Michael: For me, winter is stout season. Last year, I spent three glorious months of cold searching out the finest stouts I could. As the snow flies this year and the liquor store shelves begin to fill with bottles of black liquid goodness, it was time for me to clear out my fridge and make some room. So, reaching to the back of the shelf behind the leftover pumpkin pie and Tupperwares full of mashed potatoes, I grabbed the last IPA, a lingering sign of warmer days gone by.
In color, its what I search for in an IPA, a chewy-looking perfectly opaque orange-brown, it reminds me of one of my favorite double IPAs. The head is pearl-colored and puffy, spongy almost, a thick cap of foam that hangs around for the duration of my sipping. It burst of hops, the smell a mixture of citrus, faint pine and vanilla. My first sip is intriguing, both unexpected and pleasing, it’s two-beer blend coming forth in various forms. The IPA bursts in the finish, with a big-time bitter hop ending. And yet, the old ale weaves its way through each sip, it is calming to the hops and smoothens the mouthfeel. The 10% alcohol is most definitely present, but feels more like 7%, the blend hiding it well. The whole thing is creamy smooth, tasting just like the head looks, an airy, whipped feel. Wood and earth coat and last long after I’ve swallowed, the bitterness and slight alcohol burn toned only by its citrus edges and silky texture.
A great change to an Imperial IPA, the Burton Baton fits right into the off-center styles that typify Dogfish Head. For the hops lover, a must. For anyone else, a worthy choice. Grade: B
Tom: I had sampled this brew 2 years ago and thought it a little harsh on my palate. Recently spottinga single in a store I had the opportunity to revisit this blend of young and barrel aged IPA. What I rediscovered was a medley of flavor. This peach/nectrine colored brew has a distinctive hoppy aroma with a wine-like abv tingle. The oak contributed a subtle nose of vanilla while the hops and malt added a sweet apricot, peach, dark pear, caramel and berry notes. The oak aromas were fresh and smooth rounding out the 10% which is noticable. At first sip it had a rather light mouthfeel that eventually turned into a sticky sweet sensation on my lips and palate. Earthy notes develops and culinate at the end where both oak and hops reach their best. The hopping is citrusy and similar to the 60, 90, 120 flavors. Sweet on the tongue, bitter on the backside with an abv kicker. I was surprised to get a minor licorice flavor at the finish. I believe I summed it up nicely in a tweet I composed, “It’s halfway between a 90 and 120 minute IPA in bitterness with a boozy tannin dryness. A barleywine sweetness.” A beer you can enjoy right away for cellar for a few years. Grade: B