Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel

Madison Smith of joins me via Skype to review this new beer from Sierra Nevada. The monks of the New Clairvaux Abbey asked Sierra Nevada to brew a beer for them to raise money to help rebuild their sanctuary. They are of the same Cistercian Order as the Trappist monks in Belgium and Holland, which would technically make this an American TRAPPIST beer! Well, it would be if it was brewed by the monks themselves. Since it's contract brewed by Sierra Nevada it's considered an Abbey Ale, and it's dubbel - much like Chimay Red. Let's see if Americans can get this niche style down pat....

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (627) - Albany, USA - MAY 5, 2011
I poured a 750ml bottle into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Pretty shade of dark orange/brick red. Very hazy, but noticeable amount of carbonation. Forms a large, yellow, frothy head which retains and regenerates well, but doesn’t lace the glass.

Smell: Very mild nose with plum, fig, tobacco and general barley scent.

Taste: Sierra Nevada is known for making bold beers and this is based on a traditional Belgian Trappist dubbel style, so why is this palate so darn mild? I went into this beer with my palate braced for shock, but was touched with a mild, malty, slightly fruit brew. Just like the aroma the palate is a dark fruit basket of plum, cherry, fig, red apple - all with a sweet caramel backbone. Ordinarily, this would be the description of an excellent beer, but in the case of Ovila it’s extremely mild. It has the complexity of an orchestra, but the volume of a transistor radio.

Composition has a lot to do with the palate as well, as it’s an extremely fizzy beer for the style and the texture is noticeable thin and maybe even a tad oily. There’s really nothing overtly astringent, sour, tangy or otherwise foul here, and I wouldn’t considered it a bad beer at all. That being said, it’s lacking the robustness it needs to work as anything other than an okay beer.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly fizzy and foamy. The head expands as it enters the mouth. The liquid seems thin for what should be at least a medium bodied brew.

Drinkabilty: By far the most quaffable Belgian dubbel on the market. However, beers of this style aren’t meant to be slugged down as if they were fizzy yellow lagers. Sure, it’s nice it goes down so easily and is drinker-friendly, but more energy and spice is needed. Then 7.5% ABV is well hidden with zero alcohol presence in the aroma, taste, or constitution. A good beer to pair with cheesecake.

Overall, a magnificent failure of a beer. Something that is genuinely difficult to dislike, but equally difficult to cheerlead for. It garners a thumbs up from me, but just barely.

Grade: 6/10

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