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 jwc215
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml cage-corked bottle that opened with a loud "pop" -

Pours hazed golden with a decent thin bubbly head. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of lemongrass with citrus notes. Not as "funky" as some other examples, but pleasant. Pleasant enough to give it the higher of two scores that originally came to mind.

The taste is lemony, fairly tart with some sweetness. Orange and floral notes mix in. Again - not as "funky" as some classic examples, but there is a range of funkiness in this style I have notice, and what is here works well enough to fit. It has a refreshing character - a bit of yeast with citrus and floral notes. Very slight alcohol is detectable. It has a dry, refreshing finish.

Light and crisp, it is a bit thin at times, but holds together well enough.

While not the boldest saison, it is a pleasant one. It's a nice brew! Glad I had the chance to try it - worth getting while it lasts!

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Photo of Rschis16
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy yellow-orange beer with a huge 4 finger white head that dwarfs the actual beer on a light-medium pour. Leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass. Peppery notes in the beer as well as coriander and cloves. Maybe a hint of banana, but definitely a Belgian influence here. Nice tones of bready malt and a hint of some herbal and floral hops.

Not as vibrant as the smell would have indicated, with the spices being a little more subdued than I thought they would be. That said, there is a wonderful grassy lemon citrus note throughout that combines with a somewhat bready malt for a nice herbal flavor. Some subtle peppery and clove notes come into play, but don't seem to be a main focus. However, that was the first pour of the glass. The second pour from this bottle yielded a good deal more in the spicy Belgian yeast category. The peppery notes are not as subdued and play with a soft prickle on the tongue. The clove taste has a bit more of a soft banana flavor as well, making for a nice combination with the lemon grass taste and bready malts. A juicy citrus bite in the front of the palate leads to a dryer middle and end. Virtually no alcohol tasted, except for a pleasant hint on the breath. A nice touch of herbal hops really takes it home and rounds it all out. The mouthfeel even seemed to change, being more effervescent in the carbonation than the first pour, which seemed nearly watery. Truly not the case here. It finishes bone-dry, with only a slight linger of skunkiness, but nothing too distracting.

Really a tale of two beers with this one. The first pour was certainly lackluster for whatever reason, probably the yeasty notes not being as present. Whatever the reason, don't stop after the first third of the bottle as better things seem to come. The second half was a very good beer.

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Photo of BryanRex
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This isn't the boldest Saison around, but it's definitely a well crafted ale. It tastes like a Belgian Pale Ale with more tartness and wheat evident in the flavor. Recent reviews hit it dead on... it has an earthy wheat aroma, the first sip is both sweet and tart with a distinct apple flavor. The finish is spicy, dry and bitter. It has a nice flavor and the nice mouthfeel makes it very drinkable. Regardless of what style you prefer, you will probably like it. Although it may not be your favorite, I still haven't met anyone who didn't enjoy it.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Pours a hazy light golden orange with a thick one and a half finger of foamy white head. Good retention on the head with some pretty sticky lacing. Tons of carbonation evident in the glass.

S - Musky yeast, light citrus and sweet bready malt. There are some other fruits coming out, perhaps apple and pear. Some banana and spice at the end.

T - Grassy, sweet and lightly fruity. The Belgian yeast definitely stands out with some bubblegum and banana flavors. Citrus and grassy hops in the finish, which is dry and slightly boozy. Pretty spot on flavors for the style and everything is balanced well.

M - I would say it's a tad thin for the style and a little overcarbonated. Light on the lips without much stickiness.

O - A decent Saison but nothing worth spending too much effort to find. It was on sale for 3.99/750ml and it's tasty, but there are much better examples available for a little more money (Ommegang Hennepin blows this away for $4 more, for example)

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

I picked this beer up at the Kirkwood Spec's recently, so let's give it a shot as my first beer of the evening.

Appearance: The very cold beer initially pours a hazy orange golden color with a solid 1+" head of light peach foam. There are tons of bubbles rising to maintain the head at pretty much its original height for at least a minute before it noticeably begins to fall. There is lace trying to stick after drinking the beer, but it doesn't seem to want to hang there that badly as it keeps sinking back into the beer.

Aroma: The aroma was really clean for this style with some mild citrus and wheat malt notes being the most notable in the cold beer. As the beer sits, the hops and other citrusy aromatics are getting stronger and more complex with Orange peels being the most dominant of the bunch. The aroma is moving more toward lemon peels as the beer warms up some.

Taste: The beer is light to medium bodied with plenty of carbonation and mouthfeel. There are wheaty notes to the flavor that are pretty unmistakable. The wheat leads to a dry, but slightly malt balanced bread dough-like finish that is interesting. The citrus is still a big thing in the flavor as well with the orange and lemon being big players here too. The mouthfeel is pretty dry and doesn't have much creaminess left after the attenuation and carbonation get through. Regardless, it finishes very well balanced. As the beer is warming further, there is a subtle honey flavor coming out that must be an interpretation of the malts.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer and I am really enjoying it. That said, it isn't your most "classic" Saison and may be better suited to the Belgian Pale category if we are going to try to pigeon-hole it. If you take it for "beer" it is a pretty good one and I will gladly finish my glass. I will evaluate the price if I am going to be imbibing in this one much more, but I wouldn't mind doing it again while it is around.

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Photo of Zorro
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden colored beer with a tall white colored head.

Smell is sweet and flowery with a stout dose of coriander. Mainly honeysuckle and flowers in scent. Little bit of herbal hop.

Starts out mildly sweet with a strong flavor of flowers. Mild bitterness and a strong coriander taste. Tasty and mild this is a sweeter version of Hennepin.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable beer. The drier Hennepin edges this out in my book; but if you like a little sweeter beer this is for you.

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

the pour is a hazy caramel colour. the beer develops a small white head of short duration.

the nose is funky. yeast notes swirl in banana like estery tones. although this flavor is generally a sign of too warm a fermentation and is not welcome in other styles, the saison uses them to its advantage as its signature characteristic.

the taste is funky like the nose. there are definite yeast flavors among the funky tones with some candy and bit of bubblegum. there seems to be more dryness in the flavour than typically experienced. americans and their hops.

the mouthfeel is medium and supports the flavor profile well.

overall this is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of StRocco
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - very hazy straw color with a head that is only a few shades off of bright white. Lots bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. As expected, there is lots of lacing around the glass.

S - strong sense of hops, not much malt. The smell has a little bit of sweetness and nothing that really jumps out at me

T - taste has that infamous Belgium yeasty taste. There is a slight bitterness.

M - this is a lighter body beer and was expected going in at only 7%.

O - this is a good beer, that's about it. It reminds me a lot of the Ommegang Hennepin.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: It's fizzy; slightly off-white bubbles coalesce and grow rapidly, superseding a cloudy dark orange/yellow liquid.

S: Aroma is very spicy with coriander, nutmeg, white and black pepper, some Belgian yeastiness and a light, watered down tangerine and lemon citrus.

T/M: The large bubbles form a sort of carbonation shield up front, bursting before the flavor hits your tongue. More tangerine citrus is prominent up front accompanied by light spicy bitterness and a faint metallic twinge.

It's saison through and through but has a few too many bubbles for my liking. I'd still love to have it again.


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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 Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a nice golden color with a good white head. Really nice retention and a good deal of lacing on the way down. The nose carries a bit of light fruit plus grain. Faint earth and a bit of spice as well. Flavor hits those same notes, focusing a bit on the graininess, though the yeast doesn't slack. Good body with active carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Pretty good brew.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a cloudy peach color with two fingers of bright white head. A touch of wet lacing left on the glass.

Aroma of bubble gum, apricot, pepper, yeast and candy sugar.

Tasted of light fruit, apricot, clove, yeast and black pepper. A medicinal/herbal tinge to the finish.

Medium bodied and dry with a moderate carbonation.

Not great, but a pretty good saison and worthy of a try.

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Photo of peensteen
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy peach colour, 2 fingers of rocky white head, some lace left behind. Smell is yeasty with lots of fruit notes, lemon rind, spices, white pepper, mildly earthy. Taste is fairly yeast driven and quite dry, earthy, lemony citrus, floral notes come and go, light tartness in the finish with long spicy aftertaste. Medium body, high prickly carbonation, light-med feel. Very nice stuff, nice and dry and very drinkable, a 750ml was finished solo with no fatigue setting in whatsoever, wish I had another.

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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 Arithmeticus
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled in ale glass

A: cloudy, dark peach color; good head; decent lacing
S: persistent, buoyant; esters, booze, pear dominate
T: sweet with overtones of pear; light at first, moving to dry ale on the back end, almost too raw; complex, flavorful beer

A pleasant saison. Go for it.

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Photo of Cresant
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 750 mL brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. No date. The body was a hazy golden apricot color with a pithy white head.

The smell was pear. Earthy and fruity. White peppercorns. Classic saison aromas.

The taste was also fruity. Plums and pears. There was a gentle bitterness and an understated Belgian yeast flavor. The second pour seemed to bring the flavors a bit more intensely. Semi-dry and solid.

The mouthfeel was a touch thinner than expected. Well carbonated.

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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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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 Chaney
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle corked and caged. No bottling date or additional packaging info.

I filled up my Cigar City pint glass with this liquid.

A: Poured a very slightly muddy yellow color, with a 2 finger frothy head that stuck around for a while. I looked much more like an IPA than a saison.... especially of the farmhouse, funk variety.

S: Ahhh... there it is - the farmhouse funk! Strong scent of candy sugar, with a mild bit of sourness, wrapped up in coriander, pepper, and apricot. Smells yummy!

T: Despite the appearance, this one definitely has the farmhouse flair, but it's not an in-your-face spice bomb by any means. Fruity mandarin orange/apricot fruit comb, with a dry peppery finish.

M: Not too sweet or spicy. This one actually plays the whole saison funk thing right down the middle. Even the lacing was pretty tame.

O: I've gotta admit, this is VERY drinkable.... maybe even too. A part of me wishes that this were MORE spicy and sip-inducing.... maybe that would make me slow down!

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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 amphion1065
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, served in a Duvel tulip.

Pours a hazy gold, almost tangerine orange. A very nice, one-finger pure white head with very tight bubbles. Really beautiful, creamy lacing around the glass. Beautiful beer.

Quite a sweet aroma. Honey plays a major part, as does a sweet wheat character that compliments it well. Grassy and earthy notes, with a touch of citrus fruit.

As the aroma would suggest, the taste is on the sweeter side. Again, lost of honey, almost a caramel malt sweetness at work. Some lemony tartness, but it's subdued. A fair amount of pepper, which imparts a nice balancing spicy kick.

Very nice mouthfeel on this beer, lush but with an appropriately moderate level of carbonation. With a totally negligible alcohol presence, this is quite easy to drink.

One of the better American-made (well, for the most part) saisons I've had. Sweeter than I normally like, but never cloying or over the top.

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Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Although very yeasty rather than spicey, and on the sweet side, it is very tasty and drinkable saison. Fruity apricot and peach and citrus and apple, some bannana, a tad of clove and white pepper, herbal. Good mouthfeel.Very drinkable.Carbonation right there.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from champagne bottle into a Duvel glass.

Pours light copper with a good creamy head of white foam. Color moves light to dark, bottom to top. Belgian yeast smell, some sugar notes. Light fruity crisp taste. Subtle orange peel on the close. Light malt and citrus wrapped around.

Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of spicelab
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to [email protected] Liquor.

Apricot with a moderate haze to it. Very large white head falls to a film and leaves zero lacing.

Relatively sweet nose with a very distinct floral perfume. Plenty of phenol and ester action with sweet melons, apples, musk, cloves and fairy floss. Smattering of grapefruit pith, citrus peel and peppery spice.

Taste is less sweet, but lacks the depth of the nose. Lots of marmalade, green apple, lemon rind and white pepper. Sweet esters come through a bit more as it warms. Has a modest tartness, but no funkiness to be found.

Mouthfeel is active and verging on abrasive, but becomes more agreeable over the course.

Bit of a mixed bag. The nose verges on great, the taste is not too far behind, however the characteristic Saison funk is lacking as is the drinkability.

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

Pours a slightly hazy, light golden color with a large white head that goes down slowly. Scent is initially lemon zest with some oranges, pepper, clove, banana, and VERY LITTLE funk. Taste is initially Belgian yeast flavors with some clove and banana. Then those flavors are overpowered by pepper and zest flavors with lemon and just a hint of peach and green apple. Very little barnyard characteristics for being a saison. Would like to see less clove and more funk. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice crisp finish. Drinkability is very high. Overall, saisons are one of my favorite styles in beer, so I really enjoy this one. It is by far not one of the best saisons I've had, but it is definitely one I would recommend and drink on the regular.

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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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