Immort Ale from Dogfish Head is a great big (11% ABV) oak-aged ale of indeterminate style. It uses English and Belgian yeast, so it’s somewhere between an English Strong Ale and a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. The notes off the nose are of honey, vanilla, and cherries. The middle is spicy with pepper, vanilla, and apricot, and a tiny hint of smoke from the peat-smoked barley. In the finish you taste the sugar from the maple syrup, and faint hints of the oak and just a little more peat. There’s no bitterness in this beer at all, and only the tiniest bit of acidity and booziness that you often get with oak-aged ales. This is a richer, and more subtle brew. This would be an excellent introduction to oak-aged beers for those who aren’t familiar, and fine winter treat for anyone.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Many years ago, when I first started to branch out from the macrobrews and into the exciting world of craft beer, I had a particular interest in British beer. Samuel Smith in particular, as the establishment from which I purchased most of my beer at that time had an excellent selection of the Tadcaster brewery’s various offerings. However, at some point between those early years and when I started blogging here, I’d tried virtually all of the variations I could find at the time and moved on, so I’ve unfortunately neglected the fine English Ales which are such an integral part of beer history. Tonight I begin to rectify that oversight with a review of Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo, an oak-aged, bottle conditioned English Strong Ale, and strong it is, at 9% ABV. Because it’s bottle conditioned, it recommends a gentle pour which lends to a head that dissipates quickly. The nose is rich with scents of raisins and figs and plums. The only ingredient other than the big four (water, barley, hops and yeast) is cane sugar which is what explains the high alcohol levels and the fact that this beer tastes like a fine dessert. The middle has flavors of plums, toffee, and molasses. In the finish, there is vanilla pudding and oak. I’d call the body medium. It’s not quite as heavy as I’d expected, but it’s perfectly pleasant. The only bitterness at all is in the oak right at the finish, otherwise, this is definitely a sweet beer, perfect for after dinner and an excellent example of the style.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.