Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,107 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,107 | Ratings: 1,883
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

 386 characters

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.

 513 characters

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.

 474 characters

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.

 1,582 characters

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

 1,107 characters

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!

 224 characters

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.

 1,483 characters

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!

 695 characters

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.

 902 characters

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

 1,070 characters

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.

 509 characters

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.

 1,368 characters

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.

 264 characters

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.

 2,084 characters

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

 232 characters

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.

 380 characters

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.

 601 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage bottle at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of pine hops and malt
Head huge (7 cm), off white, frothy, slowly diminishing to 3 mm ring and layer
Lacing good – partial rings and stalactites
Body deep reddish amber, clear
Flavor malty, somewhat sweet, ending with a hint of hops; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25
One of the better barley wines, good flavor of malt with some hops bitterness, no alcohol up front.

 527 characters

Photo of jaasen64
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%

Bottle from 2007, Enjoy by 11/15/12 date stamped on it.

A- Pours a slightly translucent dark brown with some yeast sediment floating around the bottom, decent head and still seems to be holding some carbonation (3.5)

S- Dark fruits, cherries, dark malts, definite oxidation of dry cardboard, paper bag, old barley. Overall pretty nice but definitely falling off a bit (3.75)

T- Barley, dark malts, cherries, slight bit of oxidation with hints of cardboard, hints of coffee, finishes with a bit of toffee, caramel, barley, and light dark fruits. Decently complex, holding up well, but definitely falling off a bit (4)

M- Very smooth, not too much carbonation, almost no alcohol present (4.25)

O- This beer is holding up decently well but for 7 years old it's definitely falling off a tiny bit. I'd say it probably reached it's peak a couple years ago as marked by the enjoy by date. It's still very enjoyable and extremely smooth for 11%. For picking this up off the shelf recently for $5 I'd say it was a steal.

 1,026 characters

Photo of GPHarris
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2007 vintage

A - poured a one finger thick tan head into a snifter. The body poured a dark mahogany color.
S - candy sugar, dark fruits, boozy.
T - dark fruits, oak, booze.
M - slick and creamy.
O - held up really well after all these years. Complex and drinkable. The booziness was welcome.

 295 characters

Photo of StoneTSR
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: The head foamed up big time when I first poured it and I had to wait a few minutes before being able to even get a good, 8 oz. pour into the glass. The retention was pretty solid, retaining a big, off-white, rocky in texture head. Underneath all of that was a typical mahogany Barleywine that may have landed slightly more towards the dark end of the spectrum than others of the style. The lacing was pretty solid, but heavy enough to slowly slide down the glass, remaining a consistent finger-and-a-half above the surface of the beer.

SMELL: Most of the Barleywine’s I have reviewed have smelled pretty similar. This one is different, and very complex with cherries, raisins and assorted berries. With a little brown sugar and banana underneath the fruit to remind you it is, in fact, a Barleywine.

TASTE: This is not the oaked variation, but there is something about this beer that makes it seem a little woody. The wood is not the dominant flavor, just the most interesting. Of course, there is also a pretty strong hop presence (more than expected at seven months old) that provides an excellent contrast to the sugary malt flavors and the big, wonderful, floral and fruit flavors. Cherries are, again, all over this beer. Orange, banana and raisins all come through as well.

MOUTHFEEL: Old Horizontal seems sweet at first, but the bitter, dry hops on the finish bring it back to the other side by the end of the sip, which makes for an interesting mouthfeel. This beer is not balanced all the way through, rather it is balanced in the same sense that both sides, the sweet and the dry, get equal time. Either way, this beer is big in body…really big.

OVERALL: What an incredible beer. I love a lot of what victory does and I love a lot of different Barleywines, but this beer ranks right up there near the top of both categories. Prior to this beer the only time I ever had it was when I had a 2009 Oaked variation in 2013, which was incredible. I thought I would be let down a bit by this, relatively fresh bottle, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it exceeding my expectations. The hop character that was all but lost on the 2009 created a fantastic compliment to the complex malt bill. I have two more bottles, which were both going to go in the cellar. After tasting this now, however, it’s drinking too good not to pull at least one more out of the cellar real soon.

 2,405 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

About to go for a walk (Dave is still peeing).

The beer is dark orange / copper with a half inch of tan head. Smells hoppy, boozy, malty. Big beer. ¿Que hora es? Citrus soaked in alcohol. Notes of pine with some alcohol sugars. Good flavor, but the alcohol is too forward. I have trouble appreciating beers of this ilk, where both the malt and hop profiles are so grand that they seem to compete for dominance, rather than dance in harmony. Hop bitterness and alcohol longer on the palate. Overall, good, though not my cup of tea (beer).

 539 characters

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

Deeply sweet, syrupy caramel malt, with dates, figs, raisins in aroma. Flavor reveals slightly cloying brown sugar sweetness, with boozy notes adding contrast, and a refreshing bitter finish that balances somewhat. Notes of prunes and raisins are welcome complexities. It's a bit hot and would probably age well. This one's only a year old. Becomes a bit buttery as it warms.

 375 characters

Photo of minterro
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle bought from Little's Wine and Liquor in Denver, CO. Store aged, bottled in October 2013. Poured into a snifter.

A&S: Upon opening the bottle it seems like this beer is going to be well carbonated. Pours a pretty big creamy head (a little over a finger) light yellow/tan coloration and retains very well. Beer is a lively and transparent and a deep ruby color. Aroma is primarily earthy hoppy bitterness, dark maltyness, some citrus, and cherry dark fruit tones.

T&M: Flavors include tobacco, malts, and some earthy hops. Alcohol is a little too present. If I could redo, I would probably age it a little longer. The finish is even for an American Barleywine is still pretty bitter even with 6 months in the bottle. Body and carbonation is on the higher side of medium, a little too crisp.

Overall: I honestly expected a little more from Victory, not that this beer wasn't good, cause it was, just not anything special. Decent price (about 8 bucks) for a 11% beer bomber, but I still probably wouldn't buy it again.

 1,027 characters

Photo of FFreak
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 OZ bomber into glass. A clear deep dark amber with a decent head that slowly fades Lots of dried fruit and candi sugar on the nose. Again, raisin, date, caramel, plum come out in the taste, with very little alcohol or hop flavor at all. Mouthfeel is succulent, thick and sweet, but never cloying or syrupy. A very enjoyable barleywine, one of the best I've ever had.

 369 characters

Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,883 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!