Burton Baton is an IPA, or India Pale Ale. If there’s one thing the beer nerd knows about IPAs (actually, there is usually a lot of things the beer nerd knows about IPAs), it’s that they are to be drunk fresh. As fresh as possible. Some hop heads will tell you they only drink IPA’s that are a month old or younger. Two months tops! I would argue that most IPA’s benefit from a couple weeks in the bottle to let things really mix together, but definitely after than they should be drunk soon or that beautiful hops profile will become nothing more than a memory.
Dogfish Head’s oak aged imperial pale ale that you see here though says right on the bottle “Lush and enjoyable now, Burton Baton will age with the best of ’em.” That’s not what I’m used to seeing a brewery say about their IPA. This is indeed an IPA that’s already been aged in oak barrels, and it’s 10% ABV so there’s no doubt it’s got some serious punch going in. Like anything with a lot of hops, the hops will indeed mellow out over time but it sounds like this particular brew can handle that change gracefully.
This bottle was filled in May of this year, making it about 5 months old. That’s a little on the old side for a typical IPA but it sounds like it’s probably prime for Mr. Baton. Well, I would say it’s the perfect age for Burton Baton though I’ve never had this beer before – it was excellent, magnificent even. I’ll run through my thoughts:
Appearance: Caramel brown with pretty minimal head, especially for an IPA.
Smell: Malty! Caramel, banana bread, peach, pineapple.
Taste: This beer has an expansive flavour! Big caramel sweet malts with a lot of floral notes (lavender, sweetened chamomile tea), earthy and pine notes, and citrus and orange fruits. It ends on a earthy bitterness combined with lingering coating of caramel. Pine and oak notes as well.
Overall I love the balance this beer has, it’s got a lot more malt than I expected but still packed a pretty powerful hops punch as well. I will seek this beer out again for drinking at various ages, from fresh to a couple years old – I want to try every facet of it. I’m impressed with this Dogfish Head regular, for sure.