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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,572 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,572
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 91
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: 1,572 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Morris729


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

Pours a hazy light rust color with a thin white head that collects around the sides of the glass leaving a fine lace across the top. Nose is rich and sweet with notes of caramel malts and fruity esters. Full-bodied with a thick and creamy mouth-feel. Taste begins with a touch of candied sugar quickly followed by a long wave of piney hops until finally the sweet sugar returns again leaving a lip-smacking finish. The alcohol is noticeable, but this is still very drinkable considering the 11% ABV. A fantastic beer and one of the finest barely wines I’ve had the privilege to try. Don’t drink it too cold, though! Thanks to francisweizen for the sample!

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2003 07:46:24 | More by Morris729
Photo of Mustard

District of Columbia

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

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle with "bottled on" date -- in this case 12/17/02 -- clearly stamped on the right, topside of the label; $11.99/6 pack from the Beverage Warehouse in Culver City.

Apearance: Pours a clear, vibrant caramel with a fine, offwhite, cascading head which is quick to subside; not much lacing.

Aroma: Malts! Molasses, toffee, chocolate -- they're all in there.

Taste: Wow. Big, sweet caramel malt upfront and throughout; predominant notes are of butterscotch, cherry and fig; floral and medicinal qualities show up in the finish; secondary characteristics include chocolate and citrus.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy -- but not syrupy.

Notes: Delicious, albeit a whit too medicinal.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2003 07:40:16 | More by Mustard
Photo of Stingray5

New York

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

12oz bottled 12/04/02 pours a brilliant amber/red with a well behaved white head. Aromas are mouthwatering and intoxicating, with caramel, sweet cherry and assorted fruits. Strong from 1 foot away from the glass. Taste is sticky sweet dried fruit with nice hop undertones, and a pleasing alcohol warmth.

A very complex brew, and highly drinkable for the abv.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2003 02:25:59 | More by Stingray5
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


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

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce bottle. Has a dark label with a picture of a sleeping crescent moon. Described as “Barleywine Style Ale”. I note that the word ‘style’ is in a different font from the words ‘Barleywine’ and ‘Ale’, as if to accentuate the fact. Dated as “Bottled on Dec. 17 02”. Oh, 11% ABV, good job that this is the last of the night.

Appearance: Dark amber with fiery red copper hints. Thin head, white halo boundary style head that rings the glass. Excellent inherent carbonation. Poured into a McEwan’s Scotch Ale Goblet, it looks resplendent.

Nose: Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen molecules leave the surface of the beer in just the right mix to give a deep rich warming alcoholic nose mixed with a fused malt-caramel. It’s a bed setter.

Taste: Smooth clean warming two lane entrance that is divided equally between caramel-malts on the right, and the fast lane freeway of exothermic ethanolic liquor on the left – both lanes eventually merge into an off ramp that have equal characteristics. It has a slight dark fruity feel with mild hop bitterness just as you reach the stop sign.

Mouthfeel: A stick shift driving feel that slowly works its way through the gears and gets the wind in your hair eventually. Solid and warming.

Drinkability: People argue about what ‘Drinkability’ really means, for me the name is its own definition. And this is very drinkable!!

Overall: Awesome. If Victory were 100 years old, those with access to their Memorabilia would have that Poster that they did in 1948, the one with a picture of Santa Claus on, sat on a snow covered sled, with the words “Victory Brewing Company, Purveyors of High Class Winter Ales and Barleywines”. SUPERB!

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2003 06:36:37 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Wildman


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

This beer poured a reddish amber color and formed a foamy off white head that stuck around and coated the side of the glass with lace. A medium amount of carbonation was present. An aroma malt, caramel and raisins was present with a hint of hops. The flavor was of malt, caramel and butterscotch with touch of the alcohol present. A medium body with a slightly sweet finish offset by the alcohol present. Hopfully the newer Victory's will sell well enough here that they will ship this to our state next season.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2003 19:20:38 | More by Wildman
Photo of PhantomVodoo


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

Coppery, brownish red color with a tan head.
Aroma of sweet malts, ripe fruits, and floral hops.

Taste is smooth. Big, sweet, barley malt flavor. Notes of ripe fruit and vanilla. Sweet throughout, but not sickly sweet. Floral and possibly citrus hop flavors attempt to balance this malt monster. Alcohol shows itself at the finish, but is otherwise extremely well hidden.

Good full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel.
Very drinkable for an 11% ABV beer.

I was thouroughly impressed by this beer. I'm usually not a big fan of big, malty sweet beers, but I really enjoyed this top notch barleywine style ale.
A huge thank you to OldFrothingSlosh for dragging this one to Ohio for me.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2003 21:05:55 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very big, chewy, malty little brew, with a crapload of sharp aromatic hops. Thick raisiny, spicy flavourful barleywine. Nup, theres no shortage of ingredients and flavour in this one. Pretty much a meal in itself. Not as delicious as i thought it it might have been however, still, i can't complain.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2003 01:51:18 | More by rastaman
Photo of longpondbeerman


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

Pours a clear, dark amber with a reddish tint. I can smell the tart aroma from across the room. There's nothing subtle about this barley wine. On closer inspection, there was an immediate and rich, fruity smell complicated nicely by the hops and which balanced off the clearly evident alcohol. The taste was strong--not overpowering, however--but the finish seemed uninspiring as if to say take another sip to reinvigorate your buds. Halfway through the 12 ounces and I feel the warmth surging through my body. It's a strong one.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2003 15:12:33 | More by longpondbeerman
Photo of MJR


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

Appearance: Pours a bright reddish-amber with a stunningly clear body. It's light tan head is persistent as a small cap.

Smell: The aroma is rich and warming with lots of fruit, caramel, and alcohol. Simple and basic, but very nice...

Taste: The flavor starts out fruity and rich, then caramel and toffee show up. There's a good balance between the different flavors. A strong alcoholic base asserts itself halfway through and dominates the aftertaste. Hops finally show up on the tail end, with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This brew has just the right amount of carbonation to prevent the body from being too syrupy and thick. The alcohol dries out the finish. This brew reminds me of their Hop Devil in that the mouthfeel is very soft and round on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty good... This is a good barley wine, but it's not outstanding in any way. Just a solid, well done brew that would be great to kick back with on a cold winter night.

A 'thank you' goes out to PBrian for including this one in our trade.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2003 00:13:25 | More by MJR
Photo of MaineBeerMan


4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer is a nice slightly cloudy red-amber in color, with a wispy thin head of slightly off white foam.
Aroma is quite sweet and vaguely fruity with a hint of piney hop and caramel with an alcoholic note.
Flavor is a nice balance of sweet malt and caramel, with a bit of chocolate and honey rising to the surface as it warms up. Hop flavor is definitely there with a blit of citrus and a nearly tannic twang, but not near the level of some other barleywines, Bigfoot being the prime example. Alcohol presence is definitely noticeable.
Mouthefeel is mildly carbonated with a tannic, dry bite and an alcohol warmness.
A nice barleywine, but I should have probably let this one age a bit before tasting. Overall I would like to try this again with an older sample after it has had time to mellow a bit.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 20:35:05 | More by MaineBeerMan
Photo of jcalabre


4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orignially sampled from bottle on 6 June 2002. Reddish brown color w/ very little head, this is a strong one. It's flavor is very rich w/ a slightly bitter finish. The balance of this beer is very nice. THe maltiness is very enjoyable. Another fine beer from Victory

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2003 13:46:04 | More by jcalabre
Photo of koolkat

United Kingdom (England)

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

One of my favorite Barleywines. It pours a nice deep amber with a slightly colored head. The alcohol taste is almost noticible, in the aroma but there is more of a fruityness to the nose. There is a nice warm feeling from the alcohol as it heads down the throat, that is only found in these nice high alcohol brews. There is a sweetness in the beginning of the sip that changes into a dry hoppy finish, with a hint of phenolic character, nothing like a belgian spicyness, but a hint of something else.

Definately a good barlywine, but then again I've never had a bad barleywine. If you see it be sure to pick up a case, smooth, rich and you can serve it to your friends who will drink it like normal beer. That is always entertaining.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 17:38:30 | More by koolkat
Photo of mickeymac


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

This is a hard one to track down on the left coast, but it finally appeared. The bottle has a cool looking label with a snoozing moon and a 12/17/02 "bottled on" date. It pours amber with an off-white head that dissipates quickly. The smell is a nice blend of malty sweetness with enough hops to make things interesting. The taste is an interesting blend of fruity sweetness and a nice hop bite. It reminded me a bit of a less hoppy Bigfoot. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy and the drinkability is more or less par for the course for barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2003 21:44:31 | More by mickeymac
Photo of WaltTrombone

New York

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I must admit, I liked this Barleywine-style ale better than the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot that I tried a few days ago. Still not sure that barleywines are my cup of tea, bit I'll try a few more anyway.

This poured with a red body, with white head that went away fast, leaving thin lace. The aroma was mild and indistinct, malt and caramel. Taste was first a blast of malt and caramel, then alternated with a strong hops presence, back and forth they dueled on my happy tongue.

It had a smooth, oily mouthfeel, and finished with a medium hoppiness with an alcohol bite. The 11% ABV is well-hidden, not a beer for pounding down...

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2003 18:29:20 | More by WaltTrombone
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


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

Good, but not spectacular. It poured a nice mahogany, with that overwhelming "liquior" smell. Half exspecting to striaghten up in my seat with the first sip, I didn't. The ABV was more psycological than actual. It tasted, IMHO, more like a brandy than a beer. More fruity, little hops. A sipper, I enjoyed it as the Celts put the nail in the coffin of the Pacers. It easily lasted the whole 4th quarter.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2003 06:35:03 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of BeerBuilder


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

Ruby-copper color, with a tan head that leaves good lacing. The aroma is bready, with caramel malts, fruity hops, and a slight bit of grain. It has a super fruity start, which then turns bready, then finally, a sweet finish that is lessened by a slight hop bitterness. It is a full-bodied brew that is alcoholic and warming. It is an excellent beer; a definite winter warmer. There are a lot of complex aromas and flavors throughout this brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2003 09:53:28 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of mzwolinski


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy cherrywood color with no head whatsoever. Aroma is sweet and fruity, with a heavy malt base, some citric hop flavor and a noticeable, though subtle, alcohol note. Smells a bit like a caramel apple! Taste is lovely and smooth, starting with a fruity pale ale like maltiness, developing a stronger, slightly toasty malt presence mid-palate, and ending with a very hoppy, but gentle, finish. Light apple-like fruitiness throughout, and some alcohol flavor and warming. Viscous in body, but not to the detriment of its drinkability. Good stuff!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2003 19:10:59 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of stingo


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

This brew was bottled on Nov 13, 2002 and I am drinking it April 2, 2003 (as I write this).

I typically drink the Old Horizontal on my visits to Victory when the brew is in season. The present botlle under review features a rich brownish gold color, with a with a dryish nose. It also appears to be (for lack of a better word) a dense/heavy liquid suited for the colder months in which it is brewed.

On first opening/tasting the Old Horizontal had a very dry astringent taste, with the malt, and hops flavors distinctly separate. Allowing the brew to warm a little produced a much smoother combination of these tastes (and losing the astringency), along with a finish that is long and inviting, like spending the night before the fire, drinking this brew and listening to the wind howl outside. I should also note the message on the label from Victory's brewmasters encouraging the sipping of this barleywine ale, and I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. A thick slightly sticky mouthfeel gives way to an agreeable, balanced finish on the swallow, where the malt and hops seem to linger just above the tongue. As you can gather from my review, one or two of these is generally enough to satisfy, especially over the long periods over which it should be drunk.

At the end of the day, a wonderful brew from Victory - though I should note that (to my taste) Old Horizontal's character changes significantly with changes in the temperature. A slow-sipping ale, it is meant for those times when you just want to mellow out and slow down from the rat race. Highly Recommended.

Retasted Feb 22nd, 2005 - The new brewhouse at Victory seems to be paying off - this is a wonderful edition of the Old Horizontal - smoother, mellower, and richer than the previous editions I've had - Very Highly Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2003 15:22:48 | More by stingo
Photo of IrishRedRock


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

The best barleywine I have ever had, hands down. As this was my first beer that I happened to order at the particular bar I was at, the bartender commented, "startin' with the strong stuff are ya?" I may look young, but I know what's good. Bring it on.

It came to me in a large goblet, a reddish liquid with a light creamy head, with a very sweet alcoholic aroma. I knew it would be good before I even tasted it. Malty flavors run both extremes. It begins with a delicious fruity sweetness, followed by a toasty caramel malt flavor, and finishes with a great hop kick. Oh man is this good. I can't wait to have it again. I haven't sampled it yet from the bottle, but you can bet I'll be back to have it on tap. So drinkable despite the 11%, and the alcohol flavors are only mild. This is a killer. Obviously highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

03-18-2003 19:04:18 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of tavernjef


4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This barleywine pours nicely with a deep amber brown hazey color, head was thin and lace like on the glass. Nice rich floral hop tones when first taking the glass to my nose then the caramel malts sneak in, sweet and candylicious. Taste is complex like most barleywines with malty richness, caramel thickness and sweetness and a slight smokey tone at the finish. Full notes of barley malt sweetness of caramel flavors thoughout. Perfect balance of twingy, hearty, mildly earthed hops, bittering to the perfect height of satisfaction leading through to the smokey-like finish. This is a great beer to knock yourself out with. Drink slightly chilled, but not too cold and sip to your little hearts content til you can't sip no more. Which doesn't take much.
By the third or fourth sip I was ready for bed. So count on drinking it for an hour or so before bedtime and you'll have dancing barley and hops in your head.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2003 09:47:19 | More by tavernjef
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a conducive glowing amber with a screen of hazy brown of over it, while the body appears with a cream toned very thin head that is starting to leave a trickled collar of lace apon my glass. The first thing that attacks my senses when I crack the bottle is the complex fragrance of the floral hop tones. Victory forms a nicely hopped malt treat for relaxation, and this one is doing just that. I was having some trouble falling asleep, so I decided to crack my bottle of Old Horizontal hopefully it will put me down in a few. Back to this amazing offering from Downington, the malt richness soothes the body and mind just by taking a few whiffs of this well done handcrafted beauty. Thick and chewy rolling herds of malt graze upon my tongue, sending a backlash of gentle hop bitterness forming a smokey haze on the plains of my palate. Full notes of barley malt sweetness cyclone around clashing with bitter sweet tones of caramel, fig, and deep brandy tones making this one completely enjoyable soothing beer that is helping me fade away into this sweet night. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a full syrup like appeal to it, wonderful enduring beer that shall live on forever. I could drink one of these every night in front of a burning fire right before bed time to put me into an ecstasy of slumbering peacefulness. A bit challenging to my palate to enjoy in number, but it's not mant to be consumed in quantity. I love the name, the beer, and the brewery!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2003 23:33:09 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of hyuga

North Carolina

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

Deep mahogany brew with a small tan head that disappears quickly. Hugely sweet malty nose, caramel and molasses. The hops don't have so much presence in the nose, but they are definitely noticeable in the background. A little alcohol presence gives a slight nostril burn. As for the taste, it's big on the malt too. Huge caramel sweetness throughout. Hops become more noticeable as you drink more, in a leafy, earthy character. Still not as noticeable as they are in other barleywines though, unfortunately. Bitterness floats around nonchalantly. Alcohol warms thoroughly. A pretty good barleywine, but i wish it was more complex and hoppy. It could benefit from cellaring for the complexity, I'm sure. Might take away some of the harshness as well. Make sure you drink it at room temperature so all of the flavors will come out. Still very enjoyable as is. Thanks again to francisweizen for another taste of Victory!

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2003 20:13:15 | More by hyuga
Photo of Jarod


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

Had to try this in bottle form to see if it was as good as it was on tap. This beer poured into the glass rusty red/orange in color, was fairly cloudy as well. The head was little not like from the tap, the color was a beige/light brown color, and there was a slight lace left behind as well. The smells that filled my glass were of cherries, roasted malt, dark fruits, some slight sour tones and a hint of ash as it warmed. The taste was filled through out with tones of alcohol. It was thick in the mouth but very pleasant. Flavors of alcohol, roasted malts, floral hops, citrus fruits and big dark fruits and spices as well. It had a slight bite to it but it was not overbearing. This is a big beer that has many great qualities from sharp to smooth. A good beer that gets better as the temperature rises. Another score for Victory.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2003 10:02:15 | More by Jarod
Photo of Winter


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

This is the first time I've ever opened a bottle and had the top crack right off. The lip stayed embedded in the cap and luckily no glass particles fell into the bottle.

Bottled on 12-4-02. Front illustration features a horizonal crescent moon wearing a winter stocking cap while sleeping over a log cabin. Brewed seasonally as a winter warmer, Old Horizontal acts as a perfect nightcap on a cold night.

Poured a deep amber with ruby hues and no head. Alluring aroma consisted of sweet candy-like sugar, fruit, alcohol, caramel, malt and brandy. Mouthfeel is smooth and a touch syrupy. Old Horizontal is definitely a sipping beer. The initial sweetness is overthrown by the strong 11% alcohol contained within. At times a touch medicinal. Finish has a nice toasted barley flavor to it.

I want to like this barley-wine, but I definitely feel this one needs more time to age, for the alcohol flavors to mellow and for some more complexity to develop. I'll cellar my remaining bottles and try again later in the year.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2003 10:37:36 | More by Winter
Photo of budgood1


4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on nov. 13, 2002. sampled at room temperature.

old horizontal pours out a pretty, cloudy dark amber colour...lots of sediment floating about. an off white, foamy head appears...dying down to thin, fine lace. a hard to pin down berry-ish and malt aroma...a hint of mustiness...aromatic hops are hard to pick out. multi-dimensional malt flavors...berry fruits, choco, toffee and caramel all peek out but don't outright present themselves. oh yeah...alcohol too...lots of bourbon and brandy notes. hop bitterness is subdued, but does not take a back seat in the profile. the malty body takes a nice sweet and sugary sled ride right down my throat and crashes at the bottom of my stomach in a boozy wreck. can't wait to climb back up the hill and do it again! smooth, creamy and scary in it's drinkability. finishes sticky sweet and quite warming. a damn fine brew!

another huge thanks to frank4sail for breaking into his super secret cellar stash to provide me with this stellar sample!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2003 20:46:34 | More by budgood1
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,572 ratings.