Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale | Bison Brewing

145 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150  | next → last
Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 286
Photo of soulgrowl
3.11/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Dark, dark, opaque brown with a brownish, creamy head that doesn't want to form.

Smell: Gingerbread + DMS (cooked corn) = what the hell? This isn't really bad; the gingerbread spice aspects are quite nice, but the DMS kind of crashes the party. Overall, smells kind of like minestrone.

Taste: Gingerbread spices and mildly sweet, dark (molassesy and chocolatey) malts predominate. There's a very light hop character that comes through in the finish, but it's certainly not the focus of this beer. They're really trying to faithfully replicate the taste of real gingerbread, it seems, and they almost get there... but there are just too many off-flavors that get in the way.

Mouthfeel: Frothy, creamy, full. Very good.

Drinkability: I can see myself really enjoying this on a cold winter's eve. I'd like to try another batch, because this one is just too weird.

 883 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass; one for me and one for my lady. Very small head forms on top of a translucent but very dark brown, gingerbread colored beer. Pretty looking beer.

Aroma is gingerbread, cinnamon, chocolate.

Tastes a lot like a porter. Some hop bitterness with gingerbread, followed by chocolate and coffee.

A little bit of astringency and grainy quality is present. Medium body. This would probably taste great after a bit of aging.

First beer rating after receiving my Initiate mug. Woo Hoo!!!

 536 characters

Photo of BrewMaster
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 2005 release, 22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. The beer is a dark chocolate brown color with fdaint red hues when backlit. The head is creamy, tan and mildly sticky leaving slow sliding lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Nice toasted malt aromas coated with sweet gingerbread smells of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Opens with a roasty, nearlt burnt, malt flavor. Chocolate malts make a nice showing in the flavor. The flavor is surprisingly mild when it comes to spicing. Very little spice sweetness but there is a grainy brown sugar sweetness in the malt. It is a bit thin on the palate, especially for a porter. There is a distinct watery patch in the middle of the flavor where one would expect a more chewy, fuller bodied feel. As the beer warms there is some very faint ginger and cinnamon flavor that shows up, but nothing like the nose. The ending has some faint peppery hop bitterness to round out the ginger.

Drinkability: A decent porter that I wouldn't mind having again, but nothing spectacular. It's missing some texture on the palate and even a bit of flavor. Besides the sweetness and roastiness there isn't the chewy malt that is claimed on the bottle.

 1,216 characters

Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

While perusing the beer section at my local grocery I came across this interesting sounding beer. "Gingerbread ale", the text described it as a porter but after pouring this into my glass i realized it really isn't a porter at all, far too light. A pretty brew nonetheless, dark brown and only slightly translucent, the head was small and faded quickly with no lacing. Smell was very interesting with clear ginger scents at the nose. Unfortunately this scent doesn't transfer to the taste as well as I hoped with the ginger being noticeable but very faint. Tastes like a flat brown ale, or a very light porter without much in the way of roasted flavors. Mouthfeel was extremely light considering the dark hue of this beer, very confusing. After all this beer is interesting and worth trying, its just that nothing jumps out to make me want to try it again.

 856 characters

Photo of JISurfer
4.34/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I guess I got a better bottle than the average of the reviewers, but I really liked this one. I actually had this one a long time ago, but luckily I found the review I wrote down. I also will never forget the taste of the beer. The taste and the smell of the beer were very similar. They both had a strong taste of ginger and spices, very much like gingerbread. It was so much like gingerbread, it was uncanny. It also had a bit of a hop bite in the end, so it wasn't all malty. I would suggest this brew to most anyone, especially ones you want to show what craft brews are like.

 580 characters

Photo of AlexJ
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light brown pour with a fluffy off-white head that quickly dissapears. Minimal lace.

Aroma is toasty malts, a hint os cocoa, some light nutmeg and ginger notes, and buttery diactyl. It has the same funky bready yeast aroma as the other Bison products I've sampled. Ringwood?

Flavor follows closely with light caramel, roasty malt, light sweet spice, and plenty more diactly mushiness. Not very good at all.

Body is a hair above light, with a soft undercarbonated flat mouthfeel. Glad this was just a small sample.

 522 characters

Photo of baiser
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting ginger flavoured beer. I was never a big fan of ginger, so obviously this won't be one of my favourites, but I'll try to be objective. Pours a light clear brown body, thin white lace. A subtle gingerbread aroma, reminiscent of gingerbread cookies. Sweet, sharp and slightly fruity. Medium bodied, easy drinking and refreshing.

 343 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a smooth caramel scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It also has an awesome gingerbread aroma that is very enticing. The taste is good. It has a roasted toffee flavor that is sweet and smooth on the finish. It also has a mild, not over the top, gingerbread taste that is very enjoyable. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good seasonal brew. It's smooth and full of flavor; a good drinker.

 584 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.07/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear dark amber brown with a low off-white head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was gingerbread spice and cinnamon spice with some light caramel maltiness. Almost the aroma of allspice one finds in a pumpkin beer.

The flavor was chocolate and caramel and ginger/allspice. The flavors were muddled and more akin to a brown ale with some spicing added. The chocolate and the spice just did not work very well together and the flavors collide in a battle that neither was well suited to win. Some slight bittering also detracts in the flavor.

The finish was dry, bone dry, with some chocolate and a slight coffee flavor coupled with low spice into the afteraste. The body was medium light and a bit watery. Not a favorite, just to muddy in the flavor to be worthwhile.

22 ounce bottle. Purchased in GA.

 866 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brownish red color. It has a light brown head that fades quickly, leaving very few laces. The aroma is a little hard to describe. It smells like a gingerbread man. It has a spicy aroma also, but mostly, just gingerbread. It also tasted like a gingerbread man. A liquid alcoholic gingerbread man. It is better than I expected. It is quite good. It has a spicy taste also. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnimon. It also tastes a little sweet. I cant really detect any hops over the spicy flavors. This beer is mild, and refreshing. It leaves a spicy ginger aftertaste. It might be a little overcarbonated, but not so overcarbonated that it detracts from the beer. I think this beer would make a great session beer. The flavor is quite appealing, and I dont think it would get old. Also, the alcohol content, while not stated, is rather low, I think, and that means you could drink a few of them. If you see this one, buy it. Try it. You might like it.

 954 characters

Photo of misterscooter
2.79/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Hmmm, gingerbread, eh? There's no getting around it with this beer. It pours a dark maroon with not much light getting through but the liquid is clear. About a finger of khaki foam, not real firm, sat and top and disappeared at a good pace.

The smell of gingerbread is strong with this one and overpowers any other smells that might be there.

Surprisingly, the taste of gingerbread isn't quite so obvious. It is there, but you get some sweet and hoppiness, too. However, with the smell of the gingerbread enhancing the flavor, it makes it stronger and you either have to keep from breathing while sipping or put up with it. It gets old fast, though, and I hard a hard time finishing one.

 694 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
2.9/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Let me start by saying that I'm not a big fruit beer or herbed/spiced beer lover. And so, this Christmas gift, is not one I would have picked up on my own. But I'm always up for a new taste adventure (ok, I'm up for almost any new adventure, but that's another story, or maybe several other stories). But I digress.

This beer pours a burnt gingerbread brown, with a moderate head after a vigorous pour that quickly dies to nothing. The aroma is herbal/spicy, having been told it's gingerbread, I can't argue with that as the premise. My first sip made me do the old double take- it really surprised me. It's all herbs. Maybe some roasty malt, but no caramel-toffee-chocolaty malt.

Mouthfeel is ok, maybe a little thin for the style.

Overall, I drank this beer, and was glad for the opportunity to do so, but I was not excited by it.

 841 characters

Photo of Crotor
2.26/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a clear, bloody ruby, with one finger of dense, off-white head with good retention.

There's a mild gingerbread spice aroma, a bit of brown sugar, and something slightly vegetably.

The beer tastes slightly roasty with minor floral hop element - quite like a mild, brown porter. The spicing, however, somea across as dry, chemically, and unpleasant. The beer is not nearly sweet enough to stand up to the spicing. The weird vegetable element carries through - this tastes somewhere between Newcastle Brown and a celery stick (with gingerbread spice, that is). It does taste vaguely gingerbready, but the spices attack the tongue with weird and unpleasant drying flavors, and the base beer is ulimately mediocre at best.

This beer's biggest failing is in the mouthfeel. The body is waaaay too low for the strength of flavors in a spiced beer. The drying chemical off-flavors of the spices also negatively impact the mouthfeel.

This beer is an utter failure. A drainpour if I ever saw one. The core of the beer's problems may be in the low quality of organic malt available - I've noticed similar failings in other organic beers I've tried. Whatever the case, this beer is woefully unbalanced, and is screaming for a heavier malt element.

 1,252 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/19/04- Part of a 10pk holiday beer case purchased at Cost Plus in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle poured into my Reaper pint glass. No expiration date available.

Appearance- Nice foamy head, deep red pour, but virtually zero lacing.

Smell- Just as it says...gingerbread, maybe some cinnamon and other spices.

Taste- Kind of like a porter taste with gingerbread and spice flavors. Maybe a bit of chocolate in there too.

Mouthfeel- Very light. Maybe a bit thin. Medium to low carbonated.

Drinkability- A definite interesting brew. Not really my favorite taste in a beer, but was a good experience to have. Not bad considering. Took me half the pint to get used to it.

 696 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.04/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after its extrication from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a slightly beclouded deep mahogany with a modest semi-creamy tan head that’s dissipates leaving a thick and sticky sheet of lace to obfuscate the glass. Nose is like sniffing a gingerbread cookie, sweet with hints of vanilla, fresh a quite appetizing; start is sweet with a rich malt profile and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is striking in its acidity with the hops purposeful in their spiciness, the ginger noticeable in the devastatingly dry aftertaste, different for sure.

 578 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heavily garnet-bejeweled walnut brown with light visible on the opposite side of the glass. The head is toasted tan in color with a pitting, pocked top. The foam is reasonably sticky and leaves small chunks of lace on the glass as it falls to a thick, whipped cream-like disk. Nice appearance.

The nose is of toasted caramel malt with plenty of spice; ginger to be specific. The label says that the beer smells like 'fresh baked Gingerbread men' and I can find no fault with that rather poetic description. The flavor is of sweetish caramel malt with the aforementioned ginger and some cinnamon.

There's also quite a bit of bittersweet chocolate--more sweet than bitter--and a hint of coffee as well. I can also appreciate a little hoppy bitterness, especially on the tending toward dry finish. Unfortunately, there's a lighter than average porter body in place. A more expansive, more creamy mouthfeel would improve this beer considerably.

Herbed/Spiced beers are hard to do well in my experience. Plenty of brewers seem to have trouble getting the flavor profile and the degree of spicing just right. I'm not saying that Gingerbread Ale hits all the right marks, but it is a good version of the style. I'll also give Bison points for originality; a gingerbread porter is a new one on me.

 1,300 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.49/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22oz Bomber, picked up for $3.49. Most noticeable is the purple & charcoal paper strip that covers the crown cap and which is adhered to the front of the tall neck by a green and white roundel sticker that has the words ‘USDA Organic’ on it. The main label lists the beer as ‘Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale’, stated as 6.8% by Vol. No freshness date.

The blurb states “For the last 9 winters we have brewed this medium bodied Porter with its chewy dark malt flavor, gingerbread spices, and mahogany color.”

Appearance: To the naked eye it is a dark brown polished color, but when backlit it has a deep ruby red hue. A massive light tan head forms with an uneven surface and stays at least 2” deep when first poured. As it slowly settles it collapses leaving some lace on the walls and a more uniform appearance. A smooth thick looking head sits atop the beer for the whole drink.

Nose: It certainly has a Gingerbread nose, though it is restrained and mixed amongst the malts, but there is a light spice to the aroma, a Xmas spice, something like cinnamon.

Taste: Lightly roasted malts envelop the start and middle of the beer. A spicy ginger entrains the center portion with some brandy-snap qualities, which develop a distinct chocolate feel once the beer warms to ambient temperature. Astringent finish, only broken when you get to eat the moist currant eyes of the Gingerbread Mans Head.

Mouthfeel: It has a rich thick high quality malted-bread feel, like biting into a piece of Parkin or a Ginger Sponge Cake. Spices lightly coat the tongue and cheeks. The Beer is very much like a Gingerbread Man, light and airy with concentrated tastes. This Ale has a very nice mouthfeel indeed.

Drinkability: The one bottle was enough. Difficult when cold but much more palatable when warmed, it is most certainly a quality beer that drinks well. It is not however a session beer.

Overall: I happen to like the traditional Ginger Beers, so a GingerBread Ale or Porter to be more specific was intriguing. I think Bison pull it off to be honest, but it will always be specialist in its appeal I feel. Unfortunately my fridge has somehow reset itself recently, and I served this one far too cool to start with. Let this offering warm up to get the very best from it for sure. Very enjoyable, and a nice twist on the Porter theme. Worth trying.

 2,374 characters

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!

 350 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's extremely deep chestnut body appears black in the glass, but displays brilliant ruby highlights when held to the light; and the creamy, yellowish-tan head maintains a solid 1/4" cap throughout the glass and leaves some nice lace along the way. Cinnamon is evident in the nose along with some mild, dark fruitiness and a dry, bready maltiness. It's mildly crisp in the mouth to start-off with as its medium body releases its median carbonation; and it warms to become lightly creamy as it crosses the palate. At first its flavor is dominated by a cinnamon spice that seems to dull it's bready, lightly toasty, and even slightly chocolatey malt; and then a ginger note steps forward to totally eclipse whatever maltiness may have been there - and it finishes very dry (but not bitter) with a lingering note of ginger. The spices are there, clearly; just not the sweet malts needed to back them up.

 900 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

firstprev| 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150  | next → last
Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
3.47 out of 5 based on 286 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.