Tuesday, June 5, 2012

25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog - Abita Brewing Company

Last fall, after Abita's 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog came out I called all over the area looking for a bottle, and even tried to place a special order at a couple stores.  However, no one had it and I never received any calls back about my special orders.  Fortunately, I was in ThreeCellars a couple weeks ago and saw that they had plenty in stock.  I am a big fan of Turbo Dog, and knowing that the 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog is Turbo aged on vanilla only served to heighten my interest in the beer.

                Abita was founded in 1986, north of New Orleans.  In the first year, Abita produced 1,500 barrels of beer.  In eight years, they outgrew their original brewery and moved to a new facility where they now brew over 125,000 barrels of beer a year and 8,000 barrels of root beer.  They proudly tout their green brewing practices as well as their line of charitable beers.  The line of charitable beers includes but is not limited to their SOS Pilsner to raise money for the gulf cleanup following the Horizon drilling platform explosion in 2010; the Restoration Ale, brewed to support disaster relief in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Abita Abbey Ale, which supports the St. Joseph’s Abbey.  Abita has proven to be a leader in their home state, being one of the first breweries in the country to adopt green brewing practices and supporting many of the important local causes in their area.

                On to the review.  On Beeradvocate the 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog has a score of 80.  At ratebeer it has an overall score of 79 with a style score of 34.  However, they have it listed as an American Strong Ale when it should arguably be classified as BJCP style 21A: Spice,Herb, or Vegetable Beer due to the inclusion of Vanilla beans in the aging process.

They say:

Turbodog® is the inspiration for this robust dark ale. Double Dog is brewed with generous amounts of pale, caramel, and chocolate malts and Willamette hops. Whole, natural vanilla beans are added during the aging process. This combination provides a rich body and color with chocolate, vanilla and toffee-like flavor.

25 years ago the Abita Brewing Company was founded on a pristine, artesian aquifer north of New Orleans. For a quarter of a century, Abita has proudly brewed full-flavored ales and lagers. We thank our loyal customers for their support and pledge to continue the tradition of brewing excellence.
Suggested temperature: 46°

I say:
                Abita’s 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog pours dark mahogany with a thick, creamy, tan head that had excellent retention.  Chocolate and caramel malt notes backed up pleasantly smooth vanilla notes.  The aromas provided an excellent lead-in for the complex flavors.  Double Dog started smooth with very strong vanilla notes up front that faded into a chocolate and caramel finish.

Vanilla Double Dog was moderately carbonated and medium to high bodied.  About ¾ of the way though the bottle I thought I would try something that quite a few brewpubs do, a beer float.  The addition of Kopp’s vanilla custard added a new layer of complexity, further enhancing the vanilla, chocolate and caramel notes already found in the beer.

Abita’s 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog was an excellent beer that I highly recommend, if you can still find a bottle at your local liquor store.  Fortunately, I still have five bottles waiting for me in my cellar.

That’s all for today, sorry about the lack of updates as of late.  I was hoping to get back on track this week but I am already a day behind and do not have my next beer lined up yet.  Check back soon though, I will try to get my next write-up posted tomorrow.

Happy Drinking!!

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