Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With PlumsOvila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums

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

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Trilogy31 on 01-30-2013

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Reviews: 231 | Ratings: 1,133
Photo of larryi86
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375 mL bottle poured into a goblet

A- A deep ruby red with a small off-white head.

S- Dark fruits, plum, sweet malts, caramel malts, very mild for a quad.

T- Dark fruits, slightly tart plums, caramel malts, earthy slightly bitter spices, again mild for a quad.

M- Medium body, lots of carbonation.

O- Not a bad beer, but again this is a very mild quad. Plums work in the beer and are enjoyable. I like a lot of beers from Sierra Nevada, but this is one the few I wouldn't pick up again.

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Photo of richj1970
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter glass. I have to say the packaging on this one is very nice. I love the caged and corked bottle. I love the artwork, and the nice heavy glass bottle. All top notch.

A: Very dark brown with an almost purple tone. Smallish one finger tan head with some decent retention but very little lacing.

S: Plum, raisin, dates, Belgian yeast. Perhaps a bit more fruit forward than I was expecting.

T: Again the plum flavors are quite strong. Other dark fruits mixed with that familiar Belgian yeast. A bit boozy but not in a bad way. It lacks a little of the complexity I was hoping for.

M: Full bodied, coating the tongue nicely. Perhaps a bit sweet.

O: A nice American interpretation of a quad and an enjoyable brew but not my favorite of the group.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.49/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had high hopes for this one, but I gotta say I'm not a big fan. I love the packaging - a heavy 375 ml bottle with great artwork and a cork n cage topper - but it's all a bit downhill from there.

Its appearance in the glass is pretty good I guess - dark brown with ruby and purple highlights, but no lasting head or lace.

Smell is mild for a quad, with some definite fruit and some definite booze. And maybe some toffee/caramel. Not unpleasant, just not overly inviting.

The most dominant flavor on the palate is tart, fizzy plums. Now, I understand that this is a beer that is brewed with plums, but I do not expect to experience "tart" or "fizzy" in a quad. It never delivers on a quad's deep, luxurious sweetness and complex Belgian spice. Instead, it seems overly dry and actually somewhat bitter and sulphuric, like underripe fruit. As the beer warms, some berries and caramel emerge, but not enough to overcome its tart dryness.

Mouthfeel is, as mentioned, a bit fizzy and watered down for a quad. Booze is definitely perceptible.

Overall, I don't mean to totally rip apart this beer but I am disappointed in it both as a quad and as a Sierra Nevada product. SN offerings are usually top notch. Perhaps if it was labeled as a Belgian strong ale or something else, it would have been more successful.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.09/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a Duvel tulip

A - A hard pour reveals, dark ruby/brown body, nice clarity with a finger of tan head. Beautiful beer.

S - Roasted ashy malt, smoked molasses, very spicy aroma, rich and acidic fruit comes out with grapes, cherries, tobacco, burnt candy sugar. The fruit takes on a cooked character once warmed.

T - Spicy fruit, scorched cherries, acidic grapes, there's an odd smokiness to the malt, an alcohol sharpness that cuts through the sweet malt. Finishes astringent with flat cola, spicy alcohol and charred malt.

M - Medium to full body, semi-syrupy feel, low carbonation.

This is some odd flavors going on. Definitely a unique Quad...or beer for that matter. Grapes and cherries seemed to dominate the fruit profile especially when warm. There was a burnt charred character running through the entire beer and the heavy handed alcohol seemed to disrupt rather than add to the flavors. Not my cup of tea.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: long neck bottle, poured into tulip glass

Appearance- deep dark brown bordering on black, fine effervescent

Smell: dark fruit, raisin leather, molasses, cocoa, brown sugar

Taste: so malty! sweet with complex medley of contrasting malty, smokey sweet, not syrupy, clean finish

Notes: overall a very complex, sweet and malty beverage - enjoyable sipper, especially great on a cold winter night!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of elmore
4.77/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a caged and corked 12.7oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. Picked this up from Woodmans on the West Side of Madison, WI. I think a steal at $11.99 for a four pack, but I am partial to this style. Bought a pack about a week ago and went back to get 2 more a few days later after my first taste.

I usually don't comment on packaging, but this could be the coolest product packaging I have come across. Heavy duty caged and corked bottle with a bowing, hooded monk on the front. Perfect.

A very dark pour. Only a shade off of a stout. Thin tan head that hangs around for a while. Almost no lacing.

Brown sugar, sweet dark fruit with almost a grape-like taste in the middle, which maybe the plums. Nice slightly bitter cocoa aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden well, but there is a nice little alcohol burn if you concentrate

Small bubbles. Nice champagne like carbonation, which lasts throughout. Thick full and creamy.

I am very partial to this style so I tend to rate this type of beer highly. But this is a really great American made Quad. Thank you Sierra Nevada for this wonderful beer at such a great price. I would compare this to Abt 12 or Chimay blue. If you can get a hold of this one give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of BradC
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a caged and corked bottle, deep Ruby almost black appearance with a short lasting tan head.

Smells of dark fruits with a red wine quality.

Tastes of plum, currant, molasses, toffee. A lot of malt and complexity in here that goes well with the plums and helps hide the alcohol.

Drinks a bit heavy with medium carbonation

Overall, a tasty quad....haven't had much to compare this one to, but it is worth a try. Have a second one to age for a bit


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Photo of BEERchitect
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada's Belgian-inspired Ovila series takes a serious left turn as its "Quad" introduces the taste of plums in order to exacerbate the dark fruit flavor that's already pleasant in the original Ovila Quad.

Much like other Quad variations, the ale pours with a dense, rusty appearance that's chocked full of brown and red hues along with a sturdy haze. As a creamy barley-stained head patiently builds up towards the tulip's rim, its retention is strong during the session and its lace is of broken rings. Its a strong appearance even through the ale doesn't have the exuberence that traditional Belgian Dark Strong Ales do.

Rich aromas kick off with a sweeter tone that's backed with brown sugar and light molasses. As the fruit aromas fold it, the ale takes a red wine scent with acidic grape, blackberry, raisin, prune, dates and figs to go along with obvious plumb overtones. A counterpart of spice also stems from its vinous acidic scent- fresh cracked peppercorn, orange peels and fennel. As the alcohol tickles the nose, and as the first sip nears, the aromas culminate in a way to remind me of spiced rum and plumb wine.

And to taste much of that brown sugar and molasses taste greets the early palate with unexpected rich malts. But once its sweetness fully saturates the taste buds, the balance of fruit and spice slices right through the sweetness with acidity and peppery heat. Blackberries, currants and red grapes bounce off of white pepper, black pepper, coriander, light clove and earthy near-licorice taste for complexity and intrigue in the middle. Trailing with plum overtones, the alcohol spice and light woody bitterness takes charge and gives the ale the rummy and winy finish that the nose promised.

Much fuller in body than expected, the ale retains its creamy-sweet structure very long and not drifting into drier sensibilities just yet. Its long draw across the middle palate provides a marshmallow texture to accompany its spice, acidity, and fruity tartness that lightens its viscosity to a mild extent. Its warm finish is semi-dry and again spicy with rum attributes.

With all that sugar plum talk dancing in my head, its easy to become seduced by the ale's clean fruit/spice balance and its hearty malt sweetness. But comparing it to more authentic Belgian versions, its easy to see that this much more simplistic ale not only lacks the much needed complexity it also doesn't allow for the drier drinkability to emerge which would facilitate a much more palatable and Belgian-esque digestible quality.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this on tap today at Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico.

Appearance- black color, no head

Smell- malt, dark fruit(plums)

Taste- dark fruit mostly(plums)

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought this was very good. We should have bought some at the gift shop but we didn't. I would love to drink it again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

what i love about sierra nevada is not just how good this beer is, but the fact that it is on shelves for $2.99, a steal at any rate, but for a beer this strong and this good, its insane. rich mahogany body to this and not much head in my globe. the nose is amazing though, i get more cherries than plums, but a definite dark fruit element stands strong among the grain trees here, sweet and a little spicy, quintessentially belgian. the fruit is there in the taste too, which is layered and huge, but not hot. it ins some ways reminds me of life and limb, that different sort of sugar additive, birch syrup or something, earthy and stately, really delicious, and a great compliment to the plums and the yeast. its a long flavorful experience driven by rich grain and semisweet under ripe plums. one of the best quads ive had honestly, and the fact that it was so affordable makes me want to go out and buy up all i can find. really big body and not much carbonation here, it really isnt needed or missed, as the flavors carry themselves just fine in its absence. top quality quad packed with flavor. a real generous gift to the beer community this one. thank you for it sierra nevada.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 ml. corked and caged bottle served up into a globe glass. Opens with a bit of a struggle and then finally a light pffft of outgassing. The pour is a deep yet oddly clear brown to the last drop with some deep crimson hightlights. A light cap of foam settles to a ring in a minute or so.

Aroma of light chocolate and earthy hops with a spin, along with more vinous and fruity notes after some settling and accompanied by a hint of ethanol in the mix. Taste is caramel/plum forward with fruit notes yet seems to lack much dark malt depth. Rummy fruitiness does linger fairly well on the palette however. Feel starts off a bit thin and as expected given the fruit nature, yet it thickens with warming to a degree.

Pleasant though a bit light for the style. That being fruity and some caramel vs. more chocolate in nature. Still better than those raisan infused beers nonetheless. At the same time I think this is a step back from the original yet an interesting aside.

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Photo of Howler89
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quad brewed with plums? Three dollars? No way. What a beer and what a good story. This is 100% the best beer I have consumed for 3 dollars hands down. Now.. before everyone gets too upset with that know this... I love quad. Its my beer love affair. Quad is the reason I am obsessed with beer in the first place. So saying that, this review may not be an academic treatment for all intensive purposes... But I am going to try and be fair here.

The beer pours a blood stained tree bark brown color with almost no head. As it sits now 5 minutes after initially pouring it, there is only a few lily pad areas of microscopic grey bubbles floating around in the center the pool, with a well defined ring of a similar soapy nature, clearly defining the edge of the entire glass. The only reason I cannot award a 5 for appearance is because the most trusted beer voice in my life said that it could use more bubbles. For me, quad is a smooth beverage, best enjoyed silky. Bubbles can be distracting for my tongue in certain styles and this is one of the few. Epic.

The smell is off the charts. In the store I didn't believe what I was told. Lots of plum. And boy its there. It really fits for some reason. All the quad essentials too. Leathery vanilla bean with a hint of coffee and even sour grapes . Spectacular.

You definitely get a ton of the plum. How many fruit quads have I had? zero? one? I don't even care. Where do I sign this is awesome.


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Photo of Furlinator
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours opaque dark brown with cola edges. The thin khaki head quickly disappears completely, leaving no lace.

Smell is of funky yeast, molasses and dark fruit.

Taste is of bready malt, plums, dates and molasses.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

A solid American quad. The addition of sugar plums provides a pleasant sweetness.

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Photo of lordofstarside
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz to a snifter, assuming I can ever get it open. The corks they use on these are huge

Pours a very dark red, almost black, with a finger of foam that's receded pretty quickly into a frothy ring and low transparency. Mild carbonation stems from the sides with pretty good lacing

Smells of malty fruits- plums, figs, raisin, banana, molasses, brown sugar, lots of Belgian funk, and an earthy caramel malt, finished by a splash of alcohol. Some definite complexity laying in here

Taste is with the nose, strong upfront sweet fruits- plums, raisins, figs, brown sugar and molasses hammered with strong Belgian funk and caramel malt. Finishes with a nice bang of alcohol

Overall heavy body, wet sticky finish. Alcohol is very present and drinks pretty warm

Overall pretty tasty, worth $11 for a 4 pack. Two more aging in the crawl space

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Photo of Yokoono76
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Beautiful dark cherry brown. The light shows red through the glass. Beautiful color! Frothy cream top, last the length of drinking and laces the sides of the glass, it's inviting.

S: Malty - nose is stuffy… sorry folks

T:First taste reminds me of a stout, but sweeter. Very slight momentary bitterness and then a rich coffee, caramel taste overrides any bitterness. Subtle smokey notes.

M: Heavy like a stout, not much carbonation.

O: This is a hearty and unique beer. The plums are a nice enhancement of the richness within the beer itself, but doesn't overpower. It is perfect cold night, sit by the fire and relax with friends and loved ones. With 10+ ABV, it's a sipping beer! Enjoy

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very solid beer that has improved even a bit more with a few months of age on it. I really like what Sierra Nevada is doing with these Ovila beers, both with the beers themselves and the backstory of helping the local monks with their abbey and perhaps eventual brewing. This particular beer definitely has gotten a bit plummier after a some months in the bottle, either from the fruit itself getting a bit more prominent, or the other constituent flavors mellowing a bit. Lots of juicy fruit on a fairly soft frame of malt and spice and a bit of tannin to help reign it in. The finish is long and has a touch of sweetness and then a long spice note. Very balanced and very pleasant!

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Photo of dgilks
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Opaque dark brown colour with a big, fluffy tan head. Good head retention. Some legs.

Richly alcoholic with a distinct ethanol aroma. Dark dried fruits and a little nutty. Lacking a bit of malt on the nose.

Ripe fruit. Tons of dried fig and raisin. Lots of alcohol verging on nail varnish remover. Very caramelised malt. Some earth. Pretty complex but dominated by the alcohol.

Medium to medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A solid beer. The flavours really work though the alcohol shines through a bit.

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Photo of scotorum
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled `1/10/13.

Poured from the fancy corked and caged 12.7 oz. bottle into a Duvel snifter.

a: Clear near black ruby with a quickly-receding finger thick tan head which left a surface foam and just a trace of lacing here and there.

s: Dark fruit. As it warms, dark malt becomes more prominent.

t: Dark malt over fruit with some hop balance. Refined. High ABV is well handled, although it becomes more evident in the throat towards the finish.

m: Substantial. Great carbonation.

o: An excellent brew. Flavorful and satisfying.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle into chalice, bottled on 2/7/2013. Pours hazy nearly opaque reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of raisin, plum, prune, banana, clove, pepper, toast, dark bread, molasses, candi sugar, light chocolate, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, plum, and fruity/spicy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, banana, toast, brown bread, clove, pepper, molasses, candi sugar, light chocolate, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruit, banana, toast, dark bread, clove, molasses, candi sugar, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark malt and fruity/spicy esters; with good plum flavor presence and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice quadrupel style. All around good balance and complexity of malt, yeast, and plum flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours black with ruby highlights and a large head.
Nose shows brown sugar, candi sugar, golden syrup. Incredibly sweet-smelling.
Somewhat harsh flavours, with hot alcohol throughout. Lots of sweetness with golden syrup and candied figs. Cloying finish.
Carbonation feels a bit full-on.

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Photo of PolarBear3
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a darkish brown colour with tanned head that disippates fairly quickly

S - Dark fruits, caramel,toffee with some hint of vanilla

T - Lots of dark fruit including raisins, caramel, malty, sweet candy although a little boozy on the finish.

M - Medium carbonation with medium body

O - A fairly complex beer that is balanced very fairly nicely despite the slightly boozy finish.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle
A - dark brown, thin but foamy, tan head coats the top of the ale
S - huge malt nose, plum & dark fruit, brown sugar, yeast, bread, fig
T - tons of malt again with plum, brown sugar, molasses, yeast, bread, fig, spice, booze is noticeable but well concealed
M - thick, full body, pleasant carbonation, fig and plum linger with a spicy, peppery finish
O - very nice quad with some added plum characteristics and complexity. Not sure that I'd get it again at that price ($4.99), but it was worth the try

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Photo of Parrotshake
2.57/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours like a proper quad, an opaque brown with a big tan head. Smells of raisin toast, brown sugar, cloves, rum and coke.

Tastes a bit like cough medicine. Weird sweetness overpowers the malt and the carbonation and it just seems like a slug of medicine every time you take a sip. A bit harsh, too. If you needed an excuse not to try American examples of Belgian styles, this is a good one.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Solid dark brown with a small head and almost no lacing.

S: Sweet and spicy, with just a bit of fruit in there. Smells like candy.

T: A bit spicy with a nice mellow sweetness. It is a bit syrupy and the mouthfeel doesn't help with that designation. Good blend but it kind of drops off.

M: Prickly carbonation with a weird thickness to it.

O: Not that great. I was expecting a lot more here. I got it as an extra in my first trade. It's good but was a bit weird for a quad. It must be the plums. Not a big fan of the fruit, so it makes sense.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from my Chimay chalice

A - Pours the classic quad dark cola colour with an off white head that reduces to a film.

S - Plums and dark fruit with some sticky molassis.

T - Raisins, Plums and cola flavours. No sign of the ABV which is impressive. A little one dimensional.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Quite smooth.

T- Just doesn't have the wow factor I continue to look for in the U.S. made Belgian styles. Having said that, there isn't much wrong with it.

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Ovila Belgian-Style Abbey Quad: Ale Brewed With Plums from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.95 out of 5 based on 1,133 ratings.
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