Odell Brewing – Isolation Ale

The last one for tonight is the Odell Brewing Isolation Ale.

From the label:

A funny thing happens here around summer’s end – our eyes start searching the skies for those first fall flakes. As we welcome autumn’s first snow, we celebrate the return of Isolation Ale. A sweet caramel malty ale that is balanced by a subtle crisp hop finish. Whether you ski, shred, or shoe, Isolation Ale will inspire you to make first tracks.

This was, by far, the best of the Odell brews I’ve had so far.  It’s a near perfect balance of malts and hops, with a beautiful color, and a smooth finish.

At a 6% ABV, the balance is solid.  A great introduction into the Odell Brewing line, albeit seasonal.

As a side note, I had the Odell Mountain Standard (Double Black IPA) after coming home from Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s got a 9.5% ABV, it was beautiful, tasted great, but due to the consumption of mass quantities, hardly knocked on my alcohol tolerance meter.  Darn, I’ll have to try it again later.

Sierra Nevada – Narwhal Imperial Stout

This was one epic brew.  The Sierra Nevada Narwhal.

From the label:

A malt-forward monster, highlighting the depths of malt flavor.

Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come

Yes, epic.  I said it.  Trust me.

Deep, dark, and heavy, this brew was like drinking pure awesome.  It has a particular focus around the deep malts, espresso, and cocoa, but keeps its balance by letting a tiny bit of the hops filter in.

I want everyone to try this.  It’s a 10.2% ABV, so don’t try this without something to eat, but I suggest a dessert, instead of a dinner.

Sierra Nevada – Celebration Ale 2012

The next on the list is the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale of 2012.

From the label:

Celebration Ale is a special ale for the holidays. Featuring the first hops of the growing season, this pioneering IPA is full of complex flavors and aromas from the generous use of whole cone American hops.

This was a very nice brew, and is very similar to the Torpedo Extra IPA, but remember that it’s definitely NOT so.  It has a flavor profile different enough to separate itself, but still is very hop heavy.  Also, see this article, which highlights some myths about the brew.

A 6.8% ABV, this goes well with just about any meal out there, and should be considered a robust accompaniment to any meal or event.

Bison – Organic Honey Basil Ale

Tonight, I’m going to be updating on a number of brews I’ve been saving up.  First is the Bison Brew Honey Basil, an organic type.

From the label:

Bison’s Organic Honey Basil Ale a light-bodied ale, infused with organic clover honey & fresh, whole leaf organic basil, lending a floral and slightly herbal aroma, a hint of sweetness and mild basil after taste.

I thoroughly enjoyed this ale.  Light, crisp, a great color, and heavily basil.

While I like basil, many people may not like this.  I suggest those who haven’t tried it to get a taster single, if possible.

It’s a 6% ABV, which is very nice, considering it should go with a meal, preferably with an Italian style dish.

Sierra Nevada – Torpedo Extra IPA

Tonight, I’m finally trying the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.

Sierra Nevada - Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada – Torpedo Extra IPA

From the label:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA – perfectly balanced yet full of flavor and aromas that highlight the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole-cone American hops.

At Sierra Nevada, we take hops seriously. Torpedo Extra IPA starts with the world’s finest whole-cone hops and intensifies their flavors with a little magic from our “Hop Torpedo.” A revolutionary method of dry hopping, the torpedo brings this beer alive with a rush of complex hop aromas and flavors not found in any other beer.

Surprisingly deep, and flavorful, for what is considered an IPA with a citrus overtone.  Crisp, but not too bright (what with enough spice to kick back the citrus).

Currently, as I write this, I am thoroughly enjoying this brew.  At a 7.2% ABV, it is very nice, and holds its own against other IPAs.

Ovila – Golden

A new style from the Sierra Nevada and the New Clairvaux Abbey, the Ovila Belgian-style Golden.

Ovila - Golden

Ovila – Golden

From the label:

This abbey ale is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks, at the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

Belgian inspired golden ales are noted for their devilish personalities, but there is nothing mischievous about this complex ale. It is brilliant golden and layered with notes of summery apple and pear and pepperv spice from the use of a traditional Belgian yeast strain.

A portion of 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 1931 and planned 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.

This was an interesting find in the store.  The bottle comes with a paper label seal over it, stating that the contents are under a high pressure.  And when uncorking it, I could see the reason for the warning, as the cork came out smooth and easy, with little need for force.

Ovila - Golden Seal

Ovila – Golden Seal

Taste wise, my first reaction was a disapproval.  Do not sip this beer.  It goes down much smoother, with a better flavor when not held in the mouth.  The many notes they used in this brew are appropriately balanced, but too long on the tongue, and it’ll go downhill very quickly.

The look is very light, as per the picture, and initial pouring is very heady, due to the carbonation they put into it (again, hence the warning seal).

After all is said and done, an 8.5% ABV, and quite appropriate for Summer.  A good brew all together.

Ovila – Saison

This is a long time coming, as this particular brew is no longer available on the shelf.  However, the Ovila Saisonwas a great way to end the Spring.

Ovila - Saison

Ovila – Saison

From the label:

A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Saison brings the centuries-old monastery brewing tradition to America

Ovila Abbey Saison is complex and contemplative-but also refreshingly dry and drinkable. With earthy and spicy aromas, this rustic Saison has note of green grass and a faint citrus tang. The body is light and layered with fruit and spice accents and a dry, peppery finish.

A portion of the proceeds from this ale go toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Oliva 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 plan crumbled, these historic stones will rise again in a California Cistercian abbey.

My first tasting of this brew was a bit hasty.  The citrus brews are rarely ever my personal choice, but this one grew on me quickly.  If this ever comes back, I will be investing, and storing for the long-term, as this is a better choice for the Summer months than the Spring, in my opinion, with a 7% ABV.

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Ovila – Dubbel

Last night, I had the pleasure of having my second taste of an Ovila abbey ale, the Ovila Dubbel.

Ovila - Dubbel

Ovila - Dubbel

From the label:

A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Quad brings the ceturies-old monastery brewing tradition to America.

Ovila Abbey Dubbel features a complex and rich malty sweetness with hints of caramelized sugar. The aroma is a heady and layered mix of fruit and spice with hints of clove and black pepper from the unique Belgian-style yeast.

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 Califorian Cistercian abbey.

Similar to the Quad, this brew is robust, deep, and quite a pleasant taste.  Light enough for a smooth drink, yet dark enough to suit my personal taste.  My only wish is that I did not enjoy the whole bottle at once last night, so I could write a more thorough review.  But alas, I did enjoy the whole bottle.  Which means I will have to revisit this again.  Oh darn.

At 7.5% ABV, it lacks the potency of the Quad, but the flavors make up for the rest.

For more information on the restoration project, the Dubbel ale, or the other brews, look no further than here: http://www.ovila.com/

Ovila – Quad

This one I have been saving.  Monday was a heck of a day, so I decided to break out my Ovila Quad.

Ovila - Quad

Ovila - Quad

From the label:

 A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Quad brings the ceturies-old monastery brewing tradition to America.

Ovila Abbey Quad is rich and complex with laters 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 Califorian Cistercian abbey.

Uniquely identified from most other brews, this is cork-and-cap secured, and was one of the three variants on an Abbey style ale, produced by Sierra Nevada, under the label of Ovila.  The purpose: Raise the funds to restore and rebuild a monastery in Northern California.

The first pop of the cork was met with almost a wine-like scent, but the ale is most definitely not wine-like.  A good, dark brew, with a reddish hue when held into the light, and a perfect head when poured properly (though a patented Sam Adams glass makes the carbonation last longer).  Very smooth, not too fizzy (again, carbonation held in check), and the flavor is absolutely well rounded.  It tastes of the darker brews I’ve had, sweet, but without the super-thick, super-strong aftertaste.

At 10.4% ABv, this is a very well done brew.  As this is the Quad, there are two others that I will have to try, the Dubbel and Golden.

For more information on the restoration project, the Quad ale, or the other brews, look no further than here: http://www.ovila.com/

Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2012

On this night, I bring thee Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale for the 2012 year.

Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2012

Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2012

From the website (as there is no text for the label):

Our award-winning barleywine boasts a dense, fruity bouquet, an intense flavor palate and a deep reddish-brown color. Its big maltiness is superbly balanced by a wonderfully bittersweet hoppiness.

Well done.  Well done, indeed, good sirs.  Carrying a 9.6% ABV, this is a very excellent brew, on a similar vein of the Ruthless Rye, and Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout.  Good barley, excellent scent, and a well rounded flavor, with the tart of the hops.  It’s not too bitter, goes down very nicely, and has a great color.  All in all, a very good brew!

Look:★★★★½ 
Smell:★★★★☆ 
Taste:★★★★½ 
Feel:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½