Last evening we stopped into the corner bar for a bit to eat and a brew. I ordered a reliable standby, Founders Pale Ale. While I was sitting there enjoying my meal I noticed that they had jotted on their chalk brewlist 'Double Diamond'. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked the server what it was, she informed me it was a Burton Ale. So I asked for a sample. I had heard of it but never tried it, and frankly was somewhat ignorant of it's history. I knew what a Burton Ale was, well so I thought. I recommend at least sampling it if you ever get the chance. It is very, very unique. Unlike your hoppy American ales, this brew seemed to draw it's strong flavor from the malt, not the hops. I can still taste the flavor but I can't describe it. I have checked a number of reviews, they all come up with different explanations of the flavor. Most describe esters and fruit flavors. I thought at first it tasted like cleaning solution of some sort. It seemed to be an acquired taste. By the end of the sample I was enjoying it, but not crazy about it.
A little bit of it's history from the bottle label: Double Diamond Original Burton Ale has been brewed since 1876. This most famous of English ales takes its name from the twin diamonds symbol which, over a hundred years ago, was chalked on each wooden cask to denote the very finest of ale produced by our breweries. Brewed and bottled by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. Brewers of Ale and Lager Ind Coope, Ltd., Burton-on-Trent, England.
A little bit of it's history courtesy of quaffale.org.uk: The origins of Ind Coope go back to 1709 when brewing started behind The Star Inn in Romford. In 1799 this pub was taken over by Edward Ind and a larger brewery built. C.E.Coope joined the firm in 1845 and in 1856 a much large brewery was opened in Burton-upon-Trent. The firm was renamed Ind Coope in 1886. In 1934 it merged with Samuel Allsopp. It merged once more with Ansells and Tetley Walker in 1961 to form Allied. The beer is now produced by Carlsberg-Tetley at their Leeds plant.
So I still don't know how to describe the flavour short of a strong malty estery flavour, as pungent as the smell of ammonia. Try it and tell me what you think...