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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,749 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,749
Reviews: 1,092
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 103
Gots: 143 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,749 | Reviews: 1,092
Photo of ypsifly
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottled in December. Not sure of the exact date because the ink jetting got a little smudged. Served in a snifter.

Reddish brown with a small light tan head that slowly falls victim to the abv. Layered sheets of lace.

Nice blend of pine and sweet malt aromas with a little alcoholic heat in the back. Suggestions of melon sprinkled with sugar.

The hops take on a more citric character when tasted. The melon is more apparant with the malts taking a step back, but they still come through with a sweetness that is accentuated by sugars. Very warming finish into a sweet and hot aftertaste.

The mouth is a bit oily, but the alcohol and carbonation seem to break this down a bit. I enjoy big beers that force me to slow down and sip, this one demands slowing down if only for the sake of not ending up horizontal on the carpet.

Would like to see what a couple years in a cool dark place will do for this beer.

Photo of jaluria
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A good barley wine with a strong malt presence that never really goes away and actually grows and develops over time as the beer warms. This beer appears a moderately dark brown though it remains translucent and carbonated. The alcohol and roasted malt aromas dominant and prevent me from detecting anything else. The taste is somewhat expected for this style with a sweet, alcohol flavor that lingers and stays on the tongue. An excellent sipping beer to be enjoyed over the course of an hour or more. Relatively smooth with a sweet, bready texture in the back of my throat. The high ABV and one-sided flavor profile prevents me from wanting more.

Photo of maek228
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark amber with a beautiful lace.

Smell: faint sweet malts and some subdued fruitiness

taste: sweet malts with appropriate tartness. hops finish nice with some dried fruit characteristics. alcohol is present.

mouthfeel: think and aley

drinkability: for 11% it's great

Photo of tbill6
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a six pack from the brewery a few days ago. It poured nicely into a tulip-like glass (I have to improve my glassware).

Color was dark red with a slight, quickly dissolving head (could be my less-than expert pouring ability).
The aroma of the beer is very complex: sweet and bitter.
The taste is quite the same: slightly sweet, bitter and hoppy. Very complex. As the beer warms, the flavors really come out.

This is a strong, enjoyable beer.

Photo of HugoGrim
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Victory brewery in a tulip glass.

A deep red color to the body, started with substantial head which quickly dissipated. Beautiful lace down the entire glass. The light coming through the glass made a neat little red dot of light on the Hop Devil coaster, which I kept centering over his eye, making him look even more "menacing".

Scent is fruity with hints of caramel. The alcohol is also detectable.

A lot going on here in the flavor category. Bitter fruits like plums and cherries, caramel (though not sweet), mild dry hoppiness, and a surprisingly mellow alcohol flavor (considering the ABV).

The logo on the tap shows a crescent moon sleeping, which isn't a joke. This will literally put you horizontal.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.73/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer came in a tulip glass that looked like an orb of dark glowing cherries with a dark tan head that left some slight lace.

Smelled of dark fruits, brandy, caramel and a little touch of pineapple and cedar.

The taste floored me! I took a sip and just sat back for the ride. Tasted of thick burnt caramel and thick dark prunes and plumbs. There was also spicy yeast mixed with cloves and other spices. The flavors went by so fast, it was hard to pin them all down. Around the edge of my tongue, there were dry hop bubbles that swirled around that didn’t interfere with the flavor, but complemented it nicely. The finish was dynamic too! Faded from all of this, to chocolate, and then to cherries and left me with a nice warming. Fantastic!

Mouth feel was a few shades shy of chewy, so it was still very drinkable.

My passion for Victory grows every time I try one of their beers…

Photo of nlmartin
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was bottled on 8/03. The beer was poured into a wide mouth goblet.

Appearance: This beer pours a nice ruby to brown coloration. The head was off white. There is lacing like pancake batter on the glass.

Smell: Very fruity malty. Smells like good gingerbread. Very sweet with piney floral undertones.

Taste: Delivers the taste as the smell. Very malty and fruity with hints of gingerbread.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a very full bodied beer. Carbonation is meduim. Very tasty over all. This beer is to be sipped and savoired.

Photo of Matthew
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of the bottle a dirty brownish color witha whitish head. The head falls away quickly to leave a small cover on the top of the beer.
The aromas coming from this beer is of strong brown sugar, molasses, and caramel. Very strong smelling beer.
I found that the taste matches the smells pretty well. Very sweet most prevalent taste being of brown sugar and a caramel type flavor that is smooth and fades into an alcoholic warming. Very nice tasting barley wine.
This is a hearty full flavored barley wine that is nice to sip if you enjoy brown sugar and caramel. It also catches up with you quite quickly.

Photo of blitz134
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful crimson red with a 3/4" white head on top. Head reduces to a thin layer which tries to stick to the glass. A nice appearance for a beer with this abv level.

Aroma has a strong caramel and brown sugar sweetness. Lots of dark fruits like plums and raisins come through. Taste follows suit with the aroma except with a little more alcohol. This barleywine is really smooth though and one of my favs. A very simple flavor that works well together.

Mouthfeel is smooth and heavy on the tongue. Coats the mouth well. Drinkability is good for this style of brew. A nice overall sweetness which isn't overdone and a smoothness which is hard to come by makes this a highly drinkable barleywine...even if you do have to sip it.

Photo of BitterBrian
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

what are these chunks floating in my beer? they're pretty big, but I am a pulp person, so I won't mind them at all.

The beer is a thick reddish brown, the head was about a half inch thick, but it disappeared quickly leaving dome pretty hefty lacing.

It smells of roasted malts, some floral hops, hearty yeast and some fruity undertones.

The taste is almost completely different. Very smokey and yeasty. A very hearty and complex brew. This could probably be a great meal supplement.

Overall, it was a heart-warming and tasty brew, but too filling to be a drinker.

Photo of orfeu
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of Hibernator
4.7/5  rDev +16%
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.

Photo of HopHeadKen
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
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 !

Photo of burnstar
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of KroMagnon
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Photo of Naes
3.14/5  rDev -22.5%
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.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of jmz62565
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of cubedbee
4.32/5  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.

Photo of bcm119
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of TongoRad
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of wedge
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of RBorsato
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
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

Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
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

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,749 ratings.