Category Archives: Sierra Nevada

Review of Sierra Nevada Ovila Quad

Hello guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Ovila Quad produced by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company located in Chico, California.

I had the Dubbel a while back and I’ve been sitting on the Quad for sometime now, so I figured it was about time to try it.

Here’s the rather lengthy description from the website,

A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Quad brings the centuries-old monastery brewing tradition to America. Ovila Abbey Quad is rich and complex with layers of flavor including notes of intense dark fruits, and caramel-like maltiness. Rich and complex, this ale should be shared among friends in the true spirit of the season. A portion of the proceeds from this ale goes toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Ovila chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. This medieval building stood for nearly eight centuries in Spain. William Randolph Hearst purchased the monastery in 1931 and planned to use the stones for a castle even grander than his famous San Simeon. Although Hearst’s plans crumbled, these historic stones will rise again in a California Cistercian abbey. 

Let’s get this thing into a glass and see how it tastes.

This brew has an ABV of 10.4% and it comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle with a real cool looking label.

It poured a deep burgundy/raisin color with some ruby highlights around the bottom of the chalice.  The crown was light tan in color.  It wasn’t very large and it was a bit soapy and fizzy.  The retention time was average, however the lacing looked ok.

The nose presented an expectant dark fruit profile of plums and grapes.  Some breadiness and caramel malt were touched upon also, but mostly dark fruits actually.  I didn’t think that this Quad was the most complex or overly robust as far as the aroma goes.  It’s not quite as “rich” either.  I, literally, found no spice whatsoever.  It’s not that the bouquet was bad or anything.  Overall, it was just a bit meek I thought.

The taste revealed more of the dark fruit aspects.  Cherries, grapes and plums.  I did find a little bit of spice in the flavor.  Some sweet caramel too.  The breadiness seemed nice, toasted and “round”.  A light touch of alcohol was found on the back end as well.  Again, not as “grand” as some of the other Quads I’ve had I didn’t think.  As the brew warmed it really started to relax and become quite subdued all around.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Smooth and dry with a bit of warmth and burn.  The carbonation was rather good, although I felt that only an average amount of flavor was left on the palate after each sip.

Well, this beer is good, but not quite great in my humbled and novice opinion.  It was very easy to drink though and I definitely think it’s worth a try if you see it, but I wouldn’t travel too far out of my way to pick it up.  For my money, there are a number of other Belgian Quads out there that are a touch better.  It just didn’t have the complexity or sturdiness that some of the “traditional” ones possess.  Don’t take my word for it however.  Pick up a bottle and see how you like it.  You may find it to be well suited to your needs.

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.65 out of 5
Grade:  B    

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Country: USA, Sierra Nevada


Review of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Hello again good craft beer people!!!  For today’s review I’m going to be trying the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum made by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company located in Chico, California.

I’ve actually never tried this beer before, so I don’t really know what to expect.  Hops, I guess.

From the website,, we find this description.

A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas. 
Resinous “new-school” and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.

How ’bout we try it?

This brew has an ABV of 10.4% and it comes in as 12 oz. bottle.

It poured a semi-clear, deep orange to copper color with an off white head of very, very nice size.  It was tremendously smooth, frothy and soft.  The retention time was outstanding and the lacing looked spectacular.  It hung on for dear life, but once it finally did settle it left a gorgeous skim on top of the liquid.  This is a beautiful looking beer to say the least.

The nose wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought it was going to be, however it was still very prevalent, well balanced, complex and worthy.  Hints of dank grapefruit, pine scents and resinous hop oils were noticed first followed by a light, whole wheat breadiness and relaxed caramel notes.  A light dollop of honey brought forth a bit more sweetness accompanied by a subtle, but clear alcohol note.

The taste came forward with grapefruit citrus and orange zest.  Some sweet, thick and sugary caramel malt exploded right off the bad.  It was actually a bit too syrupy.  Way more malt than I was anticipating to be honest.  Further savors of pine needles and a substantial dried breadiness.  The alcohol was not so much tasted, but rather felt.  Again very dank and resiny.

The mouthfeel was medium to darn near full bodied.  It was very dry, sticky, smooth, slick, oily and chewy.  The carbonation was only average I thought.  A bit of warmth was felt deep in the chest and a good amount of flavor was left covering the palate.

Well, there’s no doubt that this is a good beer and one that could definitely be enjoyed by Hophead’s everywhere.  However, I didn’t think it quite had the ease of drinkability that some of the other big, hoppy beers have.  It was a bit thick and oily for my liking considering the style.  Now, that’s not saying that I didn’t enjoy it or that I wouldn’t want another because I had a blast slow sipping this thing, but it did become a bit sweet after a little while.  I will say that this was one of the best looking beers that I’ve seen in some time.  Very aesthetic and appealing looking.  With that being said, give the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum a try if you see it and let me know what you think.  If you’ve already had it, what was your impression?  Does it deserve to be ranked as high as some of the other “big” IPA’s and DIPA’s?

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+          

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Country: USA, Sierra Nevada


Review of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA (2012)

Thanks for checking in on another craft beer review guys.  For today’s review I’m going to be trying the Ruthless Rye IPA (2012) produced by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company located in Chico, California.

I’ve really been looking forward to trying this beer.  I’ve heard some mixed reactions, but I want to find out for myself, so I picked up a bottle and decided to give it a taste.    

From the website,, we find this commercial description of the Ruthless Rye IPA.

Rye has been a staple grain for millennia—sought after for its stubborn resilience in the field and revered for its unique flavor. Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors—combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to spring.

I’m ready.  Are you?

This brew has an ABV of 6.6% and it comes in a 12 oz. bottle.

It poured a relatively clear amber to copper color with some burnt orange and yellow highlights at the bottom and around the edges.  The head was off white, decently sized, smooth, soft, frothy and creamy.  The retention time was more than adequate and the lacing was patchy and thick.

Within the smell I received a nice dose of rye bread along with a sufficient amount of hops.  Mostly light citrus and pine intermingled with a touch of grapefruit.  A subtle hint of peppery spice mixed with some light touches of caramel and toffee sweetness.  Overall, it had a very nice “earthy” and “round” quality.  The malt did seem to be a tad more forward than the hops with the bouquet.

The taste let the rye bread and grain really shine.  The peppery spice was very well balanced and fitting too.  The hops were a tad more grassy and noticeable.  Very light grapefruit citrus and pine.  The bitterness was very supportive and the caramel malt hid underneath to help balance everything out.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, dry, smooth, crisp, snappy and darn near refreshing.  No warmth was felt, but a wonderful amount of flavor coated the roof of the mouth and the tongue as the brew slid down the throat.  The carbonation was superb.  A very, very good mouthfeel with this one.

Well.  Sierra Nevada has once again produced an excellent beer.  I really appreciate this “rye” style.  It seems like it’s kind of the trendy thing to do at the moment, however I do enjoy them very much.  I, personally, don’t think this brew is quite as good as the Founders Red’s Rye Pale Ale (the Ruthless Rye might be a little less hoppy), however this is nothing to scoff at and would make for a very entertaining evening if left to partake with friends.  It’s super easy to drink and one is left with a great deal of aroma and flavor to contemplate in between sips.  I’d say grab a bottle or two of this and relish it.  It’ll be gone before too long then we will have to wait until next year to enjoy this tasty brew.

Thanks for reading and commenting my friends.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.1 out of 5
Grade:  A-     

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Country: USA, Sierra Nevada

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