This week we review a beer from the highly regarded Dogfish Head Brewery, maker of “off-centered ales for off-centered people.” Burton Baton (ALC 10% IBU 70) is an oak aged Imperial IPA comprised of two different batches of beer: an English-style old ale and an Imperial IPA. As a big fan of Dogfish Head, I am a little ashamed I have not tried the Burton Baton before, but better late than never.
Pours a honey gold color. Full bodied. Thin, half inch foamy head. Moderate lacing.
Smells of sweet honey and caramel. Bitter citrus of grapefruit, lemon and floral notes. Toasty, pretzel-like malt. Mild oak and vanilla.
Creamy and warm. A soft alcohol bite on the back end, but still very smooth.
Very complex. Introduces itself with sweet, buttery caramel. Lush peach, grapefruit, lemon and some grass. Mid-notes of bitter nectar and dark fruits of raisin, figs and dates. Some oak and vanilla but rather subdued. Drinks a lot like a toned down barley wine.
Burton Baton is a beer that’s difficult to put a label on. On first taste, I felt like I was experiencing a 90 minute IPA on steroids. But as I allowed the Burton Baton to warm up, the characteristics of the oak aging become much more clear as though it was going through a transformation while I drank it. Burton Baton has all the great hop flavors of the best IPAs and the strong malty backbone of the best brown ales. There is no question why this beer has grown in popularity over the years. I echo a line from the Burton Baton bottle itself: Please share it with loved ones and hoard it from the non-believers.