Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #162, published in April 2012. Words and photo by Elizabeth & Lee Klevens.
A delicious beer for your consideration: Burton Baton, from Dogfish Head Brewery. Burton Baton is labeled as an Imperial IPA, and at 10 percent ABV and 70+ IBUs it most definitely qualifies as one. However, it is more, much more, than that.
Burton Baton is actually a blend of two ales (threads)—an Imperial IPA and an English Old Ale. The beers are fermented in separate stainless tanks before being blended to in an oak tank to age together. While complexity is assured in this fine ale, nothing is overdone. The oak does a tremendous job of toning down the sweetness, as well as the bite of the alcohol. It is remarkably well dry hopped, as most Dogfish Head IPAs are.
When poured into a proper glass it is light copper in color and smells of a good IPA, with additional hints of oak. The taste suggests slightly roasted malts, complimented with hints of wood and mild vanilla. While floral, piney and citrus hops dance around from beginning to end, leaving you wanting another sip. For such a big beer, it is very well balanced and not overpowering—at least for the first couple glasses.