Friday, June 25, 2010

Oak-Aged Ales — Stone vs. Dogfish Head

Stone Brewing
Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

ABV 7.2% IBU Classified

Brownish red.
Roasted sweet malts and spicy, piney hops.
Starts with a rich, sugary molasses, then moves into intense bitter hoppiness.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Intensely bitter, like bitter greens. Also slightly tannic (could it be from the oak aging?)
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Dogfish Head Burton Baton
ABV 10% IBU 70

Bright, clear orange.
Massive piney hop blast.
Citrusy hop syrup.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty.
Very sweet with orange flower water notes and mild hop bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Winner by unanimous decision
: Dogfish Head.
What a battle! Both of these beers are big, strong, bold and brash and the fight was very evenly matched. But, as you might expect, the Arrogant one got cocky and started showboating. Baton, on the other hand, maintained focus and leveled the Bastard in the 9th round.

Both of these beers are well worth your attention. They both have intense aromas, but the Burton Baton's is almost absurd. If you take a big enough whiff you kind of partially pass out and then get a slight headache, but before you know it, you're going back for another sniff.

The most interesting distinction we found between the two was that the Bastard had a lot of sweetness in the aroma but tasted quite hoppy while the Baton smelled hoppier but tasted sweet. The other thing to note was that despite the wood aging, neither of us detected any wood flavors or aromas in the beers.

In the end, it came down to the finish. The finish on the Bastard was wicked bitter and lingered a bit too long. The finish on the Baton, however, was delightfully rich and sweet with a mellow bitterness that was just enough to complement the sweet. To us, the Baton is definitely more of a dessert beer, perfect for slow sipping by the campfire while you contemplate the nature of hops and the meaning of wort.

1 comment:

  1. That reminds me that I have a Burton Baton stashed away that I'll have to crack open soon...yum.