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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,617 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,617
Reviews: 1,066
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 93
Gots: 117 | 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: 1,617 | Reviews: 1,066 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of velo343
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - A wonderfully thick dark caramel. Fairly thin head that disappears quickly.

Smell - Bready malt, with a hint of hops, like fresh cut grass.

Taste - Just like the smell, quite malty with a well balanced taste of fresh hops. At the finish, the hops really come through with a nice citrusy flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fairly thick, leaves a slightly acidic taste in the top of the mouth.

Drinkability - This beer is an extremely well-balanced barleywine that really hides the alcohol. I feel like I could drink a few of these in a night, but not sure how good of an idea that would be. Will be getting this again.

velo343, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of psinderson
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into goblet-type glassware. Bottle says "Bottled December 22, 2005".

Appearance: Hazy amber/brown color, a little like freshly squeezed apple cider. Almost no head to speak of.

Smell: Bready and caramel like. A little bit of bubble gum and apples..very complex aroma.

Taste: Sweet and hoppy up front. A great mixture of brown sugar, apple cider and peppery hops. This hides the alcohol very well, with only a showing at the end.

Mouthfeel: Thick and yummy. The pungent hops leave the mouth a bit oily but it's not unpleasant.

Drinkability: I suppose for a Barleywine, this is decently drinkable.

psinderson, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of MaxxDaddy
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/29/04. Nice amber/red color with caramel and plum aroma. Had small amount of off-white head. Tasted somewhat sweet, yet bitter. Finished bitter with slight taste of alcohol, but certainly not overwhelming. I found myself liking this more and more with every sip. Of course with something this strong, you won't be drinking more than one very often. I’ll definitely be saving the rest of these to see how well it ages.

MaxxDaddy, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of BelgianAleSlut
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into Chimay goblet. Being a seasonal beer I had to wait for it to reach my local beer source since reading about it in August.

The color is gorgeous, dark carmel center to dark peach around the edges. Light carbonation ring around the outside - the etched center of the Chimay glass leaves a small faded cloud of carbonation in the center. Definitely need a clear drinking glass for this one.

Love the warming characteristics of barley wines and with most high alcohol beers, drinkability seems to increase for me as I go along. Good time fuzzy beer.

Taste is not complex but certainly has rich maltiness. Feels nice on the tongue - not heavy but does seem to coat it well. Recommended, especially on those cold Midwestern nights.

BelgianAleSlut, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of vwcraig
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottled on 12/22/05

Sampled this from a tumbler. Medium brown with creamy looking one finger high head.

Smell is amazing; citrusy grapefruit and resiny hops. Big hop smell.

Taste an instant bitterness from hops and alcohol very pronounced.
Taste the smell character of the hops.

Heavier mouthfeel and little carbonation.

Drinkability is definintely high if you prefer sippers.

vwcraig, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of bort11
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of SkinnyElvis.

Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Very quick and thin head that quickly recedes to a sticky and filmy lace. Color is a murky brown, with orange tinge around the edges when held to the light.
Smell is of hop oil, bittersweet.
Taste has a smooth bitterness, not overwhelming of hops. Very full flavor that envelopes the taste buds. Slight caramel malt notes.
Mouthfeel is very warm and full. It's a joy to hold a mouthful. A definite warmth, but not a real burn.
What a wonderful beer.

bort11, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of grub
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

got this bottle in a recent trade with Aprilluvsbeer. thanks april!

pours a hazy brown with a scant head that quickly fades to a ring around the glass.

aroma is nice. roasty malt and a little alcohol. caramel and a bit of lingering sweetness. hint of bittersweet chocolate. slightly vinous.

taste is great. fairly bitter kick to start, then a really nice full malt body. biscuity malt. caramel. a little bit of raisin. really well balanced.

mouthfeel is great. nice and full bodied, and a moderate carbonation level.

drinkability is good. the 11% is hidden fairly well and the bitterness isn't over-the-top. overall this is a really nice barleywine.

grub, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of adammills
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this barleywine! It pours a nice cloudy amber. Its smell is balanced between malt hops and alcohol. It packs a heck of a kick! The hops are a bit grassy and it blends well with the sweetness of this brew. This is an excellent barleywine, and would recommend it and buy it agian.

adammills, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of bruachan
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i don't even remember where i got this. clear amber ruby with a tan head up top. i see some bubbles, and they're enough to sustain a bit of a head

smells like deep, highly concentrated malts. some relatively innocuous hop aromas. they're from the NW but seem to be playing the balance role

it's not as chewy as some others. the real enduring quality comes from hops. they're all over the taste map and the bitterness is bigtime. the flavors are not mostly of the fruity variety: toffee and other malty flavors. i also detect some spice. this is nice

bruachan, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of Sephiroth
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/22/05: Bottle courtesy of JHop. Pours with slight head, no lace, color is amber with the slightest haze. Smells pretty hoppy, I'm sure with plenty of malt to go along.

Taste is definitely on the hoppy side, bitter citrus notes with a hint of grass. Caramel toffee malt is there as backup. Thick and chewy mouthfeel, good and drinkable.

Sephiroth, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of msubulldog25
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter. BB date: Jan 24, 2011.

A: Warm garnet/red, very clear. A sliver of tan head, which faded quickly. I was surprised that there was almost nothing lingering nor any lacing. Still, a pretty beer...even when still, it has the look of bourbon.

S: Big sweet caramel & toffee married with generous citrus hops. Slightly medicinal smelling alcohol blend with cherry and ripening fruits. Some warm fall/winter spices and a touch of brown sugar. Yum.

T: [cough]...strong bitterness initially...perhaps this needs more age(?) I thought. It did not seem very mellow - the wonderful smells were burdened by a heavy burnt-tasting bitterness and a wallop of alcohol. As it warmed some, I picked up some toffee sweetness, dark chocolate and toasted nuts. Some of the cherry and spice crept in, too, as did raisin. It's a good beer, maybe with more time it nears greatness?

M: Medium/full body, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Bitterness lingers a while...

D: A good sipper, nice & warm. Big ABV means one is enough. A nice nightcap/dessert beer. I felt like the snoozing crescent moon on the label once I was finished with this one... Will get a couple more and age them a year or more...

msubulldog25, Oct 09, 2006
Photo of xav33
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Victory Old Horizontal
12 oz bottle
Best before 01/11, sipped 10/06
Medium pour in an English pint glass

Poured a clear copper with a small mostly diminishing light orange and brown frothy head.

Smelt of moderate malty sweetness with light sweet spicy banana bread and light alcohol and some resin.

Taste was upfront sweet malt with light caramel and bananas with a spicy cloves kick followed by a biting bitter punch to the face, that dies quickly but gracefully to meld back with the malt sweetness, in a light wet autumn leaves, dried spiced raisins, and resin feel that lingers on a long constantly evoving finish. Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied, oily, softly carbonated with moderate alcoholic warmth.

Overall, an attractive looking barley wine that punches and captivates the palate but is slightly disappointing on the nose.

xav33, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled due to BIGsBIF and the kindness of BeerBeing.

Pours a cloudy reddish brown colored ale with next to no head formation.

A very aromatic beer the sweet fruitiness permeates the room the moment the cap is removed. A close sniff gives me a snoot full of spiciness. Aromas of brown sugar and vanilla with a bit of woodiness. Fruit aromas are apple and plums with a bit of cactus apple to it.

Taste is neutral and quite woody at the beginning. This never becomes that sweet and is mostly woody in taste the whole way through. Not all that complex a flavor mostly a little brown sugar and some ill defined fruitiness. Fair amount of grapefruit flavor and pineapple.

Mouthfeel is good thick even.

Drinkability is where this beer really excels. A very thick and strong beer that doesn't have any rough or harsh edges. Only drawback would be the ease with which you could drink 4 glasses of this and not be able to walk away.

Zorro, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of czechsaaz
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled Dec. 17, 2002 so nearly 4 years old, served at cellar temp. Poured extremely carefully into a snifter.

Very fruity aroma. Like really ripe plums and dark cherries. On first sniff, there was a hint of hot alcohol, but that went away. I get chocolate malt and honey and a little hint of citrus. Hop aroma is very had to pick out (at this age, that's normal) but what's there is spicey. Very complex aroma between fementation esters, aged hops, and a ton of malt.

Deep red, almost brown colored. Clear with light rising carbonation. Started with a thin layer of head that fades to a ring of foam around the rim of the glass.

Big malt flavor, tons of it really. Lots of medium crystal type flavor with big doses of two-row base. Hop bitterness is still very high and lingers long in the aftertaste. There is very little hop flavor still remaining (probably an age effect.) but the little bit thats there is grapefuity citrus. Lots of deep ripe fruit esters and now I'm getting a little apple (not green apple like Acetaldehyde but a pleasant red apple sweetness.) I also get hints of chocolate and cofee. Big and complex with a lot of flavors.

Full bodied and creamy with a hint of warm alcohol. Very nice carbonation level for a beer of this age. It's still very lively.

Great sipping beer, drinkability is a little different scale for a big barleywine. Delicious with tons of complexity. I have two more and I highly recommend you buy a six pack of 2006 and sit on it. I'll try my next from this year at 5 years old and report again.

czechsaaz, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is what a barley wine should look like. Deep mahagony/amber a nice off white head that leads to sticky lace around the glass.

Quite the nose on this as well. Hard to pull it out of the glass. First and foremost is a scrumptious floral hop aroma that is delectable. Leads into a caramel toffee malt, and a slight nuttiness is introduced into the equation with hints of fig.

Toffee malt, caramel, fig, prune, golden raisins, good RS, leads into the long floral hoppy finish. Perfectly balanced but could use a little more complexity. Not sure if this may have travel sickness.

Medium mouthfeel with a bitter hoppy mid palate and finish. A great sipping Barley Wine.

mcallister, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of Mdog
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled January 2005.

Appearance: Deep red with a good sized head for its strength.

Smell: Sweet fruits.

Taste: Sweet, brown sugar but not annoyingly so, a little bit of smokiness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth.

Drinkability: This stuff is so tasty it's dangerous.

I've had this bottle in my fridge for a year and a half. It's aged very well, as it is very smooth and sweet, but not too sweet. Good thing I've got some more in the cellar!

Mdog, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Obtained in a trade with Skinnyelvis

The beer pours a cloudy brown into my Chimay glass. There was minimal head and only light lacing. The smell is of hops and brown sugar. The taste is quite a bit more bitter than others of the style. The bitterness is almost what you would expect from a DIPA. The mouthfeel is fair, the aftertaste does not last long. The drinkability is fair as well. This beer was bottled in Dec '05, but I think this beer could benefit from a year or so more of cellering. Overall, above average.

*Edit: As the beer warms, the aftertaste improves and the alcohol becomes more noticable.

Enola, Sep 03, 2006
Photo of egajdzis
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft 1998 (5.5 years old – 7/25/04) Very malty and harsh alcohol. Dare I say past its peak? I enjoy 3 - 5 yr olds best. 8 5 8 3 15
Draft 2000 (3.5 years old – 5/29/04) Simply Incredible!! Amazing malty and fruity nose and palate. Lightly hopped still. This is downright incredible, I love it!!! 9 5 10 5 19
Draft 2001 (2.5 years old – 7/26/04) Red amber no lacing. Intense nose. Taste of caramel malt, cinnamon, vanilla, and cherry skins. Soft sweet and malty, with warm alcohol. I love it!!! 9 4 10 4 17
Draft 2002 (1.5 years old – 7/26/04) Lightest of the three I had tonight though also the cloudiest, still with no lace. Malty and spicy with a harsh alcohol. 8 3 8 4 16
Bottle 2002 (1 year old – 11/13/03) Poured a cloudy brownish reddish color with a small yellowish tan head. Strong but sweet dark fruits, interlocked with a nice hoppy nose. Huge malty and hoppy taste. Fruity grape aftertaste, with alcohol being barely noticeable. Very fulfilling for this freezing November night. 8 4 9 5 17
Draft 2003 (8 months old – 7/26/04) Deep copper color, and a sweet aroma. Hoppy and husky dark fruits and malts. This was too intense when young, and I stand by my theory at Old Horizontal at 3 – 5 years is amazing!

egajdzis, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of BryanCarey
4.88/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Old Horizontal is a scrumptious barleywine that offers an intriguing scent; a beautiful head of foam that leaves lace as it recedes; and a body that is full and malty. This barleywine tends toward the sweet side with a taste that is complex and memorable.

Several tastes combine to make Old Horizontal the great brew that it is. There are flavors like baked bread, a little bit of caramel, some grain, yeast, candy, and fruit. The taste is quite complex and I find that each time I take another sip, I discover something else about Old Horizontal that I didn’t know about the first time.

Probably the most interesting characteristic of this beer is the fact that it isn’t very bitter. Most barleywine styles are known for the over- emphasis on the hops but Old Horizontal is actually more malty and sweet. The hops are obviously present (there are even some flakes in the bottom of the bottle) but they are not as pronounced as with other barleywine.

Old Horizontal is a delicious example of this style and it’s the type of beer I could sample over and over again and continue to find new and unique ways to describe its taste. This is a sure sign of a great beer and Old Horizontal is a beer not to be missed; a product with delicious, complex flavors and a flavor profile that keeps growing on you; getting better and better with each passing sip.

BryanCarey, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of murrayswine
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is courtesy of oldirtysurfer.

Poured a ruddy brown/red into my Troublette tulip, with little to no head at all. (Havent found a head inspiring barleywine yet)

THe nose is lush with hops. This is a big beer! Layers of butter, rock candy, and toast give in to a boat load o hop character, and a touch os spearmint.

The taste is smooth at first, than directly hop ripped. The alcoholic bite is fairly prevelant and is tending to muddle the mouthfeel a bit. A little metallic, too, but I think that it need to sit a spell first and breath.

It finishes beautifully with butter pecan, brandy, and hop.
A very good Barleywine, I recommend it.

murrayswine, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan. 6th, 2001...tasted August 9th, 2006.
Thank you to blitheringidiot of PA for sharing his private cellar with me.
Wow...where do I begin....
Poured a medium dark amber with a single finger tan head that melted to fine lacing lasting the entire drink.
Aroma is ...hey, perfect barleywine...raisins, sweet malt....dried sweet dark fruits.
Taste is a perfect balance of sweet, sweet malt, brown sugar, dried dark fruits like raisins, plums, and prunes.
Alcohol is absolutely non-existent in the taste...but definately there...I feel the warmth filling my insides comfortably after I swallow...and for a long time after each sip.
Something sharp and tingling with each sip...hops and carbonation extremely well hidden but not lost.
Wonderful...comforting....warming...solid offering.

IntriqKen, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of Toddv29424
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this from a good friend in NY...
Pours a reddish hazy-tinted amber color with terrific lacing that seems to last for the duration of the beer. Smell must be teased out with some swirling, but initially has a toasted malt taste with faint alcohol, and candied fruits throughout. Also a hint of sweetness, almost like caramel in the nose. The taste is amazingly cohesive for such a large beer. Dangerously smooth with a creamy body. The candied fruits make up most of the body, with toasted husks and alcohol making up the remainder. It’s clear that this beer has spent some time the fermentor, (or secondary, or tertiary…) because of the mellowness of the alcohol taste. There could be a little more of a hop presence, but that might take it to close to perfection. I imagine that it would mellow out nicely with age, but I’m too impatient for that.

Toddv29424, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of nortmand
4.9/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red pour with some chill haze and a steady tan head.

Sensational smell. Caramel, chocolate, even a bit of pipe tobacco earthiness there. Very nice.

Slightly sweet up front, ends in a massive bludgeon of bitter, resiny hops. Tastes a bit oxidized, most likely due to the massive hits of American hops.

Huge bodied, and surprisingly smooth, this is not one to be missed.

nortmand, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of dustified1234567
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow i have had this beer in my fridge for two months now waiting to try it and finally i did. I had it by bottle but i actually had it poured into a mug. The appearance was a nice dark brown that was beautiful. The smell was was of sugar and hops. The taste was accpected to be bitter but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is a little thick but is fine to drink. The drinkability is a bit lower beacause I think that this is a beer to be savored considering also that it is in the top 100 on BA.

dustified1234567, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of doubleipa
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As I love barleywines, I've been trying to track this one down for a while. Found it in Marcy, NY. Quite nice, one of my favorite barleywines. Not much of a head, but it did have good lacing. Aroma was of sweet malt and fruity. Taste was quite sweet and thick mouthfeel. I was a little unimpressed. Maybe my expectations were set a bit too high. Good, but not great.

doubleipa, Jul 27, 2006
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,617 ratings.