light. That’s OK, but what’s not OK is the complete lack of carbonation. This is supported by other BA reviews, so I don’t think I got a bad bottle.

Smell – Very sticky sweet, spicy malts lead the way here with a nice hop balance. It’s the fruits though that run this show. The orange and peach in particular stand out. Otherwise, it’s a bit yeasty at times with some big coriander and white pepper.

Taste – The bitter orange almost reminds me of a pale ale. This is very well-balanced. I enjoy also the spicy malts and complex fruiting along with that sharp candy-type of sweetness. There are some nice watermelon flavors in there too, which you don’t find very often.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied and very exciting in the mouth, due mostly to the spices. I didn’t care for the lack of carbonation, though. On the other hand, I liked that little alcohol sting. It was just right in my book.

Drinkability – I’m not going to can this review just because it’s uncarbonated, mainly because all the other components of a good Abbey Tripel were present. It was a distraction, though, I must admit.

Comments: This Abbey Tripel had almost no nose until it warmed. Take your time rating this one.

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Photo of jettjon
3.89/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the pint plus 6 oz bomber, this beer goes into the glass a pale cloudy yellow “grapefruit juice” color with no bubbles. Not much of a head, just a smattering of white bubbles and no lacing. Nose is coriander, grapefruit juice, a slight hint of alcohol, and cascade hops; kind of a hoppy tripel. Taste is strong coriander and spice up front, with moderate bitter hops in the middle, and a good sweet malt balance coming in toward the end. This is the first tripel I’ve tried with a real hops presence. Mouth is semi-viscous; I found it a bitter thicker than the typical tripel. Drinkability is very good; this brew is smooth, refreshing, and tasty.

Overall: An interesting variation on the tripel style, hoppy and a bit more viscous than others I’ve tried. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Belgian Ale by Bison pours a burnt orange color with no foam head and zero retention. It has the carbonation tunnel in which it rises from the bottom of the center of the glass to a button sized small bubble party in the middle of the chimay glass.

The aroma is fruity with some coriander that really comes through as the beer warms up.

The taste holds true to the style and has maltiness that lasts through the drink with some bitterness near the end and finish.

In the mouth it is a bitterness that sticks to the roof of the mouth and tongue. I felt it was heavy brew.

I found this a very enjoyable Tripel.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Simple labeled 22 oz'er with a Bison, declaring organic.

Pours with a brilliant orange glowing filtered brew topped with a pillowy settled ivory head cap leaving some quality head cap in the glass.

Lightly fruity aroma with a peppery and delicatley floral hint. Some bready dough and some Earthy grit.

First swigs: Instantly dry with a Pez candy powery sweetness. Belgiam yeast is prevelant. This might be the dryest Tripel I've ever had. Fruity flavors of tangerine and orange squeeze in there. Reminds me a tad of Westmalle.

Drynes can't be over emphasized. Medium bodied and soft carbonation. Just the right effervescence for the tripel. Powdery aspect reminds me of the all sugar Lick 'em Sticks from when we were kids.

Last swigs: If you like your Belgian trpels fruity, this is for you!

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Photo of Reidrover
3.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. Nice but average looking ale, bright, clear golden yellow with a very small white head, that goes very quick. Aroma is spicy with what i pick up as dark honeyeish tones, slightly yeasty and curiously i pick up dry roasted peanut!!! Nice semi-sweet malty taste finished off by pepper like spices an some hint of dark fruits,lemon skin and clove. Its rather average on the palate but I think this helps out in a beer this strong in alcohol and flavour. Overall a nice beer, nothing fancy but drinkable.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich pale malt and candi sugar scent that seems light with a slightly warm aroma. It has a fine hop aroma as well as an earthy breadlike scent; very nice. The taste is decent. It has an extremely smooth pale malt taste some bisquit flavors. It is light with some residual sweetness on the finish. It's not as rich as you would expect. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a lighter tripel than I'm used to. I guess a thicker body would be more traditional. This is a highly drinkable tripel. The hops add excellent balance and in turm drinkability. It warms only slightly; a good drinker.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.74/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always seems to be the problem with American brewers trying to replicate a tripel is that they can't get the awesome carbontion of the real Belgian delights. The honey amber color is tehre. But a long lasting, doughy head and thorough carbonation. The aroma is a nice candy-rific malt reminiscent of syrupy fruits. The taste is close to the smell but with more of an alcoholic burn. The taste is where we see a departure from a goo mimic of a tripel. The alcoholc isn't incorporated or hidden as well as its authentic counterparts. Very fruits and light hints of brown and candy sugary malts. No bitterness from the hops of course. Just the alcohol.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It poured a light golden yellow with not much foam and no lace at all. The smell was of a spicy and hoppy nature. The taste was of spicies and hop's like the aroma. The only set back was that had a little to much sweetness. Not really that bad, just not used to a Belgian Ale with so much sweetness.

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Photo of jaluria
3.68/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a lovely golden color that was semi-murky and laced with bubbles. A nice plump off-white colored head developed quickly and stayed for a just a few moments. Aromas of honey, apricots, hard candy, and syrup seemed to come out. The taste was as might be expected with layers of sweetness derived from malt and various fruits followed by a soft hop bitterness. The finish was very dry with a spritz of lemon-like tartiness. Heavy carbonation made this too creamy in my mouth without the richness to match. Easy to sip, I had no problems with the bomber, but would not have another right away, given a choice. I would like to have this again sometime in the future, though.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from 20 oz bottle into Watou chalice.

Appearance: Extremely clear yellow, with almost no head at all. The bubbles (not foam) that did form during the pour dissipated in seconds.

Smell: Strong belgian yeast-type aroma, very inviting.

Taste: Very very sweet, with almost no carbonation. You can taste the effect of the coriander.

Notes: Not bad, but the lack of carbonation made me wonder if this bottle was finished refermenting... I liked the sweet taste and the low cost ($4.99 per 20oz), but it will take some arm-twisting for me to buy this again.

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Photo of Billolick
3.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber, brewer gives us no indication of freshness...Pours cloudy lighter peach, under an initially crazy huge off white head, that slowly dissolves to merainge and again slowly to a thick film and loads of stickage on the glass. Plenty of orange and coriander in the pungent nose. I get notes of pepper, coriander, oranges, and Belgian yeasty phenolics, but things just seem to be a bit of a crazy and hazy mess here with fruit, yeast, and then quite dry and citric hops kicking late. An ambitious beer, that is close but not quite there.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled May 2007
Absolutely brilliantly clear with a washed out cranberry tinged, copper color. The head starts out about two-fingers thick and is an almost white colored head. Quite fruity smelling with notes of orange zest, bergamot, a touch of kiwi, and Macintosh apples (though it mostly smells of bergamot). Actually bergamot is quite an apt descriptor as this definitely reminds me of the citrus notes in earl grey. Touches of earthy spice aromas also meld in to the aroma.

The flavor has an astringent spiciness to it in the finish that adds a bit of sharpness and ultimately provides a balance to the upfront, sweet orange peel flavors. Quite a bit sweeter than I would like, I almost thick that this beer has been heavily filtered, but it might have just have some very retarded Belgian yeast character. Very clean tasting, definitely too much so, but it is still fairly tasty. An earthy spiciness somewhere between coriander, menthol and dandelions.

The use of cascade hops is surely not very traditional (did they use citrus peel on top of this), but it is the lack of yeast character that keeps this beer from being great. Still it is quite tasty and definitely quite drinkable. This hides the alcohol fairly well, but after some time the alcohol becomes apparent in the aroma.

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Photo of HugoGrim
3.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first sample of a Bison Brewing beer. I like the label art, as well as the placard on the neck of the bottle advertising the brew as USDA organic.

Poured from the bomber into a chalice. Body is a peachy gold, with a very thin lacy film of a head.

Aroma is delicately sweet and fruity, as well as slightly hoppy. Hints of Belgian spices.

The flavor starts excellently, but finishes less so. Bits of hops, dark fruits, spices including coriander and pepper. Lack of yeast flavors. Watery and fairly thin and tart. I enjoy a less traditional take on the Belgian style, especially when that means working in hops, however this lacks the fullness and depth of the style (whatever that style is). Certainly not a bad beer, but it definitely falls short of being truly great or even really good.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.6/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle with no freshness date. The color is just like apple juice, a brownish, golden color. The head is non existent, maybe, because of the gently pour I gave it. The carbonation is light. They are some light wisps of lace here and there, and, a very thin ring of head around the edges.

The aroma is somewhat like spicy apples. I also detect some pears and peach aromas as well, but, the smell is lightweight and hard to detect. The taste is similar, with some spiciness and nice bitterness on the backend. There is a very light sense of warming alcohol in the taste, but, it is well hidden. The taste is well malted and a nice balance with some hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.6/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden transluscense, small head, and active carbonation. The smell is spicy (the coriander) and phenolic. Taste continues with the phenols and some sweet malts. The body is thin, the finish is long with a dry sweet finish. Drinkability, though, is fine. Nothing offensive or off-putting and alcohol is not noticeable. I like this one.

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Photo of Troyone
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a blond color with an apple juice hue and minimal head with some carb action.

A light bready malt smell with perfume hops and hints of butterscotch.

A light sweet and acidic cookie dough malt; perfumy, lemon, and lime hops; with hints of vanilla and cola.

A light body, dry to slightly syrupy texture, soft carbonation, and a chalky finish.

Drinkability is ok there seems to be a slight musk in the finish.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks kind of scary: weak head that disappears instantly, the color of watered-down apple juice (as opposed to the milky golden yellow I like to see in tripels), and bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass more like soda than beer.

Aroma is fruity: apples, pears, peaches, with coriander showing itself. More sweet than spicy, with a hint of alcohol and yeast coming through. Seems true-to-style in this department.

The flavors are enjoyable and unsubtle, if unspectacular, with the faint coriander spiciness mingling with an apple-pie sweetness. Malt, yeast and hops palpable and doing their thing. Belgian candi sugar? You bet. As with most tripels, its use as a prime ingredient is obvious.

Despite a nice dry finish, there's a watery mouthfeel and a strange sour aftertaste. This lets down the experience.

I love this style very much, but Bison just missed the bullseye with their attempt. I can take an unattractive-looking ale if it tastes great and feels good in the mouth, but in these respects this doesn't match the finer Belgian examples it tries to emulate. It's not a complete loss at all, though. It would do the trick if it were the only tripel I could find, but it's not, so I'm not super-anxious to pick it up again.

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Photo of aracauna
3.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, true gold body with a fluffy, slightly sticky, white head that builds nicely and easily, but fades a little too quickly. The aroma is lightly spicy and has a touch of sweet straw malt. The flavor is lightly sweet, straw and cake malt, coriander and a bit of yeasty spiciness. The Belgian yeast character could have been a bit more promounced, although the alcohol is surprisingly well covered up. The flavor is also a little too quick to fade. Immensely drinkable though.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear pale golden straw with a white head which fell quickly but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was spicy with a coriander to almost cinnnamon aroma most prevalent. Some higher alcohols boosted the phenolic presence.

The flavor was mostly spicy coriander with no depth or complexity to the flavor. The flavor was more like a pale ale with some spice than a Belgian brew. The hop bittering was present and nicely done and a light earthy hop flavor existed, but not complexity of flavors emerged.

The finish was dry with lasting nice coriander into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done making a highly drinkable brew. The beer was missing aromatics and flavor components that create complexity, but was a nice brew nonetheless. Nothing at all wrong with the beer, but nothing to write home about either.

22 ounce bottle. Label says Beer brewed with Coriander. 8.1% ABV on cap.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer after its emancipation from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a shining clear gold color with the head portly in size and a creamy white with the residual lace a thin velum like sheet. Nose is slightly musty sweet malt, crisp and clean with the start modestly sweet and the grain profile adequate, top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is biting in its acidity and the hops pleasantly spicy; aftertaste is desert bone dry with a slight hint of alcohol bitterness, a drinkable beer.

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Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev +5.4%

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Bison Organic Belgian Ale from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 3.32 out of 5 with 62 ratings
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