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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,578 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,578
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 93
Gots: 110 | 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
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Ratings: 1,578 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Gehrig


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

I can't say that Barleywine is one of my favorite styles, primarily because I haven't had many and this offering seems an acquired taste. Yet Old Horizontal holds up quite well, is complex and flavorful, and has not pushed me away from trying more Barleywine in the future. The presentation is very impressive--a finger of tan froth on a cloudy, brown-cider body, very appealing. The nose emits a lot--plenty of fruit, hops, and malt--again, impressive. The taste is good and complex--plenty of caramel and a dollop of chocolate; berry, orange, and banana; modest but present spices--well done. This requires some patience because of its somewhat syrupy texture, but thankfully this is not saddled with excessive spices that can afflict many syrupy beers, though there is a bitter bite to finish. This is quite drinkable, especially for the very high ABV (11%).

Another gem from Victory.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 18:37:37 | More by Gehrig
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am personally not a huge fan of barleywines, but this has to be my favorite rendition of the style... most importantly, it doesn't have that overwhelming, cloying, over-sweet taste that I often noticed in other representations of the same style... Copped a single 12 oz bottle from Gary's in Madison for $2.50... Heard a lot of good things about this beer, and it certainly lives up to its hype... The appearance was absolutely amazing... ruby-red, dark-brown caramel color with a gigantic foamy and frothy head... smell was dominated by a sweet, candied, malty aroma... taste strongly complemented the nose with a deep, rich, thick, extra malty, sugar-laden, caramel, and brown-sugar flavored that was pleasing and warming without being overbearing... excellent stuff from Victory... it was very impressive how the ultra-rich flavor did not overwhelm the palate... certainly my favorite barleywine... really good mouthfeel, and drinkability only took a hit because of the hefty 11% ABV, which, by the way, is hardly detectable... awesome stuff... Definitely recommended...

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 23:43:57 | More by dsa7783
Photo of bboven


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Much lighter than I expected. There is no head and no lacing. I know I didn't get a bad one because everything else is great. It's a clean shaker, so... Anyways, it's a deep amber, moderately clear.

Bits of lots of things. I get caramel, spicy hops, alcohol, and candied fruit. Everything you look for.

Great, again. The bready flavor is a bit strong and I'd like to see the hops show up more. All the malt flavors are spot on. Just throw a pinch more hop in there.

I don't often wax poetic about mouth feel, but the carbonation in this one quickly grabs your tongue in bear hug and doesn't let go until well after you've swallowed. Fantastic. That being said, the C02 doesn't abuse your palate, rather, it rouses it and brings the flavors out. You also get the cough-syrup stickiness at the end, but that's just the alcohol reminding you to take it slow with this one.

One of the best barlywines I've ever had. The appearance deceives how fantastic everything else is, I may re-review this beer just to get a second opinion on that one factor. And, well, it's just plain good. And at 11% ABV, probably an excellent ager.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 05:03:44 | More by bboven
Photo of jdubjacket


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

Barleywines are fast becoming one of my favorite styles, so I picked up a six-pack of this when I spotted it in my area.

It did not disappoint.

Pours a golden color with a head that dissipates relatively quickly. Smells pretty hoppy. Taste is hops, and a little bit of citrus. The taste & mouthfeel are a little bit drier than I'm used to in barleywine, but that's definitely not a bad thing.

Overall, a solid brew from Victory.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 15:43:49 | More by jdubjacket
Photo of ziggy13


4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a highly anticipated beer every year for me. I enjoy its complexity more and more with each new taste each year. Here we go.

A - Burnt orange and ruby hues. Leaves a thin white head that dissipates quickly. This is quite common for barleywines and easily expected. No lacing whatsoever. Perfect.

S - Not overpowering. Sweet and candied aroma with a lingering of hops.

T - Sweet at the start. Ample hops in the middle. Again it is sweet in the finish. Lingers on the tongue for at least a minute. Fantastic balance betwenn the malt and the hops. Really an exquisite brew.

M - Medium bodied. Coats the tongue and allows the flavor to continue for minutes later.

D - Even with the high alcohol content it is rather easy to put back a few of these. The supreme balance of this beer lends itself to be consumed on a frquent basis. Quite extraordinary. Eloquent to the last drop.

One of favorites every year. Truly a beer that should be sought after. I recommend anyone who lays their eyes upon it, BUY IT!! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 00:51:57 | More by ziggy13
Photo of Rudgers73

New York

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

Had this on Sunday at The Old Toad.

Poured into an 11 oz goblet/flute.

Nice and clear with a dark reddish hue. Slight tan head that dissipates quickly to a ring around the top. The smell is of sticky malt, piny hops, and molasses. I was surprised by the smoothness of this one, especially being 11% ABV. Starts out full, thick and sweet and tapers into a sharp and boozy hop finish. Warms the throat and face after a few drinks. The alcohol is a bit astringent, but it works well with the huge sugary sweetness. There is a raisin characteristic that starts to come through as my taste buds assimilate to the bold flavor. Great mouthfeel, very drinkable. Perfect for the 10 degree, windy, snowy night that I drank it on.

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2008 21:46:08 | More by Rudgers73
Photo of Neehan

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have had the latest release of this on back-to-back nights with both servings from the bottle, one into a snifter one into a pint glass. It seems to hit the taste buds better from the pint glass and allows a bit easier drinking, but the snifter really opens up the fantastic smell that this brew offers that is both floral and medicinal with a slight bit of alcohol coming in as well. It is both hoppy and sweet. The appearance is very murky and cloudy with a bit of sediment in the glass. More head retention in the snifter, and virtually none in the pint glass-- in fact not much head to speak of, likely due to the alcohol content. That that appears is a creamy and "dirty" offwhite. The hops and carbonation provide a bit of a sting in the mouth. A good choice, but if I had to choose between this and Bigfoot I'd have to go with Bigfoot every time. But hell, that goes for a lot of other beers also.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2008 01:57:28 | More by Neehan
Photo of ccrida


3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle (best by Nov 15, 2012) poured into my Delirium tulip, Old Horizontal is ruby colored with lots of streamers that form a large ivory head that quickly settles to a thick, long lasting skim. Served at cellar temp.

Smell is fairly reserved, fruity esters and brown sugar.

Taste is pretty assertive and a bit rough, husky and hot, with a very bitter, dry finish. Not a lot of character other then a little caramel and fruit, the sleeping moon is an appropriate logo as this one's a snoozer for those looking for savory depth. Sure it's young, but there's just not enough here for me to want to stock the cellar.

Mouthfeel is the heavier side and very dry.

Drinkability is just below average, as I expect more from Victory, and any barelywine at 11% alcohol worth it's salt. Only had a draught pint of this once before a few years ago, now I remember why I wasn't to impressed...I'll stick to Storm King for my Victory big winter beer fix, miles better.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 02:35:49 | More by ccrida
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter:

A- A dark rubyn brown color- think dark bourbon. Small creamy head and tons of lace left on the glass.

S- Smell was of sweet dried fruits and toffee.

T- This is the type of barleywine that I love. Nice big hop presence with an ubersweet flavor to it. Think caramel, melted chocolate, berry.

M- Slick oily and huge burn on the throat from the alcohol.

D- Impressive for the 11% abv. I loved this barleywine. Comparable to bigfoot with a little less of the hops.

Will look for this time and time again. I will also save a few to see how this rounds out in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 00:05:15 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of shertz


4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that was in a case dated best by Nov 15, 2012. I plan on cellaring a few of these till 2012, if I can resist. Poured into a snifter at 50 degrees.

A- Gives off a one-finger head. A dark orange/amber color quickly sucks the foam down.

S- Plums and alcohol. Has a sweet smell, but the alcohol is just overpowering my large nostrils.

T- That dark fruit(raisins,figs, plums), barleywine taste is perfect. Alcohol is very warming in the mouth. Can't really taste the hops, maybe still a little too cold. Note: hops came alive as it warmed.

M- Well carbonated, but very powerful and numbing.

D- These are meant for cold, winter nights and this fits the drinkability perfect in my book. Some would say that this has poor drinkability because of the alcohol, but that is the purpose and should be consumed slowly and deliberately. If you can't do that, then stay away from this beauty and leave it for me. I can imagine this one only getting better with time.


Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 00:03:27 | More by shertz
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, slightly darker brown with a thin creme head. Airy and fruity nose that is a bit uneventful really. I'm not really getting much off of it. Great flavor profile. Nice rounded sweet tones. Hearty edge. Feel is smooth. Nice level of carbonation and good liquid body. This is very drinkable now. 3 to 7 years of age would make this very interesting I am thinking.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 09:28:49 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Lothar666

Rhode Island

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

A- An aggressive pour into a St. Bernardus goblet yielded a creamy, frothy two finger white head that threatened to overflow from the glass. This receeded to one finger rather quickly but remained for some time, set atop a body that was the color of dark oak. Despite the opaque brown color, bits of sediment were clearly visible on the bottom of my glass. Lacing on the sides once the head finally receeded were foamy and thick, lending an orange hue to the top of the body.

S- Spices and Strong fruit aromas dominate- apples, grapes, raisins, and figs perhaps.

T- Delicious sweet barley malts, Fragrant spices, Dark fruits, strong alcohol and a bit of hop bitterness in the finish make this a delightful and complex brew to sip on during the cold winter months.

M- Thick, syrupy and slightly chewy. A joy to swish and savor.

D- Drinkability is on the lower side due to the undisguised alcohol burn that comes in the finish. One of these in a session is extremely enjoyable, after that one is wise to switch to a less potent brew; I think I will grab a couple more of these and see what a couple years in the cellar does to mellow it out. This is not a beer to be underestimated.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 04:42:17 | More by Lothar666
Photo of gabeerfan


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

Pours a hazy, medium-dark brown. Finger and half head and goes down to a thin ring later. Leaves no lacing on the glass.
Smells of malts, dark raisins/cherries and alcohol.
Tastes of malts and the dried fruits again upfront, some nice hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue and alcohol going down.
Mouthfeel is good, very smooth on the tongue.
It's drinkable in the sense that it tastes good to drink, but this isn't an all night drinker. It's a great night cap beer.
I will be getting more of this to age.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 01:01:45 | More by gabeerfan
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,578 ratings.