A very nice article in the current Zymurgy (the magazine mailed to members of the American Homebrewers Association and also available on newsstands) by Martyn Cornell and Antony Hayes titled “Burton Ale: A British Comfort Beer.”
I particularly like this paragraph: “Burton Ale is a comforting beer brewed for adults. It is not an extreme beer catering to childish tastes, but a strong, rich beer, playing off plenty of bitterness against a sweet, malty undertone. It has no rough edges.”
And this one: “When brewing a Burton Ale, it is best to remember the things that comforted you most as a child your teddy bear or blanket perhaps and then aim for a beer that will evoke similar emotions.”
(If you grew up hugging pine cones, then obviously you’re gonna brew a different beer. That’s a discussion for another day.)
I must admit my shoulders drooped a bit when I read the recipe (which calls for an alarming amount of East Kent Golding hops comparable to well over 3 pounds per barrel before dry hopping and discovered a bit of bad news: “Rack into maturation tanks and mature for a year.”
There’s a reason they call them maturation tanks.