In Belgium, it's
not uncommon to blend beers. Lambic brewers specifically will blend young
and old editions of their beer, mostly to attain a modicum of consistency.
But why should the Belgians have all the fun? Or so those crazy guys at
Rehobeth, Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery thought. And so they decided to
blend up a special beer of their own. The result: Dogfish Head Burton
Burton Baton is a blend of two Imperial IPAs, or really strong India
Pale Ales. In this they follow the Belgian pattern, with one of the beers
being very young to add an assertive hop character. The second, however, is
aged to mellow it, and aged on oak to add that wood's unique character to
the final product.
The result is a beer of prodigious character and immense body and flavor.
Definitely a sipping beer, one best suited for a cool fall evening, though
it's a warm summer one as I imbibe. Burton Baton is easy on neither the
wallet ($12.99 for four bottles) nor the waistline (320 calories per
bottle). Still, at 10% alcohol or so by volume, this isn't a beer you'll
likely drink more than one of, and probably shouldn't be.
Dogfish Head Burton Baton pours to a robust cloudy orange color with
a thick and very creamy head formation and a bold citrus hop nose. The beer
is lively in carbonation, with tiny bubbles steadily rising from the depths
of my tulip shaped glass to join the head. A fine layer of Brussels lace
coats the sides of the glass as the liquid descends, too.
The real fun begins, however, when you gently pull at the frothy, luscious
liquid and roll it around over the tongue. It's thick and viscous, syrupy,
and really decadent when you get right down to it. Right off the bat, too,
you'll notice the citric, piney hops of the young IPA, mellowed off by the
blending with the oak-aged 90 minute IPA. Fruity pineapple and peach come
through as well.
The bigger maltiness of Burton Baton foils the hops a bit, as well, and the
underlying notes of spicy vanilla and woody oak come through nicely, too.
There's an unmistakable honey-like sweetness that permeates the beer, too,
though it's balanced in the very bitter finish by the resiny, peppery hops.
Warming alcohol also lingers on the tongue after sipping.
A tasty complex sipping ale that should improve with time.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.