I decided the IPA tasting on Sunday needed a bonus beer, a beer that would wipe out the feeling of sameness on the palate. So I dug into the fridge and pulled out a bottle of Yorkshire Stingo I bought on an impulse a month ago. Actually, Sarah encouraged me to buy it because the label is so great. I’ve sampled a few of Samuel Smith’s offerings — the oatmeal stout, the organic cider — but this is the most interesting beer I’ve seen from them. An English strong ale aged for a year in the same oak barrels they have been using for decades.
Yorkshire Stingo proved to be the perfect night cap. It’s a sipping beer, not because it’s high in alcohol — it only boasts eight percent alcohol by volume — but because of the delightful, complex qualities of the beer. My guests described it as like sherry or port wine. The nose is fruity, cherries in caramel. The taste is spicy like cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish has a bit of dry oak, maybe a hint of vinous tannin. And the raisin, the smoothness. It’s closer to a Belgian quadrupel or strong dark ale than an American strong ale or barleywine. I’m a little disappointed I shared it with so many people. But you can’t hog a great beer like this, you need other people to really tease out all those little flavors and nuances.