Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Tripel

Total Score: 7.05/10 Bread1 Clove1 Orange1 Chalice1

OK: Sierra Nevada have made an Abbey Tripel in collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, California. This will be epic… or crap, we don’t know yet, but my experience drinking Sierra Nevada beers is that they never disappoint. In fact I still buy Torpedo on a regular basis, it has a permanent home in my fridge door next to Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen and Founders Breakfast Stout, with these three beers I drink [that was almost a semi-vague Lord of the Rings reference]. Can Sierra Nevada and a bunch of American monks challenge the might of the Trappist brewers? We’ll soon find out.

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents a hazed Tangelo body with a wispy thin white head that disappears quickly. Swirling the glass reveals some fine “legs”* on this Tripel, nice, here’s hoping the alcohol is hidden. 8/10.

S: All of the classic Tripel aromas are there: Clove, coriander, bready yeast, a (small) truckload of candi sugar and hints of pepper. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary style-wise… still this is up against awesome brews like Westmalle and Karmeliet so it better have an ace up its sleeve. 7/10.

T: Alright, well balanced off the bat, but there’s something missing… flavours of: Clove and pepper provide spiciness, the middle is big and bready, with dry water crackers in the mix. Finish is light bitter orange juice with dry crackers. Definitely the biggest feature in this brew is the dryness given the style. Most Tripels I’ve had, including the above noted ones are a lot sweeter – this is quite dry. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a slightly prickly carbonation. 7/10.

D: Not bad, but as I mentioned before something’s missing. I liked this but up against personal favourites such as: Westmalle and Karmeliet it doesn’t have enough going for it to make it a winner in my eyes… though I think it is a decent stab at a complex and difficult to replicate style by Sierra Nevada. Damn it is dry though… I’ve had less dry Japanese beers. Oh and this is a shockingly pricey brew here in Australia – I paid $17 for the bottle. I give them a ‘B+’ for effort. 7/10.

Food match: Water… seriously though: Something pheasanty, like pheasant.

*A wine industry term for the Gibbs-Marangoni effect, basically the differences in surface tension between alcohol and water create visible “legs” on the inside of the glass after swirling… this is of course a simplistic explanation.

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