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Bison Organic Red Ale | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Red AleBison Organic Red Ale
25 Ratings
Bison Organic Red AleBison Organic Red Ale

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RoyalT on 08-01-2004

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 24
Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from a Beers of the World mix box that I got for Christmas from an acquaintance. Thanks Scott!

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big, rocky 2" light tan head above the slightly reddish caramel brew. Head slowly fades to 1/4", and exhibits foamy lacing. Aroma exhibits an appropriate amount of maltiness, and hopping is evident. Taste mimics the nose, with hopping a bit more pronounced that expected. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both fitting for the style. Nice, enjoyable red, and organic to boot...

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Photo of TinusTime
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely copper colour with a nice white head. Wow both beers from this company have had great head and head retention. Smell is nice and hoppy with a touch of caramel. Taste is a bit different than the aroma. More malt and less hops than the nose would have you believe. There are enough hops at the end to balance, but it does still retain some malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation. Drinkibility is good. Once again this would make a really nice session beer although at 6% it could sneak up on some. Certified organic. Once again a good brew from a company I hadnt really heard of. Thanks again to Greg from Specialty for the sample. I would definitaly carry both this and the Blonde in my store.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a deep, shiny, orange with reddish tints and brought up a terrific head.

Smell – This ale is dry-hopped, and the deep, rich, resiny Cascades come out very big and smooth. I mean, this is creamy smooth if there’s such a thing for an aroma. The malts are creamy and sweet, too.

Taste – Wow! The malts really take over at the taste. They are reminiscent of the Bear Republic Red Ale but a little nuttier and not as complete. The hops mostly went by the wayside at the taste. They are still there, just in moderation.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied with some good carbonation and a bit of dryness. The flavors are all very smooth and the ale has a nice, crisp finish.

Drinkability – This is a very drinkable Red Ale.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reminds me quite a bit of Bear Republic's Red Rocket ale, but a little less meaty...
And that's pretty high praise.
Malty, hoppy and well balanced.
Has that red ale twang to it, letting you know it's a red ale... a twang I tend not to care for, but I don't mind it here.
Layers of different sorts of fruits going on... nectarine and citrus type interplay.
There's a delicate balance going on that makes me think I could easily hate this brew... but I enjoy it.
Share with a friend.

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Photo of jettjon
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the pint plus 6 oz bomber, pours a hazy brownish red with a good number of bubbles. 1-finger brown-tan head that fades quickly, leaving behind a loose cap of scattered bubbles and a moderate amount of lacing. Nose showcases a medium cascade hops presence and sweet malt, very balanced and pleasing, possibly this beer’s best characteristic. Taste is similarly well hopped and balanced, with bitter hops up front and sweet malt following close behind. Finishes lightly bitter and clean. Overall a good, balanced flavor. Mouth is mildly viscous, wet but not thin. Drinkability is very good; this is a well-balanced and easygoing beer, and at 6% ABV, it’s sessionable.

Overall: This is a good, hoppy, well-balanced ale. Recommended.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bronzified orange with a beautiful coral blush. The pale brown sugar-colored head is small, but is solidly creamy and has barely fallen from its edge-cresting peak in the several minutes since the pour. Sticky lace bridges are beginning to form and are beginning to leave good-sized chunks of foam when they break. This is one fine looking ale.

Unfortunately, the nose isn't up to that same standard. There's an earthy toasted maltiness that I don't love and a disappointing lack of hops. They aren't absent, but they aren't as prominent as expected after reading the brewery's claim of generous dry-hopping with Cascade. I think not. It's an okay nose if one likes especially caramelly reds.

Organic Red tastes like it smells, more or less, and even though it's better than average for the style, I haven't yet decided whether it's a little better or a lot better. More drinking and squinting and chin stroking will be required. There's a more than solid caramel malt base that provides at least as much sweetness as bitterness. Maybe more.

I'm not willing to go along with the label's other claim of 'big hop flavor with a slight hop bitterness', but the boys from Bison aren't that far off. The grapefruity citrusiness of the Cascade is blunted to some extent by all the caramel, although the burps are refreshingly pure and citrus fruity. In the grand scheme of things, this is a well-hopped version (that is growing on me as I drink).

The finish is long and increasingly bitter, since hops tend to have more stamina on the palate than does malt. Warming may not result in any appreciable changes to the flavor profile, but the hop resins are beginning to build up on my tongue in a most agreeable fashion. The mouthfeel is medium, with a nod toward full.

Bison Brewing is one of those hit-and-miss breweries for me. I love their Chocolate Stout and Gingerbread Ale, but wasn't too thrilled with several of their other offerings. Organic Red is a more than respectable version that benefits by being chock full of ingredients. Definitely worth a purchase.

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Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass a clear deep bronze with a thinner craterous slight off white head that left shotty lace as it settled pretty quickly.A mix of chocolate malt,carmel,and leafy hop in the nose all melded well together,this is the meaning of a balanced red here,starting out with some hefty chocolate tones along with some caramel biscuit gliding into a "green" leafy,earthy presence in the finish.An almost creamy mouthfeel makes the flavors stand out more and makes it rich and inviting,I liked this beer more than I thought I would,nice.

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Photo of cerveza5150
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AP: Poured a cloudy dark red with almost no head. Small, compact bubbles of carbonation.

SM: Sweet chocolately tones, with a slightly sour pungency, probably from the hops.

T: Chocolate/maple malt gives way to a piny hop aroma that finishes clean, due to the compact carbonation. The taste outweighed the appearance....

M: Finishes clean, with some ligering of hops on the palate.

D: Better taste than I thought, based on the average appearance. Great as a session beer!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz Bomber, picked up at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa. Black crown cap has the Bison Brewing logo on it in white. The main label has a black background also, but with a dark purple-red frame that frames the main center-piece. Lists the beer as ‘Bison Organic Red Ale’, stated as 6.0% by Vol. No freshness date.

The blurb states; “To celebrate our 15th Anniversary our Red Ale marries big hop flavor with a slight hop bitterness. The generous Cascade dry-hopping blends with hints of caramel and rich maltiness in this crimson, medium bodied beauty.”

Appearance: Sunset red body with a gentler blushing peach haze when first poured. The head forms with a confident strike and this pulls through into the longevity. Faded tobacco stained white froth sticks around, figuratively and literally, producing some big bubbled lacing. Conditioning is finely dissolved and supporting with its medium strength.

Nose: Malt laden nose with a dipped hoppy finish. Malts have a “fresh from the pop-up toaster” odor to them. The hops are not aggressive but moreover assertive in their profile. Earthy feel overall.

Taste: Starts with a hop entrance that blends well with the background toasted malts. Middle benefits from the input from the Cascades and provides citric grapefruits to balance the caramel toffee feel from the malts, especially as the beer warms. The finish has a lingering red hop bitterness feel to it, not untypical of a few West Coast Reds.

Mouthfeel: The bitterness lends astringency to the feel, but the caramel malts bolster the overall depth of the body. Above average projection but it seems to lack a little something that I cannot put my finger on.

Drinkability: The resin laden hops and fresh malt bitterness certainly add to the charm of this Red, and it definitely adds a West Coast tangent to the hopped up presentation. Not as hoppy as some, but that adds to the Drinkability for me.

Overall: I’m not big on Reds, but I quite enjoyed this one, a worthy sample and far from disappointing. The last two Bison brews were a disappointment though, the Golden Bock and IPA fell way short of the mark, but their Red is more reminiscent of the better quality brews that they can produce. Worth trying.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep gold with a massive head, this is a very appealing beer. The nose was of hops and brewery scents. Full malt body with herbal notes and a dry finish. The hops sat nicely in the background. This was a very fresh tasting beer and possibly the organic grain bill added to the nice complexity.

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Photo of scooter231
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby-esque color, some off white head with nice lacing. Nose is malty but decidedly lacking. Taste is bready and again malty. On the slightly sweet side. Meaty. Mouthfeel is bubbly and full. Overall a pretty tasty red- not my favorite, but pretty good. Definitely worth a try- and I'd like to get more from this brewery.

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.74/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this from a bottle at Ted's Montana Grill in Raleigh.

Poured into a pint glass without much of a head in spite of a hard pour, and had no head or lacing afterwards, so I wasn't impressed at all. Color was redish/amber.

Smelled slightly malty with some hop notes.

Tasted good, with a hint of chocolate and maltiness. Slight hop bitterness.

Kind of a thick mouthfeel with some lingering carbonation.

Not a bad beer. Easy to drink. Not overly impressed, however. I'm surprised at some of the other reviews that mentioned the high amount of carbonation and head.

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Photo of brentk56
3.74/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark golden color with a modest head that fails to produce much in the way of lacing

Smell: Nice caramel malt dominant aroma with a subtle grapefruit hop component

Taste: Starts with an assertive caramel malt flavor; after the swallow, the bitter character moves forward and joins the malt in a well-balanced fashion; there is a touch of astringency in the finish that is distracting

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The best organic beer I have tasted but that's not saying much as my experience with organics has been limited to Wolaver's

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Photo of rkhaze
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper/orange color with a big bubbly off white head that got creamy and fluffy as it fell.
Smells of musty sweet malt, a bit of fruit and earthy, spicy hops.
Subdued sweet flavors of malt and caramel. Decent balance with a spicy hop presence. There was a mild pungent earthiness to it.
Light bodied with a round yet thinnish mouthfeel and plenty of carbonation.
A little different for the style, but not bad.

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Photo of WonderfulSam
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Open this beer, pour it, and let it sit for about 15 minutes before taking a drink!

22 oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

Immediately after pouring, I got a nice 1 finger head that was an offwhite, slightly dirty color; thick and frothy, it dissipated slowly into coarse chunks that left similar lacing on the glass. The aroma was clearly malty, and even a bit sour. The color was a nice ruby that appears clear but dense. Also immediately after pouring, the brew was way too highly carbonated. This made my first several sips go down kind of harshly. The flavor was an unbalanced combination of bitter and overly sweet and malty, which left an immediately sour aftertaste.

Then I let it sit on the table for about 15 minutes while my wife and I chatted about the trials and tribulations of working with difficult people. My next several sips (and the rest of the drink) were much improved. The time sitting let the carbonation mellow, and the mouthfeel became much more pleasant and smooth. As the brew warmed, the malty sweetness opened up into something that was much less acrid and which played with the light bitterness much more appropriately. The aroma even brightened a bit and lost most of its sour edge. The flavors came together with the reduced carbonation to make for a rather pleasant beersperience.

I'd recommend this beer if you like a malty red, but definitely don't drink it cold or immediately after opening.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. Dark amber, almost reddish brown ale, nice bubbly/thick creme coloured head. Malty aroma, also rather "buttery"., some rather thin hops hit the nose also. Malty flavour, slight sourness, candy cane sweet, hoppy taste to finish which thankfully ends the sweetness rather abrubtly. Gets more hoppy as it warms. Ok mouthfeel , average for the style, and dry in the end. Overall an odd beer, but it does improve as it warms, dont drink this one too chilled.

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Photo of hopdog
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle.

Poured a deeper amber color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, citrus, toasted and roasted nuts, and a little earthy. Tastes of caramel, citrus and nutty. Tastes and body on the thin and almost watery side.

Notes from 6/21/07

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Photo of WesWes
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a bitter and musty scent that blends a citrus hop aroma with a caramel malt scent. The taste average. I want to like it, but it's too musty and stale for me. It has a toastey malt flavor with hints of burnt toffee and caramel. It also bitter and dry at the finish. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is an above average brew, but nothing special. I'm starting to think organic and brewing don't mix. I've only had a handful of good organic beers and this isn't one of them.

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Photo of isaac
3.31/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle to over-sized wine glass.

A - Very pretty, hazy copper with a huge, pillowy, off-white head.

S - This smells great initially, but as it warms and opens a bit, a very sharp, sour smell comes through. Notes of citrus and mango from the hops, some breadiness from the malt, but all is overpowered by the aforementioned odor.

T - Bitter, grapefruit hops and caramel from the malts fight in the mouth, but, like the smell, the sourness pulls through and dominates.

M - Dry, medium feel and mild astringency.

D - Good, to a degree, but I wouldn't say i overly enjoyed this.

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Photo of harpus
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of AgingWarrior
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I read a few of the previous reviews, so I didn't drink this brew right out of the refrigerator. I let it sit out for a couple of minutes, then I opened it and poured approximately two thirds of it into a tall pilsner glass. Then I let it sit a couple of more minutes before taking my first sip.

It is definitely over carbonated. The appearance is good, dark amber with a finger and a half of light caramel colored head. Plenty of lacing with this brew, all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

The first whiff was a mix of malts and hops, with the majority scent being the hops. Not bad on first whiff.

The taste is more hoppy than I like. For a red ale, it was too hoppy.

The mouth feel is fine and the finish and after taste are okay.

Not a bad drink, but I've had better red ales.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled April 2007
Intensely over carbonated, I end up with about 6 fingers of head and a scant finger and a half of beer in my glass after the first pour. The head is a soft, amber-tinged, tan color and starts to form quite the rocky surface as it very slowly subsides. The beer is a brilliantly clear, cranberry-amber color that has lots of madly streaming rivulets of carbonation streaming through it. The aroma smells strongly of crushed soda crackers and freshly milled malt. Some light hop notes are also noticeable with notes of green herbs (almost vegetal) and a touch of citrus.

The taste is lightly sweet up front, with a soft citrus character. Pretty quickly though a strong, cooked vegetal note takes hold; it is sort of a cross between broccoli and maybe even something like asparagus, though not really. There is a solid bitterness here, which melds well with a bergamot citrus character. The finish is dominated by a dry, toasty, almost roast-like grain flavor. The beer has a fairly light mouthfeel that seems quite appropriate for this beer. This is an interesting beer, on the one hand the malt and hops taste quite fresh and even vibrant at times, but the weird vegetal note can be quite off-putting when it is noticeable (thankfully, the vegetal flavor seems to fade with time).

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Photo of Troyone
2.97/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours an apple juice color with an amber hue, four or five inch head with lacing, and obvious carb action.

Light toasted caramel malt smell with a pine grapefruit hops aroma.

Has a strange moderately acidic roasted malt taste with an orange hop flavor.

Light to medium bodied, watery texture, lively carbonation, with a metallic finish.

Not my type of Red, the drinkability is not good for me.

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Photo of troutmask96
2.79/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sure doesn't look "red" to me. More of a dark golden.

And wow, what a lot of carbonation! Burp, burp, burp, (belch). I actually had to stir some of the carbonation out of this pour to prevent severe gastric distress.

I really like the extended hoppy finish of this brew, but there's little else to recommend, really...

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Photo of RBorsato
1.58/5  rDev -55%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Seems as if I had a similar experience to what a few other reviewers had below.

Bronze with a full pillowy way overcarbonated head... Signs of oxidation/infection in both aroma and flavor. Medium bodied but very light due to overcarbonation. Did not have this one for long so not sure how it turned so bad so quickly ... unless of course the 15th anniversary was years ago. :-(

An expensive mistake which makes one afraid to try again.

Per bottle: "USDA Organic" & "15th Anniversary.." & "Cascade Dry Hopping"

($4.99 / 22 oz.)

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Bison Organic Red Ale from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 25 ratings
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