FlacoAlto (3850) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 1, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A steady pour into my New Belgium tulip produces a one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a very burnt, opaque amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep plum stained, concentrated amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells quite fruit focused with concentrated prune notes, floral plum notes, bright raisin aromatics, and just lots of dark fruit character that is quite bright. The fruitiness is accentuated by a sweet clove spiciness towards the end of the aroma.
Sweet tasting, which is backed by a drying effervescence, and a spicy finish, the beer is actually fairly dry for a beer of this strength, which is certainly a plus in a beer of this style. Ample fruit notes reminiscent of dried plums, raisins, spicy figs, and lots of caramelized fruit notes are found in this beer. The finish has a spiciness to it that starts out as clove, but has a long finish that is peppery, and perhaps even a touch of something like ginger; though the pepper notes really do seem to linger on the palate for quite some time. Deep caramelized candy sugar notes, fermented molasses, fig syrup, some soft butterscotch notes, as well as a combination of things that reminds me slightly of Dr. Pepper.
Quite nice, this really hides its alcohol quite well, and drinks way smoother than a beer of this strength should. I like the ample fruitiness that this beer has, it works quite well with the rich caramelized malt / sugar notes.
ComradeK (1070) - The Vale of Dundas, AUSTRALIA - JUL 31, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
375ml bottle. Pours an opaque deep chestnut, verging on black, with a moderate beige head, which lasts well and leaves reasonable lacing. Strong prune and fig aromas mix with port, nutmeg and faint anise notes. Mild spice hops up front blend with spicy yeast notes of nutmeg and mild cloves. A strong prune flavour comes into the mid-palate, where it mixes with port and a trace of vanilla. A touch of slivovice and more spice lend warmth to the finish, and there is a lingering spicy plum aftertaste. This is a wonderfully complex and very enjoyable beer.
troupos40 (67) - New Jersey, USA - JUL 26, 2013
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
poured from 12.7 oz bottle into tulip glass, pours dark with very light tan head. aromas of fruit and malt very light. Looks brownish/purpleish probably due to the sugar plums. not strong plums flavors which is surprising, they are very muted which I enjoyed. more plum flavors come thru in the aftertaste, slightly sweet. the complex flavor palate masks the 10+ % ABV. also a little light on the palate almost thin feeling on the mouth but with decent carbonation and a long finish. Overall, i enjoyed this beer, I feel like it was a good collaboration and am looking forward to drinking my other 3 bottles!!
J_man (790) - Tustin, California, USA - JUL 21, 2013
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 8, 2014 (This rating is for the Vision of Sugar Plums version): Bottle from the SN brewery in Chico. Deep garnet red with a very small light tan head. Nice chocolate aroma but with an unusual cooked vegetable component (like lima beans) that worried me. Fortunately, that did not follow strongly into the flavor and I think it’s a bit of hops showing through. What did come through was delicious dark chocolate, figs, plums and molasses along with a creamy vanilla. As it warmed up, it became more and more of a dessert beer. There’s a slight woodiness to it that along with that vegetal character keeps the sweetness in check. Finishes with cream and dark chocolate along with what seems like a wood barrel aging taste (but it must be something else). I noticed that there were only 2 other ratings of this and they were both in July along with me. Not sure how a winter holiday beer got pushed out to July, but I’m hoping we’ll get more for Christmas this year!
Earlier Rating: 3/5/2013 Total Score: 4.2
12.7 oz. bottle in a 4 pack from the brewery. Rich roasted malt and sugar aromas coming out of the bottle. Pours a beautiful dark amber and garnet with very little carbonation and wispy but lasting light tan head. Explodes with plum and cherry flavors, milk and dark chocolate, charred wood and biting alcohol. There’s so much going on all at once and right away, but the balance between everything is great and the combination is delicious. It’s a bit hot with alcohol, but the sweetness surges near the end and balance returns. Leaves with lasting sweetness and chocolate, and a light sourness and bitterness that lays on the tongue and doesn’t let go. Another stellar Ovila beer! ***************** New notes*******************: Found out that the Visions of Sugar Plums ale is a slight variation of Ovila Quad with Plums (SN said this on Twitter: A few tweaks to the Ovila version, including a dryer finish.). So, now I’m doing a comparative tasting of Visions of Sugar Plums (from 2012/2013) with the 2013 and 2014 versions of the Ovila Quad with Plums. The 2014 definitely has more carbonation and head as well as sweetness than either of the 2013 versions. The VOSP still has a slightly woody, vegetal taste compared to the Quad as well as a more mellow flavor all around. Both of the Quads seem to have sharper edges but the 2014 has more sweetness to balance it. Although the VOSP has a bit more character, I think the Quad is probably the better beer. However, I’d like SN to bring both of them back for a rematch next year!
blipp (6990) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 21, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft. Pours deep brown with a thin beige head. Sweet malts and dark fruits, spicy yeast, candy sugar, and a sweet finish. Rich, and quite delicious.
jkwalking05 (4202) - Arlington, Texas, USA - JUL 18, 2013
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Rated at Big Texas Beer Fest, April 2013 - Red brown in color with a decent sized beige head. Aroma is of Plums, cherries, fruitcake, candy sugar, and caramel. Taste is of booze, plums, light roasted malt, chcolate, caramel, prunes, and raisins.
chris__hartley (325) - Ontario, CANADA - JUL 15, 2013
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
It pours opaque, very dark brown (almost black); the head is beige and mousse-like. The aroma has notes of: plums, toffee, burnt sugar, molasses, woody characteristics, and dark fruit. The taste is heavy sweet, that finishes medium bitter; all the notes from the aroma carry through into the taste. The palate is heavy bodied, very rich and sticky, has low carbonation, and a long finish. Overall, a beautiful big bootied buxom Quad.
curepute (140) - New York, USA - JUL 12, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark plum color with barely any head. Aroma of dried fruits, plums, vanilla, bananas, boozy. Taste: burned plums, figs, raisins, dates. Finish opens to a slightly boozy flavor, brown sugar with good malty sweetness. Let it heat up a bit!
maneliquor (3469) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - JUL 11, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle from Mane Liquor. Pours dark brown with some clear edges and a small, beige head which has great head retention and lacing. Nose shows heavy christmas cake notes, toffee and shortbread biscuit. Loads of raisins and touch of red plums. Taste shows the raisins well with a heap of well balanced liquorice notes. Very heavy christmas cake and plum notes. Dark fruits are the winners here with some light aniseed coming through nicely. Solid all round but not the amazing beer I was led to believe
phaleslu (7546) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JUL 9, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
375 ml bottle from Hyde Park Wine and Spirits. Pours a deep, dark mahogany color with a finger of beige head that settles into a thick film and ring. Aroma of plums, caramel malts, peppery spice, berries, grapes, booze, and wood. Flavor of plums, grapes, berries, sweet malts, spice, caramel, and candy. Medium-full body, with moderate carbonation and a vinous, warming mouthfeel. Really solid. Another very good beer in the Ovila series.