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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,733 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,733
Reviews: 1,090
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 104
Gots: 138 | FT: 6
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: 1,733 | Reviews: 1,090 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckSpin
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried a few of these (not all at one time) to try to get past the obvious high ABV and give a fair review. This beer (aged 6 months) is intoxicating to the eyes first - a beauty. The warmest, deep amber hue with a slight murkiness to it. Head was outrageous - 2" of mixed almond hued foam that laced subtly.

Nose was complex. The alcohol is present, but so are strong fruit, malt, and sweet aromas, tempered with traces of caramel and some spice.

It is strong, rich, full of body and malts. The alcohol mixes with a spice tone to provide a crispness over the body. As the high ABV slowly warms the pallete, a strong, sudden bitter hop kick arrives, then all surrdender to a nice, bittersweet, mouthwarming finish. There is a slight aftertaste - hard to pinpoint - bittersweet? Eitherway its not unpleasant.

I can't imagine sessioning these, and I bet this would be a great Autumnal beer with crunching leaves and brisk evenings with the smell of a wood fire nearby. A nice change of pace, try this if you can.


Presentation: 12oz bottle (bottling date of 12/9/05), cellared in my possession for 6 months and 2 years overall, in a Duvel tulip

BAside: Not often that you get to enjoy a vintage beer on its "birthday"! This was bottled exactly 2 years ago to the day of this review. Many thanks to BA stefgriff for the op!

Poured slow, silent, a little syrupy. I've enjoyed this "new" and it has certainly mellowed in aroma, but the result of 24 months of age has produced a lovely, rich, lush nose, thick with caramels and honey, fruits like over-ripened pineapple, traces of apricot, pear, mild raisin, all against a backdrop of old oak. It has that character of age, like being in the kitchen of a well kept old house, echoes of years of cooking & baking thick in the woodwork. With some agitation mulling spices awake and the alcohol rises, both creating a warm glow. With more time to bloom traces of vanilla and more oak emerge

A pinky's worth of surprisingly snappin' latte stained foam dissipates rather quickly (to be expected given the ABV) to a transparent sheen with a climbing edge ring that laces in small splotches. Swirling revises it nicely to a thick, smooth, creamy consistency that also fades rather quickly. The body exudes a strong, full presence - a bourbon colored blood orange, thick, clouded with sediment noticeable, yet still exuding a soft, glowing radiance around the edges.

Damn, is it smooth! The raw energy & sharp angular qualities of a young Horizontal have been replaced by a soft, quiet initial tonguefeel. Subtly bitter, its so much rounder & fuller than it was new. Just 2 sips tell me that this is going to be a very slow brew to savor & enjoy.

Caramels are just barely burnt, shades of molasses, no, a really good sorghum with the sweetness also present. It offers a nice accent to the faded hop bitterness already mentioned. Vanilla & bourbon oak are present, perhaps a hint of some orange liqueur, trace elements of raisin in the background. It just rolls & rolls like a lazy current, over & over, the overall effect the same - almost hypnotic & very relaxing, soothing....just wonderful.

The alcohol rises slowly with the most delicate warmth, gentle, caressing, slowly filing my teeth & various cranial cavities with a dull warmth that is reminiscent of being warmed slowly by a winter's fireplace. It does get a little sharper on the palate, but still overall soft & warm. The finish is chewy, thick, coating, nicely bittersweet, slightly citric, just leaving one wanting more.

An incredible beer experience. This was immensely enjoyable and a fantastic way to chill out by warming up on a brisk December evening in New England. Nice & full, its just lush, sexy, fulfilling. While you could pair this with a really nice cheese I don't see why you would want to. Its marvelous on it own. I highly, highly recommend cellaring this....your patience will be rewarded. Easily one of the best barleywines I've ever enjoyed.

Photo of board45
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

The Old Ho is a cloudy amber color with a huge light white head. The fragrance coming from this brew is of grapefruit, pine and nut. This a brew that could catch up w/ you quick. Taste of pine, citrus, grapefruit and honey with very little taste of the 11% abv. Now how doent that sound inviting. Initially you get a strong taste of honey that blends directly to grapefruit. In the middle of it all you get a hint of pine needles. Old Hoe finishes w/ a warming touch that brings you home. Loads of flavor in this beer. More intial flavor than finish. But over all a beautiful blends of hops, citrus, honey and a faint hint of malt. Victory does it again. Always being constistant in producing a great bevrage.

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

Perchased a 6 pack of this back in December, drank 5 of them but decided to save 1, this is the review for that one so its been aged a little more than 6 months.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine glass yeilding very little to no head atop a light brown (slightly amber) colored beer. No signs of carbonation.

Smell was very rich malt and alcohol. A slight toffee scent and a bit of a sweet smell as well.

Taste had a very big semi-chewy maltiness to it. Alcohol delivered a potent kick to every sip. Tasted a little stronger than it did a few months ago. Not sure if this was my imagination or if it actually increased ever so slightly in ABV. A little too cold for the style, but that was my own fault. A slight nutty taste. Very well balanced and no bitterness to the brew at all. Thought I tasted a little bit of fig or plum near the end of the sample as well.

Moderate on the palate, perhaps a little chewy. Decent amount of carbonation.

Highly drinkable as a single serving but no more. Very solid and potent all around. A good brew and perfect for the recent colder weather we've been having in Boston.

Photo of ITK4ever
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory knows what we like and gets it right everytime. Classic Barleywine color...rich and dark. Nose is fantastic...fruity, malty, complex. One taste, you can tell it's quality. Complex character, dates and prunes kick in, malt follows, small amount of hops, then back to a malty finish. This gets better as it warms and the complexity is quite astonishing. This beer is the only reason I can't wait for winter's return. Thank you again, Victory.

Photo of Reidrover
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled on Dec 3rd 2004
Poured into my glass,its a nice deep ,warm chesnut brown with a tiny tan head..that doesnt last long but leaves attractive lacing.
Very pleasant a complex aroma, mostly of dark caramel malts and dark fruitiness..with hops showing through.
Taste is rather sweet and tasty, sweet like blackberries,black raspberries and luxurious dark chocolate. Some demerara sugar and coffee detected ,quite "winey".Alcohol taste is pleasing, like a nice sherry.
Nice on the palate and enjoyable mouthfeel throughout and a lovelly alcoholic warmth.
I found this barley wine very easy to drink..wish I had bought more to cellar for a year or so.

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Jan 11, 2005.
Reminds me quite a bit of Double Bastard now that I think about it, though not quite as pretty looking or smelling.
Alcohol is well hidden for a barley wine.
Tart, hops presence in the flavor.
Complex, relatively easy to drink for something as strong tasting as this.
Victory brews good brews.

Photo of GolgiIPAratus
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled: May 2, 2005

12 oz bottle - bottled Jan 26, '04

Pour into a snifter produces a tan head, bubble pocked over a body of rusty caramel. Minor lacing results as the beer disappears into my person.

The smell is light hops and sweet malts. Further swirling and aggravation along with deeply inhaled whiffs find sweet corn, or sugared corn-on-the-cob below the top layer of standard, yet pleasantly nose warming barley aroma of the style.

Tasting continues the theme of sweetness. More malts, some roasted lightly give way to a barely bitter hop finish. Alcohol heat balances out the flavor nicely. Not very carbonated, and it sits on your tongue like syrup. But for this style, I didn't find it a bad thing.

That heaviness slows one down, and the sweetness might limit the drinker. It's made to savor and enjoy slowly making a sixer last at least a week or so.

Also of note: I bought this in a store the day before I reviewed it but did not notice the bottle date until I got home to drink and take notes. Not sure what the standard bottling-to-shelving time table is for this, but I'd guess less than a year, so I guess this one had aged a bit before I got to it. Managed to stay good though.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Jan 11 05. Pours a hazy red/amber color. Thick foamy beige head. Good retention, not much lace. Pine hop aroma, caramelized fruit and alcohol present. Sweet caramel like malt, darker fruits, rock candy. Solid amount of piney hops give thick a kick. Warming alcohol presence. This is way too drinkable for a beer of this magnitude. Full body, adequate amount of carbonation. A solid barleywine. Will probably improve with age, but I just can't wait that long.

Photo of Chadbrew
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has been in the fridge for a few days, it seems like things have been popping up and preventing me from sitting down and enjoying it. Labeled with the freshness information “Bottled Jan 11 05”. Wow, this is pretty young, maybe a good chill is what this needs anyway.

It pours out a deep red with hints of orange and there is a thin fluffy beige colored head floating atop it. Big time malt in the nose, sweet malts and caramel malts, not roasted. I can definitely pull out some hops in the aroma but they do not dominate, seems they’re content to sit in the backseat for now. Very nice balance to the taste that I have to say I honestly wasn’t expecting. Without either the malt or the hops overpowering it’s easier to detect some fruitiness like sour cherry and light vanilla flavors as well as some citrus from the hops in the finish. Speaking of finish it’s neither sweet and cloying or dry and bitter, it’s just very clean with the flavors lingering for a few minutes.

The drinkability is very good for this BW. As it warms in the glass the alcohol is starting to show itself a little which is a good reminder too that at 11% it has got a bit of a kick in the ass. Definately a victory for Victory!

Photo of necoadam
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep golden/orange color with a nice head that stays for a little while. Smell consisted of deep malts and fruits. Some spiciness mingles in between with a slight whiff of alcohol. Reminds me of a lighter version of a cognac. Taste was similar to the nose. Malts and spice hit the palate first with a rush of dark fruit and some hops add in the middle and lasts into the aftertaste. Mouthfeel was full bodied and had a thick texture to it, but wasn't over the top. Overall this was pretty good. The knock that I would have is that perhaps the texture was too thick, but other than that, pretty good.

Thanks to Pisskynights for this Nov 2003 bottle that was sent way back when.

Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle with bottled date of Dec. 29 04.

Decants a clear, deep garnet color. Large, off-white froth.

A nice balance of bubble gum sweet malts and resinous citric hops. Tons of alcohol and a little whiff of band-aids.

A split second of sweet malt, then a Panzer tank attack of piney hops and booze. Fades into a pleasant roasted malt finish that lasts. Round mouthfeel turns acrid from alcohol, impressive carbonation considering the high abv.

Alcohol taste seemed over the top for me. This bottle was still kind of green. Maybe some cellaring would help the balance, but I would miss the hops.

Photo of walleye
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from the bottle poured a amber brown, with a tan head that stayed around for awhile and left good lacing. aroma a nice malt caramel, hops, citrus, honey, alcohol as it warms some sour fruits came out. flavor I hope as good as the aroma, got a nice alcohol bite right up front, malts, orange, molasses nice mouthfeel, very good

Photo of Star80
4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahh. Pours a very lovely deep red color with an inch thick golden head. It dissipates and leaves a pretty lace an inch up the glass. The smell has some exotic flowers up in the nose (jasmine, opium?), and tastes like some bitter flower, citrus hop with a sweet, fruit cake-like maltiness. Has a heavy, cough syrup-like mouthfeel which is on par for the style. These things are crazy drinkable with such a high a.b.v.!!

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice beige head that lasts for uite awhile, leaving moderate lacing behind. Pours a dark copper with a bit of chill haze.

Lovely floral hop bouquet with a big malt nose, a bit fruity to the smell.

Taste starts rather sweet then finishes with a big hop bite. Some dark fruits in this one with lots of piney, spicey hops. Wonderful balance of hops and malts.

A little bit too heavy on the carbonation but anice medium heavy body to this one.

Photo of FirstMan
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, the weather is starting to warm up, but I couldn't help but give Winter one more shot with a good barleywine.

I could see a bit of yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle, so I was careful pouring it to keep that from getting into my glass. Success - a deep reddish amber - clear throughout.

The smell has notes of caramel with a surprising hop character. Not the sweet, alcoholish aspect you get in a lot of barleywines.

And it continues - hops are the first thing to hit you but it's quickly balanced by light esters and sweetness. Again, I'm surprised by the hops here as well as the fact that I'm not really getting a strong presence of alcohol. I know it's there, but it's not overwhelming in the least.

Dry but creamy mouthfeel with enough carbination to provide some excitement.

I'm not a huge drinker of barleywines, but this one is was worth putting Spring on hold for.

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

A rather young bottle, bottled 12/14/2004.

Very nice clear burgundy color with long lasting tan head. Smell is very strong caramel malt with some piney hops and of course the alcohol is there at 11%! Taste is first the caramel again plus some extremely tasty fruit. The hops then come through really strong as a grapefruit/pine taste and a lingering bitter aftertaste. Wow this is a shock to the taste buds the first couple sips. The alcohol is surprisingly subtle considering its strength and the age of this bottle. Hop flavors are over the top though at the beginning of the bottle which inhibits drinkability a bit. As it warms, the fruity aspect comes out a lot more and it has a nice brandy flavor as well, with the hops more subdued. I also note a vanilla flavor which I didn't get before. Wow, this was quite an experience. I wonder how it will age!

Edit: Appearance from 4.5 to 5.0. When poured at the right temp and in the right glassware, this is stunningly beautiful. Perfect lacing and neverending head.

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle courtesy of Higravity and Secret Bunny 05.

Pours a nice orangey color with ruby hints. A thick tan head tops this one off. Lacing and retention are excellent.
Smell is dominated by caramel. Fruits follow a close second. I was sure that I smelled both peaches and strawberries, which is kind of odd for a BW. Bready and sweet malts are present, as are a slight hop and alcohol presence.
Taste is huge caramel with a fruity-as-all-get-out back bone. There are a lot more hops in the taste. Alcohol is also punched up in flavor a bit and coats the throat nicely, however, it is not as strong as I thought it would be, the flavors of this one meld so well around the Alc that it merely becomes another characteristic of the beer rather than something dominant. There seems to be even a little bit of coffee flavor in here as well, which is refreshing.
Mouthfeel is smooth as hell. This is an extremely easy-drinking barleywine. Almost frighteningly so. A phenominal beer.

Photo of boatyard
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color that reminds me of ceder water, with a light tan creamy head. I think I smell malt, vanilla, and plum. I love the way this beer smells, I would hve to say that this is one of the best smelling beers that I have tried.

To me it tastes like a maltball that has been dipped in molassas. I detect a hint of fruit, maybe plum. The fact that the alcohol content is 11% is hidden very well, I have had other beers that were between 8, and 10% with the alcohol being much more noticable. This beer would be a good choice to cellar and drink in a year or so if you could wait that long, I doubt i could.

I can drink 4 of these before it gets to be too much. No, I don't pound them, those 4 are over the course of 3 or 4 hours. So this is not a session beer, but good for cold weather drinking. I haven't had many other beers of this style, however this is a good one, and represents it's style well.

Photo of ski271
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Ah, another brew from my ex-hometown brewery. This bodes well. Enjoyed this before bed, and I’m glad I did considering its ABV. Great beer for cold winter nights.

Appearance: Dark brownish-amber with a small, off-white, creamy head that quickly diminished to a film but still left a light amount of lacing 2/3 of the way down.

Smell: Fruity and sweet. Good and malty. A bit of caramel, vanilla, and prune(? or some kind of fruit like that). Quite pleasant.

Taste: Some nice light hops over a big, toasty, solid malt backbone. Really smooth, and the alcohol, with the exception of an initial hint that accompanies a hop kick at the beginning, is hidden well until the finish. The finish is very long in duration, malty and warming.

Mouthfeel: Remarkably smooth. Full body, velvety texture, low carbonation. About as good as a barleywine gets.

Drinkabality: Of course you would want more than one or two of these, but it goes down very well. There’s a very slight metallic taste in the finish though.

Photo of tgbljb
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle from the class of 2004

Just one look at this brew scares me, I shared a bottle with my wife and she sent me to bed when I was done ( at least I could still walk).

Hi Test product but the 11% is hid pretty well. Good beer to enjoy on Friday night when you have 2 days to recover

Photo of mntlover
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber copper color with a fluffy off white head that lasts for a while until it falls to a halo with clumps floating in the middle.
Aroma is deep caramel malt with floral and fruity hop aromas mingling together. Very big on malt hops pale a little compared to the malt atleast for an American Barley Wine.
Taste is big lots of caramel malt lingers for a while then some floral hops start to tingle the tastebuds and mix with grapefruit and increase in strenght to a big hop flavor. The finish is big lingering pine resin bitterness that lasts but some fruity goodness somehow survives the pine assault to still impart its flavor in the finish also.
Mouthfeel is big this is a full bodied beer with lots of malt body very nice indeed.
Drinkability is very good not your ordinary American Barley Wine nice full bodied and full flavored the nose was little lacking but everything else more then made up for it. Many thanks to IrishMike for adding this little extra brew in my box for me.

Photo of ngandhi
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one powerful barleywine that, even after a year's age, exhibits strong spicy flavors of alcohol balanced by rich, caramelly malt. The alcohol never offensive or distillate. Gorgeous tawny color predicates its similarities to port wine, with a distinct sweetness countered by douses of brandy. The hop prescence is not at all bitter, but zingy with the taste of fresh snipped herbs.

Relax, relax.

Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of pezoids. Many thanks.
Bottle dated 11/03.
Aroma is comparatively light on the fruitiness, but the sherry/oxidized notes kick in with a moderate boldness and are primary. Some hoppy qualites too.
Light gold included in the red amber. Moderately cloudy. Thin head that leaves a ring and some lacing.
Lower on the hop flavors than many others. Sweet rich fruity malt that is not quite as bold as some others. Mild bitterness and shorter finish that is made up of malt. Soft fruitiness is particularily nice.
Petty smooth and no bite from hops. Good softness from carbonation.
I like the less hop intensity. Bold enough anyway. Very nice.

Photo of FormatKid
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

--Bottled on 12/03/04, consumed 2/17/05.

12oz bottle poured out into my brand-new and oh so lovely Old Guardian glass. Millions of practically microscopic carbonation bubbles circle and stream up the sides of the glass through the beautiful burgundy body of the beer into the sticky, everlasting grain-colored head. This is truly a sight to see, and when I say everlasting this head hangs around for freakin’ ever. The nose is sweet, grainy and resinous at the same time. My nose picks up pine, robust grapefruit and rind, and sweet sticky toffee along-side a nice toasty-nuttiness that I imagine is from the yeast. Caramelly sweet up front, the beer slides stickily back and rattles my palate with blistering Chinook bitterness and spicy pine, surprisingly the nutty yeast flavors actually register against this torrent of hops. The malt seems to be lightened up a bit by alcohol in the finish although the alcohol taste blends stealthily into the mix. Faint mineral twang in the aftertaste is a bit annoying. The mouthfeel on this beer is practically perfect, slightly sticky with a slight creamy texture added by the everlasting head. A great beer, seems to be lacking slightly on complexity though.

Photo of gimmehead
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: red-amber with thick beige head that dissipates quickly; body is the color of dark iced tea

Smell: floral and fruity, becoming sweeter as it warms

Taste: great hop/mallt balance; caramel and sugar with citric hops that stand out even as it warms; lots of alcohol that puts me in mind of brandy

Mouthfeel: very thick, but not syrupy

Drinkability: lots of alcohol; one or two per session

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.