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 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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Photo of Tilly
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

P Pours a nice brown with a thick tan head. Aroma-Sweet, sweet, sweet...,..and malt! Huge caramel taste. Malt and vanilla . I get some candy floss!
Belgium ale style? Never the less a great beer!

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 bottle - served @ 55deg in snifter

A - 1" tan head with medium amber body

S - Clean malt with slight hops

T/M - Taste matches smell - malt and light hop - some earthy notes and alcohol in the background

O - Good, simple, clean, & cheap. I hope to try this fresh to see if the hops give it a little more excitement. Prost!

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Photo of founddrama
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

LOOK: Poured from a bomber into a snifter. A rich ruby red. Smooth even colors throughout. Rich airy two-finger head.

SMELL: Aromatic. Does velvet have a smell? Sweet fruits -- plums and berries.

TASTE: Sweet without being cloying. There's a richness and a fullness to it. Mild fruit flavors up front; soft, complimentary bitterness to finish it.

FEEL: Bright. Lively. Full-bodied and luxurious.

Perfect for Xmas Eve.

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Photo of fx20736
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought Premier Gourmet March 2015. Served in a goblet at cellar temp

Look: Dark amber with off-white head that leaves a little lacing

Smell: very deep and rich red plums some dates

Taste: raspberry plum with sage like bitterness

feel: buoyant silky

overall I: really like this beer every element speaks of
quality and craftsmanship it is tasty with a great aroma and mouthfeel

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Photo of Bone53
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 22 oz bomber

Appearance: Pours a beautiful mahogony with a two finger off white head

Smell: A great mixture of dark fruit, citrus fruit, and caramel malt

Taste: Caramel and toffee upfront from the malt, slight dark fruit, and a citrusy hop backbone

Mouthfeel: Full bodied; Goes down smooth for 11% abv. with a moderately bitter finish

Overall: This is one solid barleywine, but i think a couple more years would be that sweet spot with less bitterness and all the flavors molding together even better.

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Photo of gutbuster
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours a dark mahogany in color. Hazy, with a spiderweb like lacing atop the glass.

Smell- Raspberry and plum dominate with a slight caramel sweetness in the background.

Taste- plum and raspberry up front and balanced well with caramel sweetness that finishes with toasted bread and pine with a hint of heat.

Feel- Creamy, slightly dry and very little carbonation.

Overall- An enjoyable barleywine that I feel holds up well against most others in this style.

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Photo of superspak
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
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 TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear copper color with a sandstone head that sits nearly 2 fingers thick. Fair retention as the head slowly fizzes away, eventually breaking to a thin, broken layer of suds on the surface. Virtually no lacing, with only a few small spots that methodically find their way down the side of the glass.

Smell - Caramel, raisin, faint tea notes and light booze.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel with lesser notes of raisin and booze. Distant earthy tea bitterness. Finish carries more booze with a slightly astringent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with fair carbonation. Slick texture, going down smooth before a drying alcohol finish.

Overall - Solid barleywine, but it's not without it's flaws. Lacks the depth and complexity of some of the better examples of the style. Just a tad bit too boozy for my tastes, especially considering the bit of age it has on it. I'd definitely drink this again, but either with a fresher example or maybe one with another year on it; perhaps right now this vintage is stuck in that 'awkward teenage puberty' phase. :P

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Photo of Meathead27
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!

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Photo of portia99
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This bottle was given to me about 5 years ago, and it was old then. This is probably the oldest bottle I have ever opened...bottled on Nov 15, 2002. Let's see how this one holds up over a really long period of time.

A - A slight whisper of carbonation upon opening the bottle...shows equivalent life on the pour with hints of carbonation remaining, very small, fine bubbles rise slowly through the body and leave a faint ring at the edge of the glass. Body is a muddy brown color with some traces of yeast from the bottom of the bottle making its way into the glass.

S - Really heavy on caramel and toffee aromas. Smells sweet and sugary overall. Well noticeable alcohol present in the aroma as well. Faintly buttery too and a trace of cola. No hops whatsoever...pretty much as expected. Oxidation is quite minor as well...really can only find it because I am looking for it and expecting to find it in a bottle of this age.

T - Quite sweet with an abundance of sugars in numerous varieties. Caramel and toffee, some nice vanilla, mild oxidation/cardboard, minor alcohol contribution.

M - Almost entirely still which brings down the overall feel significantly. Feels a bit thin, lightly boozy and warm but pretty well contained.

O - Actually held up quite well. Hops are totally gone but not a surprise given the age. Very nice barleywine, reminds me a bit of some of the Gratitude vintage bottles, but not quite up to that level.

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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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