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

very good
315 Reviews
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.

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Reviews: 315 | Ratings: 329
Photo of DanGraser
4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
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 joeskirkie
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pt .9 oz bottle
Best before 20 Sept 07.

Today is 11 Oct 07 but I'm really not all that worried.

It sits dark in a snifter, "root beer colored" would describe it well.

Scents or raisins, some caramel and bread.

Oh my, distinct dark chocolate when tasting, hints of coffee, figs, and alcohol on the finish. Theres also a lingering bitterness suggesting hops.

It's slightly sticky and heavy, definitely substantial. A nice experience.

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Photo of shererjt
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear, deep mahogany color with a large, creamy, tan head. Aroma was sweet malt, raisins, caramel, and maybe some fruit. Body was medium-to-full. Malt first, then hop bitterness with some hop flavor late. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. Very drinkable for a big beer.

Not my favorite Young’s beer or barleywine, but still tasty. On the light side for a barleywine, but that’s okay with me. After doing my review I noticed that the bottle I had was 4 months past its “Best Before” date. I didn’t notice any off-flavors except perhaps a tiny bit of oxidation that came out as it warmed, but it wasn’t bad or even inappropriate for the style. Still, I will try to sample this again soon.

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle

Pours a very pretty chestnut brown with ruby highlights. Creamy tan head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Sweet caramel malty aroma with a light nuttiness.Very light hint of herbal hops.

Sweet caramel malt taste upfront with a mild nutty flavor. Medium bitter bite midway with mild herbal hop flavor. Finishes caramel malty sweet.

Medium-full body, creamy texture.

A very nice example of an English barleywine. The ABV being on the low end for the style makes this brew extremely drinkable. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of beeragent
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. The beer poured a medium brown, forming a creamy 1 1/2 inch head. The aroma is a strong mix of what smells like sweet malt and alcohol. The taste is a good amount of sweet malt, along with a little alcoholic aftertaste. For a barley wine, the alcohol wasnt as nearly noticeable as expected. The mouthfeel was also suprisingly smooth. Overall, not bad for a barley wine. I could definitely see drinking this again.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this bottle at The Leon Pub in Tallahassee. It had been in their beer fridge for some time. The best before date read: 17 aug 2007

A - Pours a dark brownish amber red with a creamy light brown head. A very nice looking beer.

S - All malt. It has a big maris otter character, with a caramel goodness. no hops to speak of.

T - Same as above except with a slight lingering bitterness on the back of the tounge. The flavors of this beer have really come together; caramel and nice cinnamon are also present. Fresh, the beer has a bit of a "cleaning products" flavor, but aged this is not apparent. The only knock is that fresh it has only a modest amount of hops, but aged they are barely apparent at all. A good smooth beer, with lots of character.

M - Creamy and really accentuates the malts

D - So smooth for a barleywine. Very flavorful but mellow.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured into an imperial pint glass from a bottle branded with fire and a smiling devil. Pours a nice cola color - dark brown with hints of ruby when held to the light. Head is two fingers thick, foamy, tan and dissipates in about a minute or so. Some lacing is evident.

Smell: Hard to determine this one... Clean hop notes come through at first but there is also a nice roasted malt note somewhere in there. Faint but pleasant overall.

Taste: Tastes and feels like a cola when entering the mouth, giving way to a sort of dark fruity hop character. Finishes strong with a chewy dark chocolate note. Smooth.

Notes: This is great beer that I will definitely pick up again.I'd be curious to see how this one ages, because it's fantastic when fresh. This one kind of reminded me of a doppelbock, which is in stark contrast to the not so pleasant, ultra-bitter experience I had with the other Barleywine Ale I've had. Good to know there's a good range of flavors in the style.

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Photo of DrJay
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a beauty of an English barleywine! I actually sat on this bottle for about a year before opening and I wasn't disappointed after the wait.
It poured clear and dark, sort of a mahogany colour with ruby highlights. Light brown foam rose off the pour and showed superb head retention for a barleywine, producing some solid lacing too. The aroma had a big toffee component, with dried fruit (prunes and figs) ever-present in the background. Bitterness was a bit mild, but still solid, with plenty of toffee, dried fruit, and bittersweet chocolate. Overall, the flavour was pretty sweet and malty. The carbonation was very creamy and well integrated, giving the texture a bit of lightness even with the medium/full body. Very nice. A highly drinkable barleywine with no alcohol evident. Mild, yet very tasty.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was a nice barley wine.

A: Poured a dark brown, almost blood colored body with no head or lacing of any significance.

S: Pretty malty smell with slightly alcoholic undertones.

T: Pretty malty taste, almost like a bock, with some slight alcoholic presence in the aftertaste. The alcohol was not overbearing at all.

M: The mouthfeel was pretty solid. Nothing too thick, but pretty rich and full-bodied

D: For a barley wine, this is definitely a drinkable beer. It will not burn your throat or scourge your stomach. The beer itself did remind me a little bit of a bock with a higher alcohol content, but the brew was very smooth and suprisingly easy to drink.

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Photo of BeerZack
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear deep mahogany color with fine bubbly head that displays good lacing.

Sweet bready malt, raisin, marshmallow, and caramel all in the nose. Some alcohol as it warms.

Tastes not so complex as the smell implies; raisin-bread flavor with hint of roastiness and some hop bitterness on the finish.

Feels light and creamy yet full bodied.

Nice and drinkable overall, but it is on the low end of the abv% spectrum for a BW. Great for the price and availability.

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

Mild English Brown toffee sweetness and light floral/herbal hops. Chocolate and richer malt notes.

Orange amber, halfway clear. Great head and good retention.

Tamely assertive malt and hops. Fairly clean malt bill with hints of chocolate and roast along with a medium-light toffee sweetness. Medium-strength floral hops with milder citric and herbal notes. Medium to medium-light bitterness. Medium-high dark fruitiness.

Medium-thick body with subtle carbonation. Chewy malt.

Nice. Tasty and significantly beefy. Worth the price. I’d get it again.

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Photo of Blupoet03
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured well with a deep brown/amber color and a thin lacey head.

Old Nick came across as heavy on the barley and malt in the nose, as well as dough (yeast) toffee, and coffee on the tongue with a warming aftertaste of alcohol.

Overall it was very hoppy and slightly dry with a short-lived head. Great experience - it will only improve with colder weather.

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Photo of BBM
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very deep ruby color that was not at all see-through. A thin beige head rested atop the beer. Nice lacing around the glass. There was a certain dark fruit aroma, mixed in with hints of alcohol and some sweetness.

This is a delicious beer. I'm a fan of English beer to begin with, and this one fits the bill perfectly. A big flavor of grapes, raisins and prunes up front (almost a red wine quality), followed by a slight molasses-like sweetness. There is an earthy, musty bitterness in the finish, along with an ever so subtle presence of alcohol. To be honest, it was very reminiscent of a fine Scotch Ale. Mouthfeel was full-bodied, silky smooth and not very carbonated. I'm not too familiar with the English version of the Barley wine, but was very impressed by this one. Great beer.

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Photo of xav33
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Youngs Old Nick
Pint bottle
Moderate pour in a tulip glass
Best before 12/06, fired up 06/07

Poured a dark reddish brown copper with a large beige mostly lasting frothy head with good lacing.

Smelt of moderate dried fruit, sweet cake, sweet spices.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet banana bread and caramel followed by a bitter yeasty and spruce followed by a long bitter finish.

Palate was medium bodied, lively carbonated, oily and moderately astringent.

Overall, a light quaffing English barleywine. It's kind of an oxymoron, but it works. A good intro to the style.

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Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barely a barley wine by new world standards (more of a strong ale), but relatively big for a Brit.

A: Ruby-brown with a light tan head, good retention & lacing.

S: Floral hops, metallic minerals, dark caramel & raisins.

T: Plenty of dark fruit flavour (prunes, raisins), dark caramel, brown sugar, slightly spicy (unrefined cane?), British hop flavour (fuggles & goldings = figs & earthy-orange-zest), slight fruityness from the yeast (though not as much as some Brits), good bitterness to balance the residual sweetness, alcohol is well hidden.

M: Full bodied, some residual sweetness but the finish is still fairly crisp.

D: Quite drinkable.

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Photo of hammer09
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear, reddish amber with a dense, 1/2" head. Visible carbonation appears moderate. Smell is generally malty with a slight sour odor. An aroma of alcohol is definitely present. Taste is pleasant; sweet and malty. Flavor is fruity, reminiscent of white grapes with a hint of toffee maltiness. Mild alcohol taste is prevalent throughout. Old Nick exhibits a very crisp carbonation with a good, subtle smoothness. Although not particularly high in %abv for a barley wine, the presence of alcohol gives this beer a warming effect. Overall, very drinkable for the style. Although the alcohol is present, it isn't very strong, leading one to drink several of these easily. Very good.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dark golden amber with a thick head that sticks around awhile. Smell of dark fruits and the taste is sweet, malty with toffee and dark fruits having a medium mouthfeel. Overall a good creamy ale, it's a little light for a barley wine, but still having the complexity in a this style of beer.

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Photo of mcallister
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Been wanting to try this one awhile and at this pricepoint I'm not certain why I haven't yet. Pours a shiney melted copper brownish with red hues. Very nice head of tan. Thick and coating with long retention and great depth.

Not a bad smelling BW but not one that really sticks out at you either. Sweet toffee, with milk chocolate and brown sugar. RS is moderate. Bits of raisin as well.

This is a very solid barley wine with huge drinkability. Only a 3.5 due to a lack of overall complexity but bery tasty nonetheless. Basically the same flavors as the aroma indicates. Big toffee malt with a caramel backing. Trace amounts of fig with golden raising flavors. Brown sugar is a bit toasty and moderately sweet. Mouth is medium and has depth in the finish. At 2.99 and my love of Barley wines this beer is hard to beat.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Best before 17 Aug 07.

Pours a dark amber/brownish hue with a very generous khaki colored head that stays about halfway through the tasting. Lacing is somewhat sticky that appears very granular but falls quickly down the glass. Smell is very enticing. Carmel goodness with a choclately roasted malt explosion. A bit of raisin also seems to tickle the nose as well. Flavor is very malty, my first English style barleywine! Nothing like the American barleywines what-so-ever. Am I wrong to say this tastes similar to a doppelbock? The only thing that seems to differentiate it would be the subtle hint of hops that appear in the aftertaste. As the beer warms, a more brown sugar like taste comes to mind. Alcohol is more present in the flavor than the scent. Mouthfeel is a bit much in the carbonation department, but not overwhelming. Thick, full bodied...covers the mouth well. Very drinkable barleywine, seeing it's weaker than most with the 7.2% abv, but still goes down quite easy. Glad I chose this one as my first English style barleywine, I'll start looking for more like this.

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Photo of rallison
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark reddish brown with a nice 2 finger tan head that never really goes away.

S: Smells of dark fruits, brandy and some roasted malts. Very nice smell!

T: Quite similar to the smell. Lots of dark fruits, with a good touch of brandy (both in flavor and alcohol bite), and maybe even a bit of a Belgian Candi sugar sweetness. Maybe some hops back there too, but I can't tell if that's just the alcohol bite at the end. Overall, nice and flavorful.

M: Full and rich, just as a barleywine should be. Interestingly, this actually tastes stronger in alcohol than the listed 7.2%. I don't necessarily mind in this case - I'm guessing the yeast they use isn't very efficient, thus leading to such a heavy body for a 7 percenter. Works for me as I quite like this beer.

D: I'll admit, it suffers here just a bit. A 7% beer should be more drinkable. That being said, it more than makes up for it in other categories.

Recommended. A nice English barleywine with a bit of a bite.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a barley wine by modern standards but rather a complex old ale that delivers all fronts. Fruity and yeasty on the nose with a real big finish that screams winter warmer. The English style is still apparent but depth of flavour is always there. Worth the purchase

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Photo of BadRockBeer
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving Type Sampled: 1pt. 0.9fl. oz. brown crown top bottle. Features freshness date.

Appearance: Murky walnut in color, somewhat opaque. Nice rocky 2 finder head that leaves a little lace around the edges of the glass.

Smell: Sweet, rich malt. Spicy hops and dried fruits.

Taste: Dried fruits from the minute Old Nick touched my lips. I taste raisins and prunes. As the nose suggested, a very rich caramel malt sweetness. Some diacetyl provides a mild butterscotch note. Finishes with an aged hop resin.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied lightly carbonated. Minimal warming from the 7.2% ABV.

Drinkability: Good. I really enjoyed this one. It has a lot of similarities to some of the better old ales I have sampled. I would probably put it in my top ten for English barley wines.

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Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co Brewery PLC
3.97 out of 5 based on 329 ratings.
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