Sierra Nevada‘s Ovila project is a joint venture with the Trappist monastery of New Clairvaux in Vina, California. This project began in 2011 with the release of an Abbey Dubbel and progressed through a Saison, Quad, and a Golden. The dubbel is available year around, but now they’re releasing some of the old styles but with a twist. When they began this joint venture, they had to seek Vatican label approval and part of the proceeds go towards the monastery’s work in rebuilding their old chapter house which has been disassembled and brought to the US by the Hearst family. They intended to use the stones to build a massive mansion/castle. These plans eventually fell through. The monks now have the stones and are intendeding to rebuild their old chapter house which is originally from Spain.
This newest incarnation is a Quad brewed with plums that the monks grow on their land. Unlike standard plums, which only contain 9%-10% sugar content, the monk’s plums contain up to 29% which makes them exceptionally rich. The beer is now available in 375ml bottles and limited draft.
Appearance: Deep brown/black with a tan head. Great head retention.
Aroma: Dried plums, rich chocolate, dark fruit, cinnamon, molasses, ester-y, spicy with a touch of alcohol.
Taste: Rich and fruity with a velvety mouthfeel. Spicy finish with a bit of alcoholic warmth.
Overall Impression: Wow. This is one of the best American-brewed Belgian-style quads I’ve had in ages. This is truly an exceptional beer. I’ve been a big fan of the Ovila beers for a while, but this takes the project to a whole new level. Get a hold of this beer! I’ll certainly be drinking many more before it’s gone.
Availability: In limited quantities (but around for a while) at better quality bottle shops and bars.
Notes: Here is a link to Sierra Nevada’s blog post about the plums.