What is an Abbey Saison anyways? When I picked up Sierra Nevada's Ovila Belgian Style Abbey Saison a few weeks back, I was expecting.. a saison!
According to Sierra Nevada, Ovila Abbey Saison is a rustic, complex and unique homage to Belgian monks who perfected some of the most unique and delicious styles of beers on the planet.
Ovila is a complex saison brewed with mandarin oranges, peppercorns, Belgian yeasts and herbs to give it a unique palate.
Appearance: Generally saisons are much lighter and more golden, this is more of an abbaye in appearance, medium brown, light beige head, very hazy yet no sediment floating around.
Aroma: Quite complex, the peppercorns are really showing off in this beer. Quite a handful of peppercorn giving it a bit of a spicy complexion. Also notes of mandarin orange peels, a bit of coriander, Belgian yeast and a hint of straw to give it a unique one of a kind smell to it.
Taste: First time I tried this sans-glassware a few weeks back, the first thing I thought was "this doesn't taste like a saison at all" as it was much darker and heavier on the palate than your standard saison. It's quite a bit spicy from the peppercorns though nowhere near as peppery as Dieu du Ciel's Route des épices. Following the peppercorn - lingers a familiar flavour I haven't tasted in over 15 hours, the taste of saison! The familiarity of Belgian yeast, lemon peel, a dull wheatiness. The mandarin oranges don't really make much of an appearance unfortunately. The pepper overpowers the oranges by far.
Overall Thoughts: Interesting take on a saison, spiced with pepper, a bit herbal, backnotes of saisony goodness. Very unique and I think I'm going to have to age a bottle for a year to see how it turns out.