1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,642 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,642
Reviews: 1,068
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 95
Gots: 115 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Horizontal Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,642 | Reviews: 1,068 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of krberg
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


Tight cream head. Barleywine copper colored. A lot of CO2.

Smells of raisins and vanilla. Perhaps a little cotton candy. Some hops are thrown in there as well.

The head tastes like cream soda. the body is bitter, some flavor hops and dates. Young and rough around the edges. Fairly sweet, but the bitterness keeps that in check. It isn't the usual balls out sweetness, its more caramel. The aftertaste is hoppy which drops to just bitter. I'm liking it.

Old Ho feels like there's lots of residual sugars floating around in there. It has the right texture for sippin'.

Easy to drink. A bit sweet which would probably take its toll after a while, but I think the 11% would knock me out of the game first.

A great malty, less aggressively hopped barleywine. Give it to your friends, mine all liked it yours may too. I'd love to try this beer after a decade or so, but really I'm just not that patient.

krberg, Mar 16, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a cloudy dark red color with a decent off-white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an intense malty flavor with an equally intense hop aroma; very nice. The taste is good and very smooth. It has a nice malt palate with a bitter hop flavor that finishes dry and a tad thick. The mouthfeel is good also. It is a full bodied ale with adequate carbonation. This is a great winter warmer. Victory has done it again; a fine ale with great flavor. This beer drinks well. I think I'll have another.

WesWes, Mar 06, 2004
Photo of RootedFool
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a 12 ounce bottle at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California. Label says it was bottled on December 17, 2002. As some fellow BA's have pointed out, the beer has most likely changed since then, but probably for the better -- as I have never had a fresh bottle, I can't compare it to a fresh bottle. Here goes nothing.

Pours hazy deep amber. Barely an inch of dense off-white head recedes quickly and leaves a creamy short band of lace on the glass.

Smell is a gorgeously rich malt sweetness littered with bright spicy notes -- caramel, cherries marinated for ages in rum, freshly peeled bannana -- and a blunt yet balanced alcohol heat. Also picking up on some hops popping in the background.

Taste opens up with a quick nudge of rich malt sweetness and falls away into a flourish of alcohol warmth (I feel it in my nose and stomach, not uncomfortably!) and hop bitterness cracking along its edges. Aftertaste is a balanced pattern of hop bitterness, sharp malt sweetness, and warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is like drinking creamed silk -- lovely!

I should snatch the rest of these up next time I'm at the co-op, especially since Victory isn't distributing to California anymore.

RootedFool, Feb 28, 2004
Photo of Stubbie1
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has to be one, if not, the BEST Barley wine I have had to date. This beer pours a bit of a mahogany with a light ruby hue to it. There is a nice head on top of the beer and will slowly fade to a thin lace and then to nothing but some clinging on the sides.

There is a bit of a dark fruit feel with this aroma. Hops are mixed in to spice it up. The 11% is not even noticeable.

The taste is nothing but liquid silk. There is a bit of a sticky sweetness to it. There are hints of fruit and earthy, wood tone mixed in. This beer is smooth in the mouth and is very easy to drink and even better, it is easy to enjoy. A must for all who like or have never tried this type of brew to try it.

Stubbie1, Feb 28, 2004
Photo of BeefyMee
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish orange in color. The aroma is hoppy and alcoholic. The taste balances the strong hop bitterness and malt sweetness nicely. The alcohol isn't too noticeable until the last bit of the glass. This is not an overly hoppy barley wine like Old Crustacean, but it is somewhat lackluster. It is one of the more drinkable barley wines though, especially for its alcohol content. It's pretty good, but I'd rather have a Bigfoot.

BeefyMee, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the Gingerman/NYC
Hazelnut in color and hazy, 1/2 inch head down to a tiny bubble film. Full bodied and complex, burnt plums, alcohol, brandy notes. Load of hops, resin, pine ,citrus. Mellow and smooth, long and lovely finish, 11% brew packs a wollop, top stuff!

Billolick, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of jackndan
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Victory Old Horizontal: Poured out of a twelve ounce bottle, bottled on 11/18/03.

Very nice color, reddish brown. The beer is very clear, without a hint of haze or sediment. The head is an off-white color, pours a two inch head that settles down to a solid quarter inch through the rest of the beer. Leaves thick lacing down the sides.

The aroma is nice, the nice rich caramel aroma that is fairly typical for the style.

This is extremely hoppy, nice floral/citrus tang, but unfortunately not enough of a malty sweetness to make up for it. This tastes much more like an Imperial IPA than a barley wine, particularly as it is fairly highly carbonated, and is missing that sweet smooth mouthfeel that I feel this style deserves. Interestingly, despite the extremely high alcohol level in this beer, I did not feel the warming I’d have assumed, perhaps because this was more carbonated than I anticipated.

Nice, worth a look if you see it.

jackndan, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of kmo1030
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ruby brown with a tan head that dissapates to i thin ring that hangs on to the bottom of the glass. fruity sweet aroma. berries, fig, citrus all there. a floral hop aroma is in the mix too. spicey malt flavors, with plenty of the fruit flavors from the smell. heavy on strawberries, but minus most of the citrus. a little pinapple... a little bread... surprisingly and pleasantly more hops than the aroma lets on, and they are so smooth. slick meduim full mouthfeel. another awesome beer from victory.

kmo1030, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of Crosling
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby with a light colored head that laced very well.

Musty fruity smell with pineapple and laced dark fruits nose. Some caramel in the nose as well.

Floral hops flavor confuses the palate with other flavors of berries and caramel from the malt. Quite the delicious barley wine not overly assertive but perfectly balanced and quite drinkable as well.

Ranked 2nd out of five in my blind barley wine tasting.

Crosling, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of daledeee
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Never drank much barley wine, but I think I could change my mind.

Pours a dark reddish brown with a little head that goes away quickly. The lace is there. This batch was dated January 2001. Can't beat that. Someone else had the patience to age this. The flavors have blended well. Sweet malty and hoppy nose. Taste is hoppy malty and sweet. Leave a dry mouthfeel. This is a very easy drinking strong beer. The taste is very appealling but not quite balanced enough. There is an edge to the hops

daledeee, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of JimsArcade
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Bottled on January 6, 2004) As appropriate for the style, I pour the bottle of Old Horizontal into a large, stemmed beverage glass. (It is a taller, more slender version of a brandy snifter.) The barleywine is a clear reddish brown, almost identical in color to a cinnamon stick. The head goes quickly from an orange-white, one finger thick layer to barely a coating pale-tan in color. Swirling the liquid around the glass leaves brief hint of lace. This is a gorgeous beer to look at!

In the nose, the aroma is caramel, strawberry and alcohol. As the mouth comes into play, strawberry is even more apparent and approaches the smell of strawberries and cream. It is not particularly complex but it's very inviting.

Alcohol and malt are trust upon me on the very first sip. It is nowhere near as sweet, at first, as the aroma would suggest. There is more hop than the aroma would suggest, too, but the malt is what drives the flavor. It has a very complex body: smooth, creamy, and somewhat chalky. Carbonation is mild, but there is enough to keep the taste vibrant. As it warms, the alcohol becomes even more evident. In fact, all the flavors and textures increase with the temperature (not surprisingly), but the chalkiness dissipates. The malty sweetness also continues to increase. It finishes ultra-smooth with little carbonation left.

Winter may now be my favorite season thanks to Victory. With Old Horizontal and the Storm King (which I reviewed earlier), I have found two of my favorite brews. I can understand why they are not available year-round, but I would have no problem hoarding a few cases so I would never run out until the next batch arrives. Bravo!

JimsArcade, Feb 14, 2004
Photo of Weissenheimer
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everything about this beer is unusual for a barleywine. The head is creamy and relatively large, with a dark fawn color that reminds me just a bit of a porter's head. Unusually glassy and clear, the fluid is a dimly lambent reddish brown. The sweet, pleasant, uncomplex smell is not as hoppy as I might have expected.

The remarkable smoothness of this beer surprises me from the first sip. The hops slide smoothly and gently onto my palate like a cat curling up on my lap. The finish is pleasant. It's not tremendously complex, but it's _very_ drinkable for a barleywine. It's also bloody fantastic with the cheese on which I'm noshing here at Blind Tiger.

Light enough to remind me of a strong abbey ale, this beer is big enough to be a barleywine but no bigger. It's beautiful and smooth, with none of the bludgeoning waves of hops and alcohol I get from other barleywines. By the end of the glass I've come to think of this as a "barleywine lite". I figure it can't be over 8% ABV. Then I ask Phil what the ABV is and find out that it's actually over 10%. That is truly terrifying. I don't believe I've ever tasted a beer this big which hides its alcohol that well.

Weissenheimer, Feb 12, 2004
Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great dark copper body is quite clear and topped by a rapidly fading tan head that reduces a small lacing ring. The aroma is of caramel malt and dried fruit such as prunes and raisins. The taste is very earthy and woody with lots of substance. The feel is slightly syrupy and quite full that is just a bit too much for good drinkability. A different kind of barley wine that is just as potent as any, but more fruity than most.

AtLagerHeads, Feb 12, 2004
Photo of AudioGilz
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep and brilliant amber color with an ample head that has great staying power. I get a few things out of the robust aroma....alcohol, dark fruits, chewy malts, and piney hops. It's quite a smeller. Thick on the palate, chewy malts dominate along with some fruity hops to finish it. The alcohol character doesn't reveal an 11% ABV to me. It's well hidden I think. I enjoy the crisp hoppy finish; it doesn't conquer the thick maltiness that coats the palate, but leaves a good enough impression to garner another sip soon after. This is definitely a brew that could surprise me with it's strength. It's definitely a sipper even though it might not present itself as such.

AudioGilz, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber robe with a thin beige head. Bottle-conditioned with generous small sediments. Intense hop aroma, floral, piney as well as a sweet candy peaches presence. In mouth, it's pretty complex, possibly the most well done american barleywine I've had to date excluding the HOTD jewels. Great flavor balance with a complex layer of hops making for an obvious bitterness that is never too much. The malt profile is also there and very balancing lending this an outstanding silky medium body to bring up all those malt subtleties. Notes of pears, oranges, resin, alcohol(wouldn't guess above 10% though), honey, vanilla, pepper. Yep, that's one top notch barleywine, generous in all the senses of the term.

Rastacouere, Feb 04, 2004
Photo of blgianbeer
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I opened a bottle of the 11/02 batch last night for the superbowl to compare along with '02-'03 vintages of Sierra's Bigfoot, Troutbrook's Old Marley and Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot.
The Victory won the battle in almost all categories.
Appearance - pale, golden color, no haze whatsoever, the palest of the barleywines
Smell - had a nice balance of sour/malt and hops. Less of a buttery smell than most. Barely lost this category to the Sierra, which is like smelling a fresh hopfield. =)
Taste - the most balanced of the four, sourish initial impression, with a lingering bitterness.
Mouthfeel - seemed a bit thin for the style, but after four barleywines, it was a welcome "easy-drinking" brew

blgianbeer, Feb 02, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper color with a red tinge. Small ring of lace but no real head to speak of. Solid carbonation as witnessed by small bubbles throughout screaming for the top.
Aroma is frontal assault by floral hops, backed by a 2nd wave of sweet drak fruits, oranges and prunes.
Flavors of sweet malt, lemon, orange, herbal tea and grass come through. On the finish hop bitterness sort of overruns the palate the sweet malt. Bitterness is a little bit too atringent IMHO.
Mouthfeel seemed a little bit too thin and grassy for the style.
Good beer, very drinkable but seems a little bit unbalanced to me.

CRJMellor, Jan 25, 2004
Photo of freed
2.63/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Overheard some folk talking about this the other day, but didn't actually catch their descriptions. Maybe I did, but figured they'd moved on to some other beer.

It pours a fairly bright amber that reddens more when held to the light. It has a very transient head, no lacing. Though much lighter than a barleywine, the lack of head was on.

I honestly can't smell anything over the orange peel. Other's have mentioned spices, which must be there because you can taste them.

The taste has a number of nice flavors, but the grand marnier dominance of the orange dwarfs the mild mixture of spicey flavors and alcoholic warmness. The strenght of the alcohol explains the name though.

I'm reminded of JW Lee's Harvest Ale, but without the tenure and subtleties.

freed, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of Elemental
2.8/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was a little turned off at first by the smell cause it smells a lot like an ipa that I made (that I don't really like). It has an odd smell of coriander and orange that is a little pungent. The taste is sweet, with a thin body for an barley wine. Its not very balanced. That taste is too light in the body and too heavy on some of the flavors. I had a hard time finishing the beer.

Personally I have only tried a few beers from victory but this is not up to par with the rest of them. Its too heavy in certain flavors and aromas and very inbalanced. There are plenty of other barley wines on the market that are more worth while.

Elemental, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of Mangus
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 11/18/03. Poured a nice reddish copper with a fat off-white head that hung around for a bit and then slowly faded to a very thin whisper of lace.

Smells strong and malty with hopppy floral notes.

Sure can taste that alcohol. Big taste with a smooth mouthfeel. I like the maltiness of it however it's a bit on the hoppy side for my preference. Definitely a quality beer with quite a strong flavor.

Mangus, Jan 20, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I sampled this beer at room temperature. The bottle has a 11/18/03 bottled date on it.
The brew pours light clear amber with tints of orange. An off white creamy head foams up easily and fades slowly. Aroma is light malty with some fruity hop presence.
First sip reveals a soft texture and fine carbonation with a medium body.
Flavor is rich and malty up front with some plums and molasses in the middle. There is a faint hop bite on the finish with some earth flavors.
No hint of the 11% ABV. This is a very drinkable brew and could sneak up on you.
An excellent example barleywine, incredibly smooth and flavorful.

sulldaddy, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip, with a thin tan head forming. Colors was an attractive glowing orange red, light and clear. The smell contained a delicate candied maltiness, and some apple basket fruit esters that are shuttled out with some alcohol...intriguing. The flavor reflected the smell, delicate candy-like roasted malts, balanced with a hop bitter finish, which I thought could have been more emphasized. The sweetness remains in the finish where there should be that hoppy bitter hit that usually conquers the palate over the sweetness. An interesting take none-the-less. The barleywine had a pleasing mouthfeel, and the drinkabilty was good for a barleywine, even if on the sweet side. The play between the sweetness and hoppy bitterness is key feature of a barleywine for me, and while overall this was good and I enjoyed the delicate character, the flavor interplay was a bit off. Big thanks to PintOfAle for making this review possible!

HiroProtagonist, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish/orange with a light wispy head,aroma has a definent hoppiness to it a little piney and slightly nutty.Taste is intense and chewy with some decent fruitiness with a resiny,hoppy hop flavor that comes on real strong in the finish.A real well made beer,but maybe just a tad hoppy for my liking for the style.After drinking a few sips,oddly it seems to become more drinkable.

oberon, Jan 15, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a bottle of '02 drank only a few days ago, it had been 'cellering' in our fridge for a bit. Bergamot tea color when poured, head dissipated quickly. Malty aroma. Taste was of the smooth, malty, and sweet barlywine variety. Slightly alcoholic taste noted, plus there was a bunch of sediment in the glass as well. A smooth drink in spite of all that. pat

PatandDavid, Jan 14, 2004
Photo of Ieatlambfries
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance was red/amber, with a very small head that left good lacing. The smell was sweet maltiness and alcohol with some fruity undertones. The taste was like wise sweet malt, some fruitiness and alcohol. Although with an 11% abv I would have to say the alcohol is not as prevalent as one may expect. It is however a little sweet for my taste, but good non the less. Also not very much hop taste going on, but there was something very reminiscent of Storm King stout in there. A bit of a burned fruit flavor perhaps. Mouthfeel was ok, I felt it was a bit syrup like. But I may have been imaging it due to the sweetness. Drinkability was good. If I was drinking this as a desert beer, I could see myself having 2 or more. The only thing stopping me is the high abv. A nice offering from Victory, I'll certainly give it another try when next years batch comes around.

Ieatlambfries, Jan 13, 2004
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,642 ratings.