Saturday, February 20, 2010

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo (2010 original review)

Henry pays me a visit and helps me drink a 550ml bottle of Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo. This bottle was sent to me from Mike W. in Pennsylvania (thanks so much for the beer AGAIN man!). I was a little hesitant to review this beer because I didn't think I'd like it.

NOTE: I didn't write a text review of this at the time, but here's my 2014 review of a 2011 vintage:

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1103) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 30, 2014
I poured a 550ml bottle into an English pint glass. I was brewed in 2010, bottled on 1/28/11 and cost $12.99 ($0.69 per ounce).

Appearance: Ugly rusty brown hue. Completely opaque with no visible carbonation. Pours to a small, beige, foamy head which completely dissipates and leaves no lacing.

Smell: A cornucopia of dark and stone fruits, plus notes of sherry and cider.

Taste: I first had Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo over four years ago when it originally debuted. I haven’t had it since, though re-watching my review I can tell the flavor profile to the beer has definitely changed over time. Like any good English-style barleywine, old ale or “English Strong Ale” should, it’s aged and developed nicely. I’m not sure which style category it conforms to, though much like the rest of the brews from Samuel Smith’s Brewery, it’s complex, distinctive and quite enjoyable.

The first thing I notice about the palate is the huge fruit notes. Red apple, plum, fig, raisins, and dark cherry are all prominent flavors right away. I also noticed a strong, sweet flavor of butterscotch, though it faded quickly. Toffee emerges on the finish, along with some dark chocolate, giving it a taste profile similar to that of a barleywine, but not quite as intense. Whatever hop presence this beer originally had has definitely faded, though it’s not quite carbonated syrup either. In my original review I described it as being very cider-like and acidic, though that’s not the case anymore. While still plenty flavorful, I’d say the beer definitely peaked some time ago. If you see a bottle in the 2 to 3-year-old vintage I’d recommend giving it a try.

Drinkability: Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo definitely has the palate of a strong brew, though the drinking process itself it remarkably easy. The mouthfeel is calm, soft and smooth, but noticeably thick. I was surprised (and a tad disappointed) that the aftertaste finishes mostly clean with just a slight dryness. The 8% ABV gives it significant weight and a minor warming sensation, but at no point is there a distraction. 
Grade: 9/10

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