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

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Young's Old Nick Barley Wine AleYoung's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale
Very Good
329 Ratings
Young's Old Nick Barley Wine AleYoung's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale

Brewed by:
Young & Co Brewery PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 09-05-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 315
Photo of Beertracker
5/5  rDev +26.6%

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.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.9/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A very murky, burnt caramel brown beer that has the fine carbonation that Don Ho likes to sing about in his champagne. I have a fresh bottle in front of me so the flavor is not as developed as I know it can be, but this young barley wine still surprises me with it's charms .The aroma of figs and raisons is strong. The flavor is quite sweet and malty and it is just beginning to develop some of the stronger flavors this beer can achieve. Even so I would have a hard time cellering this beer, because it is too good to sit around waiting to be drank. If it was a old bottle I would probably rated this beer as perfect, because this is as close as a barley wine can get to perfection.

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Photo of gangofmorlocks
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.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful mahogany color, with a tight almond head. Decent head retention, lasting almost all the way through the glass.
Aroma is malty, with beautiful apple and pear esteriness. Hops are very mild, gliding through the background.
Flavor is incredibly smooth and british. Hops are mild in comparison to the malts. Some notes of toffee, plum, pear, and a hint of chocolate. Smooth mouthfeel, big body. Excellent. One of the best barleywines, in my opinion. Not overdone at all. Mild and perfectly sweet.

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Photo of ThreePistols
4.73/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt.0.9 fl.oz. bottle

Deep copper red color, huge pillowy head that settles into a quarter inch thick layer of creamy tan foam, sticky lace, dark fruit, malt nose with a faint hint of vanilla, sharp roasted malt and hops flavor with a blast of alcohol, creamy, slick, mouthfeel, with a dry hop finish, chewy, lip smacking good, beautiful flavor change midway through the swallow from a sharp malt and hops to a warm smoothing creamy dark fruity sensation, excellent balance, with a long and complex medium dry malt and hops aftertaste.

The 1pt 0.9 fl.oz. bottle of this barley wine style ale at 7.2%abv sure packs a nice whollop.

You gotta try this one.


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Photo of DanGraser
4.73/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought the bottle from Half-Time Beverage in Poughkeepsie, NY. Served in a Young's pint glass.

Appearance: Dark, root beer color. Exposure to brighter light reveals deep ruby colors.

Smell: Least sweet of the barley wines I have tasted. Smells of sweet dried fruits, floral aromas, some brown sugar notes.

Taste: Barley wine character sweetness immediately detectable though not over-whelming. Pleasingly balanced by raisins, figs, while light vanilla and brown sugar sweetness appears late. Faint bitterness leads to a dry finish with some spice that finishes quite clean.

Mouthfeel: Smoothe and silky with a faintly detectable effervescence. The best part of this beer!

Drinkability: Keep'em coming!

Overall: Though this is not your standard barleywine with less alcohol and sweetness than most, its balance is amazingly complex and maintains its barleywine character while embracing drinkability and mouthfeel of less strong ales. One of my favorites, please don't stop making it!

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Photo of RBorsato
4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brown-ish copper (ruby to light) with a fairly good beige head and decent carbonation which keeps a good ring. Nicely balanced aromas: fruity and hoppy at first, settles into a spicy malt character. Malty, nutty, toffee flavors well balanced by hops so as not to be overlybitter; nice dark fruit character as well. Medium-full bodied and smooth with very little alcohol noticeable.

A very nice "low ABV" English BW ... could be the Perfect English Barleywine !

Per Young's website: Pale ale and crystal malt. Cane sugar. Fuggle and Goldings hops.

Best Before: 09/23/06
Tasted: 07/20/06

($2.99 / 16.9 oz. / 500 ml Tall brown wide bottom rocket-shaped bottle with a ram embossed 2 times around the neck)

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Photo of Mark
4.68/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I admit I have always been a bit wary of this beer, despite it being from my favorite brewer Young's. First the label screams out strong, second is that barley wine style ale is a unknown frontier. I once had a "nip" bottle of Anchor Old Foghorn, but don't remember it. Since it is the only bottled Young's beer available in my area that I had not tried I decided to go for it. Appearance wise it is very impressive. Color is a very deep copper with red hues when held to light. Off white head lasts and leaves chunky irregular lacing. Aroma is mellow, malty, and inviting, with maybe a slight fruity sweetness? Taste is Young's signature smooth. It is also malty, mellow, and slightly sweet with some dark fruity notes. Mouthfeel is rich, thick, creamy and soothing. A very warming potent brew at over 7% Great for winter time. Drinkability is superb. While an understated representative of the style, this is a truly great beer, and has vaulted to near the top of the Young's bottled ales that are available to us here at home. Outstanding.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.67/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My second English Barley Wine, and my first from England. I'd say on par with Fat Cat, but a bit different. Mellower....

Dark red, ruby colour. Thin light cream head that disappates to almost nothing, but sticks around in a thin, light layer. Sweet malt smell. Caramel, sweet wine and hints of alcohol. Very warm and mellow.

The taste and mouthfeel is quite smooth. Warm, hidden alcohol notes. Caramel, malt and a slight bittersweet toffee taste. Fruit, almost like bananna and vanilla bean taste. Not quite as forward as Fat Cat, but I think maybe I like the mellowness better. The next bottle I buy I might age a bit.

Drinkable, but be careful...personally, the alcohol in this hits me more than the Fat Cat Barley Wine even though Fat Cat is a bigger bottle and a higher ABV...more sugar content in this maybe?

I really like this and certainly want more.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.67/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1993 Vintage (Thanks Weeifsheads!)

Muddy brown, with a huge coffee/cream coloured head of foam that dies VERY quickly leaving nice rings on the side of my chalice, with some spotty carbonation and a small bit of lacing. A nice looking beer for an 11 year old.

Aromas are extremely complex at this stage and consists of port like esters, caramel, chocolate, leather, faded hops, a slight undistinct fruitiness, toffee or English butterscotch, and more.

The taste is extremely complex as well. Burnt buttered popcorn, toffee, caramel, coffee, chocolate, leather, and more all vie for the attention of the very lucky imbiber (me in this case), this is truly a well-blended masterpiece of barleywine artistry.

Mouthfeel is creamy, and smooth and not even thin like I had expected. The drinkability remains awesome for a truly excellent barleywine that is most surely under-rated on BA and on other rating sites.

A masterwork of British brewing. Cheers you f'in Ram you.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.63/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a deep, dark reddish brown. poured aggressively to get a nice off-white foam. drinking it from a large snifter, it looks great.

a lot of caramel blended with some chocolate in the aroma. smells sweet and malty.

taste is nice and sweet right up front. a lot of caramel type malts. the malty sweetness is a good match for the abv. nice and balanced.

the mouthfeel is pretty creamy up front with a good bite in the finish. a nice lingering sweet taste. one of the most mellow and drinkable barley wines i've sampled. great flavor and not so overpowering as some other examples in this style.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This Old Nick's a sly one! Smooth & complex, he'll sneak up on you. Fondly remembered as my first introduction to barleywines. This sounds strange, but my friends and I would often mix Old Nick with a kriek, such as Lindemanns. You'd get the nice cherry sweetness mixing with the sweetness of the Old Nick, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

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Photo of mophie
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like this one. Ruby in color, with a tan head that stuck around a bit longer than I expected, based on other reviews. Toffee/caramel and alcohol aroma. Taste also of toffee, raisins, and alcohol (liqueur-like, almost like Gran Marnier in the finish). Relatively low alcohol content (for a barley wine!) adds to its drinkability. You can add this to my list of winter treats...

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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.

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Photo of snilsen13
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is an easy drinking, well balanced barley wine. It pours dark red-brown, translucent and with thin head. The smell and flavor is a fabulous balance of maltiness, mild hops, and the gentle warming of alcohol. I couldn't place the spice in this, I was so taken by the maltiness, which is also the bulk of the smell. In the mouth it gives a light tingle of carbonation, it doesn't saturate all parts of the palate,but is solid. Aftertaste is very clean. I was eager to finish off the bottle and tempted to go out for more. There's something deceptively simple and very satisfying about this beer, it just kept tasting better.

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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.

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Photo of tbeer40
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of deapokid
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Chsyhkr
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How do the British do it!

7.2% alcohol, fruit, nuts, and a hint of roasted flavors bring this one home. One excellent barleywine that doesn't get you shitfaced!

Pour with a little head, plenty of flavors, toffee, fruity, pears in particular, with a hint of roast and chocolate.

Alcohol still comes through in the aroma but doesn't dominate. We would have to make this 10% abv to pull of what our British friends have done here.

Well Done!

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Photo of Blueribbon666
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of lackenhauser
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice deep,burgundy red color. Nice tight head that lasts the whole way down the glass. Slight malt aroma. Somewhat bready and sweet. Big malt flavor. Biscuit like. Some vanilla notes. Caramel softness in the finish. Great mouthfeel. Velvety smooth-almost creamy. A very drinkable beer. Nowhere near as big as any US barleywines but this is the first one I ever had (God-20 years ago now) and I can always go back to this one. Well worth trying. Often too.

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Photo of fingolfin72
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- cola, with an off-white, short-lived head.

Nose- sugar, licorice, malt, hints of smoke and sherry. Perhaps a bit scotch-like.

Palate- Smooth, with creamy effervescence. Toffee, butter, caramel and a bit of anise. The finish is long, long, long. A nice, bracing, hoppy flintiness comes through. I get subtle notes of oak and cocoa, and the alcohol is subtle (but definitely present). Easier to drink than other barleywines, perhaps dangerously so.

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Photo of budsboy
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, deep red with a healthy looking, rich tan head.

Vinous aroma, dark fruit, wet bread, alcohol and grape.

Rich, sweet and fruity. Malty and juicy with a low hop profile. Warming alcohol. Masterful blend of bitter and sweet. Well done.

Extrodinary mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy, low carbonation. Creaminess grows as it warms. Mother's milk.

This is a well put together ale. Another quality brew from Young. Oddly, this beer leads me wanting for their Double Chocolate Stout. After reviewing the first half of this bottle, I enjoyed the second with some sharp cheddar and butter cheeses. Oh, man, it was good.

Many thanks to Mr. Hustlemuscle for this sample. Good man, Hustle, good man.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass the beer was a dark ruby red color with two-fingers of light tan head and tons of carbonation streaming up the glass. Moderate lacing throughout the sample.

The smell of slightly sweet with malt and caramel dominating. Slight raison and plum, and a little bit of sugary candy as well.

The taste has a big chewy maltiness on the palate with dark fruits (raisons and figs) coming through quite nicely. Slight caramel lends some sweetness to the taste and the finish remains biscutty and nutty. Very smooth beer and the alcohol become apparent with the finish of each sip.

A thick and chewy mouthfeel but still retains a good creamy finish and balance.

Very drinkable and complicated with many subtle flavors well blended with each other. A great beer for a cold night to sip and enjoy.

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Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co Brewery PLC
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 329 ratings
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