Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,904 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

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Ratings: 1,904 |  Reviews: 1,114
Photo of bigkahunas4
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Body was a glistening ruby, with wood redwood accents. Head came out quite large for what my snifter normally yields, about a finger and a half. Dissipates fairly quickly, settling on a leathery film. Decent lacing.

Aromas are quite rich. There is a base of honey with hints of apple spice and a bit of alcohol. The nose really eludes a thick mouthfeel. Sure enoughy, a very smooth, but creamy body upon entering my mouth. Flavors are of sweet honey, dark fruits, big caramel, and some slight alcohol. I say slight, because the 11% is very well masked. Finish is slightly bitter to keep it in check, but this one never really was too sweet to begin with. I really enjoy this flavor. Finish is smooth.

Very impressed with this. Perhaps my favorite example of an American BWine. Goes down super smooth with a very mild alcohol bitterness. Seek this out!

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz fresh bottle poured into a snifter late at night.

A- Old Horizontal gives off a bright ruby red appearence that almost glows in sight. A bit of light brown spots in between with slow rising bubbles probably from the thickness of the liquid. Initially the pattern on thin bubbled head resembled a star, quite nice. No lacing to be seen.

S- This gives off a strong whiff of hot alcohol along with a bunch of sweetning malts and some bittering hops. Some floral essence and citrus fruit variety presense. Good dose of caramel from the malt.

T- A bunch of the caramel/toffee like flavor from the malt along with a nice hop punch coming off only lightly bitter. A lot of heat & alcohol but that's expected from this freshie. A lot of bready qualities plus some citrus flavor from the hops. Getting just a hint of fruit such as apple. A solid barleywine.

M- The heat is on in this 11%er and there is no way to get around it. A full bodied thick feel and the sweet factors make for a slow sipper while a warming sensation comes from the heat. Low carbonation which is on par for the style. Take your time with this.

D- Only one for me once a month in the winter for me from now on. I'm sure this has great aging ability and will find some room for some. A slow sipper but even with the heat this was a treat to drink. A bit aggressive on first sips but this mellows with warming. A great american barleywine "style" ale.

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Photo of NoLiberty
3.32/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A relatively fresh bottle, about only 3 weeks old. Pours into my Garre tasting glass and froths up a thick but low head, maybe only 1 finger deep. Color is a nice rich deep cherry-chestnut red. Very clear with only subtle carbonation. Head settles into almost nothing with little to no lacing reaching up the glass.

Aroma is light but nice. Deep down flavors of piney hop, deep raisiny malt and a warming alcohol nose that brings it all together into the magical elixir smell that borders on a freshly opened bottle of wine.

The taste starts with warming alcohol up front that leads into a biscuity middle, raisin back and spicy hop finish that's accentuated by an alcohol end and relatively flat finish. Overall a little underwhelming on the flavor front - not BAD flavors just nothing standout. Alcohol dominates with hops the spike the flavor profile up around the middle and finishes with a touch of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, still soft and refreshing. Clean and relatively light bodied. Not a bad beer and something I might keep a few of around to share with the roommates.

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Photo of u2carew
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(A) Pours with a nice head. Clear reddish brown.
(S) Slight yeast scent. Mild hop aroma with floral notes.
(T) Rich, malty sweetness, lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.
(M) Full bodied, crisp. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.
(D) Rich flavor is pleasing. The 11% is barely noticeable in this brew.

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Photo of drtth
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly chilled and poured into Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Bottled in Dec of 08 as bottle is freshness dated 5 Dec 13. Reviewed 2 Mar. 09.

Appearance: Deep brown with a trace of red. A ½ inch tan head dissipates leaving behind some irregular lacing and ring of foam around glass with faint film of foam on surface.

Smell: Rich caramel malt smell with definite touches of fruit (raisin or plum), alcohol and some grapefruit from the hops.

Taste: Mild hop grapefruit bitterness dominated by rich caramel malt, hints of fruit (raisin) and some alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a dry finish that goes from malt to bitter and slowly disappears. Good carbonation

Drinkability: This is an excellent barleywine and very enjoyable, but I'll drink no more than one to finish off the night because of its strength. Three-four months is not really enough bottle age for this one. Looking forward to having another in 3 mos or so.

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Photo of cracgor
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a brown but translucent beer with a nice tan frothy head that leaves a little lace. Maybe one of the smoother tasting barleywines I have ever tried. It hides the 10.5% alcohol very well. The beer has a lot of fruit tones that overshadow any hop bitterness. Smells the same. A great beer worth adding to your winter rotation if it isn't there already.

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy orange/amber color with a 3/4" sudsy cream colored head. The head slowly dropped but never disappeared completely, leaving a nice cap and some decent lace down the glass.

S= Aromas of caramel malt, faint vanilla, and a grainy/fruity mix that blends nicely with the alcohol.

T= Like the aroma, the up front flavors were all caramel malt sweetness followed by a modest blend of brown sugar, vanilla, wood, and some mild fruity esters. The hops were earthy and had a dry leaf character. The finish was fairly dry and full of alcohol warmth.

MF= Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and slick mouth feel. Very warming in the throat and chest.

D= I liked this beer a lot. Very drinkable despite the big ABV. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old horizontal pours a somewhat hazy ruby brown with a khaki head the settles to a foamy collar. Smells fairly fruity and heavily hopped. Alcohol plays a supporting role as well and influences the sweet fruity notes of pear and apple. Hops provide a nice citrus cent of grapefruit.

The taste is slightly less complex with the hops taking a larger role and the fruity sweetness hiding. Of course this is a very fresh bottle aged only a couple months. I'd expect a deeper flavor in a year or two should you have the patience. Alcohol has a strong presence on the finish that nearly packs too much of a punch. You can certainly feel the heat on the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is medium with a soft carbonation. The heat and hops are a lot to handle. Personal preference would lead me to hide this away in the cellar.

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Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany color with a thin tan head. The nose has sweet malts and bitter hops. The taste is also fairly sweet and well balanced by the piney hops. Medium to full body is well carbonated. Drinks easy for such a big beer. Another quality brew from Victory.

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Photo of SeanRedd
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its dark amber, blood red, pleistocene sap. Light rocky range of head at one, isolated range clinging to the side of the wide mouth. Aroma of light raisin, custard, and fig. Soft and juicy on first sip, moderate boozey center with a dry, tanniny finish. Excellent sweet malt foundation, brown sugar at times and alcoholic caramel. Well balanced, with spicy notes atop toffee. Sugary syrups cling to the tongue like saran wrap. A smooth wine with a well disguised ABV.

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

Pours a reddish brown color with fleeting head. Has a sweet aroma of dark cherries and various dark fruits occurring alongside spices. Light in taste but very enjoyable. Notes of sweet wine give way to black cherries intercepted by grapes and finish with a dry oily sensation. Light in body as well as carbonation that tickles the tongue like a champagne. A delicate drink that hides its alcohol very well...almost too well. A real charmer that packs a punch.

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Photo of jeff2486
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer on tap at David Copperfield's in NYC.

This is a nice strong barleywine. Good color and decent head. The flavor is excellent and for 11% alcohol it is a very drinkable brew. Instead of the goblet that I was supposed to get it in I received a 16 ounce glass. I wasn't complaining, and although this was a strong one I didn't mind drinking it down.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barleywine is a style I tend to overlook, but I didn't overlook Old Horizontal on my last beer run. Single 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Ruby amber in color, the head is small, makes a fizzying noise, and has half-decent retention before it drops into a thin sheet. Pretty color though. Faint cough syrup, fruit punch, toasted malt... it really doesn't have a strong scent to it. Very strong with the booze at first impression. Phenolic (band-aid like) with a big slap of booze on the palate. Sticky, sugary, esters and a whisper of cough syrup follow through. Once past the alcohol, it's quite pleasing. The phenolic flavor is working in its favor for me. It starts to hint flavors of pine and tree sap, complimenting the sweet fruity esters and punch. Viscous in the mouth, but still goes down without a major hitch. ...that alcohol is starting to tingle my tummy.

A complex, yet mellow barleywine from Victory. I wonder how this one ages...

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Piraat glass.

Appears ruby red with a half inch off-white head that sinks to a skim fairly quickly. It can easily be revived with a nice swirl though. Not much in the way of lacing.

Aroma is very caramel forward with a bit of raisiny complexity. Citrus hops are definitely present and blend quite well with the malt.

Taste is caramelly up front with the fruitiness coming in next though it doesn't really seem much like raisins anymore. More like cherry perhaps. The hops are much more present in the taste and the citrusy bitterness is quite intense with some peppery, spicy alcohol also taking a prominent role towards the end.

Mouthfeel is meidum-full, pretty creamy carbonation, but it's slightly harsh towards the finish.

Barleywines aren't really my favorite style but this one was pretty good. Wouldn't necessarily get it again but it was a good example of one.

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Photo of Deuane
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2005 vintage bottle at Corvette Bar in Annville. Thanks to Todd for my birthday beer!

A-Slightly hazed deep amber with a thin tan head that held on until it finally reduced to a thin film. Spotty, webby lace left behind.

S-Very complex caramel malt with notes of dark fruit, toffee, spicy hops, turbinado and a touch of alcohol burn. A very lovely and head scratching brew....the more you sniff the more you discover!

T-A whirlwind of complexity. Much as in the aroma but to me the flavours fight too much and you cannot begin to appreciate all of the flavours present. I like the brown sugar, darkfruit, spicy hop profile overlying the deep, boozy malt profile. But I have to admit maybe my olfactory is more sensitive than my palate for as much as I enjoyed this brew the flavours became muddled....maybe the alcohol numbed my tongue!

M-Full bodied, thick, rich and chewy. A viscous feel with pelnty of substance. Long lasting flavours make this a treat to imbibe.

D-Despite the ABV and four years of aging this one has held up well. A flavourful, complex and well made brew. I am sure a vertical tasting of OH would open multiple windows into the world of how beers mature. I know that this four year old version was drinking mighty fine. Funny how you seem to ignore the gems in your own backyard!

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Photo of CMW
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep brown with amber hihlights when held up to the light. A small off-white head fomrs but retention is minimal. There is a good amount of lacing and carbonation.

S - Full of dark fruit and malt. There is also a good hop presence that you would expect with American Barleywines.

T - Dark fruits balanced out with just the right amount of malt. There is plenty of hops but they do no form a bitter finish. Nice warming from the alcohol.

M - A little thin for my tastes, but still decent.

D - I will probably not have more than one of these at a sitting, but the first goes down easily.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005 bottle into snifter on 2/10/09. Thanks to FooFaa for the hook-up!

A - Poured a cloudy burnt reddish-brown with plenty of chunky sediment suspended within and a slim beige head that transformed into a patchy film and left sparse lacing. There is a decent amount of carbonation present for such an old bottle.

S - Complex aroma with plenty of caramel and toffee sweetness as well as hints of earthy and piney hops, rum, dark fruit and burnt sugar. And that's just scratching the surface. There is definitely a lot going on with this brew. Aroma becomes quite boozy as the liquid warmed up.

T - This barleywine is simply brimming with character and boasts a complex and varied patchwork of sweet, bitter and sour flavors. Rich caramel and toffee sweetness dominate the overall flavor, with plenty of dark fruit reminiscent of figs, plums and apricots. This actually reminds me of a tawny port. Surprisingly, a pretty substantial earthy hop character still persists, especially given the age of the brew. Finishes with a bit of sticky, sappy pine and a sweet and sour pear and apple skin character.

M - Full-bodied and chewy, Old Horizontal exhibits a thick, syrupy mouthfeel with a warming alcohol presence and quite a bit of carbonation resulting in a fair amount of prickle. Finish is bittersweet with plenty of hop bitterness on the palate and a residual sweetness that is sticky to the last.

D - Drinkability is pretty solid for a barleywine. I can be hit or miss with this style, but Old Horizontal is a fine American Barleywine. This one held up extremely well over the last few years. I was really surprised by how well the hop character sustained. Overall, this is an excellent example of the style and certainly one of the benchmark American Barleywines out there.

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Photo of Tolnik
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into a pint glass. The foam that came from pouring this beer was small, but expected, amount. The coloration of the beer is that of deep royal red tones. Great aroma hits the nose as this bottle is opened. It is that of sweet yeast, nutmegs, cloves and a bit of coliander. The taste follows suit but also has a bit of a bread taste to it as well. Overall a great beer to enjoy from Victory.

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Photo of FrothyBeverage
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a rich dark mohangany color with a reddish hue. Minimal head and soapy lace. I like the artwork on the bottle, a beer that can put the moon to sleep is strong enough for me. This beer has an amazing smell, i have a stuffy nose and still consider this a very strong aroma. The smell is very sweet and yeasty with suttle hints of nutmeg and cloves. It has a very bready taste but is considerably mellow even with the high alchol content. The mouthfeel is very smooth and leaves a tingle in my throat. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I recomend this beer if you want a nice buzz but only have time for one beer.

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Photo of discovolante65
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay chalice. Nice reddish-brown color, little cloudy, little bit chunky. I am always aggressive with the pour, so I got a nice soapy head for all of about a minute which turned to thin lacing around the top. really nice lacing!

Smell is sweet malts, candy apples, maybe pears. Like a bag of pectin jelly beans. overripe fruit. little bit of alcohol presence in the nose as well.

Taste is exquisite! I love barleywine, this is one of the reasons why. Big, complex mix of flavors. I get overripe pears, cherries, barley, buttery-toffee flavor with a little hops and a slight bit of alcohol on the end. I cannot get enough of this, but at 11% ABV, 12oz will be enough.

Mouthfeel is perfect for a barleywine. Smooth, but not too thick, great amount of carbonation and lingering.

Drinkability is scary. I could convince myself to have another one, or drink this one entirely too fast. It has been the perfect weather in NE lately for this style and I am not wasting any chances to enjoy it.

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler

A - Dark brown body with reddish hues with a moderate carbonation beneath a 2-finger khaki head that is sticky and lacy. Head lasts for a few minutes and settles to a nice lace on top and leaves great lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet malts up front with some dark rum-soaked fruits in the back. Slightly grape-like in the nose with alcohol being quite noticable.

T&M - A mix of hops and dark malts right up front followed by the alcohol and ends up slightly sweet. I get hints of concord grapes and other dark fruits with plenty of alcohol chasing them. Surprisingly smooth and slick for the ABV with just the right amount of carbonation.

D - I liked this alot more than I thought I would. Highly alcoholic but dangerously drinkable. A sipper for sure and it'll warm you right up. When I finished the brew I thought I had drank some brandy.

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Photo of kshankar
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep copper with a whitish head. Retention left a lot to be desired, went down pretty quick, but looked nice while it was there. Recedes to a layer of foam at the top. Color is great though.

Aroma: Hops was the first thing I got from this. Also sweet malts.

Taste: Starts out with the malts, then the hops enter. The hops are part of the finish, and is much stronger than the aroma would suggest (a good thing)

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation, goes down well.

Drinkability: 11% is really high. Otherwise it tastes good and has a good mouthfeel.

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Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A deep brown color...you can decide between caramel or copper...because I can't...I'd say about a centimeter of head when poured which disappeared after the first sip

S - Sweet smelling malts...a hint of hops throughout the nose...not in big doses

T - Very rich and sweet malt flavor...i like it...once again the hops are mixed in and out of the malts...the hop bitterness comes in at the end

M - Coats the palate nicely

D - At 11% I could do two of these in a night...the warming sensation you get is great...good beer...of course because it's from Victory

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Photo of bowersdm
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. The beer displays a best by date of 12-5-13. I'm guessing that it's a five year BB date, so this a pretty fresh beer.

A - I couldn't think of a good color to describe what I saw, so I did peek at other reviews looking for a word. Based off of the review of someone else, I have come to the conclusion that this beer was: deep mahogany. It had no head, which hurts its appearance rating, but is a good indicator that it is undercarbonated, which is something that I prefer in barleywines.

S - the first thing that I notice is the hops: there's a floral, grapefruit/citrus and spicy note to them. Then caramel malt and a sweetness that gives this beer a vinous quality. I can't figure out what fruit it is, but I know its fruit.

T - very sweet caramel malt and fruit flavor, then the same grapefruit/citrus, spicy hops that were present in the nose. The hops become more aggressive upon warming, but they beer still retains a very nice balance.

M - undercarbonated, which means perfect for a barleywine.

D - this is a very good barleywine. It's about the same price as Bigfoot, so I'd probably go with the Bigfoot if I'm feeling a barleywine, but this would be a close second.

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Photo of erikm25
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Appearance is a rich crimson mahogany. Decent off white head after an aggressive pour. Disappears quickly leaving that sweet darkened candy colored body. I really enjoy the color of barleywines especially with the various reddish and amber hues.

S: Sweet candied bread with apple peel aromas. There is a bit of hops fragrance throughout. The smell is very heavy and subtle like baked bread. Not quite as sharp as some others I have tried.

T: After letting this warm up a bit it drinks very smoothly and sweetly. Creamy caramel and cherry flavors. A dash of spice and hops to help sharpen across the tongue. Vanilla and malts make this one incredibly balanced but the alcohol still shows up to greet the tastebuds.

M: Medium body with nice carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and I could see how a couple of these could creep up with the ABV. Bottle indicates to enjoy by 12/18/2013. I probably will grab another for aging purposes. I am not able to try a lot from Victory (being on the other side of the country). But from the few I have tried I can see why people in the northeast, and elsewhere, give this brewery such impressive reviews.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,904 ratings.
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