1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,561 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,561
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 90
Gots: 108 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Horizontal Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,561 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stewart124


4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition

Hopefully my cellaring techniques are adequate.

Pours a hazy amber with a thick but quickly fading tan head.

Hops still pungent and but don't seem to be quite as sharp. Pine and citrus noticable with a sweet maltiness. Raisins are also detectable.

Taste is big but mellow and soothes the tongue. There is a sharpness in the end that lingers. This barleywine has almost a spiciness that could be from the hops and a complex malt bill. Alcohol is warming but does not take away from the beer.

Aftertaste is of pine, grapefruit and a caramel sweetness.

I thought this proper to drink on the last day of winter and I was excited to open this hidden-away 2003 batch.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2008 03:10:54 | More by stewart124
Photo of mecell2000


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend of mine and I went to Downingtown to visit Victory Brewing Company in February. Among the excellent array of beers they had on draught was Old Horizontal. We both had draughts and I bought a Growler to take back with me. This review is on the Growler draught pour.

Everytime I opened the Growler you could hear a fizz pop like the opening on a soda bottle.

Poured into the Old Horizontal glass that the gentleman at Victory's bar/pub let me borrow without the intent to return.

Appearance is a brownish-black and full-bodied, a light cream colored head was ever constant, never fully resigning.

The smell was excellent; chocolate, caramel and coffee notes from the Malts provide the base and a very light warming alcohol smell helped finish.

The taste was the absolute embodiment of a barleywine. A warming, creamy beer that has includes all of the scents mentioned above, plus nuts and toffee, rounded out by a subtle sweetness.

At 11% ABV, it might not be one that you'd have two or three glasses of in a night, but it will go very well as a desert drink!

Serving type: growler

03-18-2008 01:22:23 | More by mecell2000
Photo of cthulu81


3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mmmm. I do love Victory. They do a whole lotta beer styles and do them very well. I have yet to pick a 'desert island' brewery, but Victory is in the top runnings. Mr. Horizontal here is a mighty fine barley wine. Why? Well, glad you asked. Let's start out with appearance. Pours a rick amber topped with a desirable foam dome of an inch thickness. Aromas of subtle dark fruit, taffy(the saltwater kind) and light hops linger around the glass's rim. ON the tongue this gentlemanly sipper is at first a tinge hoppy, he is a young one after all, bottle a mere month or two ago. Once the initial bitterness subsides a rich malt, some might say slightly honeyed and caramelized, squeeks through, rewarding the drinker with additional fruit flavors of fig and raison. Everything finishes solidly and quickly, leaving a pleasant warming note down the throat. Lovely, complex and nuanced. The booze shows through with a youthful boldness, but believe me, I have had some of these from '04, and these suckers just keep getting better if you shut them away in the closet for a spell. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2008 03:31:15 | More by cthulu81
Photo of wchesak

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a Chimay chalice. Upon opening the bottle noticed some decent hops smell.

Appearance - mahogany red color leaning towards the brown side, half inch of light creamy tan head, slightly bubbly at first pour but subsides soon after

Smell - hops hits the nose first, citric in smell; then picking up smells of dark fruits - raisins and plums; all the smells finish with the booze smell

Taste - the hop is noticeable only slight at the beginning before the darker fruity/chocolate flavors (again raisins, plums, caramel) take over finishing with a nice warmness that is felt as the beer moves down the throat

Mouthfeel - think the initial slight hop really balances the finishing flavors allowing the beer not to be as sweet as a normal barleywine might be. the warmness enables this beer to hold its one against most all winter offerings

Drinkability - was surprised by the easiness this beer went down, however with the ABV and the complex taste, it is better enjoyed at a slow pace; this gave me reason to decide on purchasing a few more for another time, one just wasn't enough.

definitely will take one and store it away

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2008 23:29:54 | More by wchesak
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a deep, clear ruby color with a thin off-white head.

Aroma is dark ripe fruits, raisins, white sugar, malts, and booze.

Tastes of raisins, plums, black cherries, white sugar, and caramel. 11% alcohol? Yep, you can tell.

Medium mouthfeel, warming, dry, and lightly carbonated.

A very nice, slow-drinking barleywine from Victory. Curl up by the fireplace and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2008 23:41:51 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of charlzm


3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled, consumed on 01/24/08.

Pours a deep reddish hue. Head disappears fast without much replenishment from the low carbonation. Slightly thicker than water (but no chewier or smoother). Sweet cherries and alcohol tickle the nose. Flavor is bold and complex: yeasty, fruity, acidic and even a little sweet with some chocollate/coffee notes then bittering hops near the end. Finishes with some warm spices and alcohol vapor.

Reminded me more than a little of some imperial stouts I've had!

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2008 02:36:27 | More by charlzm
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage
A - nice reddish brown color, solid light tan head that lasts quite a long time!

S - dark ripe fruits, raisins, caramel, citric hops and a light warmth note.

T - similar to the nose, nice balance of flavors

M - full bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth warming finish.

D - a sipper that has matured nicely!

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2008 17:36:41 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of Hojaminbag


4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving from a growler.

Dark ruby color with an off white head. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

Smells sugary and fruity, grapes with a good touch of malt.

Tastes malty, with caramel and chocolate touches. Mellow grape flavor, finishing with hop and alcohol flavors. Hides the %10.5 ABV well. Malty, hoppy and sweet, great balance.

Feels good on the tongue, some barleywines are too sweet, this is just right.

An excellent example of the style, extremely well-balanced and drinkable.

Serving type: growler

03-01-2008 06:35:34 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of Proteus93


3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one is being based on a vertical of 04/05/06, with a bit of a leaning towards the freshest on the overall ratings

A: [2006] Ruby pour, a moderate, light tan/pale orange tinted head with nice retention (4)

[2005] A murky reddish brown, moderate head on this one (poured much more gently to avoid sediment). (3.5)

[2004] Not so much of a red hue anymore... more of a murky tea-brown with a reddish highlight to it, perhaps. Quite a bit of sediment that slipped in, regardless of how gently it was poured. (3.5)

S: [2006] Spicy alcohol, some raisiny scents, a bit of citrus, and some caramel + smoky notes (4)

[2005] Dark fruits, sugary (some caramel/toffee aroma), spiciness, less citrus, lost some of the 'edge' (4)

[2004] Deeper alcohol aromas. More peppery, otherwise similar to others. The caramelized smell appears a bit richer (4)

T: [2006] Sugar & spice, raisin dark fruit, almost a bit of a rum & butter flavour (4)

[2005] Similar to 2006. A little warmer on the finish, perhaps. A little more of a solvent, chemical flavour, a bit medicinal

[2004] Warmer, boozy, more wine-like. A little syrupy, maybe a little more prune like than raisin

M: [all] A rich body to accompany a quite full flavour, a bit of a tingle, a warm alcohol finish. As it ages, it seems to become a little more syrupy and spicy, but not by a huge amount.

D: [all] High ABV and full body means that the drink needs to be sipped & taken one at a time with some liberal spacing between.

Notes: I kinda felt that the 2005 was about just right for my palate, with the 2004 almost being on the verge of cloying. Fresher has a nice brightness that I can appreciate, though the mellowness has its place, as well. A nice experience, either way.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2008 04:48:26 | More by Proteus93
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, Dec'05 bottling.
Pours a nice brown in color with some red highlights. No retaining head to speak of, plenty of billowing carbonation though.
Smell is malts, but there are some signs of the former existence of hops. The taste is a very good old ale. The alcohol is pretty aparent in the taste. Very smooth with just the perfect hint of hops. This will be a cold weather staple. Ages nicely.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 23:35:08 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of steinlifter


3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a brown bottle, dark label depicting a half/moon sleeping "horizontally" above a winter cabin.Nice little poem printed on side of label.

Poured clear reddish-brown, sudsy inch thick head which rapidly diminished but retained a thin collar all the way through, lots of tiny bubbles rushing to surface.
Aroma was very floral,sweet dark fruits, whiff of cherry tobacco.
Bold floral hop flavor up front,black cherries and malt,,tangy dry finish.
Bubbly crisp and dry mouthfeel,alcohol warmth, chewy.
Drinkability is limited for me on this one, a nice beer to "SIP" on a cold winters night....but too many of these will find you "Horizontal"..very quickly!

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 13:20:21 | More by steinlifter
Photo of zeff80


4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, copper/burgandy color with a small, creamy, tan head. It left soapy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very malty and sweet. There was also a floral hop aroma.

T - It tasted of sweet malt and caramel. It had biscuity qualities and some grassy/earthy elements.

M - It was heavy bodied but soft and smooth on the tongue.

D - This is a very good barleywine. It wasn't overdone or to powerful.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2008 18:12:35 | More by zeff80
Photo of wagenvolks


4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel chalice.

An almond-khaki inch of head rests, surprisingly, for quite a long time considering the ABV. Body is a deep, ruby red hue with highlights of burgundy. Perfumed fragrances billow from the chalice, sweet and floral in nature. Tons of dried fruit here, too: rum-filled raisin, curant, dried orange peel, cranberry and prune. There's barely a discernable alcoholic tinge, wafting upward between the rich malt and floral hops.

The flavor is more subdued than the aroma lets on...hops hit first, pine and bitter cone, followed by a lurking, alcoholic monster that the aroma did so well to mask. The fruit is still here, however, and greets the palate with notes of sour apple, cranberry, citrus, and dried peach. Mouthfeel is well carbonated (a bit too much for me) with a sticky-sweet, medium body and a boozy, warming finish to heat up the chilliest of nights. All in all, I was impressed. This beer has the complexity and flavor profile I look for in a barleywine, and wasn't too crazy with the hops. It's definitely a sipper, though. I'll be having this again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2008 05:41:53 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2007 poured from tap into goblet.

A: Dark auburn with a thick off white head and ample lacing.

S: Malt sugars and clear hops.

T: Dry with a bit too much hops for the style. The malts were chewy and seemed a bit overkill to match the hops. The sugars are just too much and I guess were necessary to battle the hops.

M: Alcohol raisiny dried fruits burned the more this drink went on.

D: ABV was evident. Definitely an American barleywine that was just brought up too high on all levels for me.

Probably fared better with more age.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2008 02:52:24 | More by marcpal
Photo of ajhod

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drinking a bottle of Old Horizontal from my favorite tasting cup, hand made thrown pottery tankard.

The beer is a good barleywine, but not one of the best I've ever had. It has almost no aroma to discuss, a good thick foamy head of light caramel and pours nice an clear-when one carefully pours off the remaining bottle conditioning yeast at the bottom. Most of the time, I'm not bothered by the yeast, but I wanted to taste it without any yeast influence. I'll drink that later.

The Barleywine has very little of the nuances some others I've had recently had, but its still a good solid representation of the style. Its a little bit sweeter than I personally like Barleywine, perhaps due to the fact there isnt much of a hop presence to balance it out.

It has a bit too much residual sweetness which coats your mouth pretty quickly.

I wanted to make it a higher rated beer, because so many others have, but I just can't. Not when compared to other barleywines i've had recently.

Still worth the investment of a few extra dollars per six to taste this once a year treat. Good on a long slow cold evening.

As I've been writing this, its warmed up a bit, and that has brought out the bitter a bit more, and opened up the nose some. It has a bold alcohol content which is unavoidable in the nose and on the pallet.

Warmed for 10 min in the tankard, I increased my scores a bit. Hope its not the ABV causing me to do that.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 03:12:11 | More by ajhod
Photo of NCSUdo


3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, enjoy by 11/29/12

A: Pours a very red-hued brown under a large tan head. No lace, no retention.

S: Smells of earthy and piney hops, some caramel and sweet maltiness. Slight herbal character.

T: Taste of sweet malt, big hop bitterness and smooth, warm alcohol. Toasted malt and bitter hops stick around.

M/D: Full bodied, pretty sharp carbonation that actually helps a balance out a slightly syrupy and sticky character. A sipper, for sure, big body and big alcohol. Overall, a solid barleywine, but not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 00:40:15 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of SIRIUS2

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Deep clear dark amber color with very small off-white head. Short retention and minimal lacing.

S: Sweet malty smell of molasses.

T: The smell is very accurate to the taste; sweet heaviness with a clear taste of dark molasses.

M&D: Heavy sweet mouthfeel with a nice carbonation. Definitely hides the strength of this brew perfectly. Even with a deep pull there isn't much immediate warming. Smooth and fulfilling.

This goes down so smooth that it's sneaky! It's easy to forget the strength of Old Horizontal because it really doesn't taste like it should be this strong. Although quite sweet it isn't really cloying. I would have expected more in the way of aroma but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Definitely started feeling this one by the time I got through the bottle. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2008 01:35:16 | More by SIRIUS2
Photo of Goliath


3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby red with a thin, quickly receeding light tan head.

Hop spiciness is faint in the aroma with an alohol scent taking the lead.

Taste holds some sweet notes, fruit, and light hoppiness. Alcohol is apparent though. Nice bitter note on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and seemingly still due to low carbonation.


Serving type: bottle

02-13-2008 04:28:51 | More by Goliath
Photo of jakon


3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours garnet with golden edges and a 3/4-inch head.

Aroma is big on the sweet caramel malt and booze, while the hops come through more softly.

The taste is well-balanced between the hops and malts, but the alcohol is pretty hot right now. Starts off sweet, and finishes quite bitter.

There is a nice bite from the carbonation, and the beer is medium-bodied.

Overall, this is an enjoyable beer, but not among my favorites barleywines. I'd like to try it with a few years behind it.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2008 03:00:24 | More by jakon
Photo of tayner


3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Poured an amber color with a reddish tint.. nice head for an 11% abv with very nice lacing

Smelled of floral hops, toasted barley and alcohol nose.. overall pleasing but not overpowering smell.

Taste was sweet yet quite hoppy with floral hops. some caramel sweet barley present with a warming alcohol.

Thick and chewy as a barleywine ale should be.

I prefer english barleywines over the american counterparts, but for an american version it was good. alcohol was a bit hot in this one. I wish i had a couple more bottles to lay down for a year or so to see how it mellows.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 03:33:59 | More by tayner
Photo of Tilley4


3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of joeybeerbelly. Thanks, Joe!!

By far, the sweetest barleywine I've ever tasted. Loaded with dark fruit and sweet malt with a very good hop presence too. Really nice rusty amber color with a very sweet, fruity aroma. This thing definitely carries a bite to it as well. The name suits this one. I really liked this brew a lot. I have one more left and I think I'm going to sit it around for a year or so and see how it changes. Thanks for sending this down, Joe!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 02:40:39 | More by Tilley4
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a best-before date of 2011 on the label. The beer was very hazy and light brown, actually it looked a lot like Moonglow (another Victory beer). The smell is sort of definitive for American barleywine, resembling Behemoth, Bigfoot, and a fair number of Hair of the Dog beers. The taste is dark fruits and ethanol, and while barleywines aren't my favorite I can say that this take on the style is pretty good. Actually for the price it's an excellent deal.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2008 01:02:27 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of EliteDigger


3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottles received in a trade with DrJay... one to drink now and one to save for awhile. Thanks!
A-Pours a murky semi-opaque amber-orange color with a pale cream colored head that slowly dissipates to a long lasting ring around the glass.
S-Not very strong smelling. Weak aroma of carmel, sugars, and faintly citrus-pine hops.
T-Nice malt sweetness, carmel, toffee, buttery-brown sugar, with a slightly dry piney finish.
M-Superbly smooth, perfectly carbonated with a nice creamy texture on the tongue.
D-Very drinkable but suffers from the higher ABV...
An excellent and very tasty Barleywine. Glad to have finally sampled this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 20:20:12 | More by EliteDigger
Photo of CortexBomb


4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour is murky copper with a 1 inch off white head on top. Heavy lacing. Nose is a big sweet, malty aroma with a bit of a grapefruit twang.

Taste starts out with the sweet malts from the aroma, and some citrus style hops poke their head on the door without dominating. The flavour stays smooth and malty, with a light touch of caramel also becoming evident, along with a skosh of alcohol. Mildly bitter finish with a bit of a boozy aftertaste. A smooth drinking Barley Wine with a solid flavour.

The mouthfeel on this beer is exceptional, flat out what I'm looking for in this style with extreme thickness, almost syrupy, with good hop presence as well. Drinkability, a rock. It's as good as any in its style, yet is affordably priced, a yearly rebuy for me.

The bottom line: For an American Barleywine, Old Horizontal is a bit subdued in terms of hops, but I think it's an excellent all around winter brew. While most of the American style Barleys strike me as a touch abrasive, this one is superbly balanced while still allowing the hops to show up to the party. It's thick, malty, a bit boozy, and is the perfect thing to have in your hand when a snow storm is howling outside. I buy at least 2 or 3 sixers of this every year.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2008 01:28:51 | More by CortexBomb
Photo of Nipitato


4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Julio's in Westborough, MA.

A: A copper amberish hue. Opaque but glowing. Ringed with an off white head.

S: A nice mélange of very sweet malt (toffee), fruity esters (raisins), alcohol, and hops, which take on an earthy, grapefruit character.

T: Perfectly balanced. Sweet, but not overly sweet malt. Boozy flavors. Despite sweetness balance is hoppy bitter. Not a lot of fruit esters that were found in the nose come through in the taste, which is fine because the malt/hop balance is so spot on.

MF: Full body -thick. Well attenuated. Very limited carbonation. A long lingering finish.

D, notes: Quite drinkable. A very good very well balanced beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 20:16:14 | More by Nipitato
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,561 ratings.