Including Dogfish Head’s regular, seasonal, collaborations, occasional, and brewpub exclusives, they brew over 75 different beers. Is it just me or is that amazingly ridiculous? Beyond the sheer number of beers they brew, they huge range of style and experimentation is just incredible. So thank you Dogfish Head for always keeping me guessing and satisfied with a huge range of unique and quality crafted beers – please send more to Canada!
I’ve already talked a lot about two of DFH’s staple beers that helped put them on the map; the 60 Minute IPA and the 90 Minute IPA. But another long standing beer falling in their occasional rarities selection is the Burton Baton. I’ve had it several times before, but always seem to forget just how good it really is. Thus, in true Dogfish fashion, every time I do have it, I’m severally impresses and quenches me.
The Burton Baton is an interesting one; it is 10% abv, and 70 IBUs. Seems pretty standard for DFH. But the Burton Baton is unique because it is actually the product of two different beers. Dogfish brews an English-style Old Ale as well an Imperial IPA, ferments them individually, then they are blended and aged in a massive 100,000L oak tank for one month. this creates a richly bitter, malty and flavorful beer with complexities that mimic all three aspects of the beer; the IPA, Old Ale, and Oak.
Theres a lot going on here, so don’t mute all the flavors by serving it too cold. I recommend cellar temperature around 12C (54F), but I have also had it cool at 8C, and it was exceptionally refreshing. So open it cool and enjoy the best of both worlds as it warms.
The Burton Baton is available in both 355 and 750ml bottles. I opened a 355 and poured in into a DFH snifter – one of my favorites. The pour was rich with color and life right from the get-go. Shoots of amber brown beer were peering off in every direction lifting thick streams of cream colored foam right behind it. It did produce and hazy garnet brown, almost red brick colored beer with hints of dirty orange and a touch of gold into the light. A soft but dense one inch pale white head formed generously above the beer and proved a very resilient structure.
Going in for the nose I was immediately reminded of the 90 Minute IPA. It shows huge ripe zest and pine hop flavors reminiscent of both the 60 and 90 minute IPA. A moment goes by and it opens with the beer’s true colors. There is a big malty backbone here with caramel, warm barley, honey and some gentle dark fruit. Sweetness comes from the depth here showing oak and vanilla in very short waves of perfume. Overall I felt like there were two individual scents here playing together at the same time. Coincidentally, I guess that really is how the beer was built (Old Ale plus Imperial IPA).
Pour the Baton into your mouth and let the big and round mix of warm caramel malts and rich citrus hops sooth and entertain you. It really is a ride through a fantastic beer. As the nose foreshadowed, I get that undeniable wave of west coast hops; grapefruit, orange peel, earth and pine. But right behind it comes a rush of malts showing sweet toffee, plums, prunes, pears, a hint of grapes and soft muddled spices. Now the beer really engulfs your palate and begins to entertain with a myriad of complex and distinct flavors.
You can break through the richness of malt and hops as the beer warms a touch, and then you will be exposed to more flavors subtly sleeping in the background. The oak begins to glide over your cheeks and show smooth gentle vanilla and spice. It is really quite soothing and compliments the rich depth of the beer in the first place. It also helps to mask the alcohol which is nowhere to be found.
The mouthfeel is soft and juicy with rich carbonation floating on a creamy and elegantly built beer. The beer is quenching and hoppy with smooth and crisp characters, but also comes off as soothing and creamy with warm malt. Really an excellent blend.
I had this just with some artisan honey bread, and it was very nice. But I’m thinking beer ribs, stews, chilli, roast chicken, or Indian food. The Burton Baton will not disappoint.