Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
Liked This Beer
4.05 w/ 1,906 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,906 |  Reviews: 1,115
Photo of shertz
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that was in a case dated best by Nov 15, 2012. I plan on cellaring a few of these till 2012, if I can resist. Poured into a snifter at 50 degrees.

A- Gives off a one-finger head. A dark orange/amber color quickly sucks the foam down.

S- Plums and alcohol. Has a sweet smell, but the alcohol is just overpowering my large nostrils.

T- That dark fruit(raisins,figs, plums), barleywine taste is perfect. Alcohol is very warming in the mouth. Can't really taste the hops, maybe still a little too cold. Note: hops came alive as it warmed.

M- Well carbonated, but very powerful and numbing.

D- These are meant for cold, winter nights and this fits the drinkability perfect in my book. Some would say that this has poor drinkability because of the alcohol, but that is the purpose and should be consumed slowly and deliberately. If you can't do that, then stay away from this beauty and leave it for me. I can imagine this one only getting better with time.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, slightly darker brown with a thin creme head. Airy and fruity nose that is a bit uneventful really. I'm not really getting much off of it. Great flavor profile. Nice rounded sweet tones. Hearty edge. Feel is smooth. Nice level of carbonation and good liquid body. This is very drinkable now. 3 to 7 years of age would make this very interesting I am thinking.

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Photo of Lothar666
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- An aggressive pour into a St. Bernardus goblet yielded a creamy, frothy two finger white head that threatened to overflow from the glass. This receeded to one finger rather quickly but remained for some time, set atop a body that was the color of dark oak. Despite the opaque brown color, bits of sediment were clearly visible on the bottom of my glass. Lacing on the sides once the head finally receeded were foamy and thick, lending an orange hue to the top of the body.

S- Spices and Strong fruit aromas dominate- apples, grapes, raisins, and figs perhaps.

T- Delicious sweet barley malts, Fragrant spices, Dark fruits, strong alcohol and a bit of hop bitterness in the finish make this a delightful and complex brew to sip on during the cold winter months.

M- Thick, syrupy and slightly chewy. A joy to swish and savor.

D- Drinkability is on the lower side due to the undisguised alcohol burn that comes in the finish. One of these in a session is extremely enjoyable, after that one is wise to switch to a less potent brew; I think I will grab a couple more of these and see what a couple years in the cellar does to mellow it out. This is not a beer to be underestimated.

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

Pours a hazy, medium-dark brown. Finger and half head and goes down to a thin ring later. Leaves no lacing on the glass.
Smells of malts, dark raisins/cherries and alcohol.
Tastes of malts and the dried fruits again upfront, some nice hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue and alcohol going down.
Mouthfeel is good, very smooth on the tongue.
It's drinkable in the sense that it tastes good to drink, but this isn't an all night drinker. It's a great night cap beer.
I will be getting more of this to age.

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

Poured from a 12oz.brown longneck bottle, with an "Enjoy by Nov.15 2012" date, a medium dark, slightly hazed red-amber, topped with a 1/4" ivory head. The head settles to a ring with an island.

Big malty nose upfront with some earthy hops lingering in the distance. As it warms a bit, give it a swirl and the head reforms larger than the pour and brings up some potent smelling phenols and malt aplenty.

The taste mirrors the smell...big malty brew with just enough hops to bring some balance, the finish is long and sweet that tapers off pleasantly.

Big body, almost chewy and plenty of alcohol to keep you from swillin the stuff. Smooth, creamish mouthfeel.

A tasty Barleywine that's right for the style and highly recommended.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005 version...
Appears a mild red toned amber with a small, light tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Light particles are held in suspension near the bottom of the glass.
Smell is of caramel, raisins, candied cherries, dark fruit, and brown sugar, and vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more standout sugary flavors and more complex than a new bottle of VOH.
Mouthfeel is smooth, sugary, with not much of an expected alcohol presence.

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Photo of Lupe
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled on November 18, 2003

Pours a murky deep orange-copper with golden highlights and no head.

Malty aromas of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, rum-raisins, and some alcohol.

Big and rich complex malt flavors - caramel malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, raisin, molasses, and rum. Hop bitterness is mild and herbal - can tell in a way that it has mellowed. Spicy alcohol is present and balances the sweet malts.

Full bodied, thick, heavy, creamy, and super smooth. Great mouthfeel. Easy to drink for the style and considering the higher abv. Goes down so smooth. Very nice.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle labled enjoy by Dec 29, 11. Purchased at Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Twp. NJ. Drank form a 13oz snifter.

Appearance: Deep copper to light brown color. Frothy off-white head fell to a nice film and left some lacing while doing so.

Smell: Malty. Caramel and . Some alcohol and faint hops in there as well.

Taste: Much hoppier than I was suspecting. Slighlty sweet in the beginning but quickly gave way to the bitter hops. Some alcohol warmth in the end.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and sticky. Also feel the mild warmth of the alcohol.

Drinkability: A nice drinkable barley wine that isn't overly sweet or alcoholic. My first sampling. I'd love to see what some aging does.

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

Enjoy by: Dec. 29 '11

Pours a brilliantly clear orange-ruby color with a billowing loose 2" beige (with just a light shade of orange) head. Visible sparse uprising fine carbonation. Sticky sheets and strands of lace all the way down.

Dark fruits and spiced rum linger over the creamy head. Nostril expanding hops ride the spicy wave into my senses. As it warms a bit, the molasses and figs really come to life.

Wow, the spice that I've been smelling really erupts into a brushfire once it hits my tongue. A sensation of cinnamon prickles my mouth as tides of hops and brandy build. After a few sips, the heat from the alcohol seems to loosen it's grip and let the full flavors show some of their 'softer' sides, even though the warmth is still there.

Mouthfeel is on the left side of full bodied with a boisterous level of very fine carbonation, which is good because it keeps these hearty flavors percolating on the tongue. A warm, spicy long flavorful finish.

Drinkability is good, but I'd like to reserve this (like I am right now) for retiring to bed. Most definitely a fireside/cold weather beer for sure.

Overall a hearty and meaty hoppy strong ale with a perky personality. Rich, dense full flavors of dark fruits soaked in good booze make this a sipper. Imagine ice fishing, Christmas caroling, cross country skiing, sledding or even pond hockey...this is the beer you'd want in your mits for some restoration and relaxation. A cold winter's night in Mid-Michigan watching Jeopardy with the fire blazing will do just fine too.

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

Fresh bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

Pour with a nice big white head that drops to a thin layer leaves a little lacing in the beginning. Great carbonation. Deep dark transparent amber red color.

Smell is more on the hoppy side, but is complemented by sugary sweetness. Esters and a bit grassy.

Hops are up front and continue until the end, leaving an enjoyable lingering fresh bitterness. Esters in the taste as well, with some plum and toffee. The grassiness is more muted in the taste. Some alcoholic hotness near the beginning and into the middle. Buiscut malt backbone helps to keep the hops in check. A little bit of roasted notes as well as it warms.

Very drinkable for a barleywine. I find many to be a little to rich and sweet, almost cloying, but not here. I could definitely drink another no problem. The alcohol is nicely warming. You can feel the hop oil tannins clinging to your mouth though.

I just bought one bottle to test it out fresh, and I enjoyed it. I'll buy a sixer and throw half of it in the cellar. I can see a little age doing some good things.

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

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful deep mahogany copper with a inch and a half dark sandy head, tightly packed and lasts for quite a bit of time after being poured out of the bottle. Looked great coming out of the bottle, very slick and sticky looking, not much carbonation to be seen but not really expecting huge amounts of bubbles. Fades to a rather thick cap in a few minutes

S: Quite a bit of fresh and sticky floral hop in the nose, with a bit of sweet biscuty malt but really the hops dominate the nose.

T/MF: Quite complex, most if not all of the bitterness comes from the hops that really seem to dominate this beer. There is a good deal of sweetness that balances out the hops but really the mouth is left ragged even after the first sip, a nice effect but I was hoping for somethings a bit sweeter. Bit hits of pine and a bit of grapefruit with a bit of dusty sweetness. The carbonating is there and does a good job distributing flavor across the palate but its really just one flavor (a strong hit of pine nuttiness with some grassy undertones) coupled with a bit of heat on the finish which is quite pronounced and fruitier than the initial sip.

D: A deceptively complex beer that demands your full attention. Highly drinkable considering the ABV and not bad in the taste department to boot. This is another one of those beers that punches you in the mouth when you drink it and is quite fun in spite of itself.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Edition

Poured an orange red rusty color from a 12oz bottle. Smelled fairly hoppy – more that I thought it would. Looked slightly under carbonated. First taste – I was hit with a balance of tasty malt and bitter hops. The 11% ABV is extremely well hidden…almost too well hidden. I could easily drink more of this than I should. Very smooth for a Barley.

I recommend thinking of the horizontal crescent moon on the label as a warning. Another fine showing from Victory.

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

On tap at BSP last night.

A - lovely red, not a whole lot of head

S - malty sweetness, some alcohol, hints of hops

T - again sweetness is prevalent, the alcohol does come through a bit and there is some bitterness present eventually

M - medium bodied, low carbonation, alcohol is present as stated

D - wow, a great barleywine; I'm giving this a high drinkability despite that I probably wouldn't order more than 1 in a night because it's just so good; would definitely order again

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at the Brick Store Pub.

This beer was served in a 10oz goblet style glass with a nice finger of head that dissipated to a respectable film leaving a bit of lace. The body is a gorgeous deep amber. The smell is a sweet complex of malts. Caramel, toasted, and fruitiness with a touch of citrus and piney hops. The maltiness however dominated the nose. The taste is also just as complex bringing back the caramel and toasted flavors while balancing it with plum and citrusy flavors from the hops. The sweet malts dominate without being cloying or unbalanced. The hops still play a significant roll providing mild citrus and pine flavors while putting this one in perfect balance. The warmth from the alcohol also plays nicely into this one. This full bodied beer with smooth carbonation drinks nicely. An interesting take on the American barleywine style. This one is done quite well. It allows the malt to play the lead role while still letting the hops play a significant part. Not quite as hop forward as some of the other barleywines, but it keeps things in balance better than almost all of them.

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Photo of Slynger
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours an attractive deep amber color with ruby highlights and a thin light orange/brown head that leaves serious rims around the glass.
Big in the nose, of sweet caramel and roasted malts with toffee and a spiciness of dark fruits.
The taste is heavily malty and a little bit sweet. There is a distinct roasted malt flavor that seems the focal point. A mild dark fruit spiciness is present but not as much as the nose lead me to believe. An earthy oak-like bitterness comes through in the end.
The mouthfeel is full, thick, and smooth. Right where it should be.
I find myself wanting to give this beer more points based on its rating and brewer. It is a good barleywine with a great appearance and mouthfeel, but other parts of this beer simply don't stand out enough.

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Photo of YankChef
4.69/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12. oz bottle poured into a nuevo sam adams pint glass. Freshness date... its the 2007 version

Appearance: 1/4 -1/2 inch thick head that is offwhite and both creamy in appearance and slightly fluffy. The circle at the bottom of the glass forces all the carbonation into and straight up the center

Smell: The first aroma is of candied fruit, apricot, peach, plum, there is also a faint aroma of ginger. There are also darker aromas, a slight aroma of molasses and even a little bit of shocktart/sweet tart aroma. There is also the smell of fresh hop flowers and a certain amount of resiny, pine like goodness going on in here. It is victory after all.

Taste: The flavor is dominated at first by dark sweetness, plum, dried fig, cherry and a little bit of molasses/brown sugar type of sweetness. There is enough of a hop bite right in the middle that really kicks the back of the tounge to bring balance to this beer and make it very enjoyable. There is a lingering bitterness that is akin to grapefruit rind, and an astringency is left in the mouth from the high alcohol and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is very, very low but it does not detract from the enjoyability of the beer. This beer is also very full-bodied and really slicks and covers your mouth and tastebuds.

Overall: This is truly a kickass barleywine, very american and in your face with flavor, body and not shy. This beer would develop more complexity with age, but it is absolutely delicious as it is now, probably the best fresh barleywine i have had to date. Highly recommended!!!

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Photo of Absumaster
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A reddish brown beer with a thin head.

Smell is very malty and hoppy with cherries and raspberries. Sweet with some alcohol whiffs.

Taste is sweet malty with some caramel notes and some smoke. The beer is bitter which is in balance with the sweetness of the malt. The yeast adds some fruit. The alcohol is hidden behind the sweetness of the malt. Mouthfeel is very full and sticky.

To me barleywines are more of the same and especially the sweetness and warm alcohol start to get to me.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Ruby, aurburn with a tan head and sticky lacing everywhere.

S - Caramel and toffee with grapefruit and tropical fruit hops.

T - Caramel and toffee with hints of alcohol and a good dose of bitter grapefruit and tropical fruit hops.

M - Full bodied and creamy.

D - Very hoppy and not as complex as I was expecting.

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Photo of ts183
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear dark ruby color with a healthy head that dissipates to a thin crown. Smells like brown sugar with a kiss of hops. Taste is dominated by citric hops followed by sweet sugary malt and booze at the back. This beer has a slick mouth feel with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Drinkability suffers for me as I can't see myself drinking more than one of these in a sitting. Get's better as it warms.

Overall I'd call this a slightly above average brew. To be fair I am not crazy for this style of beer, but what's here isn't bad by any means.

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Photo of bebopkola
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle. The appearance is dark orange with a small sized head that doesn't stay for too long.

Smell has a wide variety of scents. Mostly citrus and hops. Despite the ABV the alcohol does not dominate the smell.

Taste is very complex, switching between the hops and sweetness of the brew. The hops really come through at the end. The beer leans more towards the sweeter side but the hops coming through are very enjoyable. And suprisingly the alcohol is only slightly noticeable.

I enjoyed the beer very much. I plan on buying plenty more!

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Photo of dickieb
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy amber brown with a medium off white head, and some average lacing. The smell is quite sweet with a good whiff of the piney hops, and a hint of biscuit. The flavor comes on strong piney and sweet and lingers with bitter citrus hops, and some apparent alcohol. The flavor defiantly fluctuates from bitter to sweet, and back to bitter. The mouth feel is that of a big beer, but not overpowering. This ones a sipper, but that acceptable for me at 11%

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

Candy aroma...sweet with citrus. Maybe a touch of cherry too. Figs and nut meat.

Nice sipper. Not overly complex but still manages to be outstanding little brew. This is a good "go to" barley wine to have around. Nice price.

Good mouthfeel. I'm looking forward to aging a few.

These go down pretty easy. However, they are about 11%.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Victory Brewing Company, this barleywine pours a deep copper/amber with bright yellow/gold highlighting. The light, bubbly tan head recedes to a little bit of spotty lace.

Caramel malt provides some bready sweetness in the nose. There is also a hint of roastiness and toffee. Becomes increasingly more sweet in the finish with notes of candied fruit: cherries and citrus. Pleasurable and appetizing.

Spicy with lots of sweet caramel malt and more candied fruit. Some brown sugar comes out in the finish as well. If it wasn't for a sizable dose of hops thrown in the mix this brew may of come across as too sweet. Also the booze is really well hidden. Well constructed and an excellent adaptation of the style.

Bright mouthfeel with a bit of a vinous quality and a lot of welcomed warmth. It lets you know your drinking a big American Barleywine (11% abv); also it gives you somewhat of a warning not to hit it too hard or you'll be feeling it in the morning. Very nice throughout.

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4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A hazy dark brownish amber body is slightly darder than root beer. Hosts a light tan head at an inch and a half with very active bubbles. Nose is a very sweet fruity malt with hints of vanilla and spice. As you take first sip you are taken by the well mingled mix of bold sweet malt and zesty spice. Dark ripe fruit and raw bitter bite highlight the palate. This is a very nice representative of the style. Bold, rich, with the right amount of bitter and decent sweetness throughout. Just right amount of alchol. Mouthfeel is a malty bitter. Nice and sippingly drinkable. Would age well.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 84.2% out of 100 with 1,906 ratings
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