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: 286
Photo of SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love Christmas beers and gingerbread and saw this. I know I shouldn't have spent so much money and gotten a four pack on something I knew I'd probably only want one of, but oh well!

Appearance - Pours a hazelnut color into my SA Perfect Pint. About a finger of tan head is achieved that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing.

Smell - Honestly, gingerbread. That is all.

Taste - Damn, straight up ginger (almost a biting sensation on the tongue) with bready malts, molasses, and other spices like nutmeg. I will give them points for the fact it does taste like a liquid gingerbread house. It is not as off-putting as you would think - honestly I could see this being a Short's beer in the near future. It really is exactly how it is labeled (which I find Short's does quite well).

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, decent carbonation.

Drinkability - Yeah, even one of these is a chore honestly. It is a good novelty beer to be honest, and actually does it well, however, it is a bit much. To be truthful, I am glad I picked this up and am saving one for when my parents visit and will have them try it with me to see their reactions. Not horrible at all.

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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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours Mahogany/black with a sliver of mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Ginger bread period!

T: Ginger, black bread, & grainyness. More gingerbread spice, brown bread & a slight tinge of molasses once warm. Finishes spicy & dry, reminds me more cheap gingersnaps than ginger bread, plus a touch of squashyness

MF: Light/medium bodied, low carbonation , warming

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, not a bad offering, but more maltyness is required

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.19/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Dark brown/ black body with a creamy, light tan head (about .5-1 finger depth and that's with a hard pour). Good lacing.

S: What a surprise! It smells like gingerbread cookies. I get some dark chocolate malts, cinnamon, clove, & nutmeg. No hops.

T: The aroma of this beer made me think that this was going to taste pretty good, but it sure didn't. Not a very strong flavor, but one can pick up some chocolate malts, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. Leaves a weird soapy and acidity taste in the back of the throat.

M: I don't know why, because I've never drank soap water, but that's what the texture felt like. A light-medium body and medium carbonation.

D: I would never drink this again nor would I recommend this to a friend. I feel like it was an amateur beer experiment gone very very wrong.

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Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lightly spiced dark beer.

A hint of cinnamon, and I say it's cloves. Oh, gingerbread? Seems to be lost in the bitterness of the hops, but a pleasant spiciness nonetheless. Modest body, a hint of malt, a touch of roasted flavors.

This bottle has been around a while, on sale in Pacific Beach for $3.99/four. Surprisingly pleasant stuff. Let it warm up from fridge temp just a little, and it is actually a decent beer. Better than some of the recent Anchor Christmas ales in a similar style.

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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 kneeland
3.67/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I try to go organic for a lot of things I eat and drink, but this is probably the first organic beer I've tried. I really enjoyed it. Not too hoppy, not bitter, it was a good flavor. But speaking of flavor, where was the gingerbread? It seemed more like a light oatmeal stout. I love gingerbread, but I did not taste it in this. I will try something else from Bison next time, my girlfriend likes the chocolate stout by them.

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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 DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer and food pairing #2 for tonight: French vanilla ice cream with gingerbread ale. It sounds like a winner, and I know the ice cream will be good. What about the beer? On to the beer:

I didn't know if I'd get something pale or something dark. I end up getting a very dark brown color with a semi-creamy head on top, which is thick and holding up well. The does kind of smell of gingerbread. The ginger and nutmeg are most obvious to the nose. Very light in the dark malt department.

This has a nice flavor. It does remind me of gingerbread. The ginger is well placed, some cinnamon emerges, and there's enough dark malt (reminiscent of doughy bread and toffee) to make a decent enough beer without the spices. The body is very smooth and kind of creamy. Easy to drink as well, unlike some of the other spiced beers.

It's possible the ice cream pairing enhanced my experience with Bison's Gingerbread Ale. I wasn't sure how this would pan out, but it has turned out for the better. This is a Bison product I would surely do again.

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Photo of illidurit
2.56/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Clear dark brown with a nice tan head. Overspiced aroma with, in order of intensity, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. There's also this slight off-note that I can't really put my finger on. Rotten pumpkin? Melting plastic? It's very minor but it's there. Flavor is watery porter with the expected gingerbread character dominating. Doesn't taste artificial but it's just too much for me. It's like on Christmas if someone makes gingerbread cookies and you eat like 12 of them and then you never want to taste gingerbread again. That's how I feel three quarters of the way through this beer. Mouthfeel is dry and bitter with roastiness but there's a significant astringency also. Cloyingness detracts from drinkability.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.52/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a black body with brown hues around the rim of the glass. A rather soft pour produces a thin off white head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma is roasted barley bread along with ginger and some cinnamon. The first sip imparts a roasted coffee like bitterness from the malt bill along with plenty of ginger spice. The experience is almost like taking a bit of a gingerbread cookie then having a sip of a cold dark coffee. The carbonation is ample and the mouthfeel is quite full bodied. I would not want to have too many of these, but it is a nice little nod to gingerbread. Of all the "Christmas/Holiday/Winter" spiced beers, this one probably accomplishes what it sets out to do much better than most.

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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 avalon07
3.67/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: Once you open the bottle you get a big whiff of the ginger element of the beer. Also smells of sweet malt and a little hops.

T: Tasted of ginger, cinnamon, malt, a little hops and some other spices. A very tart and sharp.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry, smooth finish. Light-bodied.

D: A drinkable beer, but not something I'd readily drink again.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick black hue with good head on top of a sharp ginger smell with hints of cinnamon, caramel and bready sweet malts with no real hop presence. The body is medium-to-full and a little sticky but maintain a bready, ginger spice feel although isn't completely natural and not as smooth as I would've hoped. Not as chewey as slushy and finishes with a dry backbite that reminded me of faint bitter chocolate or toffee. A good beer but just seemed like it could've been better.

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Photo of atsprings
4.17/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a DFH Signature glass a dark brown with ruby highlights and a decent khaki head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is ginger and sweet caramel malts with slight cinnamon and brown sugar. The taste is a nice blend of sweet malts, ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar with a nice sweet finish, very reminiscent of a gingerbread cookie. The beer is on the light side of medium with well hidden alcohol. This one was very enjoyable, one of the best beers from Bison I've had yet.

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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.

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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 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...

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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 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 it's organic! If that means anything to you in the slightest :)

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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 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 magictrokini
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly dark pour with a solid tan head. Gingerbread aroma with some malt. Taste was unexpectedly good, given Bison's track record. The porter quality really comes out; malty, roasty, and chocolatey. Nice hop bitterness works really well with the gingerbread in the end.

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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 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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Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewing
3.47 out of 5 based on 286 ratings.
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