BEER REVIEW: Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Style: oak-aged Imperial IPA
Price: $14.99/4-pk at Total Wine
Sight: reddish orange
Smell: vanilla, huge caramel, cinnamon bread
Taste: caramel, vanilla, creamy, citrus hop, cedar
Overall: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one; it just sounds like it has a lot going on. It’s not just an IPA, but an Imperial IPA (read: Extra-Super Mega-IPA Plus), and also it’s oak-aged—I’m still learning what oak means for beer as opposed to wine. It pours bronze-red with a dense white head and blankets the glass in what I hesitate to call “lacing;” I almost want to call it “cotton” in this case. Aroma-wise, I get a faceful of sweet bakery notes (vanilla, cinnamon, caramel) which are probably just as much from the malt as they are from the oak-imparted vanillin. These aromas follow through as flavors on the palate, but they are engulfed in a big, structural hop bitterness, accented by a warm, woodsy cedar bass note. It’s as if this would have been really decadent and dessert-like, were it not for its hop-charged nervous system, imparting all this energy and bitter sensation. Dynamic and artfully layered, Burton Baton smoothly juggles filled-out malt, vanillin impositions, orange-rind hops, and a damp cedarwood stump. I won’t lie to you—it’s a dense beer, and it’s at 10% ABV, and it’ll try and take you down, but it’s graceful nonetheless. Worth winding down with after a long day.