Posted by: Stonecipher
Mar. 6, 2011
The Dogfish Head Burton Baton has been much more difficult to track down than I initially suspected. Here in Illinois, as is the case in 36 other states, Dogfish Head products are pretty easy to find, but given that the Burton Baton is not brewed year-round out there in Delaware, it can be a challenge to locate.
Fortunately, Binny’s Beverage Depot is an incredible resource and my local Binny’s happened to have one 4-pack left last week. This was particularly good news considering that a couple weeks ago I lost the one bottle of it that I had been able to get my hands on. As it turned out, that loss was actually a gain. Rather than having just the one bottle, I was able to have a few extras to enjoy while I was not writing about them. The reason I have this blog is because I thoroughly enjoy writing about beer, but sometimes it is nice to just sit back and enjoy one without thinking too much about it. Plus, rather than stealing a sip or two from me, my girlfriend was able to steal an entire beer for herself.
On to the review:
Brewery Location: Milton, Delaware
Style: American Double IPA (Blended with an English-style Old Ale)
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.14 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.25 - Excellent
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,189/11th
Brewery Description: Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Bottled On: NA
APPEARANCE: (3.5 out of 5) I poured the Burton Baton from its 12oz. bottle into a snifter and found it to be a fairly standard (for a DIPA), but still good-looking deep, mildly opaque copper color. A small, slightly creamy head rested on top, but it didn’t last long. Within seconds it was completely gone, which did seem to negatively impact the smell. As expected with the lack of head retention, not much lacing was evident, although a few scattered wisps of foam remained as evidence that a beer had recently been enjoyed in the snifter.
SMELL: (3.5 out of 5) Speaking of the snifter, it is an absolute must for this beer. The aroma is complex and should be appreciated to its fullest and the snifter provides plenty of surface area while simultaneously directing the aroma right into the nose. Sweet smells of vanilla, malt and some citrus lead the way, but hints of oak and hops lurk in the background. Had the strength of the aroma lasted a bit longer than it did I would have been able to give this beer higher marks in the smell category. Unfortunately, though, my first sniff was by far the best and as soon as the head vanished the smell seemed to go with it.
TASTE: (4.5 out of 5) A strong, malty, vanilla and citrusy sweetness completely dominates each sip of the Burton Baton, but if close attention is paid to the taste, there is also a very intense hop flavor that might be missed by some. It’s like drinking good bourbon in the respect that the strong alcohol flavors often fool people into thinking that it isn’t as sweet as it really is. The Baton is sort of the opposite; the sweetness hides the bitter, hoppy flavor. There are plenty of DIPAs (Hopslam immediately comes to mind) that would be good for introducing a non-hop head to the style, but the Dogfish Head Burton Baton might be the perfect beer in this respect. The hop flavor is a large part of what makes it so impressively tasty, but unless you are really focusing on that in particular it is very easy to not notice what it is. This is getting to be a long-winded description of the taste, though, so to get back on track notes of pine and citrus are also detectable in this very delicious Double IPA. A slightly bitter aftertaste also leaves the palate craving the next sweet sip.
MOUTHFEEL: (4.5 out of 5) The Burton Baton has the rare combination of having both a smooth, creamy and oily feel while still possessing some strong sparkle and carbonation.
OVERALL: (4.5 out of 5) This is an absurdly easy beer to drink, at least for the first one. I have not attempted to drink two in one sitting before, but I’m not 100% sure that I would want to. It sits like a rich dessert would. The palate craves more, but the stomach might disagree. One of these days, though, when I have some Burton Baton around again, I’m sure my palate will win out and we’ll see how it goes then.
DRAWBACKS: My biggest problem with this beer was the lack of head retention and lacing. The head retention would not have been such a big problem if it had not impacted the nose so strongly. In terms of the lacing, I know I tend to knit pick about it, but I like my beer to please all of my senses and strong lacing is a large part of what pleases my sense of sight.
SOUND: The Burton Baton is a very smooth, pleasant and accessible beer, but at the same time it is extraordinarily complex, lively and full bodied. It also happens to be rare, at least compared to many other Dogfish Head products. These characteristics reminded me of a very smooth, easy to listen to, yet still very complex song by a group called the Whatnauts. The song is called “Help is on the Way” from their album, “The Whatnauts on the Rocks” and was released in 1972. I usually try to include a link to the song I am referencing in the sound section, but iTunes doesn’t carry it. So you’ll have to do a little digging yourself, but in the mean time you can at least check the group out with one of their hit singles called “Livin’ My Life”.