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Old Horizontal - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,653 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,653
Reviews: 1,068
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 94
Gots: 115 | 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: 1,653 | Reviews: 1,068 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JISurfer
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was little too pungent for me. The hops were way to overbearing and there was little else there, except for a little syrupy hints. The smell was hoppy, just like the beer, but had some floral accents. Though I am not too big into the whole Barleywine thing, this is not too bad. It's nothing I would buy again, but you live and you learn I guess.

JISurfer, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of rdrummer
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the best barleywines going. I had the draft at Victory Brewing. It poured a clear amber color with a nice off-white head. The glass was a 10 ouncer that was sufficient given the 11% alcohol content. This is a wonderfully aromatic beer, which smells grainy with a hint of herbs that I think include clove and maybe coriander. The taste is a strong, lightly carbonated nectar of grains and fruit that kind of goes off when it hits the taste buds. It is rich and full-bodied, a real treat for the mouth. It is nice to sip, but I wouldn't want to try to drink more than one or two at the most with the kick it packs.

rdrummer, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This was gorgeous. The body is a mystical sort of orangish-brown and very thick. The head came up nicely, went down slowly, then stopped and left little puddles all over the top of the body.

Smell – Oh, does this smell terrific. The solid malt base laced with caramel and sugar is there, but the beautiful hop smell stands out. It’s mostly pine and very sharp. The combination and play that they got between the malt and the hops is incredible.

Taste – The sugary malts come out more so in the taste. I thought the aroma favored the hops, even after warming, but the taste is definitely evenly balanced. I love LBB’s “fork in the road” analogy. What impresses me is how everything comes together.

It’s hard to describe how good the flavor is of this ale. The quality of ingredients here is beyond reproach. This is an amazing treat.

Mouthfeel – Full in the body with a little carbonation and very chewy. Not much warning of the 11.0 ABV.

Drinkability – This was so good I’ll have to log off the site. I couldn’t possibly follow this one with another bottle.

Comments – I had broached a trade with OldFrothingSlosh for some SKS and he threw a couple of these in for good measure. How cool is that? This BW, along with SN Bigfoot, sits atop the heap of my Barley Wine Ratings. What an amazing brew!

RoyalT, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of mschofield
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Red-gold with a tight light tan head.
Strong alcohol and phenolic smell with a large amount of sweet malt.
Caramel and a very buttery taste on top of alcohol. Very full feel and flavoring. Not as overly bitter and hopped as most American barleywines, what there is, comes across as citrus.
For drinkability - this will do as the name promises, knock you out horizontal.

mschofield, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of OatmattStout
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice Crimson color with a really nice lacey head. Great smell of sweet grains and toasted malt. No evidence of 11% ABV in the nose. Taste was really malt driven sweetness, with flavors of rum and caramel and fruit jam. Did have a nice complementing hop bite that is left on the palate and seemes to help clense the sweetness for the next sip. The Alchohol is warming and nicely hidden in the flavor and thick body of this beer.

Really enjoyed this one after a long day and drive home from snowboarding in Killington, VT. I don't feel so sore now for some reason?

OatmattStout, Dec 23, 2003
Photo of Maestro
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This barleywine is quite deceiving and therefore great. The nose doesn't have much character at all. There is no head and very little lacing. The taste is good. Mostly malt but not overly syrupy like some barleywines, with a snappy hop hint. The mouthfeel is okay, but there isn't a lot of character. The alcohol is huge and barely noticeable. That is the trick about this beer. It is absolutely sneaky. Be careful or you will be horizontal.

Maestro, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light amber hue with a thin, yet decent retaining head. On the nose is some citrus and fresh fruit, some hop detection as well. A blast of citrus to hit the palate, with some underlying bitterness to start. Some roasted malts combined with the hops make the body of Old Horizontal, coupled with the fresh dark fruit, raisin and anise. Very rich and big bodied, but for the style, does not offend; a definite belly warmer, an all-around superior brew, leaves you craving for more.

GeoffRizzo, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of BierReise
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured a hazy reddish amber with a thin tan head. Aroma is a fruity blend of sweet malt and hops. Smells similar to an Imperial IPA with its fragrant hop character but malt is also big. Has a fantastic fruity flavor with notes of caramel and bittering hops. Ultra smooth full body palate and alcohol escapes aroma and flavor. A nice warming sensation follows. Excellent winter brew.

BierReise, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of pezoids
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sticky sweet malt, honeysuckle and a floral hoppiness emanates from this clear, amber brew. With a delicate smell you can pick out the earthy, floral hops. The taste is heavy with malt but it isn’t overbearing and seems just perfect for the style. Slightly syrupy, yet very drinkable. The alcohol is hidden under a veil of sweet malt. Although for some reason I want a touch more of hops in this, but it is very good on it’s own. Very well blended and is an excellent and strong barleywine. This is going to be my Christmas sipper this year.

pezoids, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of hungryghost
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy, brown orange with a slight but lasting head.
Surely does smell sweet, brown sugar, caramel, malted sweetness and a little bit of alcohol.
Malt is present for sure, a pleasant sweet flavor that changes as it passes through the mouth. Fruit hints, and surprisingly (for me anyway) is the mild hoppiness. Not accustomed to hops in a barleywine but it works quite well.
Old Horizontal is a well rounded, flavorful beverage. Please do not drink cold.
Only problem I have with this 11.0 % ABV barleywine; it is dangerously easy to drink.

hungryghost, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of faernt
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Case dated 11.18.03. This is a very drinkable barleywine. The beer pours with an introductory head which subsides into a ring of tight bubbles that stay for the duration. It may be my nose but I detect little aroma. There is no initial aroma upon opening either. The taste is blended. Hops and malt are blended with some spice. The mouthfeel is somewhat light. It's a tasty barleywine that is revisitable..strong but revisitable.

faernt, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of AbePhroman
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally the new season is in. Six pack cost me $10.49 but I was so happy to see it on the shelf. Poured a thick amber brew into my class. Little white head that settled quickly. This baby smelled so sweet as soon as I opened the bottle. After waving the glass it is full of obvious fruit and sweet hints. A bit of hops is also present. Victory loves their hops. Oh what a bittersweet taste. The hops are definitely present. The alcohol taste is very subdued for 11%. The high alcohol content may discourage some advocates on drinkability, but a few of these will warm your soul. Victory comes through yet again.

AbePhroman, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of far333
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark honey colored with an orangey-beige foamy head that lingers long. Aroma of cinnamon and cotton candy and sweet apple and pear rises up. Flavor is pungent, and strong immediately of alcohol, but also sweet with fruit and butterscotch flavors. An alcohol tingle come through in the finish, and lingers long in the throat and cheeks. Excellent rendition of the style, but a bit potent to have more than 11 or 12 at a sitting.

far333, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of marburg
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Viscous, Karo-like appearance with lazily drifting carbonatoin. Candied apples and a musty wet feel invade the nose with vigor. This brew is powerfully aromatic, eventually leaving the lingering impression of egg bagels. Garden market fruitiness w/ apples being the dominant presence. Strong malt flavors and a mild pine-centered hop finish. Smoother than silk and shockingly drinkable for such a big beer.

marburg, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of DagFishHead
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pretty, slightly hazy ruby-amber pour. Pillowy orange-tinged froth fades to a respectable an tenacious edge ring and leaves a trace o' lace.
Smell: Big toasty malt dominates, definite butterscotch, dark rum, over-ripe cherries, acidic hoppy/earthiness, and watch for a warm alcohol nose tingle.
Taste: Sweet thick malt start (toasty, roasty, and bitter chocolate malt) give way to slick date/fig/raisin fruitiness. Climaxes with an intense alcohol warmth and retreats to an amazingly dry (semi-dry really) finish with a warm/bitter hop aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Thick & lush. Slick, creamy and warm. Alcohol very warms but seems to nows to pull up short of being offensive.
Drinkability: A nice winter holiday sipper. ABV is too high for a session, but break one of these out after making a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a very balanced and "drinkable" barleywine. Straight marks, nice job Victory!

DagFishHead, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of Lafe
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon pouring this beer I get a very small head that disappears quickly, but sits over a beautiful caramel colored liquid.

The aroma is sherry-like, with a noticeable malt component, and a subtle hint of alcohol. The first taste is a blast of malt with a strong hop balance, just the way a barleywine should be! The carbonation is low, but sufficient to support the malty character of this brew.

I get a warming feeling from the alcohol content, and a nice, chewy, malty aftertaste. There are some strong fruity notes that complement well the malt and hop flavors that dominate the profile. Hop flavors seem to be on the spicy side, and slightly understated.

This barleywine seems true to style, wonderfully drinkable, and very straightforward as to what it wants to be. The only down side to this beer at all is the sticker shock, as I paid $13.50 for the six-pack.

Lafe, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle of the 2002 edition, bottled on 12/4/2002, which just so happened to be my birthday, thus me sampling on that day, but one year later. Served at what I'm hoping was cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Murky reddish copper topped with a nicely sized butter colored head that dissipates to a film and a ring in a nice lazy manner. Incredible sheets of lacing were left on the glass. I was suitably impressed.

Smell: Robust cherries, caramel, and toffee with subdued floral and piney hops. Intriguingly great smell. Not as complex as other barleywines I've had the pleasure of tasting, but no sloucher in this department either.

Taste: Bittersweet toffee, orange, and cherry flavors initially. The bittering hops blend oh-so-well with the intensely sweet malts. Peppery and piney aftertastes that go on forever.

Mouthfeel: Substantial in body. Buttery and viscous. Mild warming sensation as this sucker goes down. Very smooth, I can't believe this is 11% ABV.

Drinkability: Oh God, yes. A wonderfully balanced barleywine, more akin to the English style than the Americanized versions I've had. I think a case of this years will definitely be bought.. hopefully I can luck my way into a case bottled on 12/4/2003...

ManekiNeko, Dec 06, 2003
Photo of putnam
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Props to Victory for conserving some semblance of fruit in this beer.
It smells of dense, sticky, alcoholic malt just decorated with powdered laundry detergent-like hops.
On the palate it bursts with over ripe, sweet, partially reduced apricots, peaches, pine pitch, green tobacco and gum.
The texture is slick and oily with crunchy bushels of flowers exploding through the medium-length finish.

putnam, Dec 06, 2003
Photo of maybrick
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Truly remarkable. Per my bottle review this is indeed something very special. as a long time fan of Old Ho' I think this is the very best one out of the taknk to date. I was licky enough to sample Christmas in July at Victory where the '99, '00, '01, and '03 Old Ho's where available. I think by far this is the best one.

The color is gorgeous and under the lights at the Victory bar appears a creamy orange. The beer is filtered and is wickedly bright. You can see right through it, in fact it makes some of your friends at the bar a bit beter looking from that vantage point!

The taste is devine. The brewers purposefully changed up the hop balance this year. The balance between malt, hop, and yeast is darn near perfect. The big alcohol nose (which I'm a fan of) is all but gone this year. However, this makes the brew that much more drinkable! The taste is so complex with this years balance. I think if you're over in D-Town you should definitely sampel this one.
\BTW Victory has some new rules, only 2 per session of the high alcohol brews. 2 each of Old Ho, or Two each of Storm King, Two Each of Monkey or a combination of 1 biggie plus one more.

I don;t like this rule, but I certainly understand why it's been implemented.

maybrick, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of ithacabaron
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a luscious dark mahogany. Head rises up, and fights to say around for a while, but soon succumbs to a light film. No problem here, I've never seen a barleywine that can hold its head.

The aroma is in itself enough to intoxicate you, literally and figuratively. It is of toasted chestnuts, baked brown sugar, Poire William brandy, and very, very, faint bananas. Good lord, there has to be a whole field full of malt grain in here. The alcohol comes through a touch here, but it is very mellow, and non abrasive.

Taste is incredible, with more chestnuts, brown sugar, Poire William, and candied plums. Alcohol is again, present, but more mellow and welcoming, like in a good brandy. There is a light clove finish right before the spicy hops (not sure what kind) come by to finish things off.

Drinkability...well, after a bottle of this, I was pretty much ready for bed, so I can't give it incredibly high marks here...but damned if this isn't the best sleep aid I've ever encountered.

The most laid-back, mellow barleywine I've ever tasted. And it earns this praise while still intensely challenging the taste buds.

It blows my mind that such things can be done with nothing more than water, malt, hops, and yeast.

A stunning beer -- just absolutely stunning.

ithacabaron, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of beergeek279
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 bottle, served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is copper, with a nice wisp of head. The smell is very malty. The taste is malty, but more restrained than other barleywines, has a nice bitterness in the taste, and the alcohol is noticable but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is good. Drinkability-wise, could have a few more than I can of other barleywines.

Definitely amongst my favorite barleywines. Though this isn't a beer and a style I could have all the time, I'd definitely enjoy a Old Horizontal or two at a sitting. Have to check out this year's vintage.

beergeek279, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of dmarch
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark appearance. Almost black, but upon closer inspection there are some reddish hues. Not much of a head. Big malty taste. Doesn't seem to have as high IBU's as some other popular barleywines out there and I really respect that. A big beer doesn't have to be big on hops too. This has a heavy molassass flavor and a lot of alcohol character. It's easy to see why it's called old horizontal. I think I'm ready for bed now. A wonderfull anti-stress beer. The day is done, it's time to relax.

dmarch, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Nov 15, 2002, Sampled Oct 27, 2003
An amber color, it is a little bit hazy. Appears to be lightly carbonated, and shows a tan head when roused in the glass. The predominant aroma is of Sherry (a bit of oxidation has happened). There are sweet hoppy notes as well. The tasted is not as oxidized as the aroma would suggest. The flavor is lightly sweet, quite a malty beer at this point, though there is a hint of the hop flavor left in the beer. It is still pretty bitter in the finish, which helps to balance the sweetness well. The body of this beer is not overly thick, which for this beer is good. I can't wait to get a chance to try a fresh version of this.

Gueuzedude, Nov 06, 2003
Photo of winomark
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep copper, slightly hazy with almost no head.

Aroma: Sweet malt, spiciness, and some alcohol warmth on the nose.

Taste: Rich spiciness and alcohol throughout, with a malty richness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and coating, but not cloying. Good balance of flavors.

Drinkability: A wonderful barleywine; perfect for a cool evening by the fire. Very well done.

winomark, Oct 28, 2003
Photo of alexgash
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11-15-02. Pours a brilliant dark ruby red with a light tan head. Smells of rich, sweet, slightly fruity malts. Definite alcohol fumes as well. Taste is sweet sweet malts up front with notes of sugary toffee and passion fruit. This is followed by a big spicy and anise-tinged hop presence. Warming, alcoholic, and bitter finish. A big, chewy, and buttery beer, but goes down wonderfully for it's size.

alexgash, Oct 23, 2003
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,653 ratings.