Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,897 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: 1,897 |  Reviews: 1,111
Photo of murrayswine
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is courtesy of oldirtysurfer.

Poured a ruddy brown/red into my Troublette tulip, with little to no head at all. (Havent found a head inspiring barleywine yet)

THe nose is lush with hops. This is a big beer! Layers of butter, rock candy, and toast give in to a boat load o hop character, and a touch os spearmint.

The taste is smooth at first, than directly hop ripped. The alcoholic bite is fairly prevelant and is tending to muddle the mouthfeel a bit. A little metallic, too, but I think that it need to sit a spell first and breath.

It finishes beautifully with butter pecan, brandy, and hop.
A very good Barleywine, I recommend it.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan. 6th, 2001...tasted August 9th, 2006.
Thank you to blitheringidiot of PA for sharing his private cellar with me.
Wow...where do I begin....
Poured a medium dark amber with a single finger tan head that melted to fine lacing lasting the entire drink.
Aroma is ...hey, perfect barleywine...raisins, sweet malt....dried sweet dark fruits.
Taste is a perfect balance of sweet, sweet malt, brown sugar, dried dark fruits like raisins, plums, and prunes.
Alcohol is absolutely non-existent in the taste...but definately there...I feel the warmth filling my insides comfortably after I swallow...and for a long time after each sip.
Something sharp and tingling with each sip...hops and carbonation extremely well hidden but not lost.
Wonderful...comforting....warming...solid offering.

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Photo of Toddv29424
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this from a good friend in NY...
Pours a reddish hazy-tinted amber color with terrific lacing that seems to last for the duration of the beer. Smell must be teased out with some swirling, but initially has a toasted malt taste with faint alcohol, and candied fruits throughout. Also a hint of sweetness, almost like caramel in the nose. The taste is amazingly cohesive for such a large beer. Dangerously smooth with a creamy body. The candied fruits make up most of the body, with toasted husks and alcohol making up the remainder. It’s clear that this beer has spent some time the fermentor, (or secondary, or tertiary…) because of the mellowness of the alcohol taste. There could be a little more of a hop presence, but that might take it to close to perfection. I imagine that it would mellow out nicely with age, but I’m too impatient for that.

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Photo of nortmand
4.9/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red pour with some chill haze and a steady tan head.

Sensational smell. Caramel, chocolate, even a bit of pipe tobacco earthiness there. Very nice.

Slightly sweet up front, ends in a massive bludgeon of bitter, resiny hops. Tastes a bit oxidized, most likely due to the massive hits of American hops.

Huge bodied, and surprisingly smooth, this is not one to be missed.

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Photo of dustified1234567
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow i have had this beer in my fridge for two months now waiting to try it and finally i did. I had it by bottle but i actually had it poured into a mug. The appearance was a nice dark brown that was beautiful. The smell was was of sugar and hops. The taste was accpected to be bitter but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is a little thick but is fine to drink. The drinkability is a bit lower beacause I think that this is a beer to be savored considering also that it is in the top 100 on BA.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As I love barleywines, I've been trying to track this one down for a while. Found it in Marcy, NY. Quite nice, one of my favorite barleywines. Not much of a head, but it did have good lacing. Aroma was of sweet malt and fruity. Taste was quite sweet and thick mouthfeel. I was a little unimpressed. Maybe my expectations were set a bit too high. Good, but not great.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz., bottle-conditioned on 12/22/05 - served in a balloon glass. It pours a deep hazed crimson/garnet with a small tan head that reduces to a collar. There is a sweet, fruity aroma with grains, molasses, and a big dose of hops and heat. The body is thick and syrupy with light carbonation and it's slightly drying. On the palate it's green/piney/soapy/citric hops, sweet syrupy malts, and a medium bitterness that becomes stronger at the end. Pretty good, but I'd like to see what the cellar would do to it.

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

This is a 12 oz. bottle of Old Ho served in a tumbler glass. The ale has warmed to near room temperature.

Appearance: The ale has a deep amber red color that comes across as slightly hazy. There is a decent ring of head around the glass that leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: The ale has a full-bodied malty sweet aroma. I was expecting a strong hop aroma but was pleasantly surprised when it did not appear.

Taste: The beer has an alcohol content that can't be hidden. Beyond that, there are deep malty flavors that tend to stray towards random alefruits and a slight hop kick, again though less than I was anticipating (again also, a good thing).

Mouthfeel: The malts add a fruity touch to the palate while the hops provide just a hint of bitterness.

Drinkability: A good representative of the style with a greater focus on the malts that some American Barley Wines lose.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of Feb 04 05.

Pours a hazy dark copper with a frothy two finger head that settles very slowly to a thick cap that never really fades, leaving behind a dense webbing of lace.

Smell; a little bit sweet with brown sugar, caramel and toffee. There's some dark cherries, a touch of candied apples, with a sprinkling of cocoa.

Taste; initially fruity, with cherries and apples, and then is followed by the caramel, brown sugar and cocoa. There's definitely some hop bitterness, and a little bit of alcohol flavor present. With this being about a year and a half old the hops are a bit more toned down, and the alcohol is not quite as strong in the flavor profile as the fresh ones I've had before. I think this makes for a much smoother and blended flavor. Mouthfeel is nice and thick, with a good drinkability that would be higher if the abv were not so high.

I don't usually re-review beers, but I previously had a much younger version of this, and I felt with the age of this beer, and it's effects it had on it's flavor and appearance, it was warranted.

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

Bottled 12/22/05 Drank 7/1/06

A hazy (mostly due to chill, from being in a too-cold fridge) copper-orange to deep amber-ruby ale with a small sandy-goldenrod collred head leaving a thin film.

Seet and tangy-drak-fruity malt is strong on the nose with a strong backbone of hop bitterness, somewhat resinous.

Flavor starts out sugary sweet, with touches of dark fruit, raisins and plums, and white grapes and pear-juice. A hint of tartness follows the malt. Hops are spicy, and a little resinous, but blend very well with and dance over the whole malt profile.

Body is moderate, not as thick and oilly as I would like. CO2 is decently low, but a thicker body would have been more in balance with such a sweet malt profile and would enhance this beer a bit, IMO.

Tasty, but high enough ABV and lacking enough in body to not be supremely drinkable.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very intriguing beer! The pour is nothing special, with a dark copper brown color and a medium mocha colored head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is another story. It starts off very sweet and rich, just an explosion of malt with note of burnt citrus and as it sits it develops a very distinct menthol aroma while the sweetness mellows considerably.There is an aroma of alcohol throughout.

The taste is remarkable. Citrus and hop notes quickly move into a growing bitterness that keeps expanding. This bitterness has an undertone of alcohol and malt, but it comes off rather like the flavor of blackstrap molasses. The slight sweetness falls away and you are left with an intensely tannic, minerally taste in your mouth that is tremendously appetizing to my palate. The finish almost tastes like Fernet Branca with some hops tossed in. Absolutely unique and wonderful.

The tannic finish creates a bracing dryness, despite the abv of 11%. It also has a graininess that coats your mouth, but not at all unpleasantly.

This is a somewhat challenging brew, so I don't know if I'd say this has a high drinkability quotient. I do love bitter flavors, so I'd be tempted, but I think I'd just have one in a snifter after dinner (or two if I was feeling especially bold.

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Photo of wingman14
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark brown with a tiny off white head. Smells of hops and citrus, and other tangy notes. The taste is powerful with a small sweet quickly followed by a tart or bitter characteristic. The aftertaste had a heavy alcohol emphasis with more bitter and plenty of citrus and hoppy notes. The beer is medium bodied with a harsh mouthfeel. This is an interesting brew, and worth checking out, yet I wouldn't find myself drinking these all the time.

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Photo of JayQue
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a great Barleywine!!! I am a Bigfoot fan, but I can appreciate a more balanced and complex beer as well. This one pours a dark amber/orangy cloudy color. The head is tan, small and quickly disappears into a covering of the glass. Lacing was minimal. The strengths of this beer are smell, taste and mouthfeel. The smell is very inviting - hops and citrus and just strong enough. The taste is exceptional. An initial blast of hops and grapefruit/citrus taste followed by a mild malty finish. The rough taste that a fresh Bigfoot presents can turn off the typical BMC guy. This beer presents the same initial sensation but is balanced enough for a non-hophead to enjoy as well. The mouthfeel is incredibly rich and balanced. There is no indication of the high ABV. Drinkability for a barleywine (to me) is "would you like a second one"? The answer here is a big "YES!!!"

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

Pours a hazy burnt sienna with a ringed head. Aroma is malty, sweet and fruity with maple elements.

Taste is sweet and malty to begin. Lots of buttered toffee, a light orange element. Flavors turn slightly dryer and the sweetness subsides as it warms. Slight fruity aftertaste but not a trace of alcohol flavors or smells anywhere.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and moderately heavy, leaving a slight stickiness on the lips. While it's not too very distinctive as a barleywine, drinkability is very high for a barleywine. I have another bottle, so I'll let it sit for a few years and report back.

Bottle on date "Jan 23 04"

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

Appearance: Clear, dark, amber, beige head with a nice lacing. Looks very inviting.

Smell: Big sweet malt, strong alcohol presence, also a nice leafy hops, also ripe fruit, molasses, a little chocolate.

Taste: Toasty malt, chocolate and molasses, huge warming alcohol kicks in, also some fruity esters, citrus, maybe orange.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, smooth and lightly carbonated, coats the mouth quite a bit, a little syrupy.

Drinkability: This is what barley wines are all about. Not something you can drink all night of course, but a good treat. Almost an after dinner apertif instead of a cognac.

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Photo of bultrey
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Cinnamon colored, decent-sized head that reduces to just a wisp of creaminess on top of the beer. Swirling the glass reveals decent lacing... this beer's got some body. Smells of vanilla bean, bourbon, cedar, and perhaps a touch of maple. Exceptionally smooth flavor, with typical barleywine sweetness up front, including rum-soaked raisins, cocoa powder, and tobacco. The sweetness is quickly obliterated by a stunning wood-tinged dryness, with hints of cedar and a long, lingering gentle bitterness.

I remember having this stuff on draft last year and not being overly impressed. This stuff needs to sit for at least a few months in the bottle, and has the legs to age for a couple of years.

One of the best barleywines I've had in a while.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Quite nice, one of my favorite barleywines.

Appearance- Ruddy gold, cloudy with great lacing that hangs on the glass.

Smell- Malty sweet, fruity esters, perhaps some chocolate?

Taste- Sweet fruit, almost butterscotch, like the smell a mild chocolate, Almost a Belgian quality.

Mouthfeel- Creamy! Bready, thick and smooth.

Drinkability- One of the best barleywines ever. I'm more of a bitter ale fan, but this one has the great taste to win me over. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.66/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - A hazy burgundy with about two and half fingers of creamy tan head. Carbonation is visible through the haze. After the head vanishes, an ordeal that takes about four minutes, a monsterous ring of lacing is left behind. A damn nice look for this beast of a brew.

S - A very sharp pine dominants over caramel and chocolate malts. As it warms it is easy to notice some alcohol on the nose.

T - Alcohol! It is very hard to make much out underneath it. There is a sharp pine flavor which amplifies the alcohol, but adds little in the way of worthwhile flavor. A caramel sweetness is there too but only for an instant. The aftertaste is simply alcohol burn and a potent bitterness.

M - Froths up in my mouth a bit, but apart from that thin. A little bit of a sting from the alcohol (feels more like acidity though), along with thecarbonation this makes it very harsh. Slightly refreshing, if you can get past the bitterness that is.

D - Well, it isn't that easy to drink because of the more potent bitterness, not to mention the oppressive alcohol, which makes sessioning a bad idea. Food pairing is about the same as it would be with hop juice and low quality brandy (which might not be that scanty, I'm going to try it with pork roast), which is about where I place this on the flavo-meter. Not something I'll look for again.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one cellared for almost 3 years now, bottled date is 08/03. Time to review:

Appearance: Poured agressively into a chalice, Old Ho is a dark, ruby hue when held up to light. A deep, dark rich color with a respectable 1" tightly foamed head that dissipates rather slowly. Yeast particles cleary visible.

Smell: Big and fruity on the nose. Hints of a sweet maltiness dominate. Dark, rich, fruit with a slight hint of some citrusy hops. Possible overtones candied apples and caramel as well.

Taste: A sweet maltiness dominates the beginning with an apple like fruitiness, the middle picks up with a slight bitterness of hops then finishes again with the malty sweetness but also the alcohol makes an appearance as well, as it lingers long on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy with low carbonation.

Drinkability: I've sitting on this one for quite sometime as its the last of a sixer I picked up almost 3 years ago. I should have reviewed a one fresh and compared. Anyway, Old Horizontal is a fine barleywine. Nicely balanced with plenty of malty sweetness and hints of hop bitterness. Definitely a sipper, as this would be perfect on a cold winter night or what the hell, an 85 degree night in June. Even after sitting for almost 3 years, the alcohol is very present in the taste profile, which I thought would have mellowed a bit. Not a bad thing, considering its 11 % abv but still surprising nonetheless. I do think the cellaring mellowed some of the hoppiness that is usually present in a barleywine. Seek out Old Ho as its a must try and well worth it. Another great beer from the folks at Victory.

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Photo of mfg143
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As I poured this beer into it's glass I immediately can smell a complex recipe that is dominated by rich citrus hops and alcohol.

The first sip is a symphony of flavor. Begining with the citus hops, that characterizes the Victory Brewing company, it moves next the a wine like alcohol flavor.

The carbonation is not to intense but not flat either. The rich malts give the beer a full body and thick consistency. Next comes my favorite part, a buttery butterscotch after taste that will allow you to taste the beer for minutes to come.

The only drawback to this beer is it's decreased drinkability caused by high alcohol content and complex flavor. Fantastic for a bottle or two but I wouldn't want to down a six-pack.

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Photo of Naerhu
4.61/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BroJohn for bringing this bottle all the way to Japan.

A - Thin off-white head and nice dark crimson body.
S - Small tabacco like aroma.
T - Nice tabacco, dates and earthy malts with leather and port wine. Great complex bitterness tht lasts forever. Light sweetness to balance the bitteness. Jason pegged it perfectly by calling it "rustic."
M - Delicate yet powerful, like an iron fist in a silk glove.
D - While an extremely intense beer, the alcohol is well integrated and this is a great after dinner beer.

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Photo of klewis
3.14/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1/24/11 Best by date

A: Pours a nice ruby color with a better than average head for the style.

S: Some of the smell is good, with aromas of candi sugar and dark fruit, but some is bad, with some medicinal phenols, strong alcohol, and something that reminds me of kitchen cleansers. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad.

T: The taste is a bit unbalanced, with lots of hop bitterness. As in the smell, lots of alcohol here, which overpowers all else in the finish.

M: Slick and lighter in body than most other barleywines. The alcohol provides a major warming sensation in the back of the mouth.

D: I was so excited when I saw this in the store, but unlike all others, Victory has let me down this time. I expected so much more from this beer. This is by no means bad or undrinkable, but it falls short of its contemporaries in the style, and from its brothers at Victory (Storm King, Hop Devil, Golden Monkey, etc.). Maybe I'll try this again after some cellaring.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into a snifter and it immediately spouted a large foamy yellowish head, which faded somewhat quickly. The body was an opaque medium brown with small champagne bubbles and little or no sediment present.
The smell knocked me over. Is this a quad? Wonderful caramel malts and floral hops, hints of dark adn sweet fruits, vanilla and spice. Very well balanced and complex.
The taste was heavy on the alcohol up front, thats my major issue. But I thin it still deserves a 4.5 in this category, simpley becasue of the richness of flavor and complexity. Brown sugar, over-ripe bananas, vanilla, roasted malts, caramel, floral hops. Its all in there. Which leads me to the feel. It was somewhat "chewy" as some barleywines tend to be, but suprisingly smooth, creamy and light at the same time. Good ammount of carbonation, crisp and clean. Now the 11% abv might make this a less drinkable beer, but I'd have to disgree. If the complexity hadn't been there, the high alcohol content would make this a gonner. But this is pretty damn drinkable. Er, sippable, rather. You can easily sit and enjoy one or two of these, and yeah you'll feel a little light-headed when you stand up, but the complexity of flavor as it warms will delight you.
It did me.

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

Cloudy orange with gold highlights in a pint glass. A very aggressive pour still results in almost no head at all.

Aroma is surprising (although probably just because this is my first American IPA, and it's quite different than the British version). Citrus, grapefruit, and pine, like a very strong IPA or double IPA. Super hoppy.

Tast is big on hops, and very dry in the mouthfeel. Orange and grapefruit dominate, as well as some pepper. Sour apples and earthy flavours are faint but there.

Crisp, dry aftertaste with long-lasting bitterness. Very enjoyable, I'll get more next time I see it!

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Photo of Backer2004
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh boy, I've been waiting to try this one out for a few weeks as it's sat in my refrigerator for a bit. Shows a December 03 bottling date. After pouring this in a nice tulip shaped glass, the smell is just overwhelming rich and complex, with lots of fruit, dates, and spices. A bit on the cloudy murky redish side with a nice bit of head. Definitely taste the alcohol with this one, very nice but not as good as a Bigfoot in my opinion. A bit of a burnt aftertaste. Will take some time to drink, but will enjoy every mouthful.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,897 ratings.
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