Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
1,917 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,917 |  Reviews: 1,120
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..

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head with excellent retention on a murky dark amber brown body.

S: overall somewhat light on the nose. grainy, malty, some earthy hops and booze.

T: dark fruits mostly apple, figs. Maltiness is strong and thus provides a terpentine like note.

M: thick body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A little too strong with the booze. The flavor is pretty complex with the right amount of sweetness. Not bad but again a touch too boozy.

 460 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a classic english barleywine, and it really is the season for the style right now. nothing quite warms me up like a good one, inside and out. this is cool because it does have some yeast presence remaining, a slight haze in the beer and a doughy bready middle, which as expected, goes brilliantly with the sweet almost desserty caramel malts. like a bread pudding really, cut only by a fruity, almost brandy boozy element that unites it rather well. all the requisite elements of the style are here, and its a fine example of it, but in this particular beer, the come together to form one of those style definers for me, this is what english barleywine really is and should be. suitable for ageing, but ready to drink right now. not devoid of hops, but mellow in that regard, balancing bitterness only, and not even really that. a slow drinker, share please, but a staple of the season, thats for sure.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to silverX for sending me this one!

Best by 11/8/15.

Pours a slightly murky iced tea color with a 2 inch puffy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small chunks of foam dot the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, brown sugar, toffee, candied fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is of toasted malt, biscuit/bread, brown sugar/toffee, dark fruit, citrus zest, and alcohol. There is a medium level of bitterness after each sip along with an alcohol warmth in the back of the throat. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that I can see aging into something awesome. However, it is drinking just fine at the moment and I am glad I was able to try a bottle of this one.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This barley wine poured out as a deep reddish brown color with some orange highlights. The head was decently sized and lasted a little while giving off a good lacing. The smell of the beer was a booze and sweet sugary combo with a big barley aroma too. The taste is of figs mostly, there may be some yeast and barley in the mix. The finish is a little hoppy and pretty dry. The mouthfeel for this beer is a tad over medium I think and has a balanced feel to it. Overall it's a pretty nice brew for the style and worth looking into.

 531 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice barleywine here from a great brewery. This is definitely better than Brooklyn's and on par with Sierra Nevada's in my opinion. This one seems to be the hoppiest of the group which makes a bit more drinkable for me. It's a very high 11% ABV but you would swear it was 5%. It almost has a different taste each sip which I thought was sort of interesting. A very good beer.

 377 characters

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and poured with a finger high creamy beige head that quickly faded away. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are aromas of citrus and spicy hops in the nose, along with some notes of alcohol and dark fruits.
T: The overall taste is dominated by malty flavors that have a light amount of sweetness, although these are balanced to some degree by some hop bitterness. There also are some notes of dark fruits and hints of alcohol.
M: It feels full-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends some warming sensations in the finish.
D: Considering its strength, this beer isn't that difficult to drink because most of the alcohol is masked from the taste.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite barleywines (granted I've only tried about 30 and still have a lot more to try) and I always enjoy drinking this stuff.

The appearance was a nice deep red color that was very clear. There was a small amount of white head but thats alright. The taste was pretty complex. I tasted a moderate amount of hop bitterness with a sweet dark malt background. There was a tiny bit spice that people keep mentioning but what I really noticed was the fruitiness. Its really a good flavor for a barleywine.

I really enjoy this stuff but I wish it was more accessible.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, BB Dec 2013, a holdover from my stash from last summer's touring swath through the Pacific NW...

This beer pours a dark, murky golden brown colour, with one finger of tight foamy tan head, which leaves a few arches of lace around the glass as it evenly settles. It smells of musty caramel, dusty toffee, raisin bread, soused black fruit, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is big semi-sweet caramel malt, plum, prune, and raisin all, a bit of crumbling wood, earthy herbs, mild pine resin, and softly bitter leafy hops. The carbonation is very mild, the body medium-full in weight, and pleasantly smooth. It finishes sweet, but well tempered - subtle booze warming, edgy fruit notes, and decent, but understated hops.

At first, and for a spell thereafter, I thought this was much more representative of the English style, until the hops ambled their way in. A very nice warmer, not too sweet, not too bitter, and quite easy to sip at none too slowly, given the ABV. Good stuff, especially as the first sub-freezing day of the season sets in.

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

Sometimes mid-summer demands a mid-winter's drink. Thus the Old Horizontal. The beer pours a rich, thick, copper-amber hue with a fair amount of haze. A firm medium-sized head forms and lessens to 1/4 inch then stays true. Sturdy aromas of melanoidin-rich malts, candied fruits, and noticable citrus/pine hop scent. Flavors are quite a bit more intense than the aromas. The malts dominate the brew with a big sweet boost of toffee and caramel. The beer is very estery with mostly cherry flavors, but berries, figs, plumbs, prunes, dates, and grapes lend a hand as well. Sweet licorice, toasty, meaty flavors round out the flavors without getting into cough-syrup flavors. Hops give a deep herbal note along with moderate citrus and pine flavors that time hasn't completely eroded yet. Textures are richly malty giving a full palate and decadent richness. Moderate numbing and warming gives indications of alcohol strength but these attributes aren't as intense as most. The beer has a long sweet finish decorated with toffee and esters-mostly cherries and figs. The beer is immensely enjoyable, even if a bit too sweet and worty at times.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.57/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

1 pint 6 fl oz 2013 vintage brown glass bottle with generally appealing label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Texas bottle shop a few months back and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live as a barleywine because the label clearly identifies it as such. 11% ABV confirmed per the label. "Bottle conditioned." Expectations are high given the brewery.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of off-white colour. Nice supple creaminess and thickness for the style. Complexion is pretty smooth. Consistency could be more even. Very even, consistent lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Head retention is pretty good for the high ABV - about 4 minutes.

Body colour is a transparent translucent amber red of average vibrance. No floating yeast particles are visible; it's quite clean. Seems well-carbonated.

Overall, it's a pretty basic appearance for a barleywine; there's nothing unique or special about it. I don't notice any flaws.

Sm: Hoppier than anticipated, with a fair amount of herbal hop character, touches of evergreen, and even a hint of pine. Biscuit malt, bready malts, amber malts, toffee, brown sugar, and faint dark fruit. I do find some traces of medicinal notes. Ginger. Heavy candi character; it's definitely a sweet beer. Rum, sugarcane, caramel, raisin.

No yeast character is detectable. The alcohol is well disguised.

It's a fruity aroma of above average strength, and the unbecoming candi sweetness is worrisome. This isn't shaping up to be the kind of barleywine that really appeals to my tastes - I'm not finding toasty oak, toasted malts, marshmallow, refined malts, etc. It just seems a bit raw.

Mf: Hm. It's light, thin, and weak on the palate, lacking body and weight. It's too soft and giving. Undercarbonated, but still somehow somewhat biting. Lightly sticky.

Not creamy, oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

Presence on the palate is subpar for the style. This texture doesn't support the flavour profile well at all.

T: Bread crust, indistinct hints of vague unevocative dark fruit, bland amber malts, bland biscuit malts, bland caramalt. Shallow caramel. Hints of faint rum/sugarcane. Light raisin. Unrefined sugars/brown sugar. Light generic floral hop character. Toffee (but nowhere near enough). Heavy candi sweetness dominates.

I'm not finding the elements of a great barleywine here. No toasted malt, toasty oak, refined rich malty presence, heavy full caramel, marshmallow, etc. Maybe this just doesn't appeal to my personal tastes.

In any case, depth of flavour is shockingly low; this is extremely shallow for a barleywine. Below average duration and intensity of flavour.

No yeast character comes through. The alcohol does come through a bit, but it's still well disguised for 11%.

Unfortunately, it does have a faint medicinal/herbal quality to it.

As simple a barleywine as I've had in the past year perhaps. I'm taken aback by the extent to which this beer lacks intricacy, complexity, nuance, and subtlety. It's just so damned shallow and empty. Where's the flavour? Sure, it's got a loose cohesion and an okay balance, but it never comes together in the tight gestalt way a great beer in this style needs to. I didn't expect this poor a showing from Victory - especially given how well-known this beer is in the barleywine style. Did I get a bad bottle? Am I just drinking it too raw/young?

Not liking this one, much to my shock.

Dr: It drinks easy enough for the ABV, but boy is this a disappointment. I cracked this open expecting to really like it, but Victory - one of the best "shelf beer" breweries out there - really missed the mark with this brew. Well below average. I certainly wouldn't get it again, and I'd caution friends from trying it unless there's some serious age on it or something. Even with 5-6 months on it, this bottle is drinking very raw. It seems like most of the characteristics I criticize in my reviews of other barleywines were all collected and then combined to form this brew. It's almost the opposite of what I look for in a good barleywine.

If you crave a heavy malty core, rich caramel, vibrant toffee, and a firm heavy feel in your barleywines - ideally with a well-integrated bourbon and/or oak character - this is absolutely not the barleywine for you.

Worth trying because of its relative importance to the development and shaping of the American barleywine style, but it's far from world-class. Maybe this was the creme de la creme 12-13 years ago, but it does not hold up. There are a myriad of superior barleywines available at or around this price point.

Low C-

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Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of superspak
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/26/2013. Pours slightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, pine, floral, grass, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, fairly creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent American barelywine style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, copper/burgandy color with a small, creamy, tan head. It left soapy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very malty and sweet. There was also a floral hop aroma.

T - It tasted of sweet malt and caramel. It had biscuity qualities and some grassy/earthy elements.

M - It was heavy bodied but soft and smooth on the tongue.

D - This is a very good barleywine. It wasn't overdone or to powerful.

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Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a cloudy medium amber body with a small head (despite a hard pour) that shrinks quickly and leaves a few sparks of lace around the glass

Smell: A touch of caramel and maple wafts along with some piney hops

Taste: A rather mild caramel flavor at the start though the hops become quite assertive by the middle; after the swallow, the caramel and rum-soaked raisin flavors build; very balanced in the finish

Mouthfeel: A bit light bodied for a barleywine but with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Scores well in this category as the brew is well-balanced and nothing is over the top

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Photo of Boone757
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 1,917 ratings