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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,730 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,730
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 103
Gots: 138 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,730 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mltobin
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle with a neat logo of a crescent moon and a little log cabin below, freshness date is stamped clearly on it.
Poured into a pint glass, a dark brown with a 2/3 finger head, mmm looks appealing already. The smell gives of notes of sugar and grains from a field. The taste is a thick barley with molasses on the taste buds as well. Mouthfeel is sharp, tingly, slightly sweet. I am impressed with this offering from Old Horizontal. I have not had an opportunity to sample many barleywines, but so far this is one of the better ones that I have had.

Photo of chaz410
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from Common Market in Charlotte NC.
Pours a brownish amber hued body with a thin white head that stays for a little while.
Smell is roasty malts, fruit essence of raisen and slight cranberry with hints of dates and lavender. Hop smell comes through as very tart and zesty, slightly piney flavorings.
Taste is roasted raisen, apple, prune and date with an obvious hop profile and crisp finish. The taste lingers with sweet dark fruits then turns to tart and dry hop bitterness long after the swallow.
Mouthfeel is very smooth, alcohol comes through but after the swallow.
Drinkability is good for a barleywine and can store well.

Photo of drcarver
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - a deep red/amber body holds a small beige head that vanishes quickly

S - Strong malts with sweet hints of sugars. A raw sugary smell not a roasted/caramel/toffee smell. Also some creaminess similar to that of sweetened condensed milk.

T - sweet robust flavors of the malts followed by a inexpensive vodka type alcohol flavor. The alcohol is buried fairly well in the malt, but it doesn't fade quickly. Most of the flavors hang in the nose. A bit of creaminess as well

M - Flat and smooth.

D - as drinkable as a 11% can be. The alcohol makes you slow down.

Photo of TLove
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Chimay glass. Phenomenal composition and rewardingly full-bodied. A bit on the expensive side, but if you are a barleywine fan, this is well worth the splurge.

Appearance- Deep copper/light brown. Full head and provisionally murky body.

Smell- Molassas, malt, green raisins and pear.

Taste- Structurally hoppy, with a nice malt sweetness and sweaty bitterness. Green raisins and roasted molasses come through with a bit of caramel on the back end.

Finish- Creamy and delicious. 11% ABV. Incredibly well-balanced and medium carbonation flows through to the end.

Photo of dmamiano
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orangish copper color, nice, thick head with plenty of lacing.
Display nice "legs" as the beer is swirled in the glass.
Candy like nose, heavy, thick sweet malts. Liquid sweetness. Really impressive.
Taste is smooth, big, malty. aCopious amounts of malts lends to a sweet, sturdy malt profile that completely dominates the hops.
Excellent beer.

Photo of gciccarelli
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

A - Deep brown with ruby highlights. Very hazy - chunks of sediment apparent. 1 finger tan head.

S - Caramel malt, cherries, raisins, molasses.

T - Sweet malts followed through by an interesting hop bitterness. Nicely balanced. Sweet molasses taste and hint of cherry. Alcohol is noticeable.

M - Heavy body, medium carbonation (more than you would think). Almost syrupy thick.

D - Nice balance, not overpowering with either the malt or hops. Heavy body and high ABV make it hard to drink a ton though...but comparable to other barleywines.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: ruby red color with little head surfacing, lots of bubbly activity
s: sweet molasses / malts with spurts of hoppy bitterness
t: bitterness is the constant theme from start to finish, with a big caramel sweetness in the middle and strong alcohol finish
m: heavy body with a good carbonated blast at the finish
d: one of the more drinkable / approachable barleywines i've had until you get to the halfway point of the bottle when alcohol becomes even more apparent

Photo of Stunner97
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- very dark brown to dark copper in color with a thick tan foamy head off the pour, some what cloudy in murky in color and body,

Smell- mix of a lot of malts and alot of hops in the smell, some sweet molasses and raisons and the very bitter hop smell

Taste- An interesting mix of bitterness and malt sweetness, it definitely has alot of both, I think its actually pretty well balance mix of both ends of the spectrum, a long lingering bitter finish but the sugar also stays on your palate, a nice mix and good finish

Mouthfeel- Smooth thick and creamy, extremely fullbodied and moderately carbonated

Drinkability- pretty enjoyable considering the 11 percent alcohol they balance it well so that no one aspect overwhelms you, i actually enjoyed this one and as i have started to enjoy barleywines more lately this one is actually up there with some of the more decent ones i have tried, if nothing else a very enjoyable nite cap

Photo of UA8
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a very dark ruby color with a half inch tan head.

S- Scents of raisins, candied pineapple, tangerine, with caramel malt backings and a hint of the warming ABV.

T- Leads with sweet caramel malts which are quickly washed away by first a medicinal taste, but then comes through as somewhat harsh alcohol. A slight herbal/ pine bitterness on the Finish.

M- A bit thin for a barleywine however a nice very light carbonation.

D- I was looking forward to trying this and I'm pretty disappointed the nose and appearance are good but then it all falls apart on the palate. This thing comes across moonshine hot. Maybe if left to sit for a year or two it would improve but there wasn't much flavor complexity to lead me to believe that would be true.

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Enjoyed while reading on the patio on a warm Easter Sunday.

A-Dark amber brew, beautifully clear. Small orange-tan head that reduced quickly to a thin collar (which also disappeared relatively quickly).

S-Almost tangy. Bready malts. Slight hoppy aromas alongside a persistent caramel. Hint of alcohol emerges as the beer continued to warm.

T-Prominent bready malts and a bit of semi-sweet malt. Some fruitiness mingles with a smooth, playful hop character, resiny and earthy in nature. Bitterness provides a perfect balance and not more. Alcohol is not apparent in the flavor, even with the 11% ABV. Finishes with a hoppy and full-malt aftertaste.

M-Full body, slowly sticking as it moved around my mouth. Carbonation is the higher side of low-level. Nice deep-belly warming.

D-Decent. Not in my top barleywines, but still an enjoyable brew. Smooth and easy to consume.

Photo of Baileyuk
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well I have been putting off doing my 100th review as I wanted it to be something special. Finally I got bored of waiting and settled for something good but easier to find.

The smell out of the bottle was excellent, it was hard to not notice the second it was popped. Smelled great afterwards with a great hop/malt balance in the nose. Definitely could smell the alcohol and a piney fruity hop presence.

Poured out of the bottle with a light brown, almost red tinted color. Head was massive and held up nicely. Had some serious floaties in the beer but not noticeable enough when drinking thankfully. Lacing was less than anticipated.

Taste was excellent for the first sip. Strangely was a little overpowering after a few more but still not too much so. Alcohol is strong in this one and I tasted a hint of fruity pineapple which i think was actually molasses. As I drank the beer it became better and better. A slight metallicness in the aftertaste.

At first I thought this beer was a little zippy in the carbonation department but as i drank down it got better and better. Slight oiliness coated the back of the tongue/throat. I originally had the drinkability fairly low, boosted it up as I went as it grew on me more and more. It is 11% so the depth is limited but this is not meant for session beering anyways.

Started of somewhat disappointed but ended very happy. Would happily of had another and would drink again for sure.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label has "best by 10/331/2013 on the label.

Actually had a more aggressive head that I had expected. Especially in the snifter glass I used. Finger + of off white head that slowly settles to a thin film. The beer itself is a gorgeous color. Almost ruby Red with a slight orange touch. Light visible carbonation.
No lacing at all. None expected.

Aroma is of deep malt, some light fruit. (cherry) and a touch of sweetness. Just below this are some more sweeter fruits.

A bit boozy, a bit hot and also deep with malt flavor. A slight phenolic flavor. After you get through the malt flavor there is a bit of fruit and then a fairly slight hop finish. The hop bitterness does have some staying power. In the end it melds with the notes of alcohol

Carbonation is a bit more aggressive then I would of thought. The flavor tingles on your tongue.

Slow sipper and one to savor for a better part of the evening.

Photo of Offa
3.27/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is a fairly good, but overly rough, hot, and somewhat one-dimensional, barleywine. I also think that overall in character, taste, and aroma this is more of an English barleywine than American as to me hop character and bitterness are very mild.

Deep red, very faintly hazy, it has a medium-large tan head with faint reddish hue, slowly shrinking to a lasting, thin but rich foamy top that leaves weak foamy lace on the sides.

The aroma is nice: rich, caramelised fruit, mostly prunes and raisins with a hint of candied citurs along with strong underlying whole wheat bread and a hint of rum cake and spice cake.

I am much more ambivalent about the taste. At first, the strong, hopt alcohol hits along with a rich raisiny spiciness and caramelised raisns and prunes, and a bit of rum. The alcohol at first overpowers everything and after a few more sips becomes even more overpowering, being hot and burning, largely drowning put the full-bodied but simple flavour. The result by then is that while it has some good taste, it is one-dimensional and very hot and alcoholic. I slight hoppy bitterness then becomes more noticeable but then it all starts to tame down, become more mellow and balanced about 1/2 through (perhaps due to warming? I started at about 50-52 F, though). The alcohol stays very prominent but it not nearly so strong and overpowering while the flavour is more noticeable caramelly-fruity, with a rather nice, zesty, but creamy, full feel. By now, it has become fairly good and much easier to drink if still a bit hot and one-dimensional.

Overall, this has promise and some defintie good points in body and flavour, but seems too one-dimensional, rough, and far too alcoholic and firey. I was too burnt out by the time it settled down to really enjoy the rest. Maybe I didn't let it age enough, but I stored it for almost a year.

Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: huge head--2 inches plus, high carbonation, red-orange color, clear

Smell: hops, pineapple, pine, citrus, caramel, and tobacco

Taste: the taste is complex. hops, pineapple, pine,citrus,caramel, tobacco, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: The first taste was gripping--very hoppy as my mouth got accustomed. Afterwards, it became more smooth, sweet, and syrupy and the bitterness just held itself to the end. Very low carbonation on the tongue.

Drinkability: I found this to be more and more complex as I drunk it...Initially I was blown away by the hops, but after the first blast, more flavors are apparent--very much like Old Godfather, but better--I want to have this again, but due to the high abv--it will have to be in another sitting.

Photo of froghop
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a semi-hazy burnt auburn with a small beige head, and some lacing.

smell is of caramel, pear, some grain.

taste is thick, barley, malt, some caramel, and a hint of sweet fruit, end is dry and thick on the tongue.

overall a good barleywine, but i prefer Port Townsend more.

Photo of Hoppington
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not too shabby of a barleywine. A bit of a malt bomb. Drinks smoothly for an 11% abv beverage. The hops seem to be overpowered by the malt. I find myself wishing it was a bit more bitter and less caramel sweet.

Regardless, this is a fine offering from Victory, which is an excellent brewery. I am happy with my purchase - just not "wowed" by it.

Photo of deaconoflove
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the source on a sunny Sunday afternoon after a mc ride through the countryside.
Ap. Very dark with a little amber. Small khaki head.
Sm. Caramel and sweet. Not a strong smell.
Ta. Smooth, thick and sweet with the caramel coming through. Very little bitterness.
Mf. Some carbonation, more substance and syrupy feeling.
Dr. Very tasty, but I wouldn't do more than one. The small serving (10 oz.?) was enough. It's more like a dessert.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been a huge fan of Victory lately so when I saw this at my local store I figured I'd give it a try.

Pours a deep amber color with a cream colored head. Initially a 2 finger head is produced, in part thanks to an aggressive pour. However, it dissipates nearly as quickly as it came. It shrinks down to a small ring around the outside of the glass.

The smell has a strong malt backbone. Hops are noticeable, but the malts nearly drown them out. I don't think the aroma is very balanced at all, as I can almost not detect the hops. There is a caramel portion of the malt that shines through towards the end. There is also a slight alcohol aroma, but nothing close to what you would expect from an 11% brew.

The taste is very very creamy. Much like the aroma, the strong malt backbone shines through. Amazing! So smooth and creamy, I could sip on this all night! I had hoped for a little bit more balance with the hops, but they are nowhere to be found. Oh well, this is an amazing brew. Caramel tones accompany the creamy smooth malt texture. Truly amazing! My only knock is the lack of hops. If I'm going to age this, I wish there was more hops to begin with, because now what little there is will be long gone by the time I get around to finishing the sixer.

As I said before, amazingly smooth and creamy. Honestly probably the smoothest brew I've had to date. There is a noticeable carbonation, but I don't get a crisp feel at all.

Drinkability is superior. The 11% ABV is extremely well hidden, it almost makes me wonder if this is a typo. Honestly though, I can't imagine a Barleywine being more drinkable than this. A sipper for sure, but still very very drinkable. I will be buying this for some time, and most likely putting tons and tons of it in my cellar!

Photo of NolateM
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Considering other reviews, this must be a VERY fresh bottle...

Pours a very very deep red-brown, almost opaque.

Very hot/boozy, but not unexpectedly so considering the strength of the beer. Up front hops - somewhat citrusy, but more earthy. Caramel malt and molasses flavor in the background, but very subdued. Lingering bitter hop aftertaste.

I'd take a Bigfoot over this, but I still like it. I am biased, as I prefer the megahopped ones and avoid most other barleywines, yet even this one tastes a bit too 'green.' Still enjoyable though.

Photo of william5586
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at the Victory Brewery in Downingtown and enjoyed later that night.

Nice amber color. The smell was sweet, fruity and very pleasant. The taste was sweet, full of fruit and malt. A little bitterness comes in from the hops, but is not prominent. It does help to balance the sweetness though.

The mouthfeel is medium/full bodied and smooth. The alcohol is present and gives a nice warming feeling as you drink, but it doesn't get in the way.

A great barleywine. At first, I anticipated having to share this with my roommates, but I threw in a movie and before I knew it the beer was almost gone and I was drunk, lol.

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.39/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I brought this one out of my storage for the 60th review. Nothing special, but should be delicious. The bottle says "Enjoy by November 15, 2012." Actually, that's a lie. It says "Enjoy by Nov 15 12." I served it at room temperature in a tulip glass. This was something I wanted to sit in bed with and relax. I popped Debussy's String Quartet in G Minor, op. 10 into my cd player for the occasion.

A: Explosive cream-colored head recedes almost as quickly as it rises. The head reduces itself to a thin layer on top. It does succeed in leaving some lacing on the glass. The body itself is a hazy, unfiltered deep amber in color with red highlights. The carbonation looks active.

S: It smells like there is a good balance struck between hops and malts in this beer. The malt aroma is rich; bread and butter, with a standout caramel sweetness. The hops are lighter in the smell, and come off as being grassy and resinous. There are notes of raisins, figs, peaches, cherries and a faint whiff of banana.

T: Up front, this beer is not as powerful as one might think. There is a mild sweetness accompanied by an alcohol burn. The alcohol is ever-present in this beer. Not much is going on in the way of hop flavor. Mostly, I get flavors of caramel, butterscotch and buttered bread from the malt. On the exhale, caramel, chocolate and vanilla flavors all seem to be playing a role in the taste. The alcohol contributes some juicy dark fruit flavors. The aftertaste is strong and lasts quite a while.

M: This beer has a medium to full body, with some residual sugars in it that give it a nice chewy texture. The carbonation is doing pretty well. It lends the beer a sort of snappy finish.

D: It's hard to knock a victory beer for me, but the alcohol was a bit much. At 11%, this beer shows its strength.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle with a best before date of 12-12-11. Poured into my snifter glass and appears a cloudy reddish brown color with a solid two fingers of light tan foam. Smells of molasses, sweet sugared dark fruits such as cherries, plums, and raisins followed by a huge helping of malt. Tastes of alcohol soaked raisins, vanilla, caramelized malts, bitter grapefruity hops, brown sugar, and toffee. Very complex. Full bodied and rich with medium carbonation. A slight alcohol burn carries through in the throat with each sip. A beer to open and savor over the course of an hour or so.

Photo of Rainne
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got to take a growler home when I was at Victory. Of course I kept my notes and I actually just finished it last week.

A- Pretty. Amber copper color and both head and lacing are much better than I got on tap.

S- Alcohol makes a strong presence and then citrus, other fruits, some herbs maybe and an added malt caramel sweetness. Light hint of grains in there as well. Graininess of barley comes through stronger in the smell than on tap.

T- Mostly the same except the alcohol is strong but not right in the front. Good balance as the malt fruits and herbal flavors make themselves known. Nice subtle sweetness and hops bite. Stronger barley flavor.

M- Really smooth and not too sticky. Medium body but more carbonation than on tap.

D- High ABV of course but nice.

Photo of jera1350
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep reddish, small head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing.

S- Big time yeast, moderate malt and molasses and sweetness. Reminds me of freshly ground feed on a farm (in a good way).

T- Yeast, toasted malt and molasses, just like the smell. Moderate amount of alcohol and some hop bite to finish. I was hoping for some more sweetness in it.

M- Heavy, but not syrupy thick. Smooth, good carbonation. Warm, especially on the way down.

D- High alcohol, but still has decent drinkability. There are definitely some better choices for this style of beer though.

Photo of biegaman
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Liquid hot magma that gleams with the most genteel yet bright and incandescent tones when held up against the light; simply looking at this beer is warming. The transparency is muffled although it must be said that complexion is beyond reproach. The unlikely mass of head garnered from the pour has since reclined but its presence continues to be noted.

Candied white grapefruit, sticky toffee malts, clusters of vanilla and honeyed oats - does this not sound like an amazing barleywine? Because it most certainly is. Citrus and caramelization are always first and forefront. Both hops and malts are temperate enough to share the stage. Noses should have a tough time deciding which of the two they like more.

It's not widely enough understood that hops can have the power to heighten the flavour of the malts and still maintain their own distinct charm. This is equal parts sweet, candy-coated, caramel dipped malts and fruity, resin all rung out, long steeped hops. It has sweet and it has bitter; crisp wafers and vinous resins. It brings to mind the farm and the forest.

Victory claims this "hides its epic strength"; I would say instead that it "hides its strength epically". The best of barleywines will typically conceal their alcohol content but this one does so with the finesse of a stealthy secret agent. Of all the barleywines that come in a 650ml bomber why is this not one of them? I certainly would have enjoyed another serving.

Considering a six pack is usually quite reasonably priced, I see no reason why anyone couldn't start a beer cellar (unless of course you can't stop yourself from instantly drinking the whole thing! Which is quite understandable). I wish I lived in an area where this was readily accessible; this is a fantastic beer that is perfectly suited to accompany reading, reflection, or indeed, gathering with those around us.

I'll leave you with the words inscribed on the label for I feel they do more justice in capturing the beer's essence than I am capable of...

"Low on the horizon, the winter moon reclines, resting up for warmer times. While inside our homes the warmth abounds, as dearest friends are gathered 'round. In cheerful moods we gratefully sup, robust Barleywine from the cup! Brewed of pure barley, rich and sweet, one of natures truest treats! Fairly scented with fragrant hops, we celebrate the harvest crop, And as the heavens slumber above, merrily, we sip...with the ones we love."

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,730 ratings.