erway (1004) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - DEC 8, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
First off, let me say that Sierra Nevada is one of my all- time favorite breweries. They know what they are and are doing the best job of doing it. Ovila was certainly a journey away from their comfort zone. I was struck by the quality of the first two. Both were spot on. Well made, but missing something.
This beer pours a deep garnet brown with a moderate head and fair lacing. The aroma is big Iso-AA. Some bubblegum, 4 VG is well balanced/not overstated, but somehow comes across as smokey. Touches of anise and raisins, but I donít get the raisins as much as some reviewers.
The flavor is fairly dry but not overly so. CO2 is low for style; an issue with all in the series. The banana is really bothering me in the mouth. Just too much. If you cloudied this up, you could serve it and believe that it was some form of Weizenbock. Like I said too much. Nice spice and very well hidden alcohol. Very well hidden.
The finish is exceptionally well balanced, almost too well balanced. I expect some sweet figgyness, but I am not getting that here.
The mouthfeel is thin for what I would like. My minds-mouth wants dessert. This is not delivering. Really reminds me of Chimay Bleu. Good? Sure, but not perfect and not compelling. Well made? Flawless, and with the right intention, but not...compelling.
So much of what makes this style wonderful are those intangible perfections. The two that come to mind are easy; Westvleterenís unbelievably cookie-like nose, Rochefortís head retention (legendary) and the incredible marshmallowy mouthfeel.
This is what I would brew and be proud of it. Sure itís nice. Itís well brewed and does not deviate far from the style. It lacks the intangibles that I am looking for. I can give you some of the technicals that I am talking about, but I canít say how to do better and I know I could not. There is something heavenly that is pervasive with the examples of the style that outshine this. There is, and it sucks to not be able to put my finger on it.
drdisque (610) - Illinois, USA - APR 5, 2015
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Fiddlerís hearth. Rich very fruity. Nice malt balance. Prune and caramel flavors. Good but lacking some in overall tastiness/"it" factor.
fiulijn (15990) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 31, 2015
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Bottle, corked and caged, from Happyís Market, Ellensburg, WA
Cloudy darker shade of blond with small compact head. The aroma presents some bubblegum, banana, vegetables; and Iím not in the mood to forgive this un-Belgian idea. Smooth mouthfeel; indiscernible malt flavor, with little residual sweetness, vegetables, phenol, some spicy yeast, and topped with a hint of alcohol.
Ericular (725) - Minnesota, USA - MAR 29, 2015
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pour a surprisingly dark brown with lasting fine-grained head and lacing. Aroma is dusty and sweet, with plenty of dark fruits and toasted sugary sweetness, anchored by a hint of the smell of an old wooden house. Taste is also sweet with candi sugar and bananas drowned in toffee. Finish transforms nicely into sweet roasted coffee malts. Palate goes down thin but the spiced dryness keeps it from being fleeting. Overall, this is a dark and sweet sipper with no immediate indication of the alcohol aside from some mild warming. Nice stuff!
nolankowal (936) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MAR 27, 2015
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
In this day and age of overly alcoholic beers for no other reason than to be cloying and one note, itís nice to come across one that hides the booze and layers some complexity. A true warmer this one is with dark stone fruits, toasted sugars, spice and light roast mingling around a vale of light musk/leather. Sweet and rich with some dryness pulling things back... light acidity almost there for nothing more than balance and a pleasant lingering finish. Quite good and very drinkable which is quite dangerous given its 10%+.
Smoothsippin (36) - Minnesota, USA - MAR 14, 2015
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours black with a beige head. Spicy on the nose, pleasantly so. Smooth mouthfeel with the spices taking over, which follows through on the swallow. Aftertaste lingers. Very nice.
MosquitoPilot (8) - Texas, USA - MAR 6, 2015 does not count
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Growler from premium draught. Great nose canít hide the alcohol. Dark fruit, yeast, chocolate, pleasant carbonation. Very enjoyable
AndyW68 (1188) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - FEB 27, 2015
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Enjoyable, but nothing really special. Dark brown pour with minimal head. Aroma is sweet malt. Taste is sweet malt. Sticky toffee. A respectable quad.
ethanTHEtrill (24) - - FEB 15, 2015
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 oz bottle from 4 pack. Poured into a 14 oz tulip. Appearance is dark with nice thin head. Aroma is Belgian candy sugar and alcohol. Taste is sweet and malty then Belgian yeast comes in midway before it ends with a nice sweet complex with the fruit added and the candy sugar. A superb quad, I will go get some more of this for sure.
ShermanBierce (3) - - FEB 14, 2015 does not count
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
12.7 ounce bottle. Reddish black, with minimal head, quickly dissipated. Big fruity aroma. Taste is fruit, malt, spice and toffee notes. 10.2% ABV completely hidden. Easily the best American Abbey Ale I have tasted. Delicious.
DCLawyer (1723) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - FEB 9, 2015
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle to stem. Dark brown with small offwhite head. Dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee. Nice.