Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,110 Reviews
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Massive amounts of barley malts, combined with fresh harvest American hops make it aromatic and spicy on the nose. Floral, fruity aromas slide into honeyed malt depth with lingering sensations of candied and citrus fruit. Late warming alcohol brings all of these flavors into wonderful harmony to finish.

Malt: Imported 2 row German malts
Hops: Whole flower American hops
Food Pairings: Meat pies and English cheese

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

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Reviews: 1,110 | Ratings: 1,894
Photo of sokol_1993
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Brownish, mahogany, with little head but long lasting.
Smell: piney hop is dominant.
Taste: the piney, spicy hop just hit you upfront, there is no getting away from that. It also lingers on your taste bud for a long time. A strong malty backbone, but still dominated by the hoppiness. The alcohol is flowing around too.

The piney hop was a bit too strong for my liking. It overpowered all other tastes.

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Photo of Ri0
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter. Vintage 2014. Dark rust orange with a nice off white 2 finger head with fair retention. Fades slowly and leaves a nice collar and webbed lacing on glass. This smells like a hoppy BW with some bitter citrus, pine, and dark fruit along with sweet baked bread and caramel malt. The aroma is pleasant. First and foremost I get a quick, sweet taste of caramel and toffee. The bitter hops move in, with grapefruit and some pine most dominant. After 2 years of aging the hops are prevalent. Medium body with a bitter quality from the hops that leaves a dry feeling on the finish.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage served cold in a snifter

Poured a crisp and clear copper with a thick khaki head. Smells of hop candy, pine, malt, grapefruit and pith. Taste follows with a strong malty backbone and lots of spicy hop character. Delicious. Reminds me of a stronger Bigfoot.

Cellar review 03/2017
2014 vintage
Ghost of hops past, still very much like a Bigfoot. There was a ton of malt but still enough hops to balance the brew. Medium thickness and mouthfeel. Plenty of carbonation.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage, label says enjoy by 05 DEC 2019. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours a hazy copper/burnt orange color with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like toffee, molasses, brown sugar, earthiness and dried fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some citrusy hops, bready/grainy malt, booze, stone fruit and pine noticeable. Nice amount of bitter and sweet flavors in this barleywine. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit creamy and coating with a decent amount of carbonation. I thought it was a good overall brew, definitely worth a try! Picked it up on closeout a few months ago for $2.99 a bottle at DEP's. Great deal!

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Photo of cwalter
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red in color with an off white foamy head that is 2.5 fingers in depth; great lacing on the glass. Aroma- quite a malty backbone with the smell of grahm crackers, sour dough bread and maybe sour white grapes? Hard to pin down. The taste up front is bready malts reminiscient of toast, hints of honey and butterscotch. Toward the mid to back end of this beer a pleasant bitterness comes through. There is also a nice alcohol warmth that makes its present towards the end of each sip. A really great beer to warm up with come winter. Although, I wish there was a little more going on with the flavor.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pour a beautiful amber with a one finger off white head. Good amount of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is toffee, brown sugar and piney hops.

T - The flavor follows the aroma with piney hops, toffee and brown sugar. The finish is a mix of bitter hops and lingering alcohol.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a sticky finish.

O - A nice boozy Barleywine. This would make a good nightcap on cold winter night.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated "enjoy by 12 Nov 2020" (dontcha love it?) into a pint glass. Pours a murky amber with a one-finger yellowish head. Initial impression is floral and pine hops, quickly followed by caramel, cherry, brown sugar, and molasses. Hops linger in the finish. Mouthfeel is oily-smooth, with medium carbonation. Booze is evident but not objectionable.
Old Horizontal is not something to be trifled with. However, if you're at home and aren't trying to do your taxes or use power tools, this is a great nightcap.

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Photo of arizcards
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber at TW Arrowhead in mid-January for $8.99. Enjoy by 12-Nov-2020.

Beer poured a rust color with a decent white head that fizzled out quickly.

Nose is vegetal with some hints of pineapple.

Taste is floral hop forward with a huge caramel malt base but the hops win in the end.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth.

Overall not a bad beer but i am curious to see what some aging will do. I love Victory's quality and i can only see this beer getting better so i will track another bottle down and give it a try 3 years down the road. Cheers!

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Photo of jopezu
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear, dark ruby amber with a massive head. nose; strawberry pulp (oddly enough), light hops, caramel, & sugar. taste; sweet malt, boozy cherry, light cocoa, caramel, pine solvent, earthy hops, citrus zest, & brown sugar. cherry, pine & ethanol on the back end. very heavily & visibly carbonated with a medium+ mouthfeel. a bit all over the place and a touch "kitchen floor cleaner" to me - the alcohol is free and roaming. strong, hoppy, & medicinal.

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Photo of PaleCale
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Pours a murky dark, dark orange with a fizzy off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. Smell is malty and slightly oxidized, with a vegetal finish. Taste is boozy sweet with caramel and orange, but the finish is a little bit of paper as well - perhaps the cellar didn't treat this as well as I hoped. Mouthfeel is pleasant but the booze is evident. Overall, this is one of those rare times when I wish I had this about a year ago - still, a nice nightcap.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Hazy, yet translucent reddish brown with a finger of tan head.

Smell: Brandy-soaked cherries, molasses, figs, brown sugar, and some pine.

Taste: A walloping sweetness up front of molasses, toast, gingerbread, brown sugar, pecan and walnuts, figs, dates, raisins, and brandy-soaked cherries, followed by lemon drop candy, beet sugar, earth and pine. Hints of cacao and vanilla. Big, boozy, and sweet with a bit of alcohol heat on the finish.

Feel: Falls heavy on the palate, almost sludgy, yet fairly smooth and creamy. Finishes fairly clean despite the sugary-thick beginning, with just some lingering sweetness and hoppiness coating the mouth afterwards.

Overall: A very nice, warming barleywine, best enjoyed on a brutal winter's night. I prefer my barleywines a bit more hoppy but this is excellent stuff nevertheless.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: A hazy burnt orange with one finger white head that dissipated quickly. Spotty lacing.

S: Apricots and grassy hops intermingling with caramel, brown sugar and booze.

T: Sweet and sticky, featuring honey and bourbon mixed with a lightly bitter hop middle and nice malty backbone. Caramel, apricots and vanilla. The 11% is very evident. Let it warm for maximum punch.

M: Medium with medium, dry carbonation.

O: A terrific barleywine, especially for $7 a bomber. Everyone at the spontaneous tasting was very impressed. I bet this one ages very well.

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Photo of Sandalwood
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2 yr old, pours a dark red to brown color with a thin off white head. There is a little carbonation and some soapy lacing. The odor for me is rich, honey, fruity, berry, malty, sweet, dried fruits, raisin, dates, fig, guava. The taste for me is dried fruits, fig, raisin, malty, bread, some sweetness up front but then bitter throughout. Can still taste the alcohol.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber 2013 vintage

Pours out looking like foggy, rusty water. A little bit of khaki head that lingers. Nose is really hop forward(surprising, given the age on it) with caramel, sweet bread, and warming booze. This is sticky sweet with the alcohol presence being really nice.

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Photo of SFNC
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look; Nice, hazy orange gold with egg shell white head. The head was -23 inches on a tame pour, but settled quickly. Some lacing
Smell; Malt and alcohol.
Taste; Malts up front, a slight hop presence in the middle and more sweet malt on the back end. Slightly medicinal. The hops are bitter like citrus pith.
Feel; Nice, slightly sticky, not much of a burn considering the 11.0% alcohol.
Overall; One of the better American Barleywines I've sampled so far.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a barley wine expert, but thus had some enjoyable characteristics
L - strawberry rhubarb red, pink/reddish foam
A - malty sweetness, booze, hops
T - sweet malt, honey, caramel flavors
O - boozy hop aroma I'm used to from other barley wines like Bigfoot is there, but this has a malty/honey sweetness and medium to full mouthfeel. Very drinkable but a bit sweet

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Photo of MacMalt
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into snifter. The color is an attractive orange-amber with a thick, creamy egg white head and thick lacing which doesn't dissipate. This looks like a perfect autumn beer! The smell features malt, vanilla, bourbon, and cherry. The taste is delightfully complex: bourbon forward with malt, vanilla or caramel, honey, and cherry, and finishing quite bitter. I agree with other reviewers that the taste improves as the ale assumes room temperature. This is a medium-bodied ale with pleasant carbonation. It's very boozy - maybe a little too much so. Overall, it is a fine barleywine. I'm interested in knowing whether age will make it smoother with less bitterness at the finish and less alcohol burn. Victory Brewing Company produces some excellent ales and stouts.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is Bourbon Barrel Aged

750 ml corked and caged poured into snifter 2012 bottle

A: Brown hazy caramel in color very murky absolutely no head then a small film developed this beer has legs it traces down the glass

S: Resiny maltiness crazy amount of hops with some honey the bourbon starts to really shine as it warms but none of that toffee and vanilla the hops make it smell like whiskey and the malts have a little bit of a sweetness to them.

T: Wow bourbon washes over the tongue with a lot of alcohol and some alcohol soaked resiny hops maybe a little vanilla from the bourbon this beer is hot

M: very flat no carbonation feels medium too watery

O: Wow the booze is overwhelming on this one and no carbonation I'm wondering if it is oxidized? I am not a huge fan of American Barleywines and the few I have had bourbon barrel aged the hops feels like they clash with the bourbon instead of embracing it, but this beer is just overwhelming alcohol presence is not my thing. I would not buy or drink this again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 22 oz bottle in a snifter, this barely wine pours a bright reddish mahogany with a nice white head of that dies down to a thin layer of pooling bubbles and thick ring with excellent lacing. Nose is very light with caramel, moderately strong grains, spicy rye notes, cherries, and sweet malts. Flavors follow the nose with sweet malts that show notes of light brown sugars and a mild cherry note followed by a heavy grain note that is laden with a touch of citrus and spice likened unto rye. Finish is subtly bitter malt with smooth mellow carbonation, and very warming.

A good barley wine, but not a great one compared to the legends upon which the style was built.

Of note---this is much better aged for a few years, more cherry and milder heat. Could easily age this 5 to 7 years and be rewarded.

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Photo of BWood
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional barleywine. Super smooth. Has that great barleywine taste without too huge of a bite at the end. As it warms it gets even better. A great but.

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Photo of ScottieWags01
4.99/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite a heavy ruckus from Old Horizontal, a Barelywine that's affordable as it is too tasty. Red oak, velvet amber hues give the appearance of bronze metal deliciousness. Vanilla and caramel tastes compliment the sweet, musky grain, and barely husks. Hints of toffee, marzipan, and bourben envelops the taste of sweet caramel, butterskotch, barley and rye. Undertones of smooth, velvety fruit qualities such as grapes, raisins, plums, strawberrries,and peach can be noticed if given enough contemplation. The overall feel is sweet, high gravity, and velvety, with a sugary and lacy finish. Overall, it's a damn good beer worth the price and should be tried by all who come across it.

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Photo of RickS95
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really love the look of this beer with in relatively thinnish pour of a combination of light mahogany, faded red, and faint orange. Neither cloudy nor clear, just dark enough to keep the light out. With 11% ABV the head just barely forms, a somewhat tan to khaki color with tiny, short legs and just dots of lace even after a good swirl.

While the scent is pleasant enough, it's not overly aggressive like a Barleywine should be. I had to get my nose almost wet inside the snifter to pull the toffee and butterscotch scents. No hop presence whatsoever, even as the beer has been warming in the glass for several minutes now. Only the alcohol aroma builds as the beer warms.

The taste is pretty stellar with dark fruits, toffee and the C hops finally making a statement. Possibly some yeasty pepper in the swallow.

Somewhat surprisingly, this 11% Barleywine will not make your palate cry 'uncle.' Sweetness from the malts kicks things off while the piney, citrusy hops come on mid sip. Slight alcohol warmth and that spicy pepper combine for a fairly dry, tongue smacking finish.

This was a very drinkable Barleywine. It's no bruiser, though it stills requires sipping. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Vixie
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red/amber color with a good sized tan head.

Lot of smell from this. Very malty, but also citrus, floral, and spice notes.

Starts out sweet, mainly caramel and toffee. The hops kick in pretty fast, adding a spicy bitterness, as well as floral and pine notes.

Feel is full and solid, as it should be for such a strong beer.

Definitely a nice beer, although a bit hoppy for my taste. Not quite as hopped up as an IPA, but still a strong hops presence. Fortunately there are enough other flavors to keep them from over whelming. Definitely worth a try, but a bit too hoppy for me to be drinking much more of it.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the 22oz bottle to my FW snifter glass – 2013 release
Notes from 01/02/2015

A: Old Horizontal pours a bright amber body with some well conditioned clarity to it. Has the look of a burnished brandy with some soft cherry hues. A half finger of khaki cream produces from the pour with some pretty feeble retention efforts. Settles down to a crown around the edges and just a mere film skimmed across the top. Some alcohol runners and a couple dots of stick only remain.

S: The nose brings on a spiced caramel and raisin bread aroma. Further develops into a semblance of buttered toast with zesty citrus and piney hops layered in. The finish kicks in a touch of spiced alcohol. Nicely bold and on point with the style.

T: The flavors are incredibly smooth and well balanced. Comprised of resinous pine hops, candied citrus peel, caramelized bread, and a lightly spiced toffee. There is a good amount of hoppy bitterness to this one rounded out with some dry earthy tones. Alcohol is played perfectly here for an 11% ABV B-wine. Never becomes too hot here while adding in a nice spicy flash at the finish.

M: Moderate level of filling to the body. Not particularly thick or chewy which is nice. Has a lighter feel on the palate with a nice creamy consistency. Good upper amount of peppery bitterness helps to dry out the finish. Some warming alcohol. Fairly clean balance to it.

D: This is a great American Style Barley wine with lots of classic C hop flavor and bitterness to balance the caramel malt load. Exactly what I look for and why I prefer this to the more standard English style. Can’t believe I haven’t checked this one out sooner. Definitely added to the repertoire. Victory can make a damn fine brew, tell you what.

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Photo of Houser
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

looks like a dark amber, just how i want my barleywines to look like. the smell is just like every other "old" victory beer, with that peppery malt/hops. taste is the same, but magnified. mouthfeel is creamy and nicely carbed. overall, this is not one of my favorite victory offerings, although im beginning to think american style barleywines just arent as good as the engligh style.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,894 ratings.
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