Bison Organic Chocolate Stout | Bison Brewing

300 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Bison Organic Chocolate StoutBison Organic Chocolate Stout

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-02-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 300 | Ratings: 598
Photo of womencantsail
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown in color, quite a bit of carbonation.

S: Very light on the chocolate, which doesn't really make sense for a chocolate stout. Much more coffee.

T: Similar to the nose, with a watery taste and finish.

M: Very light body, pretty carbonated as well. Not what I was hoping for.

D: Easy drinking stout, I suppose.

 326 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a deep reddish black with only a slightly filmy head of milk-chocolate coloured bubbles. Pretty light in the body. Overall, it's not a particularly impressive looking stout. A little insipid, and not exciting me with its prospects.

Pleasant dark soaked grains and rye bread character on the nose. Whiffs of chocolate coming through as well, but a little subtle. The dark grain notes and toasty characters carry this beer, and leave it very pleasant.

Taste is rather thin, unfortunately, with little sweetness and almost no body. Even the bready grain character is muted, leaving an initial watery character followed only by a light ashy bitterness. Feels rather insipid and severely lacking.

This really is missing body, sweetness and depth. It tastes watered down and not particularly inspiring. Gets very tiresome after a while, and whatever pleasant notes were promised on the nose are really not delivered.

 919 characters

Photo of stephendr
3.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle- color dark black – sharp quickly dissipating coffee color head - nose of milk chocolate , vanilla , coffee , and anise – taste of milk chocolate , roasted , and dark berries - body medium , and fizzy almost over carbonated – aftertaste of bitter chocolate , and sour

 284 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: very dark brown. The head, the carbonation is almost like a soda. Very slight head left after the pour?
Smell: cocoa and roastiness. Nothing very prominent.
Taste: some chocolate and roastiness. Dry finish.
Overall: not a bad beer but quite average.

 261 characters

Photo of hophugger
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Not much head and very little aroma. This beer has more of a coffee bitterness than the chocolate that I was expecting. If there was chocolate here, it seems to have been washed away by the somewhat watery taste. Ok beer, a little disappointed......

 249 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours jet black with a dark tan to light brown head. In the aroma, cocoa and a roasty maltiness. In the taste, a roasty malt and a touch of cocoa, yet very watery in the taste. A small bite, yet very thin mouthfeel, and a semi dry and small cocoa aftertaste. Good look and aroma, however watery and quite thin.

 310 characters

Photo of Reaper16
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a pint glass

Pours a, oh, you know, it's dark brown. It looks like a stout. The body doesn't appear to have a bunch of viscosity to it. The head was over a finger in size, but with loose, large bubbles.

The aroma is, as you might expect, pretty much dominated by chocolate. Milk chocolate mostly. It smells creamier than it looks. There's some vanilla bean here, as well as some generic maltiness. Pretty standard stuff for a sweet stout (not the style, but the description).

The taste follows the nose. You get the chocolate milkshake flavor right away, followed by some grainy malt flavors. Not much depth of malt flavor here, which is most disappointing. It's pretty much a one-trick pony. It tastes good, if you're wanting a sweet chocolatey drink. But it may not totally satisfy your beer needs.

The body is not as creamy as it needs to be for a beer like this. It's not egregiously thin, but the flavors call for a smooth creaminess that this beer doesn't deliver.

Overall, this is a very average chocolate stout. Nothing about it is bad or off-putting, it's just completely innocuous.

 1,121 characters

Photo of Roxie_B
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Appearance: Nice thick tan head, opaque and dark.
Smell: Coco, coffee, lactic notes, licorice and malt.
Taste: Coco, lactic acid, coffee and a slight smokiness. Sweet finish.
Mouthfeel: Strangely powdery yet watery.
Overall: I think there has likely been some improvement with the recipe on this since others reviewed this one. Not great but inoffensive.

 355 characters

Photo of stakem
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Review from notes taken 2/14/10.

Pours a dark brown color with less than a finger of tanned head. Nice amount of lace despite a poor display of retension. Nose is mostly dominated by chocolate powder and so is the taste. Light feel and medium amount of carbonation. Overall it just seems a bit watered down. The organic stamp since 1989 shouldn't be an excuse for lack of taste. As it warms there is a very minor amount of hop character in the nose and some coffee character reveals itself in both the nose and taste. After letting this beer warm up well beyond ideal serving temp (while I contemplated pouring it down the drain) I went back in for one last smell an taste and noted just a bit of dark fruitiness. Overall impression is that I wouldn't buy it again but it is somewhat interesting how very subtle flavors are hidden behind all the cocoa powder character.

 870 characters

Photo of scottakelly
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown. Tan head. Good retention.

S: Chocolate. Suprisingly, some hops on the nose.

T: Lots of chocolate. Bitterness balances, but not noticeable. The problem is that the beer is thin, even watery in the middle. This beer has no "uumph." Not what I like in a stout.

D: High, since it's watery. But I won't have it again.

 330 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A black brew with a espresso colored head. A tiny bit of lacing.

S - Cocoa beans. Seriously, it smells like real cocoa beans/butter. A bit of scorched sugars.

T - This has a very dark flavor. Dark baking chocolate, scorched carbon. Aftertaste is a scorched malt bitterness and carbonated water.

M - Thin to medium bodied, a bit of an acidic feeling, carbonation is too high, pretty refreshing.

D - Interesting. It is one of the darkest tasting stouts I have ever had. I might have it again, but I wouldn't seek it out.

 526 characters

Photo of mjc410
2.95/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured my first bottle of this a bit carelessly into my Fuller's nonic, and I ended up with three inches of beer, with the head filling the remainder of the glass. It took a while for the head to recede enough for me to empty the bottle.

The head is very noisy while it falls. It's a light tan color, over a near-opaque brown body. The head is far too slick to the glass. I'd really like to see a lot less carbonation in this one. The nose is highly roasted, and also a bit sweet. I can definitely smell a bit of dry cocoa, and some anise. The taste is very dry, but very noticeably chocolatey. Sour, too, due to high acidity. The mouth is medium, with very high carbonation. This is not a beer I'll be buying again, but it might be nice with a high % chocolate bar.

 772 characters

Photo of sfprint
2.93/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Stouty, very dark, totally nontransparent. with a quickly dissipating head.

s: weak, dark, dirt smell. There's more coffee than cocoa in the smell.

T: All the flavor is in the middle, with the front and rear being almost watery. But the actual taste is ok. Watery stout, not so chocolatey, not very strong.

M: Not very heavy, quite light and goes down very easy. Slightly sandy.

D: Yea, easy to drink, but not exciting.

This one also says that it's only 5% alcohol, not 6.1

 485 characters

Photo of aahynick
2.93/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

about 55 degree F into pint glass
A- dark garnet to black with a creamy light tan head

S- aroma of burnt malts and chocolate

T- strong metallic taste that overwhelms all other flavors.

M- light body and acidic.

D- very disappointing. Again the curse of organic=metallic flavor. Too thin and harsh

 300 characters

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
2.91/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

A: Very dark brown, with just a hint of red-brown on the edges. Head was less than a finger of light-brown froth that faded without a trace of lacing.

S: Less potent than most stouts, but including the familiar burnt grain and dark fruit aromas, plus some white pepper and perhaps cocoa.

T: No malt sweetness here, it's all variations on bitter: acrid, over-toasted grain, a touch of cocoa, some directly, and just a touch of hops at the end to remind you that it's beer.

M: Not good. Pretty flat, and lacks the density of a typical stout.

O: Not quite a drain pour, but way less than I was hoping for. I've had some excellent organic beers, this isn't one of them.

 669 characters

Photo of nms1987
2.9/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle that just arrived in a store a week prior, so it better be fresh. Pairing it with some ice cream.. which I love to do with stouts: )

Black with a tan/light brown/latte colored head showing some good foam-age.

Nice smell. Pleasant and inviting.
It has that gentle creamy, faintly chocolate nose you expect to see out of a "regular" stout. The chocolate coming through on the nose seems authentic.. if I didn't know this beer contained extra cocoa I wouldn't be able to pick it out of a lineup with some of my favorite oatmeal stouts.

Taste isn't coming through. You can definitely tell it was real cocoa power and not chocolate syrup added, which is one of the GOOD things about the taste. But other than that I'm not seeing why I want to get this again. A little watery for a 6+ ABV stout. Not a whole lot of the nice, gentle roasty character and if a stout doesn't bring me that I am at least looking for rich smoothness and this weird, almost sour note in the back of this stuff kind of throws that off.
It isn't a bad beer, it is just very "meh".

As I continue through my glass I keep hoping to discover something about this stuff to change my mind.. and that often happens as I make my way through a glass, I find something to like about a beer but it just isn't happening this time.

Very drinkable but not in a good way. It is quaffable because it is fairly watery. Hides its ABV well I guess if you're looking for a plus.

 1,448 characters

Photo of atigerlife
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle

The appearance was black, black, and more black. A very nice, large brown head. Quite nice appearance.
The aroma was dark chocolate. Taste was coffee, unsweetened chocolate and hops. Rather dry and bitter.
Mouthfeel was mild and flat.
Overall, I was dissappointed. Not really what I want in a chocolate stout. Seemed rather uneven. Of course, it was still good enough to drink!

 397 characters

Photo of Briken
2.82/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

There's good retention on the foamy brown head and a light chocolate and herbal aroma to this black stout. A nice chocolate flavor is quickly watered down with a light roasty, herbal finish. A light bittering linger lends itself to a thin feel and a light bite in the end.

While there is a good chocolate flavor here it's really lost in the thin, watery feel and taste to make this beer not really worth the effort.

 416 characters

Photo of DelMontiac
2.81/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this one up in a mix-a-six I put together at Brown's in Stillwater, OK. I was tageting stouts I hadn't tried before and I'm a sucker for anything related to my favorite animal, the American Bison. This would also be my first organic brew. Plus, I dig chocolate.

Poured from a brown 12Oz bottle into an Anchor pint glass, this has the look of a good stout - black and topped with a mocha colored 2 finger head which fizzles out to a thin skin in about a minute. Zero lace from this beer.

Aroma was a let down. I get some weak coffee scents, and a faint dark chocolate tinge. I don't know why this brew has such a metallic smell to it. I let it warm up a bit to no avail.

Now I would not expect organics to be different from any others and maybe it has nothing to do with anything here, but I was a bit miffed. Right off the bat I thought this is one weak tasting stout. Light touch of coffee which was the strongest flavor, some relaxed caramel malt that I really had to think about, and just a weak hint of dark chocolate in the middle with milk chocolate premonitions at the finish. Slightly earthy mild hop tinge, barely worth mentioning. Alcohol is hidden, but then it's only 5% abv. A stout which lacks bold flavors? Huh?

The very first thing that hit me was how thin the feel is for a stout. Very watery and lacks creaminess that one looks forward to. Could it be the organic elements? No, I don't think so.

Overall this is a very weak attempt at the style.

 1,475 characters

Photo of rossthefireman
2.8/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- a nice black with brown tones. Nice brown color to the beer foam.
S- lots of roasty malt smell, some cocoa
T- notes of acrid coffee, black patent, mild hops. Slight flavor of bitter cocoa. Almost to much bite from the roasted malts.
M- way too watery, especially for a stout
D- Its average, not bad but not great.

This beer is way too thin, too watery. Also the cocoa is barley there, it more just tasted like a regular watered down stout. This beer has potential, especially if they give it a little more mouthfeel and a little more cocoa. I wanted to like this beer , I really did, but its just misses for a stout.

 620 characters

Photo of BrianBoruma
2.8/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Black, opague finger thick tan head that dissipates.

S: Metallic nose that fades into some cocoa aromas

T: Roasted notes and some chocolate as well.

M: Thin, rather thin for a stout, if it weren't for the rather pronounced roasted malt notes I'd believe this was a porter.

O: Not too bad, but not overly impressed with it either. It is rather drinkable.

 399 characters

Photo of vladdswrath
2.78/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours like black coffee, with almost zero head. What tiny bit of foam that is there though, does sort of lace the glass somehow. Weird. Aroma is nice, dark roast coffee and cocoa, as to be expected. Taste is dark roast malt with some coffee bitterness, not much in the way of chocolate, sweetness or cream. It's other words it is serviceable, but nothing special. Mouthfeel is extremely thin and surprisingly carbonated, considering how little you see when it is poured. All that being said the ABV is quite low for a stout, so the light body would make this a nice session beer for chatting over, in lieu of coffee.

 616 characters

Photo of ztaylor1
2.77/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance- jet black, little head but holds a nice film. Light carbonation

Smell- caramel malts with chocolate.

Taste- bitter malt at entrance carried to a caramel then a weak chocolate ending.

Mouthfeel- not as thick as I had hoped.

Drinkability- wouldn't seek out again.

 277 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.77/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dispensed from a 22oz bottle into a an imperial pint glass. A half finger head forms on top of a not quite opaque, deep, deep, ruby colored beer. The head almost immediately leaves and no lacing is left behind.

Smell is chocolate. Coffee as well. Also some citrusy hops shine through as an afterthought. I tiny bit of dirty diaper jumps in as well, even as the beer is very cool.

This beer tasted weird. No freshness date so I dont think it is a bad bottle. A weird, burnt chocolate taste is followed by lots of astringency. A metallic taste is in there as well. Maybe it was the water. Not very good in my opinion.

As mentioned, astringent mouthfeel. Dry finish with not much body for a stout. I was disappointed with this offering. Probably will not buy this one again.

 781 characters

Photo of Natural510
2.76/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This may be quite an old bottle, but the dating on the side is not properly notched so I have no way of knowing.

Pours a very dark brown color into goblet with no head and only the slightest lacing on the edges of the glass.
Smells faintly of cocoa, caramel, coffee & roasted malts.
Taste consists mainly of bitter cocoa, which masks most other aspects of the brew. There are roasted malts hidden underneath, but it takes some detecting. Not much other than bitter powdered cocoa to the flavor.
Despite lack of carbonation, there is a subtle twang in the mouth, likely from the malts.

Likely better when fresh, I purchased this bottle mainly from memories of sneaking into the now-defunct brewpub which was located on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley when I was a teenager.
I gather no how fresh it may be, this will still be too unbalanced with the cocoa to be comparable to the many other options of chocolate stouts out there.

 925 characters

Bison Organic Chocolate Stout from Bison Brewing
3.51 out of 5 based on 598 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.