Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,110 Reviews
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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Reviews: 1,110 | Ratings: 1,893
Photo of ScottieWags01
4.99/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite a heavy ruckus from Old Horizontal, a Barelywine that's affordable as it is too tasty. Red oak, velvet amber hues give the appearance of bronze metal deliciousness. Vanilla and caramel tastes compliment the sweet, musky grain, and barely husks. Hints of toffee, marzipan, and bourben envelops the taste of sweet caramel, butterskotch, barley and rye. Undertones of smooth, velvety fruit qualities such as grapes, raisins, plums, strawberrries,and peach can be noticed if given enough contemplation. The overall feel is sweet, high gravity, and velvety, with a sugary and lacy finish. Overall, it's a damn good beer worth the price and should be tried by all who come across it.

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Photo of RickS95
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really love the look of this beer with in relatively thinnish pour of a combination of light mahogany, faded red, and faint orange. Neither cloudy nor clear, just dark enough to keep the light out. With 11% ABV the head just barely forms, a somewhat tan to khaki color with tiny, short legs and just dots of lace even after a good swirl.

While the scent is pleasant enough, it's not overly aggressive like a Barleywine should be. I had to get my nose almost wet inside the snifter to pull the toffee and butterscotch scents. No hop presence whatsoever, even as the beer has been warming in the glass for several minutes now. Only the alcohol aroma builds as the beer warms.

The taste is pretty stellar with dark fruits, toffee and the C hops finally making a statement. Possibly some yeasty pepper in the swallow.

Somewhat surprisingly, this 11% Barleywine will not make your palate cry 'uncle.' Sweetness from the malts kicks things off while the piney, citrusy hops come on mid sip. Slight alcohol warmth and that spicy pepper combine for a fairly dry, tongue smacking finish.

This was a very drinkable Barleywine. It's no bruiser, though it stills requires sipping. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Vixie
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red/amber color with a good sized tan head.

Lot of smell from this. Very malty, but also citrus, floral, and spice notes.

Starts out sweet, mainly caramel and toffee. The hops kick in pretty fast, adding a spicy bitterness, as well as floral and pine notes.

Feel is full and solid, as it should be for such a strong beer.

Definitely a nice beer, although a bit hoppy for my taste. Not quite as hopped up as an IPA, but still a strong hops presence. Fortunately there are enough other flavors to keep them from over whelming. Definitely worth a try, but a bit too hoppy for me to be drinking much more of it.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the 22oz bottle to my FW snifter glass – 2013 release
Notes from 01/02/2015

A: Old Horizontal pours a bright amber body with some well conditioned clarity to it. Has the look of a burnished brandy with some soft cherry hues. A half finger of khaki cream produces from the pour with some pretty feeble retention efforts. Settles down to a crown around the edges and just a mere film skimmed across the top. Some alcohol runners and a couple dots of stick only remain.

S: The nose brings on a spiced caramel and raisin bread aroma. Further develops into a semblance of buttered toast with zesty citrus and piney hops layered in. The finish kicks in a touch of spiced alcohol. Nicely bold and on point with the style.

T: The flavors are incredibly smooth and well balanced. Comprised of resinous pine hops, candied citrus peel, caramelized bread, and a lightly spiced toffee. There is a good amount of hoppy bitterness to this one rounded out with some dry earthy tones. Alcohol is played perfectly here for an 11% ABV B-wine. Never becomes too hot here while adding in a nice spicy flash at the finish.

M: Moderate level of filling to the body. Not particularly thick or chewy which is nice. Has a lighter feel on the palate with a nice creamy consistency. Good upper amount of peppery bitterness helps to dry out the finish. Some warming alcohol. Fairly clean balance to it.

D: This is a great American Style Barley wine with lots of classic C hop flavor and bitterness to balance the caramel malt load. Exactly what I look for and why I prefer this to the more standard English style. Can’t believe I haven’t checked this one out sooner. Definitely added to the repertoire. Victory can make a damn fine brew, tell you what.

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Photo of Houser
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

looks like a dark amber, just how i want my barleywines to look like. the smell is just like every other "old" victory beer, with that peppery malt/hops. taste is the same, but magnified. mouthfeel is creamy and nicely carbed. overall, this is not one of my favorite victory offerings, although im beginning to think american style barleywines just arent as good as the engligh style.

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Photo of Tilly
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

P Pours a nice brown with a thick tan head. Aroma-Sweet, sweet, sweet...,..and malt! Huge caramel taste. Malt and vanilla . I get some candy floss!
Belgium ale style? Never the less a great beer!

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 bottle - served @ 55deg in snifter

A - 1" tan head with medium amber body

S - Clean malt with slight hops

T/M - Taste matches smell - malt and light hop - some earthy notes and alcohol in the background

O - Good, simple, clean, & cheap. I hope to try this fresh to see if the hops give it a little more excitement. Prost!

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Photo of founddrama
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

LOOK: Poured from a bomber into a snifter. A rich ruby red. Smooth even colors throughout. Rich airy two-finger head.

SMELL: Aromatic. Does velvet have a smell? Sweet fruits -- plums and berries.

TASTE: Sweet without being cloying. There's a richness and a fullness to it. Mild fruit flavors up front; soft, complimentary bitterness to finish it.

FEEL: Bright. Lively. Full-bodied and luxurious.

Perfect for Xmas Eve.

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Photo of fx20736
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought Premier Gourmet March 2015. Served in a goblet at cellar temp

Look: Dark amber with off-white head that leaves a little lacing

Smell: very deep and rich red plums some dates

Taste: raspberry plum with sage like bitterness

feel: buoyant silky

overall I: really like this beer every element speaks of
quality and craftsmanship it is tasty with a great aroma and mouthfeel

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Photo of Bone53
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 22 oz bomber

Appearance: Pours a beautiful mahogony with a two finger off white head

Smell: A great mixture of dark fruit, citrus fruit, and caramel malt

Taste: Caramel and toffee upfront from the malt, slight dark fruit, and a citrusy hop backbone

Mouthfeel: Full bodied; Goes down smooth for 11% abv. with a moderately bitter finish

Overall: This is one solid barleywine, but i think a couple more years would be that sweet spot with less bitterness and all the flavors molding together even better.

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Photo of gutbuster
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours a dark mahogany in color. Hazy, with a spiderweb like lacing atop the glass.

Smell- Raspberry and plum dominate with a slight caramel sweetness in the background.

Taste- plum and raspberry up front and balanced well with caramel sweetness that finishes with toasted bread and pine with a hint of heat.

Feel- Creamy, slightly dry and very little carbonation.

Overall- An enjoyable barleywine that I feel holds up well against most others in this style.

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/26/2013. Pours slightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, floral, grass, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, pine, floral, grass, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, fairly creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent American barelywine style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, dark fruit, and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear copper color with a sandstone head that sits nearly 2 fingers thick. Fair retention as the head slowly fizzes away, eventually breaking to a thin, broken layer of suds on the surface. Virtually no lacing, with only a few small spots that methodically find their way down the side of the glass.

Smell - Caramel, raisin, faint tea notes and light booze.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel with lesser notes of raisin and booze. Distant earthy tea bitterness. Finish carries more booze with a slightly astringent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with fair carbonation. Slick texture, going down smooth before a drying alcohol finish.

Overall - Solid barleywine, but it's not without it's flaws. Lacks the depth and complexity of some of the better examples of the style. Just a tad bit too boozy for my tastes, especially considering the bit of age it has on it. I'd definitely drink this again, but either with a fresher example or maybe one with another year on it; perhaps right now this vintage is stuck in that 'awkward teenage puberty' phase. :P

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Photo of Meathead27
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a 5 year old bottle (2009) and is spot on. Aged beautifully. Still has bitterness but balanced with the rich, brown sugar - bubblegum - cotton candy - plum, malt. This is really hitting the spot on a snowy day in PA!

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Photo of portia99
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This bottle was given to me about 5 years ago, and it was old then. This is probably the oldest bottle I have ever opened...bottled on Nov 15, 2002. Let's see how this one holds up over a really long period of time.

A - A slight whisper of carbonation upon opening the bottle...shows equivalent life on the pour with hints of carbonation remaining, very small, fine bubbles rise slowly through the body and leave a faint ring at the edge of the glass. Body is a muddy brown color with some traces of yeast from the bottom of the bottle making its way into the glass.

S - Really heavy on caramel and toffee aromas. Smells sweet and sugary overall. Well noticeable alcohol present in the aroma as well. Faintly buttery too and a trace of cola. No hops whatsoever...pretty much as expected. Oxidation is quite minor as well...really can only find it because I am looking for it and expecting to find it in a bottle of this age.

T - Quite sweet with an abundance of sugars in numerous varieties. Caramel and toffee, some nice vanilla, mild oxidation/cardboard, minor alcohol contribution.

M - Almost entirely still which brings down the overall feel significantly. Feels a bit thin, lightly boozy and warm but pretty well contained.

O - Actually held up quite well. Hops are totally gone but not a surprise given the age. Very nice barleywine, reminds me a bit of some of the Gratitude vintage bottles, but not quite up to that level.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper with an off-white head rising to maybe a notch below a finger's length.

Smell: Has a toffee scent with a crazy built in alcohol scent.

Taste: complex, sweet toffee like the scent like caramel and creamer. Light bitterness and sweet.

Mouth: sticky with medium carbonation, after-taste is thick. Almost syrupy. Regardless of how it sounds it will definitely satisfy the palates.

Overall: Good stuff, honestly borderline English barleywine with it's properties with it's complexity. Sweet, bitter that honestly I would pair it with dessert just to make it that much better. Take your time because it definitely sneaks up on you. Salud!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a classic english barleywine, and it really is the season for the style right now. nothing quite warms me up like a good one, inside and out. this is cool because it does have some yeast presence remaining, a slight haze in the beer and a doughy bready middle, which as expected, goes brilliantly with the sweet almost desserty caramel malts. like a bread pudding really, cut only by a fruity, almost brandy boozy element that unites it rather well. all the requisite elements of the style are here, and its a fine example of it, but in this particular beer, the come together to form one of those style definers for me, this is what english barleywine really is and should be. suitable for ageing, but ready to drink right now. not devoid of hops, but mellow in that regard, balancing bitterness only, and not even really that. a slow drinker, share please, but a staple of the season, thats for sure.

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Photo of zac16125
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter
recently purchased but 2013 vintage

A: Very hazy, dark apricot, just under 1 fingers width of light tan head which dissipates quickly and leaves essentially zero lacing. 3.75

S: Nice combination of sweetness, booze, and hops. Caramel/toffee, burnt sugar, citrus rind and piney hops. Hits all the notes of a good American Barleywine, but certainly lacks many of the sweet notes characteristic of an English Barleywine which I typically prefer. 4.25

T: Sweeter than the nose implied, which I think may be due to the faded hops from the year of age on it. Lots of caramel and toffee, candied sugar. A pretty big boozy presence, but I actually like that characteristic in the style. Bitterness on the finish, but otherwise no significant hop characters. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation moderate, dry on the finish, ABV is certainly noticeable but its not hot, drinkability is good. 4

O: Really good barleywine here. Certainly something I could add to the yearly winter rotation. Victory is quietly a very very solid brewery. 4.25

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter from a bomber.

2013 bottle. Creamy, frothy, and heavy pale white head. Amber body with good clarity and bubbly carbonation. Head holds well. 4.5

Smells of oxidized caramel, raisins, and molasses. 4

Taste is true to the nose. A bit oxidized, but dark fruit, caramel and faded earthy hops add a nice flavor. 4

Mostly sweet and smooth with a medium body, but there's a pretty harsh bitterness on the finish that's not so agreeable. 3.5

Not bad, by any means, but not my favorite either.

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

Note: 2013 Vintage

A: Pours a lightly hazy dark amber in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some moderate copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy beige head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee and toasted malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong aromas of spicy and citrus/grapefruit pith hops. Hints of alcohol and dark fruits (raisin) are present as well.

T: Moderate flavors of toasted and toffee malts with a light to moderate amount of dark fruit (raisin) and brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of spicy and citrus/grapefruit hops which impart a moderate amount of bitterness to the finish. Light flavors of alcohol/booziness are present in the finish as well.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and slightly creamy with a moderate amount of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Overall for a big barleywine, this beer is pretty easy to drink as the alcohol is not overwhelming or dominating in the flavor. I think it is a little better/mellower with a year of age on it than I remember it being fresh.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger and half of head on clear dark amber body.
The aroma is mild pine and grapefruit with some wet grain in the background.
The taste is fruity mild sweetness, turning to pine bitterness and finishes with a flat sweetness.
The texture is thicker.

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Photo of CHickman
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Bottle: pours very hazy dark copper/reddish color with a huge 2 finger thick foamy tan head that faded very slowly and left good foamy lacing coating the sides.

Smells of caramel, pineapple, citrus hops, piney hops, dark fruit like cherry and plum, red wine, toffee, brown sugar, gummy bears candy, graham cracker, earthy wheat or grains, and light booze. The 11% ABV comes through, but is not as aggressive as I expected so perhaps the aging mellowed it as it blended well with the malty sweetness and hoppy notes. Aroma was nicely basic for the style with rich candied malts mixing with a citrus bouquet of orange peel, lemon zest and fresh pineapple.

Tastes sweet and hoppy up front, like fresh wet citrus hops that mellowed and had brown sugar added; like the nose the mix is a rich sweetness consisting of dark fruits (raisin, cherry, plum, and even some apple), toffee, caramel, brown sugar, syrup, citrus hops, lemon, orange peel, red wine, toasted grains, floral hops, graham cracker, honey, piney hops, light spices like pepper and tea leaf, fruity candy and rum or some other dark and sweet alcohol. For such a hefty beer with a very high ABV, this was smooth and the alcohol only peeks through the hops which also surprised me since they were still very strong and fresh tasting after at least a year of aging. The sweetness seems like a balanced mix of malt and hops, with grainy/earthy notes that blend with the caramel and candied sugar while also allowing the hops to usher in some bitterness and hop oil for added flavor. A very tasty barleywine that hits all the right notes and flows down with ease.

Mouthfeel is slick with very light carbonation, a thick chewy body that felt like a fresh squeezed juice at times and watery at others; moderate bitterness, average sweetness for the style, hoppy and fruity enough so the alcohol stays tolerable, this was very tasty and very complex, getting better as it warmed up and letting the 11% ABV knock me around enough to maximize the barleywine experience. I would definitely recommend this and will have it again.

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Photo of Franck
4/5  rDev -1.5%

2013 vintage. Smell of grapefruit, caramel, sugar cane and hint of pepper.
In mouth it's tastefull. Great balance between sugar and hops. Citrus, sugar cane and alcohol. Alcohol is quite hidden for 11 abv.
Final is bitter and fruity

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Big fruity nose with some sherry over malt. Pours dark amber with a very slight haze under a light brown, very thin head. The beer is lacy with some legs. Very big, chewy malt on the palate that starts sweet with molasses, brown sugar, a suspicion of bourbon joined by plum and fruit becoming bitter with big alcohol flavors on the finish. Full bodied with medium low carbonation.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -1.5%

The nose starts fruity, not what I expected from a barleywine-like malt beverage. Apricots and oranges touch the nose with a creamy Pina Colada tropical scent. Hints of bourbon and oak accompany barley and liquor.

The flavor is a bit boozy but it's easy to distinguish the fruitiness. Apricot prevails with a bit of orange. The coconut of the barrel comes across the palate as a Pina Colada. Light bourbon and oak mix with barley grain and wine like alcohols. Hints of caramel and toffee come near the finish.

Overall, this is a bit unorthodox but exceedingly interesting and decadently different.

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,893 ratings.
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