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

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.

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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 315
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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Photo of Metalmonk
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The day I turned 21, I bought this beer because 1) I could, 2) I wanted to try something completely different than the familiar macro/light swill, and 3) I was looking to get drunk. I hated it. But how times change...

Pours out a slightly hazy deep ruby color, under a rocky light tan head that holds out for a good while.

Aroma: if this ain't the most Belgian-smellin' English barleywine... Boasts a yeasty/fruity nose that is more in line with that country's strong ales. Plenty of sour cherry, pungent yeast and alcohol/chocolate roundness. Surprising how much alcohol hits the nose. It might be 7.2%, but smells almost double that.

The flavor isn't quite as inviting or accessible as the aroma, but it does have its own depth. Rum-soaked raisins, vanilla extract, chocolate-covered toffee, raspberry pipe tobacco and molasses are felt, but they're nearly bowled over by a sharp mineral smack on the finish. The mouthfeel, while wonderfully creamy, also has a certain watery thinness that I still haven't quite come to appreciate in many English ales.

This is very good, with intriguing character, even unique, but also feels a little unbalanced. I would gladly visit this again to see how it does in a different environment and with different age on the bottle.

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Photo of sethmeister
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into rapscallion snifter at about 55 degrees. best before june 07 date

Dark reddish brown body looks near black in the glass with a voluminous creamy frothy tan head which abides but leaves very little lace.

Scent is caramel and dark sweet fruits with a slightly vinous port-like character.

Taste is vanila and dark sweet fruits (plums and cherries) with a touch of candy sugar sweetness and an ever so slight alcohol warming in the throat. Sweetness lingers with an oaky finish and a hint of diacetyl butteriness. Low hop presence here as its clear this is an English barleywine not an American.

Mouthfeel is a creamy chewey medium which is enhanced by the terrifically creamy weighty foam head.

Drinkability is surprisingly high and the abv is managed well.

This is a lovely smooth English barley wine. There are no brash or green qualities here and hopheads will most likely find it a bit too smooth and subdued.

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

500 ml brown bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. ABV is 7.2%. Brewed at the Ram brewery, shortly before closing, BB date 20. Sep. 2007 (will probably be good much longer than that). Code L6263 07:57 Y. Hazy deep brown colour, large and lasting tan head. Nice aroma of malts and hops (no surprise), hints of vanilla, chocolate, raisins and leather. The flavour is perfectly balanced between the malts and hops, both elements being present in generous amounts. Notes of caramel, toffee and oak. Sweet, but not too much. I drank it colder than the recommended room temperature, and don’t regret that. A hoppy bitterness + oak in the aftertaste. A very nice beer - I hope "Wells and Young’s" will keep it in their portfolio.

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Photo of schusterbauer
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark ruby color, to the point of being muddy brown, with a gray head that releases a lot of aroma as it dissolves. smell is strong and sweet -- fruity and malty. i noted that it smelled like port wine, and then when i went to throw the bottle away, realized that it actually suggests serving the beer as an alternative to port wine.
flavors are nice -- strong dark fruit juices, caramel malts, slight hops, candy sugar. really nice flavor profile, but everything needs to be turned up an extra 50%. same proportions, just more. as it stands, it lacks a boldness that is expected of a barley wine. it starts well, and finishes warmly, but in between there is something that falls a bit flat. a really nice beer that only disappoints due to the fact that it does hint at greatness.

i like the size of the bottle (16.9 oz.), and the price (~$3) -- both factors ensure that i'll most likely drink this again in the future.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear dark brown color with better than a full finger fluffy light tan head that resists fading. Visible carbonation keeps the head going. Some lacing present.

The smell is of a sweet fig or other dark fruit, but earthy from the yeast and even though the ABV is on the lighter side, there is a hint of alcohol.

The mouth is heavy and somewhat complex. First kind of creamy, but also a ting from the hop and carbonation. True to the labeling, It finishes with a bitterness not generally found in the American version of this style.

The flavor is a more subtle warm malty caramel that mirrors the nose. Glad that i had the opportunity to consider it.

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Photo of jettjon
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 500 ml bottle with “best before 10 NOV 06” date, this one was sampled in March 2007 with no apparent problems from aging. Poured into the cervoise a very deep brown color, ruby red in the light with heavy, clingy carbonation in the pour. One-finger cap of creamy brown-tan foam that fades at a leisurely rate down to a thin cap and ring with scattered, sticky lace. Nose is exceptional, even before the beer warms from fridge temperature. Heavy dark fruits such as dark grape juice, banana, sweet malt, and crisp hops along with trace alcohol, caramel and brown sugar. Quite a bouquet. Taste follows nose but not quite as phenomenally; delicious caramel malt is followed by hints of plums and dark fruit culminating in a dry, hoppy bitter finish with coffee notes. Mouth is solidly chewy-creamy with moderate crisp carbonation; smooth overall. Drinkability is outstanding: this is a delicious and mellow brew that is highly enjoyable; 7.2% ABV is respectable but doesn’t get in the way.

Overall: An outstanding brew, rivaling some of the best quads I’ve had. I can’t speak for the style as I’m relatively inexperienced with barley wines, but this is a delicious beer in its own right. Wholeheartedly recommended.

Additional note: I don’t usually buy into label hype, but this time they got it spot on: “Malty, velvety-smooth and full bodied with sumptuous flavors of fruit and hops with complex bitterness on the finish.” Hell, yes.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For coming up with the same numbers for each factor, this was a tough beer to review. I like it, let me get that out of the way.

This is one of the darker barleywines I've encountered, and was blown away by the hops, or lack thereof, in the aroma. Very little oiliness, quite a bit of dark caramel hop.

The flavor to me is a little lacking, although still complex and impressive. Hence the 4. Toffee flavor, very malty. A slight hop edge, although I would prefer more. Probably in the 50 IBU range, which makes it an unremarkable IPA to my Americanized tongue. That combined with the much stronger malt presence than an IPA would have really puts the bitterness on the backburner.

A little slick in the mouth, nothing too great. The drinkability probably could get bumped up just because it's so low on the barleywine abv scale. The reason I gave it a 4 is that many times what is too strikingly bitter on first taste becomes somewhat addictive. I'm also not being pulled in by the herbal/spice aftertaste.

Excellent English barleywine, like I said, I really enjoy it. Other than J.W. Lees' efforts, this is a perfect example of the style. Side note: I thought the English were allowed to say Barley Wine. Old Nick's is labeled a Barleywine Style Ale, like the American versions.

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Photo of brdc
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a barley wine on the lower end of alcohol spectrum, which was somewhat of a surprise to me.
It is dark red, with a nice foamy head that leaves a good lacing behind.
Nose is pleasant, mostly malts with some caramels, chocolate and roasted malts, some fruitiness and minimal alcohol smell which is atypical, but more pleasant than I usually think barleywines are.
This is medium to full bodied, with some fruitiness, milder alcohol than the usual, some sweetness with a milder hop bite than the usual.
I cannot really make up my mind, will have to come back to this one. First impression is of a milder, easier to drink barleywine than the average but it also did not strike me as "great".

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Photo of angie497
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a very dark reddish amber, practically brown - it seemed very clear but it's too dark to be transparent. The head is almost tan, about two fingers thick, and disappeared quickly.

The aroma is almost surprisingly sweet and very malty. There’s also quite a bit of fruitiness, plum or raisin, and a hint of yeast.

The sweetness was the first thing I noticed about the flavor. There’s a definite caramel flavor with a hint of chocolate as well as the plum and raisin flavors. There’s enough hop bitterness to give Old Nick a nice edge. The high alcohol content also gives the beer a nice bite.

It had a smooth, creamy mouth feel and rich body, and it’s nicely carbonated. It’s not as syrupy or heavy as you might expect from a barley wine, and it’s very drinkable. I normally think of a barley wine as a beer to sip slowly, to make one last for the evening, but this one is light enough to enjoy two or three.

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Photo of theopholis
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Poured a very dark amber. Almost black. Has a good, off-white head, but it has little staying power. Leaves a decent lace however.

Aroma- Packed with malt sweetness and some fruitiness. Very little hops, which is a little disapointing for a Barleywine, but I'll with-hold judgement for now. Also some black cherries and plum in there. Also, a faint, but very sweet, bready, malty yeastiness. Yum.

Taste- Very nice, and smooth. Not as hoppy as most barley wines, but very good all the same. Mostly smooth malt sweetness with hints of bittering and flavoring hops. Some dark fruit in there; plum and raisins. Without being overpowering, the sweetness is ever-present. I swear, you can even taste it on your lips.

Mouthfeel- Medium body for the style. Smooth and creamy for a barley wine. I'd almost hink it was nitrogen charged. Good carboantion level. Not as heavy or syrupy as you might expect for a barley wine, which makes this one a nice change of pace.

Drinkability- Pretty good for a barly wine. Most of them are sippin' beers. This one, you could drink one or 2 of before having your tastebuds overwhelmed. Not the best barley wine, but a worthy effort

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Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of pweis909
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A tawny white foam formed, with tight thin bubbles that ring the glass with lace as the head dissipates. The liquid is dark amber, with garnet tones at the edges when held to light. Translucent but not transparent, either because it is just a little too dark, or the bubbles disperse light

Fruity aroma – maybe some banana and but stronger pear, intense pear. Nursed through the evening, as the beer got warmer and the foam dissipated, the aroma took on a stronger alcohol character, and the fruit took a back seat.

The first sip reveals a soft, chewy chocolate and a faint sourness that seems to be associated with the fruit. The finish has an alcoholic bitterness, not a hoppy bitter.

The alcohol is noticeable. One 25 oz bottle spread over 2hours is plenty for an evening. Because some of the interesting aromatic intensity is lost with time, I recommend sharing a bottle with a friend or two.

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Photo of joe1510
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. Bottle
Binny's Orland

Best before 6/07

Old nick poured crimson red. This stuff is way darker than I expected. When held to the light it reminds me of strong iced tea. On the pour the head grew to a delicious looking 2+ fingers of beige that fell agonizingly slow to a thick cap and rim of creaminess. This beer looks extremely tasty.

The smell is packed with fruitiness and spice. There's big aromas of figs, red pear, and some nutmeg. Dark cherries mingle in and out with hints of oak. A very mild breadiness shows itself in the background. Very nice. Could be a little more pronounced though.

The flavor is just like the aroma. More subdued but all the flavors are there. Without naming everything again the dark fruits are everywhere with along with something new. Bread pudding with raisins. There is a quick metallic flash follwed by a pear skin grittiness. Nicely done.

Mouthfeel is good. Creamy and smooth. Slow moving with a tongue tickling tingle on the swallow.

I could easily enjoy a few of these and it's something I'm sure Friends of mine not familiar with beers of this type would also appreciate. Good winter brew.

This is an easily found barleywine that is definately a treat. Will happily be picking more of these up in the future. Very enjoyable.

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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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