Old Horizontal
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #59
Ranked #4,809
4.06 | pDev: 9.85%
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
Notes: 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
Reviews: 1,128 | Ratings: 1,937 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce bottle. Has a dark label with a picture of a sleeping crescent moon. Described as “Barleywine Style Ale”. I note that the word ‘style’ is in a different font from the words ‘Barleywine’ and ‘Ale’, as if to accentuate the fact. Dated as “Bottled on Dec. 17 02”. Oh, 11% ABV, good job that this is the last of the night.

Appearance: Dark amber with fiery red copper hints. Thin head, white halo boundary style head that rings the glass. Excellent inherent carbonation. Poured into a McEwan’s Scotch Ale Goblet, it looks resplendent.

Nose: Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen molecules leave the surface of the beer in just the right mix to give a deep rich warming alcoholic nose mixed with a fused malt-caramel. It’s a bed setter.

Taste: Smooth clean warming two lane entrance that is divided equally between caramel-malts on the right, and the fast lane freeway of exothermic ethanolic liquor on the left – both lanes eventually merge into an off ramp that have equal characteristics. It has a slight dark fruity feel with mild hop bitterness just as you reach the stop sign.

Mouthfeel: A stick shift driving feel that slowly works its way through the gears and gets the wind in your hair eventually. Solid and warming.

Drinkability: People argue about what ‘Drinkability’ really means, for me the name is its own definition. And this is very drinkable!!

Overall: Awesome. If Victory were 100 years old, those with access to their Memorabilia would have that Poster that they did in 1948, the one with a picture of Santa Claus on, sat on a snow covered sled, with the words “Victory Brewing Company, Purveyors of High Class Winter Ales and Barleywines”. SUPERB!

Jul 18, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of Meathead27
Meathead27 from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a 5 year old bottle (2009) and is spot on. Aged beautifully. Still has bitterness but balanced with the rich, brown sugar - bubblegum - cotton candy - plum, malt. This is really hitting the spot on a snowy day in PA!

Jan 27, 2015
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arizcards from Arizona

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!

Apr 30, 2016
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steinlifter from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a brown bottle, dark label depicting a half/moon sleeping "horizontally" above a winter cabin.Nice little poem printed on side of label.

Poured clear reddish-brown, sudsy inch thick head which rapidly diminished but retained a thin collar all the way through, lots of tiny bubbles rushing to surface.
Aroma was very floral,sweet dark fruits, whiff of cherry tobacco.
Bold floral hop flavor up front,black cherries and malt,,tangy dry finish.
Bubbly crisp and dry mouthfeel,alcohol warmth, chewy.
Drinkability is limited for me on this one, a nice beer to "SIP" on a cold winters night....but too many of these will find you "Horizontal"..very quickly!

Feb 24, 2008
Photo of Burt
Burt from Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Apr 19, 2014
Photo of mryuk
mryuk from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh non-aged 11-2010 bottle

-pours a beautiful deep amber. Unfiltered with yeast floaties suspended throughout..good head with good retention.

-smell is very sweet and malty with slight hops.

-taste starts out sweet and malty, fairly smooth but also a lot of alcohol in there. Finish is much more bitter with subtle hops.

-mouth is highly carbonated, very thick and almost syrupy.

-drinkability is only OK. I have had several barleywines this winter I prefer to this one, however, I have had this aged and it gets a lot better. May do a supplemental review of an aged bottle at some point.

Feb 20, 2011
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bpfrush from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Nov 15, 2011
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mrfrancis from Kentucky

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

Apr 02, 2017
Photo of WillieThreebiers
WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Aug 03, 2014
Photo of brittanylicious
brittanylicious from Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Jul 01, 2014
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle, with no freshness date … does that matter at 11.0% abv?

Appearance: Pours a reddish mildly hazy amber colour with a lacing work to be proud of..

Smell: Rustic toasted malt with hints of mellowed solvent and ester alcohol aromas with a rip candied fruit nose. Nearly a butterscotch and caramel aroma.

Taste: Alcoholic character is still high but mellowing out in most ways. Succulently smooth, with a creamy body. Maltiness ranges from light caramel to chocolaty tones to a toasted husk flavour. Hops are mild in comparison. Big chewy sweet palate with ample toasted husk in the finish.

Notes: Not a bad Barleywine, it has mellowed out a bit though let’s see how another year or two do for it.

Oct 01, 2002
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Varkias41 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Dec 20, 2013
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StonyB from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a single 12 oz bottle during my latest Oak Tree haul. Our friends at Victory ask us on the label to "Enjoy by Dec 29 2011", and let us know that the beer is both bottle conditioned and has an 11% ABV. Ok then.

Appearance - Cloudy, chalky pour. Head dissipates quickly, leaving a thin cap over the hazy amber body. Sticky ring of lacing.

Smell - Rum cake and dark fruit dominate the complex aroma. Alcohol more pronounced given time.

Taste - Wow. Tropical fruit-like sweetness initially, building to a warming, vinous finish. A balancing hop bitterness throughout. Rich caramel blends in as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, yet quite chewy. Slightly acidic.

Drinkability - Obviously not a session beer, but goes down beautifully. Each sip something to savor.

Old Horizontal is an excellent nightcap or digestif, and makes a great winter warmer as well. An interesting and enjoyable example of the style. Definitely recommended.

Jul 15, 2007
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, with a best by date of Dec 18,2013, into 180z tall goblet. Poured an opaque, rich, full coppery-brown with less than an inch of deep tan head that lingered for a couple of minutes, then left lovely traces of light lacing.

The aroma was the expected full, malty sweet scents that we expect from the style with some earthy and spice notes mixed in. The taste did not quite meet up to the expectations set by the aroma. While a good tasting brew, I didn't taste any of the earthy and spice notes I found in the aroma. Solidly malt forward, with a slight hop tang at the end.

The body was mostly typical for the style, perhaps not as heavy as most, and smoother than most examples. Drinkability is about as good as can be expected from an 11% abv brew. The alcohol is not noticeable on the tongue, certainly noticeable in the head. Overall, a very good beer from one of the breweries I've missed most since moving west 9 years ago.

Aug 16, 2009
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KickbacksSteve from Florida

4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Trappeze in Athens poured into snifter. Aroma is of sweet malts and some piney hops. Interesting balance of aromas. Taste is of sweet pit fruits. Very sweet. Beer actually tastes slightly aged, but I assume it's fresh. Awesome smoothness considering the abv. Very satisfying and dangerous beer.

Feb 11, 2010
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martin123012 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Dec 29, 2011
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s_wit from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Aug 19, 2014
Photo of kratsmit
kratsmit from Florida

4.81/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

There may be better barley wines out there, but this is the best I've ever had.

Aug 02, 2015
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QXSTER1 from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep gold with orange hues under a thin white head. This beer stunned me with it's full, thick mouthfeel. Chewy and delicious like a meal in a glass. Sweet fruity malts are balanced by the sharp, well attenuated hop flavors. Anytime I see a Victory product on tap I feel assured of a quality, well made beer in the glass.

Mar 10, 2002
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Southernbrew from Georgia

4.69/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Sep 09, 2004
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Westsidethreat from California

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/11/05

A: Attractive dark cider color with a good amount of haze to it. Head started as something but quickly fell to nothing, leaving only a fine film and thin dark beige ring around the sides of the glass.

S: Red fruits, butterscotch, figs and caramel apple

T: Begins very fruity and vibrant. Peach, apricot, red apple and pear all play apart in the menagerie of flavors. Next comes a tingling of bitterness right before the caramel sets in…and it’s a strong and pronounced flavor. Bit of vinous wood helps offset the sweetness and round out the situation. After the swallow a wash of vanilla, anise, sunflower butter and honey dabble across the palate. Finishes with a solid wake of bittering hops, unfortunately leaning towards the dirty side of the spectrum. A minor waft of alcohol makes its way to the sinuses, reminding the drinker that this indeed is a barleywine.

M: Medium body, soft and syrupy mouthfeel.

D: Coming home from a long day of work and cracking a barleywine is a good way to go. Very tasty and good complexity.

Jun 27, 2007
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rbrefbeerman from California

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Nov 17, 2011
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mdwalsh from Iowa

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

Joy's of liquor store employment. Free beer, dated good until November 2014

A: Pours a big, showy head that settles to 1-2 fingers. The Beer is very clear amber/orange with no active carbonation.

S: Hops, dry and bitter. Not a lot of malt, nothing very strong, maybe some cooked grain? Over all it's soft, not too harsh, and has no alcohol in the nose.

T: I get cooked fruit and honey, maybe some caramel. Very strong on the first sip, but after a few it gets much softer. Still no alcohol taste, and still that little bit of grainyness.

M: It feels light, but still full and firm. Good for sipping.

D: Very, though obviously wouldn't want to have too many.

Jan 20, 2010
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tdm168 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Jan 03, 2014
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flyers1980 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Sep 07, 2012
Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1937 ratings