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 Westsidethreat
3.18/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dull golden rod, clean and ripe. Head fell quickly but a solid ring and patchy off white ripples across the top of the glass.

S: Tutti frutty, white grape and coriander.

T: Up front orange blossom, honey, vanilla creme. Coriander moves in a bit aggresively. Bit over spiced IMO, dominates the ambience. Finishes dry with a dirty, earthy aftertaste. Cloying sugars stick to the palate long after the sip.

M: Full bodied, syrupy and sticky.

D: Not really that balanced. Bit too sugary and seasoned for my tastes. Started out ok but getting to the bottom of this bottle is going to be difficult.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a tulip glass, pours a light orange gold, a little head, little lacing, and a ton of carbonation, entirely too much carbonation. Aroma has lots of orange and coriander, earthy hops, can't put my finger on the spices, malted sweetly. Decent. Tasted a little, and odly, medicinal at first, but turned out to be extremely sweet candied malt, with a little hop bitterness at the end of a large gulp. Good amount of coriander, spices, and I can't really put my finger on it, but it just isn't tied together all that well. Good pieces, bad cohesion. Mouth is watery and unimpressive, and at 8% i was hoping for a warming that wasn't there. Overall, not impressed, was hoping for a lot more.

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Photo of cbl2
2.71/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

8/28/2006 $4.00 22 oz. 8.10% No best by date.


Pours a hazy glowing orange with an inch and a half of large white foam that takes a rather long time to settle leaving a nice lace behind.


Odd mild fruitiness with some muted undertones of yeast. Alcohol is masked entirely by the fruit, but I'm not sure that's a good thing.


Coarse mouthfeel with odd fruity esters accompanied by some pungent spicyness. Medicinal finish with hints of the alcohol appearing. One of the least undesirable Tripel's I've ever sampled.

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Photo of TheLiterati
2.7/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light amber color, poured into a snifter. Head is thin but has a slight fluffiness, though it doesn’t last long.

Smells of alcohol, candy, and hints of coriander. A second, deeper sniff reveals a nostril-burning smell of alcohol.

Upon first sip, tastes of fruit, and comes close to being syrupy and cloying. However, a dry, spicy finish keeps it from completely coating the tongue in an unpleasant manner.

Leaves a nice lace in the glass, but alas, an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

All in all, not my favorite representation of this style, but passable.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.41/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, poured to a goblet.

A: Clear, glowing pale orange with 1/2 finger of white head and tiny wisps of lace/residual film. An attractive beer, though less "golden" than a typical tripel.

S: Very sweet maltiness. Coriander is present but there's a sort of artificial-smelling sweet pineapple or banana smell present. For an organic beer to smell like it had additives is interesting...

T: Spicy and relatively dry. Despite all the sweetness in the smell, the taste is mild on the esters but heavier on the spices, pepper. The fruitiness does give some sweetness and but the cascade hops balance that with bitterness.

M: Medium-body mouthfeel with bitterness lingering on the tip of the tongue and a fuller, sweeter maltiness in the rest of my mouth.

D: I certainly had no problem finishing this beer; it does taste good. Whether I'd settle for this version of a tripel or go with a different choice is unclear. A pretty good effort by Bison, brewing against a great style that's done so well by the Belgian brewers. Worth a try.

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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 RBorsato
2.68/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Apricot in color with little to no large white bubbles for a head and low slow carbonation. Fruity almost orange peel aroma but smells very artificial ... strange considering this is organic :-). Very similar flavor with a light alcohol note on the finish; more like a wit than a tripel. Light-medium bodied and flat.

Sub-par tripel and sub-par wit. Pass.

Per Label: "Since 1989" & "Tripple-style ale with Belgian candi Systals, Organic Cascade hops" & "Brewer's reserve" (per sticker on cap)

Per Bison website: Ground Coriander

Tasted: 03/24/06

($4.99 / 22 oz.)

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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 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 BEERchitect
3.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Predictibly similar to most American Brewed Belgian beers. All American (local) ingredients, but with a Belgian-ish yeast. The ingredients really don't come together in the same way that the vernacular Belgian ingredients do. There is nothing really missing, but the beer doesn't really come together. It has a brightly colored yellow with a mild haze and abundant carbonation. The head retention falls short, but the aromas are peppery, spicy, estery, fruity, and malty. Tastes sweet with peaches, pears, candy sugar, and pilsner malts. The beer remains bready and cookie-dough-like. But there is a grainy / bite-ey catch in the back of the throat. The smoothness gives way suddently midway through the sip. This leaves the body breaking up and the finish astringent. The hotness of the alcohol follows up in the aftertaste and muddles the drinkability. Though I may not buy many of these, I'm not going to turn my nose up at it either.

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Photo of IntriqKen
2.1/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a golden orange with a disappointing white head that melts very quickly to very, very fine lacy. Very un-tripel of it.
Aroma is sweet fruit...light tropical, pineapple, mangos...but sweet, almost cloying.
Taste is sweet and light,...again almost tropical fruit...oranges, mangos, pineapple, maybe a little light banana.
Aftertaste is slightly cloyingly sweet with a slight citrus bitterness.
Mouthtaste is full, but not like a traditional tripel...the creaminess in this beer comes from the sugary sweet malts rather than the carbonation.
A decent beer, but not a tripel in my mind. More the color of a tripel without the wonderful carbonation and almost the sweet cloyingness of a dubbel.
I doubt I will visit here again.

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Photo of clvand0
3.4/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear yellow color with a small head and nice retention and lacing. The aroma is fairly sweet with hints of spice, but not much else. The flavor has the spices and finishes with a bitterness that is drying. The alcohol isn't very noticeable, but the warming effects are there. Seems a tad thin, but it has some nice character going on and is worth a look. Nothing spectacular.

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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 ggaughan
3.47/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 25 oz or 22 oz bottle into a small tulip glass. The beer was a light golden color with a slight white head that disapated quickly. The aroma of this beer is a dead ringer for corriander and I also got a bit of hops but not that strong. The taste is more of the same with corriander on my tongue and also a bit of malty goodness but not that long lasting making the body rather thin.

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Photo of oberon
3.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a not so tripel looking dull golden with not much head to speak of no haze and no blooming head.Big coriander nose almost nothing else,after grinding some coriander seeds for chili just a half hour before this smells nearly identical maybe a touch of smoke in there as well.Flavors as well with big coriander tones and smoke with a hint a light hint of apricot.Whoo this should be labeled Bison coriander spiced beer because its dominant to much so,wont drink again.

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Photo of bruachan
3.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle says it's brewed with coriander. i'm inclined to agree

aroma is mostly coriander with a nominally malty hint

pretty good looking beer: pale amber with a respectable head with big bubbles that leaves likewise respectable lacing

taste is very weak. coriander and some other vegetable up front with just an indication of flavor afterward. did they use a belgian yeast for this? mouthfeel is thin

this sat on my shelf for a little while; shoulda let it stay there

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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 SaCkErZ9
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.
A very small head forms but dissipates rather quickly into wisps of lacing and ring around the top of the beer. Pretty pale in color, a light cornstalk color. A little bit of action below the surface in the way of tiny bubbles, but is quite reserved.

I couldnt detect much in the aroma of this one. A spicy coriander and sweet candy smell. Nice fruity hop aroma that must be the cascades described on the side of the bottle. Other fruit smells I cant quite place. Not plum as the label dictates, but something more like mango or papaya.

Taste is kind of refreshing. After a long day of work, this would be great to kick back to and wash all the stresses of the day away. Candi taste is fairly obvious and up front. Also that mango/ papaya taste comes out. The hop flavor doesnt seem to be as strong as the aroma. Alcohol taste is very subdued so this may sneak up on you when you arent looking.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky and sweet. But I expected that. Quite quaffable and curiously quenching.

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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 BuckeyeNation
3.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lightly smoky amber-orange with a diminishing number of uprushing bubbles that occupy all points on the speed spectrum. The head is an attractive shade of aged ivory and shows off a supremely pitted upper surface. Unfortunately, it collapses too quickly. A decent amount of thick, sudsy lace is deposited in circumferential rings.

The nose is unimpressive. I can appreciate pale malt, earthy hops and a smattering of spice. As far as identifying the ingredients that I know to be present... fuggedaboutit. Cascade hops? Nope. Coriander? Uh-uh. No matter how much my rational mind knows it not to be true, I can't escape the impression that some organic beer has a mildly unpleasant off-aroma and off-flavor. There is no common ingredient that should make it so, but still...

BOBA is better on the palate. At least now it's identifiable as a tripel, or a 'Trippel-style' ale, as the brewery prefers to call it. It's hard to say how much sweetness is provided by pale malt due to the generous use of Belgian candi sugar. This is likely to be one of sweetest versions of the style that you'll ever run across. It borders on cloying and will make getting through the entire bomber a bit of a chore.

The ingredients that were barely detectable in the nose are more identifiable on the palate. There's a bitter citrusiness (two parts grapefruit to one part orange) that just has to be Cascade hops. The spiciness is clearly coriander in origin (an unusual ingredient in a tripel). Thankfully, the brewers haven't skimped on quantity. While the flavor is enjoyable on one level, it lacks the depth of the best Belgian tripels.

The finish is on the long side and is dominanted by sugar syrup-soaked hops and coriander. As it progresses, the sweetness evaporates and one is left with an austere dryness not unlike that which is experienced when drinking the 'sweeter' varieties of liquor. Ethanol is incompletely masked and is slightly more fusel-like than is optimal. Given the relatively high sugar load, the mouthfeel manages to avoid being thick and sticky, mostly because the abundant carbonation never exhausts itself.

Bison Organic Belgian Ale is a passable attempt at a Belgian Tripel. All of the requisite style elements are in place, but it lacks cohesiveness on the palate. Although I applaud the decision to tackle a style unfamiliar to many American brewers, I can't recommend the final product.

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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 marc77
3.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Oddly pellucid dark straw hue. Head recedes into a meager, porcelain - white collar. Foam wisps remain. Honey - drizzled lime and clove are upfront in aroma, with secondary notes of green apple and licorice adding somewhat medicinal depth. In flavor, incipient is a transient snap of crackers and honey, which then yields to a surge of citrus zest and herbaceous coriander. Moderate hop bitterness arises after a deliberation mid palate and nearly completely supplants malt sweetness, lending an agreeable, thirst inducing dry void. Thin in body, yet this only adds to the addictive drinkability. Finishes virtually bone dry, with trace phenol and vegetal, bitter melon hints. An odd, somewhat tame, yet dangerously drinkable tripel. A delayed, soothing alcohol warmth is the only indication of its strength. This could grow on you.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (shared with Capflu, DumDum and Lubière): Poured a light golden color ale with a small head without much retention. Floral aroma with weak Belgian yeast. Taste is a mix between some coriander, a bit of candi sugar and some subtle floral malt. Body is definitely too thin and this beer lacks character. Thanks Lubière.

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