Wallop! Wood-Aged Stingo Yorkshire Strong Ale

Wallop is back! And in a new 440ml can format! Wallop is our annual festive release and a great beer for sharing during the winter months. Until now, it has usually hit the shelves in a wax-topped 750ml bottle, which people loved and hated in equal measure. We’ve had great fun with earlier versions by ageing it in a variety of barrel types. For 2019 we’ve wood-aged the batch in clean oak and have flexed our packaging line to bring you the only canned Stingo available in the UK. Because it’s us, the beer is also vegan and gluten-free.

We have to add in a wee warning about intellectual property here… As far as we can tell, ‘Yorkshire Stingo’ is a beer style – rather than a brand. Indeed, it is the only beer style that is indigenous to Yorkshire. But we have to be careful using that phrase, because Samuel Smiths Brewery have trademarked those words. Given that brewery’s history for litigation, we are therefore circumspect about bringing the words ‘Yorkshire’ and ‘Stingo’ together – even though the act of establishing intellectual property rights over that particular compound phrase seems as odd as allowing somebody to trademark the phrases ‘India Pale Ale’ or ‘Helles Lager’. As a result, we usually refer to our Wallop brew as a Yorkshire ‘Stingo’ Strong Ale. Yorkshire’s own beer style has an illustrious history:

“Other regional varieties of strong ale included Yorkshire Stingo, which Alfred Barnard in 1890 found being brewed by John Metcalfe & Son at the Nidderdale brewery in Pately Bridge, and Joshua Tetley in Leeds, where he found it `very luscious, full of body and well flavoured without being heady’.” “Barley Wine and Old Ale” chapter of Amber, Gold, and Black

There is some fun speculation about a possible link between Yorkshire Stingo style ale and Flanders Reds. Martha and Dan of ‘St Mars Of the Desert’ brewed a Stingo collab with Boulevard Brewing (Kansas City, MO) when they were ‘Pretty Things Beer And Ale Project’ in Somerville, MA. They unearthed the intriguing connection, based on the travels of Eugene Rodenbach. As Martha writes:

“In the mid-1800s Eugene Rodenbach, who was maybe the third generation of the brewery was sent to do an internship in the north of England and when he came back to the brewery he brought with him the beer we know today, this blended, aged, brown, malty beer. So obviously Rodenbach in almost no way resembles anything that’s presently brewed in the north of England. But it did back then. So the roots were borrowed from Yorkshire. Which really isn’t what people want to think so nobody really talks about it. But it’s true.”

One suggestion is that the name ‘Stingo’ possibly comes from the sharp, or “stinging” flavour of a well-matured beer. It’s clear that this type of beer was often prized for its tart, vinous character and this is perhaps something that historically Stingo shared with Flanders beers. In the 19th century that was almost certainly the product of a secondary fermentation by brettanomyces and other organisms. Nowadays, it is not usual for a Stingo to be brewed with that characteristic in mind. But we’re aware that many of our original Wallop bottles are still ageing out there – so who knows!

Our Wallop Stingo is based on an old recipe that puts some emphasis on the use of black treacle in the kettle, for a liquorice note and to raise the OG. Once it’s been wood-aged and canned, we reckon it puts a nice modern spin on the traditional style.

I feel particularly connected to the Stingo beer style, as my family is about as Yorkshire as they come. The Saltonstalls arrived in the UK in 1066 with William’s retinue and set-up in West Yorkshire – where the hamlets of Upper and Lower Saltonstall remain to this day. It was a powerful family that can boast Lord Mayors of London in the UK and Founding Fathers, Senators and Governors over in the US. My line returned from the US at the beginning of the 20th century, just in time to go to war. I feel our Yorkshire heritage keenly and so am delighted to brew a Stingo in Yorkshire – from where the style comes.

Phil Saltonstall, Brass Castle Brewery

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