Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Gingerbread AleBison Organic Gingerbread Ale
288 Ratings
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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Ratings: 288 |  Reviews: 145
Photo of dgfair
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
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 rallison
2.77/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Winter 2005 Release (sampled for a second time now - first time was a year ago, fresh - sorry, wasn't into reviewing then!). Poured from a bomber at cellar temp into a Chimay goblet.

A: Nice Ruby red/brown color with a 3 finger billowy off-white head that sticks around extremely well.

S: Gingerbread (I guess ginger more specifically) and cloves are overpowering (and, in my opinion, not in a good way!).

T: Same as the smell. Lots of gingerbread, with a ton of clove sort of flavor - a spicy sort of kick actually. Some licorice and just a touch of dark fruits. Maybe some hops back there too? Also reminds me a bit of Coca Cola. Kind of artificial tasting.

M: A bit too fizzy. A bit light in the body for me.

D: Flavors are too unbalanced and bordering on the artificial to make this really drinkable - but, I'd say a 3.0 here is fair. Edit: Drinkability down to a 2.0. Why? I could not finish the bomber. Each sip was worse than the last. I'd love to say I've had a good Bison beer, but, unfortunately, that would be a lie.

This beer really could be good, but suffers significantly in a few areas. If this were better balanced, not quite as fizzy and didn't have that artificial sweetener quality, it would make for a nicely spiced Belgian dubbel. Interestingly enough, I remember my first sampling of this (when fresh) to have WAY too much gingerbread. This sampling seems to have toned that down some, in a very good way. Overall, I can't recommend this, but it is better than I remember it being. Can't complain too much for the 99 cents I spent on the bomber at BevMo.

And an edit: Does Coca Cola use ginger in their soda? This beer just keeps on reminding me of that flavor profile.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this at The Good Beer store in Chapel Hill. Later, I was told by a local distribution rep. that this beer was supposedly long gone (it's seasonal). So I feel rather fortunate to have one in my possession to try.

It pours a dark, dark brown into my pint glass. Almost no head formed; what little did scattered within a few minutes. I dig this aroma; it's mainly of toasted malts and honey, with nice hints of winter spices. No cloves, however. The taste is a little different: it's lean in body with a good bit of dark molasses, combined with a some cinnamon and honey. Very tasty. The aftertaste has hints of dark coffee and just the right amount of hop bitterness.

Now I'll have to try Bison's Chocolate Stout, which I've purposely been avoiding for some time.

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Photo of Neehan
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
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 JudgeRoughneck
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a mohagany-colored beer with a huge chocolate-colored head maintained by vigorous carbonation. Smells are very light and prettymuch smells like a molasses cookie with a wisp of English hop in the background. Ginger taste takes the forefront, backed by cidery tastes of light molasses and brown sugar, along with a light roasted character. Not a bad beer, but lacks robustness. Mouthfeel is light and thin. I have no specific complaints, but didn't find this beer that drinkable. I think as much as I like it other places, ginger is a little off-putting to me as a beer ingredient.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer grew on me as it warmed up. At first I was mildly repulsed but the acidity decreased and more the nutmeg came out as it warmed. Poured a dark brown (almost black) in color. Incredibly thick, foamy head. Quite resilient too. Nose is the best part for me--full of ginger. Flavor is like ginger bread. At first it was stale cookies but as it got closer to room temperature more of bread-like flavor came out. Just a tad acidic. Medium mouthfeel and just a tad sticky. Alright, after it warmed.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After having a few standard Bison brews, I didn't hold out much hope for this brew. Glad I made the purchase. It's good beer. Begins with a maltiness that I'd expect from sweeter English and Scottish ales, but with a serious ginger addition. Doesn't really come across a gingerbread, but with a fresh ginger addition. The malts pick up on a doughy, yeasty flare, but not rounded with the nutmeg, cinnemon, or allspice. Doesn't have to; the beer is well bodied, sweet, characterful, and balanced well with English hops. Lingers a bit too long with the sweetness and a hint of graininess late. One of my favorite winter warmers of this season.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured to medium brown color with a small head. Lace is minimal.

The smell is unique and appealing, with plenty of gingerbread flavor. Vanilla comes through too. The taste also has a lot of gingerbread, but it doesn't come out as well. Malt content seems minimal. It is pretty light in the mouth.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz'er pours into a tulip with a massive frothy beige densely packed cap over an eggplant purlpe hue just allowing glimmers of light around the edges.

Nose of spice wafer and gingerbread with a hint of chocolate cocoa.

First swigs: Initially a porter flavor of cocoa, red grape and toasted malt. An influence of ginger bread is not to be overlooked, but mostly rich porter abounds. Bready suggestions. A linger of Dr. Pepper rootbeer finishes off the aftertaste.

Crisp feel with a brisk carbonation that holds up firmly. Medium bodied with a touch of a sugary linger.

Last swigs: This seemed like agood beer right in the heart of Christmas season. Intersting beer to say the least. A well done novelty that is worth trying.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.49/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Basically a gingerbread porter. Great head with strong retention atop a smokey, thick brown. Great smokey malts mixed with a much more authentic gingerbread aroma than expected. I was afraid it would be overpowering. The taste reflects the great balance of a good porter and the gingerbread. The roasty and smokey blend very well Would have gotten a five in that department except for the fact that it lost some of its balabce as it warmed up. As it warmed, it lost a little of its pleasant gingerbread quality. Smooth palate with a great linger that leaves a smaller and smaller impression of the beginning flavors.

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Photo of Drew966
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
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 geetlord
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a 22 oz. bottle today, Oct. 29, which was surprising because Bison website said look for this beer in November. Considering I'm on the other side of the country, didn't expect to see it around this soon.

A: Poured a dark brown, with hints of red along the sides and bottom of my pint glass. Creamy light brown head that stuck around for the duration.

S: Right after pour, huge gingerbread odor. Eventually subsided to a mostly ginger odor with hints of chocolate.

T: Not to much like gingerbread. The ginger is there, just nothing really tying it to a bread like flavor. Ginger eventually gives way to a bitter chocolate. Bitterness sticks around along with some slight chocolate flavor.

M&D: Mouthfeel is decent. Medium-full bodied, not much carbonation which is good I fell for this style. As for drinkability, well it went pretty fast but I couldn't see myself drinking to much more then the 6 or so ounces I have left in the bottle tonight.

Overall it is a decent spiced beer. Needs something more though to tie everything together. Reminds me too much of ginger ale at times rather then the guy who ran around trying not to be eaten. Maybe I'll give it another try around Christmas when it's colder and the spirit is gingerier.

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Photo of Iguana
4.05/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being the season for the winter beers I like to try em all, and when this one caught my eye I had to grab it. Pour was a bit shocking, I guess I was expecting a lighter beer originally, but this poured a dark brown with a nice half inch head that slowly receded to lacing. Smell was a nice balance of gingerbread and chocolate. Taste caught me offguard, again I was kinda expecting this to be lighter, but was rather delighted by the taste, which was basically like a gingerbread porter. Really unique compared to anything i've had. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but not too bad, quite enjoyable. Drinkability was pretty good for me, this is a nice beer to have with a dessert or just to sip for a festive occasion. A pretty tasty offering from Bison.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a soapy head that reduces to a thin skim quickly. Shoe-polish black in color, with very quiet, mellow bubbles.

Spices hit the nose immediately, reminding of a fragrant pumpkin ale. And, indeed, it reminds of gingerbread with each whiff. While the other, more everyday beer elements are missing in the aromas, this smells so good that I don't mind.

But when the spices are the only thing present in the flavor, I start to wonder where the beer is. They got the spice combination right, resembling gingerbread in the flavor, but some of the heartier, more robust elements central to any good ale have been left behind.

Mouthfeel is too thin, especially when the spice flavors would demand something stickier and thicker.

A nice spicey indulgence that was not a pain to drink, but it lacks the complexity it needs to be a super-recommendable beer. An enjoyable beer with a bit of a difference, just nothing outrageously good.

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Photo of rowew
2.66/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: 22 oz bomber with an organic label over the cap. No date information.

Appearance: Pours reddish brown with a thick head that fades to a fairly substantial amount of lace.

Smell: Slightly sweet malts and spices - cinnamon and ginger.

Taste: A bit too much spice, and not enough beer. The flavor is dominated by the cinnamon and gingerbread flavor, and there just isn't enough malt backbone to hold up and keep it tasting somewhat like a beer.

Overall impression: An interesting enoug beer, but I certainly won't be seeking out more.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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!!!

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.34/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

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Photo of AlexJ
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

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Photo of baiser
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 288 ratings