1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale - Young & Co Brewery PLC

Not Rated.
Young's Old Nick Barley Wine AleYoung's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

329 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 329
Reviews: 317
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 7
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Young & Co Brewery PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Quaffer on 09-05-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (0) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 317
Photo of magictrokini
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany with a thick foamy tan head. Cherries, malts, and nuts are int he aroma. The flavor is sweet up front with the malts and sugar, then it slowly moves into a bitter finish. Lighter mouthfeel than most barleywines, and without the hop/resin base. Very nice brew.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Green's, Ponce location, Atlanta, GA. Haven't seen this one anywhere in quite some while. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a turgid dirty brown, fairly thick, with a sticky, tan, one-finger head of slightly below average retention. The lacing is nice, though: fairly delicate-looking sheets remain in place after the head has faded, and fingers reach upwards towards the rim of the glass.

Aroma: Roasted and toasted malts (though more towards the lighter end of the caramelized spectrum) and a panoply of fruity notes - cherries, lots of pears, apple skins, raisins - comprise the bulk of the nose here.

Taste: Solid and rather subtle. Lots of bready malt notes, caramel, toffee - there's a definite buttery undertone here - and a healthy dose of fruity overtones as well, both light and dark. Fruits run the gamut from buttery pears to figs. Darker malt notes emerge as it warms - faint, sweet cocoa and lightly roasted coffee. Reminds me of buttered, toasted bread in places - grilled cheese without the cheese. There's also a slight leafy hop twang and an even more slight kiss of hop bitterness, though they're both practically an afterthought.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, though with a decent amount of carbonation that creates a slightly creamy film in the mouth. That sounds less appealing than it really is, now that I think about it.

Drinkability: For a barleywine, this one's incredibly quaffable - it's smooth, flavorful, balanced, decently complex, and low in alcohol (for the style). This one went very well with post-Thanksgiving Saturday football ... but it'd also pair very well with any number of other snacks and or situations. A good one from Young's, and an enjoyable brew. I hear it may have been recently retired (dunno how accurate this is), so pick it up if you see it.

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this bottle at a gas station while filling up. Nice find at a random place.

A-very dark but not black, deep garnet color, very cloudy, 1 inch head that faded quickly, but laced while I drank it.
S-Smell reminiscent of sweet sherry with more dark fruits. Kind of reminds me of fruit cake with rum
T-Very malt forward as this is 2-3 years old the hops have faded. Quite sweet but not cloying, dark fruit flavors with alot of raisins and figs, booze booze flavor is ther.
M-Not too bad but would have thought it would have been a little creamier and smoother after so long. Good carbo after so long.
D-This is a definate sipper and it tastes sweeter the more I drink it.

Photo of tayner
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz bottle courtesy of Aaron, leftmindedrighty, via the ??? BIF. 2006 bottle with best before 30 MAR 07 on the back label.

Pours a dark raisin color with brown edges. Head is an off white color and seemingly very sticky. nice lacing

Smell is very sweet, like candied fruit, figs, and raisins.

Taste is as sweet as it smells for sure. Lots and lots of dark fruits, raisins, figs, plums. Very sweet. I dont know if it had more hops in it when it was fresh, but there is very little hop presence in it now. Any hint of the 7.2% abv is all but gone now, making it quite dangerous.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and creamy for such a sweet beverage. From the smell I almost expected to taste granules of sugar in it, but it is off the scale smooth and creamy. very nice.

Drinkability is good. I am having this alone, but I do think it would be paired better with food. I think something rich that could stand up to the sweetness of this beer would help alot, like a sharp, robust cheese. I think you could replace a dinner wine with this and your guests would be happy, and buzzin lol

Thanks for the opportunity Aaron. this one definitely stood the test of aging. two years is very good on this one.

Photo of kinger
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not overly experienced with barleywines so I am rating this purely on the beer itself. At first I was a somewhat discouraged since I was expecting a completely different brew. Pours a rich ruby transparent red with a fluffy marsh mellow head that ultimately settles. This beer is gorgeous in the glass. Abundant aroma is given off consisting of malts, malts, and some more malts. The scent is sweet and malty with a candy-chocolate aspect. The overall aroma reminded me of burning incense, truly wonderful. This beer is exceptionally smooth and very creamy. The mouthfeel is what I would expect from a well crafted porter or stout so I was happily surprised at the smoothness of this one. Great flavor that simply compliments the aroma. Sweet, tons of malt, chocolately and candy all wrapped up in one awesome beer. It's a mild barleywine, definitely English, and absolutely a remarkable beer.

Photo of jDoubleU
4.77/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into oversized wine glass. Rich one finger head appeared then quickly dissipated to leave slight lacing. Dark brown and dark ruby red toward the surface.

Esters immediately wafted its way into my nostrils. Reminds me of what I get from dubbels. Candy sugars?

Heilige Scheisse! I taste fruitcakes and a hint of caramel in the finish. A nice long finish. Tastes like I just ate a piece of cake. Very little hop character. But there is a slight bitterness that goes beyond the caramel finish.

Man. This one's got some character and complexity! Into my 10th sip and I'm getting more of a dry finish. I'm starting to notice the 7.2 on my tongue. Getting some peppery phenols.

Not a voluminous mouthfeel. But I'm getting a medium to full mouthfeel. Dextrins?

This is a barleywine that I can easiley drink but have an engaging time with. It's rich complexity is reminiscent of a quad. Thus far, I haven't had a pleasant experience with American barleywines. This is my first English. I'm looking forward to try more of this style.

A very rewarding drink.

Photo of Contagion
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured into the glass there was a dark brownish red color. Not so dark that light couldn't pass through it, but dark enough so you couldn't see through the glass. It wasn't cloudy, just dark. There was a good tan head on it that left a thick lacing on the side of the glass that lasts. There is still a hint of the lacing after 15 minutes.

There is a good toasted malt aroma to it with a touch of caramel and a hint of fruit. It's very enticing and welcoming to the nose. Upon the first sip I could taste a malt and nutty flavor with some hops, a touch of toffee and a very mild fruit flavor. This is not a fruit flavored beer; the fruitiness of it is more of an accent that enhances the other flavors. The aftertaste is mild and refreshing, just hint of bitterness that makes you want to take another sip.

It has a smooth medium to full bodied texture to it. It's pleasant with a slight tingle to the tongue. Very velvety that passes the mouth and throat easily. This is another beer I could see myself sitting around with friends and enjoying a good conversation.

Photo of Offa
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all-time favourite beers and for me beer dosn't get any better than this overall.

It is beautiful, a faintly murky, dark red-brown with a big, creamy, permanent light tan head that leaves nice lacing.

The aroma is rich fruit, bread, caramel, over a lightly alcoholic body.

The taste is similar with stewed, caramelized fruit, caramel, toast, and nuts. It has a stroing sweetness balanced with a light spicey bitterness and toastiness. It is rich, beautifully balanced, with the flavours blending nicely, giving lots of flavour and well-roundedness but maintaining immense drinkability. The feel is smooth and a little oily but not too heavy.

In the end, it has the rich flavours of a barleywine yet is exceedingly smooth and easy to drink. It also is not too alcoholic in taste, which I find sometimes to be a problem.

Photo of nasty15108
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a smal brandy snifter.

A - Deep dark brown with amber hues. Thick tan head and good lacing throughout.

S - Nutty, with hints of butterscotch and raisins.

T - I got a slightly sweet buttery raisin taste up front finished off by a hoppy alcoholic bite.

MF&D - Smooth, creamy and warming. As the bottle suggests a great substitute for a port. Although not a session beer, I highly recommend Old Nick with a good cigar or a nice plate of cheese and crackers.

Photo of khiasmus
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Slightly cloudy dark amber that pours with a finger and a half of head that drops to a soapy layer in moments.
A bit of grainy malt in the nose, but overwhelmed by an almost hot-pepper spiciness, along with clove, nutmeg, and black pepper.
The flavor is much the same, with a thin and quite sweet malt backbone being supported by a bit of spice, though not as spicy as the nose. The finish has a bit more of that spice, and the sweet/spicy are really the only elements of this beer.
The mouthfeel department is a bit thin and watery, with low carbonation and a hint of warming in the finish.
I did not find this to be a very drinkable beer, and it certainly felt a bit thin, even for an English barleywine. What I missed the most, though, was any element of complexity: it seemed to be simply a two-dimensional beer: sweet and spice. Worth a try, but lacking a bit IMO.

Photo of Pencible
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Compared to the Rogue barleywine, this poured even darker brown, with very little head. It had a thick barley scent, and the flavor was a sweet mix of barley and malt. There was a slight hops bitterness in the aftertaste, but it didn't build too much over time. This tasted much like a good brown ale and was very easy to drink, especially considering its alcohol content (7.2%).

Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before: 17 Aug 07

Pours a nice dark brown/amber color, some carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, a nice touch of sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, tones of dark fruit, and some caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, lots of malts, a touch of dark fruits, and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty English Barleywine, recommended.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Trying this one with Oregonzola and Dubliner cheese samples. We'll see, into the snifter...

A - Nice head for the style, dark amber body.

S - Nice caramel and dark fruits in the aroma. Prune and angel food cake seems to come to mind.
Balanced, and refined, what I expect from a English Barleywine.

T - Again with the prunes. Lots of dark fruits, along with vanilla seem to dominate the entry and mid palate. The hops are piney and balenced. Slight grape like tartness, along with residual hops and dry cracker flavors. Decent compexity and great balence shown by this beer.

M - Decent body, not huge, but decent, that leaves a slight cotton quality in the mouth.

D - Not the biggest beer, even by English Barleywine standards. Nice balance of flavors, however. Still feel like it doesn't qualify as a classic... Paired very nicely with the Oregonzola, as well as some Valdeon I had in the house.

Photo of charlzm
3.44/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled, marked "best before 30 Mar 07", consumed on 11/4/07.

Pours coffee colored with very active carbonation. Modest head didn't stick around long. Aromas too faint to make out much of anything. A little thicker than water in the mouth: sticky in a good way. Muted flavor of cinnamon on initial taste with raisin appearing fully and suddenly a second or two later. Mostly sweet malt, but not too much so. No bitterness to speak of. Almost no alcohol character. Deceptive, aren't you Old Nick?

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.17/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a brleywine???
Poured a dark ruby with a thin, white ring of carbonation. Smells of dried fruits. There's a hint of alcohol. Flavors are big on dried fruits, toasty malts, cane syrup, and herbal hops. Great bitter balance that matches the sweetness well. However, it tastes more of a stromg ale than a bwine. To thin for a good barleywine so I ranked it low on the taste and mouthfeel.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle with a date of January 2007:

A- Ruby brown color with a beautiful creamy tan head, translucent in color, and lots of carbonation.

S- Smell was malty and sweet, most notably fruit (cherries), maybe some prune, some grape.

T- Taste was extremely sweet. I tasted some fig,prune, cherry. There was also a breadlike taste followed up with a metallic aftertaste.

M- Mouthfeel was more slick than expected, sticky coating on my lips from all of the sugars.

D- For a barley wine, this is as easy drinking as it gets. Very sweet and would be great after dinner. I enjoyed this but prefer my American Barley Wines.

Photo of findlayfan
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had one of these in years - picked up a 500 ML last month at Vine & Table (formerly Kahn's) in Indianapolis. Best by date of 17 Aug 07, but that should be close enough for a barleywine (even a "mild" 7.2% one).

Poured into Imperial pint: dark-but-clear red/brown body with 1"+ off-white head. Sweet, malty nose - almost reminded me of a doppelbock.

Some doppelbock qualities in the taste as well and a medium mouthfeel.

Very pleasant way to finish off a winter evening. If there's such a thing as a session barleywine, this is probably it.

Nice to get reaquainted!

Photo of botham
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

pint bottle poured into a tulip. pours a deep copper color with garnet highlights. a couple fingers of light tan top it off, leaving no lacings.

aroma is huge on the malts, with caramel and munich dominating. fruity yeast is also present, fostering notes of grape, apple, and a touch of citrus. rich in the nose, though not overpowering.

taste is huge on the malts as well, with the same fruit notes and a mild alcoholic presence. caramel malts mainly, with a touch of chocolate malts as well.

mouthfeel is heavy, with a creamy texture and a smooth finish, and a mild bite from alcohol. lingering caramel and grape in the aftertaste.

drinkability is good. for a barley-wine, this brew is not overly rich or thick. this is a huge brew nonetheless, but it does combine the flavors into a refined profile. overall a great barley-wine. cheers!

Photo of jeonseh
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle I picked up at Citywide Liquors and poured into my crystal Snifter glass.

A - looks just like a barleywine should look. A dark ruby color with a slight cloud to it as well. Has a nice bag head that sticks around thru the glass. the head is a cream color with a light ruby tinge to it as well. Leaves a ton of lacing down the sides as well which is always nice to see when drinking any beer.

S - nose is rather fruity with a nice maltiness in the nose as well. Smells a mix of the darker grapier fruits like plums for examples and also a bit like a tarter grape juice. Lots of caramely and sugary sweetness that is in there as well. Also a slight alcoholic tinge that remains in the nose that you can pick up. Not really too alcoholic but then again it is only 7.2% for a barleywine.

T - Taste at first is kinda fruity with a bit of plum and also taste a bit like a Belgian esters. There is a light alcoholic taste in there as well that is not at all overpowering but is barely noticeable. There is also some spiciness that is mixed in there that goes well with a light hops presence that I can detect. I actually like how there is some hoppy bitterness in there that helps to offset some of the sweetness and fruitiness in the beer. I think it is a pretty cool aspect of this brew. A bit of caramely stickiness as well that is mixed in with a light sweetness that sticks around in the mouth most of the time. The sweetness goes well with the fruiter aspects of the beer. Tastes also a bit like a light port and after sitting in the mouth for a while I get a taste that is a bit like cranberry juice mixed with grape juice as well. Overall a nice barleywine which is well balanced but the flavors are not overly pronounced.

MF - At first there is a light carbonation that hits the mouth and sits on the tongue and that is mixed in with a light cloying stickiness. Actually a bit light in the mouth for a barleywine compared to some of the others that I've had and I think that hurts the MF some especially given some of the other BW's I have and the thickness that I have come to expect from them. . Leaves a nice alcoholic warm feeling in the mouth after the beer goes away which reminds you that you have drank a nice warming barleywine and also leaves a bit of a tart taste in the mouth as well that makes your mouth slightly pucker.

D - overall a good barleywine that is actually pretty easy to drink for the style which i guess goes well since it is only 7.2% which is on the lower end for a barleywine. It is not at all overpowering nor super sticky in the mouth which I have found with some of the other ones as well. While most barleywines are pure sippers, this one is one that you could actually drink a couple of them. A good beer but not one that really blows us away. I would see it being good with some cheese since it plays off the port aspects of the beer.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle served in a brandy snifter. Poured brown with some hints of red. Sparse head. Fruity, malty nose with raisins and molasses and a little alcohol. Medium to full bodied. Big malt flavor.
Not overly sweet, just a bit of hop bitterness to balance.

Good example of an English Barley wine. Very drinkable. I've heard this beer is not being made any longer, so drink it while you can.

Photo of grub
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

TheManiacalOne hooked me up with this one as part of BC2. thanks mark!

1pt 0.9oz bottle. best before 17 AUG 07. sampled jan 22/08.

pours deep red-brown with a medium density yellow head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass and leaves only a few spots of lace.

aroma is great. tons of dark fruit - date, plum, raisin, fig. light alcohol. a bit of earthy hops. the fruit almost makes me think of a belgian strong dark, though it still maintains an english slant.

taste is great. slightly below medium bitterness level, mostly as a nice bittersweet and dark chocolate. light alcohol. the dark fruit is here again, though a little more subdued than in the aroma. big bread and biscuit malt. earthy hops. just a touch of sweetness coming through as caramel and fruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. medium-large body. i could do with a little less carbonation, but after some time sipping it settles nicely.

drinkability is great. this is an excellent english barleywine. nice big malt base, nice fruity character, mild english hops. perfect balance. maybe the time (since it's past its best before date) has done this one well, but it seems that it should be rated higher. an excellent example of the style.

Photo of dsa7783
3.02/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a 1.9 fl. oz bottle copped from Shop Rite Wine and Liquors in Caldwell, this beer pours a dark, ruby-red color with minimal head.. smell is heavy full of prunes, figs, extreme malts, brown sugars... Taste complements the aroma... very rich, thick, and malty, with a heavy mouthfeel that lingers on the palatae... a very rich, and thick brew... wouldn't want to down too many of these in a single setting... a monster-like brew that completely dominates... very thick, rich, and flavorful that goes above and beyond with too much thickness... poor drinkability due to the heavy flavors and taste... this is certainly a sipper... worth a try if you're a fan of the style, although I'm not sure if i'd purchase this one again...

Photo of Traquairlover
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt, 0.9 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. I had aged this for almost 2 years to see how it would turn out. Results were very good.

A = Opaque dark bronze color, nice large head of small and medium bubles with good retention, fair lacing as it recedes.

S = Hops, alfalfa, burnt hay (but in a good way), fresh cut grass, very complex with good balance.

T = Rich, sweet roasted malt flavors, with great bitterness. As with the smell this is complex yet very well balanced. Not an assault on the tastebuds like a lot of barleywines can be. Floral hints in the finish.

M = Medium bodied, good coating of the entire mouth, enjoyable level of carbonation.

D = A very good way to spend a relaxing hour. Very drinkable.

Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy offwhite/tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It is extremely malty. It has an intense burnt toffee aroma; what a treat! The taste is good. It has a smooth and creamy malt flavor that really screams of caramel and burnt toffee. It's rich and full bodied, but goes down velvety smooth. It's quite sweet with a mild warming in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is one fine beer. It's incredibly smooth for a barleywine. It's sweet and creamy up front and finishes warm with bit of dryness and burnt toffee notes; simply awesome.

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasting Party 10/26/2007

Old Nick

6 oz goblet sample

Not sure now this barley wine managed to escape me!
Smells of caramel and raisins or figs. Not as sweet as other barley wines. Subtle. Malty. There is faint hop bite at the end. Smooth drink. Very good.

This is a barley wine that could be paired with several types of food.

to view more.
Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co Brewery PLC
88 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.