Well, there we have it, another week has just flown by like that! We can finally say hello to the weekend once again!

I have to admit, I am truly looking forward to bringing you this post today, the reason being this is the first time I’ve ever sampled a Barley Wine before.

And to be honest, I was truly privileged being able to try and sample a barley wine like this which delivers such a remarkable story that is packed full of history.

Today’s beer review post is featured on this marvellous ale called Thomas Sykes (Old Ale) 10% ABV!


Thomas Sykes is a classical and delicious old ale that is proudly brewed by Burton Bridge Brewery which is located in the town of Burton Upon Trent.

Thomas Sykes is taken from the former pub name which was located on Anglesey Road in Burton Upon Trent.

The stables which formed part of the Old Everards Burton Brewery were converted into a developed license house which was named Thomas Sykes.

At the time when the Thomas Sykes pub was in operation, the ale was being brewed by Heritage Brewery between 1985-1992 which was located on Anglesey Road, the same street where the pub was located. Just so you don’t get confused this isn’t the same brewery as the Heritage Brewing Company which is around today!

There was once a time when Thomas Sykes disappeared from the town, the pub closed and everyone thought that was it, but after many years the beer returned to the helm of Burton Bridge Brewery.

Funnily enough, I actually remember stepping inside The Coopers Tavern one evening and seeing Thomas Sykes available to purchase, I thought to myself, should I or shouldn’t I, in the end, I didn’t take the risk!

Furthermore, I noticed that Burton Bridge Brewery had racked this fantastic beer into an oak-aged pin, this is something you rarely see today for the brewing industry, oak-aged casks are typically more used for the whisky and wine industry.

The real question that most of you all will want to know is, what makes a Barley Wine so special?

It’s pretty simple to be fair, it’s basically a beer that is ultimately strong, the average strength for a barley wine is around 10% ABV!

Also, the characteristic of the beer sometimes makes you think that you’re actually drinking a glass of wine, but it isn’t produced the same as normal wine that you find on the shelves in supermarkets.

In my personal opinion, I would suggest if you’re wanting to buy a pint of Thomas Sykes or any barley wine, I would say it’s best to sample it first just so you can understand the flavours before making your final decision.

Out of all the beers that are brewed by Burton Bridge Brewery, Thomas Sykes Old Ale has been awarded the most amount of awards, it was placed in the West Midlands CAMRA ‘Beer of the Year’ 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2012. The beer became champion at the Dudley Winter Beer Festival in 2005. Finally, the beer was awarded champion at West Midlands CAMRA ‘Beer of the Year’ in 2017.

As you can probably see this barley wine is a fantastic and historic beer that’s played it’s part within Burton’s Brewing Industry and if I am honest it will be a beer that will remain in the town for years to come and a beer that’s close to peoples hearts.

Tasting Notes

A beautiful deep amber looking barley wine beer that had succulent sherried aromas, which in my mind reminded me of a whisky! Flavours of plum and dried fruit can be felt on the palate, which leaves a perfect winey lingering aftertaste.

The features of this beer can actually make you think that you are either drinking a pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a sample of whisky, there is so much character and that’s what makes this beer special.


Just like Bridge Bitter, which was the review post that was published on Wednesday, Thomas Sykes is only available in cask form and there is no further development of the beer being produced into bottles.

Before the pandemic, Thomas Sykes has been available in a couple of pubs around Burtons Town Centre, one of them which I mentioned earlier was The Coopers Tavern and another pub that it can be available from is the Burton Bridge Inn.

On the same day after picking up my takeout of Bridge Bitter, I decided to also purchase one pint worth of Thomas Sykes. Now, being classed as a barley wine, you will have to accept that you may have to pay slightly more just because of how strong the beer is. Brews Of The World, in Burton, was selling Thomas Sykes for a price of £5.00 per pint (Takeout Only), which for a strongly related beer is pretty good value for money.

On the other hand, don’t expect this beer to be on sale for more than three days, it does sell out rather quickly, just because so many people love the taste.

I sampled my Thomas Sykes on Wednesday Evening just gone and I couldn’t believe how beautiful this beer was, the aromas were absolutely gorgeous, it was superb!

As soon as my nose touched the top of the glass there was a sensational sherried aroma, I thought at first I was about to sample a pint of whisky, I would’ve of course never drink a pint of whisky!

The flavour was really intense and strong, I could definitely tell that this beer was a barley wine just because it had those succulent winey flavours, dried fruits and plums, it was gorgeous. The truth is though, it took me three hours to drink this beer, just like the P2 Stout, this is a beer that should be treated with care and respect!

The aftertaste of Thomas Sykes was tremendous, it was a sweet flavouring that lingered on the palate for minutes, this beer in my mind was an absolute beast!

At the start of this post, I mentioned that this was the first barley wine that I’ve ever sampled and now after drinking a pint of this outstanding and quality beer, it certainly won’t be my last!

I think you’ll have guessed by now that I am most definitely going to recommend this beer to you, I will once again reiterate how beautiful this beer is. If you ever get the chance to travel to the UK and visit Burton Upon Trent, I would certainly say you need to sample the Thomas Sykes (Old Ale), it’s an absolute cracker!

I wish you all a fantastic weekend and if you are going to be enjoying a beer or two, why not follow my Instagram and Direct Message me with your pictures!

Cheers to that!

The Cask Connoisseur

This is a collaborative post with Brews Of The World, all beer review posts are subject to my own honest opinion. 

6 Comments on “Thomas Sykes (Old Ale) – 10% ABV”

  1. Pingback: Blueberry Muffin Stout – 6.5% ABV – TheCaskConnoisseur

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