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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,681 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,681
Reviews: 1,073
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 101
Gots: 122 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,681 | Reviews: 1,073 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerbutcher
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

opened 4-07
bottled 12-05

pours with a one inch, deep tan head over auburn colored ale,
very clear with minimal lacing

aroma- much caramel, toffee, fruity esters, and brandied fruits, some bready cake aromas

taste- first is rich and sweet malt with warming alcohol that quickly invades. hop oils and heat give this hefty brew a sharp edge, but keeps the sweetness at a minimum. The bitterness lays only a bit heavy and hangs longer than the malt flavor

mouthfeel- it's good on the sweetness level, though the hop bit is a bit heavy to call it balanced and i can actually feel the alcoholic heat, so it looses points there.. it's close though.

overall- the malts have an intriguing complexity about them, though subtle. and, though the alcohol showed a bit strong, i thought this ale to be delicious with refreshing grapefruit intensity of bittering.

Photo of becktone
4.93/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Eye: Cloudy Brown in appearance. Not really any highlights b/c the brew is cloudy. The color is ultimately brown but leans heavily toward a reddish brown. Almost reminds me of a dark grapefruit color. Head is pretty weak though it could be the glass-using a different one than I usually use...this one goes through the dishwasher. Head was a off white color and was creamy before it dissipated. There does seem to be some lacing. I'll be sure to try this again out of my regular glass.

Nose: Big and potent nose on this brew. Once decanted the aroma of the brew fills the air surrounding the glass. At first didn't have to get close to the glass to be able to smell this one. Nice balance of hops, alcohol, and malt in this aroma. There is an underlying bread aroma to this brew as well they don't get much better than this.

Tongue: Wow! I was expecting something that would be very hop heavy. This is a perfectly balanced brew. It is absolutely perfect. All the flavors are expertly blended together. Some sweet malt flavors hit the tip of the tongue then bitterness and hop character right upfront countered by the heavy dark malt flavors that follow. Finishes dry with some floral hop character. Very complex flavors that are way to complicated to describe. Alcohol is hidden pretty well but still perceptible.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Heavy bodied this brew is everything that it should be. Brew warms as it goes down. For being such a strong brew this is something I could sit down and drink for a while. If you have an appreciation for beer than this is one that you'll find is strong but is not hard to quaff. I'd not like to binge drink with this but I could see myself easily going through a sixer....prolly be wasted but still...its that good. This is a brew I will always keep my eye out for. I've been looking for it for a long time-bout 3 years. If I can find it again I'll be sure to try and get a case. This is one that shouldn't be passed up.

Photo of BlindPig
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dense tan 1/4" head on a light cloudy deep amber body.
S- Toffee malts and citrus hops, breads, pine hops, hint of alcohol, but overall the smell isn't to strong.
T- First sip...wow. Big hop flavors of pine and citrus that is helped to be balanced out big time by a big toffee malt body. The hops and light toffee flavor stay around big time in the aftertaste. Leaves a nice big bitterness on the tongue. Breads and alcohol come through also. Light warming in back of throat but no way does this taste like 11%.
M-Creamy and silky but at same time you get the hop stickiness to it. Full body with low smooth carbonation.
D- This is really good. I think the 11% could easily sneak up on you. I wish I would of known how good this was when I went down to Cali so I could of picked up a whole 6-pack instead of just one single.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to ggaughan for this extra thrown into our trade. Best by date of 12-19-11.

a - pours a deep copper color, two-finger off-white head with no retention or lacing, lots of suspended sediment

s - nicely balanced aroma, big piney and citrusy hops mixed with a sweet malty backbone and hints of alcohol

t - sweet maltiness up front, some caramel, followed by an intense citrusy hop bitterness that follows through to the long finish, alcohol notes on the finish but not overpowering

m - medium-to-full bodied, moderate carbonation, coats the mouth well, fairly dry finish

d - the dryness of the finish, along with the bitterness limits the drinkability , but overall, pretty drinkable for a big 11% barleywine

Great American barleywine. Not quite on the level of Bigfoot in my opinion, but a great example of the style nonetheless.

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

Had this brew in mind for a while and it was even better than expected. Poured a bright glowing amber red, looked like molasses poured in a snifter, so thick and gooey. Cloudy with minimal head. Aromas were fresh- a floral herbal quality with some maple sweetness followed by huge cirtrusy hops. Big malts on the first taste, heavy and sticky sweet with alcohol to match. This brew would be lost if not for the balancing hops infusion. They dominate the aftertaste and palate with a flavorful bitterness. This brew reminds me so much of dogfish's 120 IPA, but they say barleywine- who am i to argue? HUGE body and a sticky dry finish. This is definately my new favorite pick for a midnight brew.

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

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Mahogany in color with amber hues. Off white head pours one finger thick and dissipates rapidly to form a tight ring around the edge of the glass. Scant lacing.

S: Heavy malt nose. Sugar. Slightly floral. Alcohol.

T: Heavy grain notes. Sweet caramlized dark sugar. Hops show up with a soft biiter bite and then are beaten back by roasted caramel malts and a corn husk presence. Finishes warm on the tongue due to high alcohol content.

M: Smooth and creamy. Minimal carbonation. Warm and very dry.

D: Very well balanced for the style. A fairly straight forward example for a barleywine. Well worth a try.

Photo of joe1510
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottle
$12.99 6-Pack
Binny's Orland

Enjoy before 12/29/11

Old Horizontal poured a hazy burnt caramel(if that makes sense). A half finger head formed on the pour that quickly dropped to nothing but a small swirling island of white foam. When held to the light it glows ruby red. I see only a couple carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. This head eventually disappears completely. There is zero sign of any head after 1/4 of the glass is drank. The lack of head detracts from the overall impression.

Smell is a little underwhelming but what is there is juicy. A big aroma of grape bubblegum greets my nose upfront. This is mixed with some floral characteristics such as rose petals. There's also somewhat of a tea like quality present. Graininess shows as this barleywine heads to room temp. Mild alcohol. Like I said, it smells juicy but there isn't substance.

Flavor starts off with a strong graininess. The grape juice comes around mid palate but is much more subdued than in the aroma. A moderate hop bite shows up and finishes things off with a decent citric bitterness. Warming alcohol on the swallow. This is on the fence here between a 3.5 and 4. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Body is on the heavier side of medium with sluggish carbonation. Leaves a mild coating on the throat that goes nicely for the style. Slightly warming alcohol on the swallow. Nice.

Drinkability is actually pretty good for the high ABV. I could drink a couple in a sitting.

Not the best example of an American Barleywine I've had but it is an enjoyable brew. Fairly simple flavors but enjoyable none the less.

Photo of mpyle
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color. Pours a thick, large head that sticks around for a long time. Reasonably good clarity.

A caramel malty sweetness, and some alcohol aroma, but no real hop aroma.

Malt is well tempered by aggressive hop bitterness. Finish is a balance of malty and hop bitterness. Hop flavor limited. Alcohol flavor evident, but under control (not harsh).

Very full body, moderate carbonation. No astringency, and the alcohol warming is evident but under control.

Nice balance for an 11% ABV beer. Would like more hop flavor to round out the flavor profile

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

Had occasion to try this beer again the other night; first time in a number of years.

The "old ho" style is a bit different then your typical barleywine, with a bit less sweetness then normal, and a discernable hoppy presence. The beer was served in a brandy snifter, which I think is the perfect way to serve it. Nice foamy head and a beautiful amber brown color, the beer is very impressive looking. Although the alcohol is up there, it's not very noticeable in the smell, and is very well integrated throughout on the palate. While I can't see myself drinking more then one of these, this beer was surprisingly drinkable, given it's abv. Nice caramel and maple sugar flavors, the hop profile gives the beer a bit of refreshing bitterness. Not the best barleywine I've ever had, but this is a pretty impressive effort from Victory.

Photo of tomParis
2.95/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, Reddish-copper in color, with a small head. This beer is very balanced for a fresh barley wine, but the hop profile is a real turn off for me; very clean, a little bit citrusy, and, well, boring. The hops stand out more than the malt, but they don't bring anything to the table, they are just in the way. They seem out of place in this beer with its big malty backbone. The mouthfeel was good, but it doesn't make this a drinkable beer. Hopefully this will be better with some age, I have a feeling it will.

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

Pours a reddish copper little to no head. Pleanty of lacing, head does have staying power.

Im not very good at walking through BW smells. That ... and I have a cold. Sweet, some hops. Is that grapefruit?

Not super sweet. Definately hoppy. Moreso than most BWs. Nice finish. No real bite.

I like the mouthfeel because it is not as syrupy as most BWs. A nice treat to have one a bit drier.

Solid. Not sure moves into special category, however I would enjoy having it again. Well balanced, like mentioned earlier more hoppy than used to for a BW which I would prefer.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 12/2005 received from Todd1. The color is a tawny red with almost no head, only a couple bubbles running around the rim of the glass. It smells like alcoholic candy and makes me think “uh, oh this is gonna be good”. The mouth-feel is slightly effervescent. I am not sure what I am tasting but it is really good. I am going to savor this one and sip it slow. I really hope Colorado gets this beer since we get all the other Victory beers. This would definitely be worth laying down a case for several years. A truly outstanding barleywine.

Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a deep amber hue with a small off-white head that turned into a small lace.

The aroma of the beer was immensely malty, caramelly, fruity, and alcoholic.

The flavor of the beer was full of rich caramel malt with burnt toffee notes in the finish. The hops were assertive, but not overpowering. They had a nice herbal and citrus flavor to them. While this barleywine is young, it is certainly one of the more drinkable young barleywines I've had. In comparison, I woulnd't touch Bigfoot before 1-2 years. There were some dried fruit flavors present, but nothing too intense. The finish was nicely alcoholic and warming. Notes of vanilla accented things well.

The mouthfeel was pretty thick and syrupy. The carbonation was dialed in just right.

This is a very well balanced barleywine. Definitely a good winter sipper. While I mentioned it's tasty young, I'm sure this one will age well. I'll crack my next bottle in a year. See ya then...

Photo of jorjoria
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a wine glass at room temp.

Appearance: Poured a reddish amber color slightly syrup like in appearance. Small amount of head but appropriate for the style.

Smell: Wow... This beer appears to be much more highly hopped then last years or maybe I just drank last years after more aging. Also there is a strong alcohol note to the beer. There is also a nice caramel like background which I assume will become more predominate as the beer ages.

Taste: Very hop forward even at room temperature are quickly overtaken by a strong alcohol notes and then to sweet molasses / caramel sweetness. Surprisingly it not overly sweet which is something I barley wines can quickly tend toward. An excellent example of an American barley wine.

Overall a great beer for a cold night in upstate NY.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a clear reddish brown body with a thin head of big tan bubbles that fades to a thin film. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface.

S- This beer has a slightly sweet caramel note with a hint of toasted malt in the background.

T- This big caramel malt sweetness is followed by a spicy heat in the finish. The finish has notes of green bitterness but not really hops. There are some hints of lighter sugar in the caramel but to well blended to taste any real malt characteristics.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a alcohol heat at the finish that balances the sweetness.

D- This beer has nice big flavors of malt sweetness and alcohol spice but not much depth to those flavors. That is just fine by me because this is a very delicious beer and I think it would age great.

Photo of Jwaks
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving 12oz bottle; enjoy by Dec 29 2011

Small bubbles of carbonation lazily creep upwards through a slightly hazy, ruddy amber body toward a finger thick cap of froth. An admirable foam collar and meager lacing develop as the head slowly recedes.

A stubborn nose reveals caramel malt, candied dark stone fruits, a bit of light citrus hops and hints of spicy alcohol.

Sweet thick caramel flavor is accentuated by candied fruit with a bit of hop bitters all wrapped up in a syrupy body. Loads of fusel alcohol hits hard on the mid palate and finish demonstrating this beers unadultered strength. Finishes with smooth sweet fruit outdone only by hard spicy alcohol.

For a barleywine it's smooth till the mid palate when the mouthfeel takes a hard turn toward lots of spicy alcohol providing lots of warms on the moderately long bitter and malty fiinish. Take it easy with this one and appreciate it. With all these delicous flavors this is one to savor and respect for it's brute strength.

Once again, another great brew by Victory.


Photo of cook76
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll admit up front that I am a big fan of a good barleywine...and Victory's Old Horizontal is certainly that. I have only ever had it out of a bottle and usually pour into a traditional "Guiness"-style pint glass. Minimal head, fine carbonation, I'd say mostly dark amber in color with some reddish-brown undertones. The smell and the taste I feel are what really put Old Horizontal above other barleywines I've had. Strong indeed when it comes to alcohol content, but not overpowering and blends well with the flavor of the beer. Definitely a good slow-sipping beer. Mouthfeel is not super-smooth (I wonder what draft is like??) but does not distract too much either. Main competitors in my area (Pennsylvania) would be the two Weyerbacher barleywines--Blithering Idiot and it's pricier aged cousin Insanity. Old Horizontal beats out both of these on taste--seems the taste of the alcohol is too pronounced in the Weyerbacher beers (although they are still quite good).

Photo of enfield249
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Rusty brown, headed twoards ruby.

S - I actually got a lot of scent of this, due to the alcohol maybe. Malty and alcohol.

T - Huh, lots of alcohol burning. Then some more. Not awful, but it was the 1st, 2nd and 3rd things I tasted. Not to bitter that I remember.

M - Smooth.

D - My first foray into the world of barleywines. A good beer, maybe I'm not a fan of the style.

Photo of EPseja
2.78/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bought this one highly recommended from one of the awesome beer guys at Oaktree Buy Rite in South Plainfield, NJ.

Served from a 12oz bottle in a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature. Best by date: Dec 29, 2011.

A - Rust colored with amber gold highlights. No real head to speak of until *after* the bottle is empty. Then, with a soft crackle and fizz, a 1/2" sand colored head appears out of nowhere, with a frothy consistency. Unfortunately it doesn't last more than a minute before mellowing out to a thin mat. Lacing is not evident, but then again, it's a barleywine.

S - Sweet, syrupy hoppiness blended with a nice caramel malt base. Some rubbing alcohol notes (unfortunately) that supress whatever other gentle scents might otherwise be detected.

T - Malty, but subtle up front, with only a light sweetness. Big hop bitterness reaches all the way to the front and carries through the swallow. Alcohol is not hiding out anywhere and actually makes me cough. Hmm... Finish is medium dry, and the aftertaste is green and plantlike. Big alcohol wells up from the belly.

M - Medium thickness; overly carbonated, frothing up to a mouth filling foam. A bit too big. Swallow is voluminous and harshly tingly in the throat.

D - The first thought I had was, "Perhaps I should have been drinking this one in about 2010." In the end, I'd liken this to how Johnny Walker Red compares to other Scotches. It's hot, young and aggressive -- lacking balance. However, unlike the JW, given enough time though, this one could probably mellow out and become a much more enjoyable beer. Perhaps I'll revisit it at a much later date.

Photo of prototypic
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best by 12/29/2011

Appearance: Rich caramel color (ruby red when held to light). One and a half finger head that laced down the mug.

Smell: Big time malt with caramel and toffee aromas. Also picking up some dark fruit (plums perhaps). Very sweet smell.

Taste: Sweet caramel taste. I love the malt taste to this. Dark fruit flavors are present (grapes and plums). A bit of hops, but it tastes more malty to me. Very, very good.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: This brew is very thick and has syrupy characteristics. Definitely a sipping beer. I think two would be the absolute tops I could handle in one sitting. But, it goes down very easy for an 11% beer. Overall, great barleywine. One of the better I've tried. Highly recommended.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2007 vintage, "Best Before Dec 29, 2011"

A nice 12 oz. pour into a tulip glass, deep ruby color with a thin tan head that leaves a minimal lace as it dissipates.

The aroma is of alcohol and bitter hops. I'm not getting much malt if any, in the nose. There may be some back there hiding behind the alcohol, and I'm guessing that it will be more noticeable on a date much closer to the best-by date.

The taste is again an assault of hop bitterness and alcohol. The latter lingers for a long time and warms you all the way down. There is a bit of spice to this up front to go along with the bitter hop flavor. Malt is again very hidden at this point mostly due to the alcohol. You know it has to be there and I look forward to trying this again long down the road.

Nice smooth mouthfeel with very little carbonation as expected. It's a nice sipper at this point with great promise of things to come. If I'm still here I'll review the same vintage a couple years from now. For now it did not disappoint at all and put a warm smile on my face on a cool Sunday afternoon.

Photo of jwc215
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before Dec. 29, 2011.

Pours deep caramel-colored with a thin, swirling, lasting patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, dark fruits and peppery alcohol.

The taste is malty - caramel candy and a sweet graininess. Fruity, earthy hop bitterness balances it to a degree. Hoppy for a barleywine, but still maintains a malty character. Sharp alcohol heats it up without masking the flavor.

Full-bodied with a rich texture. Smooth despite the sharp, boozy alcohol.

Pretty drinkable for style/abv, but the sleeping moon on the label is appropriate. One or two, sipped slowly, is enough to induce sleepiness.

Photo of kaimcm
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A: deep ruby body with a fine and creamy head. easily agitated back, subsides to a soft dusting. light splotchy lace stuck to the glass. depending on how the light shines through, this beer looks like black tea or a precious jewel.

S: first huge wave is fruit and carmelized malt. pears, raisins, even bananas. sugar, wet grain, rum, butterscotch. on a deep inhale theres a tinge of alcohol but surprisingly absent from a casual sniff.

T/M: chewy up front and at first, but the mouthfeel mellows as the glass empties and turns softer and slicker. big malt profile hits the front of the tongue, like wet pastries, rum cake, etc...fruit pulls through and mid palate a light candy quality. sugar dies out on the finish and a dry, but barely hoppy finish progresses. can be a bit astringent at times. both maple syrup and a woody quality abound, along with candy and fruit. dense. alcohol barely perceptible in taste but warming in the belly.

D: for so much alcohol its scary easy to put down, however the weight and residual sugar make this a solo night cap for me. not uncommon at all for barley wine.

Overall: this is a tasty treat but at this point, way too young. this beer is chaotic, struggling for cohesion and direction. with a few years on her, she'll be drinking damn fine and with serious purpose. at this point? one ackward youth with no conviction of her own.

Photo of hammer09
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured a deep, dark amber-red with good head development. Beer was clear and carbonation activity appeared muted. Would have received a score of 5.0, but color was a little too dark for this style. Smell is malty and sweet with a faint hop aroma. This beer tastes very sweet and alcoholic, as is to be expected, however I also noted a slight tartness that detracted from the overall flavor. Mouthfeel is sticky, syrupy, and somewhat flat. I expected a bit more carbonation, even for a barleywine. Drinkability is fine, but limited by sweetness and high alcohol content. No more than one or two in a sitting.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have just begun to find a fascination in barleywines. I've only had a few but this is probably one of my favorites so far. It pours a dark amber/red color with a very aggressive head that has a khaki color to it. Smell has that of malt and subtle hops with a fruity background. Taste is very balanced between the malt and hops which makes it a very drinkable barleywine at 11%. Some caramel and chocolate notes with a hint of mild hops. I definitely enjoyed this barleywine and look forward to trying more of this variety. Keep it up Victory!

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,681 ratings.