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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
20 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-03-2001

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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 285
Photo of Magpie14
3.94/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured much like a thin porter with a ruby crusted brown being the dominant hue. Closer inspection displays dark oranges and murky burnt brown shades. Lacing is subpar and a foamy top ceased to exist after a rigorous pour

S: delicately sweet gingerbread smells with some toasted caramel malts. As my whiffs continue, I find this brew relies on a hearty dose of spices mostly cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cloves. It is by far the best gingerbread smell I have partaken in without actually having a piece in front of me

T: the flavor profile has much of the spiced whiffs already mentioned. Cinnamon, brown sugar, and ginger play gingerly on the tongue. In addition to this, the maltiness is taking on a molasses sugar cookie with toasted crystal malts flavor. Along with this is a light chocolate bitterness floating about. I am digging this brew for its unique flavors and style. It finishes just a touch dry and grainy

M: if any improvements could be made it would be here. I think the feel, considering the flavors, is kinda thin and would gain strength with a heavier body. I classify the body pretty mild that is just shy of being creamy. Still, it moves pretty slick down the hatch and overall it has a decent feel

D: tasty flavor experience and a nice compliment for the season. I give props to Bison for the adventurous style of melding gingerbread and beer together. I think it works!

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Photo of Minkybut
3.94/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this interesting beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was nearly black and poured a really nice tan colored head. The smell was spicy and so was the taste. Definitely could taste the ginger and other holiday spices in this one but it was not so strong that is blowed you away. I would buy again.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber body shows some clarity with back light. Tiny bubbled tight knit head drops to a full cover and spray paints the side of the glass with sticky lace.

Smell: What it says on the tin... mostly. The Gingerbread smell is there, doughy with some ginger spice, but like most spice beers, the line between strong full aroma and dusty overload is a pretty thin line. Mild artificial element to the smell, hard to describe.

Taste: Mild, almost watery. Thin malt profile with some roasted grain but not much. Spices are pretty well in line letting the beer come through. Balance seems between the spice and malt, hops don't show up.

Mouthfeel: A tad fizzy, light bodied, dry chew in the finish.

Overall: A nice beer. The Organic label scares me more than attracts me, but this comes off with just a hint of rain water and unwashed tin.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well kiss my grits and call me Flo, I didn't know that Bison had moved all the way to Ukiah...Guess they get to party it up with the "oh so awesome" (insert scathing sarcasm here) AFI!!! Pours an dark, dark red...It's like dark black cherry soda in color. Looks brown/black in the glass, but up to the light is a vibrant, dark, evil red...Pours a finger of soapy head, highly carbonated, and leaves very little lacing. Aromas are loaded with Holiday spice - nutmeg, cinnamon, clove - but the big surprise here is the huge, wild ale like sour character that dominates the aroma profile. It smells like a Flemish sour, to be honest. Very nice. And, moving to the flavor, it does invoke gingerbread. It's certainly loaded with holiday spice - mostly cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a great, sharp roasted malt tang up front. The malt really carries throughout the taste, all the way to the finish. Some hops on the finish balances it out nicely. I really like this ale, the finish is a tad thin, but the rest is unique and enjoyable. Very well-priced at $7.49/4-pak so that's great for drinkability...

What I like most: The awesome, unique aromas

What I like least: the thinner than I would like finish.

Verdict: Very good and well-priced make it worth tracking down.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.91/5  rDev +12.7%
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 :)

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Photo of Spaghett
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I actually enjoyed this beer. Almost as if I dunked gingerbread cookies in my porter I just poured. If only mom let me have this for an afternoon snack.

Interesting concept, I could only drink one and feel like I didn't eat a big ol' plate of cookies though.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Very dark brown with alot of red at the bottom of the glass. 1/2 inch head and ok retention

Smell: Gingerbread cookies in a glass. Spot on based on the name of the beer

Taste: Flavor falls just a tad bit short based on the nose. There is some subtle gingerbread spice with traces of coffee and cinnamon

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation

Overall: It's a good beer but nothing great. One of those beers that if it's cheap enough I could drink it all the time

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured, it showed a dark brown with very little foam and there was some lace. The smell of spices and roasted malts filled the nose with a pleasant aroma. The taste had a spice and roasted malt feel on the palate. Spices like nutmeg, all-spice and cinnamom and a hint of dark bitter chocolate. Nice bitter/sweet finish that was not overpowering!

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Photo of Drew966
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

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Photo of hopdog
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
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

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Photo of Talisker
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
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".

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Photo of Neehan
3.85/5  rDev +11%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. I definitely was able to detect some pumpkin cinnamon and allspice on the first whiff with bready ginger notes that really make seem like a gingerbread cookie but in liquid form. The taste was a little light on the pumkin spices and cinnamon but had gingerbread man cookie notes and brown sugar accents; really intresting. The brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bready, slight spice, and mild toasty finish. It drank decent but it definitely a novelty beer that was quite intresting. I would one day try to pair it alongside some gingerbread cookies.

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Photo of HoosBrews
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.82/5  rDev +10.1%
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

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.79/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle courtesy of coldbrewky and friends, poured into a cheater pint glass. No Freshness info.

Deep dark amber with tan on the edges capped by an almost nonexsitant head that reduces to a small cap.

Nose is full of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Inviting!

Taste is much of the same as the nose with a tad of caramel.

Medium bodied, this beer would have served well on Xmas Eve waiting for Santa to come down the chimney... that is if he got by the blazing stove.

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Photo of towersfall
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown pour with a pretty cream colored head that lingers.

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg come first quickly followed by some caramel malts maybe? Its a great smell (I wouldn't say gingerbread) that reflects strongly on winter time.

Taste: Wow! A delicious gingerbread taste (created by the cinnamon and nutmeg) really greets the taste buds.

Mouthfeel: A medium body with a good aftertaste.

Drinkability: I liked it, but I don't know how much of the cinnamon/nutmeg taste I could stand. It is quite delicious though for 1 or 2.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown, translucent edges, thin light tan head

S-smells like a gingerbread cookie with dark roasted malts and autumn spices. smells good!

T-comes in with a malty taste of dark grains and ends with an okay taste of autumn spices and ginger bread. some off-taste to it. not extremely well balanced.

M-medium dry carbonation with a dry finish

O-interesting. more of a novelty beer than anything. fun to drink but i'm not about to buy any more.

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Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of bradleyp
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks again to the Bier Stein for carrying this beer.

Pours a medium brown.

Smells like a very bready gingerbread cookie. Very nice aroma througout.

It has a nice spicy taste, with again the gingerbread. Obviously, the brewer knew what he was doing when he wanted to get that gingerbread taste. Some other spices hit the tongue like cinnamon. This tasted like a liquid waffle almost.

I believe this is a seasonal beer, so I probably won't be purchasing this again, at least until next year. My girlfriend is a vegan, so she really likes the fact that Buffalo Bills has a good amount of organic beers. She could drink this beer "all year long" as she stated.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a stemmed pilsner flute.

Pours a murky dark brown, showing some slight traces of mahogany or cherrywood when held to the light. Issues a one-fingered head of light tan foam that recedes slowly and settles into a thick crown of foam, sticking easily to the walls of the glass and leaving behind a patchwork of lacy rings.

The aroma certainly shows off this beer's intent, with a wonderful interplay of ginger, toffee, and dark brown sugar. Certainly brings to mind some nice, warm Lebkuchen.

A smooth, medium body is enhanced by a light-to-moderate level of carbonation. The first notes that seem to show themselves on the palate are a bit of mildly burnt roast and toffee. Further developments follow, bringing along some faint toasty melanoidins, burnished brown sugar, and spicy ginger. The finish is somewhat long and dry, with ginger and toffee in the lead followed by a lingering roastiness that is slow-fading.

This porter is easily drinkable and a nice variation on the style, keeping up a nice balancing act while managing to become a perfect beer for the holiday season.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a modest, reserved, half inch-high head of light beige foam.

Smell: Dark malts with a light whiff of roastiness and bittersweet chocolate. Within the aroma each member of the spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) is fragrant and well-represented. Subtle touch of dark fruitiness.

Taste: Opens with a taste of blackened barley coated in a thin veneer of brown sugar and chocolate of the darker variety. Background roast. Restrained sweetness. Clear-cut though never overbearing earthy spice character throughout. A light hop bitterness compliments the spice mix. Finishes with a tidy dryness and a lingering ginger bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit reminiscent of Anchor's OSA, though somewhat tamer. Just as their Chocolate Stout gets the job done being a chocolaty stout, so too does the Gingerbread Ale at being a spicy porter.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - burgundy hue with a touch of browm. A light mocha head fluffs up to a thin finger before settling in at a thin but kind of sticky cover. Some decent legs of lace maintain as the beer level drops.

Aroma - light molasses sniff, the malts giving support, maybe giving a cola-esque smell. Some nice roastiness with warmth.

Taste - malty and molasses, as billed. The balancing bitterness is there, I'm not sure it's needed though. The brew isn't especially sweet, but the hops do their job to provide some offset to the sugars. Nice roasty element on the swallow, even some coffee notes in there. More roasty grain than molasses on the finish, especially as this warms up.

Mouthfeel - crisp, moderately weighted, decent body.

Drinkability - my first bottle of this I didn't care much for. Tonight, after baking up several dozen gingerbread cookies, I took another crack at it and liked it much better. Could use more breadiness - it doesn't hit me as a full on gingerbread beer, but it's got enought to merit some holiday props. Nice job, Bison.

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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
3.47 out of 5 based on 285 ratings.
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