Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Old HorizontalOld Horizontal
1,915 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: 1,915 |  Reviews: 1,118
Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark ruby and mahogany body. Middle is opaque and the edge slightly translucent. Dense looking creamy tan head. Good retention and decent lace.
Sweet burnt caramel scent. Abit of spiced hops, sour mash and nuts. Some oak and vanilla with a hint of cherries.
Deliciously strong sweet malts. Plenty of roasted flavors with caramel, nuts, cherries and hops with spice. Aftertaste of nuts and hops.
Full body, good coating and even chewable. Dry finish.
Very drinkable, so enjoyable and nice.


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Photo of Damian
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA

Poured a hazy, dark, glowing crimson-amber with a bubbly, beige, one-finger head that quickly faded to a thick ring.

The aroma was a mix of intensely rich and sweet malts along with citrusy, piney, aggressive hops. A brandy-like alcohol quality was also quite noticeable. Hints of maple syrup, oak and vanilla came through as well. As the beer warmed the aroma became progressively sweeter and maltier.

The taste was a full-flavored mix of malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. The beer started hoppy on the front end. Citrus fruits, spices and malty creaminess appeared mid-palate. The alcohol became quite noticeable at this point and intensified into the super piney, resiny and bitter finish. As the beer warmed the taste became even more hoppy, citrusy and alcohol rich. Strong alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and the throat turned hot by the end of the drink.

Mouthfeel was absolutely terrific. Super creamy, full-bodied, lush and smooth.

Overall, this was a rather hoppy barley wine that was intense in virtually every aspect. It would make for a rather tasty, warming nightcap on a cold evening.

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

12oz bottle. 11% ABV. BBF 12/29/11. Purchased as part of a 6'er. Pours out to a slightly hazy deep amber, forming a off-yellow head with average retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is exactly that of Arrogant Bastard...lots of sticky amber malts with a ton of floral, resinous, pine-sap hops. When swirled, dark fruits, toasted grain, vanilla, and alcohol appear. Mouthfeel is smooth and slick, oily with a syrupy dense body. The taste is really nice. Raisin, dates, boatloads of hops with a nice underlying bitterness, not so strong as to overwhelm. Mouthfeel is creamy, and as it goes down, there is no indication of it's alcohol strength. Toasted husk before the finish which is predominantly oily hops. Yum...pleasant warmth catches up with me about 1/3 through the bottle.

This is a great representation of the style, very well-brewed with all the complexity, subtleties and girth I expect in a great barleywine. Definitely one of the more drinkable Barleywines out there. Highly recommended.

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

It's pretty amazing that until Sunday, I had never tried this beer.

Pours rich, reddish amber with a thin white head.

The aroma is rich, bready malts, fruit, and phenolic/alcoholic spiciness.

Tastes like it smells, with heavy biscuit flavor and a fruity background. Finishes spicy, with only a very slight trace of hops. This is basically the exact opposite of Bigfoot, a totally different interpretation of American Barleywine.

Mouthfeel is thick and substantial, but not overly chewy or viscous.

Drinkability is impressive for 11% ABV. In Pennsylvania, where cases of Victory are dirt cheap, college students actually drink this stuff to get drunk.

They could do a whole lot worse.

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Photo of cichief
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Somewhat dark, clear, with a decent light brown head.

S- little nose, sweet smelling.

T- Very balanced for the style, not too sweet.

M- Medium body, sweet, but balanced.

D- Not a beer you would want too many of, but a good beer none-the-less

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Photo of benito
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Horizontal is a reddish barleywine with little to no visible carbonation and a thin head that slowly dissipates slowly to an even thinner ring. Weighing in at 10.5% (according to the Victory website), OH struggles to mask the alcohol flavors and aromas, and it's alcohol bite is its biggest weakness.

Fortunately, there are strong enough syrup, fruit, and hop flavors (and, to a lesser extent, aromas) that keep things manageable. The flavor has a strong cherry/plum flavor and at times comes across as slightly medicinal, another minor flaw. Nonetheless, the ambition and grandeur of flavors go a long way to keeping this brew afloat.

The final impression is of a strong, strong brew with a clear warming tinge, a whole menagerie of flavors, and an extremely bitter finish. It's not a great barleywine, but it's strong and aggressive enough to get a pass.

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Photo of penguinjive7
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany color with a bit of a beige head.

Smells of bready caramel and a hint of dark fruit.

The taste is originally caramel and very malty. The alcohol then comes in and balances out the maltyness. There is a slight hint of fruit, but it is not substantial. A caramelized malt taste in the finish raps this one up.

The mouthfeel is rather hefty and syrupy but not unpleasant. Carbonation is done well.

This is definitely a sipper. I couldn't put this one down too quickly, which is a good thing. The 11% is hidden rather well and took me by surprise about half way through since I was so eager to finish the glass. Another excellent Victory brew.

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Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 12 oz bottle for $3 at coaltrain, enjoy by dec 29 2011

Pours copper with 2 fingers+ of sand colred head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Slight breadyness

T: Huge breadyness, rich brown sugar & toffee notes up front. Earthy hops & a little warming booze surface as this warms. Caramel & woody dryness come to the party next. Finishes with boozey warmth, pecans, sticky caramel & dryness, with a not so subtle hint of herbal& grapefruit hops on the the throat

MF: Rich, &chewy with moderate carbonation; sticky towars the last 1/3rd of the beer

Drinks really easy for the abv, but I'm sure about 2-3 of these would put me down for the night! Nice english-style slanted barleywine with obvious american traits. Another winner from victory!

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Photo of aforbes10
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

single bottle bought at the Corkscrew in Urbana, IL. "enjoy by dec. 29, 2011." yeah, i think i can do that. appearance is of raspberry puree color with a soft cushion of a head that makes it look like its come out of a nitro tap. lemony hop odor...grassy and assertive. somewhat piney like a dewy forest. Taste is very bitter and heavy. tastes are intense resiny hops, grapefruits, but bitterness is pretty well balanced for a young barleywine like this. alcohol noticeable but not in a bad way. as tasty as old ruffian, which is as good as an american barleywine gets, imo. very full bodied. thick but not syrupy. super good!

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Photo of muffguy4beer
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into shaker pint glass.

Appearance: amber in color, small head, strong lacing.

Smell: pungent malt aroma, roasted malts, caramel, sugar.

Taste: very different than the smell, abrasive alcohol is very present in the first sip. this mellows out a good deal by the end of the glass. hoppier than i expected but that is lost in the alcohol and the maltiness. very malty brew that will age well.

Mouthfeel: medium to high body very smooth.

Drinkability: one of these when its cold really hits the spot. i bought a sixpack, drank 2, and will age the rest for next year to see if there is any change.

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

opened 4-07
bottled 12-05

pours with a one inch, deep tan head over auburn colored ale,
very clear with minimal lacing

aroma- much caramel, toffee, fruity esters, and brandied fruits, some bready cake aromas

taste- first is rich and sweet malt with warming alcohol that quickly invades. hop oils and heat give this hefty brew a sharp edge, but keeps the sweetness at a minimum. The bitterness lays only a bit heavy and hangs longer than the malt flavor

mouthfeel- it's good on the sweetness level, though the hop bit is a bit heavy to call it balanced and i can actually feel the alcoholic heat, so it looses points there.. it's close though.

overall- the malts have an intriguing complexity about them, though subtle. and, though the alcohol showed a bit strong, i thought this ale to be delicious with refreshing grapefruit intensity of bittering.

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Photo of becktone
4.91/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Eye: Cloudy Brown in appearance. Not really any highlights b/c the brew is cloudy. The color is ultimately brown but leans heavily toward a reddish brown. Almost reminds me of a dark grapefruit color. Head is pretty weak though it could be the glass-using a different one than I usually use...this one goes through the dishwasher. Head was a off white color and was creamy before it dissipated. There does seem to be some lacing. I'll be sure to try this again out of my regular glass.

Nose: Big and potent nose on this brew. Once decanted the aroma of the brew fills the air surrounding the glass. At first didn't have to get close to the glass to be able to smell this one. Nice balance of hops, alcohol, and malt in this aroma. There is an underlying bread aroma to this brew as well they don't get much better than this.

Tongue: Wow! I was expecting something that would be very hop heavy. This is a perfectly balanced brew. It is absolutely perfect. All the flavors are expertly blended together. Some sweet malt flavors hit the tip of the tongue then bitterness and hop character right upfront countered by the heavy dark malt flavors that follow. Finishes dry with some floral hop character. Very complex flavors that are way to complicated to describe. Alcohol is hidden pretty well but still perceptible.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Heavy bodied this brew is everything that it should be. Brew warms as it goes down. For being such a strong brew this is something I could sit down and drink for a while. If you have an appreciation for beer than this is one that you'll find is strong but is not hard to quaff. I'd not like to binge drink with this but I could see myself easily going through a sixer....prolly be wasted but still...its that good. This is a brew I will always keep my eye out for. I've been looking for it for a long time-bout 3 years. If I can find it again I'll be sure to try and get a case. This is one that shouldn't be passed up.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dense tan 1/4" head on a light cloudy deep amber body.
S- Toffee malts and citrus hops, breads, pine hops, hint of alcohol, but overall the smell isn't to strong.
T- First sip...wow. Big hop flavors of pine and citrus that is helped to be balanced out big time by a big toffee malt body. The hops and light toffee flavor stay around big time in the aftertaste. Leaves a nice big bitterness on the tongue. Breads and alcohol come through also. Light warming in back of throat but no way does this taste like 11%.
M-Creamy and silky but at same time you get the hop stickiness to it. Full body with low smooth carbonation.
D- This is really good. I think the 11% could easily sneak up on you. I wish I would of known how good this was when I went down to Cali so I could of picked up a whole 6-pack instead of just one single.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to ggaughan for this extra thrown into our trade. Best by date of 12-19-11.

a - pours a deep copper color, two-finger off-white head with no retention or lacing, lots of suspended sediment

s - nicely balanced aroma, big piney and citrusy hops mixed with a sweet malty backbone and hints of alcohol

t - sweet maltiness up front, some caramel, followed by an intense citrusy hop bitterness that follows through to the long finish, alcohol notes on the finish but not overpowering

m - medium-to-full bodied, moderate carbonation, coats the mouth well, fairly dry finish

d - the dryness of the finish, along with the bitterness limits the drinkability , but overall, pretty drinkable for a big 11% barleywine

Great American barleywine. Not quite on the level of Bigfoot in my opinion, but a great example of the style nonetheless.

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Photo of kernalklink
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this brew in mind for a while and it was even better than expected. Poured a bright glowing amber red, looked like molasses poured in a snifter, so thick and gooey. Cloudy with minimal head. Aromas were fresh- a floral herbal quality with some maple sweetness followed by huge cirtrusy hops. Big malts on the first taste, heavy and sticky sweet with alcohol to match. This brew would be lost if not for the balancing hops infusion. They dominate the aftertaste and palate with a flavorful bitterness. This brew reminds me so much of dogfish's 120 IPA, but they say barleywine- who am i to argue? HUGE body and a sticky dry finish. This is definately my new favorite pick for a midnight brew.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Mahogany in color with amber hues. Off white head pours one finger thick and dissipates rapidly to form a tight ring around the edge of the glass. Scant lacing.

S: Heavy malt nose. Sugar. Slightly floral. Alcohol.

T: Heavy grain notes. Sweet caramlized dark sugar. Hops show up with a soft biiter bite and then are beaten back by roasted caramel malts and a corn husk presence. Finishes warm on the tongue due to high alcohol content.

M: Smooth and creamy. Minimal carbonation. Warm and very dry.

D: Very well balanced for the style. A fairly straight forward example for a barleywine. Well worth a try.

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Photo of joe1510
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottle
$12.99 6-Pack
Binny's Orland

Enjoy before 12/29/11

Old Horizontal poured a hazy burnt caramel(if that makes sense). A half finger head formed on the pour that quickly dropped to nothing but a small swirling island of white foam. When held to the light it glows ruby red. I see only a couple carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. This head eventually disappears completely. There is zero sign of any head after 1/4 of the glass is drank. The lack of head detracts from the overall impression.

Smell is a little underwhelming but what is there is juicy. A big aroma of grape bubblegum greets my nose upfront. This is mixed with some floral characteristics such as rose petals. There's also somewhat of a tea like quality present. Graininess shows as this barleywine heads to room temp. Mild alcohol. Like I said, it smells juicy but there isn't substance.

Flavor starts off with a strong graininess. The grape juice comes around mid palate but is much more subdued than in the aroma. A moderate hop bite shows up and finishes things off with a decent citric bitterness. Warming alcohol on the swallow. This is on the fence here between a 3.5 and 4. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Body is on the heavier side of medium with sluggish carbonation. Leaves a mild coating on the throat that goes nicely for the style. Slightly warming alcohol on the swallow. Nice.

Drinkability is actually pretty good for the high ABV. I could drink a couple in a sitting.

Not the best example of an American Barleywine I've had but it is an enjoyable brew. Fairly simple flavors but enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of mpyle
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color. Pours a thick, large head that sticks around for a long time. Reasonably good clarity.

A caramel malty sweetness, and some alcohol aroma, but no real hop aroma.

Malt is well tempered by aggressive hop bitterness. Finish is a balance of malty and hop bitterness. Hop flavor limited. Alcohol flavor evident, but under control (not harsh).

Very full body, moderate carbonation. No astringency, and the alcohol warming is evident but under control.

Nice balance for an 11% ABV beer. Would like more hop flavor to round out the flavor profile

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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had occasion to try this beer again the other night; first time in a number of years.

The "old ho" style is a bit different then your typical barleywine, with a bit less sweetness then normal, and a discernable hoppy presence. The beer was served in a brandy snifter, which I think is the perfect way to serve it. Nice foamy head and a beautiful amber brown color, the beer is very impressive looking. Although the alcohol is up there, it's not very noticeable in the smell, and is very well integrated throughout on the palate. While I can't see myself drinking more then one of these, this beer was surprisingly drinkable, given it's abv. Nice caramel and maple sugar flavors, the hop profile gives the beer a bit of refreshing bitterness. Not the best barleywine I've ever had, but this is a pretty impressive effort from Victory.

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Photo of tomParis
2.95/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, Reddish-copper in color, with a small head. This beer is very balanced for a fresh barley wine, but the hop profile is a real turn off for me; very clean, a little bit citrusy, and, well, boring. The hops stand out more than the malt, but they don't bring anything to the table, they are just in the way. They seem out of place in this beer with its big malty backbone. The mouthfeel was good, but it doesn't make this a drinkable beer. Hopefully this will be better with some age, I have a feeling it will.

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

Pours a reddish copper little to no head. Pleanty of lacing, head does have staying power.

Im not very good at walking through BW smells. That ... and I have a cold. Sweet, some hops. Is that grapefruit?

Not super sweet. Definately hoppy. Moreso than most BWs. Nice finish. No real bite.

I like the mouthfeel because it is not as syrupy as most BWs. A nice treat to have one a bit drier.

Solid. Not sure moves into special category, however I would enjoy having it again. Well balanced, like mentioned earlier more hoppy than used to for a BW which I would prefer.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 12/2005 received from Todd1. The color is a tawny red with almost no head, only a couple bubbles running around the rim of the glass. It smells like alcoholic candy and makes me think “uh, oh this is gonna be good”. The mouth-feel is slightly effervescent. I am not sure what I am tasting but it is really good. I am going to savor this one and sip it slow. I really hope Colorado gets this beer since we get all the other Victory beers. This would definitely be worth laying down a case for several years. A truly outstanding barleywine.

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

The beer poured a deep amber hue with a small off-white head that turned into a small lace.

The aroma of the beer was immensely malty, caramelly, fruity, and alcoholic.

The flavor of the beer was full of rich caramel malt with burnt toffee notes in the finish. The hops were assertive, but not overpowering. They had a nice herbal and citrus flavor to them. While this barleywine is young, it is certainly one of the more drinkable young barleywines I've had. In comparison, I woulnd't touch Bigfoot before 1-2 years. There were some dried fruit flavors present, but nothing too intense. The finish was nicely alcoholic and warming. Notes of vanilla accented things well.

The mouthfeel was pretty thick and syrupy. The carbonation was dialed in just right.

This is a very well balanced barleywine. Definitely a good winter sipper. While I mentioned it's tasty young, I'm sure this one will age well. I'll crack my next bottle in a year. See ya then...

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

Drank from a wine glass at room temp.

Appearance: Poured a reddish amber color slightly syrup like in appearance. Small amount of head but appropriate for the style.

Smell: Wow... This beer appears to be much more highly hopped then last years or maybe I just drank last years after more aging. Also there is a strong alcohol note to the beer. There is also a nice caramel like background which I assume will become more predominate as the beer ages.

Taste: Very hop forward even at room temperature are quickly overtaken by a strong alcohol notes and then to sweet molasses / caramel sweetness. Surprisingly it not overly sweet which is something I barley wines can quickly tend toward. An excellent example of an American barley wine.

Overall a great beer for a cold night in upstate NY.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a clear reddish brown body with a thin head of big tan bubbles that fades to a thin film. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface.

S- This beer has a slightly sweet caramel note with a hint of toasted malt in the background.

T- This big caramel malt sweetness is followed by a spicy heat in the finish. The finish has notes of green bitterness but not really hops. There are some hints of lighter sugar in the caramel but to well blended to taste any real malt characteristics.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a alcohol heat at the finish that balances the sweetness.

D- This beer has nice big flavors of malt sweetness and alcohol spice but not much depth to those flavors. That is just fine by me because this is a very delicious beer and I think it would age great.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 1,915 ratings