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Old No. 23 - Bristol Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old No. 23Old No. 23

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

68 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 68
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.86%
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of taospowder
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
2.43/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

12.6.14: First impressions below. Full review to follow.

2014 vintage 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with a branded pry-off pressure cap served into an Odell tulip. Expectations are average given the brewery.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

A: 1 finger wide. Off white colour. Pretty average for a barleywine across the board.

Body colour is a depleted pale red. Not a solid or strong colour. Translucent and transparent, but not vibrant.

Appears well-carbonated. It's not a great looking barleywine, but there are no egregious issues.

Sm: Heavy on the fruity esters. Cherry dominates. Biscuit malt. Caramalt. Supple fruit. Fruitskin. Red apple skin. Syrupy and sweet - perhaps evoking malt extract. Red malts. Amber malts.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

T: Fruitskin/apple skin, fruity ale esters, fruity hops, amber malts, red malts, malt extract, and dominant cherry. Candied sugar. Okay balance. Sweet - perhaps overly so. It's surprisingly fruit-forward for a barleywine, with virtually none of the notes I'd look for in paragon of the style: no vanilla, caramel, toffee, brown malts, dark malts, marshmallow, traces of oxidation, etc. I can't say I like it much, but it's not a poor beer. Largely uninspired. Shallow, to boot.

Mf: Smooth, wet, crisp, clean, full-bodied, lightly syrupy, thick, and sticky. Has a boozy warmth.

Dr: It's downable but forgettable. A pedestrian and shallow attempt at the style which lacks inspiration. In line with my memories of the other offerings I've had from Bristol - definitely below average. Aside from drinking the remainder of the four-pack, I wouldn't want to try this again.


Age likely won't help it much.

Photo of lysergicdream
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of BradC
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a thick dark reddish brown. Bottle from 2009, about 5 years old. Not much aroma, maybe a sweet smell. Tastes sweet, a burnt raisin, toffee flavor, tobacco notes, just enough bitterness to balance it out. Very light carbonation and pretty easy drinking. All in all, held up well for bing 5 years old.

Photo of Jasonclick
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of minterro
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

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.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of iatethecloudsfor
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of BigGingDrinker
2.5/5  rDev -35.6%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of backslide311
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of stampfler07
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of macktbone
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of beergoot
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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...

Photo of potbeercollege
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of RuckusDu
2.96/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of mactrail
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Photo of rawfish
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of claytong
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Old No. 23 from Bristol Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.