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Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With PlumsOvila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

209 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 209
Hads: 1,035
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 43
Gots: 201 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Trilogy31 on 01-30-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 209 | Hads: 1,035
Photo of stal
1/5  rDev -74.6%

if i made this beer ... i too would wear a hood so that nobody would know i made it. lotta people with no taste..... sheeples jumping on the bandwagon. sn should go back to the drawing room and shoot the maker. (210 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
2.56/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12.7 oz caged and corked bottle. Pours dark amber with a medium creamy tan head that goes to a thin film that laces the glass some.

The aroma is bready malts, dark fruits, some floral wood, Belgian yeast and a bit of harsh alcohol.

The flavor is sweet woody floral malts, with dark fruits and some harsh charred alcohol. It's got some off notes that I can't identify too (plastic and cardboard). The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I didn't care for this. I remember it being fruitier with less off notes last I had it (still not great though). (584 characters)

Photo of Bung
2.57/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

375ml. Dark cola brown pour, thin layer of off white head. Retained for a little while.

Aroma, pretty sweet, candied fruit, plum, some prune and fig.

Taste, a little sweet malt and brown sugar up front. Some yeastiness, allspice. Goes into plum other light candy fruit. Finish is cherry medicine.

About medium body, I thought a bit low on carbonation which did not help the cough syrup like nature of this. A little warming, like a nice shot of Nyquil.

It feels like this is close, maybe some time, maybe some small tweaks in the recipe. As it is seems a bit medicinal. It seems to get worse as it warms. (608 characters)

Photo of Parrotshake
2.57/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours like a proper quad, an opaque brown with a big tan head. Smells of raisin toast, brown sugar, cloves, rum and coke.

Tastes a bit like cough medicine. Weird sweetness overpowers the malt and the carbonation and it just seems like a slug of medicine every time you take a sip. A bit harsh, too. If you needed an excuse not to try American examples of Belgian styles, this is a good one. (392 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
2.65/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours extremely dark amber/brown, nearly black, with a finger of beige head on a decent pour.

S: Lots of juicy, sweet plums. They pretty much obliterate all other aromas in this one. I really don't get anything else.

T: Again, lots of sweet plums here. Thankfully, I do get some other flavors, though. I get some prunes and a bit of spicy esters.

M: quite thick for the style with low carbonation.

O: Not particularly complex, this beer is overtaken by plums. It's too sweet without enough esters. Not terrible, but certainly in the bottom half of Quads. (590 characters)

Photo of BeerlyLegal
3.02/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

This beer surprised me. It's pours very dark with little head. By dark its basically pitch black.

The plums have the biggest impact.

It's got a nice nice airy, fruity scent but the taste and mouthfeel is like grape/plum soda.

I'm a big Sierra Nevada fan, however this beer isn't that amazing alone. With a meal it might be alright.

Poured it from a 12.7 corked bottle into a pint glass. (393 characters)

Photo of raynmoon
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

It had a very nice color, almost no head to speak of, almost looked like a coca-cola.

It smelled okay. It had a nice bready maltiness with a hint of star anise or licorice.

The taste was more of the same. It tasted mostly just like a decent quad. Low carbonation, super thin and watery mouth feel, and finishes with a nice star anise flavor and some sugar and alcohol. The malt is pretty much non existent in this beer. Kind of takes on a wine-like character with the plums. Zero yeast character.

Overall, this is pretty disappointing. It's not bad by any means, but it is missing so much character and umph to make it a "wow" beer. Just average. The bottle is cute though. (679 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.09/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep, dark ruby in the little snifter. Not much carbonation.

If you think of plums, it does taste like plums. If you said it's brewed with agave syrup instead of malt, I'd snap my finger and say "I knew it!" Not much in the way of variety. this seems really sweet and one-dimensional. This bitter-sweet ending is just not vetry pleasant. A syrupy taste, a sweetness that doesn't go away. I can't taste any malt but there must be plenty of it.

Maybe this is an interesting beer, but compared to many other Quads, I have to rate it lower. If I saw it in bottles I might try one-- this just seems to need some sudsiness to lighten up the dark fruitcake. On tap at Tiger! Tiger! in San Diego. (692 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
3.09/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a Duvel tulip

A - A hard pour reveals, dark ruby/brown body, nice clarity with a finger of tan head. Beautiful beer.

S - Roasted ashy malt, smoked molasses, very spicy aroma, rich and acidic fruit comes out with grapes, cherries, tobacco, burnt candy sugar. The fruit takes on a cooked character once warmed.

T - Spicy fruit, scorched cherries, acidic grapes, there's an odd smokiness to the malt, an alcohol sharpness that cuts through the sweet malt. Finishes astringent with flat cola, spicy alcohol and charred malt.

M - Medium to full body, semi-syrupy feel, low carbonation.

This is some odd flavors going on. Definitely a unique Quad...or beer for that matter. Grapes and cherries seemed to dominate the fruit profile especially when warm. There was a burnt charred character running through the entire beer and the heavy handed alcohol seemed to disrupt rather than add to the flavors. Not my cup of tea. (939 characters)

Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Very dark ruby, like cola, with a thin, tan head.

Aroma: Very boozy, with some black liquorice, spice, and a touch of dark fruit and fig. Aroma is so alcoholic that it almost has a nail polish character to it.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Spicy black liquorice and alcohol flavors hit you immediately, with a dry, dark roasted malt finish. Hops are most noticeable in the finish, where they offer a bit of dryness and complement the rich, dark chocolate flavor. Some fig and raisin flavors eventually become apparent, though still very subtle; they add an overall sugary sweet flavor to the brew. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.

Final Word: Unfortunately, the strong alcohol presence got in the way of the other flavors in this beer, and made the experience feel lopsided. While the black liquorice, spice, dark fruit, dark sugar and chocolate flavors could have created a nuanced drink, they felt as if they were crushed and compacted under the weight of the alcohol flavor. Had they been allowed to bloom and expand, this beer would have been very complex and satisfying, but instead it felt like every sip was dominated by booze. It was as if each sip had a 50/50 blend of alcohol flavor and ONE random flavor contained within the beer. You’d get a hint of raisin in one sip, but get only black liquorice in the next, and the flavors never seemed to mingle. The potential here was great, but the experience felt like a missed opportunity. Still some good flavors in here, but the profile is much too alcoholic for the subtle flavors within, even for a Quad. (1,569 characters)

Photo of ShamasUVA
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

Rating as a quad-- despite the inclusion of plums, this is by no means a Fruit beer.

L: Nice a dark, definitely darker than most quads, with a thin beige head.
S: Dark fruits (plum obviously, but also raisin) and burnt sugar. Minimal "belgian" esters which is in-line with the best examples of the styles. No banana/bubblegum.
T: Sweetness, some roast. More chocolate than appropriate. Hop bitterness is just enough to stand up to the rest of the beer.
F: This is where this beer really falters. Carbonation is just too low and the beer isn't quite attenuated enough. Slightly thick and could use significantly more carbonation.
O: A beer that is among the best US-made quads but really can't compete with the elite belgian ones like Rochefort/Bernardus/Van De Kaiser/Westvleteren. Straddles the line a bit between quad and belgian stout. (853 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
3.16/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From a straight pour it’s purplish black like an eggplant with a soft full head of foam that fell fast but hugs the glass with soapy lace. Left a thin skin on top and has alcohol legs. Nose is really sweet and I’m immediately turned off. Big heavy malt, sugar, molasses and dough. Plums, more dark fruit sweetness and the subtlest of hop floral and spice underneath. Alcohol is peeking out. As it warms it opens up vinous and with some leather and tobacco . Taste is sweet and then some. Sugar, heavy and cloying. Plums are lost to the sugary sweetness and to the taste of prune. The malt is underplayed and could have used more roast, more toast, more depth and some biscuit. There was no hop presence to balance the sweetness and it was thick and syrupy. Yeast tries to offer up spice but is devoured by sugar. One dimensional. As it warmed it developed a bitterness from the alcohol. Without much carbonation the alcohol is fully on the palate and this hits the stomach like a big sweet donut. I could live without it. (1,025 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Very interested to see Sierra Nevada's spin on the Belgian-style quadruple. Thanks to Chris for splitting this one. Ovila appears black from atop, but shows some beaming ruby translucency when held in front of the light. A small and creamy khaki-colored head settles almost instantly to a ring. Some wet lacing hangs for only a few moments before dripping back down into the beer, leaving the glass fairly unscathed in the end.

Heavy plums dominate the aroma - no surprise there, really. Unfortunately they seem a bit "off" - almost chalky and slightly medicinal to a degree. Not quite off-putting, but not extremely enjoyable, either. There are, however, lots of vibrant juicy and sweet fruit notes beneath the strange plum blanket. Some light cocoa notes, molasses, and Belgian spiced yeast aromas catch on a bit more once this sucker warms up. Mild spices and even a tint of bubblegum. Overall, kind of a middle of the road aroma for the style.

Would you be shocked to hear that Ovila tastes like a quad with extra-dense plum notes? Because that's what I'm about to tell you. Some of the "standard" or common quad flavors are present - dates, figs, light black licorice, phenols, and very faint Candi sugar. But the plums really work their hardest to pull the wool over all of these things. Sadly, the plums on the palate come right along with the weird chalky and medicinal notes that the aroma was putting out there. Almost tastes like a chewed up vitamin. That strong chalkiness carries into the aftertaste along with a faint hint of sugar, dates, and plums. Medium bodied, mildly creamy with medium carbonation.

Not terrible, but the weird and vitamin-like aroma and flavor that seemed to cling alongside the plums was just too prevalent to be fully enjoyable. It masked what would otherwise be a solid Belgian-style quad and instead turned it into a forgettable, slightly better than average ale. Wasn't disappointed to have tried it, but I recommend passing it up, especially when options like Rochefort 10 and Abt 12 are readily available. (2,052 characters)

Photo of alexanderplatz
3.24/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

In overall appearance and taste Ovila is like someone crossed a stout with either a Quad or a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, with perhaps 3 parts stout to one part Quad. (163 characters)

Photo of Trilogy31
3.29/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Odd that this hasnt been reviewed yet very similar to the regular quad, pours a midnight chestnut brown with the slightest touch of maroon held to light. An espresso crema cap just hangs on through the finish. Nose brings belgian yeast, bran and buckwheat, dark fruity esters and milkshake malt. The taste brings more of the same and while pleasant is one dimensional. Oddly while i do pick up slight dark fruits i cannot find any plums for the life of me - just an average belgian style quad in my book. Nothing to look at here. (529 characters)

Photo of AlexFields
3.32/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a pretty solid black, very thin head even with an aggressive pour and even that fades quickly.

Smells of sugar and sweet dark fruit, molasses...not getting a lot of complexity in the nose, just the plums really.

Taste is better and a bit more going on, sweet dark fruit again, plums and blueberry, light chocolate flavor, light roast to back up the sweetness here. Tasty but not exceptional.

Mouthfeel is pretty fizzy for a quad, pretty full body but not crazy thick or cloying. Good drinkability for the style.

Good beer but not as complex as I'd like a quad to be, obviously an American example.

6.6/10 (615 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours black with ruby highlights and a large head.
Nose shows brown sugar, candi sugar, golden syrup. Incredibly sweet-smelling.
Somewhat harsh flavours, with hot alcohol throughout. Lots of sweetness with golden syrup and candied figs. Cloying finish.
Carbonation feels a bit full-on. (285 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ovila Abbey Ale Belgian Style Abbey Quad brewed with (sugar) plums. "Brewed in collaboration with monks of the abbey of New Clairvoux." 10.20% ABV. Sold in four packs. 12.7 fl oz brown glass bottle with cool black label and hood and wire cap over a cork acquired individually at a SoCal beer store for just under $4.00 and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are above average; I'm indifferent towards the brewery but I love the style.

Paired with pretzels.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger rich khaki colour head of great cream, very good thickness, and excellent retention (~6+ minutes) for the high ABV. Body colour is a solid nontransparent dark black. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I love the head; it's quite good for a quad. Lacks the darker colour of a more refined quad like Rochefort or Westvleteren, but it far exceeds my expectations given the brewery. There's nothing unique here, but it's on the money for the style - with the exception of the body colour; I'd much prefer to see a dark refined red hue or a rich caramel/biscuit. Black is strange.

Sm: Malty sweetness, sugar plum, caramel, light yeasty spice, raisin, and refined malts. Lacks the dark fruit suggested by the label, to its detriment and my severe disappointment. Even the plum comes off sweet and sugary, not dark. The best beers in the style always have those dark fig and plum or prune notes; it's sorely missing here. That said, the malts are evocative and appealing, though not quite subtle and rich like those of the best beers in the style. Plum is dominant. I could use more biscuity yeast character; again subtlety is missing here. But there's plenty of complexity and balance. I'm excited to try it. No alcohol is detectable. An appealing aroma of moderate strength. Good for the style.

T: Cream, imbalanced raisin, dried plum, overdone malty sweetness, caramel, light spice from the yeast, and a vaguely raisiney finish. It's nowhere near as complex as the aroma suggested it might be. Subtlety and true balance is also severely lacking here, but it balances the notes it does have. No stunning dark fruit here. Emphasis is on the bright plum and caramel malts, neither of which is particularly interesting. That said, it is well executed for the style and hits the mark more than any other American macro quad I can immediately think of. Flavorful but not real deep. I do like it for what it is. It doesn't quite have the profile of a true distinct quad; there's a fair amount of strong dark ale character here, especially in terms of the raisin (which feels ripped straight from Unibroue's bag of tricks). There's no questioning it's a solid beer, however.

Mf: Smooth and thick. Wet and with adequate body. None of the delicacy or fragility of truly masterful quads, but it gets the job done. It doesn't distract from the flavour profile, and supports what depth of flavour there is. Good carbonation. Overall, it's too thick and overbearing. Subtlety just isn't Sierra Nevada's strong suit.

Dr: A drinkable enjoyable quad that doesn't disappoint in spite of the brewery it comes from. If you were hoping for a decadent dark fruit-laden quad, this won't fit the bill, but if you want a solid macrobrewed offering this is your man. Well priced for the quality. Hides its ABV well. A good introductory quad for beginners. I wouldn't even mind aging one of these for 2-3 years to see what happens. Sierra Nevada surpassed my low expectations, but this is far from exemplary. Worth picking up at its low price.

B- (3,768 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four pack at the brewery in Chico (along with a shitton of other stuff like BA Bigfoot). Pours dirty dark brown, thin beige head at the top of it. Looked professional, no floaties. Aroma was prune, alcohol, belgian yeast, probably the thing they were going for, but not something that floats my boat. Actually alcohol was probably the strongest thing, then prune.

Taste was prune and raisin soaked alcohol. I'm already thinking to myself, 'you bought these for the old lady, be glad you don't have to choke down the rest of this beer, or the remaining 3 bottles from the four pack. I didn't really like the dark fruit bitter alcohol bite of this one. Has very little in the way of malt contribution, the beer seemed a little thin, and no appreciable flavor or character to whatever they used. It was all prune, raisin, licorice, alcohol, fig and belgian yeast type of thing going on. What I had hoped for in terms of plum sweetness just never came across, that merle haggard? song "always wanting you, but never having you," came to mind.

Not my style, disregard these notes if it is your style, don't let this guy make you think it won't be something you like. The old lady likes it, but she is on facebook too much to write a beer review. (1,256 characters)

Photo of JackRWatkins
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: I suppose I did not pour this with enough vigor but the head promised was not present at all. pours jet black and glossy. Darker than motor oil.
S: Kind of weak honestly, I was rather unimpressed, this beer was poured into a bernardus glass but I would recommend a snifter, should focus the release of the smell more so it is present for longer. Sweet and fruity, a tad malty I think but it dissipated so quickly I could not really tell. As the beer sits though the sweetness in the nose does become more pronounced. Tinge of oatiness to the taste as well.
T:Roasted malt marries nicely with the plum, a tad bitter at times and though the bitterness is not exactly a plus it's also not bitter enough to be off-putting. For a beer this conspicuously alcoholic, it is well enough masked, present just enough to encourage slow enjoyment but masked enough to all it to be enjoyed. Any prominent spicy character is mostly overwhelmed by the roasted malt, it's still there just kind of pushed back.
M: Sticky sweet, standard, no complaints.
O:This is a pleasant, albeit somewhat strange beer and I would say that serving it just to the left of cold would work just as well as serving it cold. It leaves a warm burn in the stomach and a sweet taste on the tongue, if this is to be your first foray into quad territory better go with St. Bernardus Abt. 12 instead, there really is no good place to start with this kind of beer so that is as good as any. this is good beer and an interesting beer, take time to enjoy it and the experience will be better for you. (1,559 characters)

Photo of Etan
3.39/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12.7oz into a wine glass.

A: Pours a woody dark brown with purple hues. Nice soft cardboard-colored head.

S: Thick stonefruit aromas (overripe plum, dried peach), dark candi sugar, vinous, chalky yeast. Despite its fruitiness, the aroma isn't very sweet.

T: Taste brings syrupy plum, grape juice, bitterish hop leaf and roasted grain, dark bread, bite of alcohol on the end. Lightly bitter yeast throughout.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with pleasant and slightly frothy carbonation.

O: Not liking what the plums did to this beer - combined with the heavy yeastiness, it gives it an odd dried fruit taste that isn't very good. (637 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Basically black. Fluffy strong head, good lacing.

Dark fruit, plum, blueberry, sour cherry, sweetness like cinammon, vanilla, very light nutty influences.

Rich plum, very sweet, not too many belgian anything.

Solid mouthfeel, creamy, light carbonation. I guessed ABV around 7.5, nicely done.

More carbonation, less sweetness, this needs a little pep in its step to set itself apart. (387 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a kola hue with the creamiest two finger head that stays forever and clingy lacing all down the sides,the smell is caramel candy,booze,plums,toffee malts and raisin bread,the mouthfeel is just over medium bodied with moderate carbonation and has tastes of plum jam,port,toffee liqueur,marzipan,bready malts and finished with a sweet raisin booziness which is most noticeable on first sip and goes away after it warms you up and overall it's not a bad quad but I don't get much of the plums added and just tastes like a normal quad with nothing added but a nice winter warmer netherless just not a beer you would have to repeat to relive the taste. (653 characters)

Photo of FremontBar
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a nice dark brown with hints of ruby, small head which dissipates rather quickly
S: smell is rather subdued, some sweetness, prunes and dark fruit
T: once this beer warmed up got a lot more flavor, raisins and plums/prunes, sweet and hides alcohol well until the finish which I find a little astringent.
M: has good carbonation and medium bodied
O : Probably will not drink again, had it on draft last week and then bottled. I generally like most Belgians and big beers but this one had a very astringent and bitter lingering taste that I found unpleasant. Worth trying because everyone has different taste but I will be moving on. (640 characters)

Photo of Yokoono76
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful dark cherry brown. The light shows red through the glass. Beautiful color! Frothy cream top, last the length of drinking and laces the sides of the glass, it's inviting.

S: Malty - nose is stuffy… sorry folks

T:First taste reminds me of a stout, but sweeter. Very slight momentary bitterness and then a rich coffee, caramel taste overrides any bitterness. Subtle smokey notes.

M: Heavy like a stout, not much carbonation.

O: This is a hearty and unique beer. The plums are a nice enhancement of the richness within the beer itself, but doesn't overpower. It is perfect cold night, sit by the fire and relax with friends and loved ones. With 10+ ABV, it's a sipping beer! Enjoy (696 characters)

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Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 209 ratings.