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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.
very good

210 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 210
Hads: 1,047
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 24.81%
Wants: 44
Gots: 204 | 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: 210 | Hads: 1,047
Photo of barnzy78
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle
A - dark brown, thin but foamy, tan head coats the top of the ale
S - huge malt nose, plum & dark fruit, brown sugar, yeast, bread, fig
T - tons of malt again with plum, brown sugar, molasses, yeast, bread, fig, spice, booze is noticeable but well concealed
M - thick, full body, pleasant carbonation, fig and plum linger with a spicy, peppery finish
O - very nice quad with some added plum characteristics and complexity. Not sure that I'd get it again at that price ($4.99), but it was worth the try

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Photo of Parrotshake
2.57/5  rDev -34.9%
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.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Solid dark brown with a small head and almost no lacing.

S: Sweet and spicy, with just a bit of fruit in there. Smells like candy.

T: A bit spicy with a nice mellow sweetness. It is a bit syrupy and the mouthfeel doesn't help with that designation. Good blend but it kind of drops off.

M: Prickly carbonation with a weird thickness to it.

O: Not that great. I was expecting a lot more here. I got it as an extra in my first trade. It's good but was a bit weird for a quad. It must be the plums. Not a big fan of the fruit, so it makes sense.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from my Chimay chalice

A - Pours the classic quad dark cola colour with an off white head that reduces to a film.

S - Plums and dark fruit with some sticky molassis.

T - Raisins, Plums and cola flavours. No sign of the ABV which is impressive. A little one dimensional.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Quite smooth.

T- Just doesn't have the wow factor I continue to look for in the U.S. made Belgian styles. Having said that, there isn't much wrong with it.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12.7oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Pitch black, surprisingly carbonated with a fizzy head that disappears in an instant. Reminds me of Coke
S: Plums, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, cola
T: Cola & dark malts initially followed by molasses then raisin/prune/plum towards the lengthy finish
M: Honestly forgive my cola references but this has the mouthfeel of cola that's heavy on the syrup. Not viscous, but a moderately sweet, very fluid body
T: I like it overall, but I bought a beer not a Coke. Tasty, fairly complex, the plums come through well, but I wish that soft drink note weren't persistent throughout

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Photo of 18tony
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark currant, hazy, you hate to project on to it, but it very much seems like plums where involved in the making of this beer.

smell- sweet fruit and strong alcohol.

taste- also sweet and fruity. again the plum shows up on the middle of the taste finish a touch dry and with that high backbone of alcohol again.

note: no hops to be found here as to be expected. and the malt is also thin behind sugar. the more i think about it the more i want to compare it to a wine.

mouthfeel- light in body. sharp bite on the front end. strong carbonation. sits well on the palate.

This beer is quite a joy, i wish i didn't dink it so fast writing this review.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer pours a dense walnut brown body with a glowing brown at the base and a thin cream of foam that breaks up in the center. There are microbubbles that pop at the surface.

S- The soft fusel alcohol and dark berry notes blend with some dark sweet malt and dark cola notes with graham hints growing as it opens. There is a classic abbey yeast character which always makes me think of monk’s bad breath when I smell it.

T- Tastes of sweet dark fruit with hints of tart plum skins under a sweet syrup malt finish. There is a fusel taste to the finish with some bittern notes and a slight tang that grows and leads to a plum hint that lingers.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle alcohol heat that fills the throat after each sip.

O- This is a big hot (fusel) sweet monster that could really use some age, but no dates on the bottles. The fruity quality is nice but it can’t save the beer. It was a bit rough to slug through but perhaps it will be better in the bitter winter winds?

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a dark cola brown color with a half inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like plums, cherries, bready malt and a bit of molasses. It tastes like plums, bready malt, cloves, toffee, and some bananas, chocolate, and a slight medicinal taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with a good amount of carbonation. I think it's a good brew overall, but with that being said it's not one of the best Quads I've tried. Still, it's certainly worth trying. $3.79 for a single bottle.

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Photo of PHSCAPT
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at fridge temp into a Bernardus goblet. Little to no head at this temperature. Also, almost no yeast at bottom of bottle. Dark, impenetrable brown in color. I get sweet notes of coffee, chocolate and smoke both on the nose and on the tongue. Sweeter than I expected, similar to a St Bernardus. No bitterness and a front-tongue dry finish. Very little carbonation, again probably due to the low temperature. Warms nicely to a full bouquet, like I'd expect from an abbey-style quad. Very nice, buy again.

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Photo of ADZA
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of mxchap
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Re-Review (5 months later)

Appearance: dark brown with a nice reddish hue if you shine a light on it. Short head but still dense and creamy.
Aroma: Complex mix of esters and phenols, plums (duh), candied fruit, and something dark and toasty (toffee?)
Taste: Sweetness upfront yields to a nice toffee / plum / chocolate middle. Very smooth and balanced finish.
Feel: Initially feels overcarbed, but this notion fades to a nice smooth finish. The alcohol isn't too hot and blends nicely.
Overall: I tried this in January and thought it was very average (3). Different beer to me now and I think it should be up in the 4 range.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"Ovila Abbey Quad is heady with aromas of caramel, rich malt, and dark fruit- balanced by the spiciness and delicate fruity notes of a traditional Belgian yeast. This complex beer is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux. It features sugar plums grown on the grounds of the Abbey, and harvested by the monks in Vina. We hope you enjoy this collaboration ale." Brewed in the style of a Quadrupel with plums added. A recent one-time release in the expanding Ovila Abbey Ales series, this one continues the reformatting to 4 11.5 ounce corked & caged bottles rather than the previous format of 750ml. bottles. A one-time release.

Poured from an 11.5oz. bottle to an Ovila Goblet glass. Served north of 56º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crispy caramel head of a light fizzy texture. Body color is a deep, dark brown. Retention is slightly above average, runs to a thin surface cover quickly and lacing is a bit thin and streaked. It's a pretty nice appearance. 3.75

(Smell) Aroma consists of bready caramel, clean candied brown sugars, hints of medium roasted buttery malt, fruity characters are certainly reminiscent of plums, although cherry lingers in trace amounts. Hints of anise for a slight licorice twang is in tow to contradict an otherwise clean aroma. Potency is slightly north of medium. All characters are collectively approachable and collaboratively enjoyable with few missteps. 4

(Taste) Flavors of slight plum sugar and licorice up front, following into a semi-sweet cocoa and roasty malt finish. Balance is slightly sweet over bitter with lingering alcohol providing a balance counterpoint. There are a few weary spots of ethanol reminiscent of cough syrup consistency with not a lot of body flavor nor depth to balance it out, calling out a sharp, sticky and dry finish. Drinkability is lower than expected- not for the best reasons. The plum character is surprisingly mild, a bit underrepresented from my expectations in flavor, rather adding a pure phenolic sugar character to the already stark sweetness of the malt. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick with a medium thickness and mildly syrupy. Body is light/medium for quadrupels and medium+ amongst all beers. Alcohol presence is medium/heavy. The carbonation is fine, but there could have been a lot more depth to this beer; grain, fruit, malt sweetness, sour notes- anything should have been employed to balance out the alcohol presence- it just isn't captivating or even enjoyable on its own. 3.75

(Overall) Despite being a Quadrupel, flavors are very mild. Yet, it's not quite as drinkable as I thought it should be, with a startling cough syrup finish and not enough body depth nor flavor to round it out better. The plums were not particularly a strong focal point of this beer, but then again not much in this beer took that honor either. I'm not overly pleased with yet another Ovila collaboration. It's passable but I expect a lot more from my Quads than this one gives me. 3.75

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

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Photo of Illmaticzx
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from corked bottle to nonic

A: dark purplish brown, the color of cola with a nice 1 to 2 finger tan head that hung around

S: pungent dark fruits, malt, alcohol

T: taste plums and dark sweet fruit immediately, something a little bitter in the middle, maybe its the hops struggling to make a presence, then a slightly tart alcohol wall

M: viscous, syrupy

O: its a very good beer with some wow factor but wont make you do cartwheels as there are other quads i prefer

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A very solid and tasty quad. Looks good, although not a great head. Taste of raisins, plums, figs, and bread. Nicely balanced. Not the most full bodied but not too bad in that area. Enjoyable from the first taste to the end. You feel the booze by the end, but heck, that's a quad for you. I could definitely drink this again. I'd like to try some of the other collaborations of Ovila.

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Photo of Pencible
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy black garnet, with some tan had.
S: It smelled like bitter copper and earthy pumpernickel, with some molasses and dates and creamy yeast.
T: It tasted like earthy honey wheat and molasses and spicy Belgian yeast, with some copper and fig and clove. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste, almost like cola, with some alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with lots of fine natural carbonation. Excellent body.
D: This was a great brew, with complex and delicate scent and taste. The body was great, and the finish was smooth despite the noticeable alcohol. So it was pretty easy to drink, although I suspect it would mellow further if cellared for some years. I was surprised to enjoy this beer so much, even fresh.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.16/5  rDev -20%
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.

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle was poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: This beer poured a small head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Caramel malts, doughy, spicy, yeasty, plums, raisins, bananas, figs, and boozy alcohol.

Taste: Same as above. Pretty tasty brew and exactly what I was expecting put of a quad.

Mouthfeel: Warm boozy alcohol, full bodied, low to medium carbonation, spicy, a little chewy, and smooth.

Overall: Awesome stuff. Will look for more of this in the future.

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Photo of lsummers
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a three finger tannish frothy head that recedes to a half finger head leaving some great lacing behind. Looks mildly carbonated.

Smells coming from this remind me of the classic quad notes. Dark fruits, raisins, slight malty burnt brown sugar sweetness, and that great dessert/pie quality.

Taste hits right away with a sort of dark fruits and slightly smokey malts. A definite sweetness like that of candied fruit. Slight vanilla and toffee. Mostly those overly ripe dark and dried fruit qualities. The toffee malts help mix this all together. Slight boozyness on the backend that detracts a bit.

Mouthfeel is mildly carbonated yet full bodied. This is a thick beer and thank goodness it's carbonated well.

Overall, a solid quad and one that a fan of the style should definitely try. This is a huge beer and you can definitely tell while tasting it. Newcomers should steer away as it could deter them from the style. But to me, this is just plain delicious.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.56/5  rDev -35.2%
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).

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Photo of dirtylou
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, corked n caged, served in avery tulip

rich chocolate malts, sweet dark fruits - plum, dried cherries, dates. Woody undertones, peppercorn, clove, cocoa, molasses, fruitcake. A bit dry in the finish. Dope label art and a nice price for the style - an impulse buy, and not one to be regretted

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Photo of deebo
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A cork and caged 12.7 oz bottle bought in February and kept refrigerated until now. Poured into a snifter this beer provides a thin finger of tan bubbly head that quickly breaks completely down. Dark brown with red highlights with held up to the light. Clear.

Aromas of plums and notes of Belgian yeast-definitely estery. A rich malt sweetness with a bit of bread and some lightly roasted notes. Some spicy peppery phenolic notes and a nice alcohol aroma.

Taste is similar to the nose. With a sweet malt character with hints of roasted malt. A bit sweet in the finish but rather quick and semi-dry. Plenty of yeast charcter with weak phenolic peppery taste with a fair amount of a vapory alcohol finish...but not overpowering.

Medium bodied for a quad with fair levels of carbonation with an alcoholic finish.

Overall this is probably the best American quad I've had. A bit boozier than the world class versions but with most of the nice flavor qualities of those. A nice beer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Ovila Belgian-style Abbey Quad, "Ale Brewed with Plums, Brewed in Collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New CIairvaux." Monastic Inspiration, American Innovation."

Appearance: looking very dark, deep brown, under a slim, cocoa-tinged head.

Aroma: Lovely stuff. Dark fruits, plums, dates, raisins, sweet and lovely, but not TOO sweet. Spicy. And some banana.

Taste: Complexity starts us off, a myriad of rich flavors at work. Plenty of the dark fruits, the raisins and plums, and the rich, sweet notes, with malt working wonders below it all. Damned tasty. Hits all the right notes, but misses some magic.

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Photo of Duff27
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short white head leaves a filmy head and collar. Leaves line lacing with a swirl. Body is a dark brown with a purplish red hue.

Dark fruits all the way. Raisins, figs, grapes...plums, duh!

Follows the nose, tingly raisin on the tongue. Well balanced. Drinks it's 10.2%abv.

Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

Really thought the plum addition stepped up all the best parts about a quadruple. Good price point SN!

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Photo of tectactoe
3.2/5  rDev -19%
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.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 375 ml long neck corked dark brown bottle into an 8 ounce sampler. Interesting label art depicting a hooded monk in silent contemplation. An even, moderate pour produces a 1/4 inch thick light tan head, with very little lace clinging to the glass (a side effect of the alcohol content).

I'm somewhat smell-challenged, but I definitely detect rich sweet malt, plums/prunes, spicy yeast, and earthy hops. The taste is very complex, with a good bit of pleasant sourness of dark fruit balancing rather well with the malt backbone. The plum is not overbearing at all. Also very apparent is a medicinal taste like old fashioned root beer, combined with a boozy, sherry-like taste/aroma. An essence of plum lingers in the aftertaste, along with some earthy hops, producing a taste evocative of a plum pit lingering in your mouth after you've drawn out all the juicy goodness. A building warming sensation is apparent in the belly and throat.

I'm enjoying this beer very much, as the style is (still) a relatively rare find in my area . The complex flavors (and high ABV) promote slow sipping, and quiet contemplation, as personified by the hooded monk on the label.

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Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.