Abita Andygator Helles Doppelbock

I can't say I was excessively impressed with the last Abita beer I had, and I noticed that I actually avoided ordering their beers when available at bars. This was an overreaction to was was a fairly middle-of-the-road beer, and the brewery really deserved to get another shot. This is a "high gravity" beer here in the state of Tennessee, as a result of its ABV of 8%, which is high by average standards, but it pretty much where my beers seem to have been lately.

The beer is golden with a slightly orange hue that puts me in mind of honey. The head is moderate, and it gives way to more lacing than it has any right to leave on the sides of the glass. The thin veneer of bubbles across the top don't block the aroma of sweet malty bread and hoppy goodness mixed with a bit of citrus. Do beers always always taste like they smell? Not always, but if this one does, it will be fan-damn-tastic.

First sip is different. It has the heavy malt taste of a dark ale, but it also has quite a unique citrus character about it. I can definitely taste the heavy sweet bread with nuts on it, and I could probably enjoy sipping it well enough, but it has more character than a sip will give credit to. It seems too heavy in a sip, as well. So, a full gulp will seriously give this a chance.

A carbonation burn leads the tip-in as the malt-style fruitbread settles in. As the middle rolls forward, the hops come with their bitterness, but that relaxes quickly into the citrus and calm French bread soaking up the attention right on through the middle. As the finish approaches, a wave of bitterness sloshes around unceremoniously and the sweetbread swells up. Prunes and raisins dance around on a bitter streak that leaves the moth wanting a bit more. The beer definitely improves as it warms, so let it warm up a bit if you just got one.

Bottom Line: A good effort with some very good things going on. It's not as smooth as it should be for how crisp it isn't.



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