The Legendary Stingo Beer

Stingo beer, a term popular in northern England in the 1700s, referred to a strong ale. Although the term has lost popularity over the centuries, the techniques and beers that inspired it continue to thrive. Stingo was essentially a nickname for a robust barley , and one particular brew, the Yorkshire Stingo from Samuel Smiths, stands out as a true gem in their collection.

What sets the Yorkshire Stingo apart is its aging process. After brewing, this beer spends an entire year maturing in oak casks. This extended period of aging adds an incredible complexity to the final product. The name “Stingo” itself has an interesting origin. It was customary for Yorkshiremen in London to gather at a certain pub and its adjacent pleasure gardens for the first three days of May. This pub, where the Yorkshire Stingo was likely enjoyed, became associated with the term.

The Yorkshire Stingo is truly a beer to be savored. Its flavors and aromas are rich and diverse, thanks to the influence of the oak casks. The aging process imparts a subtle woody character that complements the strong, malty backbone of the brew. The result is a harmonious balance of flavors that can be quite mind-boggling.

One of the defining characteristics of the Yorkshire Stingo is its strength. Like many barley wines, it boasts a higher content compared to other beer styles. This robustness is reflected in its full-bodied nature and its ability to warm the senses. It is a beer meant to be sipped and appreciated, not gulped down hastily.

Another notable feature of the Yorkshire Stingo is its hop bitterness. This beer is not afraid to assert its hop character, providing a pleasant and lingering bitterness that offsets the sweetness. The combination of strong malts and pronounced creates a bold and assertive flavor profile.

It's important to note that the Yorkshire Stingo is not a beer that can be rushed. The year-long aging process in oak casks allows the flavors to develop and meld together. This patience and dedication to craftsmanship are what make this beer truly special.

Although the term “Stingo” may have faded from common usage, the essence of this strong ale lives on in the Yorkshire Stingo. It is a testament to the rich brewing traditions of northern England and a reminder of the depth and complexity that can be achieved in beer.

The Yorkshire Stingo is a beer that demands attention and appreciation. Its year-long aging in oak casks results in a complexity that is truly remarkable. With its strong malt backbone, assertive hop bitterness, and subtle woody notes, it is a beer that offers a unique and unforgettable drinking experience. So, next time you come across a Stingo beer, take a moment to savor and enjoy its rich flavors and the history behind it.

Stingo Beer 1689343347

What Is A Stingo Beer?

A Stingo beer refers to a type of strong ale that was popular in northern England during the 1700s. The term “Stingo” itself was used as slang for a strong ale at that time. While the term has lost its popularity over the years, the brewing techniques and characteristics that inspired Stingo beers are still present in certain beers today.

Stingo beers are known for their robust and powerful nature. They are typically higher in alcohol content compared to other beers, ranging from 7% to 12% ABV (alcohol by volume). This higher alcohol content contributes to their strength and intensity.

One key aspect of Stingo beers is the presence of hop bitterness. Hops are a crucial ingredient in beer brewing, and they add bitterness, aroma, and flavor to the . Stingo beers often have a notable hop bitterness, which balances out the sweetness from the malt.

Wood aging is another defining characteristic of Stingo beers. Traditionally, these ales were aged in wooden , which imparted unique flavors and aromas to the beer. The wood aging process can add complexity, depth, and sometimes even a slight sourness to the beer. It was a common practice in the past, and some breweries continue to age their Stingo beers in wooden barrels to replicate the traditional flavors.

Stingo beers are often described as full-bodied, rich, and complex. They can have a range of flavors, including malty sweetness, caramel notes, fruity esters, and hints of oak from the wood aging process. The higher alcohol content and intense flavors make Stingo beers a sipping beer rather than a session beer, meant to be enjoyed slowly and savored.

A Stingo beer is a strong ale that originated in northern England in the 1700s. It is characterized by its higher alcohol content, hop bitterness, and wood aging. While the term “Stingo” may not be widely used today, the brewing techniques and flavor profiles that defined Stingo beers can still be found in certain modern beers.

What Is The History Of Stingo Beer?

Stingo beer has a fascinating history that dates back several centuries. It is believed to have originated in Yorkshire, England, and was particularly popular among Yorkshiremen in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The name “Stingo” is said to have been derived from the word “sting” or “stingy,” indicating its potent and strong nature. This type of beer was known for its high alcohol content, which made it a popular choice among drinkers seeking a robust and flavorful brew.

One of the notable establishments associated with Stingo beer is the Yorkshire Stingo pub, located in London. This pub and its adjoining pleasure gardens served as a gathering place for Yorkshiremen living in the capital city. It was customary for them to congregate at the pub during the first three days of their visit to London.

The exact origins of Stingo beer are somewhat uncertain, but it is believed to have been brewed using traditional methods. It was typically aged for an extended period, sometimes up to two years, to develop its distinct flavors and character. This aging process contributed to its richness and complexity, making it a sought-after beer among connoisseurs.

Stingo beer was traditionally brewed using a combination of malted barley, hops, , and . The use of oak barrels for fermentation and aging also played a significant role in shaping its taste. The oak imparted unique flavors and aromas to the beer, adding to its overall appeal.

Over time, the popularity of Stingo beer declined, and it became less commonly found. However, in recent years, there has been a revival of interest in traditional brewing methods and historical beer styles, leading to a resurgence of Stingo beer. Some craft breweries have started producing their own versions of Stingo, staying true to its original characteristics and paying homage to its rich history.

Stingo beer has a long and storied history, originating in Yorkshire and gaining popularity among Yorkshiremen in London. Its potent and strong nature, as well as its traditional brewing methods and aging process, contributed to its appeal. While its popularity waned over time, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in Stingo beer, with craft breweries reimagining this historical beer style.


Stingo beer is a truly remarkable and unique brew that harkens back to the rich brewing traditions of northern England. This strong ale, also known as a barley wine, is the jewel in Samuel Smiths' crown and is steeped in history and craftsmanship.

What sets Stingo beer apart is its aging process. Aged for a year in oak casks, this beer develops a complexity that is truly mind-boggling. The flavors and aromas that emerge from this aging process are a testament to the artistry and skill of the brewers.

The term “Stingo” itself is a nod to the strong ales of the past, and this beer lives up to its name. With its robust body and rich malt character, Stingo beer is a true delight for the senses. The hop bitterness adds a layer of depth and balance, creating a well-rounded and satisfying drinking experience.

The oak aging further enhances the beer, imparting subtle notes of vanilla, wood, and earthiness. This adds to the overall complexity and depth of flavor, making Stingo beer a true connoisseur's choice.

It is worth noting that Stingo beer is not as widely known or popular as it once was. However, for those who appreciate the history and craftsmanship of brewing, this beer is a must-try. Its unique aging process and rich flavors make it a standout in the world of strong ales.

Stingo beer is a testament to the enduring legacy of traditional brewing techniques. Its complexity, depth of flavor, and rich history make it a beer that is truly worthy of attention and appreciation. So, if you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to indulge in the pleasure of experiencing Stingo beer for yourself.

Photo of author

Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.