Ovila Abbey Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
263 Reviews
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Ovila Abbey SaisonOvila Abbey Saison

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 263 | Ratings: 773
Photo of Jwaks
1.75/5  rDev -54.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

It pours a translucent light golden color with little to no head, no lacing and no head retention. This is despite lots of carbonation being trapped in the beer, little carbonation contributes to bubbles in the body or any head or lacing. It plain sucks for a saison. Only an aggressive pour achives a lasting head with no lacing and very little to no bubbles in the body. I don't get how there is so much carbonation trapped in the beer with no head or bubbles, especially at room temperature.

Aromas consist of faint citrus, metal, minerals and hints of spice, all muted and underwhelming.

Flavor holds little lemon and lemon rind alongside metal, minerals, and spicy hops.

Mouthfeel is brutally dry. Gravity reading of 1 confirms it is way too dry and well outside the BJCP style guidelines. I'm not one to cling to BJCP guidelines as gospel but this is overkill even for a saison. Over attentuation is a consistent issue with these beers including the ovila dubble which was the same.

My guess is they used hard water and sugar with 3711. Any experienced homebrewer can tell you not to use sugar with 3711 French Saison, because it is such an agressive fermenter.

If I was sierra nevada I would stop working with whatever consultant they have and get some experienced people to help them with the ovila series beers.

In all honestly, This saison is worse than my first attmept brewing a saison with wyeast 3711. I refuse to spend $10 per bottle for special release beer from sierra nevada which is no better than beer I can brew at home and is way off from any sensible style guideline.

I'm sticking to authentic belgian and french saisons from now on.

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Photo of KensWorld
2.55/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Way too malty and sweet. Way off balance. Almost no head. I remember having this a few years back and it was good. Something might have went wrong with this batch or its out of date. Bottle has a 2/9/2015 bottle date. Did not like at all, way too malty and butterscotch sweet 2.50

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Photo of scoots511
2.68/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a corked 750mL bottle. Nice pop when the cork was removed.

A: Medium-Light amber color, white head pours easily but not over carbonated for the style. Dense white head.

S: Light level of smells coming off of this one...slight yeast, spice, caramel, and alcohol tones.

T: Sweet, spicy, slight tart/citrus taste finishes with very light hop bitterness. Seems like a very delicate/light saison for the flavor profile.

M: Carbonation level has active dissipation in the mouth and continues down the throat.

O: I hope I got this bottle for cheaper than other Saisons out there...It feels like it is designed to be a beginner Saison since most I've tasted have more character than this. I would like more of some outstanding taste and smell characters. This feels like a conservative muted taste to find wide audience acceptance. I hope as they develop a fan base for this line of beer they grow some cohones and take some risks.

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Photo of neophilus
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From notes...

Thick, creamy head tops a cloudy golden-yellow brew. Sticky thin lacing hangs on the sides of the glass as the head falls.

Aroma is somewhat soapy but flowery. Notes of lavender are soft yet firm, caught somewhere between fresh spring flowers and laundry detergent. Rather feminine actually.

First taste brings peppery sweet flavors to the palate, with some lemon mixing things up. The flavor continues to be subdued and light as I continue to sip with a faint citrus character marking the taste's progression. The beer finishes with a mildly grainy aftertaste.

A very soft and delicate beer. I was expecting more funk from this style. It was either lavender or soap that was throwing the aroma off for me, I went in expecting some yeasty spice but got mostly flowers. The flavor was delicate as well, as the initial peppery spice did not carry through towards the end.

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Photo of harrymel
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 2011

A: pours a dirty grain colored ale with moderate haze and a three finger off white loose foam head. This falls rather quickly to a solid sheet of the same. No lace, wish there were.

S: Yeast, pepper, citrus and a hint of funk. Maybe a bit of plastic like whiffs at the back end. Meh, par for the coarse IMO.

T: The yeast is certainly the life blood of this one for me. The yeast is earthy and cloven - reminds me of Unibroue yeast, but toned WAY down (I hate Unibroue's yeast). There is a decent bitter bite with some evident sweetness and wheaty flavors. Again, some plastic flavor at the back end.

M: Medium bodied and sharply crisp with a dry finish. Here they hit the head nearly, prefer just the slightest resonance.

O: Well, Ovila is O for 2. Not a bad beer, not an exceptional beer, not even particularly above average. Really middle of the road with this one.

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Photo of tlazaroff
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Took this out of the fridge 30 minutes before drinking to warm it up a bit.

A: Pours a honey color, slightly on the orange side. Carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass to support the fluffy light tan head.

S: Smells like a Belgian beer. Yeasty, tart fruits, and maybe a little pepper dominate the aroma. Smells quite wonderful.

T: I don't get as much funk as I like in my Saisons. There are hints of hay and oats, and defiantly grassy notes too. Just didn't deliver on what the aroma promised, kinda sad really.

M: Very light bodied (almost creamy) and carbonated, also incredibly smooth, neither of which I was expecting. I don't think this fits the style very well.

D: Quite drinkable, but I'd rather have other saisons.

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Photo of pants678
2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An orange-ish body with an off-white head, very usual.

Grains and lemon on the nose, little pine.

Muted and subdued, but definitely peppered and lemony. Almost too smooth, not enough edge on the hops. The alcohol's covered, though. Spices are present but uncertain. It's a given that saison is not the most exciting style but this needs punctuation, something definitive.

Very soft. The head retains and the carbonation is anything but aggressive.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.96/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a corked and caged 750ml into my to to saison glass, my Hennepin globe. This beer pours a grainy amber with a massive 4inch head that sticks around for days. Lacing is minimal but there is a bit sticking to the inside of the glass. The aroma is mild and fairly approachable. A bit of white pepper, intermingling with a bit of wet hay and nondiscript flower petals. Some estery yeast aromas are present too. The flavor is mild. Up front starts with just a bit of mild grains. Caramel and toast with just a bit of green Apple. Very little spice to the flavor profile compared to the nose. As it warms, I feel like I have to point out that there is a distinct banana flavor. I wonder what type lot yeast was used. While not unheard of in a saison, its not my favorite flavor in the style. The mouthfeel is just wrong. On the back of the bottle it mentions that this is supposed to be a dry and refreshing need. It's really the opposite. It has this odd creaminess to it. Reminds me almost of the mouthfeel you get in a beer on nitrous. A sort of artificial creaminess. No bueno. Overall its a very approachable beer for the style. Not my favorite though. Fix the mouthfeel and get back to me.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.02/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: prominent smooth 3 finger head, clear orange in color, I prefer my beer hazier than this
S: grassy and dry, subtle bitterness
T: prominent malt and yeast, grassy and piney bitterness, very dry and crisp, a touch of bitter orange rind, the sweetness of the malt gives way to a mentholated and herbal note almost basilesque.
A somewhat hop forward saison that is also a tad boozy
M: dry but also oddly syrup, could be having it closer to room temp
O: This is a grassy and dry, hop forward saison, it is not incredible, but it does have it's own identity, which should be seen as a point of pride for this collaboration, worthy of a try if the price is right

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Photo of haazer
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Spinnerstown Hotel

A- A saturated golden color of a brew. Evident bubbly carbonation, about a finger worth of tightly packed white bubbles, settles down to a thin ring.

S- Candy, a nice spicey belgian yeast profile, and sugar. Clove, bubble gum and wheat as well sort of like a hefe. Pale malt backbone.

T- Slightly complex, clove, ginger, lots of floral notes and some spice. Theres a bit of grassy flavor in this, reminding you that Sierra Nevada had a hand in it. The yeast flavor is pretty interesting.

M- Light to medium body with fair amount of carbonation. A clisp clean finish.

O- An ok saison, nothing special. Not bad, but could easily be a year round or seasonal versus the one off limited variety.

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Photo of champ103
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston.

A: Pours a hazy golden/orange color. At first a two finger white head forms, but recedes to nothing in a second. No lace is left behind.
S: Some yeast and fruity esters. Light banana and zesty lemon in the nose. I don't get much else.
T: Follows the nose with a light banana and lemon flavor. Some musky yeast. Though everything just seems muted.
M/D: A light and much thinner body than I would like. Fairly dry, but missing the great snap of carbonation I love with the style. Not hard to drink if I wanted to. Though there are way to many other Saisons I would reach for first.

Just ho hum and on the safe side in my opinion. Sierra Nevada has much better, and there are much better examples of the style easily available.

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Photo of impending
3.14/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a heavy hazed orange, dense towering yellow white head, fine lacing.

Aroma is deliciously pungent. Massively yeasty, spicy, clean with lots of esters and a phenolic finish. Outstanding

Flavor is a disjointed mix of yeast, grasses, a quiet citrus and hazy spices. Mildly dry. No aspect of the flavor is notable. A muted peppery bitterness rides the length of the aftertaste. Medium bodied, almost chewy mouthfeel, unusual for a saison, off-putting.
Taste is a tremendous letdown from the expectation of the scent.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a tight bubbly white head. There is a strong hop presence in the nose, very floral, with a decent amount of peppery yeasty spice and some sweet tangeriness and nectarines in back. The flavors are about the same, the spice fades a little and the sweetness is up a notch, not quite as balanced on an already sweet nose. Creamy body, lightly carbonated and barely dry.

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Photo of BrownNut
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served cool in a tulip.

A - Cloudy dull orange. Sturdy off-white head that fades gradually to a film over a couple minutes.

S - 3.5 - Upon popping the cork, the main note is fruity yeasty. Once poured, earthy yet perfumy spice, faint saison funk, faint candy sweet orange, which may be the main component of that perfumy note.

T - 3.0 - Pretty mild. There are good flavors, but fleeting and substantially fainter than you'd like. Muted. The whole thing comes across diluted, which is really unsatisfying, like the good stuff is just out of reach. The flavors fade and you're left with nothing pretty quickly. There's a twinge of tartness at the end, and a slightly bitter aftertaste that is quickly gone. Mixed with the diluted character, the bitterness comes across in a not good way. I'm not giving it a 3 because I think it's average, but because it's something good that has something wrong with it. It didn't set out to be average and succeed - it set out to be better but failed.

M - 3.5 - Light. Slightly soft. A bit of carbonation tingle on the tongue. Ends just slightly dry.

O - 3.0 - The second Ovila beer I've had, a disappointment like the quad. Not up to Sierra Nevada's standard of excellence. The cork, cage, story and pedigree seduced me, but left me wanting. Giving up on the Ovila line. As in the taste category, this isn't a 3/average because it aimed to be average and succeeded, but because it aimed to be better and failed.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Popped the cork and poured into a Westmalle chalice. Orange color with a finger of head that held.
Faint smell of orange zest, grapefruit and pear.
Tastes like bread, watery and dry.
Very bubbly, light body and smooth.
I really want to like this, but it is missing the flavor... a big hole there. However try it out... at least once.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ovila Saison, the second one in this series of "monastic" beers so dear to me for many reasons.

Appearance: Pours fine and unhurried, like a placid stream in a forest. First I got almost no head, but my second pour yielded a sizable lily-white, soapy head that lasts. And lasts. Weak retention, though. Color is a hazy straw, pretty damn dark for a saison. Almost looks like an IPA. Significant carbonation, as expected.

Smell: Some spice, honey, herbal overtones and a medicinal, astringent finish. Flowers, lavender, Provence in the summer. Van Gogh. The bigger the head, the better the aroma.

Taste: Mpre of the same, but diminished. A tad underwhelming/thin. Had it on tap and was much better. Spice, some yeast, that honey touch. Herbs and lavender fields. A tad of sour apple, but barely there, sadly.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is not as present here, for good and bad. A little thin and watery all around, but alright. Drinks good, not too dry or overtly spicy like other saisons. Medium-low body, medium carbonation and low-to-medium body.

Overall: I will keep buying the Ovila beers just because of the monastery story and the charity aspect of it. Are they amazing beers? Sure not. But they are alright fine. I will revisit Ovila Dubbel but will probably not go back to Saison. This one is rather unexciting and generic, but drinkable for sure.

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Photo of SteveKay
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not to familiar with the Saison style (well not familiar at all... this is my first one that I know of). My over all impression is that it tastes like a wheat beer.
This beer pores clear amber. It has good flavor and is well balance. In fact it is so well balance it is hard to pick out an individual flavors at all. The 7 ABV is not very well hidden. I got a 4 pac for 7$. A very good beer for that price.

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Photo of n2185
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy yellow-gold with two fingers of white head that recedes into a thin ring with almost no lacing.

S: Lots of bubblegum, bananas, and candy sugar with some pear notes as well. Some yeasty sweet bread aromas towards the finish.

T: Belgian spices at first followed by some bubblegum and candy sugar flavors, though they're not as prevalent as in the aroma. Slightly bitter bread flavors bring up the finish

M: Medium-light body with lowish carbonation, this beer is slightly watery and needs more carbonation.

O: A decent saison, though nothing special. It could use more carbonation and more depth of flavor.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from Local Provisions. From notes.

A - Cloudy golden colour, one finger of white head, good carbonation. Spotty lace and a half finger of retention.

S - Orange and pepper, hay. Very basic and a little faint but welcoming.

T - Orange and pepper, spice, citrus, fruity with mild grass maybe. Mild Belgian yeast and some light malt. Seems mild as well.

M - Nice and refreshing, effervescent yet light carbonation, light to medium body.

O/D - Not bad but certainly not great. A basic saison with no flavour that really stands out and grabs you. All the flavours are pretty solid, there's just nothing that really seems to get the ball rolling.

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip.

A: Pours a deep golden color with a huge white head. Lots of carbonation.

S: Yeast, spice, a hint of sweet malt.

T: A decent saison, but far from great. It's got nice spice notes, a hint of grass, some light tartness. The major detractor in this beer though is that it is way too sweet. Saison's are supposed to be very dry.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

O: A decent saison, but I would not purchase again due to the sweetness and the fact that there are much better saisons available.

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Photo of maxwelldeux
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle. Pours a clear amber color with a moderate off-white head on it. Nose definitely has some of that saison funk to it - yeasty and slightly sour that definitely conjures up images of the farmhouse. Taste is decently sour without any residual sweetness. Feel is a bit thick and slightly heavy.

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Photo of dasenebler
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5


Pours a hazy, orange-amber with a nice two-finger head. Not much lacing, though retention is solid.

The aroma is quite complex, with lots of yeasty phenols, some vanilla, acidity and funk.

Flavor is somewhat grainy and wheaty at first, though the finish is bone dry. Yeast dominates the palate, with lots of spicy, peppery notes. A dirty rubber/plastic character is not too welcome in my book, and the funk seems a bit sullied. The mouthfeel is well-carbonated, with a medium-light body.

This Saison has some good things going for it, yet it misses the mark in the end. I know the Saison style is inherently NOT clean, but this one seems especially grimy.

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Photo of aasher
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a nice rich and cloudy gold with a one finger off white head. It poured medium in body. It gives off aromas of sweet bananas, cloves, and a heap of Belgian yeast. It has a pretty nice nose. Initially, it's appealing but the longer you sip it it gets a little old. The flavors are of sweet and bitter Belgian yeast with a banana and clove lead. That's all it is really and doesn't feature too much complexity. It drinks medium in body and actually drinks pretty well. Overall this is an ok saison but I'd prefer a Belgian or a Sofie.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml C&C bottle. No date, but this is the first batch released. Served in a tulip.

Pours cloudy amber with a huge off-white head. Settles down to a finger of foam. Mild lacing.

Aroma is a blend of peppery Belgian yeast and bright citrus notes. Getting some lemon, apple, orange, and tangerine. Finishes with some floral and funky notes.

Flavor is a let down, as it is weaker than I expected. The label doesn't lie, as grass and pepper dominate the flavor, but are a touch dull. Hardly any fruit in the flavor, although some emerges late in the finish, along with some sourness. Dry, but not really crisp.

Medium-low body with a bit above medium carbonation. Pretty nice overall mouthfeel.

Overall, the flavor is never stellar, but definitely gets better as the beer warms.

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Photo of Lerxst
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter

A-Pours a slightly hazy gold with a gentle pour producing a one finger head of tightly knit bubbles that recedes to a thin ring. Leaves spotty lace.

S-Somewhat subdued nose, but I am picking up the earthy yeast, pale malt and light fruits. Nothing funky going on here, it is a pleasant but unspectacular nose.

T-earthy, peppery yeast, light fruit , pale malt, a tart slightly funky aftertaste comes in at the end.

M-crisp, sharp carbonation. Very dry. Light bodied.

O-this is a decent beer, just nothing particularly memorable.

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Ovila Abbey Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 773 ratings.
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