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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Day 217 Drink: Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo is a vintage dated strong ale that has been imported for two years now. According to the brewery, "Stingo" is a traditional strong ale that was first made in the north of England and dates back to before 1700.

My first encounter with Stingo as a beer style was as a college student in London in 1980. The very name -- Stingo -- caught my attention. When I was told it was a "barley wine," it further peaked my interest. Watney's Dark Stingo was served up in a 7 ounce nip bottle and was a nightcap favorite of mine after a few pints of bitter. Basically, with pubs closing at 11 p.m., my 20-year-old brain found a little extra kick desirable for the long walk back to my flat.

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo is available to mark "Yorkshire Day," which is August 1st. The beer will vary slightly each year and at 9 percent alcohol by volume it is bottle conditioned after aging for a year in oak barrels that had previously held cask conditioned real ale.

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo pours a dark amber color with a tan head. The beer has a fruity and sweet nose, with hints of fig and sweet breads. The flavor has a coating mouthfeel that is a complex mix of raisins, tropical fruit and mellow oak notes. I would love to let this beer age for a couple of years to see where it goes.

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