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Old No. 23 - Bristol Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old No. 23Old No. 23

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

64 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 64
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 8
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bristol Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.25% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jasonclick
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Jasonclick, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

afsdan, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of minterro
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%

Bought at Little's Wine and Liquor store. Vintage 2012 store cellared (about a year and 3 months in the bottle). Poured into a snifter, paired with honey roasted peanuts.

A&S: Dark burgundy colored beer, almost opaque, no presence of carbonation or unfiltered elements. Off-white head appears in a thin layer when vigorously poured, dies very quickly. Spectacular aroma initially consisting of: tons of candy sugars, dried apricots, . No real sense of alcohol.

T&M: Upfront very sweet. Midway through I'm getting pipe tobacco and the sweet become a bit more bitter. From the aroma and initial taste I figured the finish to be sweet, however surprising, there is a mild bitter/earthy hop tone to the finish. Ridiculously undrinkability even without considering it's > 11% ABV. On the flat side in carbonation. Heavy body but not chewy.

Overall: Good beer for the price, sitting at sub 4 bucks a bottle it is a pretty good barleywine for it's price. This one sitting at plus 1 year was surprisingly a bit too mellow, would like to see what it is like at 6 months.

minterro, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%

Pour is a dark hazed copper with red edges and tan thin head. Nose is fairy sweet with heavy malt component. A hint dusty and a faint green/herbal hop. Taste is strong berry, candied sugar, brown sugar, faint chocolate malt and a touch of toasted nut. Full bodied and solid carbonation, a bit chalky in the finish. Green hops and a light hop bitterness linger through the back end.

cpetrone84, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of iatethecloudsfor
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

iatethecloudsfor, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of BigGingDrinker
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

BigGingDrinker, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jaydoc, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of backslide311
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

backslide311, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of stampfler07
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

stampfler07, Apr 02, 2013
Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

eawolff99, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev +2.3%

MarkyMOD, Sep 03, 2012
Photo of macktbone
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

A- looks thin and comes across as brown and murky with very little head and minimal lacing.

S- I want to wear a super hero costume with a big M on it. Super Malt. Whoppers anyone?

T- Wow! This is by far Bristol's best in my opinion. I like the body of malts on this beer. Tons of stuff going on. Ever have that urge to get another sit....try this and you will. A little metallic on the end but nothing that another swig wont fix. Very well masked ABV %.

M- Good for the style. Not too syrupy.

D- Great drinkability for such a high ABV. No worries about finishing this one.

macktbone, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of beergoot
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

A somewhat cloudy, mahogany-colored body. Head comes across thin, weak, and bone-colored.

Dates, prunes, and currants along with rich, roasted grains dominate the smell. Rich and enticing.

Dark bread and black licorice hit you right off with hints of chocolate and cocoa following with regards to the taste. The alcohol is hinted at, but remains well-subdued behind the malt flavors. A little spicy.

Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Sweet and smooth on the tongue.

A really nice barleywine, complex, smooth, and relatively easy drinking. A well-made big beer...

beergoot, May 20, 2012
Photo of potbeercollege
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Bottled. Amber and headless. Aroma is sweet caramel and sticky hop sweetness. Flavor is similar with richer malt presence and booze awesome and everywhere with also great sticky bitter hop presence. Lay this down for a year and you'd be a fool to tell me it isn't awesome

potbeercollege, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%

a monster barleywine, actually pouring lighter jack daniels color in the glass, with almost no head, just a dab of white foamies. smells like charcoaled whiskey, vanilla, and grapenut cereal. alcohol nose too. taste matches, very potent but mellow, like an old ass glass of scotch. this has all the same vibes. mouthfeel is nice and smooth, but only a tiny bit of carbonated spunk. overall is nice barleywine, and it wouldnt take many to be wallaby ted's brother either. not bristol's best, but this would be outstanding in any other state

StonedTrippin, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of RuckusDu
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%

A - Poured a solid 1.5 finger head. More off-white in color than tan. Some very nice lacing

S - Not a big fan of this. Sweet hops, but the sweet dominates and I almost didn't recognize the hops. It is medicinal scented.

T - Yes, the flavor matches the scent for the most part. Ends with an interesting pez flavor that takes a second or two to come around. Nice hop flavors but still tastes artificial or medicinal as I said before.

M - Well done as it is highly carbonated even though 11% and a BW. Body is solid all around.

O - The flavors match the aroma which is bad in this case. A little disappointed but will still age the other 3 in the 4-pack. No sense in drinking them now.

RuckusDu, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev +2.3%

ohtheguilt, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of mactrail
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%

Sharp, grainy, alcohol bomb. Murky is the word. Sweetness touches the lips but departs with a raspy edge. Best feature is the aroma of hot roasted malt, like barley popcorn. Thin and sharp with a harsh alcoholic flavor. Rather bitter, accentuated by the dry mouthfeel, like the malt evaporated.

Bristol is my one of my least favorite Colorado breweries and this doesn't do much to improve my opinion. Still it has some interest and

mactrail, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of rawfish
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%

2009 vintage, aggressive pour nets a thin finger high head of khaki coloration over a nearly opaque dark brown body with slightly reddish highlights. Head was gone within the minute with slight lacing.

Toffee, caramel and honey grain on the nose, very sweet and rich with slight amounts of dark fruit. Very little hop character, balanced with some vanilla and leafy herbal notes.

Drinks fairly big with a huge focus on toffee malts, deep and roasted with a good amount of sweetness. Awfully straight forward with some honey and vanilla, herbal hops have been covered up some but noticeable with some tobacco flavor in the aftertaste. Sticky sweet on the finish.

Heavy to medium bodied with low carbonation. Alcohol has mellowed out well, sticky aftertaste, a slow sipper for sure.

Heavy and syrupy with a one dimensional malt quality that is like toffee and hard candy. Sweet and enjoyable with just enough pine and herbal hops to bring it back into balance when strayed too far.

rawfish, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +2.3%

I have no idea how I acquired this bottle, but I know that it has been hanging around for a while and even made the move to my new digs a couple of years ago. The notch on the label indicates a 2006 vintage! Holy Old, Batman.

From the bottle: "Hearty, warming, slightly eccentric. Enjoy!"

I went with a nice, gentle pour so as not to disturb the mound of lees at the bottom of the bottle. This resulted in mere wisps as far as head was concerned. Color was a deep ruby/garnet red with NE-quality clarity, reinforcing the importance of leaving the lees for the end. Nose was extremely malty sweet, like caramel. It is quite warm in the mouth, although not outright hot as it may have been in its youth. It starts out with a caramel sweetness, but gives 'way to a dark fruitiness, like black cherries and plums. Wow! Say, it seems to have some sort of hypnotic effect also as I am getting sleepy, very sleepy. Finish was warm, sweet, narcotizing. Man, I don't know that I was ready for this. It was very pleasant with the age on it, but I wonder what it would be like young. I may not want to find out.

woodychandler, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of claytong
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

oak, malt beings and alcohol finishes it off though not offensively. opaque dark amber, not much carbonation.

this beer is a classic example of what has great potential to age well. im throwing the other 3 of this 4 pack in the cellar. its very complex right now, but nothing really comes through strongly. I think with some aging the complexity will mature and become bolder. its pretty tasty as is though, but just a bit light overall, would make an interesting beer to pair.

claytong, May 03, 2011
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%

12 oz. bottle tried 7 Sep 2010. Served in the 0.3 L Unibroue snifter. 2009 vintage.

Small brown head, medium carbonation. CLoudy reddish brown with a lot of floaties. Boozy, sugary, rum and caramel aroma. Fairly sweet. Lots of dark fruit, brown sugar, molasses and ethanol. Silky mouthfeel. Medium to heavy body. Lots of legs. Nutty and toasty. Aftertaste is a lingering sweetness, vanilla and warm rum, light bitterness and a touch of candied orange peel.

Seems to lean a little more towards a British barelywine.

htomsirveaux, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of artcurtis
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

Had in a Great Divide snifter
Pours an odd, murky deep brown color, with a head to match. The head disappears almost instantly. There is already lacing.
The nose is nice. Very malty, very boozy. Not very complex, but smells good.
Taste, unfortunately, is very like the nose. Good, but not very complex. But, that's not really a bad thing. Very malty, followed very quickly by a nice booze punch, with a nice smattering of hop bitterness at the end. Basic, but good.
The mouthfeel is wonderful. The best part of this beer. it is so thick and heavy, yet smooth and easy. Just coats your mouth.
Overall, this is a good beer. I'm not a huge fan of super hoppy barley wines, so it's nice to find a malty one for a change. Not the most complex beer in the world, but very easy drinking for a barley wine.

artcurtis, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%

I have had this beer for about a year now, so it seems like a good time to try it. It has been in the fridge for the last month or so, so it should be good and ready. Let's give it a go:

Appearance: Pours a pretty cloudy dark caramel brown color with a very small head of small tan bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. The head was gone within about 20 seconds to leave a pretty still looking liquid.

Aroma: The beer is pretty cold for the style right now, so all I am getting is a bit of dry chalkines from the hops along with a decent contribution from the alcohol adding peppery spice and some pricking on the nose. As you get deeper into the aroma there is some dark caramel in there with a bit of toffee. There is even an evident Chocolate making an appearance as more of a bitter-sweet chocolate than cocoa or anything.

Taste: The flavor is actually much more balanced than I thought it was going to be from the aroma. There is a substantial malty backbone to this beer to accentuate the hops, but it doesn't let the hops just run all over your palate. There is no carbonation noticeable, but the beer is pretty well attenuated and the alcohol is high, so all of this gives the impression of a lighter beer...somewhat dangerous with a beer this big. The hops are a big player in the beginning of the flavor profile adding a pretty significant grassy note that is slightly accentuated by some floral. There is a pretty healthy amount of hops in the bittering, but dare I say?...it finishes just slightly toward the malt! This is a good thing for me, but a bit unusual for the style.

Opinion: Well, I am really enjoying drinking this beer and wish that I had it available to me more as it is probably one of my more favorite American Barley Wines now...but that is due to the fact that it strays from the pack with the finish. This is good for me as I am a Malt-Head anyway, but is unusual for the style, so this may turn a lot of you off. I personally respect the craftsmanship that went into this beer. Though this beer has some age on it, the hops are still fresh in the flavor and yet the bittering hops aren't overpowering...which wouldn't change with age. This tells me that the beer was stupid hoppy when it was made, which would be nice to get a Barley Wine with accentuation in the later additions of hops for a change. This is a good beer with no flaws at all. The balance is a bit non-traditional, but I would recommend it nonetheless.

SkeeterHawk, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of 7ways
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%

2009 vintage thanks to codewarrior.

A - Very dark, like the color black ate red and brown. Thin lace and almost no head.

S - Honey, grain, fruit, and very fresh bread. It smells like it's still being brewed.

T - Sweet, rich, elaborate malt. Juicy, with fruit flavored tobacco on the finish. About as hoppy as 2 year old Hop Slam. I can taste the afterthought of hops, though I think it may have still leaned toward an English style even when young.

M - Thick and rich, but enough CO2 and acidity to bring it all together.

What's most striking is that I can barely smell or taste alcohol. Not as complex as a JW Lees, but on the right track.

7ways, Nov 17, 2010
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Old No. 23 from Bristol Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.