Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

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1,683 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,683
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 101
Gots: 125 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,683 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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.

Photo of byrd
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours perfectly… wonderful reddish copper in color with a light tan head that perfectly fills the glass to the rim - carbonation rising to the surface. The head dissipates moderately slowly to a thick layer of lace that hugs the sides of the glass for a long time. The lace eventually becomes a thin scattering on top. BIG hit of aroma right out of the bottle… wonderful. Dark fruits, caramel malts, sweet molasses, slight alcohol notes. What a great barley wine! SO SO smooth with lots of malt in the start along with caramel and fruity sweetness. Never becomes too sweet however. Great hop finish. Lots of grapefruit and some slight roasted notes. Long aftertaste that just keeps reminding you how great this brew is. Incredibly well balanced and infinitely drinkable barley wine. While others are fairly harsh at this young of an age, this brew is begging to be enjoyed NOW. Don’t know how I’ll hold on to any of these long enough to put any age on them.

Photo of counselor
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer presents a full on assault for the senses. Visually, it pours a deep, glistening cherry color with de minimus head. aromatically, the beer revealed an initial hops onslaught with sweet, bourbon/cognac alcohol and some mild caramel follow-up. Next the mouthfeel; rich, chewy, all over sweet malt into the cheeks and well balanced sharp hop bite fills the gaps between my teeth. The flavors .... all of the above. Quality malt / hop balance and rich alcohol flavors that do not overwhelm, rather the alcohol sweeps in at the end, fillign your nasal passages and begging for the next sip.

I don't know if it is my increased appreciation for this style, or the 10 below Connecticut weather, but this beer is the right one at the right time. Most enjoyable

Photo of Gasp100
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red, like dark cherry or Mahogany. I tried a very hard pour and got a decent tan head with light lacing down the glass. The smell was alcohol, sweet dark fruits, malt and a little hop presence. The taste was very sweet but not cloying, a strong full presence that warmed every inch but was "not filling ---- tastes great!" The alcohol was slighlty noticeable but actually helped to cut through some of the sweetness. This is my first Barleywine and I was floored. Two a night is what the Doctor ordered. I think this is very drinkable for the style, but no need to drink more than... 3 (on a weeknight). This case barely made it into my house before the first taste, so I'm intent on cellaring the last 12 until next year. I saved a few to drink out of my Goblet that I ordered instead of a pint glass -- I really want to agitate this brew to get the full effect. Another winner from Victory and I'm excited to have added another enjoyable style to my list --- that many more beers to choose from... Nice.

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

bottled 15 Nov 2003, sampled 07 Jan 2004. clear dark ruby red with a small bubbly tan head. carmel coated dark fruity aroma. thick, lucsious body aided by a relativley low amount of carbonation...spot on for the style. huge malty flavor....caramel, blackberry flavors with a bready undertow. crisp floral hop flavors come in and prevent the brew from becoming cloying. alcohol hidden well, but still somewhat noticeable. could have another...

for being less than 2 months old, this baby is raw, untamed treat. i'd looking forward to seeing what a year in the cellar will do to this one. highly recommended.

Photo of canoehornpoint
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber with thick tan head that lasted quite awhile. Aroma is lightly roasted malt (sweet). This has a taste of sweet malt with moderate to heavy alcohol undertones. This beer is full of body despite the alcohol content. This is, I'm sure a good beer for its style but is way too sweet for me.

Photo of yankeeheel
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful ruby-orange with a small, soft, dusky white head. Smells deeply of leather, fig, and malt. A real beauty in th glass.

The taste is phenomenal. Quite a bit of fruit sweetness up front with a real rush of smoky malt. This is followed by a nice dark fruit/leather/grape section nthat allows the carbonation to come up and open up your tounge. The ending has quite a zip of alcohol with just a hint of medicinal twang to it. Very complex and well balanced. The best barleywine I've tried since reviewing here.

I'm blown away how good this is for a barleywine that is only two months in the bottle. I have a second I'm going to let sit a year or two. A couple of these and you will be horizontal.

Thanks to PisskyNights for the trade.

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

Pours a nice orange-amber color.Aroma of malt.Slightly toffee-ish.Huge malt profile with residual sweetness.Not as sweet as some others Ive had.Caramel,treacle,buttery flavor.Slight hop bite-the 11% ABV is well masked.Velvety smooth-big bodied.A great beer-well done for the style.One to sip and one to lay down a bottle or 2 for a few years.

Photo of edchicma
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm...I had to remember this is a barley wine. I wasn't prepared for the extreme kick of this brew. So I settled back and remembered, this is a definite sipping brew. Nice caramel appearance, but the head didn't last too long. Piney smell with some malty sweetness. Taste was well rounded, malty, then hoppy, but balanced between the two. Mouthfeel had a slickness that was well done...I was expecting a dryer feel. Ended with a nice hoppy, alcohol presence. Very drinkable for such a high abv, altough it will definitely take me some time to finish it. Not a brew for every night, but one for every now and then when you need a kick in the butt.

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

It pours a genuine, clear dark amber. I almost expected to see bugs embedded in it. A creamy off-white head kicks up quickly, with some pretty cascading, settling slowly with nice retention. There's extensive delicate lacing after each sip.

The aroma delivers citrus and pine from the hops, some grapefruit notable, but none of the hops is overstated. There's a strong, solid malt presence, smelling sweet, with a hint of caramel and berries, leading to an enticingly balanced overall aroma. It's strong, but not pungent or assaultive.

The hops lead the way in the flavor, with more citrus and pine, lemons and grapefruit coming to mind, as well as a substantial malt sweetness. There's more hint of berry, maybe apple, and a caramel undertone. There's a shot of spice as well, reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with nutmeg and clove springing to mind. The alcohol warms the palate and the belly as it goes down. Dry hops finish glowingly along the tongue and back of the mouth.

It's a heavy beer, slick and coating, almost lubricating, and it leaves hop tingle everywhere it goes. It feels as good as it tastes.

It's sweet, it's hoppy, and it's big. It kicks hard, but the ABV is well balanced against the full, warm flavor. The sole drawback is the alcohol, as it is there in spades, and not shyly. And by design, it is not something you would want to guzzle wantonly. But in front of a crackling fire, trusty hound at my feet, loved one snuggled at my side, and a good book in my hand, I'd revel in the Dickensian splendor of my surroundings and partake willingly and freely of this wonderfully charismatic brew.

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,683 ratings.