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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,729 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,729
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 103
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: 1,729 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nogoodreason
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent Barleywine.

Pours a deep amber with a sticky, but thin head. Body is quite substantial, full and sticky sweet with warmth. Pungeunt, resiny hops with a nice citric tang sit side-by-side with a sticky grainy body and a lovely cotton candy like sweetness. Though quite the warmer, this beer never shows alcohol. Getting downright chewy as it warms, it winds up with lingering hop bitterness and a feeling of loss.

Wow. Top notch.

Photo of beerceller99
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. with a 11-21-03 bottling date. Pours a light orange hue with a nice looking off white head. Standard barleywine smell of sweet malts and alcohols. Has a rich, creamy mouthfeel. Taste is caramely sweet with raisons and vanilla. Finishes smooth and dry, the alcohol is nicely camoflaged.
A very easy drinking Barleywine.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours an amber orange color, with minimal head that rings the beer. The nose is nice with earthy hops, and a malty spine that balances it out, maybe even some bready notes as well. The flavor is rather robust, with the earthy tones coming through first, followed by a very sweet aftertaste, a very strong caramel. The fell is thick, and coating and drinkability is fairly good. I'll try and find a few.

Photo of clvand0
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a reddish/brown color with a small head that dies off quickly. The aroma is of dark, sweet fruits and caramel with a small amount of pine hops. Looking forward to this beer. It has a nice, full body. The flavor has some caramel, alcohol, a lot of sweetness. This beer was a little too sweet, but it was still a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of rajendra82
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received via a trade, from Ninjaworm, this was a Nov 18, 2003 bottling. Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a goblet, the body was hazy copper, with a tan head that was short lived. The lacing was very good. The aroma was very strong maple syrup and raisins and could be sensed from the bottle before pouring in the glass. There was also a strong pine straw like hop presence and perfumey alcohol. The taste was vinous, raisin laden, spicy, bitter, and contained strong oxidative notes. While complex and interesting, the intensity was a few notches short of the super hopped up West Coast style Barleywines. The alcohol was more of a slow burn, than an intense one. The mouthfeel was a bit thinner than anticipated. A soothing beer to calm your jitters before bedtime, for sure.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a deep opaque amber/red with a small tannish head to it. Looks like a damn fine barleywine from here. Head retention is minimal, but that is expected. The smell is a wonderful mix of deep caramel notes with some candy fruits and alcohol as well. Some piney hop notes hit my nose as well. Damn, I must say I love smelling barleywines....

The first sip is simply luscious. A rush of caramel nutty goodness passes over my palate. This one has quite a bit of sweetness and the malt is rockin. The piney hops are there as well and provide a nice biterness on the back of the palate. All I can say is, Yum! Alcohol is well hidden in the flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is quite full and it has a great body...there's no complaints here! Drinkability is good as well. On a cold winters night I could make it through a few of these. However, this is a brew that is best sipped and enjoyed over a length of time. All my thanks to blitheringidiot for allowing me the pleasure of partaking in such a wonderful brew.

Photo of dansteino
4.7/5  rDev +16%
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.

Photo of Southernbrew
4.69/5  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.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Photo of HopGoblin
3.93/5  rDev -3%
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.

Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of sublimesipping
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
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!

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of nomad
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
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.

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of andyo
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Photo of Ellbert
4.42/5  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.


Photo of ppoitras
4.05/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of meathookjones
4.37/5  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.

Photo of sinistersteve
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.42/5  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.

Photo of cbl2
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,729 ratings.