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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,749 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,749
Reviews: 1,092
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 103
Gots: 143 | FT: 7
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: 1,749 | Reviews: 1,092
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."

Photo of Dangerous
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beer that definitely changes it's character as it warms. I like it! The brew pours a beautiful amber color with moderate carbonation that produces a thick, short lasting head. Alcohol is definitely present when cold and as the beer warms it's complexity blossoms. On the nose, I get very little malt when chilled. As it warms I get definitive malt and fruit. On the palate is a strong hint of brandy coupled with slight caramel malt, biscuit, raisin and citrus. The hops leave a spicy aftertaste on the finish. This is a beer I would buy again. Not a session beer, but a good complex barley-wine stye ale.

Photo of jgap
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with little head that quickly becomes a good lace. There is also visible carbonation bubbles and a quick swirl brings that nice head back. Smells sweet with lots of toffee malts and a hint of hop spice like an English barleywine. Taste is very good. Figs and sweet plumbs right away then fade to a toffee malt. Hops then come out and bring on a slight alcohol burn that isn't too harsh at all. There is a lot of carbonation in the mouth but it keeps the beer lively. It gets very sweet as it warms. I really like this one. It's very well balanced and extremely drinkable.

Photo of BarrelO
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Stamp on the bottle says "Enjoy By Jan 15 13." Looks like I've got some time.

A: Dark amber color with a respectable head.

S: Malt and hop aromas come together to give off notes not entirely dissimilar to ketchup.

T: In the beginning, the malt and hops are at war with each other, kind of cancelling out the best qualities of each. As it warms up, caramel flavors in the malt predominate and stop just short of becoming cloying.

M: Thick and chewy.

D: A bit of a misfire from my perspective. I feel like the elements of a great beer are here, but it never quite comes together. There's nothing particularly bad about it, but there's nothing outstanding to make me want to come back for more, either.

Photo of Jimbo87
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first barleywine. clear red copper in my snifter, a pale head.

Smell is sweet fruit, caramel malt really comes out as it warms.

Taste: tingly, spicy, alcoholic. Sweet, but a lot of bitterness to balance it. Caramel comes through as it warms. Better as it warms. Alcohol not hidden at all. This reminds me of spirits.

Medium bodied. Tingly from carbonation.

Drinkability is low. Not just because of the 11%abv, but I wasn't really into the sweetness, even though it was very much balanced, the particular type of sweetness wasn't my thing. I assume I just don't like barleywines, because everyone else thinks this is really good. If after trying a few more barleywines I decide that I simply don't like them, I might rereview it accounting for the fact that I don't like the style.

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

A: Poured a nice deep red color with bare mimimum off white head. No lacing.

S: Big sweet malt nose. A little bit spicy with a touch of toffee in there as well. This is a fairly fresh bottle and the hops are already starting to fade out. A slight mustiness is just starting to emerge.

T: Very sweet up front that blends nicely into the warmth from the alcohol. Some fruit is creeping in as well. Some apples and a pear or two for good measure. It does finish a little bitter but it is going away. A fresh bottle I had about 2 months ago was much hoppier.

M: Heavy side of a medium body. A little bit viscus.

D: For the ABV very drinkable. This one ages like a champ. If you like your barleywines hoppy then drink it now. A very nice example of the style all around.

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Body was a glistening ruby, with wood redwood accents. Head came out quite large for what my snifter normally yields, about a finger and a half. Dissipates fairly quickly, settling on a leathery film. Decent lacing.

Aromas are quite rich. There is a base of honey with hints of apple spice and a bit of alcohol. The nose really eludes a thick mouthfeel. Sure enoughy, a very smooth, but creamy body upon entering my mouth. Flavors are of sweet honey, dark fruits, big caramel, and some slight alcohol. I say slight, because the 11% is very well masked. Finish is slightly bitter to keep it in check, but this one never really was too sweet to begin with. I really enjoy this flavor. Finish is smooth.

Very impressed with this. Perhaps my favorite example of an American BWine. Goes down super smooth with a very mild alcohol bitterness. Seek this out!

Photo of BARFLYB
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz fresh bottle poured into a snifter late at night.

A- Old Horizontal gives off a bright ruby red appearence that almost glows in sight. A bit of light brown spots in between with slow rising bubbles probably from the thickness of the liquid. Initially the pattern on thin bubbled head resembled a star, quite nice. No lacing to be seen.

S- This gives off a strong whiff of hot alcohol along with a bunch of sweetning malts and some bittering hops. Some floral essence and citrus fruit variety presense. Good dose of caramel from the malt.

T- A bunch of the caramel/toffee like flavor from the malt along with a nice hop punch coming off only lightly bitter. A lot of heat & alcohol but that's expected from this freshie. A lot of bready qualities plus some citrus flavor from the hops. Getting just a hint of fruit such as apple. A solid barleywine.

M- The heat is on in this 11%er and there is no way to get around it. A full bodied thick feel and the sweet factors make for a slow sipper while a warming sensation comes from the heat. Low carbonation which is on par for the style. Take your time with this.

D- Only one for me once a month in the winter for me from now on. I'm sure this has great aging ability and will find some room for some. A slow sipper but even with the heat this was a treat to drink. A bit aggressive on first sips but this mellows with warming. A great american barleywine "style" ale.

Photo of NoLiberty
3.32/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A relatively fresh bottle, about only 3 weeks old. Pours into my Garre tasting glass and froths up a thick but low head, maybe only 1 finger deep. Color is a nice rich deep cherry-chestnut red. Very clear with only subtle carbonation. Head settles into almost nothing with little to no lacing reaching up the glass.

Aroma is light but nice. Deep down flavors of piney hop, deep raisiny malt and a warming alcohol nose that brings it all together into the magical elixir smell that borders on a freshly opened bottle of wine.

The taste starts with warming alcohol up front that leads into a biscuity middle, raisin back and spicy hop finish that's accentuated by an alcohol end and relatively flat finish. Overall a little underwhelming on the flavor front - not BAD flavors just nothing standout. Alcohol dominates with hops the spike the flavor profile up around the middle and finishes with a touch of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, still soft and refreshing. Clean and relatively light bodied. Not a bad beer and something I might keep a few of around to share with the roommates.

Photo of u2carew
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(A) Pours with a nice head. Clear reddish brown.
(S) Slight yeast scent. Mild hop aroma with floral notes.
(T) Rich, malty sweetness, lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.
(M) Full bodied, crisp. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.
(D) Rich flavor is pleasing. The 11% is barely noticeable in this brew.

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

Slightly chilled and poured into Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Bottled in Dec of 08 as bottle is freshness dated 5 Dec 13. Reviewed 2 Mar. 09.

Appearance: Deep brown with a trace of red. A ½ inch tan head dissipates leaving behind some irregular lacing and ring of foam around glass with faint film of foam on surface.

Smell: Rich caramel malt smell with definite touches of fruit (raisin or plum), alcohol and some grapefruit from the hops.

Taste: Mild hop grapefruit bitterness dominated by rich caramel malt, hints of fruit (raisin) and some alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a dry finish that goes from malt to bitter and slowly disappears. Good carbonation

Drinkability: This is an excellent barleywine and very enjoyable, but I'll drink no more than one to finish off the night because of its strength. Three-four months is not really enough bottle age for this one. Looking forward to having another in 3 mos or so.

Photo of cracgor
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a brown but translucent beer with a nice tan frothy head that leaves a little lace. Maybe one of the smoother tasting barleywines I have ever tried. It hides the 10.5% alcohol very well. The beer has a lot of fruit tones that overshadow any hop bitterness. Smells the same. A great beer worth adding to your winter rotation if it isn't there already.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,749 ratings.