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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,617 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,617
Reviews: 1,066
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 93
Gots: 117 | 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
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Ratings: 1,617 | Reviews: 1,066 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery, brownish red color with a tan head.
Aroma of sweet malts, ripe fruits, and floral hops.

Taste is smooth. Big, sweet, barley malt flavor. Notes of ripe fruit and vanilla. Sweet throughout, but not sickly sweet. Floral and possibly citrus hop flavors attempt to balance this malt monster. Alcohol shows itself at the finish, but is otherwise extremely well hidden.

Good full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel.
Very drinkable for an 11% ABV beer.

I was thouroughly impressed by this beer. I'm usually not a big fan of big, malty sweet beers, but I really enjoyed this top notch barleywine style ale.
A huge thank you to OldFrothingSlosh for dragging this one to Ohio for me.

PhantomVodoo, Jun 16, 2003
Photo of rastaman
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very big, chewy, malty little brew, with a crapload of sharp aromatic hops. Thick raisiny, spicy flavourful barleywine. Nup, theres no shortage of ingredients and flavour in this one. Pretty much a meal in itself. Not as delicious as i thought it it might have been however, still, i can't complain.

rastaman, Jun 16, 2003
Photo of longpondbeerman
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber with a reddish tint. I can smell the tart aroma from across the room. There's nothing subtle about this barley wine. On closer inspection, there was an immediate and rich, fruity smell complicated nicely by the hops and which balanced off the clearly evident alcohol. The taste was strong--not overpowering, however--but the finish seemed uninspiring as if to say take another sip to reinvigorate your buds. Halfway through the 12 ounces and I feel the warmth surging through my body. It's a strong one.

longpondbeerman, Jun 04, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a bright reddish-amber with a stunningly clear body. It's light tan head is persistent as a small cap.

Smell: The aroma is rich and warming with lots of fruit, caramel, and alcohol. Simple and basic, but very nice...

Taste: The flavor starts out fruity and rich, then caramel and toffee show up. There's a good balance between the different flavors. A strong alcoholic base asserts itself halfway through and dominates the aftertaste. Hops finally show up on the tail end, with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This brew has just the right amount of carbonation to prevent the body from being too syrupy and thick. The alcohol dries out the finish. This brew reminds me of their Hop Devil in that the mouthfeel is very soft and round on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty good... This is a good barley wine, but it's not outstanding in any way. Just a solid, well done brew that would be great to kick back with on a cold winter night.

A 'thank you' goes out to PBrian for including this one in our trade.

MJR, Jun 04, 2003
Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer is a nice slightly cloudy red-amber in color, with a wispy thin head of slightly off white foam.
Aroma is quite sweet and vaguely fruity with a hint of piney hop and caramel with an alcoholic note.
Flavor is a nice balance of sweet malt and caramel, with a bit of chocolate and honey rising to the surface as it warms up. Hop flavor is definitely there with a blit of citrus and a nearly tannic twang, but not near the level of some other barleywines, Bigfoot being the prime example. Alcohol presence is definitely noticeable.
Mouthefeel is mildly carbonated with a tannic, dry bite and an alcohol warmness.
A nice barleywine, but I should have probably let this one age a bit before tasting. Overall I would like to try this again with an older sample after it has had time to mellow a bit.

MaineBeerMan, May 30, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orignially sampled from bottle on 6 June 2002. Reddish brown color w/ very little head, this is a strong one. It's flavor is very rich w/ a slightly bitter finish. The balance of this beer is very nice. THe maltiness is very enjoyable. Another fine beer from Victory

jcalabre, May 26, 2003
Photo of koolkat
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Barleywines. It pours a nice deep amber with a slightly colored head. The alcohol taste is almost noticible, in the aroma but there is more of a fruityness to the nose. There is a nice warm feeling from the alcohol as it heads down the throat, that is only found in these nice high alcohol brews. There is a sweetness in the beginning of the sip that changes into a dry hoppy finish, with a hint of phenolic character, nothing like a belgian spicyness, but a hint of something else.

Definately a good barlywine, but then again I've never had a bad barleywine. If you see it be sure to pick up a case, smooth, rich and you can serve it to your friends who will drink it like normal beer. That is always entertaining.

koolkat, May 19, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard one to track down on the left coast, but it finally appeared. The bottle has a cool looking label with a snoozing moon and a 12/17/02 "bottled on" date. It pours amber with an off-white head that dissipates quickly. The smell is a nice blend of malty sweetness with enough hops to make things interesting. The taste is an interesting blend of fruity sweetness and a nice hop bite. It reminded me a bit of a less hoppy Bigfoot. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy and the drinkability is more or less par for the course for barleywine.

mickeymac, May 14, 2003
Photo of WaltTrombone
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I must admit, I liked this Barleywine-style ale better than the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot that I tried a few days ago. Still not sure that barleywines are my cup of tea, bit I'll try a few more anyway.

This poured with a red body, with white head that went away fast, leaving thin lace. The aroma was mild and indistinct, malt and caramel. Taste was first a blast of malt and caramel, then alternated with a strong hops presence, back and forth they dueled on my happy tongue.

It had a smooth, oily mouthfeel, and finished with a medium hoppiness with an alcohol bite. The 11% ABV is well-hidden, not a beer for pounding down...

WaltTrombone, May 08, 2003
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good, but not spectacular. It poured a nice mahogany, with that overwhelming "liquior" smell. Half exspecting to striaghten up in my seat with the first sip, I didn't. The ABV was more psycological than actual. It tasted, IMHO, more like a brandy than a beer. More fruity, little hops. A sipper, I enjoyed it as the Celts put the nail in the coffin of the Pacers. It easily lasted the whole 4th quarter.

bewareOFpenguin, May 02, 2003
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby-copper color, with a tan head that leaves good lacing. The aroma is bready, with caramel malts, fruity hops, and a slight bit of grain. It has a super fruity start, which then turns bready, then finally, a sweet finish that is lessened by a slight hop bitterness. It is a full-bodied brew that is alcoholic and warming. It is an excellent beer; a definite winter warmer. There are a lot of complex aromas and flavors throughout this brew.

BeerBuilder, Apr 10, 2003
Photo of mzwolinski
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy cherrywood color with no head whatsoever. Aroma is sweet and fruity, with a heavy malt base, some citric hop flavor and a noticeable, though subtle, alcohol note. Smells a bit like a caramel apple! Taste is lovely and smooth, starting with a fruity pale ale like maltiness, developing a stronger, slightly toasty malt presence mid-palate, and ending with a very hoppy, but gentle, finish. Light apple-like fruitiness throughout, and some alcohol flavor and warming. Viscous in body, but not to the detriment of its drinkability. Good stuff!

mzwolinski, Apr 06, 2003
Photo of stingo
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew was bottled on Nov 13, 2002 and I am drinking it April 2, 2003 (as I write this).

I typically drink the Old Horizontal on my visits to Victory when the brew is in season. The present botlle under review features a rich brownish gold color, with a with a dryish nose. It also appears to be (for lack of a better word) a dense/heavy liquid suited for the colder months in which it is brewed.

On first opening/tasting the Old Horizontal had a very dry astringent taste, with the malt, and hops flavors distinctly separate. Allowing the brew to warm a little produced a much smoother combination of these tastes (and losing the astringency), along with a finish that is long and inviting, like spending the night before the fire, drinking this brew and listening to the wind howl outside. I should also note the message on the label from Victory's brewmasters encouraging the sipping of this barleywine ale, and I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. A thick slightly sticky mouthfeel gives way to an agreeable, balanced finish on the swallow, where the malt and hops seem to linger just above the tongue. As you can gather from my review, one or two of these is generally enough to satisfy, especially over the long periods over which it should be drunk.

At the end of the day, a wonderful brew from Victory - though I should note that (to my taste) Old Horizontal's character changes significantly with changes in the temperature. A slow-sipping ale, it is meant for those times when you just want to mellow out and slow down from the rat race. Highly Recommended.

Retasted Feb 22nd, 2005 - The new brewhouse at Victory seems to be paying off - this is a wonderful edition of the Old Horizontal - smoother, mellower, and richer than the previous editions I've had - Very Highly Recommended.

stingo, Apr 02, 2003
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best barleywine I have ever had, hands down. As this was my first beer that I happened to order at the particular bar I was at, the bartender commented, "startin' with the strong stuff are ya?" I may look young, but I know what's good. Bring it on.

It came to me in a large goblet, a reddish liquid with a light creamy head, with a very sweet alcoholic aroma. I knew it would be good before I even tasted it. Malty flavors run both extremes. It begins with a delicious fruity sweetness, followed by a toasty caramel malt flavor, and finishes with a great hop kick. Oh man is this good. I can't wait to have it again. I haven't sampled it yet from the bottle, but you can bet I'll be back to have it on tap. So drinkable despite the 11%, and the alcohol flavors are only mild. This is a killer. Obviously highly recommended.

IrishRedRock, Mar 18, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This barleywine pours nicely with a deep amber brown hazey color, head was thin and lace like on the glass. Nice rich floral hop tones when first taking the glass to my nose then the caramel malts sneak in, sweet and candylicious. Taste is complex like most barleywines with malty richness, caramel thickness and sweetness and a slight smokey tone at the finish. Full notes of barley malt sweetness of caramel flavors thoughout. Perfect balance of twingy, hearty, mildly earthed hops, bittering to the perfect height of satisfaction leading through to the smokey-like finish. This is a great beer to knock yourself out with. Drink slightly chilled, but not too cold and sip to your little hearts content til you can't sip no more. Which doesn't take much.
By the third or fourth sip I was ready for bed. So count on drinking it for an hour or so before bedtime and you'll have dancing barley and hops in your head.

tavernjef, Mar 14, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a conducive glowing amber with a screen of hazy brown of over it, while the body appears with a cream toned very thin head that is starting to leave a trickled collar of lace apon my glass. The first thing that attacks my senses when I crack the bottle is the complex fragrance of the floral hop tones. Victory forms a nicely hopped malt treat for relaxation, and this one is doing just that. I was having some trouble falling asleep, so I decided to crack my bottle of Old Horizontal hopefully it will put me down in a few. Back to this amazing offering from Downington, the malt richness soothes the body and mind just by taking a few whiffs of this well done handcrafted beauty. Thick and chewy rolling herds of malt graze upon my tongue, sending a backlash of gentle hop bitterness forming a smokey haze on the plains of my palate. Full notes of barley malt sweetness cyclone around clashing with bitter sweet tones of caramel, fig, and deep brandy tones making this one completely enjoyable soothing beer that is helping me fade away into this sweet night. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a full syrup like appeal to it, wonderful enduring beer that shall live on forever. I could drink one of these every night in front of a burning fire right before bed time to put me into an ecstasy of slumbering peacefulness. A bit challenging to my palate to enjoy in number, but it's not mant to be consumed in quantity. I love the name, the beer, and the brewery!!!

WVbeergeek, Mar 09, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany brew with a small tan head that disappears quickly. Hugely sweet malty nose, caramel and molasses. The hops don't have so much presence in the nose, but they are definitely noticeable in the background. A little alcohol presence gives a slight nostril burn. As for the taste, it's big on the malt too. Huge caramel sweetness throughout. Hops become more noticeable as you drink more, in a leafy, earthy character. Still not as noticeable as they are in other barleywines though, unfortunately. Bitterness floats around nonchalantly. Alcohol warms thoroughly. A pretty good barleywine, but i wish it was more complex and hoppy. It could benefit from cellaring for the complexity, I'm sure. Might take away some of the harshness as well. Make sure you drink it at room temperature so all of the flavors will come out. Still very enjoyable as is. Thanks again to francisweizen for another taste of Victory!

hyuga, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of Jarod
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had to try this in bottle form to see if it was as good as it was on tap. This beer poured into the glass rusty red/orange in color, was fairly cloudy as well. The head was little not like from the tap, the color was a beige/light brown color, and there was a slight lace left behind as well. The smells that filled my glass were of cherries, roasted malt, dark fruits, some slight sour tones and a hint of ash as it warmed. The taste was filled through out with tones of alcohol. It was thick in the mouth but very pleasant. Flavors of alcohol, roasted malts, floral hops, citrus fruits and big dark fruits and spices as well. It had a slight bite to it but it was not overbearing. This is a big beer that has many great qualities from sharp to smooth. A good beer that gets better as the temperature rises. Another score for Victory.

Jarod, Mar 04, 2003
Photo of Winter
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the first time I've ever opened a bottle and had the top crack right off. The lip stayed embedded in the cap and luckily no glass particles fell into the bottle.

Bottled on 12-4-02. Front illustration features a horizonal crescent moon wearing a winter stocking cap while sleeping over a log cabin. Brewed seasonally as a winter warmer, Old Horizontal acts as a perfect nightcap on a cold night.

Poured a deep amber with ruby hues and no head. Alluring aroma consisted of sweet candy-like sugar, fruit, alcohol, caramel, malt and brandy. Mouthfeel is smooth and a touch syrupy. Old Horizontal is definitely a sipping beer. The initial sweetness is overthrown by the strong 11% alcohol contained within. At times a touch medicinal. Finish has a nice toasted barley flavor to it.

I want to like this barley-wine, but I definitely feel this one needs more time to age, for the alcohol flavors to mellow and for some more complexity to develop. I'll cellar my remaining bottles and try again later in the year.

Winter, Mar 01, 2003
Photo of budgood1
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on nov. 13, 2002. sampled at room temperature.

old horizontal pours out a pretty, cloudy dark amber colour...lots of sediment floating about. an off white, foamy head appears...dying down to thin, fine lace. a hard to pin down berry-ish and malt aroma...a hint of mustiness...aromatic hops are hard to pick out. multi-dimensional malt flavors...berry fruits, choco, toffee and caramel all peek out but don't outright present themselves. oh yeah...alcohol too...lots of bourbon and brandy notes. hop bitterness is subdued, but does not take a back seat in the profile. the malty body takes a nice sweet and sugary sled ride right down my throat and crashes at the bottom of my stomach in a boozy wreck. can't wait to climb back up the hill and do it again! smooth, creamy and scary in it's drinkability. finishes sticky sweet and quite warming. a damn fine brew!

another huge thanks to frank4sail for breaking into his super secret cellar stash to provide me with this stellar sample!

budgood1, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of TXHops
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 13-Nov-02.

Victory's exquisite barleywine pours a sedimented amber color, with a wispy, almost white head of small, patchy bubbles which lace like glue. It’s kinda fun to watch to the bubbles race up the sides of the glass, creating a current that pushes the sediment down in the center of the glass, contradicting the findings of a study I read about a few years ago carried out by researches looking at Guinness bubbles, which appear to travel downwards at the outside of the glass an upward at the inside…

A huge, dried apricot aroma screams out of the glass into my nose, begging to be sniffed over and over again. The same flavor dominates the palate once I’m willing to shift away from olfactory perception alone. Dried apricots, followed by a strong flavor of cantaloupe set the stage for a late burst of resiny hops. The thickly viscous, ample body reflects a low carbonation level, increasing the sensation of over-ripe fruit and causing the syrupy flavor to linger perpetually in the mouth. The viscosity of the mouthfeel also allows this beer to be broken into unique, independent flavor stages as well. First the apricot flavor introduces itself, being borne mostly by the aroma. Then the carbonation and hops kick in simultaneously, creating a stabbing, sticky bitterness that quickly yields to the long, complex finish, which showcases that melon-like sweetness. It’s the resiny bitterness and morning melon sweetness that trade the limelight in a repeating pattern until I give in and have another sip. After all’s said and done, a faint, luscious pineapple sweetness emerges to encourage me off to the scene depicted so enticingly on the label.

This is a tremendous barleywine. It’s not as overpowering hoppy and harsh as SN Bigfoot or Rogue Old Crusty and not as cloyingly sweet as some of the English renditions of the style (Lees for example). This beer strikes a happy balance between sweet, malty complexity and bitter, resiny hoppiness. Tremendous beer and my favorite Victory brew tasted to date…

TXHops, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of bierman2000
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent hoppy yet malty Barley Wine, Old Horizontal is a dangerous well made smooth beer. The hops are noticed at first but then the malt comes through at mid-bottle. 11% alcohol noticeable throughout and quite potent and makes a great last beer for the night.

bierman2000, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of kunzbrew
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on November 15, 2002. I have been waiting for this one for a long time, she has been staring at me from the fridge for months now, saying drink me.

Pours a ruby red copper color with minimal haze. Minimal creamy tan head that reduces in just a few minutes. A very sexy lace is left behind.

Candy is all I smell out from the top of the glass. Strong fruity smells along with a maltiness that is to die for. My nose is going ape shit over this beer. Hop aroma is present for this strong brew.

Flavor is complex with almost a whiskey taste that is light, a sweet date flavor is also strong man I like it. Hop flavor is getting stronger as the beer warms. Malt flavor is exceptional words can't really describe it (well at least my words).

The medium body is decieving since the drinkablity is right up there with the best of them.

I am going to get a few more of these for later this winter and into the summer.


kunzbrew, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of ADR
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

About time that this showed up at Thomas Liquors. November 15, 2002 bottling...

Dark and semi-clear copper color with an ochre yellow head that's just a creamy skim. Pretty good complicated lacing, though. That complex slightly acidic prune aroma that tells you this is going to be interesting wafts up. Nice and thick malt presence, heavy on orange and a thick plum sauce, with a resounding black pepper/clove hopping that's not quite as ragged as Bigfoot. A little peppermint shows up at the finish and combines with the orangey sense to give a big aftertaste. Yep, there's alcohol here, as well. A relatively smooth brew for a higher ABV Barleywine.

ADR, Feb 13, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Head is sort of burnt tan in color, body is a strong, dark reddish hue. Aroma is just what I smell for in a barleywine, and then some! Whiskeyish, brandyish, cognacy, sweet, spicy, and stuffed with alcohol! Suggestions of dark fruits, plums, raisins, cloves, anise. Very fierce stuff, leading the pack of high-alcohol beers. Is there any other barleywine stronger than this? If so, I'll have a sip, but Old Horizontal just about proves my limit! If ever there was an amptly named beer, this is it. Excuse me, my brain is crashing...
Loads and loads of flavor here, but the booze is overpowering! Dazzling use of hops and malt, thick and rich, with a fully loaded finish. A taste sensation, but a bit too burnt.

feloniousmonk, Feb 11, 2003
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,617 ratings.