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Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
1,909 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: 1,909 |  Reviews: 1,116
Photo of MrIncognito
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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%
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 -1.2%
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 +13.6%
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 +3.7%
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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Photo of mtbbaboon
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was in the mood for a barleywine, so I picked up a six pack of this one, having been so pleased with Victory's products so far. Appearance is a dark caramel color. Not much of a head to speak of and little lacing. Leaves a very thin ring around the glass, but otherwise the glass stays clean. Smells malty sweet with a noticable hop presence. Not a real powerful aroma, but nicely balanced between hops and malt. A slight hint of alcohol in the smell. The taste is a lot stronger than the aroma. Real heavy on the malt, with some fruit and hops coming through. I also taste of a bit of smokiness, and some bitterness rounds out the taste. The alcohol is there in the taste, as it should be in an 11% beer. A medium to heavy mouthfeel that leaves a fair amount of stick in the mouth. This is very drinkable, but it's definitely a sipping beer. I was in the mood for a barleywine, and this one is certainly doing the job. No doubt I'd be happy to buy more of this.

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Photo of JToad
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark mahogony into my Michelob Celebrate chalice. Virtually no head, thin white line of lacing. It's a little cold, so Ill let it warm before reviewing.

Smells of dark candied fruit. Light hint of almost perfume, slight tobacco.

Tastes of heavy malt, sweet candy on the sides. Some sharp bitterness down the center of the tongue. Alchohol is very noticable, providing the sharpness. Some Hops are there, but masked with all of the other flavors going on. Nice and viscous, but not as thick as some of the other barleywines out there, which would add to the drinkability. Definetely not as sweet as others also.

Could be confused as an American strong ale, similar to Double Bastard. I can certainly tell the 11% abv. Starting to warm up inside. Im having this for lunch...not with lunch, just for lunch. All in all,. this is a pretty solid beer. Not sure how it holds up to all the other barleywines, but its a good beer nontheless. Would definetely drink again!

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Photo of Buebie
2.62/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a 120z brown bottle into a tulip. 2 fingers of fomay off white head quickly receed to a thin layer of retention and thin spotty lace.
This is very transparent with a redish copper color and lots of un attractive floaties.

Aroma is sweet with a floral citrussy hop profile, a good amount of malt and bready yeasty aromas. The aroma is pretty laid back for a barley wine though, so far I'm not impressed. No alcahol at the knose, which is a good attribute.

This is pretty creamy with a carbonation zing to the tounge, slick hop oil like feel.
Its super sweet up front, and them wam! Tates like cotton candy...wtf?
Theres some cherry like flavors and more sweetness. At the swallow it becomes a bit more bitter, to an almost un appealing bitter rotten cheese flavor, mixing with hot alcahol solvent flavors. Some hops stick it out, but are overtaken with alcahol solvent.

I was able to get through half the glass, but now its a drainpour.
This is not good. I'm glad I only bought a single bottle. Do not recommend.

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Photo of babydoctor
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, deep caramel-amber with light tan head. Nice head considering how cold this was. Above average retention, lots of lace.

S: Not much, mostly malty sweetness with a hint of citrus. Maybe its too cold. Will give it some time to warm up before tasting.
*** Now that it warm, lots of alcohol and a bit more floral.

T/M: Sweet and malty, with more hops than I expected. The creamy malty flavor helps balance a significant amount of alcoholic heat. Mild spice, minimal fruit. I agree with above reviewers that this beer would likely age well, and lend even more balance. Expected more body from a barleywine, but it's not thin by any means.

D: As it's winter, this really hits the spot. I'm still getting used to Barleywine styles that are so heavy on the hops. Not that I don't appreciate it.

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Photo of ajr24
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of having this beer on site at Victory not too long ago. This is a hearty looking brew; amber body with waves of fluctuating orange when held up to the light. Also notable are its reddish hues. The head starts its journey into the glass quite strong but surrenders into a frothy white sheet that shelters the goodness below. A tiny bit of lacing at first, but in the long run it doesn't stick around for long. The smell is pretty floral and biscuity at first but then the astringency of the alcohol reveals itself. The appearance and smell guarantees permission for this beer to enter your sacred tasting chamber where there will be no contrition- it's flavor galore! This beer offers an amicable yet frenzied blend of toffee, caramel and you guessed it- barley! The mouthfeel is quite lively and untiring, but definitely not cringe-worthy. Drinkability in regard to barleywines is sort of an oxymoron. This would be perfect to commence or complete the evening.

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Photo of dqderrick
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish orange. 1/4" white head seems to dissipate fairly quickly. Very clear, no particles. No lacing. Suds seem to fall back into beer along the glass. Carbonation seems a little low only in that I can't see bubbles forming in beer. 5 minutes after pour, no more head and barely any sign of carbonation. Swirling brings a few hundred bubbles to life within the brew but quickly dissipates.

Smells like a delicious barley wine. It smells sweet and I don't pick up any obvious hops. I'm having a hard time picking out specific smells but I detect some fruit... apples maybe. Some spice smell I can't place.

Tastes as I'd expect. Exceptionally easy to drink. It has a great balance of sweet and bitter with a little alcohol burn but just barely enough to note. It leaves a lingering bitter flavor on the center of my tongue after each swallow.

I could drink 3 or 4 12oz bottles. Extremely easy to drink.

I bought a 6 pack with intentions of drinking 1 or 2 and then aging the rest. I'm new to aged Barley Wines so I'm not sure what to expect. I've had experience with aged Stone IRS but that's about it... but it was enough to peak my interest.

I'm pretty sure I've had better Barley Wines... (Stone), but this was brewed amazingly well.

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Photo of TheMistler
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice orange / amber, with a light-khaki-colored head. Delayed effervescence, bubbly. Not much in the way of retention or lacing

Whiffs of [boozy] prune juice. Apples. Some spice, and grassiness.

Juicy taste, too. Prunes. Maple syrup flavor is hinted at towards the end. Alcohol warming, as well as some white pepper and medicinal notes. The ABV might not be "hidden," but the alcohol plays a nice role in the flavor. Some citrusy hop bittering.

Fairly thick and creamy. A very nice sipper.

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Photo of Finkel
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out, it looked a lot like apple cider topped with some frothy, substantial head. Simple, but nice looking.

I was definitely a bit confused to find that this one had no real aromatic presence. A small amount of hops and a grainy smell came through backed by a bit of a sweet background. I could tell that this beer was complex based off of the range in smells that came through, but I couldn't appreciate it as much as I would have liked...at least through my nose.

The flavors and tastes hit me like a brick and came as a total shock since the smell of it was so weak. A distinct sweet taste fluttered around before I even got a chance to think about it. Furthermore, hops were very apparent and were well hidden in the aromas that came through. Although I couldn't identify many specific flavors, this beer was very complex and very well made. The alcohol was also masked very well and hit me quite nicely.

The mouth feel was very nice as well. Each gulp turned to a velvety, warming sensation that made me want to dive into a world of tipsiness.

My first and certainly not last barleywine!

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Photo of droomyster
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber with a sticky tan head. A terrificly complex blend of aromas that span the entire hop spectrum, from citrus fruits to pine needs, with sweet malts in the background. Delicious flavor: comes out its cage with a blast of sweetness. Initially brown sugary before mellowing into toasted malts; the hops enter the game around the time of the swallow, and pleasantly linger and then mix with the sweetness and leave a magical impression. Heavy body with just the right amount of carbonation. A truly great beer.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wine glass. Not too much foam but it lasted quite awhile. Smells bright and hoppy, some subdued floral notes. Taste is nice - clean and balanced between caramel and citrus, with a bright finish. Extremely drinkable for an 11% beer

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I purchased a growler of this at the Victory Brewpub in Downingtown, PA and poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a deep amber color that is transparent only at the bottom. The head is tan and has great retention that leaves a ton of lacing.
Smell: The aroma is an upfront, in-your-face hop explosion of pine and grapefruit.
Taste: The dominate flavors are caramel and toffy that is downplayed by the warming booze. It is a bit brash, but enjoyable.
Mouthfeel: THe mouthfeel is very thick and smooth, but a bit stiff around the edges.
Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of jsp2
2.61/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Deep cherry caramel color with a thick head of foam. Slight sweet and fruity aroma mixed with hops. Intensely sweet taste with a hint of fruit and then an extreme bitter dryness. The bitterness is almost grating. The fruit is there but not in a good way, more like a cherry cough syrup way. Alcohol and bitterness are completely overwhelming.

I have a strong feeling this brew needs to be aged a year. The alcohol is very hot and dominant. Drinking the rest of this one is going to be a tough row to hoe.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Dark golden brown liquid with ruby highlights. Small creamy tan colored head of foam. Okay retention and okay lacing.

Big malty nose. Smells like buttered caramel. A little bit of brown sugar and vanilla. Slight hint of candied apricots. Very slight hint of earthy hops.

Nice caramel malts are out front. Hints of buttered bread with peach preserves. Toffee. Slight kiss of hops. Not prominent, though. Slight earthy spiciness.

Fairly light bodied for a barleywine style, I think. But, maybee that's just me. It is smooth and creamy, though, and that's a plus.

This one is very drinkable, IMO. Grab a case and come on by. Let's see how many we can drink.

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

This one's a couple of years old. Bottle is dated best by Dec 29, 2011.

A: Dark reddish brown. Pours with a nice one inch head but it disappears fairly quickly. Some nice lacing.

S: Citrusy, some medicinal/herbal aromas from the aged hops. Caramel malt

T/M: Nice sweet caramel malt. Some hoppy bitterness. Less citrus taste than the smell, but some grapefruit flavors are there. Mouthfeel is nice a full-bodied.

D: Surprisingly drinkable given the abv and intensity.

Overall, this one has aged relatively nicely. Not an exceptional barleywine but above average and quite tasty.

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Photo of Domingo
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one's a pretty deep red tinted brown with a khaki head that's bigger than I expected. Carbonation on this brew holds up really well for an 11% item.
Smells like brandy, stonefruit, and hops.
The initial flavors up-front are sweet and juicy, but the finish is all grapefruit hops. The caramel-like maltiness and nice...but it forms an almost nondescript sweetness that really doesn't stand out. The hops come on hard in the middle and finish and stand out a little much for me. It just feels like booze and hops with very little in between and not much blending.
One bottle is more than enough for me, and I like the style.
I think I'd rather have had a little less hops and a malt-base with more flavor than just sugary sweetness.
Not bad, but where Victory tends to be spot on for my preferences, this one misses a little.

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

What may be my first gusher :( Aggressive but not overly so overflowed my Duvel tulip. A purplish amber beer (but lighter and clearer than some other Barleywines I've had). Good carbonation all around, a steady stream of bubbles rising from the center of the glass (is this that laser etching in the Duvel tulip? I've not seen it until now!) Billowy head leaves some nice lacing. Smells like peaches and cream, and other sweet fruit like strawberries (and all I have in my head now is that Berries and Cream commercial with the dancing midget man, it won't get out of my head!) from all accounts this is going to be a big sweet barleywine. All of my other senses are set up, gogo taste!

It almost seems like a rye taste from this. A very hoppy barleywine. This is a tale of two beers: at first, it reminds me of that berry flavored cereal I used to eat (berry flavored Kix?) Berry sweetness like in the mouth, just a little more tempored. Then the hoppiness kicks in. I'm not normally a fan of really hoppy beers, and this is probably the hoppiest barleywine I've had so far (albeit in a Small Sample Size), but that doesn't deter me at all. It doesn't really seem balancing, as the hops clear the sweetness off the palate and then some. But it's quite enjoyable. Mouthfeel is nice and coating, big and creamy, and the aftertaste is some residual sweetness mixed with some nice hops. Drinkability isn't at all hindered by the high ABV, moreso by the bitterness. But it's still drinkable. I'm not sure if this style or the others I have tasted are the norm, but I really can't argue with either method. Big malt bomb sweetness with big hops, works for me!

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

Pours a clear reddish copper with virtually zero head. What bubbles do appear quickly disappear into a ring on the edge. Although barleywines are not the most impressive looking of brews, this one was average. The aroma is a bit weak in this beer. It is slightly astringent with just a faint fruit aroma. The hops that I expect in an American Barleywine is lacking in the aroma and flavor. However, I like the taste of this one. Slightly fruity with the hop bitterness in the finish. The alcohol is well masked and just slightly warming lending no flavor to the beer. The body is not that full but has a nice soft, creamy texture. Despite the high ABV, I upped the drinkability score. I think this is the perfect introductory to barleywines. It it was mine, I might have explored this style more. This beer can easily make one horizontal.

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

Beautiful cloudy rose with a two-finger creamy head that drops down to maintain a slight cover. Inviting nose of sweet and floral doesn't hint at its 11% alcohol content. It has a rich malty mouthfeel with a sour finish to go with the bitter. A little too sour but it might be part of its alcohol masking quality or a brandywine in general. A mild warming feel might be the only real clue as to its potency.

The carbonation knocks down the drinkability a bit but doesn't hurt it as a sipping beer. That's probably a good thing in the long run as you could end up horizontal pretty quickly with a few of these brews catching up to you.

UPDATE: If you allow it to warm up, the alcohol does leak through into the taste a bit more. That's probably true with anything, of course. Just spend time your drinking and not typing up reviews and forum posts!

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Photo of Keith238
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Cream colored head dissipates quickly as does the thin lacing. The color however is a medium caramel, reminiscent of bourbon.

S- Slightly astringent yet very malty aroma.

T- Again, very malty and smooth with less astringency than the smell. Strong caramel flavor from malt.

M/D- Not too effervescent, nor too heavy on the malt but it is sweet.

At 11% abv, I wouldn't recommend drinking more than 2 or 3 in a sitting but the drinkability is there if the tolerance isn't.

One of many great beers from Victory, be sure to grab a 6'er.

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Photo of rowew
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, dark label with a sleeping moon. Enjoy by Dec 5 2013, this just showed up at the stores so I assume it is this years vintage.

Appearance: Deep red, slight haze - thin head that fades quickly.

Smell: Dark fruit, a bit of vanilla. Some alcohol in there too.

Taste: The alcohol in this is surprisingly well hidden, with just a hint of it in the back of the throat. Depth of flavors is good, with some of the same dark fruit, a bit of molasses, some oaky vanilla. The hops are very subtle here.

Overall impression: Great barleywine - less hopped than a lot of American examples, so the other flavors really shine through.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 1,909 ratings
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