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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,092 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,092
Hads: 1,808
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 106
Gots: 167 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

Massive amounts of barley malts, combined with fresh harvest American hops make it aromatic and spicy on the nose. Floral, fruity aromas slide into honeyed malt depth with lingering sensations of candied and citrus fruit. Late warming alcohol brings all of these flavors into wonderful harmony to finish.

Malt: Imported 2 row German malts
Hops: Whole flower American hops
Food Pairings: Meat pies and English cheese
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,092 | Hads: 1,808
Photo of cretemixer
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Iced tea colored brew with minimal head. A very scant "cling-ring" is all that remains on the beer's surface after just a minute or so.

Hoppy aroma lets me know I'm in for a treat. Smoky malts, caramel and sweet fruit are present. Somewhat of a cookie dough aroma too.

Sweet & deep flavors, alcohol warmth. Nice hop bite that's not too overpowering. Candy sweetness too.

Smooth and slick mouthfeel with perfect carbonation.

Dangerously quaffable at 11% abv.

I wish I had more of this to cellar until next year, as I think it will age nicely. A big thanks goes out to aaronh for this beer trade. (612 characters)

Photo of maxpower
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep clear dark amber-copper, small head with tight little bubbles, sweet smokey caremel fruity aroma. Sweet and malty, flavors of cotton candy and fruit , not much bitterness in the finish, very smooth and full bodied with a full and creamy mouthfeel, a warming sipping ale, very good for the style, not over hopped. (317 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out dark amber with a nice head for a barleywine. Tastes full off life. A bit hoppy for the style. This is certainly a beer that I could go through a case of. Very drinkable for such high alcohol content. This is a great beer, but there are better barleywines out there. A good brew to turn one onto barleywine with. (322 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For a beer to have over 10% abv it sure hides it well. It's a nice dark amber color that has orange hues when held to the light. The frothy tan head reminded me of what you'd find on a cappaccino. Above the beer hovers a strong sweet malty aroma that has a hint of alcohol in it. Each sip is velvety smooth and starts with a thick malty sweetness like molasses. Slighty fruity flavors take over and are followed by a strong hoppy bitter finish. A sticky sweetness remains behind and a mild bitter flavor is left on the tonge.

I look forward to this and S.N. Bigfoot barleywine every year and I'm never disappointed. Now I've got to pop open a bottle of each from last year and compare it with the current brew. (713 characters)

Photo of purplehops
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Horizontal pours a deep orange-brown with a thin off-white head that leaves little to no lace on the glass. The aroma is apricots, caramel malt, and citrus hops. The taste starts off malty and caramelly (is that a word?) before nose diving into a bitter hoppiness with hints of alcohol and orange. The finish is alcohol mellowed by malt with a huge hop bite. The aftertaste is alcohol and bitter hops with notes of citrus and spice. The mouthfeel is lightly syrupy and warm.
Overall and interesting barlywine style ale. The fact that it is bottle-conditioned means that it will get a chance to mature in my cellar for a year or two for the next taste update. A year of aging should mellow that IPA like hop bite. (717 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This ale pours a hazy flaxen-brown color with a light lace rimming the glass. The aroma is a grapefruit and malt. The first flavor is intensely malty quickly followed by a huge spicy floral hop presence that overwhelms the palate. The spice gives way grudgingly to a powerful bitterness that helps round off the sharp malt edges of the brew. The floral character makes this torrent of complex flavor a very drinkable barleywine. (428 characters)

Photo of allboutbierge
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first thing I noticed was how well the alcohol is hidden. A white head forms on top of a burnt orange/golden brown body. Sharp hops are prevelant and mellow slightly by malts and barley. Taste was good but not as mellow as I had hoped. Call me crazy but to me it had almost an aftertaste similiar to many IPA's. Old Ho' is a very aromatic beer and I noted mainly floral and citrus like scents. I was a little disappointed in this beer truthfully. I had worked it up to such an extent that I was sure this would be the greatest liquid to ever touch my lips. Alas, it was just pretty good instead of the liquid gem I was hoping. I will age a six-pack and put down a new review, hopefully it will mellow out.

This was only my second run in with a barleywine. The other was a case of Bigfoot that had been aged for a year I got from a friend. Therefore I dont really have much to compare this too. (901 characters)

Photo of goz
4.97/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Pour is a deep ruby red, thin head and very low carbonation. Aroma is monsterous - hops, malts, fruit, and alcohol are all present in bunches. Flavor is just as big as the aroma, starts sweet and malty, middle is very citric and flowery, ends with a nice oily hop pine-ish and lingering flavor. Alcohol is definately noticeable, but I think it adds to the deepness of the flavor and mouthfeel. How they pack that much into a little 12 ounce bottle amazes me. (463 characters)

Photo of ElGuapo
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this beer pours to a pretty cloudy dark brownish amber color with a very small off-white head that dies pretty quickly. note that i had a very wide glass while drinking this one, so it would be hard for a large head to build. sweet aromas of fruits, caramel, and alcohol are blended with a mix of hops that make it one delightful smelling beer.

you will get a lot of sweet flavors as well. fruits and caramel are the first to jump at you. then, you are hit with a short-lived kick of hops. at the end, the alcohol comes through and leaves you warm at the end of each swallow. i also picked up a very sweet blast like rock candy just before and after the alcohol flavor came in. it was very interesting and added to the already impressive complexity of this beer. full-bodied and very rich and smooth made the mouthfeel excellent especially with the warming effect. it has a lot less wine taste to it compared to others, and i think this would make it a good introduction into barley-wine styles for someone who has not tried one yet. it is just simply excellent. victory continues to impress me time after time. (1,115 characters)

Photo of BeerAngel
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazed light brown/copper color with a nice creamy off-white modest head. The aroma consists of pungent citrus and light caramely malts. The taste is also has a punch with bold grapefruit-like flavored hops and again light caramel background and a roasted malt aftertaste. It is a creamy medium bodied brew that finishes with a dry hop bitterness. Old Horizontal is a different barleywine IMO, but good nonetheless. It is just a little more pungent than I like a barleywine to be. I would imagine setting this back for about a year, would do wonders. Thanks to Rotsaruch for the opportunity! Victory needs to find it’s way to Texas in bad way! Cheers! (668 characters)

Photo of ChicoraBoy
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into my Immort Ale snifter - deep ruby-brown in color and slightly hazy. The off-white foamy head subsided into a veil-thin lacing cloud. Aroma was very nice - caramel and vanilla, with some fruity characteristics and a hit of sweet malts. Palate was velvety and slightly chewy - like a nice red wine. The alcohol was present though not overbearing. The taste started sweet at first, though not extremely complex, and ended on the back of the tongue with some nutty bitterness. Pleasant nutty-sweet after. A very nice barley wine. Got a 6-pack for $8.50, which I think is a good deal. Brewed in November '02. (620 characters)

Photo of inebrius
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber bulging with tiny yeast dingleberries. Drool inducing nose of lemon, fir and kerosene muffins. A sip is powerful caramelly malt and grapefruit rind hop that clash unfavorably and oddly linger at the base of your tongue. A creamy brew that probably needs some aging to mellow the works out a bit. Pretty raw as it stands.

Cheers Frank, Gracias! (365 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Barleywine and it was exceptional. The perfect drink after a hard day of work for an excellent nightcap! This poured a copper colour with almost no head to speak of. It has a very complex wine like aroma, with traces of alcohol in the back of the nose. This tastes excellent. Like a melange of spices, malts, hops, and fruit flavours. This had a very full, thick mouthfeel. But it was not cloying. This is a very drinkable barley wine and if they are all similar to this, I will grow to love this style of beer very, very much!

Updated on an 11/98 vintage. The flavors are very well melded at this point with the strong hoppiness taking a back seat to the extreme sweet maltiness of the malts. The mouthfeel is less thick and the drinkability has improved as well. Well worth the $2.50 a single price tag. If you see some of this stuff aged, go for it (aged rankings: (45/5/5/4.5/4.5) (908 characters)

Photo of yen157
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very pretty looking beer, hazy amber orange with some haze. The head soon settled leavging a thin layer of very vine bubbles on the surface of the beer. Pineapple citrus nose similar to Storm King, IMO. Also, notes of honewdew melon, alcohol, walnuts?, and rich toasted malt. This was an exceptional sipping beer. Very smooth from both sugariness and fine carbonation. Long finish lingers from minutes after each sip. Surving to the absolute end is a sweetness which combines with the soft hop flavor to remind me of the delicate sweetness of iceberg lettuce. Victory does it yet again! (586 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, quite apropos name for this beer, a few most likely would put you “Horizontal”. As it sets in the glass an opalescent deep ruby red with a portly head and the remnants create some fine sheets of lace to cover the glass. Deep malt aromas dominate, with caramel, hints of the 11% ABV, are also present. From the start to finish, lightly sweet, with the top rich and full in its mouth feel, the finish majestically hopped and the carbonation moderate, the aftertaste somewhat alcohol bitter and quite dry. As we say here in the “Wild, Wild West”, “That’s A Hoot Partner”! (581 characters)

Photo of Dantes
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: 12 oz. brown bottle with metal cap. Label dated Nov. 13, '02; 11% ABV.

Cost: $10.49 for a 6-Pack at Bottle King in New Jersey

Served: In a Reidel brandy snifter at ~50º.

Appearance: Heavy "gunsmoke" upon opening. Developed a decent head for this type with a stiff pour, which lasted 45-60 seconds, resolving into a thick ring around the edge, with nice lace that slowly receded down the sides of the glass. Gentle swirling of the glass (involuntary habit) generated additional head. Exhibited beautiful auburn, russet tones, almost like a Madeira.

Smell: Exceptional aroma, with alcohol well-shrouded in notes of vanilla, roasted nuts, currants, chocolate, some sweetness and some spice (cinnamon, nutmeg?). Instantly brought to mind a steamed English Christmas pudding!

Taste: Slightly less impressive than the smell, if only because it could not possibly match the promise of its bouquet. Starts off very sweet, but this is quickly balanced by the roasted nut and hops edge that provides the backbone. Carbonation is pretty good for this style, further balancing the sweetness, while not cutting the viscosity too much. Don't quit on this barley wine, as it will reveal new things in every sip. Reminds me of a Banyuls or Madeira.

Mouthfeel: Viscous and tongue-coating. Warm and silky. So smooth that one has to concentrate on not swallowing too quickly!

Finish: Leaves a long 15-20 second finish, with the bitterness (I hesitate to use that word, it's more an edge) the last note.

Drinkability: Diabolically drinkable for 11% ABV! Maybe my palate has been burned by too much whisky, but I can't see how this could get much smoother! Takes real willpower not to drain the glass and go for another (if I can get up).

Backwash: After seeing discussion of this beer and reading some of the reviews, I was eager to give this a try. I have had Barley Wines before as categorized by this site, but primarily those with a lower ABV (i.e. Fuller's Vintage Ale, Young's Old Nick, Anchor Old Foghorn, and Thomas Hardy's (a class unto itself); and I would probably create a sub-category for the higher ABV brews. In any event, this beer was a revelation. So far, in a class by itself. The perfect beer to stand up with a strong cigar, Christmas pudding, chocolate dessert, or a platter of Stilton or Shropshire Blue. Makes me want to sit by the fire with a cigar, looking at the lake, reading Thackeray; or better yet stretched out on the sofa with someone special! (2,494 characters)

Photo of doho95fu
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first barleywine and it was not what I was expecting. I knew there was a high ABV so for some reason I was expecting either a heavy or thick or dark beer. Old Horizontal was none of the above. Yes, you can tell this is not a beer to be taken likely, but it is not shocking. The color was golden red with an overall clear appearance. The smell was of berries and citrus. The taste was sweet and complex, with more berry and some caramel-like tastes. Frankly, I was expecting a beer that would be hard to get down, but this wasn't (maybe because I had a World Wide Stout the night before). It was smooth and I really didn't think twice about drinking this beer as compared to others. (693 characters)

Photo of frank4sail
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To celebrate my 250th review I choose to treat myself and purchase a case of these bad boys (don't tell my wife what's in the basement). Bottled on Nov. 13, 2002. Hoppy, citrus (orange rind), sweet malt, aromatic nose. Slightly hazy ruby colored look. Soft white head dissapates quickly to a constant 1/4 inch sheen of clingy lace on the glass. Strong robust malty citrus taste. Bitter orange and juniper berry jump out at ya and then the brew mellows through the finish with sweet malt. You are left with a dry (11%ABV) bitter tongue. This brew will greatly improve its drinkability and it will also become much more rounded after some time in the cellar. Overall other than being a little young this was a great choice for the landmark.

Complex, crafted, and alluring. A great one to sip with snow on the ground (maybe 6 inches was a little much though). The mouth is full and lively with a bit of carbonation that tickles the tongue. And yes be careful ...you will be horizontal if you have a few of these... but you will be warm and fuzzy inside and out...

I will hide some from myself for future snow days.... cheers! (1,129 characters)

Photo of LarryV
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sweet, overly sweet .. that's what kept coming to mind. I couldn't help but think drink a couple of these, and you will be visiting the porcelain throne. Smells enticing, like candy almost. Pretty reddish hue with minimal carbonation. Not much of a head, and no laciness down the glass. Very little hops presence. Raw sugar taste with caramel, cherry overtones. I've been working on this glass for an hour now, and I'm only halfway done. It's becoming a chore to get this down because of the cloying sweetness. Most definitely a sipping beer. Maybe aging would reduce the sweetness, this was bottled on Nov 15th 2002. As it is now, it's way too sweet, and that seems to be the dominating characteristic to me.

Okay - this is almost like a second review here. I tried this again without having had any other brews beforehand. This time it didn't strike me as being so sweet. The hoppiness was more pronounced, and I found it to be quite enjoyable. I will confess that I drank it this time from a wide wine glass. I don't know why it struck me as being so sweet the first time, but it's really good on the second try. I'd go so far as to say delicious. Very little head, very little carbonation, but the color is a beautiful ruby red. This is quite a complex brew, and I would guess it would mellow and age quite nicely over time. Perhaps it tasted so sweet the first time because I had an Arrogant Bastard prior to tasting this. So I stand corrected, this is actually quite a nice brew. (1,488 characters)

Photo of Jdiddy
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazing dark copper color with a no real head but traces of white lace down the sides. Great for a cold rainy or snowy day. Alcohol is hidden well. Smells of apples and malt. Taste of strong malt and burnt caramel. Very syrupy with an aftertaste that lingers for awhile. Not a beer that you drink a handful of but a great sipping beer. (335 characters)

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on date November 15, 02 – Pours a reddish, amber-brownish color, with a decent lace. On the nose the aroma is sweet, caramel-y, alcohol, dark fruits, cherries as well. On the palate more of the same, probably overly sweet a bit, caramel malt, light chocolate tones, toasty, mild hop presence, alcohol warms you up and makes itself know more towards the finish. I really don’t like Barley Wines that much but I think with some aging this one would be a super sipper… (476 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 11-13-02.

This is a reddish colored beer with amber highlights. It pours with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. The remaining ring of foam leaves a very fine lace that gradually slides back down the glass to join the beer. The aroma is of cherries, alcohol, and a hint of apple. Very appetizing. The first sip presents a very thick feeling beer with sweet cheery flavors mingled with some hop bitterness and citrus flavors. The alcohol is very apparent in this young beer. After a few sips, some chocolate flavors become apparent, reminding me of chocolate covered cherries. The sweetness dominates this beer, and it is definitely a sipping beer. There are actually many flavors that I just cannot identify solidly. Really a wonderful experience. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth. An exceptional treat for the tongue. This is not what I would call a drinking beer, but a sipping beer. As such it does well, but the sweetness and alcohol diminish the drinkability. This is really a fantastic brew from Victory. (1,028 characters)

Photo of HossMcGraw
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

To be fair, the only other Barley-wine I've tried was SN Bigfoot so I don't have a whole lot of experience with the style. Nevertheless, Old Horizontal doesn't hold a candle to it. They are similar, but I miss the hops. This brew has no head, and it is cloyingly sweet (Just two months ago I had no idea what the hell "cloyingly" even meant. Thanks Beer Advocate! Who says drinking isn't educational!). Anyway, it tastes like honey, caramel and molasses, with a slight but noticeable alcohol flavor. It tastes ok, but it definitely needs more bitterness to balance out the sweetness. (583 characters)

Photo of Longstaff
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to pour it rough to induce a head that was faintly brownish in color and dissapated down to thin wisps with an island of thin foam in the middle. Nutty, caramel aromas mixed in with fruity hop aromas. Thick mouthfeel and brown sugar like sweetness. Caramel, butterscotch, and toasted malt flavors mingle to rally against fruity hop flavors. Bitterness rides out along with residual sweetness. Very easy to sup and the 11% alc. content is barely noticeable making this a dangerously drinkable barley wine. The first barley wine I have really enjoyed. Don't know if I have enough restraint to keep this one cellared. (618 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

28FEB08 - My last Old Ho bottle dated 15NOV02, now 5 years, 3 months old... Same lovely ruby-mahogany liquid (though some yeasties were swirled in near the finish) with only a fine rim-job of bubbles at the edge. Malty sweet nose has intimations of sherry, while still holding a suggestion of hops. Glides silkily over the tongue, with a nearly-full body adding to the velvety touch. Very nice! Lots of malt is present on the palate, with toffeeish sweetness. Rich, strong sherry notes kick in here as with the aroma. After all this time, some smidges of hops still shine through, though ever-so-lightly. Still a 4.50 as far as my taste buds are concerned. Batch of '02, it was nice quaffing you.... Prosit!!!

*** ***

Today is 23JAN05, and I am sampling another Old Ho with a bottling date of 15NOV02... 2 yrs 2 mos old... The color is, of course, the same, with again little lacing and head. Nose is more malty, with brown sugar and toffee notes. Still verrry smooth... Flavor is malty rich, with more toffee/brown sugar aspects, though the finish maintains that nose hop bite. I'd say the malt is more pronounced now, naturally....but this is still a nice brew. Similar to Old Crusty, imo.

*** ***

Well, I was just thinking this morn (23NOV02) that my local bier-store only (only?) had the Victory King, Monkey, Pils, Wit and HopDevil. Lo and behold! Old Horizontal!! Hot Dog!! Old Ho has a rich mahogany/ruby color, though with a somewhat thin head, and respectable lacing. Nose is like a lesser version of Bigfoot; some malty sweetness and pleasing hops coming forth. Could be stronger, though. Love the mouthfeel; medium-plus...almost full body, and verrry smooth on the tongue! Mmmmm!! Flavors are quite nice, even at this early stage in this biers development (bottling date on the label says 15NOV02....barely a week old!). Strong, smooth, malty sweetness segues into a palate-pleasing hoppiness. Can only improve with age...do I have the strength to cellar and forget them? Hope so....if not....I'll enjoy 'em now!!! Hahahaha!! Prosit!!

overall: 4.5
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

413 (2,158 characters)

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,092 ratings.