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Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,103 Reviews
For Trade:
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,103 | Ratings: 1,861
Photo of tavernjef
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This barleywine pours nicely with a deep amber brown hazey color, head was thin and lace like on the glass. Nice rich floral hop tones when first taking the glass to my nose then the caramel malts sneak in, sweet and candylicious. Taste is complex like most barleywines with malty richness, caramel thickness and sweetness and a slight smokey tone at the finish. Full notes of barley malt sweetness of caramel flavors thoughout. Perfect balance of twingy, hearty, mildly earthed hops, bittering to the perfect height of satisfaction leading through to the smokey-like finish. This is a great beer to knock yourself out with. Drink slightly chilled, but not too cold and sip to your little hearts content til you can't sip no more. Which doesn't take much.
By the third or fourth sip I was ready for bed. So count on drinking it for an hour or so before bedtime and you'll have dancing barley and hops in your head.

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

This beer pours a conducive glowing amber with a screen of hazy brown of over it, while the body appears with a cream toned very thin head that is starting to leave a trickled collar of lace apon my glass. The first thing that attacks my senses when I crack the bottle is the complex fragrance of the floral hop tones. Victory forms a nicely hopped malt treat for relaxation, and this one is doing just that. I was having some trouble falling asleep, so I decided to crack my bottle of Old Horizontal hopefully it will put me down in a few. Back to this amazing offering from Downington, the malt richness soothes the body and mind just by taking a few whiffs of this well done handcrafted beauty. Thick and chewy rolling herds of malt graze upon my tongue, sending a backlash of gentle hop bitterness forming a smokey haze on the plains of my palate. Full notes of barley malt sweetness cyclone around clashing with bitter sweet tones of caramel, fig, and deep brandy tones making this one completely enjoyable soothing beer that is helping me fade away into this sweet night. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a full syrup like appeal to it, wonderful enduring beer that shall live on forever. I could drink one of these every night in front of a burning fire right before bed time to put me into an ecstasy of slumbering peacefulness. A bit challenging to my palate to enjoy in number, but it's not mant to be consumed in quantity. I love the name, the beer, and the brewery!!!

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Photo of hyuga
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany brew with a small tan head that disappears quickly. Hugely sweet malty nose, caramel and molasses. The hops don't have so much presence in the nose, but they are definitely noticeable in the background. A little alcohol presence gives a slight nostril burn. As for the taste, it's big on the malt too. Huge caramel sweetness throughout. Hops become more noticeable as you drink more, in a leafy, earthy character. Still not as noticeable as they are in other barleywines though, unfortunately. Bitterness floats around nonchalantly. Alcohol warms thoroughly. A pretty good barleywine, but i wish it was more complex and hoppy. It could benefit from cellaring for the complexity, I'm sure. Might take away some of the harshness as well. Make sure you drink it at room temperature so all of the flavors will come out. Still very enjoyable as is. Thanks again to francisweizen for another taste of Victory!

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Photo of Jarod
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had to try this in bottle form to see if it was as good as it was on tap. This beer poured into the glass rusty red/orange in color, was fairly cloudy as well. The head was little not like from the tap, the color was a beige/light brown color, and there was a slight lace left behind as well. The smells that filled my glass were of cherries, roasted malt, dark fruits, some slight sour tones and a hint of ash as it warmed. The taste was filled through out with tones of alcohol. It was thick in the mouth but very pleasant. Flavors of alcohol, roasted malts, floral hops, citrus fruits and big dark fruits and spices as well. It had a slight bite to it but it was not overbearing. This is a big beer that has many great qualities from sharp to smooth. A good beer that gets better as the temperature rises. Another score for Victory.

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Photo of Winter
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the first time I've ever opened a bottle and had the top crack right off. The lip stayed embedded in the cap and luckily no glass particles fell into the bottle.

Bottled on 12-4-02. Front illustration features a horizonal crescent moon wearing a winter stocking cap while sleeping over a log cabin. Brewed seasonally as a winter warmer, Old Horizontal acts as a perfect nightcap on a cold night.

Poured a deep amber with ruby hues and no head. Alluring aroma consisted of sweet candy-like sugar, fruit, alcohol, caramel, malt and brandy. Mouthfeel is smooth and a touch syrupy. Old Horizontal is definitely a sipping beer. The initial sweetness is overthrown by the strong 11% alcohol contained within. At times a touch medicinal. Finish has a nice toasted barley flavor to it.

I want to like this barley-wine, but I definitely feel this one needs more time to age, for the alcohol flavors to mellow and for some more complexity to develop. I'll cellar my remaining bottles and try again later in the year.

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Photo of budgood1
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on nov. 13, 2002. sampled at room temperature.

old horizontal pours out a pretty, cloudy dark amber colour...lots of sediment floating about. an off white, foamy head appears...dying down to thin, fine lace. a hard to pin down berry-ish and malt aroma...a hint of mustiness...aromatic hops are hard to pick out. multi-dimensional malt flavors...berry fruits, choco, toffee and caramel all peek out but don't outright present themselves. oh yeah...alcohol too...lots of bourbon and brandy notes. hop bitterness is subdued, but does not take a back seat in the profile. the malty body takes a nice sweet and sugary sled ride right down my throat and crashes at the bottom of my stomach in a boozy wreck. can't wait to climb back up the hill and do it again! smooth, creamy and scary in it's drinkability. finishes sticky sweet and quite warming. a damn fine brew!

another huge thanks to frank4sail for breaking into his super secret cellar stash to provide me with this stellar sample!

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Photo of TXHops
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 13-Nov-02.

Victory's exquisite barleywine pours a sedimented amber color, with a wispy, almost white head of small, patchy bubbles which lace like glue. It’s kinda fun to watch to the bubbles race up the sides of the glass, creating a current that pushes the sediment down in the center of the glass, contradicting the findings of a study I read about a few years ago carried out by researches looking at Guinness bubbles, which appear to travel downwards at the outside of the glass an upward at the inside…

A huge, dried apricot aroma screams out of the glass into my nose, begging to be sniffed over and over again. The same flavor dominates the palate once I’m willing to shift away from olfactory perception alone. Dried apricots, followed by a strong flavor of cantaloupe set the stage for a late burst of resiny hops. The thickly viscous, ample body reflects a low carbonation level, increasing the sensation of over-ripe fruit and causing the syrupy flavor to linger perpetually in the mouth. The viscosity of the mouthfeel also allows this beer to be broken into unique, independent flavor stages as well. First the apricot flavor introduces itself, being borne mostly by the aroma. Then the carbonation and hops kick in simultaneously, creating a stabbing, sticky bitterness that quickly yields to the long, complex finish, which showcases that melon-like sweetness. It’s the resiny bitterness and morning melon sweetness that trade the limelight in a repeating pattern until I give in and have another sip. After all’s said and done, a faint, luscious pineapple sweetness emerges to encourage me off to the scene depicted so enticingly on the label.

This is a tremendous barleywine. It’s not as overpowering hoppy and harsh as SN Bigfoot or Rogue Old Crusty and not as cloyingly sweet as some of the English renditions of the style (Lees for example). This beer strikes a happy balance between sweet, malty complexity and bitter, resiny hoppiness. Tremendous beer and my favorite Victory brew tasted to date…

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Photo of bierman2000
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent hoppy yet malty Barley Wine, Old Horizontal is a dangerous well made smooth beer. The hops are noticed at first but then the malt comes through at mid-bottle. 11% alcohol noticeable throughout and quite potent and makes a great last beer for the night.

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Photo of kunzbrew
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on November 15, 2002. I have been waiting for this one for a long time, she has been staring at me from the fridge for months now, saying drink me.

Pours a ruby red copper color with minimal haze. Minimal creamy tan head that reduces in just a few minutes. A very sexy lace is left behind.

Candy is all I smell out from the top of the glass. Strong fruity smells along with a maltiness that is to die for. My nose is going ape shit over this beer. Hop aroma is present for this strong brew.

Flavor is complex with almost a whiskey taste that is light, a sweet date flavor is also strong man I like it. Hop flavor is getting stronger as the beer warms. Malt flavor is exceptional words can't really describe it (well at least my words).

The medium body is decieving since the drinkablity is right up there with the best of them.

I am going to get a few more of these for later this winter and into the summer.


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Photo of ADR
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

About time that this showed up at Thomas Liquors. November 15, 2002 bottling...

Dark and semi-clear copper color with an ochre yellow head that's just a creamy skim. Pretty good complicated lacing, though. That complex slightly acidic prune aroma that tells you this is going to be interesting wafts up. Nice and thick malt presence, heavy on orange and a thick plum sauce, with a resounding black pepper/clove hopping that's not quite as ragged as Bigfoot. A little peppermint shows up at the finish and combines with the orangey sense to give a big aftertaste. Yep, there's alcohol here, as well. A relatively smooth brew for a higher ABV Barleywine.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Head is sort of burnt tan in color, body is a strong, dark reddish hue. Aroma is just what I smell for in a barleywine, and then some! Whiskeyish, brandyish, cognacy, sweet, spicy, and stuffed with alcohol! Suggestions of dark fruits, plums, raisins, cloves, anise. Very fierce stuff, leading the pack of high-alcohol beers. Is there any other barleywine stronger than this? If so, I'll have a sip, but Old Horizontal just about proves my limit! If ever there was an amptly named beer, this is it. Excuse me, my brain is crashing...
Loads and loads of flavor here, but the booze is overpowering! Dazzling use of hops and malt, thick and rich, with a fully loaded finish. A taste sensation, but a bit too burnt.

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Photo of cretemixer
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of maxpower
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of scottum
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of purplehops
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of beernut7
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of goz
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

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Photo of ElGuapo
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.98/5  rDev -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!

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Photo of ChicoraBoy
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of inebrius
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
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!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
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)

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Photo of yen157
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
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!

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
91 out of 100 based on 1,103 ratings.