Bison Organic Barleywine Ale | Bison Brewing

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Bison Organic Barleywine AleBison Organic Barleywine Ale
57 Ratings
Bison Organic Barleywine AleBison Organic Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Bison Brewing
California, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by nickss on 04-07-2006

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 51
Photo of tfsimpkins
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of MisterE
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Tabni
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle from 2009. Needed a dessert beer and this did the trick for the most part. It was a bit aggressive for chocolate brownies, but probably would have gone well with stinky cheese and preserves. At first, I wasn't sure about this beer, but I enjoyed it the more it warmed up. Like I said, it's aggressive. There's a big fruity sweet malt flavor followed by a big kick of hops. The malts really dominate with plum and caramel candy followed by crisp apple (not cider) and cherries. There's a bit of smooth alcohol heat too, like you'd expect in an 8-yr scotch. I'd have hoped that were gone after a year in the cellar, but it still added to the complexity. All in all, a barleywine worth trying. Though I might give it two years next time.

 750 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.97/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a watery amber color with a dirty white head and decent carbonation. Smelled of some dried fruit, maybe some caramel. Taste was sordove weak and confusing, not very compex at all. Lots of earthiness and graininess as expected from a organic brew. It had a skunky taste to it that I can not put my finger on. It was sordove soured and bitter, I have had some organic barleywines before and they were much better. Expected more since I loved Bisons Choc Stout.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 Vintage

A - Off white, big bubbled head, about .5 inches, dissipates to ring and a little foam fast. Color of raw apple cider.

S - Light on smell, mostly cooked fruit and hint of sweet malt.

T - Meaty ccoked fruit, booze.

M - Medium body, somewhat slick and syrupy in the coating. Good carbonation, bitter of an off bitter twang at finish.

D - Too much tiring flavor to do a long time.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage

Pours a very clear dark copper color with a tan, large-bubbled head. Average retention with nice lacing.

Nose is quite pleasant with alot of caramely sweet malts and a heavy dose of fruitiness - green apples, plums and raisins. Hops are there with some floral and grassy notes, but have most certainly faded over the past 4 years. Surprisingly little oxidation is evident, still smells pretty fresh.

Sweet toffee and caramel maltiness are decently balanced with some hop and fruit flavors. After having a couple other Bison offerings, this one has been the most impressive. A bit of graham cracker and smokiness come out more as it warms. Slightly oxidized and a bit thin, but it has held up well. An enjoyable drinking experience!

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle From Jungle Jim's.

Poured clear copper color with an average off-white frothy head that motly lasted with good lacing. Moderate sour citrus, sweet malt and alcohol aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium balanced bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

I would share this with a freind.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed this one out of the cellar yesterday to see how it held up. This was a vintage 07 bottle that I had been waiting to take a try with. Served at a nice fifty degrees and poured into a snifter, this one was enjoyed on 04/12/2009.

The pour was decent, though a bit lifeless for me. Rich amber color, almost copper in hue with a nice touch of cloudiness to it that really gave it a very thick look, nearly opaque at times. No real head though, and it almost looked flat at first pour, not really encouraged right off the bat. The aroma was rich and sweet. Nice notes of bready malts, hints of almost honey like notes and a nice fruit touch toward the finish. The flavor though really perked me up a bit. Sweet, mellow, with all notes of ABV long gone by the wayside. Lots of biscuit like notes, a touch of faded hops and a load of grain all combined to really give quite a nice show overall. Very impressed here with the way it tasted, especially in the finish, which was again very sweet, and nearly perfectly placed. An easy sipper I almost went through this one too quickly as it had mellowed to the point of being equally rich and subtle.

Overall a very solid offering here that has aged very well. I would have no issue with trying this one again, much better with a couple years on it I have to admit.

 1,320 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clean/clear ruby amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, sweet, with some cherries. The taste is malty/sweet, slight cherry flavour. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Drinkable, a tasty BW for sure.

 311 characters

Photo of nick76
3.34/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is sweet and metallic with alcohol, citrus hops, and caramel. The appearance is amber with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma but also has a slight cardboard taste. The palate is smooth but thin. Overall, its a disappointment but drinkable.

 261 characters

Photo of magictrokini
2.26/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

With the exceptions of St. Peter's offereings and Butte Creek's Organic Revolution X, the constant problem with organics seems to be a flat, wooden flavor. This beer is no different. Murky brown pour with no head. Aroma of caramel malt, grassy hops, and state bread. Wooden flavor, with a heaping of earthy malt and a hoppy finish. There is some toffee in there, as advertised, but it is blended with a syrupy, dirty mess.

 422 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
1.59/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

22oz bomber from 2005 consumed Nov. 2006. Dark copper color with thin off white head. Medium strength malty and fruity aroma. Taste is sweet with some malt complexity. There's some dark fruit like cherries or dates along with roasted malts. Near the finish some bitterness wells up and becomes overly grassy during the aftertaste. The finish begins to take on the nasty flavor of cough syrup. Not good. The aroma too. I haven't had an English Style Barleywine that taste like this. The grassiness and the cough syrup made me pour about half down the drain. Really far from good. Yet anther in a long line of disappointing organic beers.

 636 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice head. great, merengue creamy goodness (oh, and it sticks)

nice red and tobacco sunburst color. very nice, actually. my first sniff brings caramelized sugars and deep, dark fruits. hot, too. not as dynamic as it could be, however

molasses flavors and port. actually it tastes almost exactly like a batch of BW i brewed to which i added a bottle of port. it tastes stronger than 9.5%, to be honest: hot, chesthairgrowing

thick and brownsugary. i almost feel i am drinking caramelized cane juice

 500 characters

Photo of joshwlt
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(2005 vintage, 3 years old) Poured into a goblet it doesn't produce much of a head at all... On my second pour even after shaking the bottle a bit I only could get maybe half an inch of a lightly browned head that didn't last long. Some strings of lace. Has a ruby peach tea color. Smells slightly sherry-like... currant, a little bit of alcohol and sweet caramel malt actually accompanies the smell, which made me think there would be a bevy of caramel malt when tasting, but is misleading. Hits the mouth with salt... yes salt and pepper... Spicy hop... not grapefruit, not piney, not even earthy just peppery spice is created by the alcohol and hop profile. It is immediately followed by a light raisin, liiight caramel malt, and buttery oiliness is left on the lips. The moutfeel is great in this beer, which isn't usually something you can rave about but this is just interesting because while all the flavors are light the mouthfeel is actually quite an experience. Again starts off peppery tingly followed by a juicy malt and dark fruitiness and finishes with a tea leaf-like dryness on the tongue, but you can lick your lips to find a buttery oiliness. I think this beer is great; most great beers in my book have 5 or so moderate to bold noticeable flavors intermingling; this however, has multiple light characteristics dancing around and deserves thought, and maybe even solitude. Drinks quickly and leaves you feeling good, alcohol is not too noticeable except in maybe the smell or the mouthfeel but certainly do not taste ethanol even with such light characteristics in this beer.

 1,594 characters

Photo of DIM
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a clear, light golden coppery color. The head is small and light tan in color.

s: This is subdued with an unusual chocolate element. Sweet notes of vanilla and toffee along with fruity aromas of cherries and some grapefruity hops. The alcohol comes on a bit too strong.

t: This barleywine is subtle and approachable. Toffee flavors are the biggest part of this one. At times, flavors of apple blossoms, vanilla, and some grapefruity hops emerge. The alcohol is maked better here than in the nose.

m: This has a fantastic velvety body and gentle but very active carbonation.

d: Overall, this a tad bland. There isn't anything offensive here, I just wish there had been more.

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Photo of Vancer
2.68/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Crisp looking amber oak pour, with a semi-frothy ivory head, it gives a good go at lacing the ol' Cordendork tulip.

Earthy, woody aroma - not the standard Barleywine sweet caramel. Let's check the quaff:

A bit harsh cut of woody alcohol, not the best bw I've had by a long means. Tastes a bit like year old cough syrup.Not a good BW, or is it this organic fad??

So far, I've never been impressed with organic brews, and Bison has not changed my view.

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Photo of scottoale
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage

From a 22oz. brown bomber, pours a dark hazelnut brown ale with a two-finger tan colored head.

Smells of caramel and toffee with notes of chocolate and some roastiness.

Cereal and grainy cracked malt with plenty of sweetness dominates. Chocolate comes in with some nutty roastiness, winding down with a tea and tobacco bittery finish. Definetly an English style to this here barleywine.

Medium-plus body with it's 9.5% ABV really well masked. Mouthfeel is ok, nothing really note worthy...drinkability is above average with good taste. Definetly worth a try, though not exceptional.

 599 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber with 2 fingers of fluffy sand colored head. Super lacing & above average head retention

S: Slight breadyness, caramel brown sugar, & slight smokeyness & fruittyness

T: Breadyness, caramel, pralines, Canadian Whisky & herbal hops up front. Dryness, slight boozeyness, & toffee as this warms. Fruittyness, especially plums & figs, dryness & brown sugar as this warms. Finishes fruitty, with a touch of apple pie & a kiss of alcohol

MF: Chewy, medium bodied with medium carbonation

Good drinkability, a solid English BW

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Photo of Shaw
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label says it's from 2005. I'm drinking it in April 2008.

It pours a lovely deep amber in color with a nice off-white head that turns into a few chunks, as it were.

It has a nice aroma of biscuits and herbal hops.

The taste is a lot stronger than I was expecting for an English Barleywine. This is a nicely bitter beer with lots of bready flavors that mix with sharpness from the hops. And it has a wonderful warming effect after swallowing, thanks to the high alcohol level.

The body is slick, but with a nice amount of substance.

Overall this is an excellent barleywine, American or British, and is well worth seeking out. Another great beer from Bison.

 660 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle from 2005 release. Leaves less than one finger of a tan head that does not have much retention, and it leaves only isolated spots of lacing. Body is an orange amber.

Smell - apples, butterscotch, medicinal alcohol, spicy alcohol, some caramel, and some maltbread. From the overly sweet aroma, I would guess that this ale has changed some from its originally intended taste, but I'm not sure.

Taste - like the smell. A big wash of overly sweet apples and butterscotch with spicy and medicinal alcohol. Some caramel, and some maltbread, and there is a slight hint of lemon in the middle, and on the finish. Again, like the smell, I'm sure the flavor has faded, or at least devolved from three years ago.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied, and semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is a good ale, but not a great one, at least not when it is three years old. Its high abv also limits sessionability. I would like to give this another shot with a more recent release.

 988 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
2.51/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark amber with a beautiful reddish hue when held to the light. Half finger head melts quickly.

Aroma is too subdued....pale malt...a tiny bit of caramel...a bit of alcohol.

Taste is almost bland for a barleywine. A little caramel...a little toasted amber malt...too little hops...a touch of alcohol.

Not bad...just disappointing and forgetable as soon as the glass is empty if you make it that far.

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Bison Organic Barleywine Ale from Bison Brewing
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 57 ratings
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