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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

Displayed for 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: 10.38%
Wants: 5
Gots: 1 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Quaffer on 09-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 317 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very smooth and balanced barleywine. Went very well instead of wine for dinner. Nicely malted, with carmel and fruit, raisins, licorice, vanilla. Initial carbonation tapered off with room temperature. Grainy Medium mouthfeel. Moderately sweet aftertaste.

Sammy, May 08, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a medium to dark brown color with a nice tan head that decends to a ringlet without leaving much lacing behind (not surprising for a barleywine)

Smell: Lots of fruity esters floating around (dates and figs, perhaps) with a powerful undertone of caramel

Taste: Nice malty caramel flavors during the mouth swirl; after the swallow, some earthy hop flavors kick in, but they are eventually subsumed by the sweet malt and fruity flavors; the finish is filled with date flavors and some chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a bit thin for a barleywine; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Although the flavor profile is much less intense than an American barleywine, this is a very drinkable brew that has a lot of compelling attributes - nothing is over the top but there is plenty of flavor

brentk56, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark bronze-tawny that leans more toward the latter the stronger the light source. The cap is the color of light brown sugar, isn't all that sticky and is leaving the glass nearly untouched as it slowly deflates. I don't have to have lace with my barleywines, but a little would be nice.

Old Nick doesn't smell much like a barleywine. Where's the power, the huge maltiness, the overwhelming hoppiness (yeah, I know it's English, not American), the alcohol? There is a firmly toasted malt underbelly with a little toffee and some herbal, darkly fruity U.K. hops, but the nose certainly doesn't knock my socks off.

A definite improvement on the palate. The sweet, cake-like malt backbone acts as the focal point. Prodigiously hoppy barleywines don't always allow one to properly appreciate the malt (I have no problem with that), but less hoppy ones, like Old Nick, allow for just that. The beer is so malt-dominant that it reminds me of an old ale in some respects.

The flavor profile contains dried cherries and cranberries, dark butterscotch, cocoa, mulled red wine and a smidgen of brown sugar. The finish lingers, though it's shortened somewhat by the lighter than average barleywine body. The mouthfeel is smooth, supple and ever so slightly viscous. It's enjoyable, but I don't feel the need to employ any more praiseworthy adjectives than that.

I consider this beer to be something of a 'baby barleywine'. All aspects of its personality are scaled back compared to some of the behemoths that are out there. Having said that, it really does cleave pretty closely to the English barleywine guidelines. Old Nick's quiet competence has won me over. Having said that, I doubt that I'll be purchasing more of this less than devilish brew in the future.

BuckeyeNation, May 21, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a butterscotch color ale with a nice big foamy head with good retention. Aroma of nutty caramel malt is near perfect. Taste is also dominated by the nutty caramel malt. Body is a bit thin for the style and carbonation is quite lively. Hops are no really overly present in here but I think could have provided more complexity if they had been more present. Overall, this is a very nice beer but lacking a little something to make it truly great.

Phyl21ca, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable Barleywine (most English are). This one is not necessarily a sipper, but not a chugger either. It has solid amber - maroon colors, great texture and head retention to the eye. Aromas are intense malts and fruitiness and just enough hops for a delicate balance. Flavors are sweet, malty, fruity (dates, raisons, plumbs) with less citrus flavors that exist in American varieties. Good texture, with less chewey layers than in others. Finishes malty sweet and lightly dry. A very good choice for those who want to venture into barleywine apreciation, but can't handle the big boys.

BEERchitect, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich HA!, alright, I'll say it: Pours a rich burnt sienna hue with a good, vigorous head that's substanial. Burnt sienna. Where's a Crayola crayon box I can reference?

Smell: Rich, sweet caramal scent with an undertone of alcohol. Some toffee. Some fruit there as well. Rather sparse hop aroma.

Taste: A smooth, soothing caramel malt character beside chewy, sugarloaf flavors. A brief appearance of dark fruit and sweet, juicy nectarines. Then some earthy (as opposed to unearthly) hop notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium in general, while being light for the style. Creamy, and the mild carbonation prevents it from being too thick.

Drinkabilty: Definitely more forgiving on the palate than some of our American barleywines, that's for sure. I find this offering from Young's to go down gently and effortlessly. The scant 7.2% isn't a deterrent for me consuming a few of these in one sitting. Overall, a very pleasing brew.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 06, 2005
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice deep brown/red color with medium creamy head,smell was malty-fruity.Taste was rich and somewhat complex,starts out fruity with a good malty base as it warms the alcohol content becomes more evident.Pretty easy drinking for a high alcohol content brew.Rather well made like all the other Young's ales.

oberon, May 13, 2003
Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark, copper color with ruby flecks. It had a foamy, off-white, three-finger head. It left some nice lace.

S - It smelled of malt, dried fruit and spices.

T - It tasted spicy and peppery. Had a burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very nice barley wine. It is not overpowering, just nice and smooth.

zeff80, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep burgundy-brown in color with a light tan head that dissipates fairly quickly but leaves a decent collar and a touch of lace. The aroma is full of fruitiness and dark sweet crystal malt, as well as a light hint of black licorice which may be coming from a residual sugary malt combined with grassy hop aromas. The body is medium and the carbonation level is light; combining to give a smooth, almost silky mouthfeel. The flavor is reflective of the aroma, with lots of residual sweetness from dark crystal malt upfront followed by a wide range of fruity notes including some banana amongst a host of soft dark fruits. Finishes with some light hop flavor and a more toasty & biscuity malt character. Extremely well balanced with a restrained hop bitterness (@50 IBU's) that allows for a teasing back-and-forth balance of sweet & dry. Although this beer is not as directly complex or heavy as some other barleywines, this balance is quite interesting and keeps the beer from becoming one-sided. Additionally, though it may be considered somewhat light in compasion, it is exceptionally drinkable. A classic example of a dark English barleywine.

NeroFiddled, Sep 01, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 16.9 oz brown custom bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Tawny reddish brown with an ample head, foamy at first but then subsides to a thick layer of light tan lace that want to stick to the glass.

Smell: Caramel sweet aroma, almost butterscotch which gives a nod to Mr. Diacetyl. Hints of chocolate and dark fruits come to mind also.

Taste: Full bodied with a thick carbonation that pushes hard on to the palate at first then smoothes out. Big on the fruitiness with esters and a vague solvent like alcoholic character running around. Touch of diacetyl give the impression of buttery toffee as the maltiness holds on with some sweetness and toasted grain flavour. Hops struggles to climb to the top and merely keep things in balance. Some vague hoppy flavours are left in the finish. Residual sweetness sticks around for the finish with mild caramel and sweet grain flavours.

Notes: A very palatable Barleywine, big on sweetness yet balanced and enough alcohol to push this beer into the category. This will be an ale I’ll go back to here and there without a problem.

Jason, Jun 14, 2002
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a large off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, some hops and some alcohol.

T: The taste is malty with flavors of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit and more alcohol than a beer with 7.20% ABV should really have. I’ve had several beers with a much higher ABV that don’t leave the same sting that this one does. There’s a decent hops presence that provides some balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium-to-heavy carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, because the ABV is on the low-side for the style, this is one of the more sessionable EBW’s that I’ve had, especially if you can get past the alcohol burn. Overall, however, it's not one of the first beers that I would pick.

TheManiacalOne, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep ruby tone with a nice sized tan head really sticking to the glass and leaves a even solid ring of lacing. Aroma: One malty treat here vinous fruit tones in the background not detecting any hoppage, not bad aromatic qualities here. Taste: Forms a fluffy sweetness mild fig and plum notes a little harshness comes from the unbalance of hops and malt here cloyingly sweet for me. Mouthfee: Ample body a bit light and creamy not bad though not complaints solid carbonation: Mouthfeel: Not feeling this beer not enough hops good English style but hand me a west coaster this one is just to sweet for me I am liking more balance in any drinkable ale.

WVbeergeek, Oct 21, 2003
Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First of all if you're wondering why I'm posting reviews now, our 7 year old is too amped up to sleep 2137Local time..

I really enjoyed this

Appearance: Copper to brown. Loads of beading and a massive off white fluufy head that drops off to a thin ring quickly.. Lacing was good, not great.

Smell: Maltiness, honey, alcohol, and treacle

Taste: Some aged hop funky bitterness hits up front and fruitiness.
Raisins, dryness impated from a wood-like taste (think oak popsicle sticks), alcohol and a hint of chweing tobacco

MF: Chewy, but smooth, carbonation level good.

Classic English BW, survived the crossing of the pond well!

russpowell, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An old favorite, and probably the first example of barleywine I ever encountered. Although there may be bolder and even better versions out there, Old Nick will always have a sentimental place in my beer heart of hearts.
Color is dark red, like the flames of Hell behind the Lucifer on the label, and the head has a distinctive hue , an intriguing kind of burnt tan. Aromas are out of this world( and into the netherworld?)grapes, spices, cloves, lavender. A great warmth exudes from this ale, though it's alcohol is modest, compared to more ambitious interpretations. A rewarding taste, one to linger over and reflect upon. A great, lush sweet backbone of malt hold up an outstanding hop profile. More flavors seep through my mind as I muse upon the brew...dark rum, licorice, dark chocolate?, port wine, maybe.
A firm, solid ale.Terrific sweetness, balanced out by alcohol and hops. Magnificent. No one beats Old Nick!

feloniousmonk, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

WesWes, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 0.9 fl.oz. bottle - best before 17 Aug 07.

Pours ruby with a thick, rocky, off-white head that is very well-retained for style. Broken rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is of toffee, dark fruits, slightly spicy.

The taste is toffeeish and grainy malty sweetness. Some dark fruits and an earthy, hop-bitter undertone balance out the sweetness, while leaving it suitably sweet. Some peppery alcohol gives it a mild warmth.

It's full-bodied and smooth.

Easily drinkable, esp. for style. It's fairly modest abv plays a part in its easy drinkability, though it's still appropriately potent. A classic of the style.

jwc215, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by date December 2006, Sampled August 2006
Pours with a deep, dark, amber tinged, brown color. As I was pouring the beer showed a brilliantly clear, dark amber red color as it streamed into my glass. The head is an initially two-finger thick, amber-hued, tan color. The aroma is rich and malty with notes of toasted grain, sweet toffee and caramel, a nice fruitiness, . The fruitiness is a mix of rich, concentrated fig notes, some raisin character, sweet currants, and even a touch of orange. The aroma is really quite malty and wonderful to contemplate.

The flavor is sweet and malty, with a medium body for a Barleywine. Hints of salty smoke combine with notes of toffee and caramelized fruit to give this beer quite a nice richness. It finishes with a not-to-shabby bitterness, that is noticeable and helps to balances the malt character, yet is definitely subservient to it. A touch (maybe just a wisp of a hint really) of bergamot, some hints of herbal notes and the bitterness in the finish is all that is noticeable from the hops.

I am always quite pleased to get my mouth wrapped around and English example of a Barleywine, while I ultimately prefer American versions, the subtle hops and malt focus of the English versions always seem to tickle my fancy. I really like the flavors that are just hinted at in this brew. The salty note in the finish, the wisp of peat smoke, the touch of roasted grain, it is these flavors that provide such a wonderful richness and depth to this beer.

Gueuzedude, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

barleywinefiend, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of wl0307
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Transcribed from Notes, tasted at Richard I, Greenwich, Feb. 2006) This is the first time that I tried this beer on its cask-conditioned form.

A: pours dark mahogany hue, very clear, but coming with no beer head and rather static... rather like a glass of dark-tawny port.
S: caramelised-sugary, mildly sulphury, vinous, dark malty... all intertwined in one sniff; overall, quite sweet and settled, but not as clearly-structured and complex as the bottled version--maybe due to the serving condition and temp.?
T&M: extremely silky-smooth on the palate... the fortefied-wine like vinous flavour added with a strong and thick touch of raisins and sweet black cherries (like tawny port), gradually softens and gives way to a semi-dryish bitter-sweetness of hops and a profound fruity-malty base in the ultra-smooth aftertaste, added with a candy-sugary kick but not falling thick or sticky for that matter. Ultra smooth and (slightly) lubricatingly oily on the texture overall, this is a full-bodied and full-flavoured barley wine to savour as a dessert wine in itself.
D: compared with my previous notes of the bottled version, it seems the cask version is much smoother in texture and more robust in body, at the expense of a more straight-forward flavour profile and a less-clear structure overall. That said, this is a rare treat on cask, distinctive from the bottled version. Well worth a try, if one's lucky to find it on cask, (and) before the Young's brewery is closed down by the end of 2006... (What a loss it's gonna be to London's brewing scene and heritage...)

wl0307, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle, scarry looking devil on label. Pours dark amber, tiny bubble head, leaves nice creamy lacing. Heavyish body, malt malt and more smooth malt carry this one. Understated very british strong Barley wine style ale. Vinious notes, fair hop wallop comes in late. high quality sipper, great with dessert.

Billolick, May 22, 2004
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A-This beer pours a deep mahogany body that is opaque but clear on the edges of the glass. The head is a nice creamy mousse of light tan with a gentle slow carbonation underneath.

S- Nice full nose of dried fruit with hints of red wine and some faint molasses sweetness. There is also a nice caramelized malt smell that is strong.

T-The flavor is bursting with malt in many different complementary flavors like a nutty note, some raisin/port notes, and some caramel maltyness. There is a note of chocolate in the background with a nice alcohol taste in the finish.

M- This has a full chewy texture with a very faint alcohol warmth in the finish.

D- This beer has a great complex malt flavor with good depth. Even though it is only 7.2 %ABV it has a nice alcohol warmth in it. This is a good solid English barley wine with lots of complexity.

rhoadsrage, Oct 04, 2005
Photo of DoubleJ
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Is a freshness date necessary on this bottle? It says "best before 30 Mar 07", is this some kind of joke considering it's barley wine? I don't care, cuz I'm gonna drink this and be merry. On to the beer:

A dark ruby color with a tremendous head, this beer is a little more intense than I expected when I read the ABV to be "only" 7.2. Smells like cloves and bananas. It has a very malty flavor, alcohol is fruity, hints of chocolate. The bitter flavors hit the roof of the muth, but not the tongue. A rush of alcohol finsihes each sip. Smooth in the mouth, but the intensity of this brew makes this one a sipper.

DoubleJ, May 09, 2007
Photo of Zorro
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark ruby/brown.

Smells sweet and malty with a hint of flowers. The smell of alcohol is also noticeable.

The taste is malty and hoppy without being really sweet. There are some complex tastes here too, vanilla, carmel, chocolate and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a little bit thin but no too much.

Very drinkable for a beer of this type, really more of a brown ale than a Barley Wine though.

Zorro, Jan 14, 2004
Photo of Wasatch
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Wasatch, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.
Heavy looking brew. Dark caramel color with a frothy head that stayed for most of the imbibing.
Caramel, malt, molasses, nut and a bit of coffee hit me in the aroma.
Taste was thin, yet a thick aftertaste. Caramel, nut, coffee and hops. Malt was present throughout, mild. some acidity.

Mebuzzard, Feb 01, 2006
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Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co Brewery PLC
88 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.