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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,706 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,706
Reviews: 1,081
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 103
Gots: 131 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,706 | Reviews: 1,081 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of RocketWidget
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of Tballz420
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of bigbubba
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

Photo of 99bottles
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of Globetrotter
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
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...

Photo of kelticblood
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been aging this for about two years. Very different color with a ton of sediment floating around.Average head that is an off white in color.Has a fruity aroma of cherries,malt,and raisins.The mouthfeel is quite good for a beer that is 11% ABV.However, It is somewhat harsh upon swallowing,but not that bad.Leaves a pretty good band of lace.Most of this beers flavor is tasted when swallowing.Has a creamy texture with a full body.The color is like a rust,copper,or brown.The high ABV is well hidden.Very good and well crafted.Alot of hop bitterness on the finish.Could use a distinct flavor that hits you right off.

Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jables pretty much nailed the character of this one. It pours a clear, copperish red, with a small, filmy, head that lasts the distance. Attractive, island lacing is left all over the glass.
Nose is sweet and spicy. Overcooked, caramel apple dipped in sherry, kinda sums it up.
Mouthfeel is impressive, with massive hops and malts struggling for supremacy.
Taste is smooth and fruity sweet, but not cloying, by any means. Hops seem both floral and fruity, in the complexity evident here.
As I learn to appreciate barleywines, I'm beginning to prefer those with a nice hops presence that stands up to the malts. This one is worthy. Well done by Victory.

Photo of canucklehead
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer looks and smells a lot like Double Bastard from Stones which is apt as the two beers to me have very similar profiles. Some Barleywines are huge and all over the palce when young such as Old Crustacean from Rogue. This beer is very drinkable even when fairly young. The fresh hop notes are a big part of the charm of this beer and I fear that would be lost with excessive aging ( more than a year). The smoothness and drinkability must be seen as positive attributes as we do not always want to wait 2-5 years to drink our barley wines. Place this one in the same category as Sierra Nevada Big Foot as a early drinking example of the Barley wine category.

Photo of Jables
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 11/18/03

Poured a clear amber with a collar of off white head, but I had to force pour to get it.

Aroma is a scosch alcoholy and sweet with both rock candy sugar and fresh brown sugar, sliced carmelized apple slices with a hint of cinnamon, young doughy raisin bread as well, even some very light hints of black peppercorn, definitely some candy bar like caramel as well.

Obvious, sweet malt flavor with an almost wheaty undertow, quite tasty, alcoholy, cinnamon, raisins, dried apricots (mixed with dried cherries?). Even develops a minty finish as it warms.

Mouthfeel is full, syrupy, coating, and perfect per style.

Drinkabilty on this sipper is hampered by the sheer magnitude of the beer, complexity that needs to be savored slowly, also the alcohol slows you down, and the slightly unbalanced sweet-heavy tone of the brew.

This is one magnificent barleywine. It's big, It's bad, It's a treat. I've got one laid down and I'll re-review in a year or so.

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

Nice moderate use of hops and head that disipitates. Brown/amber. Unique in It didn't seem like 11%. Malt and alcohol winter warmer. Hint of orange citrus Not so positive: somewhat syrupy,Somewhat dry and bitter aftertaste.
Over 6 years later, aged bottle, came out great. Complex, good aromas, good mouthfeel..

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

Thanks to incongruity for saving me a bottle of this stuff!

Pours a dark, hazy brown color with a medium sized tan head. The scent is of bread-like malt and alcohol. Generically spicy, too, perhaps due to some spicy hops. Smells very warming.

The taste is very much up front. Doughy and malty, then a slight hop flavor. There seemed to be little aftertaste. This was weird. A strong malt flavor - and then the beer was done. Nothing else. As the beer warmed, some slight aftertaste of warming alcohol and hops emerged, but only slightly. I liked the initial taste, but don't know where the rest of the flavor went. Nevertheless, it was easy to drink. Initially complex - and then not. Very strange.

Photo of krberg
3.77/5  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.

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of RootedFool
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Photo of Stubbie1
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of BeefyMee
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  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!

Photo of jackndan
3.28/5  rDev -19%
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.

Photo of kmo1030
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of Crosling
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of daledeee
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,706 ratings.