David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 84 Rating - Strawgator by Abita Brewing Co.

October, 2020


Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Strawgator by Abita Brewing Co. was served in a narrow taper tall glass at 43oF. and judged as BJCP category 29 A: Fruit Beer. 

The beer casts a medium-amber color with a faint blush, pronounced haze and a thick, creamy layer of head that lasts well. The color seems light for base beer of Doppel, unless derived from the relatively rare blonde-colored "Helles" variant; something I have always found a little out of form for these very strong, intensely malty and toasty-sweet lagers.

The nose is intensely fruity, with bright and perfumy (almost overripe) strawberry above a modestly strong honey-vanilla-butter element. Malt character is reserved, but I get a hint of alcohol. 

The flavor is fruity and rich up front, with a surprisingly high (30 IBU?) bitterness in the middle, with lingering flavors of fresh strawberry and creamy-faintly caramel sweetness; the late palate trails to a distinct pithy character with lasting strawberry and bitterness. Interestingly, the beer goes from quite sweet up front to lingering bitterness and noticeable astringency in the finish. Conditioning is high, mounthfeel is moderately high with alcohol apparent. 

As a fruit beer, it carries a lot of fresh and ripe strawberries -- the pithiness giving a strong hint to the use of fresh whole fruit, and it carries top to bottom. The base beer seems to lack enough malt character to stand up to the fruit, which a dopplebock would normally provide. I can't help but think this recipe would improve with a sizable portion of the malt bill put to light or dark Munich malt to increase malt structure, toastiness and residual sweetness and body. All that said, I bet given the big bold and fresh fruit blast and punchy strength, a lot of people enjoy this beer as-is.