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Ovila Abbey Saison - Mandarin Oranges & Peppercorns - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ovila Abbey Saison - Mandarin Oranges & PeppercornsOvila Abbey Saison - Mandarin Oranges & Peppercorns

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

134 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 134
Hads: 680
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 22.28%
Wants: 19
Gots: 84 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 05-06-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 134 | Hads: 680
Photo of goochpunch
2.68/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep burnt orange body with a barely there head. Smells grainy with very spicy yeast and apricot. Very sweet saison. Overly spicy and yeasty. Pretty grainy quality. I get more banana from the yeast than I do orange peel or pepper. Mouthfeel is sticky and slick with mild carbonation. I'm not feeling this.

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Photo of DIM
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: Clear, semi dark golden color; pours with a small, short lived head.

s: Maybe its the gentle carbonation, but I couldn't pull much out of this. Some orange and some Belgian yeast character in the form fruity esters (pear and grape). Maybe some grassy hops?

t: Orange dominant; and while it is a pleasant flavor, sweet and juicy, it kind of clashes with the saison elements. On the sweet side overall, almost candy like. The finish is a bit boozy with plum and pear estery flavors and a hint of barnyard yeast. I did not taste the peppercorns.

m: Heavy and under carbonated, not very saison like.

o: My least favorite SN offering so far, everything else has been top notch. Too much O.J. not enough saison. Tasted blind, I would have probably called this a dubbel. I need to try more of these Ovila offerings. Hope I like the rest more than this one.

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Photo of teromous
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Fairly hazy orange and light brown color with a foamy white head. Alright head retention, some lacing.

S: Very faint muskiness accompanied by a distant lemon scent. There's a bit of Belgian yeast character, giving it this spicy scent. It is nice smelling but very very faint.

T: There is a lot of sweet malt flavor up front, with a bit of light cedar. It doesn't really have any Saison character to it. No funk, no sourness, nothing really. I don't taste any contribution from the oranges or peppercorns, from what I can tell. It has a definite Belgian flavor to the beer, but it just doesn't taste like a Saison.

M: The mouthfeel is light to medium with low bitterness. Not real spectacular.

O: It was petty good as just a "Belgian Beer" so if you're looking for that then you're set. While it smelled similar to a Saison, it really didn't taste like one. It also felt too sweet in both the flavor and body (not dry enough). It just tasted like an average beer to me. I didn't get anything from the oranges or peppercorns. I probably wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

375ml bottle served in a wide mouth taster at cellar temps. Bottled on date is 02/2015.

Appearance: dark golden yellow with no head but some bubbles poking through the liquid. Poured very light body.

Nose: oranges, bready and with some yeast character. Kinda flat nose.

Taste: The beer is almost flat, very little carbonation if any at all. Oranges, spicy phenols from the yeast, bready and malty sweetness but very restrained.

This beer just needs some carbonation to be really refreshing and delicious. It just kinda sits on your palate without the bubbles. I'll try cooling the other bottle I have to see if it makes it better.

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Photo of BCraig
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12.7 oz corked bottle into a Weizen glass.

A - Pours a golden red hay color, somewhat clear for a Saison. Thick creamy slight off-white head dissipates moderately fast to thin lacing.

S - Aromas of clove, banana, and mild citrus. I strained for the peppercorn spice aroma, but decided it was preconceived and not present.

T - Light toffee malt flavor dominates with warm alcohol on the back of the tongue. I detected a bitter orange, but not as much as expected.

M - medium bodied with a slight astringency.

O - Drinkable and interesting take on the style; I wished there was more of the core Saison hay/earthy notes to it, but it is a balanced beer and pours beautifully.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.7 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Contrary to most saisons I've had, it pours a completely clear copper color. In fairness, it's a beautiful copper shade, but it's also too clear for a saison. No dregs, either...but there's a ton of carbonation rising to the top. There's about a finger's worth of white-colored head - while it's not very high, it has surprisingly good retention. A tiny ring of lacing is left on the glass. Looks great, just not very saison-y.

S: The respective adjuncts (orange and peppercorn) are showed off fairly well, with nice tones of citrus and pepper (whodathunkit?) On the other hand, I just don't pick up much 'saison' here. The yeast has a good bread/spice quotient in fairness, but otherwise comes off formless and generic. Notes of wheat are also found. Not bad, but again: it's just not very saison-y.

T: Orange is very prevalent to start - it's even somewhat close to being a fruit beer. Just like with the nose, the adjuncts end up being my favorite part of this beer. The fruity start is quite pleasant, and the gently spiced finish works well. The problem is that there isn't much beyond the additions of orange and peppercorn: the yeast is dreadfully generic, and isn't complex in the least. Taking its shortcomings into consideration, it's actually pretty decent. But I'm going to say it once more: it's just not very saison-y.

M: While it's not as bone dry as I like my saisons, it still has a nice lightness to it. Along with the crisp finishing bite, it goes down very easily (7.5%? Drinks closer to 6%). Carbonation is impactful while stopping short of being harsh.

O: At the end of the day, I still kind of like this brew. It's light and crisp, with a nice orange character. It's just not very saison-y (THERE'S THAT SENTENCE AGAIN). Not at all. It's not rustic, it's not bone dry, nor does it have any unique yeast notes. I wouldn't buy it again, but it's still worth a try.

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Photo of hardy008
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours hazy orange with a 1/2 finger off white head which fades quickly. Has a very strong hop forward citrus aroma, smells just like mandarin oranges, as listed on the bottle. Also can pick up a pepper aroma from the peppercorns. Not very complex, or Belgian, in the aroma.

Tastes much like it smells with mandarin oranges, peppercorns, pears, and plenty of caramel for sweetness. Nothing Belgian about the taste either. No Belgian yeast in the taste or aroma. Tastes pretty good and smells pretty good, but not to style in my opinion.

Medium bodied with below normal carbonation for the style. A little syrupy compared to most Saisons. Does nopt finish dry like most Saisons do. Pretty good tasting, but definitely not done to style. I'm not sure if this is a fairly old bottle or not. There is no clear legible date, so I will grade this as though it is a fresh bottle.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.7 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap over a cork acquired at a local SoCal bottle shop and served into a flared stem-snifter in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. 7.5% ABV confirmed. "Ale brewed with mandarin oranges and peppercorns." "Collaboration with monks of the abbey of New Clairvaux." Expectations are above average. Reviewed live.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of beige-light khaki colour. Okay thickness. Limited creaminess. Not frothy at all. Complexion is mundane. Okay lacing as the head recedes. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes.

Body colour is a clear dark copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Perplexing that it's transparent; all the good saisons I've ever seen have at least been hazy. Limited vibrance.

Atypical of the style and not looking great. Not unique or special by any means.

Sm: Clean malts, grains, pepper, spice (allspice), banana, biscuity character from the yeast, and a mild fruitiness - which hardly evokes mandarin orange in particular. Pepper is subtly executed here. No real noticeable hop character. No alcohol is detectable. A mild strength aroma which is appealing for the style, but far from ideal.

T: Pepper, certainly. But also more of a fruit presence than the aroma promised: white/green grape, apple, and pear. It's also got some spiciness, with coriander and clove coming through. Flirts with wine character. Bready and grainy body. Pilsner malt, biscuit malt, maybe even munich malt. Strangely clinical and filtered for the style. No hop profile is noticeable. I don't get any alcohol. It's a tasty beer with average flavour intensity and depth, but unfortunately it doesn't bring much in terms of complexity or subtlety - and what a crime that is in a saison. I don't find any mandarin orange here. Yeast is biscuity with some rough spiciness. Okay balance overall, but it's not gestalt or even particularly cohesive.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some roughness from the spiciness. Overcarbonated. Decent body and thickness. Suits the flavour profile generally well though it doesn't come off custom-tailored to it. Unrefreshing. Lightly crisp.

Dr: A downable try at a saison that hides its ABV fairly well. By no means an exemplary beer in the style, but a passable one with a surprisingly high pricetag considering the brewery. Wouldn't recommend it to friends; wouldn't get it again - but it's not bad. Certainly above average. Meets meagre expectations.


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Photo of impending
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3


375ml into a tulip. Pours a crystal clear amber copper, minor eggcream colored head, minor lacing.

The aroma is dominated by an herbal spicy note that is backed by a bit of gunpowder or scorched knuckle hair atop a sweetness. certainly is complex, unique

The taste surprises in its level of uniqueness. The peppercorn is now fully revealed. Mild herbal bitter. Not much in the way of dry, the bitter sits in. Aftertaste is short lived to its benefit.
Between thin and medium bodied lifeless mouthfeel, would really benefit from more fizz. sits between a saison & a dubbel

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Photo of Brendog9
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

375 ml cork and cage poured into a Delirium balloon glass. No date on the bottle.

I've been on a saison kick lately and had to try this out. A transparent amber pour with about a quarter inch head that fades quickly. The aroma has notes of honey and fruit. In the taste itself I get honey flavors and very suttle notes of peppercorn. Also some burn from the 7.5% ABV.

Overall, not what I was expecting. I didn't pick up any of the mandarin orange notes.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Max's (from notes)

A: Hazy copper with ok lacing.

S: Light. Sweet with funk and yeast.

T: Ugh. Lots of yeasty funk that is quite heavy with a weird aftertaste. I get no mandarins. Kind of rye with a roast.

M: Foamy with lots of smooth bubbles.

O: Quite a heavy and thick saison.

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Photo of Jonada
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a dark golden orange color with 1 finger of an off white head. Body is moderately hazy with quite a bit of visible carbonation.

Smell: Floral, clove, cereal grain, spices, earth.

Taste: Spices, bready malt, green peppercorns, apple, with a hint of citrus. There's a slightly off putting aroma as well, that I can't quite put my finger on.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slick mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Overall: The peppercorns are a nice touch and improved the beer, but overall I was not a fan of this. Probably will not drink it again.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

375ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a rather dark honey color with a short lived, fizzy, off white head that quickly faded into a faint collar.
S: Sweet scents of mandarin oranges dominate alongside notes of Belgian yeast and herbal, peppery, hops and spices.
T: Mandarin is very easy to pick out but not as potent as the nose. I get notes of grainy malt, peppercorn, herbal hops, and earthy yeast. Peppercorn shins in the finish and more citrus comes through in the aftertaste. Mild bitterness, lingering bready yeast flavor.
M: Heavy mouthfeel, this beer could use some drying out. Frothy foamy carbonation, medium-full body.
O: Great mandarin twist and the peppercorn add another layer of spice to the yeast. This was a bit think, heavy and frothy for me to absolutely love, but I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an essentially clear, amberesque body with a two-finger-high cap of near white foam.

Smell: Lightly toasted bread, toasted grains with a layer of sweet-scented candied glaze. Faint flash of sourishness. Banana, aromatic orange, coriander, pepper.

Taste: Sweet caramel, toffee in the foreground atop the malted wheat. A little, light banana. Candied orange (a bit tangy) dusted with a little pepper, a little coriander. Some stern florals ahead of a stronger, bitterish orange oil presence. Still remains rather candyish, sweetish on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation, fighting back some stickiness.

Overall: Don't get me wrong, I am still on-board for this whole Ovila deal, but I WAAAY preferred the no-thrills Ovila Saison over this new, "now with more stuff!" version.

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Photo of Zorro
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Chill hazed amber colored beer with a small white colored head.

Smells fruity with only a touch of coriander. Malt and pepper with a hint of orange and grape.

Starts out dry and spicy. Orange and pepper with coriander. Faint caramel flavor. Gets sweeter as you drink it.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK Saison.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.32/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - pours honey amber with a tight knit blanket of white foam on top. Good retention with minor lacing.

S - tangy Belgian yeast, mandarin is very present along with pears, peaches, apples, and bananas. Moderate earthy spice, sweet pilsner malts.

T - sweet citrus, sugary candy malts, earthy spice, floral hops. The malt mixed with the candied citrus provides a very sweet base. Pepper and lavender are present but only in the fat background. There is some light grassiness on the back end. Finishes sweet and semi wet.

M - medium full body, plenty of active carbonation, slick and full feel.

The aroma is very nice but this is too sweet for a saison. I'm guessing the mandarins added extra sugar. I was hoping for more of a dry finish. The flavor profile doesn't stand up to the regular Ovila Saison. This reminds me more of a spicy Tripel or Belgian Strong Pale.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Corked 375 ml. bottle poured into a wine glass. This new version of the Ovila Saison opens with a firm pop of the cork and pours somewhat deep in color for a saison and offers a thin yet moderately lingering cap of white foam and decent lace.

Aroma of yeast and pepper are dominant, along with an inordinate hop presence with warming. If there are mandarin oranges in there I'm not feeling the love. Warming brings more intrigue to the nose yet still falls a bit short of my hopes. Taste is more muddled and less concise than the original Ovila Saison, which I notably prefer at this point.

Feel is good though argueably misguided for the style. A bit deep and a bit dark for my preference anyway. Overall I hope that Ovila survives the reality punch of the North Amerian market in which it resides. Yet I would rather see it fail than let the American market tweak its recipes.

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Photo of lnashsig
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

many thanks to @sierrabrettp for this one- brought back from Chico last week. Poured from bottle into RR glass. Pours a crystal clear golden orange color- surprised to see this- was expecting a little more hazel Also very little head and next to zero retention. Effervescent bubbles stream up from the bottom of the glass. Smell- sweet bready candy sugar malt- I get the mandarin as advertised. Taste- a little bitterness (maybe from the pepper?) sweet orange fruitiness is next, leaves a lingering syrupy orange mandarin taste mixed with cracked pepper bitterness on the end. I was kinda hoping the carbonation would dry this up a little but, but it ends a bit sweet. This is a decent effort, far from "bad", but I prefer a much dryer saison. I liked the Ovila Saison base beer more.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz corked and caged bottle, tulip

A – Heavy, dark orange to slightly amber, some effervescent bubbles. About 2-3 inches of white foam head, moderate retention lasting a minute or so. About a cm of froth remains on top.

S – Intense peppery notes, some alcohol warmth on the initial sniff. Some bubble gum and orange peel. Sweetness comes in late.

T – Spicy, slightly fruity, some darker citrus tones. Mild earthy, herbal flavors in the background, suggesting a farm when the soil’s been freshly tilled.

M – Seems thin at first, but some effervescence on the swallow and a mild acidic bite comes through. Light residual sweetness.

O – There’s nothing particularly wrong here, just nothing that really stands out either. Enjoyable, but I won’t be able to tell you much about it six months from now.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12.7 fl oz bottle into tulip. cant seem to find a date or code on here.

A: definitely an orange hued body. a surprising amount of clarity. frothy, slight off-white head. good retention, lacing is minimal.

S: aroma has a sizeable amount of orange peel. sugar. not getting a whole heck of a lot from the peppercorn end. otherwise, not getting enough saison bready, dry, yeast aromas.

T: a lot of sugar on the initial sip. slight bits of sweet orange meat. caramel grist, some mild saison yeast esters, really not that much though. similar to the nose, not enough saison characteristics

M: a very fine carb level. medium bodied.

D: I kinda want to try the un-spiced version of this saison so I have a base to go off of, however I have to say I am a bit underwhelmed here. too much sweetness for a good saison and the additional flavor additives are not helping.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.44/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Tasted 17 April 2015

Pours medium orange amber, 99% clear. One finger of whitish head, okay retention and lacing.

Smell is warm, fruity, and yeasty. The oranges come through strong, more than I'd like them to (reminding me a bit of Dave's BrewFarm's amazing S.O.B. O.M.G.). Slightly tart oranges dominate the smell, shading out most of the saison elements.

Taste is a lot like the smell, with a spicy bite. Some of that seems to come from the pepper, and some from the yeast. It has this dulled Belgian yeast character, but there's not a whole lot to it. Warm, full, and spicy.

Feel is on the flat side. It feels rather heavy, thicker than most saisons, and it really needs more carbonation. It needs to dance. The flavors settle, rather than springing up. Meh.

This is a very warm beer. Warm in the nose, warm in the mouth. It's rounded, but the rounding hides what should be its best features. Decent, but not something I'll seek out again.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

An interesting, slightly unusual saison. Less golden, browner in color, without the murkiness I expect. Taste is pretty subtle: you can find the mandarins and the peppercorns, but they don't jump out. I'm tasting clove as much as peppercorn. There's a touch of sweetness as well but that is more than balanced out by a distinct sourness that, after my fourth sample, gets to be a bit too much.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Brewforia Eagle for about $4... definitely more expensive than other places in town, but I was in Eagle, so.. oh well.

Pours with a surprisingly short lasting white head atop a clear orange brew.

The aroma shows clovey phenols combining with the citrus... quite a bit of residual pale maltiness IMO.

Flavor is more leaning toward the esters with some pear and banana.. still a decent amount of clove... the citrus and peppercorn flavor merge more toward the finish... still too malty

Body is heavy for a saison... carbonation is also a bit light adding to the heavier body.

Decent beer at a decent price if I purchase elsewhere.


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Photo of taylor714914
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

When shopping at my local store, I saw these 4 pack of corked and caged bottles for 15 bucks, and had to pull the trigger.

Pours a copper color with a thin head.

Smell is of sweet malts and a bit of spice.

Taste is interesting. Doesn't really remind me of a saison, more of a watered down dubbel or octoberfest. There is a bit of orange that comes through, along with some clove and bready malt.

Mouthfeel is thick for the style.

Overall, too sweet and not nearly dry enough for a saison, but still a decent brew. Think of this as a more fall like saison. kind of a cross between a saison and octoberfest.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Whole Foods.

Pouring an amber orange, rather clear, with a thin but lasting white head that leaves some lacing, this looks pretty good. The nose is solid. The subtle but complex citrus character is very enjoyable, and the pepper does complement the fruit. Moderately yeasty as well. Some honey and malt character is present. Unfortunately, though, the malt character isn't particularly rustic. Still, this is solid.

The palate opens rather over-carbonated, especially for how sweet this beer is. Fruity with a blend of citrus, pepper and fennel, the flavors from the adjuncts blend well with the yeast characteristics. The mid-palate has honey, a little bit of caramel and some sugar. Medium in body, the finish is a delicate blend of honey, citrus and pepper with a moderate yeasty character that dominates the blend. A little drier and a little lower in ABV and this beer would be excellent, but unfortunately, for now, it is sweeter than I'd like. Solid

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Ovila Abbey Saison - Mandarin Oranges & Peppercorns from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.