Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Burton Baton Imperial IPA
One of the earlier Dogfish Head beers I remember having was the Burton Baton, an imperial IPA blended with an English-style old ale and then aged in oak tanks for around a month. Before my palate really developed, I was turned off by the oakiness and sweeter notes from the beer. But as I grew to appreciate it more, Burton Baton has become one of my favor offerings from DFH.
The beer has a very hazy appearance to it. There are hints of amber, orange and brown coming through the glass and a huge head on top. It’s about three fingers worth and lingers for a good time. I wouldn’t expect that from a 10% beer. Of course there’s nice lacing and some strong alcohol legs, too.
On the nose: oak, oak and more oak. This bottle had been in my fridge for a few months and the sweeter old ale characteristics – sweet caramel, toffee, dark fruits – were coming through a lot stronger than the hops. There’s a bit of a toasted vanilla note to it too from the oak barrels. The hop profile is a bit muted, but it’s still got a slight bite to it.
The taste is very smooth on the front of the tongue. The hops come through a bit more in the middle and back of the palate. It’s topped off with a crisp hop bite. The old ale definitely comes through more with age. I got big toffee and vanilla notes and definitely a woody character from the oak aging. It really shines through after a couple months. There’s kind of a cloying sweetness on the back as well.
Burton Baton is one of those beers you can have now, later and way down the line. The hops are much more prevalent when it’s fresher, but the mellow in flavor of a richer flavor after a couple months. I have one in my cellar, so I’m interested to see what a year or two of age will do to it if it’s this good after only a couple months in the fridge.