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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,564 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,564
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 90
Gots: 109 | 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: 1,564 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

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

12 oz. bottled on 14 December 2004. Pour into an oversized wine glass at cellar temperature.
Deep hazy garnet with massive (hop?) chunks floating around underneath an oily butterscotch ice cream colored head, 1/2 " at first then settles to a ringy collar. Smells of Floral hops, big thick caramelly malts, sweet candied rum-soaked fruits. Bittering hops around the tongue, sweet medicinal (alcohol?) candied plums and rum raisin. Alcohol (11% abv) definitely apparent, but not inappropriately so. At least not for this style. I'm surprised that a year hasn't tamed this very much. Huge and creamy mouthfeel with a light, stinging sensation around the tongue and gums. Drinkability? On a cold November night with 6-8" of the cold white stuff laying around and some nice aged cheddar to pair it with, this is certainly drinkable. Bigfoot is still my "regular" barleywine choice, and for high ABV decadence, I'd more often than not choose Weyerbacher's Insanity...but this is a top-notch barleywine nevertheless. It's just personal preference when it comes to world class ales such as Old Ho and the other examples mentioned above. Definitely a beer to seek out, sample and enjoy from time to time given the right mood and setting.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 05:44:46 | More by orfeu
Photo of Hibernator


4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled December 03 2004
Served in a large snifter glass

Pours a hazy orange amber color. Thick off white laces that leave spotted sticky lacings.

Complex nose with whiffs of vanilla, oak, rum soaked raisins, barley and malt sweetness.

This is an exceptional tasting barleywine and I'm impressed. Maybe it's the fact that this beer has had a year to sit or maybe it's because this is a well crafted beer. Nevertheless, this beer is a beautiful sipper. Smooth, creamy and complex. Flavors of cherry chocolates, oak dryness and a creamy vanilla malt shake. Syrupy brown sugar sweetness.

This is a pleasure to drink and enjoy. True to the style and crafted with quality.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 22:58:56 | More by Hibernator
Photo of HopHeadKen


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

I got this out of the Iowa Beer Cache, Thanks !

It poured clear orange copper with lots of creamy ivory/white head,

Could smell the sweet maltiness during the pour. Smell of plums and caramel.

Taste was sweet at first, then melting into a solid balanced hop bitterness at the end.

The hop bitterness hangs nicly on the tongue easily for 20 minutes after finishing this beer. That is something I personally enjoy ! (when it is this well balanced)

Mouthfeel is full, viscous, smooth.

Drinkability - This is a sipping beer, and I made one bottle last over an hour. I would look for it and enjoy another !

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 15:34:47 | More by HopHeadKen
Photo of burnstar


4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark red/brown with a very nice unexpected off-white head. Smell is big sweet caramel malt with citrus hops and some spicyness. A little alcohol is just barely noticeable in the nose. The taste is pretty balanced- plenty of sweet malt and citrusy hops with a good amount of bitterness. Also there are some fruit flavors, mostly sweet berries, present. There's a lot going on here and it all works together extremely well. Really tastey stuff. Mouthfeel is thick, and almost, but not quite, syrupy. It's well carbonated and has a dry finish with a bit of alcohol present and the warming effect is certainly noticable. This is a very drinkable for the style. Overall this is really great stuff. Fantastic for late autumn and winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 07:40:14 | More by burnstar
Photo of BuckeyeNation


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

Burnished cherry-orange-bronze with a soft, warm glow that I hope will be reprised in my belly in a few short minutes. The thick, milkshake creamy head of pale caramel brown looks like it won't be departing any time soon. Likewise, the pocked sheets of lace currently coating the glass are in it for the long haul. Nothing about the appearance says 'special', but Old Ho is still a looker.

Although the nose is primarily rich and malty, there's no shortage of fruit and hops. Since this bottle hasn't yet celebrated its first birthday, I had hoped that it would be wall-to-wall hoppy. If the nose is any indication, it isn't. There's very little alcohol in the aroma; amazing for such a relatively young 11%'er.

Old Horizontal is a very good barleywine. Having said that, I fully expect to have better. The granite sturdy malt backbone is the obvious focal point, just like in the nose. The beer tastes like caramel-drizzled, raisin and cherry-studded, dark rum-soaked clafouti. It isn't overly sweet, but neither is it overly bitter. How about... balanced.

There's a little too much unintegrated alcohol for me, an indication of a still tempestuous youth. It's an age-old dilemma: the excitement of a young ho versus the experience of an old ho (are we still talking about beer?) Cellaring it in order to mellow the alcohol, however, would bring about an unacceptable further diminishment of the hops. The obvious solution is to add more hops on the front end. Victory, are you listening?

The mouthfeel isn't all that sticky or thick, but it is full of rounded, silky smooth edges and goes down like a dream. One isn't limited to sipping, as with some high-ABV beer. However, the alcohol has a tendency to yank on the reins with authority if things get out of hand.

For some reason (reputation probably) I expected Old Horizontal to be a taste bud swamping, syrupy flavor bomb, but that isn't what I'm experiencing. It's undoubtedly good beer and is a good representation of the style, but I'm not tempted to exclaim mightily over the brewer's genious with every sip. Even though it failed to meet my probably unfairly high expectations, it's still a far, far better barleywine than most breweries can manage.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2005 22:51:50 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of KroMagnon


3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely low head, kind of cloudy. The color is copper. The aroma is pretty nice, although a little underwhelming - its got some caramel, some malt, some raisin and fruity esters, so there is definite character but its just not real strong. The flavor is good, with a rich malty presence and a good hop flavor and bitterness to back it up. There seems to be a lack of complexity overall, however. This beer may benefit from additional aging - I"m tasting the Dec 2004 edition so its only about a year old.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2005 02:41:50 | More by KroMagnon
Photo of Naes

New York

3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is another murky brown barleywine with a decent light tan head that provides good lacing.
The aroma is mild, but a bit of hops due surface.
Its flavor is sweet with the malts and has a bit of that raisin flavor. There is just a little bit of alcohol presence as well as a slight hop flavor as well.
Mouth feel is full bodied and sweet.
This is one of the better barleywines that I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2005 05:42:34 | More by Naes
Photo of KarlHungus


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

This brew poursa dark blood red color. The head is huge, creamy, and white. The lacing lasts forever. The aroma is huge. Hops are everywhere. Citric, piney...utterly mouthwatering. The taste is as hoppy as the aroma. Citrus and pine. The mouthfeel is full bodeid, smooth, and creamy. Overall this is a wonderful barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 03:54:30 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of jmz62565


4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As usual,Victory rules.This is an outstanding looking beer,a nice dark amber look with a nice two finger head.The smell is a strong combination of hops and fruit.This has a real strong hop flavor.There are also a hint of fruit and spice that make this very earthy.This has a medium m/f thats very good.I've had other barleywines that had a lower alcohol content that were more harsh tasting than this beer.This is very smooth.This is an outstanding beer from one of the best brewers in America.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2005 22:28:12 | More by jmz62565
Photo of cubedbee


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

12 oz bottle bottled on 11/18/03, poured into a snifter. Pours a murkey coppery brown with a thin off-white head that quickly fades to a thin ring. Aroma is big juicy pine hops over sweet caramel malt, just a bit of fruity berries mixed in, very nice. Taste starts out very sweet, caramel, candi sugar, prune juice. A slight roasted malt lingers in the background, and then a flavorful burst of flowery and piney hops hit the finish, leaving just the slightest lingering bitterness. Alcohol only barely detectable on the very end of the sip. Tastes really blend together well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly slick mouthfeel. This is a very drinkable barleywine, hiding it's alcohol well yet flavorful enough to make it an enjoyable sipper.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2005 01:45:46 | More by cubedbee
Photo of bcm119


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

Deep ruby amber in color with a small off white head. Smells of toffee, caramel and flowery esters. Malt forward nose but plenty of hop bite. Toffee and candied fruit, almost molasses-cookie-like flavor, but not cloying at all. Hops are strongly present but not as forward as the interesting candy malt flavors- they compliment them and give them staying power. Long fruity hoppy finish with a lingering sting and subtle caramel sweetness. Really drinkable for a barley wine and not too sweet or cloying. Alcohol is not readily apparent, especially for the 11% abv. Dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2005 03:56:43 | More by bcm119
Photo of TongoRad

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Feb 04 05

It pours a slightly hazy saturated chestnut amber with a two-finger-plus billowy tannish head. The head eventually settles down to 1/4" and stays there.

Aroma is strong and wonderful. Berries come out first but floral hops are not that far behind. I also pick up traces of sweet spices and dried citrus peel. Caramel, nuts and creamy malt come on later and become fairly substantial. Alcohol has a presence throughout but never becomes overbearing. Dried fruits come on very late but they have a lasting impression. It is nicely complex yet very grounded at the same time.

The alcohol is more pronounced on the palate. The spices, caramel, and creamy malt are also all there. Bitterness may be too high for the amount of residuals. The finish is long and nutty. After the impressive bouquet this beer falters a bit, though it is quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2005 14:38:21 | More by TongoRad
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


The aroma is hoppier than the last time I had this. Still a big malty presence: dark bread, dark sugary fruits...obviously strong, but no unpleasant alcohol notes. Oily, orange scented hops balance the aroma out very well - this is a great American style barleywine aroma. The flavor is just as balanced. I'm not sure if this beer was different a few years back, but the hops are certainly here in full force. Delicious mouth coating hop oils without a tremendous amount of bitterness. Sweet, chewy malts, toffee and fruit. Great stuff! There's the inevitable warming in the throat, but really no untamed alcohol to speak of for such a powerful beer. I am obviously much more impressed with the Old Ho' this time around. Great for a chilly spring day by the fire.

Bottled on 12/03/04


Clouded burnt reddish hue - thin off white head shrinks to a fine sheet. Aroma of rich malt, caramel, alcohol in the back - hops are present but surprisingly unimposing. You really need to leave this one in the mouth for a few moments to pick out all the flavors - deeply complex and robust. Dark malts, toasty, alcohol makes its presence known, faint fruitiness...definitely a sipping beer. Powerful even for a barleywine. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth - slightly bitter finish.

I want more hops! Super rich and flavorful but the hops need a boost for a bit more balance. Not really my kind of barleywine. Cellaring would do this ale a lot of good. This is one intense ass-kicking barleywine though. A few will put you to bed for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2005 03:18:14 | More by wedge
Photo of RBorsato


3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky orange-ish brown (copper) color with a nice tan head considering ABV; very light active carbonation remained fairly constant. Big carmelized malt aroma with alcohol noticeable. Tastes much like it smells with lots of malt and bitter hops balance. Alcohol abounds ! Full bodied and slick like oil with a burning alcohol finish that sticks.

Try fresh.

Per bottle: 11% ABV

Per VBC website:
Malts: Imported 2 row
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by Volume: 10.5%
Availability: Thanksgiving into January.

'11/99 Bottle Conditioned' (lasered on neck)
Tasted: 09/07/05

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2005 19:57:00 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Wasatch


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

Bottled Dec 03,2004
Pours a very nice dark amber color with some carbonation and a small head, nice lacing afterwards. Scents of malts, sweet fruits, tarty fruits as well. Very nice taste, sweet, but with little bite at the end. The alcohol is hidden very very well. Medium body. So far this is the best barleywine I've had, because of the very well hidden alcohol content be careful, you will be looking up at the MOON in a horizontal position, LOL

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2005 00:10:52 | More by Wasatch
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

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

Pours copper, auburn brown tones with some deep red tones. Light tan head that is about an inch high with nice texture and fades pretty fast like the lacing. Great crisp color though. Smell is of sweet plum sugars and black grapes. Smells tantalizing of dark fruit, some brown sugar and a hint of alcohol. There is still a subtantial yet subdued barley smell under the sweet blanket. This beer reminds me of Dogfish Raison d'etre gone barley wine style(regarding its sweetness). In other words, its very sweet but not overdone. Very full and thick in texture and a little syrupy. Nice alcohol warming sensation as well. The beer tastes like sweet dark fruits, definitely plum, black and red grapes, and slight rasberry. Holding the sweet fruity esters together is all the malt. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and smooth, carbonation is just right. A very drinkable beer, epecially for the barley wine style.

Very solid and tasty sweet barley wine. Deceptively strong @ 11% and ultra drinkable. Yes....this probably will knock me horizontal fast.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2005 04:46:44 | More by tastybeer
Photo of chakadrum


4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring it into a glass I was immediately pleased with the beautiful golden-amber color. The smell was sweet. The first sip or two left me with a distinct feeling of a caramel candy in my mouth. The taste was very sweet with the malts and had a well balanced hop flavor but there was virtually no hops bite to it.

After one you can feel the higher alcohol content working but you don't notice it while drinking, the sweetness of it covers the alcohol. While this isn't something I would want to drink every weekend, it has the advantage of getting you buzzed quickly while maintaining a high level of quality taste and feel.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2005 22:12:11 | More by chakadrum
Photo of SupaCelt


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

This bully of a brew poured out as a dirty crimson body of bliss. A beige head made an attempt to thrive, but was subsequently crushed down by the heavy hand of vaporous alcohol. The resultant patches of surface foam later gave way to swirling streamers like gasoline rainbows in a mud puddle. A few outcroppings of cobwebbing tacked themselves to the rim of my glass marking where myself and this beer had been together, gazing longingly into one another's beings.

The smell rose off the surface conjuring visions of caramel apples floating in alcohol. Molasses and brown sugar and all things darkly sweet and glorious follow.

Tastes emerged with an intensely sweet maltiness. Caramel and scorched sugars of all variety and vague hints of nuttiness as well as an alcoholic warmth were heaped together in bold fashion leaving my palate adrift in sensation. Some pronounced grapefruit bite and acidic tastes joined in the fray as only charismatic hops and brutish levels of alcohol can produce to such an extent. Wonderous complexity and strength. What more could one desire?

Old Ho was slick and thick. Malt body galore and slippery oiliness produced a sensational mouthfeel. The drinkability was hazardous. One could easily be taken advantage of by this smooth operator. This is the first time Victory has proven a real victory for my personal taste, and I will certainly be stocking my cooler with this in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2005 04:14:01 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of hero27


4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: Dec. 14, 2004

Pours a dark, reddish-amber color & leaves a uniform sheet of lacing with every sip.. Cool poem about Barleywine on the label.
You can smell the alcohol right off the bat, but you sure as hell can't taste it. It's well-hidden behind the fortress of malty sweetness that makes up this brew. The malt is huge...and the sweetness is upfront and makes it's presence known. The hops are big as well, but somehow, there is virtually no bitter aftertaste.
Full, heavy, chewy mouthfeel..a meal in a bottle, if there ever was one.

An outstanding (and surprisingly drinkable) barleywine. At 11%, I know why they call this "Old Horizontal". After a few of these, you'll be looking like the crescent moon on the label.

My favorite offering from Victory to date & a must try for everyone who takes pride in a good beer.

Huge thanks to ski271 for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2005 23:12:08 | More by hero27
Photo of Citadel82

New Jersey

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

Pours a deep amber with a one-finger white head that faded to a small ring that left of clingy lace.

Aroma is sweet toffee with caramel malt notes with a moderate alcohol smell on the back end.

Taste is sweet caramel with huge malty flavor. The alcohol makes an appearance early. Hoppy finish that lingers on the tongue for long after the liquid has vanished down your throat.

Mouthfeel, slick and persistent. This brew clings to your tongue and palate. Very sustaining brew for a cold winters night.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2005 13:19:22 | More by Citadel82
Photo of Beaver13


4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle dated Jan 6, 2001. Pours a deep copper red with a creamy whitish tan head that retains well. There's lots of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

The aroma is sweet and spicy caramel and molasses, and some figs with a touch of alcohol.

The flavor is similar to the nose - spicy and sweet caramel with some citric hops and dark fruits. Some hop bitterness comes out in the finish. Normally I don't care for noticable alcohol, but this has a strong but surprisingly pleasant alcohol warming. The mouthfeel is full bodied and very smooth and creamy.

Overall, an excellent barleywine - the best I've had to date. Very well made and superbly balanced. A real treat to drink! I'll have to try this fresh sometime as I'm sure it is much hoppier.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2005 05:50:43 | More by Beaver13
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


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

Pours a hazy brownish-orange with a thin tan head. Lacy. Smells of citrusy hops and rich nutty malt.

Taste is malty first then very hoppy. Caramel, smoke, and big citrusy hops. Grapefruit. Rich malty finish. Big beer, very full bodied and very balanced. Yummy. One of my new favortie barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2005 01:08:22 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely dark orange color into the glass. Billowing cushion of a long lasting head, thick lacing down the glass. Viscous syrupy velvet feel to the beer. Grapefruit-like hop flavors balanced by sweet malt. Probably the best balanced barley wine I've tasted. 11 % alcohol is very well masked in the flavors. Purchased a six pack of the 12/2004 bottling a few months ago. Meant to let some of them age, but they're all gone now. NC just approved a bill raising the alcohol cap to 15% for beer. Hopefully I won't have to go to VA to buy this beer anymore.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2005 20:49:42 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of neonbrown82


4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to GCBrewingCo for the opportunity to try this 2003 edition Old Ho. She laid dormant for the past two years, but she still has plenty of spunk. I am now curious to try a newer release to see how the hops have changed over the course of two years.

The appearance is a dark hazy amber color with a light carbonation. The head is very minimal, but wasn't even expected. It sticks around in the form of a dense film and leaves a nice delicate lacing along the glass.

The bouqet is a strong and spicy herbal hop sitting on top of a good dose of caramel, raisins, figs, and dark berries. The taste is very similar to the nose. All of the flavors are very well blended making this one of the smoothest barleywines I've had the pleasure of drinking.

The body is a bit thin, but packs a mean dry bitterness. Residual sugars and berry flavors coat the mouth in the finish. Drinkability could be higher, but this is not meant to be a session beer obviously. I will definitely have to re-evaluate if I can acquire some of this for the upcoming winter months.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2005 02:48:11 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of dirtylou


3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: deep amber/copper pour, thick creamy white head. very nice looking brew

smell: dark fruits, cinnamon, woody aromas, faint smells of alcohol underneath it all

taste: dark fruits, alcohol, piney hops...warms the body

mouthfeel: heavy and complex, like most barleywines

drinkability: only need about one of these at a time...not terribly difficult to put back but the alcohol will get you

overall, an above average barleywine, look forward to seeing the effects of aging

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2005 00:22:40 | More by dirtylou
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,564 ratings.