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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,673 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,673
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 97
Gots: 121 | 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: 1,673 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dansteino
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is crazy good! Slap-yo-mamma good.

What makes it such is the balance. The beer has just the right amount of hops to balance the rich malt. I do not think that I have had a better balanced barley wine. This beer is not overhopped like Big Foot or Old Crusty.

dansteino, Sep 28, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish-brown with a very small head.

Aroma consists of dark fruits, caramel and bitter hops.

Full bodied, very smooth. Bitteness up front mixes with caramel flavors and some alcohol. A "vinous" flavor shows up midway through as well. Finishes with a bitter-caramel flavor.

A delicious barleywine. The alcohol is well hidden and I can't wait to see how this ages as I have a couple to stick away. Nice job Victory.

Southernbrew, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark maroon color, with lots of yeast suspension visible. Not a lot of head, but leaves a light tan ring around the top of the goblet. Smell is of alcohol,a nd sweet pine hops. Taste is very smooth for such a high ABV brew. Lots of coffee and hops flavors cover up the alcohol presence nicely. Full bodied, a delicious beer for a cold day.

TastyTaste, Sep 03, 2004
Photo of HopGoblin
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Nov. 15 2002

Pours out deep amber color with the sediment floating about the glass. The nose is that of dried fruit, malt, and caramel. The taste is warming with an instant caramel sweetness. The brew is thick and covers the inside of the mouth. The finish is long and sweet turning almost too sweet. The only downfall to the beer is the sweetness, its not good for more than one in a night. None the less its still another fine offering from Victory.

HopGoblin, Aug 16, 2004
Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on Jan 23, 2004 this barleywine poured a clear, rich red color with a light tan head that slowly subsides to a thin fil but leaves ample lace as it is reduced in quantity. Very nice color deviates from the average baleywine as it is much lighter than most examples. Exceptional head retention especially for the level of alcohol. Aroma is full of hops as you pour but smelling the glass gives off a sweet very alcoholic maltiness with a little toasted breadiness. No bottle conditioning means that this ale can pour all the way to the bottom of the bottle but also that it can't mature as it ages although it could very well become mellow and oxidated. Once again i am presented with a barleywine that has an exquisite balance of flavors but i do find that it is a little on the bland side. It dosen't offend but it dosen't have a strong flavor of much anything either. Very sublte initial bitterness is soon overlapped by a lighter that normal malt sweetness. The flavors then segue into a smooth lingering bitterness that lasts long enough to be noticed but then fades away. There are no faults with this ale in terms of brewing technique but i would have preferred it to be bottle conditioned. The body is very chewy and it has a nice viscosity. Smooth and drinkable this ale is a welcome addition to the American Barleywines.

RenoZymurgist, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of sublimesipping
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas to me this July and what a treat for my palate that I have found with this wonderful stuff circa 2001! I think vIctory outdoes itself with this beer. amazing aging and mellowing to a wonderful complexity. color a wonderful cherry amber and a taste to die for; candied cherries and brown sugar, well-rounded warming affect fills the palate and also hits the nostrils head on with an alchoholic warmth. A beer to savor and sip again and again. I think that this will rank up there with some amazing of its style. could Santa provide a better gift? OF course not-he's not real. and so goes this beer, UNREAL and outa this world delicious.

8/7/04 At monk's and my recent backbar discovery is old horizontal 98 on tap. I would say this may be the best... beer that I have yet tasted. I would rate 5s down the line for this one. The mellowness, the complexity. I'll come back to this review down the road when I've got more karma experience to collect my thoughts, but I am glad to say that as a philly translplant from milwaukee via T.O., i've had my share of wonderful, memorable beer, but this truly takes the cake, or the glass.

sublimesipping, Jul 29, 2004
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2001 (consumed 7/2004)

Victory's Xmas in July has been quite nice so far this week, and its only Tuesday!! Last night I had the 2001 vintage and man was it nice! Either it has really mellowed out considerably or 2001 was a great year...I think its a little of both. Really nice soft or as I like to think of the, smooshed, hop flavors. Kind of vegetal with a touch of spicyness, but without any of the sharp fresh hop flavors usually found in this beer. It is starting to 'vinuate' just a bit, with the usually soft round malt flavors starting to pick up a bit of bite, but nothing too serious here folks, stil soft and round as can be. Also a very drinkable Barley wine. I only had one, but not because I couldn't have more. I can't wait hasta manana!

cerevisiaephilus, Jul 28, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Staring at me & me, staring back. Golden hazy dark brown with a tightly packed caramel creamy headin a wine glass. This is from 2000 afterall. Served too cold, so after warming, a ruddy rust huead pour with a 1/2 " khaki head that me is afraid to touch. This is a see thru DARK tea.

First scents of an aged Barley Wine Style Ale are of balanced goodness. Hops & Malts. Sweet nature leafy goodness. One inch away from sasafrass. (someone started smoking, but I kept enjoying.) Floral candy scents that are unending. Damn near perfect for a Barley Wine. A cornicopia of fruits & top notch maple syrup. Awl-kee-hawl rolls off the top.

Caramely sweet hops & malts meet. Fruit cake, like Stone Old Guard, ***Mature*** but reserved flavors.

Last swigs: If you can sip, you can enjoy. Fruit salad.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Jul 21, 2004
Photo of SixpointJMH
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled november 18, 2003.

alright victory, i keep trying, win me over for christ sake. this one pours a nice but not great amber colour with a thin and mildly sticky tan head. body doesn't appear as full as i would have hoped. the smell is very, very nice. malt and earth with some butterscotch and spice. fairly typical barleywine scent but micely balanced. well done. the flavour is well rounded, but a touch thin at times. very good nonetheless. a warming alcohol is present throughout while interlaced withearth in the beginning and malt in the middle and finish, where it is complimented by a touch of spice perhaps. mouthfeel is a bit thin as well, with the carbonation being a touch too fizzy at times. overall, this is a tasty brew that, whilst not out of this world is solid just the same. some slight tinkering could push this one into the '4' range for me. victory has at least somewhat redeemed themselves in my mind. tasty.

SixpointJMH, Jul 19, 2004
Photo of nomad
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1998 Vintage

Cellar-aged for years in the basement of Monk's Cafe, this casualty of war pours a thick and hazy amber, buxom with visions of crimson in the back of its mind. It sits with a thin but consistent crown of foam. Emanate more hop scents than I knew an Old Horizontal could ever muster, even when young. Malts were manifold and dynamic, bousing sweet, musty, and almost smoky like applewood. Nary a drop of alcohol, maybe some wrapped in the esters twisted by 6 years of oxidizing. I thought a beer like Old Ho did not have much in the way of hop scents and bitterness, but this beer felt like an aged Bigfoot. Raspberries and rough textures of barley everywhere.

From first signs to final gasp, this beer was a perfect example of what barleywines are built to do: survive the war and come stronger and more interesting on the other side. Waves of fruity malt with sweetness held in check by hop oils and a perfectly integrated sense of alcohol. Amber waves of malt, in fact, but a greaty roasty sense with hops nicking away at the fortress of grain flavors. Way too smooth, and ungodly carbonated. A beauty to swirl in the wine glass it was served in.

Not one to forget, this special offering of Monk's Cafe brought personality like spare change, tossing it to any old begger. I begged for more but that final glance at the ABV reminded how dangerous another would be - it is called Old Horizontal for a reason.

nomad, Jul 18, 2004
Photo of abcsofbeer
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber, clear with an off white thin head. The top of the glass has a small amount of lace.

The aroma is very hoppy and citrusy, orange peels. The taste is very hoppy as well with a tangy orange flavor. The aftertaste is slightly alcoholic in flavor.but with a tangy, but not too wild, hop taste. This is a very good beer, my first barleywine. I would call it a very good IPA.

abcsofbeer, Jul 17, 2004
Photo of andyo
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brick red/copper color with a nice head. Good carbonation, but not overboard.

Smell gave off a woody, fruity, alcohol aroma.

Taste was very complex. A nice malty taste upfront, giving way to some very balnced hops in the end. Nice sweet; grainy flavors with a tremendous warming effect. Some alcohol flavors were picked up, but thank goodness it wasn't overbearing (like FlyingDog Horndog Barleywine).

This was a real fine Barleywine. I prefer Bigfoot to this, but I really enjoyed this one, and will enjoy this beer in the future. I particularly liked that this beer was not overly bitter and saturated in taste with alcohol. This is a beer that to me seems best enjoyed on the porch in winter with a few friends.

andyo, Jul 04, 2004
Photo of Ellbert
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours red brick with a rusty head. The head is slightly small but produces good lacing.

Smell: Dried fruit, molasses, burnt cherries, and alcohol fill the nose. Hops seem to be very much in the aroma also. This aroma is very pleasing.

Taste: This is not what I expected. I thought that the hops would be in the forefront but they actually take a back seat to the malt. Molasses and grapefruit make an appearance in the taste. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Very rich and chewy. I think of a block of caramel as I drink this. Very nice mouthfeel. Exactly what I look for in a Barley Wine.

Overall a great brew. If only I could get this in Toledo. Thanks for the bottle Bigbubba.


Ellbert, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Pisskynights. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1" of light tan head over the clear, dark amber brew. Aroma is all about malt and alcohol. But then again, what barleywines aren't? Taste is similar to the nose, but the alcohol is more subtle than expected, with mostly feel of warmth, no "Beast-like" rubbing alcohol tastes, thank God. Hops come in at the end of the mouthfeel, with a pleasant bite to contrast the grains. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, and this brew is a nice representation of the barleywine style.

ppoitras, Jun 24, 2004
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2003 edition:

My first barley wine-style offering and it's from Victory! This bodes well my friends.

Presentation: Dark brown bottle...and 11% alcohol. Yikes.

Appearance: Poured a dark amber with an initial micro-bubbled head that reduced to a tiny layer of creamy smoothness perched on top of the beer.

Aroma: Vanilla and caramel are apparent with a fruity alcohol-type smell thrown in for good measure.

Taste: Wow. For 11% alcohol, this baby sure hides it well. It was so very smooth and creamy. Ends with a mixture of bitterness as the alcohol starts to warm the stomach.

Mouthfeel: Even though this is my first sample of this style, I was amazed at how well hidden the alcohol was, letting the creamy character cover the mouth.

Drinkability: A perfect night to try this....about 10 degrees outside and windy. It was excellent.

4.25 / 5

Winter 2004, sampled 6/8/04:

Damn....this one has aged very nicely. Very smooth and balanced. Some more smoky/oaky flavors than I recall. If possible, the ABV is even more hidden. Flavor is softer, with a finely balanced sweetness offset by a leafy/earthen bitterness.

I can only imagine what the '98 and '99 I have must be like by now.

OldFrothingSlosh, Jun 09, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2001. Pours a slightly hazy deep amber color with a small white head that retains quite well. Strong aroma containing a good amount of both hops and malty sweetness with slight hints of yeast and alcohol. The malt is what dominates the flavor with a nice sweetness. After that the alcohol warmth and a slight hoppy bitterness come into play to help balance out the sweetness. Wow what an excellent tasting and complex barley wine. This has a very dry after taste and is nice and think with good carbonation. A very drinkable barley wine, as I have had a sixer of it in one sitting.. Overall an excellent brew from victory highly recommended.

meathookjones, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of sinistersteve
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Born on 1-6-01. Died on 5-30-04. In the final moments leading up to the final demise of this aged tasty barleywine served up a nice tanish head about as thick as my pinky. A minute amount of lace decorates the glass.

Color is a nice carmel-brown.

Full flavored beverage; probably meant more for winter time than the eve of the summer season.

Strong aroma of malt on the nose.

Defiantley a good beer....better in the dark and cold winter nights than in the twilight evening of early summer.

sinistersteve, May 31, 2004
Photo of yemenmocha
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2000, cellared until 2004 at Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia.

Hazy amber color, good change in hue whether viewing from top or bottom portion of the tulip shaped glass. Silky white/grayish head retains well.

Big aroma of malt and hops. Hops are tamed on the palate but still about the same on the nose. Standard victory character is apparent.

On the palate there is an unexpected softness and gentleness to the beer. Amazing. The malt is just huge. Hops are there but only to help balance some. You don't get a huge hop flavor. But it's so soft and smooth on the palate. Weird.

There's a new toasted cracker with marshmallow like sweetness in this beer that I never see in the young, non-aged versions. Marshmallow might seem odd but the word does fit the taste quite well. Body seems fuller than usual, but maybe it's just because the ale I had before this was light bodied.

Aftertaste lingers and lingers. Malt is the focus yet again.
Worth seeking out at Monk's if you're in the area. Menu indicates "Limit 2 per person" so enjoy it while you can.

yemenmocha, May 30, 2004
Photo of cbl2
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Jan 6, 2001


Crystal amber with a one inch creamy tan head on top, that has some amazing retention for a 3+ year old beer.


Smells reminiscent of fruit cake. Not so much the fruit part (though that is present), but the cake itself, due to the yeasty aroma.


Sharp and astringent at first, the alcohol boldly announces itself, and continues to dominate throughout. As it warms, it becomes increasingly smooth, and the alcohol subsides letting the malt shine forth.

cbl2, May 30, 2004
Photo of RocketWidget
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now this is how you make a beer! Pours a cloudy golden color, expected for the style. Smells of sweetness and slight hops. Taste is, as Emeril would say, BAM! Malt lovers rejoice! An overpowering, big, meaty and mean malt flavor. Nummy nummy, would go great with lots of different foods to give a meal an extra kick. Carbonation is good and tasty. Yet another excellent beer from Victory.

RocketWidget, May 27, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 drank in may 2004

This brew is a murky brown color, with a small khaki head topping it off. Caramel malt scent, with a hint of alcohol. The taste is big on the malt, some bitter hops, which are fairly subdued, and some warming alcohol spice. Full mouth, slightly sticky. This beer had aged pretty damn well, none of the flavors were too intense, all in all a great brew.

Tballz420, May 24, 2004
Photo of bigbubba
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was an excellent beer! With all the American hops it seemed to be a little closer to a double IPA than a traditional barley wine. But no matter what category it falls into, it is excellent.

It is a beautiful dark reddish amber with a decent, but short lived head. The aroma of hops and malt is extremely appetizing. The flavor doesn't disappoint either. There is so much malt and hops packed in this beer, with the hops standing out.

The texture is nice and thick, with plenty of carbonation.

bigbubba, May 10, 2004
Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't say enough about this brew. In my opinion it was superb from start to finish. I am a huge fan of barley wines and I have not had a better one then this.
beautiful deep amber with a decent fizzed head.
smells very sweet, apples and pears with some sugarcane or brown sugar like smell.
taste was the same. hits you up front with that sweetness a nice alcohol warmth and finishes with slight bite of hop but no where near bigfoot's bite(i like that :)).
mouthfeel, sweet and sticky, smooth
very dinkable and it will catch up to you if your not careful.

kegerator, May 05, 2004
Photo of 99bottles
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Nov 18 2003.
Appearance: Old Ho pours a nice amber color, lighter than some other barleywines with an inch of off white head settling on top and sticking to the inside of the glass.
Smell: Very nice. Smooth sweet malted barely, carmel, cane sugar, slight hop bite, raisin, prune, cherry. It has a lot going on in just the smell.
Taste: Incredible. This could have fooled me. Already this beer feels as if it is at its peak. The flavors interact harmoniusly, with the sweet and sugary malts dominating and the hops adding a spin on the aftertaste. I had this at the same time as Bigfoot, and there is no comparison. This is a well crafted brew, and it is easily approachable only a few short months after being bottled. I don't think Bigfoot could work like this in 3 years.
Mouthfeel: Quite chewy and yet very smooth. Not much alcohol burn is a good thing. Nice hop acid and malt finish. Not cloying.
Drinkability: Excellent for such a heavy hitter. The 11% in this was hidden worlds better than the 9.6% in Bigfoot. Still, a serious beer, but I'd have another and get horizontal from it. Superb barleywine IMO.

99bottles, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of Globetrotter
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently hand-delivered from DC to Moscow, my bottle says it was filled on 6/6/01. Gosh, almost three years old. I don't feel worthy. Nevertheless, I opened it on 4/4/04.

Expecting a thin head from the high alcohol content, I gave this a hard pour. Bad move. 3+ fingers of tan head gushed forth from the clear light burgundy liquid. The head settled slowly, but stuck around through most of the drink, and left some very nice lace on the way down. There's lots and lots of malt in the nose, plus a bit of spice and flowery hops. The mouth is heavy with sweetness and fairly well carbonated. There's a taste of maple syrup here to go with the heavy maltiness and just a touch of plum. The finish includes some mild hoppy bitterness, which mixes well with the caramel sweetness in the aftertaste. Sure wish Russia could produce something like this, instead of all that strong beer swill they push. I'm getting homesick again...

Globetrotter, Apr 04, 2004
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,673 ratings.