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 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 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 DopeRawBrewing
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass.

This beer pours an nice orange-amber color, somewhat clear but not superclear. I like.

The smell is herbal basily, brings to mind juniper.

The taste is similar to the smell. Nice and sweet, malty basil flavor, reminds me somewhat of a Sahti I had recently. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability? Uhh... I could drink this all day!

This brew is truly novel and balanced, a balance between the unfamiliar and that which is comfortable, it has me feeling bright. I once again could drink it all day.

Cheers to Bison for rockin' tasty, Organic, Living brews.

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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 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 bagpiper2005
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up just because I thought it sounded rather interesting.

Pour: As expected, it's a rich honey color. Slighly hazy and a small ring of head that dissipates quickly and doesn't really lace the glass at all.

Smell: Wow! Basil, basil, and more basil! Honey definitely in the background. A slight malty aroma and not much hops.

Taste: Honey is the star of the front end. Underneath it is a bready malt flavor with a little bit of banana. Middle is smooth and caramel which finally gives into a zesty basil and spice finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium and surprisingly creamy (I would guess this is from the honey). Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth, refreshing, and satisfying.

Final Notes: I actually really like this beer. A nice sweet beer and one to check out for the honey lovers. Good beer to have with breakfast.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

OK. I like honey, I like basil. How can this fail? I can see no reason why I wouldn't like this. Let's review.

Poured into a Squatters IPA glass. Head sticks and does a good job of replenishing itself with some furious effervescence. Looks IPA-ish, in fact, with a clear amber gold.

Hah! Definitely basil in the nose. Kinda smells a little like Saison du Buff. That's a good thing.

I get the basil on the back palate. There's almost a little too much sweet malt going on here, though. I hate to criticize a beer for bringing the malt bill a little too high, but I could go a bit drier here. The tongue gets a thin coating of sweetness. It seems that with every honey beer I've had, the honey ferments out completely and you're left with a very dry beer. Not this one...well, it's dry up front, it just leaves you with some residual sweetness. Even though I think it could be better, it's still likable.

It made a show with carbonation upon pouring, but now the beer has seemed to go almost still. Not entirely lively.

Easy to drink. And would probably be another good food beer. I like the suggestion of pizza another reviewer put forth.

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Photo of atsprings
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Corsendonk tulip pours a crisp orange with a decent eggshell head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is basil and garlic with just a touch of honey, only a mild malt presence appears on the nose. The taste is sweet malts up front with an interesting spice balance. The beer is light, smooth and very easy drinking. I believe this beer would pair nicely with pizza, I'll have to try that sometime!

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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 nickfl
3.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with half a finger of off-white head sitting on top of a hazy, orange-brown body. The foam settles quite quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Grainy malt with some spicy honey notes and a definite herbal quality. I don't know if I would identify it as basil, but there are notes of ginger, apple, and maybe oregano.

T - Sweet, bready malt up front with a bit of caramel. Some biscuit notes in the middle accompanied by spicy notes of caraway and allspice. Finishes increasingly watery malt character and bolder, darker spices that oddly remind me of rye bread. Some lingering malt sweetness along with coriander, caramel, and finally a little basil.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - This is an odd beer, it tastes much more like a spiced winter beer than I would have expected. The honey is present in the aroma but only survives as a background note in the flavor. The spice character is all over the place and is clearly influenced by the caramel malt character. The only clear basil note I get is in the aftertaste and even then it is obscured by toasted malt and lightly fruity yeast that seem to produce spice notes, such as coriander, that apparently aren't there. Interesting, but a bit cloying on both the sweetness and the spice notes and not all that drinkable. Worth a try, but I'm glad I don't have a six pack of this.

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Photo of oregonskibum
3.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a very clear orange color with a light eggshell head that quickly disappears.

S: Very herbal smell, although it would be a stretch to pick up the basil. Some citrus (lemon) and almost minty notes. Very much like an herbal tea.

T: Very mild. Honey shows up mid taste and compliments the herbal tastes nicely. A slight about of hop bitterness, but hardly enough to notice.

M: Fairly light mouth feel with medium to high carbonation.

D: Enjoyable mild ale with simple herbal flavors that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the beer. Light and refreshing, this would be a good beer to crack on a hot afternoon.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.

This beer really surprised me. we had it early and I was like this is goign to suck. Wow. great ise of honey and the basil gave it a nice herbal lemon flavor. not overpwering in any area and a solid beer at that.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy amber color, almost the same as a cider. Nice off-white head with mild lacing.

S: Mild honey and I can smell the basil, knowing that it is there, otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to identify it as anything other than spices. Someone mentioned herbal tea and that is probably a good comparison.

T&M: Nice flavor with a slightly rough feel as the carbonation is light but tingling. Fairly sweet with a mainly malty character. Some very faint hop bitterness and floral taste that is probably a result of the honey more than the hops. Dry finish. Light-bodied.

This is a really good beer, probably more similar to a saison. Very drinkable if you like something a bit different.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint.

Pours into a general ale amber color, with a standard creamy head. The aroma is similar to an amber as well, with hints of hops, a sort of wheatiness, and (and here's where it starts to get unique) there is a hint of, surprise surprise, basil. The taste follows suit, with the basil receding a good deal into the background. There isn't much of a honey flavor involved, though I do believe it added a bit of lightness to the body (without resorting to uber-effervescence), which made this brew a rather drinkable one, despite it's overall lack of general character.

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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 brentk56
3.76/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a frothy ecru head that delivers a bit of lacing as it descends

Smell: Herbacious aroma, though certainly not basil; more like herbal tea

Taste: Opens with a tea-like character, but the flavors burst forward by mid-palate, with the honey providing a sweet element and the basil adding an herbacious twist; cannot say I would have called it out as basil, however, but it does add a spicy bitter element that persists after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I came to this beer with exceedingly low expectations but wound up really enjoying it; bet it would pair nicely with spicy Asian cuisines

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Photo of avalon07
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of aroma, except for the obvious honey.

T: Like the smell, honey was the star in the taste. Also had some hops and malt and just a hint of basil (but not much). A sweet, flavorful beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: An oddly drinkable beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

08/30/09- Purchased at Draegers, in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, did not look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Deeper golden colored pour, about a 1/2 inch head which quickly disappates leaving very light spotty and watery lace.

Smell- Not really any notes of much. Maybe a slight sweet honey nose with absolutely no basil noted..not really any hops of malt noted either...really a non scented beer.

Taste- Holy crap! Wondering how a scentless beer can have such nice flavor. I'm not tasting any basil to speak of, but the honey really comes in strong with a nice malt base and even a splash of hops at the end.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth and a bit creamy. Carbonation is average, maybe a bit ligher than average.

Drinkability- I was always hesitant of trying this beer because I couldn't picture what basil would taste like in beer...well, this one doesn't taste like basil, but it does taste very good. It's one of the easier drinking beers I have had as well.

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Photo of HoosBrews
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a pale amber with decent carbonation. Smells is dominated by basil, but not an overwhelming aroma. The taste is also dominated by the basil. The honey is very subtle at first, but seems to come through more in the finish. A bit thin on the mouthfeel. I really wasn't sure I'd like this style, but it's actually pretty good. Not a beer you'd want in mass quantities, but still a good change of pace in the summer and probably is an excellent food pairing for chicken and the like.

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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 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 BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Are you going to Scarborough Faire?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lived there.
She was once a good friend of mine."

--traditional English folk song

Brightest tangerine with daisy yellow edges. The lid is barely yellowed ivory in color and sports innumerable fragile bubbles on its upper surface. Pretty impressive display of lace as well, for an herbed beer. Honey Basil looks, for all intents and purposes, like an APA. What, you were expecting green?

I often assign colors to smells and tastes and there's no doubt that this one smells green. Basil comes through loud and clear and makes me glad that I like that particular herb. It's an odd nose for a beer though; I've never smelled anything quite like it. I can't say that I appreciate honey, or even much of any sweetness. Points for originality.

Bison didn't go halfway with this one, no siree. I've always said 'if you're going to brew an 'X' beer, then add plenty of 'X', otherwise, what's the point?' This one is as boldly basily as any herb lover could hope for. I like it just fine, it's just that's it's so different and so... I don't know... plant-like, that I'm finding it hard to think of it as more than a semi-pleasant, interesting curiosity.

I can appeciate a touch of sweetness now, though it still doesn't come across as honey. More bee juice might have made it a better beer, who's to say? I don't think of basil as especially bitter, so it must be the hops gettin' their alpha acid schwerve on because the finish tightens up considerably and even scuffs the tongue a little.

It's finally come to me. This beer is somewhat reminiscent of Earl Gray tea. Not in the 'tastes like it' sense, but because it's herbal, perfumy, citric fruity (from the hops) and bitter, all characteristics that it shares with my favorite flavor of tea. It's still an incredibly odd beer though.

The body/mouthfeel doesn't even begin to step out of line. Actually, it's unremarkable in all respects; neither too light nor too heavy, neither too bubbled nor too quiescent. I like it though, it has a quality feel, so I'll reward it accordingly.

If Organic Honey Basil is a money maker for Bison, they might just as well start a whole new line of herbal beers. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme might be good places to start. As far as plants go, however, I think I'll stick with hops.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a light orange amber clear stand topped with an ivory cap deflates to a ring leaving some scattered drippy lace.

Aroma is a light almost ginger and a caramel with a bright Earthy floral soapy lilac. Interesting scents.

First swigs: Dry and instantly mineral. Subdued honey but the dryness is honey derived. Flower peatal jasmine and floral bouquet translates directly into the taste. A bit of a saki flavor. One trick pony flavor that is what it is from start to finish. Lots of mixed up spices here of caraway.

Light body with a fizzy feel and lingering dryness.

Last swigs: Reminds me of Froach Heather or another "hop-less" beer. THis was intersting t try. Went well with my sushi tonite. Worth trying if you want to expand your tastebuds.

Beer is good. Happy different beering.

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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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Photo of DeGrog
3.64/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured very golden and clear with no head, not what I expected from other reviews. Its smell is very nice and reminds me of the times that I have made mead, "very faintly" but it did really. This beer’s taste has little resemblance to mead though, the basil stands out a little bit which makes me wonder where the hints of garlic. (Should I brew a pesto beer or just add honey and beer to my next pesto?) Over all this Honey Basil Beer is very welcoming, especially strait from the freezer on this first 80+ day of the year. I would recommend this for a Mid-Summers Day picnic serve as cold as you can get it. Cheers

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