Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
1,914 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: 1,914 |  Reviews: 1,118
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This 09 vintage poured a orange color with big white head. Looked very good

S: Caramel, pine and floral

T: Caramel, raisins and brown sugar followed by a dose of hops

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D: Good barleywine overall. Very good draft

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Photo of nhindian
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Perfect Pint

A - Pours a nice, deep golden color and builds a magnificent 2.5 finger head that lasts forever considering the ABV of this. Great lacing, a bit muddied that clears up a bit after drinking for a while and can see some carbonation.

S - Smells strongly of fruit, berries, sweet malts, some figs, and a bit of hops. Very sweet smelling with a hint of alcohol behind the sugary goodness. Smells a bit of spiced rum.

T - First impressions of the taste are a bit fruity up front, then a bit too much bitterness and alcohol for my taste. This beer may benefit from a bit of cellaring because as of now its a bit too hot. Sweetness comes in at the end and is a bit overpowering as at that point there's not much to counteract it. Enjoyable at first but tough to down the more I drank.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and has a lot of carbonation.

D - Drinkability isn't too good as there isn't much of a balance to this one. Too fruity up front, then too alcoholic, then too sugary. Hopefully some time will improve this beer as right now it's not very enjoyable.

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Photo of velosuds
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Enjoy by Nov 23 2014. Purchased from John's Market for $2.59.

A-Pours a very pleasing burnt-orange amber with a one finger+, creamy tan head that recedes quickly leaving very little lacing.

S-Malty fruit, like figs. Rum and grapefruit hops. This is the hoppiest barleywine I have had.

T-This is surprisingly bitter from too much hops for the style. Actually, there are DIPAs with > 10% ABV that could benefit from the hops in this brew because they are too much like barleywines. Label says, "Brewed of pure barley, rich and sweet, one of nature's truest treats." Oh, how I believe this and wanted this beer to be so, but where is the sweetness? Far too bitter for style. Everything best about this style is present, but only in the background and obstructed by too much hop bitterness. I am a dedicated hophead, but this is not pleasant or balanced. Did improve as it warmed.

M-Full and appropriate for style, but difficult to appreciate from too much bitterness.

D-No thanks. Won't drink this again. Victory has been a mixed bag for me. Can't help but wonder if the brewery has slipped downward.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Bottle was 9 months old.

Pours a moderate copper brown with a very alight head that quickly receded. Nose brought sweet dark fruits, caramel, and a bit of citrus. Taste was mostly sweet malt with some booze. Mild fruit throughout. No specifics really detectable. Medium body and a bit boozy. Drinks pretty well at this age bit it could definitely use a bit longer.

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Photo of mothman
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by Dec 5, 2013. I Think this has at a year or two on it.

Poured into stone old guardian glass.

Pours a light layer of white head. Decent retention at a ring. Color is a slight hazed golden copper.

Aroma: I instantly get a roasted grainy cereal from this beer. It is pretty good. Has a lot of malt flavor going on with some dried fruits. However, the main thing I am picking up is the grains.

Taste: Again, I get a cereal grain taste from this beer. It is good, but it tastes different from other bwines I have had. It does have some caramel and toffee malt flavors with hints of dark fruit. Maybe some dried apples and raisins. Decent.

Mouthfeel: Warming, smooth, and crisp. A medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry and malty.

Overall, I think I liked the cereal grain flavor in this beer the most. It was good, but something seemed off with it. It reminded me of NG Imp Stout (grain-wise). Decent drinkability.

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Photo of thecarster1
1.86/5  rDev -54.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a- bottle poured into a tulip, full finger of tan head fades pretty quickly, dee pchesnut color.

s- dark fruit, slight hop hit, brown sugar, raisins, strong nose here.

t- strong, raisins, dark fruit, too much, medicinal, not my style, this is a strong one.

m- thick, syrupy.

d- not good, sorry to say that i'm not a fan of barleywines in general, but didn't like this one, i'll stick to the hops.

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Photo of BeerShirts
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Brown/copper in color, thick and fast rising head on the pour that seems to linger for a while

S- As soon as the top was popped I had a strong sweet fruit smell, when studied further you get a Tangerine and lemon mix with a sugary caramel like smell too and a bit of alcohol in the background.

T- strong sweet and roasted flavor. almost overwhelming at first it quickly dies down to a amazing blend of dark fruit, caramel, and barley. Not a strong taste of the Alcohol really with so much other stuff going on.

M- for the amount of head it is a lot less carbonation in the mouthfeel then I expected, goes down VERY smooth.

D- DANGEROUS beer right here in the best of ways. it goes down so smooth that it would not take much to drink 2-3 of them and by that point you would be gone..

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Photo of GRPunk
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap served in a tulip. Reviewed from notes.

A- Murky brown body with about 1-finger head that left good sticky spots on the glass.

S- Sweet caramel and whiskey characteristics balanced by significant hopping.

T- Sweet up front with a dry, hoppy finish.

M- Viscus with medium carbonation and a hoppy bite. Warming alcohol.

D- It's a definite sipper. Even moreso, because it came across as a little alcoholish.

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Photo of vkv822
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a very cloudy orange hued amber color with a thin, toffee colored head that dissipates fairly quickly. There is quite a noticeable amount of yeast suspended throughout.

The nose isn't very strong, but consists of caramel malts, some dark fruits and faint boozy notes.

The flavor is of caramel and biscuity malts, with some dark fruit notes. The high ABV level is extremely well hidden.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a pleasant amount of carbonation and leaves a light syrupy coating.

While I enjoyed this barleywine there was nothing that stood out to me. In fact I feel as though the flavor and aroma was a bit muted. Though as it warmed the flavors did come a little more, though not much. The hidden ABV makes this quite a drinkable barleywine.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip aug24 2010

A hazy deep amber with a two finger tan that quickly falls to a thin film that leaves a couple patches of lace

S some caramels, plum, a little cherry and some mild booze

T not far from the smell but with a little more caramel and some brown sugar, not overly sweet however well within my limits of enjoyment, slightly nutty and the fruits are a little darker in the mouth

M fairly thick and syrupy and a little sticky on the lips and flavors linger for a while after its in your tummy, pretty good in this department

D for 11% this is quite easy to drink, well rounded in all areas when all's said and done this is a solid example of the style

2007 from my understanding and it's drinking quite well, I wish I had some more of these bad boys to age further but for now I'll have to thank irishkyle21 for sending me

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Photo of nickadams2
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Pours a dark ruby red. Almost blood red with a huge billowy beige head.Thick spotty lacing.

S_Sweet caramel malt,hops,and dark fruits.

T_Smooth caramel malt that's not overly sweet or cloying.Bitter slightly citric hops. Dark fruit,cherry,plum,and figs.A more balanced barley wine.

M_Thick and creamy. Coats the mouth.

D_Definite sipper.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery.
Served to me in a tulip glass with a finger width cap of frothy head. Ruby in color with good clarity. The smell gives away the strength instantly. Not a bad thing in this case. Notes of raisins, cherrys, and toffee malts. Palate is fresh and boozy. Fruit, licorice, and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy on the tongue without being chewy and the alcohol warms the throat. Delicious sipper brew. Never had it aged but it's very good fresh on tap.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Another VDubb recommendation. This one pours a translucent ruby garnet topped by about a finger of ecru foam. The nose comprises orange rind, ruby red grapefruit, rich toffee, spicy cinnamon, graham crackers, and some light flowers. The taste sharpens the fruits and heightens the flowers, creating a decently powerful hop-blast; behind that, the toffee finds a soul mate in the graham crackers and newcomer honey (let's just chalk it up to a stereotypical Mormon situation), and they settle down amidst the hop fields (so many columns...). The body is on the lighter side of heavy, with a light carbonation and a nearly chewy feel. Overall, a very nice American-style b-wine, a healthy sipper to warm up those chilly nights. Word.

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

Bottle aged from 2006. Pours an amber-brown colour with off-white head. Good head retention and lacing. Lots of caramel smell with some citrus and raisin. Flavour has some bitterness, but lots of sweetness. For some reason I've never tried this fresh and I'd like to try that to compare.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, medium amber-brown hue with plenty of haze. Head poured two fingers of light tan foam with a slight orange cast to it. Pretty good lookin'.

Smell: rich and heady. Sweet caramel malt aroma with light floral and fruity notes as well as a distinct citrus quality. I like that fact that the smell wafted to me the instant I opened the bottle ... there's plenty of aroma here to go around.

Taste: malt character is similar to the aroma, though with a little less citrus and a little more basic malt flavor. This beer is strong and you know it -- the alcohol is definitely present in the flavor. Hops aren't strong on the palate except for the bitterness present, of which there is plenty. Frankly, not my favorite barleywine, but not too bad.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body and carbonation. Syrupiness is right up there and creaminess abounds. Just the way I like it.

Drinkability: high ABV should denude this quality, but doesn't really. I like a smooth, strong beer like this, so drinkability will have to rank up with flavor for me.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12-ounce brown bottle poured into a snifter glass. "Enjoy by: Nov. 23 2014" is printed on the label. Served at cellar temperature, 54 degrees F.

Pours a mostly clear copper-amber color with just a tinge of haze. A small beige foam cap makes a brief appearance before dissipating and leaving this brew utterly headless. A swirl of the glass shows off some legs, demonstrating a nice bit of viscosity.

Smells beautifully of booze-soaked figs without much else, which is nothing negative. A wonderfully enticing aroma, reminiscent of a nice Scotch.

Rich and full-bodied, slick and a little oily, with a very mild level of carbonation in the mouthfeel. Sweet honeyed malt notes show themselves up front, melding toward the middle with notes of dried fig and crystallized ginger, with citrusy grapefruit and orange hop notes mingling; toward the rear the alcohol really begins to show itself, combining with the moderate bitterness from the hops to create a parching, dry finish with a lingering hint of fruit, citrus pith and alcohol.

This is not a beer destined for drinkability, and the name implies as much: this is certainly a nightcap brew, and after finishing off a bottle I'm certainly ready to get myself horizontal. Very nice overall, with an accessible complexity; certainly on the American side in overall character, but not overpowering in any one way as many stateside interpretations tend to be. One of the better Barleywines I've had in quite some time.

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3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 2009 batch.
12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep caramel body, head retreats quickly to a thin ring around glass.

S: The aroma is a sweet blend of malt that has notes of caramel, oak and honey. The aroma shows just how big of a beer this really is. A sweet aroma for a barleywine.

T/M: A slight hop balance, but mostly a malty barley. A bit crisp on the mouthfeel, but the boozy finish shows a hint of thick mouthfeel. A full bodied ale that is strong in caramel character.

D: A relativity drinkable barley, one that has good malt/hop balance, as well a great taste that has you coming back for more.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to HopHead101 for sending me this beer.

Bottled 12/3/04 and drank 7/14/10.

The beer pours a brown color with a white head. The aroma is toffee, oranges and leather. The flavor is toffee, chocolate, dirt and caramel. There is no alcohol presence. The beer is very mellow and shows no signs of oxidation. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was done after the beer started to warm up...

A- pours a dark brown with red hues when held up to the light; light tan 2 finger creamy head

S-a lot of dark brown sugar, green apple skin covered in dark rum; a little bit of dark fruit

T-very full grainy and earthy malt flavors; caramel and toffee, but not overly sweet; a little bit of dark fruits

M-nice full mouthfeel that was smooth and creamy with nice carbonation; lingering aftertaste was actually very pleasant with no harshness

D-I shared this growler with a friend, but two good size glasses of it are intense; the alcohol flavors are present and it's a very big beer

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Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of strong alcohol, strong hops, sweet malt, and slight dark citrus (raisin). Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong bitterness and slight dryness. Tastes of alcohol, hops, sweet malt, slight dark citrus, hint of earthy malt, and a hint of wood. Overall, a decent barleywine with good appearance and body.

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Photo of adamette
2.83/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as a single from Save-On Beverage & Tobacco in Mentor, Ohio for $2.13 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. "Enjoy by Nov 12 2014" stamped on the left under the "H" in the word "Horizontal."

A 3 to 4 inch head over a translucent but dark maroon body that glows a dark brown/orange in front of direct light. Kind of typical look for a Barleywine in my experience but compared to many other beers it looks good. 3.5

S Dark fruit malt with a moderately faint background of some bitter hops. I don't really like the smell of Barleywines but this is at least typical. 3.0

T Dark fruits and burn of alcohol in the front, bitter lingering taste nearer the aftertaste but also on the back of my tongue. I have to admit that I really do not like the taste of Barleywines as I find them too big, bitter, sweet (too much really) so this one delivers on all of those "in style" determinants but it is not very much to my liking. 3.0

M Big, syrupy, sticky, bitter, burn of alcohol. The feel of this beer is nothing if not big. Again here, appropriate (and typical) of the style but I do not think much more than that. 3.0

D Not good for me at all. It will be a struggle to finish this pint as it is just too hot, too big, too bitter. It reminds me of Sierra Nevada Big Foot for those reasons. Big Foot was another one that was a real chore to drink. 2.0

Notes: At least a fair Barleywine for every category except for drinkability for me but unfortunately it does not move beyond average for most of the categories. Some of my sentimental favorites come from Victory such as Prima Pils and Golden Monkey but this is not one of my favorites.

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Photo of mjgarrett2
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Dark and a bit opaque but not to dark for a barleywine. Good two finger-head and decent lacing.

S-Very enticing with herbal notes and spices that are remnant of the winter and Christmas holiday cooking.

T-Delicate on spices complimenting the malts that make up the body of the flavor. Considerable hit of hops at the end which is refreshing compared to other overly-sweet beers of this variety.

M-Nothing great, a bit foamy and doesn't fully encompass the pallet; tends to stagnate in one area of the taste buds.

D-Enjoyable, particularly on it's own due to it's nature as a large beer with complex flavours. Great in cold months.

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Photo of ReDave
3.03/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sorry but meh...

Pours a hazy orangish amber, red tint? nice head.
Not so lacy, head dissipates.

Aroma.. not much there...

Kinda boozy tasting... some hops, but ?
maybe a different kind? Some fruit prunes?

not a good after taste..

Hops gone....

Maybe an old bottle, [NO DATE!]
but Barely-wines usually age OK...

Hate to compare to Big Foot, but...
this was pretty expensive, shipped across the state, and well a 6 pack of Big foot, 9 bucks..

I'll not have this again, unless....

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Photo of pootz
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: cellared 1.5 yrs.

Decants a reddish brown lightly gazed, small sticky cap leaves quickly.

Aromas of musty citrus and toffee. After more than a year in cold cellaring the hops are not a sharp as a fresh sample but still have a solid citrus-peel presence but the vinous complexity of the malts and esters comes up...wonderful complexity that defies description as it changes every sip as the ale warms.

One of the best micro barley wines....hoppy, complex,.heady without the alcoholic burn to the tongue.

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Photo of Drew966
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Horizontal pours a light brown with a thick off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is a bit fruity and I can definitely smell some hops. Hops jump right out at me in the flavor, although they aren't completely overwhelming. There is a lot of malt too and some fruity flavors. Alcohol is there, but it doesn't overpower. Very nice.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 1,914 ratings