Yorkshire Stingo
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Yorkshire StingoYorkshire Stingo
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Style:
Strong Ale - English
Ranked #3
ABV:
8%
Score:
92
Ranked #3,402
Avg:
4.12 | pDev: 10.19%
Reviews:
486
Ratings:
1,014
From:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  133
Gots
  131
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Yorkshire StingoYorkshire Stingo
Notes: Some of the oak casks at Samuel Smith’s date back more than a century with the individual oak staves being replaced by the Old Brewery coopers over the years. Gradually the casks soak in more & more of the character of the ale fermented in stone Yorkshire squares. Yorkshire Stingo is aged for at least a year, matured in these well-used oak casks in the brewery’s underground cellars deriving fruit, raisin, treacle toffee, Christmas pudding and slight oaky flavours, before being further naturally conditioned in bottle.

Not suitable for vegans.
Reviews: 486 | Ratings: 1,014 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by woodychandler:
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am so close to eradicating The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody that old, forgotten bottles are beginning to surface from the depths. This one is marked as "Brewed in 2008" & it was one of the first releases here in the U.S. I purchased it in PHL when I was still fairly flush & traveling a good bit. It must have been just prior to my move into Chez Woody, where it has had a place in my kitchen reefer ever since.

From the Bottle: "The name Samuel Smith is a guarantee of excellence and purity"; "Fermented in stone Yorkshire squares at Yorkshire's oldest brewery est. 1758"; "Bottle Conditioned Ale"; "Ale aged in Oak Ale casks [&] matured for over a year"; "Some of the oak casks at Samuel Smith's date back more than a century with the individual oak staves being replaced by the Old Brewery coopers over the years. Gradually, the casks soak in more & more of the character of the ale fermented in stone Yorkshire squares. Yorkshire Stingo is aged for at least a year, matured in well-used oak casks in the brewery's underground cellars, deriving fruit, raisin, treacle toffee, Christmas pudding and slight oaky flavours before bing furhter naturally conditioned in bottle. Allow time for yeast to settle before opening then pour gently."; "Brewed in 2008."; "[Picture Captions] - Oak ale casks in the underground cellars at Samuel Smith's small, independent brewery. Rousing during fermentation in stone Yorkshire squares to redistribute the flocculent Old Brewery yeast strain."

Based on their input, I Pop!ped the cap & began a slow, gentle C-Line pour into the awaiting glass. It quickly formed two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, light-tan head on its own, but unbidden, it just as quickly faded to wisps, leaving little to no lacing in its wake. Color was a gorgeous Copper-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. The nose was wondrous! The oak gave it a pronounced woody, vanilla quality and the fruits alluded to were of the dark, dried variety. It had a leatheriness along with a definite treacle & toffee quality. 8=O Mouth = watering. Mouthfeel was thick & dense, like a caramel/toffee treat melting in my mouth and on my tongue. I mention caramel since that was the initial flavor that I perceived, but as it began to warm, it blossomed with so many variegated flavors! The oak gave it a very leathery, woody quality & the treacle flavor put me in mind of Christmas pudding. The dried, dark fruits were likewise evident, melding into a decadent ale that I definitely want to revisit. Finish was veddy, veddy dry, a testament to the yeast's having done it job & done it well. I am sure that they did not intend for me to age it in the bottle for a decade, but c'est la guerre! It suddenly came to me about the finish - Sherry!

I have not had Sherry in many, many years, but this was quite evocative of it. We were in Marseilles, France for Christmas 1991 & my buddy, Kenny & I had secured a garret room for a few nights, thanks to my ability to speak French. The landlady was fascinated by us, our willingness to eat anything placed before us, including escargot & had us in her parlor to listen to a Miles Davis CD sent to me by my Pops. We ate a sumptuous repast, smoked cigars, listened to the CD & drank all sorts of alcoholic beverages, including Sherry as a digestif. Kenny passed in 2014, just after our 25-year reunion & I helped to scatter his ashes at sea from the fantail that November, but this remains one of my fondest memories.

Nov 03, 2018
More User Reviews:
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a murky dark ruby color. The head is a quarter inch of off white foam that recedes into a thin cap of lacing. The aroma is big and malty. There is ample caramel, cherry, raspberry, licorice, and oak. The taste has nice oak up front..much more so than in the aroma. There is more caramel and some nice toffee too. The fruit that is so present in the aroma is still there in the taste but is much more muted. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an almost watery texture. This is the only real knock I can give this beer. It would be more enjoyable to me if it were a little fuller bodied. Overall, however, this is a fine beer that I wish I hadn't neglected trying for so many years. I can see myself visiting this beer on occasion in the future. Well done, Samuel Smith.

Oct 21, 2015
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into an oversized tulip glass.

I give this a vigorous pour and a frothy but creamy head emerges. The liquid is sort of a cloudy raisin color with light trickles of carbonation visible. The persistent head is a nice sight. 4.5

Quite the curiosity of a nose as it seems to cross elements of a Belgian quad and a dubbel. Raisin, plum and figs are prominent, but so too is a floral bouquet. Rich caramel shines too. 4

Interesting how the flavor seems to get away from the nose, as it's far less fruity than I was led to expect. Upfront flavors blend raisins and floral hops before giving way to an almost buttery caramel. Grassy notes close things out. 4

Lighter in body than I would have expected and desire, especially given the rich caramel and fruit aromas, plus there's more of a hop presence which again throws me for a loop. Still it has enough thickness and sweetness to linger pleasantly on the tongue and drink like something you'd want post-dinner. 4

First time with this style and I must say it's unique. Seems somewhere between a barleywine, old ale, and Belgian Quad, I guess. Perhaps lacking the body and bold flavors I expect from the greatest of these styles though. Still, as a beer that preceded so many, this deserves some respect for having standout qualities that would please today's consumer in need of aggressive flavors and feels.

Oct 19, 2015
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sjccmd from Minnesota

4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rich and rum-y aroma. Figs, dates, bread pudding. Leather, tobacco, raspberries too. Earthy oaky notes. Sarsaparilla and spices. Pumpernickel bread. Earthy funk and acidity is notable. Difficult to place any hop character.

Pours hazy reddish brown with a moderate sized off-white head. Fizzes away slowly. Lacing is there but not too sticky.

Rich and even bready-er than the nose suggested. French toast, slightly burnt. Lots of oak with just a touch of acidity. Figs and raspberries. Clove and cinnamon. Spicy alcohols become more evident as it warms. Burnt sugar. Steely bitterness. Fairly dry finish with lingering bread pudding, raspberries, and oak. Sherry notes for sure.

Medium full body with medium carbonation. Higher carbonation than other Sam Smith beers. Somewhat acrid on the palate, but in a way that balances the sweetness rather than being offensive.

A sherry drinker's beer for sure. Lots of complexity without being cloying. Tons of oak character.

Apr 27, 2016
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ohbeer89 from Oklahoma

4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Everything I love about Sam Smith's Winter Welcome, but more so. It has a sort of burnished, round, nutty quality that ties right in to the perfect mouthfeel that clings to every part of your palate. Enough coppery notes from what must have once been fuggles and goldings and some tannins from the oak give the beer structure and keep it from dissolving into a mushy mess.

Apr 28, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

stingo is one of those crazy styles thats different every time you see one, which is all too infrequently these days. this is one of the classics, maybe the longest running in our market, and just phenomenal in every way. whether they take some of this out and do it with cherries, or blend some lacto soured beer back into the mix, there is no denying its complexity, dried fruity finish, and tannic pucker uncommon in english beer. amazingly rich, malt forward but so interesting. not chocolate or caramel or normal english yeast, but somehow drawing on all of these. its more mature, aged in oak, and mellowed and better integrated than most others. i get a ton of cherry in the finish through the rich but tannic froth on the back end, and there is just a slight tartness like fruit from the tree a few weeks before its pickable. stingo means something different to every brewer, but for me this is the one by which all others must be judged. the original and still the best, brewed in 2011 was my bottle, thanks for this beauty. best in the morning or in the icy cold!

Nov 21, 2014
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JudgeRoughneck from Louisiana

1.87/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Aroma- fresh cut apples, yellow raisins, and seriously...radish. Very fresh and appealing. Very faint oxidative note if you look for it but hides well behind the more in-your-face nose salad. overall very appealing aroma.

Appearance- Lively carbonation, big creamy head with excellent retention, and poor clarity are all unexpected for the style. ruddy maple color. Once again, unusual for old ale, but appealing none the less.

Taste and mouthfeel - Quite sherry-like. Heavy malt sweetness draws flavor sensations to the tip of the tounge but solventy alcohol carries grassy hop flavor into the nose, making both disharmony and distraction. Sam Smith's trademark acetylaldehyde ester (usually endearing in my book) is not helping the situation and becomes rather shrill at this ABV. If you you can clear your mind of all this and force some beer to the mid palate, you can glean some notes of pear and a very thin caramel tone, but it is kind of lost in the mess. Medium-full bodied with high levels of carbonation but you won't notice that with astringent, even tannic, dryness bludgeoning your entire mouth through the painfully long finish and aftertaste. Yikes.

Overall- This is like somebody's first high ABV homebrew. I am usually a big fan of this brewery and the old ale style so I was really psyched when I finally got my hands on a bottle and paid pretty handsomely for it. I was ready to love this brew all night long but most of it will be destined for the drain. It really pains me to slam a Sam Smith beer when I so often defend them to other beer nerds, but this is just bad news. If you are an English Old ale fan, Fuller's vintage is cheaper, easier to find, and far superior.

Feb 02, 2010
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tekstr1der from New Hampshire

4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Immediately one of my favorites, after already-high expectations from the rest of this brewer's lineup.

Slightly cloudy mahogany pour in a tulip, holding a clingy finger of dense foam. The aromas of raisin, prune, and caramel seem a mix of elements from my two favorite styles: dopplebock and belgian quad. Indeed, I already know this is a favorite before tasting, but the flavor only reinforces the sweet, ripe-dark-fruit flavors and clean non-cloying finish. Wish I'd bought more than one. Back to the store...

Nov 04, 2015
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GilGarp from Colorado

4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love the story behind this beer. There are so many barrel aged beers on the shelves today - everything from bourbon to chardonay - but this beer was aged in beer barrels! What a novel idea.

Served cool into the ol' Watou glass, Stingo is a hazy redish brown color with head that develops only when poured right down the middle. It settles quickly leaving no lace. This all seems about right for the style.

Aroma is classic English old ale. Lots of sweet dark fruits, brown bread, caramel, vanilla from the oak, and so on.

Flavor is intense too. This is one impressive beer! Samuel Smith has always been underappreciated and I think this one makes the strongest case for that. Dates, plums, raisins, caramel... all mingling together in an oakey wonderland. Sweet without being cloying, intense without going over the top, and full of nuances that make every sip a new discovery.

Mouthfeel is medium to full with low carbonation. Really pleasant sipper.

Overall a fantastic beer! I need to go out and get some more!

Aug 23, 2010
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle.
Pours clear copper/amber beer with thick beige head, long retention.
Smell - dried fruits, caramel, sherry.
Taste - hard water, some barrel characters, hop note, toffee, dramatic lack of fruitiness - it seems rather faint for ESA.
Medium body and carbonation.
The beer didn't fit my expectations.

Dec 28, 2018
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lesdemonsamaporte from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Feb 03, 2014
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manfromanotherplace from New York

4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smooth beer with a great aroma and nice mouthfeel and oaky taste. Quite sweet and has an aftertaste of christmas pudding.would be great as a winter warmer.very good.

Aug 30, 2015
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joeysmokedporter from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 550 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: pours copper-amber, slightly hazy, nice creamy and somewhat lumpy 2-finger head with great retention and lacing. more than you would expect for an old ale or English BW, but very appealing.

S: malt, molasses, caramel, dried dark fruit. Terrific.

T: caramel malt, treacle, plums, figs, and alcohol all seem to work together in a nice harmony. Toward the end, a hop bitterness and oak astringency finish it off and balance the sweetness. Very slight yeasty flavor but overall a very well-balanced beer. Alcohol is definitely present but not solvent-like or hot.

M: creamy, carbonation higher than expected for the style. light in body for a high alcohol beer, and an interesting dichotomy when combined with the wealth of flavor.

D: flavor-wise, very drinkable... but then you try to stand up and it hits you. Share with a friend if possible. Extremely tasty and interesting overall presentation, one that I will seek out again.

Feb 06, 2010
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew had been one that I wanted to try for quite some time. The beer poured out as a deep red color with a fizzy cream colored head on top. The head quickly vanishes and doesn't leave any lacing. The smell is of some soft earthy notes, nothing too extreme here... I expected the smell to be much stronger than it was. The taste of the beer is pretty good, not sour like I expected. There is some semi-sweet caramel flavors with some earthy malts and a light wooden barrel flavor in there too. The mouthfeel has a pretty good body to it, the carbonation isn't too bad. Overall this brew wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. It's a decent brew, but I'm struggling a little bit to see the hype.

Sep 28, 2011
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billbeers from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oct 31, 2015
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DJ-Hophead from England

4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

550 ml bottle, Gardiner Haskins, Bristol - Pours dark amber with a medium creamy head. Nice lacing. Medium carbonation. Aroma - Treacle toffee, burnt sugar, raisins, dark stoned fruit, marzipan. Taste - Sweet, smooth, burnt sugar, dark stoned fruits, marzipan, dark berries. Nice bitter finish with a little alcoholic warmth. Lovely Xmas pudding, strong ale.

Jan 21, 2018
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Brad007 from Vermont

3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, cloudy amber color with a two-finger head into my glass. Nice presentation here. Looks tasty.

Aroma is full of sweet malt with a strong hint of plum/raisin and alcohol warmth.

Taste is a bit sour for some reason with raisin/plum standing out the most on the tongue. Malt seems like it's toasted in some way.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and unappealing for some reason. Alcohol lingers in the mouth but the flavors somehow fade.

Could be much better. Thicker. It's certainly a strong ale but I wonder if this batch is off or something?

Jan 25, 2010
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runningjoke from Virginia

4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nice and thick orange beige head, that slowly became non existent unless swirled again. It smelled of toffee and dark fruit, with a slight hint of earthiness and alcohol. The most prominent flavor was the toffee flavor. A hint of raisin and a oaky/smokey flavor like tobacco and leather at the finish. It felt great in the mouth and went down easy leaving the alcohol presence behind.

Dec 05, 2010
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hdtrice from England

4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark amber brown. Small cream coloured head.
Smell: Raisins, boozy, rich.
Taste: Rich (but not too rich) mixture of fruits and oak. Quite sweet, in an understated, dark way.
Feel: Thickish texture, leaves you knowing you've had a mouthful. Lively enough on the tongue - surprisingly so for a rich, fruity ale.
Overall: lovely drop. Doesn't taste like an 8% beer. Fruits and wood and booze all work together. A good'n for me.

Jun 10, 2015
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gford217 from Georgia

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy caramel brown with a thick creamy beige head that recedes slowly and leaves very good lacing.

The aroma is sweet with lots of caramel malts, brown sugar and a surprisingly big wood presence. I'm also getting lots of booze-soaked plums and raisins.

The taste is even oakier with a sticky sweet dark fruits and caramel malts anchoring things underneath. The finish is sweet with toffee but still dry with lots of oaky tannins and spiciness lingering.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation but still seems slick and sticky nonetheless.

I'm definitely digging this one as it's definitely a very sweet beer but with a nice balancing job being done by the barrel character. Really nice beer.

Jan 04, 2010
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Impfan from Washington

4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nothing like the Watney's Stingo of old. The color is a particularly refractive cognac/amber, and there are esters of raisin, plum, cherry, treacle, toffee, vanilla, plum pudding in hard sauce, and oak. The body is medium and oily, and the flavor and carbonation are very soft. It's a sweet brew, on balance, but never cloying, with just enough flowery hop dryness in the finish, and a lot of finesse.

Oct 27, 2010
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iKrystin from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Jan 12, 2013
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kitschiguy from Hong Kong

4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

550ml bottle given to me by a supplier.

Pours a nice medium brown with a red hue. Big fluffy and slightly rocky head. lasted all the way down to the bottom of the glass and left lots of lacing.

Nose is complex as you'd expect. Spicy with stone fruit, fruit cake, cherries, stewed apples and cloves.

Palate is complex and very full bodied with dark stone fruit, fruit cake, cherries, vermouth/sherry notes, apple pie and cloves.

Mouth is lovely - very creamy and full.

Overall this is a wonderful beer. Very well made, well-balanced, huge flavours and looks amazing. A real experience. This is a 'Stingo' a unique style of English Ale.

Highly recommended

Jun 08, 2016
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kotzbauerm from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 29, 2017
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WhiteOak from Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass- Riedel 6416/07

A- Copper color, expansive foam which settles flat.

S- Caramel malt, dark fruits, vanilla, yeast.

T- Diacetyl/vanillin barrel character, caramel, toffee. Sweet dried fruits: fig, date, raisin. Inviting, seductive, rich maltiness. Restrained, well integrated hops. Long, lingering malty finish.

M, D- Smooth, full, rounded flavors for a mid-weight beer. Nice, palate-coating viscosity. Perfect CO2. Wonderfully drinkable with very alluring flavors.

Comment: I consider "The Yorkshire Stingo" as a historical brewing artifact. This is what I believe a quality English brown ale was like 250 years ago, and drinking this is like a trip back in time. The methods, materials, ingredients are essentially a replica from that period, and the necessary economy then would call for the long-term reuse of expensive oak casks. These old barrels imparted a unique character, and I believe it to be shown skillfully in this brew. Good stuff!

Jan 16, 2010
Yorkshire Stingo from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1014 ratings