Young’s Old Nick is a traditional English barleywine, though it may surprise people to find out it’s only 7.2% alcohol—in this day and age of super-strength beers, 7.2% sure doesn’t seem like much. Quite the contrary, it fits the traditional style exactly—and it’s not just the alcohol strength that makes a barleywine.
Appearance: Deep red color, copper-brown at the edges. Head is thick, creamy, light beige. It has a very nice all-around look to it.
Smell: Surprisingly fruity—pears, plums. Malt in the background is sweet and rich… almost candy on the nose.
Taste: Figs, licorice, dark honey, candied fruits, coffee (light), burnt sugar, caramel. Very sweet, very winey and brandy-ish. Every sip is just a BAM! of complex candied flavors.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and thick. Complex interplay of textures and bites and flavors.
Overall: A real treat. Young’s is staying traditional and showing all the extreme upstarts how it’s done.