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 lnashsig
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The second of the Ovila Collab series, I tried the Dubbel and wasn't impressed, hoping this rebounds. Poured into my Brooklyn tulip, pours a beautiful light orange color. Nice head, nice retention. Smell- lemon zest, clove, nice light fruit esters. Maybe some rosemary. This smells like a perfect Saison. Taste- just really well balanced lemon zest, light airy flavors. love this. They really rebounded here and this is just a textbook awesome example of a Saison. Mouthfeel- just a perfect dry finish, not too much carbonation. Overall, I'm impressed. Well done Sierra Nevada- you still got it!

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Photo of bsp77
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: A hazy honey gold color with a thick white head.

Smell: The yeast comes through strongly (mostly banana and clove). Maybe some light citrus, but the aroma is all about the Belgian yeast.

Taste: Sweet upfront, but abruptly turning very dry (and a little tart) at the finish. Some banana, citrus, lemon and bready malts, followed by spicy bitterness of clove and pepper.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body, abrupt dry finish.

Overall: I am happy this is not as overly sweet as many US Saisons are, making this quite refreshing overall. However, there is also not a lot going on, and the finish is a little odd. Better than the borderline atrocious Ovila Dubbel, but nowhere near being a world class Saison. Unless their Quad really wows me, this collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the monks of New Clairvaux is not all that great.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

692nd Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
750 ML, C/C

App- A lighter orange with some yellow bulbous colors around the edges. A gigantic three finger head presented and fell quite nicely.
A little bit of bubbles came up from the center of the glass on this one.

Smell- Right off the bat it has that unique saison scent with a little citrus tucked back in there nicely. The bread comes in next with a little bit of layering along the lines of a damp field.

Taste- I'm not sure where I stand on this one. It's a nice saison. Nice being key word. It didn't bowl me over with a WOW or underwhelm with off flavors. It has a nice start with a little yeast and a little citrus note. A bit dry with a white pepper spike to it as well.

Mouth- It's a bigger saison and it's medium bodied and medium carbonated. Leaves a bit of a green apple flavor behind with some spice and some yeast.

Drink- I was very excited for this second bottle in the series. I have to say I was a bit let down with this one. I expected something more than what it was. It could be my expectations vs what the brewers were going for. Thats okay. People don't have to like every beer out there. This was still nice. It had a good balance but seemed to be a bit underdeveloped and a big too thick or big so to speak. I might have this again but CA is a good mecca for beer and saisons so I don't know.

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Photo of Gmann
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a nice pillowy white head that settled in to a puffy cap.

The aroma is lightly tary and funky. Very nice clovey spice from the yeast with bubblegum and a sharp fruitiness. Pretty Beligan yeast aroma though it borders on too strong for the saison style. Smell great though.

The taste is of a slightly bready malt, a bit heavier than it should be for the style. There is a lovely apple and pear fruit flavor coupled with the clove and bubblegum from the yeast. Very tasty. Some coriander as well.

The feel is moderate with active carbonation. Sits sweet on the palate with a touch of a peppery spice from the yeast. The malt feels heavy at first but the beer finishes dry, like it should.

I love how this beer tastes but seems a bit off for the style. A bit, and I mean a bit, too heavy for the style. Not quite dry enough, not quite tart enough. Stellar BSPA though. This is a top notch beer, much better than the dubbel.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep golden color with a small, tight white head that leaves a ring of lacing.

Smells of a bit of fruitiness and floral notes.

Tastes of a nice wave of fruits with some sweet malts. Apple, pear, and a little grape characterize the fruits. Some spicy pepper and coriander add to the mix. Floral notes and a bit of earthiness come from hops. Some sugary sweetness and a bit of bread come from malts.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, I like it, but the price is a little too high for this.

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Photo of oline73
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Unibroue goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with just over a finger of thick off white head. The head retention is very good and it leaves some lacing.

Smell: Quite sweet and a bit fruity. I'm picking up hints of herbs and yeast along with the malt.

Taste: Less sweet than the smell. Yeast with fruity notes as well as some mild herbal notes. The finish has a mild bitterness to it along with a little alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the thin side with a medium amount of carbonation. The finish is slightly dry.

Overall: Not bad. I didn't love the alcohol in the finish, but everything else was pleasant enough. I don't know that I'd buy more at the price I paid, but I would have another if offered.

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Photo of beagle75
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, brassy golden color that is perpepually backlit by a steady orange flame. Over two fingers of eager white foam collapse to a persistent and continuous double membrane. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Abundant bready yeast, with heaps of organic aromas that place esters ahead of phenolics. Fruit is a combination of almost anything of temperate origin that is yellow or orange in color. Spice is relatively passive, perhaps some nutmeg, clove, and whole coriander seed marrying well with the fruit. Dried citrus peel adds freshness to other flavors, but bear little resemblance to typical American hop aromas.

T: Begins off-dry, with soft and refined pale malt that features a whiff of raw almonds. Bright Belgian esters soon advance, doubtless bolstered by the smell, but yield more ground here to balancing chemical astringency and even some mild black pepper. Acidity remains behind the scenes, never revealing itself openly but causing fruit flavors to peak in tartness toward the middle. Some faint fusel alcohols also flee just prior to the midpoint. The finish is fairly crisp, drying somewhat, with mild herbaceous bitterness.

M: Medium viscosity, very smooth and creamy on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is a fairly decadent saison, tasting like a stronger version of the style than it actually is. Yeast is clearly featured, developing heavy layers of fruit that border on cloying at times. Although it makes a late effort, this saison offers up a little too much sweetness from start to finish. The layers of sweet fruit that seem heavy for the abv may suggest under-attenuation, but the overall appeal offered by this beer will likely place the drinker in a forgiving mood.

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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 drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer on tap. Beer is yellow and heavily carbonated with tiny bubbles, white head, lots of lacing, interesting overall.

Aroma is sweet and quite yeasty, bready, biscuit, orange slightly.

Beer is thin, very thin and has a spicy finish to it. Interesting overall but not my favorite saison, mildly sweet on the front with a big yeast palate in the middle. I don't think I'll repeat this beer.

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Photo of danmouer
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada is a very competent brewery. I expect they will do things well. However, when producing a beer like saison, I hope to find a creative flair that sings "genius." Ovila saison succeeds at tickling my high-expectations fancy. This is a very fine beer.

The beer pours a nice traditional orange-amber, raising an energetic foamy head that fall to a satisfying foam ring, leaving little lace on my chalice. A very pretty opalescent haze is just right for saison.

The aroma caught me unprepared. I expected a professionally competent pilsner malt nose with some Belgian yeast spice. Instead I found a nice little bit of funk. The aroma is grassy hop transmuting to a wet- old-hay nose that is then followed by a bit of good spice. The malt is there, but the more earthy components win my attention.

The flavor is rich, complex, deep, all stitched together with a pleasant hop bitter backbone. No single component dominates. The mixture is luscious, intriguing and continually changing. Very nice beer.

The real crown in this achievement is the mouthfeel. Ovila Saison gets it exactly right. Light-medium body, excellent balance, crisp and mouthfilling fine carbonation,and clean bone-dry finish: incredibly refreshing.

Well done Sierra Nevada. Please make some more of this wonderful beer.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on date on June 1,2011 lasered on the neck. It was a hazy golden honey color with tons of carbonation. It had a 2 finger head that settled into a constant, thick foam cap. Great sheeting with lots sticking.

The aroma was really good with Belgian yeast, spice and fruit (lemon, white grape among others). Slightly dry. The aroma really started to fade as it warmed. The taste was also really good with the spice bite leading the way and being balanced with the fruit. Again, very slightly dry so this is a good choice if you aren't used to the really dry saisons out there. Medium mouthfeel with lots of carb and the slightly dry finish mentioned above.

Overall, while not the best saison out there, I really enjoyed it and it was very refreshing. A little more dry and spice in it to slightly dampen the sweet and I would have liked it even more. As is, I'd buy this again but not too often as it was pricey. Avail here in TX [O;Y]

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Provisions

A: The beer pours a slightly cloudy orange color with a fluffy white head.

S: The nose is fairly citrusy with orange peel and lots of floral notes. A fair amount of phenolics and yeast with a mild bready note. There is just a tiny bit of coriander to it.

T: Decently phenolic and spicy with a nice citrus peel. Orange and lemon peel with a light floral note and lots of bread and wheat. There is a bit of sweetness to it, along with some yeast and apple skin.

M: The body and carbonation are both medium.

O: Perhaps I just had overly high expectations, but this was just okay to me. Not as good as the Dubbel.

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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 TenHornsProud
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light orange with hints of yellow with a big, fluffy head.

Smells of spice, some sweetness, spicy hop notes.

Tastes up front spice with sweetness and citrus coming in the middle. Finishes dry with some lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good. It is dry but not as dry as some of the saisons I've had. I like a bit more dryness.

This is a fantastic saison that has overriding spice and citrus notes. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a golden body with a fluffy white head that recedes into nothing; no lacing.

S: Smells include banana, white pepper, clove, yeast, fruity esters, and bready malts.

T: Kind of a weak saison flavor. All the standard flavors are there, but very thin: spices including clove, banana, pear, bready malts, and lemon zest.

M: Light body; high carbonation; tingling and crisp mouthfeel.

O: It's a nice beer, but nothing too impressive- easy to forget. Slightly off for the style and I don't think I would go out of my way to get it again. Kind of expected more on the second one in their series, but was disappointed. Definitely missing something.

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Photo of BigE90
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Whole Foods for $9.99

a: a great golden yellow/orange color that was clear in clarity but yet dark enough that it was not like you were looking at a Coors. Poured a 2 finger head that faded quickly though to just a lacing.

s: a great belgian smell, earthy and spicy coming from it.

t: a very natural/earthy taste to it followed by some banana/clove/spice to it. A different aftertaste followed that I am unable to place but I know that I am not to fond of it.

m: true to style, nothing great nothing bad

o: a decent saison. just like the Ovila Dubbel, a good representation of the style but not an over the top wow I gotta have more brew. Definitely worth the taste though.

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Photo of beertunes
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in bubble pint glass. Poured a lightly hazy orangeish-gold color with about a half-inch of white head that had low retention and light lacing.

The aroma was the typical combination of grain, yeast and spice that is expected from the style. On the tongue the story was pretty much the same, a nice, grainy base, a bit of a yeast tang and some spiciness floating in the background.

The body was also pretty typical, medium body without being heavy or thin. Drinkability was good, but I find most saisons to be very drinkable. Overall, a very nice, but not particularly notable, example of the style. Worth a shot if you see it, but I'm not sure it's worth the $12.95 price tag I've seen the 750's going for.

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Photo of July2Nov
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note* Had on-tap at Murphy's Bar & Grill in Honolulu, HI.

Appearance: Poured a misty pale orange/copper color with some vividness coming through when the light hits it. An ever so slight lacing.

Smell: Got some newly cut, wet grass scent, along with an apple orchid, bubble gum, some spice and some malt.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The same as the smell indicated. Apple and pear tastes with some spice and the bubble gum flavor of the Belgian yeast are standouts. Has a prominent malt backbone. Surprisingly from a Sierra Nevada collaboration, the hops are held back. Light to medium in mouthfeel, makes this one a thirst quencher and easily drinkable.

Overall: Another hit from SN and a great follow up for their 2nd Ovila Abbey collaboration. Must try!

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened the day it rolled off the truck.

Pours a hazy golden-yellow with a massive, fluffy 3-finger off-white head. Nice retention leaves a small layer of foam the whole way down. Lots of soapy lace.

The nose was intensely musty and chalky after the pour but the funk settled very nicely into the solid Siason character- aromas of cereal grains, fresh grass, green apples, bananas, pears and black pepper.

The medium-bodied palate led with a moderate carbonation and a big and slightly sweet maltiness- flavors of bran flakes, white raisin and pear blossoms. The hops add a low bitterness, while the finish is dry, fruity and herbal- reminiscent of banana bread with that nice touch of fresh grass.

Overall, a very solid Siason. Nothing strange, be it in a good or bad way, jumped out of the glass at me. Just good execution. I also think this showed a great improvement over the Ovila Abbey, which not only means Sierra Nevada is learning a little with each of these, but also hopefully the Quad will knock our socks off come November.

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Photo of NStLincoln
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dull yellow. White head with aggressive foam.

Zesty yeast with bananas, cloves and rock candy.

Very refreshing on the palate. Mild yeastiness up front with some tart fruit, like unripeness apricot. The end has a little heat and last for awhile. 30 seconds after a drink tastes like you just ate a really good dinner roll.

A very solid saison. Refreshing but complex.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glad to have snagged a bottle.

A: Super clear golden color with only a hint of white head. Not that much head retention but maybe it is the heat.

S: Very bready saison. Quite clean. Almost too clean. The malt is quite nice and comes through but it is lacking that yeast punch I look for in my saisons. It is made by Sierra Nevada so I get that they do not want to get funky.

T: The taste was very clean. Lots of breadiness. It was kind of lacking in complexity. Nice gentle hopping. It really needed something from the yeast.

M: Really nice mouthfeel. SN really nailed down the bottle conditioning in their 750s.

D: Good but Hennepin is cheaper and better IMO. Worth supporting the monks though. It needs some funk.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 07/16/11 notes. Picked this up on my way onto LBI in NJ this past weekend and drank it later that night. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a hazy yellow color with two fingers of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident. Some spotty lacing left on the glass and head retention for a few minutes, with an inch throughout drinking it.

s - Smells of mint, Belgian yeast, spices, bananas, cloves, and bready malts. Lots of yeast and bananas; a really enjoyable nose.

t - Tastes of Belgian yeast, spices, light bananas and fruit, and bread. Not quite a s much bananas as the nose, but still good.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, the body is smooth and very creamy. Very easy to drink and great mouthfeel.

o - Overall a really nice saison. Would definitely have it again sometime.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean, crisp, and with ultimate dryness, Sierra Nevada's second dip into the Ovila bucket carries a dry fruity ester nature with a spicy, warming finish that should appeal to appreciators of fine sparkling wines.

Pouring a deep golden color with medium yeasty haze, the beer forms a froathy white head with great persistance and intricate lace. The density of haze is a bit unusual for the style.

Pears, white pepper, apples, corriander, and a slight vinous wine note from white grape fill the nose with a zesty character. Backed by malty aromas of light sugar cookies and confectioner's sugar, the beer allows they yeasty esters and spices to command the balance of the nose.

Flavors follow suit, but with a dry bready-sweet to start, the beer takes a quick turn past the sweetness and into a crisp and clean flavor of light fruits and zesty spice in a way that reminds me of spiced pears, but with green apples included. Hop character contributes to the zest but without the signature earthy pungency that's expected from authentic Belgian varieties.

Medium malty weight to start with light, yet fleeting sweetness of powdered sugar. The beer ushers in a quick procession toward a very dry and refresheing finish with medium alcohol warmth. The classic spicy/fruity dryness is exhibited well in the finish.

Another solid effort in the Ovila series of beers. But the slight lack of complexity from blended Belgian yeast strains or the raw grassy-earthy-pungent hops keep the beer from competing with the Saison Duponts of Belgium.

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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 DCon
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ Pizza Port Brewing in Carlsbad, CA for $4.75. Tapped from the Black Non-Labeled Tap Handle (with Sierra Nevada Label above it) into a 13oz Tulip Glass.

Aroma- Huge amount of hop from the beginning of the smell. There are a good amount of spices mixed in and then has citrus aroma at the end. Not much sour characteristics and the malt is hidden with the hop aroma...

Appearance- Light golden body that you can see perfectly through with 3 fingers of puffy head that leaves huge, thick lacing.

Flavor- Starts very fruity and sour. The fruits are lemon like and have to do with the malt character. There is a spicy hop taste that keeps the beer interesting all the way through. There is an extra long finish and it more sweet than hoppy. Great!

Mouthfeel- Light- Medium Bodied, High Carbonation, and leaves hop on the palate (more earthy though...).

Overall Impression- This was such a complexed Saison, I hope to see these in bottles soon to have! Very refreshing, nice fruit attributes, and the hops used aren't too overpowering but add a good balance to the beer. This one took me awhile to sip on but I loved every second of it! Would recommend!

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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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