Tuesday 26 October 2010

Streets paved with gold

The next Wells & Youngs beer to sample is Young’s London Gold. This is a bottle-conditioned beer of 4.8% ABV*, packaged in a brown bottle with an attractive green label. It was previously known as Kew Gold – presumably it has been renamed to give it a wider appeal. I’m not sure if the recipe has been slightly tweaked or not – it tastes much the same to me.

Although bottle-conditioned, it pours clear, with all the yeast sticking to the bottom of the bottle. The colour is a bright pale gold, similar to many lagers.

It has a strong natural carbonation, with obvious spires of bubbles rising in the glass, although it did not form a large head. This is a good sign that it actually has been enjoying some secondary fermentation in the bottle.

There’s an initial floral hop aroma, with malt starting to come through further down the glass. It has a carbonic bite, but overall a fairly soft, subtle flavour. There’s nothing wrong with subtle beers, as I have said here.

Boak and Bailey have compared it here to a British Kölsch, which is quite an accolade.

It would make an ideal refreshing summer pint, although the question has to be asked whether it is perhaps a bit too subtle for its own good: there are other golden ales, most notably the similarly bottle-conditioned Hop Back Summer Lightning, which are more in-your-face.

* The website says it’s 4.5%, but the bottle definitely says 4.8%.


  1. I have it in the back of my mind (pretty close to the front, actually... 8-) ) that the name change came about because they didn't have access to the hops from Kew.

    I had a very nice couple of hours on this at their pub next door to the Greenwich Union - Richard I, is it? It was splendid then, though when they let it out of their sight (Black Prince in Kennington), it's been poor.

  2. Hmmm - my understanding, though I may be entirely wrong, is that the renaming happened because the Royal Gardens didn't want to be associated with alcohol any more.

    I spotted some hops growing wild in Kew Gardens once: most go back and see if they're still there …

  3. One man's subtle is another man's tasteless. London Gold swings too far towards the latter - on cask anyway.

  4. According to a pumpclip shown on the website, the cask version is only 4.0% ABV, so a distinctly different beer from the BCA.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.