Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale | Bison Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
79
okay
145 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States
bisonbrew.com

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
20 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-03-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
145
Ratings:
285
Avg:
3.47
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
19
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 285
Photo of dgfair
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle poured into imperial English pint glass.

A - Huge, fizzy white head on top of a ruby-tinged brown body. Head sticks around nicely, leaving lacing on the glass and a nice thin layer for the whole time.

S - Definite sweet, fresh gingerbread with a little bit of an orange zest underpinning. A little bit of the traditional roasted malt flavor of a porter, but not much. Smells a lot like the Sam Adams Holiday Porter.

T - Very interesting flavor. You get the flavors of a traditional porter mixed with the sweet doughy gingerbread flavors. This has good creativity and I think it strives to be like the anchor christmas beers but just doesn't quite pull off the balance of flavors.

M - A little thin for the amount of competing flavors. Kind of fizzy and finishes sticky sweet. Not great.

D - It's a fairly drinkable beer, but certainly not something to sit around and drink all night. I would much rather have a balanced traditional porter, or an anchor christmas ale if this is the style i want to taste.

 1,034 characters

Photo of geetlord
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

 615 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a really dark amber/brown color with a faint white head.

Aromas are of brown sugars, almost a little burnt, with some ginger as well.

Taste is a little odd. Not bad, but not really good to me. Some light spicy flavors, funky ginger, some roasted nuts, and not much sweetness which kind of surprises me. Finish is kind of tart and dry.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, a little prickly from the carbonation too.

Drinkablity is so so at best. In my opinion this one is a miss, just doesn't hit the dark, ginger, and sweet flavors I was expecting. Not a bad beer, but not a real good one either. Pass...

 609 characters

Photo of philbertk
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bison Brewing Company--Gingerbread Ale--Beer Brewed With Ginger, Nutmeg And Cinnamon--USDA Organic Since 1989--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 6.00% ABV. 20 IBU's. (3.25 / 5.0) Porter--Spiced. Light tan dense lacy lasting head. Dark ruby edged ruby black color. Roasted ginger cinnamon mild hop front. Crusty sweet earthy roasted dark malt ginger nutmeg spicy mild fruit Porter body. Dry mild hop unbalanced harsh Gingerbread spice crisp clean end. Sampled 12/13/2010. Malt of the Earth Beer of the Month Club Selection received 11/29/2010.

 528 characters

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.16/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I'm a fan of pumpkin beers and that's what this beer reminded me of, since gingerbread and pumpkin spice contain some of the same spices. In actuality, this beer didn't remind me enough gingerbread. I did enjoy the lightness of the beer but if it was a bit creamier or had more of a ginger flavor, I think I would have enjoyed it better.

 337 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.16/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yet another weird taste combo that works from Bison. Deep brown color, small head. Very slight Gingerbread flavor to this porter. Malty and spicy, not very hoppy. Nice beer, but the gingerbread flavor was very subdued, I was expecting a little more flavor. But interesting.

 273 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours an opaque dark brown with a massive head that laces and retains very well. Nose is like a weak porter with ginger added. Some hint of dark malts is present, but very subdued. The body barely makes it past the light category. Very well carbonated, which helps bring forth what flavor is there. Like the nose, dark malt flavor is subdued resulting in a profile that is mostly ginger. While not overpowering, it is rather mild, the ginger needs to be balanced with a background malt flavor profile. The finish is somewhat crisp with a residual weak ginger astringency. Not a bad beer, but it could be improved upon.

 618 characters

Photo of JayS2629
3.19/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It pours a dark black with a one finger tan head that fades fast and leaves soapy lacing.

The aroma is great. Smells of chocolate and freshly baked gingerbread men. Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla.

Front end taste like roasted malt and cocoa with faint hints of ginger. Little too much grassy hops going on.

Too thin for a porter.

Overall, drinkable but not as interesting as the concept.

 401 characters

Photo of bulldog91
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A dark, thick looking pour with minimal head
Roast, malty aroma
Taste of roast, malt but not some of the other flavors I anticipated.
Mouthfeel is flat - and not as thick as expected.
A good beer - not finding the gingerbread in here, but other flavors bopping around in there .

 279 characters

Photo of dblinkhorn
3.22/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with a bubbly tan head that quickly dissipates to a ring of bubbly foam around the edge of the glass. Also a very thin patch of lace on top of the beer. It is a hazy brownish amber in color with little visible carbonation activity within. Little lace is left as you drink.

Smell - You can definitely smell the gingerbread right away, but it blends nicely with the rest of the aromas. Some wet-like hop smell with some mildly roasted malt character behind that. Little alcohol scent on the nose.

Taste - Moderate bitterness and some sourness up front from the hops. Some mild alcohol warmth comes in immediately afterward. This is quickly followed by a mellow roasted, bready malt flavor. Also some peppery spiciness throughout. The aftertaste has some slightly strong earthiness with lingering roasted malt flavor as well. Slightly warming alcohol throughout.

Mouthfeel - Some carbonation bite up front with a wet and somewhat thin mouthfeel. Overall it is a medium-light-bodied beer with a refreshing and tingly carbonation character.

Drinkability - Moderate flavors and nothing especially strong about this beer. Overall it has good drinkability.

This is a decent holiday brew. I do enjoy the gingerbread flavors. I haven't had too many gingerbread beers, but overall this beer can definitely hold its own. It's a fun and festive beer that tastes good too! Recommended.

 1,453 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
Served in a pint glass

A - It pours copper colored with an inch of tan head.

S - I smell ginger right off the bat. I get some faint toast as well.

T - I taste the ginger. I also get plenty of spiciness, clove.

M - Medium with plenty of carbonation.

O - I was hoping for a pleasant experience only to be disappointed. This beer is overspiced for my liking. I keep trying to imagine gingerbread, but I can't make that stretch.

 442 characters

Photo of Sechavar
3.24/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love gingerbread. Love it. Like cherries, I can have it in almost any form. Bread. Cookie. Candy. Ice cream. Pretzel. The list goes on. So when I saw the beer I was like, "Yeah, I'm gonna drink that. Awesome." We poured it cold and as it warmed up the gingerbread aroma started to come out. And it had this great, deep, red color. Very vibrant, actually. Thin head, but ehn, whatev-s. But I ended up being disappointed. The aroma was, say, from 1 to 10, a 1 when we opened the bottle because it was cold. And then it warmed up to about a 3, maybe a 4, but then it just stopped. Bitch is near room temperature and you have to swirl her and put half your face in the glass to get the scent. Boo. More hop than gingerbread, basically. If you like IPAs and gingerbread, but like IPA more by several degrees, then it's for you. If you think it's going to be like gingerbread in the form of beer. No. No. You are wrong.

 915 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 6% abv. Pours deep brown, with some slight ruby edges. Tan head fades to a ring rather quickly.

Roasty malt aroma, with a healthy amount of ginger. A bit of a bread-like feel in the nose. Maybe some nutmeg or other spices as well, but ginger is the theme.

Malt character is roasty, and very dry. Some ginger, and an earthy, herbal feel. Not much really going on here.

Light body, a good amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Overall, not as interesting as it sounds. Disappointing.

 510 characters

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark cocoa brown with amber highlights. A fair finger-thick head of a bubbly, frothy cream color has fair retention and leaves behind some nice chunky lacing.

aroma is subtle. malty, hints of vanilla. maybe ginger? a bit of plastic. something just doesn't smell quite right.

taste hits up front with caramel malts, a sweetness and an unexpected bitter hopping. then some ginger creeps in, akin to a strong ginger beer. Interesting balance of bitterness, malt and spice, although this one is no where near as spiced as I was expecting or hoping.

mouth is odd. high on the carbonation, which does cut through any sweetness or slickness. there's an odd fizzy bitterness that lingers long past the finish. maybe it's ginger? either way, I'm not sure I'm crazy about it.

all in all, this is an interesting one... I've had several bottles before reviewing it, just to be sure I'm giving it a fair shot. I was really hoping for some super-gingerbready brew... kind of the ST Creme Brulee of the gingerbread flavors. But it just kinda fell flat, to an average brown ale with some interesting flavors.

 1,105 characters

Photo of maxwellboh
3.29/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Flipping through the pages of the local brew pub and the synopsis of this Bison Gingerbread Ale caught my eye. Now it being after Valentine's Day I was still ready to pucker up to this spicy note driven brew. Wow, the smell was incredible. My partner drinking with me had three separate sips from the glass we were sharing before I was ready to relieve my nose from the empty bottle. Then I had my first sip...initially the mouthfeel was Christmas time all over again, but within seconds I had snapped out of my flashback. My scores reflect my excitement as I watched the ale being poured and then handed the bottle. My overall score is my confusion of how fast that taste was gone. Luckily ever sip it comes back, but at $5.50 a 12 oz. bottle...I am just glad I tried it.

 772 characters

Photo of tony223366
3.32/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Looks like soda. Really fizzy head. Dark brown with red highlights. Looks a lot like a glass of coke!

S: Big time ginger. I mean a lot. Some clean piney hops come through too. Some rich malts too. I think for a "gingerbread beer" they hit it on the nose.

T: I really thought there'd be a lot more POW to this beer. The malts come through in a lightly chocolaty, roasted way. Hops also come through in a nice piney way. The ginger is there, but not dominant. Just... nothing exciting about this.

M: Worst part by far. Way too light of a body and poor carbonation. It feels watery. Disappointment.

O: This beer is disappointing because it could be a great winter beer. Bison should really take a step back and rework it. Maybe try an imperial version?

 756 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.32/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Pours reddish-brown with a medium thin off-white head with good retention. Thin patches of lacing throughout. The aroma is spiced gingerbread and earthy malt. Medium-bodied with a spicy character. Gingerbread flavor is not too strong, and there are some hops and caramel flavors as well. The finish is short and spicy with vanilla and malt aftertaste. Slightly above average overall.

 417 characters

Photo of mynie
3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty pour, be all lookin' like a winter warmer n' shit. Nice head, with a semi-translucent dark ruby body that's actually trying to look dark ruby (unlike, say, a translucent stout, which tries and fails to look black).

Smells like allspice, cinnamon, and malted barley. It's a nice combination, but not very complex and a little thin.

Tastes wonderful, at first. Like you're biting into a gingerbread man, just about, with pumpkin pie spices mixed with surprisingly strong nodes of burny ginger. But then the spice nodes just drop away, as if into the aether, and are replaced with a rather generic, heavily malty beeriness. The break is disconcerting, and the back end really drags down the front.

 703 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Looks like a good porter maybe a touch thin with a clear amber hue. Head is a nice opaque color.

S - Not much roast or coffee but a nice balance of hops, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

T - Kind of lackluster very little porter flavors maybe some roast and cinnamon and nutmeg seems timid enough. Worst part is a chalky hard water flavor, boo!

M - Light to medium, thin not very chewy. Poor example of a porter.

Overall not worth getting and very disappointed since this has been on my tick list for a while. Not very gingerbread tasting at all, just a spiced weak porter.

 570 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 1.8.13

A - Pours an amber-brown with a small fizzy tan head with solid retention.

S - Coffee, cinnamin, biscuit malty.

T - Subtle coffee and cinnamin, some bitter malts.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Ok, but not as tasty as I was hoping for. Pass on this one.

 298 characters

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Clear, deep red-brown color. One finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left only minimal lacing.

Smell: Well, what's there of it gives off notes of ginger and roasted malt. I didn't much detect the other spices in it however.

Taste: Ginger and chocolate malts with a bit of hoppiness in the back. Other spices barely present themselves. Not as spiced as I would hope for a spiced beer, but not bad tasting.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation; "wet" if you will.

Drinkability/Overall: It goes down pretty smoothly but it's a bit lackluster for the style. The flavor is definitely good but I would like more spice.

Final Notes: A solid run-of-the-mill porter. It's slightly spiced but I don't think quite enough to consider it a spiced beer. I did enjoy it, but would have liked some more kick.

 821 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.41/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish black color with a light tan head with good retention and lacing. The aroma is holiday spices and dark roasted malts. The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts up front with some sweetness and the spices coming through in the finish. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount if carbonation. Overall, not a bad little holiday porter that is worth a try.

 387 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.41/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly clear black cherry with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like ginger and coffee, with a little clove and dark chocolate and a bit of cinnamon.
T: It tasted like dark chocolate and coffee, with some ginger and a little clove and cinnamon. It had a mostly clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Fairly light body.
D: This was not that great of a beer, with the ginger character not mixing well with the porter base. The body was pretty weak too. It wasn't difficult to drink, but it wasn't very enjoyable either. Not recommended.

 592 characters

Photo of mbrown26
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Was looking to try a good seasonal beer. Poured it into a pub style glass and loved the appearance: a good dark beer with just the right amount of head. The smell was fantastic as I got hints of clove, nutmeg and molasses.

Upon first sip I was greeted with an overwhelming sense of molasses. My cheeks puckered a little bit to the taste and thought that it was probably a good representation of a gingerbread beer. I think I was probably hoping for more of a pumpkin spice beer, but after two bottles think that those who like molasses would enjoy this beer. Probably won't buy anymore.

 588 characters

Photo of mooseisloose
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very appropriate for the holidays brew that arrived via BOTMC, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top I get a nice waft of sugar and spice and everything nice. Pours to a deep brown with a two-finger tan medium size bubble head. On the taste it starts off with some metallic hops, followed quickly by a sweet malt then the spices kick in big-time. Lot's of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, bold but not overbearing. Finishes relatively clean with a bit of lingering tangy bite. AC of 6.8% not detectable in the least. Mouthfeel is average not overly carbonated nor thin but nothing you could stand a spoon in. A good holiday brew, good for the cooler days. Gets you in the holiday spirit.

 694 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe