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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 134
Hads: 683
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 19
Gots: 87 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 134 | Hads: 683
Photo of do_ob
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on April 01, 2014; Sampled & reviewed on February 13, 2015. Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle into a pilsner (it's all I had available).

Pours an orange-gold, slightly translucent. About a finger width head that lasts quite a while. Smell of orange, tangarine, grapefruit, with a slight spice hint just as you pull away. The taste of oranges and pepper is prominent but not at all overpowering. Aftertaste is a bit tart but not at all bitter. More sweet, really. Very smooth drinking from start to finish. I have a few more that I may age a little more and re-review later on to see how this one does in the long run.

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Photo of Beerswag
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%

Clear golden transparent. Floral smell, spice and pepper-corns present. Tast is floral, elderflower, banana, pepercorn, dry citrus finish. Smooth very light mouhfeel. Clean beer, floral-spice. Seafood , halibut, veal, chicken. White/butter sauces, creamy mild spice pastas.

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev +5.8%

This beer just showed up in the stores around me so I'm not sure why it is marked as retired.
A - This looks like very much like a hazy apple cider.
S - And it smells like apple cider too. A deep sniff suggests some spicy pepper.
T - My first sip made me think of tart apples. I don't get oranges, and just a little bite from the peppercorn.
M - Medium body, flavor leaves quickly.
O - I'm not suggesting this tastes like apple cider. This is definitely a saison with an apple flavoring to it. It's very drinkable - this bottle went down quickly - and it's a very tasty brew. Try it you will like it.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
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 ONovoMexicano
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 375mL bottle into a Belgian tulip.

The pour produces a two finger thick, foamy, creamy, but still fizzy, pale white head. Robust carbonation surges upwards. The body is amber-colored with a high level of clarity.

The aroma is heavily malty, bread-like, and pungent. There's a slight floral aroma, but it's mostly subdued. There's also a bit of graininess.

Orange flavor becomes more apparent, and is tasty, on the tongue. Sweet notes of caramel and honey, yeasty floral flavors, and the faintest notes of pepper all wander my palate.

Abbey Saison is creamy, but has a bit of a kick from some spice (the pepper I assume) and the yeast. It drinks sweetly with a faint tartness from citrus and has the slightest of booziness, although this bottle has been well-aged.

I think this beer has improved with age. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Maybe the best of the Ovila series.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

12.7 oz bottle poured into an Omer tulip. Nicely textured label.

Appearance: Pours a thin, egg shell white head of half a finger with sudsy lacing. Body is a clear dark gold/copper.

Aroma: Rubbery yeast esters, hay, pear skin, citrus fruit, actual peppercorns, and wheat.

Taste: Peppercorns, medicinal yeast, bubblegum, some citrus fruit and wheat. Very nice bready malt backbone.

Mf/Drinkability: A heavier mouthfeel than I'm used to in a saison. While there is some prickly carbonation I'd appreciate a lighter body. Drying and sweet.

Overall: Solid American saison with a nice addition of pepper. The pepper really stands out in the nose and is well complimented by the yeast and citrus/wheat notes. That said, I would appreciate a lighter mouthfeel as I like my saisons a little more lively. Worth trying at least once, would go great with a salad and some goat cheese.

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Photo of SVan007
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Can in corked bottle, poured a two finger head in a tulip at room temp. First bottle had a sour spicy aroma and flavor, but I have to add that the second bottle was very green apple tang. Great body thickness felt awesome to pull . Good carbonation the ought mouth. Color of Apple juice . Magical in the words of a friend. I would buy again

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
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 CrazyDavros
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a fading head.
Nose shows sweet malt with caramel notes, soft phenols, a little mandarin marmalade and dried orange peel.
Malty flavours too, with just a faint saison note. More light mandarin, the peppercorn is very restrained.

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Photo of generallee
4.76/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Presentation: It was poured from a very cool corked 12.7 oz bottle. The label has a brief description and lists the abv at 7.5% abv.

Appearance: The body has a nice amber color with a very slight haze. Carbonation is also lively and helps support the head. It’s head is creamy, off white in color and long lasting. Lacing coats the glass and slowly slides down the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is full and inviting. It’s has nice fruity and yeasty notes. I get notes of clove, banana and fresh bread.

Taste / Palate: It’s flavor starts with light malt sweetness blended with fruity and bready yeast. I also pick up some light sweet orange notes. This quickly turns dryer as some dry yeasty spice notes and notes from the peppercorns move across the tongue. The finish adds a light touch of floral spice and mild bitterness. The palate feels smooth and creamy and it’s 7.5% abv is well hidden in its flavor profile.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
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 ctxfenris
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 OZ bottle.
Served in a pint glass.
Amber color, darker than most saisons I've had. Minimal head.
Smell is typical saison with sweetness from the mandarin oranges. Notes of banana.
Taste is caramel, spice, then orange in that order. Very pleasant, would have again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark golden orangish yellow in color with heavy amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass quickly and a light amount of amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy beige head that very slowly reduces to a half finger thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of lightly toasted malts as well as lighter aromas of grainy malts. There are moderate aromas of citrus/mandarin orange rind and spicy yeast/black peppercorns. There are light notes of banana.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of grainy and toasted malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of citrus/mandarin orange and citrus/mandarin orange rind. There is a light to moderate amount of spiciness from the yeast as well as the black peppercorns. Mild amounts of bitterness in the finish, mostly from the spices, which does not linger for long.

M: Medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Very lightly stick with touches of dryness in the finish.

O: Another nice offering in the Ovila series from Sierra Nevada - I like the addition of the mandarin oranges and black peppercorns to the saison, makes enough new complexity and flavors/aromas to keep me interested. Alcohol is well hidden and this one is refreshing + easy to drink.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour out of 12.7oz corked bottle. Pour is clear orange with thin white head, aroma has notes of biscuit, bready malts, touch of white grape, and pear notes, touch of caramel. Taste is a nice mix of sweet white fruits with unripe banana, red apple and pear, mixing into bready sourdough and yeast. Mid-taste is earthy and slightly bitter. Lingering sweetness continues however. Finish is very long, with flavors unfolding slowly. Could be drier, but this is not a terrible thing given all the positive things about this beer. Texture starts out lively, but soon settles into chewy. It's a very nice beer, but more of a sipping beer than I would prefer in this style. Good job, Sierra. Keep these interesting offerings coming.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours very little head but what head does come out is white and creamy. The beer itself is a clear dark orange color with shades of brown.

The smell has a strong sweet mandarin orange smell with bits of peppercorn but not much else. The hops do come through a little bit and give it a slight bitterness and bite to the smell but it isn't very strong.

The taste is very similar to the smell with strong sweet orange notes with light peppercorn notes and hints of Belgian sugar. The taste also has a slight bitter hop taste to it and manages to distinguish itself from the orange. IT's a nice contrast that works fairly well.

The mouthfeel is smooth with biting carbonation. The feel is a bit light and a tiny bit syrupy which detracts from the experience.

Overall, a decent beer, and the ingredient choices are certainly interesting and work well with the style. Good but could still be improved in the feel department.

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Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clear gold to amber color. Good head initially, but it settles to rim bubbles. 10% lace on the glass.

Very mild smell. A bit earthy with some Belgian yeast thrown in.

I'd put this in the Belgian pale ale category. I do not taste any orange, although there's some pepper that shows up in the swallow. Lingering aftertaste of dry, bittering hop. Full bodied with a lighter than average carbonation.

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Photo of mac31
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz Bottle to tulip.

Crystal clear, burnt orange pour in to tulip.

Nose of a typical saison. Straw, some slightly sweet grain, citrus-more toward orange.

I poured this beer on the ever-so-slightly chilled side. Initial sips were pleasant citrus and straw. Very dry with only trace sweetness in its "chilled" phase. The beer became more juicy as it warmed, still on the dry side though. I enjoyed this beer the most as it reached room temperature. The straw and citrus flavors are followed by yeasty, clove esters. The black pepper(corn) is subtly intertwined in those esters. The finish is slightly grainy. After drinking about a third of the beer I noticed the black pepper lingers on the tongue. Along with the pepper, the flavor of orange zest/oil minutely prickles along the palate, it reminds of the flavor you get when you first bite in to an orange in order to peel it. I think those two nuances take this beer to another level. A great beer that I will have again.

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Photo of BCraig
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
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 Immortale25
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap at Thirsty Monk Asheville. Served in a tall footed glass.

A- Pours a medium golden color with a 1/2 inch white head that retains decently before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a thick solid ring behind.

S- Rich, crisp saison yeast aroma bursts from the glass and is just about perfect. Notes of banana and bubble gum.

T- Flavor is a bit more standard with a large wheat malt presence and I'm not detecting much mandarin or peppercorn. The alcohol is very well-hidden though and there's a sweetness that's quite nice.

M- Milky in texture with medium carbonation and a light body.

O- Very good but I'm not finding the listed adjuncts in the flavor or aroma. Either way, it's a well-made saison that I would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of Roguer
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice 2-finger, fluffy white head with nice retention; very little lacing. Brew is a surprisingly dark orange color, pulpy and hazy.

Belgian yeast dominates the nose, with a vague hint of citrus. Typical aroma of a Saison or BPA.

Sweet yeast is foremost on the tongue, followed by a good showing by the mandarin orange. Thick wheat-like malt base. Only the barest hint of peppercorn and tobacco, giving it just the slightest bit of bite. Not overly complex, but very enjoyable, and sufficiently unique from a typical Saison or BPA.

Nice thick and sticky mouthfeel - medium to medium-full, which is a little surprising. Very drinkable. Extremely lively, but relatively little sting, and no foaming or heat. Long sticky finish.

This is a better beer than I expected, and definitely hits the spot. The presentation of the beer from bottle to glass is fantastic. I think I'm going to buy a few more of these for the upcoming Spring and Summer days.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a deep orange hue. Some white froth with decent retention.

(S)- A bright lively zesty combo of a biscuity yeast with lemony orange citrus. Ever so slight aroma of wet stone and subtle spice. Fairly clean, but with an ever so slight hint of funk. The orange really starts to show more as it opens up.

(T)- Quite zesty overall spice-wise, but not strongly like pepper necessarily. An assertiveyeast to it that lends some bitterness. I will say it goes well with the orange citrus, but the fruit is fainter than I had hoped.

(M)- A nice carbonation level for the style. The yeast is assertive which does up the bitterness a bit, but the orange citrus fits this well; just wish it was present more.

(O)- Overall, I like this. The idea works; just maybe amped up a touch. For the $$ in this style, this is also quite affordable for a 4pack of these

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the stamp on the bottle, it looks like this was bottled March 28, 2014.

Gorgeous pour here. Depp golden colour with a huge head of foam that leaves lots of lovely lacing behind.

Big spicy nose with notes of pepper, cloves, lemon, and oranges that add a slight hint of tartness.

Dang, ditto for the taste. So true to the smell. The cloves and pepper go so well with that big lemon and orange, spicy hop, slightly tart flavours that it's scary. I do get some mild biscuit that seem to grow as the sipping continues. It's also cool that the abv is very manageable.

The mouthfeel seems slick with perfect carbonation and a nice medium body.

I think this is a very fine effort from Sierra Nevada...my favourite of their Ovila series.

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Photo of bnes09
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep orange, transparent ale with lots of visible bubbles. Sudsy, off white with good retention and some lacing.

Nice aroma of lemon, orange, herbs, wheat and straw. Hint of yeast and mild pepper in the mix as well.

Smooth biscuit, wheat-like, buttery malt character underneath a spicy herbal hop. Sweet and slightly tart oranges hit the tongue. White pepper and cloves. Mild yeast qualities round out the flavor. Extremely well balanced.

Medium bodied. Smooth fell with a sharp carbonation. Crisp finish.

Great saison. Love the flavors that were added. Highly complex, yet well balanced.

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Photo of burntoutphilosopher
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Four 12.7 ounce bottles for 10$ on sale at local liquor store.

This beer has a great cloudy, unfiltered appearance, golden and hazy as a farmhouse style should be. Head dispersed quickly.

Fresh, a little bit “wine cooler” fruity.

Outstanding. Fresh, fruit hints, but not overly sweet.
Virtually no hops.
Not strongly flavored. Very thirst quenching.

Thick, residual texture, but virtually no after taste.
This is desirable for an unfiltered beer. For its price point It’s good quality


This beer would make a great summer drink. As my bias, I tend to drink dark abbey ales, porters, and quad’s … so this beer tasted light and soft.
It has almost no detectable hops flavor. Not bitter at all, but still tasted balanced. Excellent fruit forward flavor without being sweet.
I am used to a much stronger beer in both flavor and alcohol. That said, this beer was very enjoyable, and at 2.50$ per bottle, I’d recommend it.
It has no aftertaste. It’s clean, and it’s done.

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Photo of FitnessForBeer
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Got a 4 pack of this years :)
A:pours a brownish orange, lots of carbonation rising through the beer. very little head
S: belgium funk, citrusy, wheat, smells like a saison
T: funky, spicy, mandarins are evident, lighter malts like wheat I cant nail it exactly however it is very sweet, very dry, little hop bitterness
M: amazing, nice high carbonation, and very dry
O: fun saison from one of the best breweries, also one of my favorites in the ovlia series

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