Bison Organic Honey Basil | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Honey BasilBison Organic Honey Basil

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 11-01-2005

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 209
Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.2/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: A hazy honey-brown body with a creamy off-white head. The initial pour gives you about 2 finger head, but it quickly dissipates leaving somewhat decent lacing yet it does not have good head retention.

S: A strong honey nose with a malty backbone. Subtles hints of basil and other spices and herbs.

T: A weak tasting beer that definately needs more of something (could be lack of good organic malts out there). What I get is a fairly sweet honey flavor on the front of the tongue and a bitter hoppiness in the back of the tongue. There are some malt flavors, but it's faint, as well as herbs/basil. The aftertaste is not very long lasting, but not very pleasant either.

M: A light body with light carbonation. A watery texture.

D: This taste like an amateur beer that needs more of a malty backbone or hops. Don't think I would drink this again anytime soon.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.3/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been wanting to brew a beer with basil for a while now so I'm excited to try this one. Semi-hazy orange marmalade hue. half finger white head. Smells like basil. Straight up basil.

Kind of a one trick pony of a beer but the basil taste is different and refreshing. You can tell its a beer with some light graininess but other than that it just tastes like liquid basil. I'm picking up none of the honey. As much as I love basil, this beer isn't really anything great. just a basil showcase. slightly overspiced finish. If you love basil or beers that remind you of pizza you'll love it, otherwise it's just a novelty.

Overall very pretty sweet which is probably due to all the basil.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had in bottle form, chez White

A: cloudy, dark amber, some head, modest lacing; good carb
S: perfumes of allspcie, nutmeg; no other parts of the beer hit the nose
T: sweet, nutmeg, honey; fall seasonal flavors; under the spicing is a diet sprite-like ale
M: thin mouthfeel

It's not all that good for a spice beer (which is not my style, anyway, but I tried to take that into account)

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Photo of Samuel906
2.61/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I was pretty excited to try this just because of how crazy the idea was. I've definitely never had a beer advertising basil as part of its formulation. Poured a nice amber color, slightly cloudy, but no head, and what little there was had no retention. Aroma is underwhelming; some honey, florals and a touch of pepper. Anyone who is claiming they smell basil is lying, or has never smelled fresh basil before. It's simply not there. Dry taste, mild honey, very very slight basil at the end. Mediocre hops. Mouthfeel is unremarkable.

Overall a strange beer; I wish it were a little more robust. If your going to do something weird that go for it all in. Even if the flavors end up not working, at least you went full force with the flavor instead of doing a psuedo unique beer like this.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.76/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a nice clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is dominated by the sweet honey. If I really try, I can detect some of the faint basil notes in the background but they are pretty subdued.

T- The taste is malt and some sweetness from the honey up front. There is some herbal hop notes in the finish. The finish is a little medicinal which turns me off to the taste a bit.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I didn't enjoy this one all that much. As a big fan of basil, I was excited to try this offering. The basil was pretty much non-existent and the rest of the beer was uninspiring. 

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Photo of MadeInOregon
2.8/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I heard about this one from Bison's website a long time ago but had never come across it until last week at Whole Foods. Had to try it!

Poured into a glass the Honey Basil looks like a pale ale with its standard light bronze body and stable, fluffy yellow head. Looks like a nice, micro-brewed ale.

It smells! Seriously. Very weird.

Unlike many others who've reviewed this beer I found the basil to be not only present, but dominant. The first taste to hit the palette is surprisingly strong in basil. The basil fades a little as the flavors progress but it never vanishes. A lager-like hopiness emerges after the first hit of basil but it is not enough to overpower the strength of the basil. The hopiness is nice and reveals that underneath all the herbalicious spice there is a pretty good beer being used as the base. I could not detect the slightest tinge of honey anywhere.

The main sensation while drinking this brew is that it is weird. It tastes like drinking a light beer with your mouth half full of pizza. I'm sure Bison's Honey Basil could be good if you are in fact eating pizza with it (or salad, or something Italian) but drinking it alone, eh, not so much.

I have never had a beer drinking experience like this so Bison definitely gets props for creativity. So, if you want to try something totally odd go find this one--if you can. As for me, I'm just glad I bought a single and not the whole 10-dollar 4-pack!

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Photo of Spica66
2.8/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received from gwuilliums while bottling batch #6 & 7 at his place.

A: Medium gold color. Good head formation, no lacing. After the pour, the carbonation seems to have left the building.

S: Sweet honey-like malt and definitely - Basil.

T: Tastes like it smells. Sweet and basil-herbal. No hop profile at all.

M: Dead on the tongue. Slightly sweet-sticky, which is odd for a honey beer.

O: If you want this type of beer, good on ya. Neither of us finished our pour.

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Photo of travolta
2.87/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

App: not much head retention. Zero lacing. A cloudy, peachy, golden color.

Nose: Black pepper right away, orange, cinnamon.

Taste: Nice mouthfeel, the basil makes this beer dry throughout. The initial sweetness balances the dryness by just a tiny bit. Some spices like coriander, and black pepper stay with you the whole taste. There is a meade type aftertaste from the honey.

Notes: A good palate opener/challenge, but not a beer a will buy again.

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Photo of bradleyp
2.89/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in a sixer-mixer pack at the Bier Stein.

A: A light brown/amber color with a minimal amount of head, and light bubbly carbonation bubbles streaming up the side.

S: I could really pick up some honey notes at first whiff, followed up by a little bit of basil. I guess that's expected. Not too much other than a dry malty smell.

T: More basil and other greenery taste (lettuce, Broccli) than the honey. Not really what I enjoy in my beer.

M: Smooth, not too overbearing. Could not taste the alcohol aftertaste at all. Pretty decent for a 6 abv. beer.

O: Sort of impressed, but not all that really. The roomate enjoys these types of beers with fruits and honey and such, but I'd prefer a nice dark stout instead.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
2.92/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

The basil flavor is rather subtle in my opinion. And there was something else about this beer, where the flavor felt a bit harsh on the palate. Perhaps this beer would taste better if it was paired with pizza or Italian food.

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Photo of Parrotshake
2.95/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an orange-brown with about a finger of head. Smells a bit odd. Sweet, pepper, basil. Very sweet.

A very malty flavor with big hints at honey. Despite it's presence in the nose, basil comes on late but then becomes dominant. Malty and herbal without enough hop to balance it. Lively carbonation but a small amount is enough. A weird mish-mash of tastes. You won't want more than one.

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Photo of Fatehunter
2.97/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a thin head on a hazy dark straw body.
The aroma is basil, honey and lemon. Nice.
The taste is harsh basil, lemon and a little honey. Not great.
The texture is crisp.
It' smells great but the flavor has too much basil.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.04/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish amber brew with a moderate head and no lacing.

S - Basil - actually smells a big like oregano (possibly the interface of basil with hops), peppercorns

T - Honey malt and a bit of tomato aftertate (in the beers foretaste). The aftertaste is of seltzer water, lingering malt and very faint peppery hop bitterness.

M - Smooth, thin, pretty refreshing.

D - Eh, not bad. I'll pass in the future. Interesting enough to try though.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.05/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, $7.99 a 4-pack. Served in a tulip glass as recommended on Bison's website, the beer pours a hazy orange/amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both average. The aroma is weak, but nice. It smells like honey, basil, and herbal aromas in general. Taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, it tastes like honey, basil and herbs, but there's also a slight medicinal flavor. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit slick with moderate carbonation. Overall I think this brew is just average. It's not bad, but it's not exactly good either. Worth a try, although I think given the chance I definitely would have been better off buying a single bottle instead of 4.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a pretty light orange in color with a nice white head.

Smell – This is very herbal in nature. It’s almost like smelling a spice rack. The green leafy herbs remind me less of basil though and more like parsley. The honey is hard to find, but the light grain is nice; unsweetened.

Taste – Ah, yes, here comes the honey. It’s more like the commercialized honey flavor you find in cereals but it’s good all around. The grain is trounced and barely noticeable and the light basil comes out a bit.

Mouthfeel – This is light-bodied with some descent carbonation.

Drinkability – I can’t say that I plan on finishing the entire bomber, but it’s not half-bad.

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Photo of AndoBrew
3.09/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*odd.. so liked up front then did not like would not buy*

app: looks like U.S. crap beer, but with a much better head.

smell: smells like an air freshining device that would go in a mens wallet.some pepper lots o floral.

taste: peppers odd amount of almost toasty tasting malts but this is not a brown beer! interesting. this is at least complex and worth while, maybe ONE of the more pleasing gold piss beers I have enjoyed.

MF: clean and clear and easy going.

drinkable?? the spice may pick up a bit to much as you drink it, did i mention the spice flavors? or was I to busy with other things.. well if not, a bit of a pumpkin ale type thing going on in the background, thats all.. read about the style if you need a more in depth rant.
MOSTLY this started great and as you drink it it gets harder to stomach the over spiced beer.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(On draught at Papago). Pours clear golden-orange color with white head. Aroma has loads of basil, sage, herbs and honey. Taste is surprisingly bitter with a sweet honey-like malt backbone. Medium bodied with oily, slick texture. Bitter finish. OK, but something I would not search out

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Photo of Phelps
3.16/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

As one would expect from the name, this ale was created using organic honey and basil. Enjoyed in a shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom.

Perfectly clear copper, like a shiny new penny. A thin, sand-colored head quickly becomes a fuzzy ring.

In the nose: subtle yet bright basil, mild honey, a little caramel and some malty-sweet wort character. Very light.

Tastes like sweet honey steeped in basil. Mild floral hop bitterness balances a tangy, mildly sweet burnt sugar finish. Clean.

Smooth medium-light body; moderate, prickly carbonation; just a touch of fizz. No booze. Clean and crisp on the palate.

Honey Basil’s a little light for my tastes — I have to work too hard to get the flavor. The basil is nice, but I’d like more hops to mix with it.

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Photo of ADZA
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy golden copper hue which leaves a fast vanishing one finger head and a rim of lacing,the smell is obviously lots of honey and basil mixed with sweet malts and earthy hops,the mouthfeel is light bodied and has tastes of sticky honey,strong basil herbal notes,sweet caramel,toffee malts and finished with a earthy hop spicy dryness and overall an average drop that would be the perfect compliment to a spicy thai dish but to be honest i would not revisit this cheers.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard Bison Brewing developed major breakthroughs in beer-basil technology to create this exotic brew, so, together, let's see how well they did!

Appearance: Pours a deep golden body with a tall, foamy head fed by a continuous stream of large, lazy bubbles.

Smell: A sweetish, honey-drizzled aroma that's fairly herbaceous. Its like something you'd expect from the Yankee Candle Company - "Honey Basil Blossoms".

Taste: The gentle sweet maltiness goes well with the soft, smooth honey flavor. Basil pops up midway, presenting itself along with hints of green peppercorns and ginger root. After swallowing, my mouth is left with a minty taste in it. Not bad. But, for me, the basil taste is cumulative in nature, and continues to build as you drink, almost becoming unpleasant near the very end. So, please be sure to share this one!

I think that pretty much sums it up, don't you?

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: With its oddball flavor profile, this sure is one droll beer to taste.

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Photo of katybee
3.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm. I was hoping for a bolder flavor.

Very pretty amber translucent color, but almost non-existent head.

Smell if any, is very subtle, a little medicinal if you strongly inhale--that would be the basil I imagine.

The taste of basil here, is rolled off the tongue and breathed out. The basil is much more subtle an infusion than I'd hoped for, but it does create a mild beer with very little hops and slightly smokey barley and more herbal overtones. Definitely a residual aftertaste which is slightly sweet but very basil.

The low carbonation gives a flatter feel with more attention to flavor and less disturbance of the tongue. Minimal body, although slightly smoother than say, PBR.

Very drinkable, though only subtley distinguishable from average beers. Must be taken more slowly to appreciate the subtlety of the herbal malty character which could easily be missed. Not really a memorable beer itself, although it would be great with food, say pizza or fish or perhaps pasta. Could be savored as a session beer based on the residual aftertaste.

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Photo of hreb
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I'd never heard of Bison Organic Beer before, but I couldn't pass up this 12oz single brewed with basil. Will it be herbtastically delicious or will the honey create another sweet, bland brew?

Appearance is on the yellow side of orange with a thin orange-white head. Not quite clear. Aroma is pleasant and floral and suggests just a bit of sweetness. The flower in the nose doesn't suggest hops, but perhaps clover honey (or some other bee pollen source). The basil flavor is subtle and way in the background. I think the herb actually comes across in the bitterness more than anything else. Impressively, the honey contributes the flavor of honey, i.e. that stuff that makes honey not taste like sugar syrup, without contributing sweetness -- nor without contributing a load of fermentable sugars that dry out the beer entirely. No, the beer finishes just dry enough.

Plenty drinkable, but unfortunately there isn't anything beyond the very mild taste of basil to hold my interest.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange amber with little head. What head there is fades to a very thin swirl. Smells very sweet. with lots of honey and a vague herbal flavor on top. I'd like the expression of basil to be clearer, as is the aromas are too sweet and muddled. Almost medicinal at the end. The flavor is a little better, with less sweetness and more balanced herbalness with a finish that has some more noticeable basil flavor, and some light firm maltiness. Drying toward the end. A little bit watery, but overall fairly drinkable.

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Photo of spicelab
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

355mL bottle thanks to Beermasons.

Ruby amber, largely clear, with a sudsy just off-white head, about one finger. Slight ring of retention.

Rather malty with quite a strong sarsparilla note. The honey combines with light toffee and malt character. Don't get basil per se, but pick up a definite herbal freshness. Can't get much else.

Starts with and intangible soily, spicy note that morphs into honeysuckle and yes, basil. One-dimensional, but to be expected.

Light-medium mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation gives it some life. Pretty nice actually.

Quite refreshing really. Grew on me a bit over the course after I was initially ready to diss it as a gimmick but it does work.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.36/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bottle, no date info.

Crystal clear mellow gold. Towering, glass-filling head of loose packed dusty white foam of mixed size bubbles. Heavily dimpled surface that slowly settles, but leaves a thick chunk on top all the way down. There were a few wide, thick strands of lacing. Minimal carbonation streams drift upwards. Sweet, light honey and zest comes through along with a ginger ale soda aroma. The lightly sweet honey fills out the initial flavor with just a touch of pale malt. There is a spiciness that shows up in the finish that is barely discernable as basil. Had I not known to expect basil, I probably would not have identified it as such. There is a general saison component to the taste that is perhaps more suggestive than actual. The spiciness changes over to a bitterness which clings at the edges for a tad bit too long. Medium body and smooth to soft mouthfeel, the carbonation is on the low side. Nice that this is a certified organic beer which includes basil from Watanabe Farms and honey from Britt’s Honey, but the basil was barely discernable. Still, this was enjoyable.

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Bison Organic Honey Basil from Bison Brewing
3.52 out of 5 based on 209 ratings.
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