rollingwood (88) - Maryland, USA - NOV 13, 2010
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
A slightly hazy copper pour is topped by two fingers of off-white foam. The head persists for the duration. The aroma is sweet malt and floral hops with a touch of fruit (I suspect comes from the yeast). The liquor is malty and sweet with just a (well-disguised 11% ABV) hint of alcohol. The hop malt balance is satisfying (and especially so in that Victory’s tendency towards a ‘brusque hops profile’ is admirably restrained), and as the brew warms the malt defines itself more so as caramel and a pleasing bitterness emerges in the finish. By way of comparison, this seems modeled on Anchor’s delicious Old Foghorn, but here there is a tad more hop aroma, a bit more bitterness in the liquor and slightly less sweetness, all of which helps to define this delightful ale.
beermaniac (86) - Pennsylvania, USA - APR 25, 2004
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Aroma: Citrusy, hoppy with a sweetish malty aroma, fruity esters resembling orange kept me coming back for more. I also picked out pale malts in all of this very complex aroma. Some caramel notes. Some alcohol in the nose as it warms.
Appearance: Reddish gold color, clarity good, small head.
Flavor: Citrusy flavors backed up by the sweet malt, and also the orange fruity flavor is present in the taste. Chewy pale malt flavor is awesome.
Mouthfeel: Thick mouthfeel with some alcohol burn but for the most part it is smooth and silky in the mouth. Carbonation is just right for style.
Overall: Excellent sipping beer, drinks like a meal!! Awesome!!
markgugs (86) - Wood Ridge, New Jersey, USA - JAN 29, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A: Pours a gorgeous ruby red/cranberry color, with a moderately thin head that dissipates quickly, except around the ages.
S: A very interesting scent, the beer almost smells refreshing, like a breakfast cocktail. It’s definitely sweet and makes me want to take a gigantic gulp, but knowing what lies ahead, I don’t plan on doing that.
T: Woah. I was unprepared for the first sip and the almost overwhelming alcohol presence, sort of like a Jack & Coke that’s got flat/watered-down, or a zinfandel that someone stuck in the fridge. It has a very large boozy raspberry or cherry flavoring to it that I’m not sure about, perhaps as it warms...and yes, that is the case. The beer gets better as it warms (as would be expected). Lots of complex flavors to this one, though very little, if any, finish.
M: The thinnest barleywine I’ve had, it’s gone from your mouth as quickly as you sip it. I actually prefer my barleys to be a big "bigger" in terms of mouthfeel, but this one actually helps the drinkability.
D: Once you’re past that initial burst of booziness, this beer becomes fairly easy to drink. Still not a chugging beer, heh, but not very hard to drink given the very high ABV. I’d do more than one of these in a sitting.
rpattinson (84) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - FEB 1, 2007
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Dark amber colour with little head; grapefruit, lemon and caramel aromas; sweetish/bitter taste with caramel, dates, citrus and pine aromas; bitter finsih with caramel, toffee and pine aromas.
A reasonable beer, but the malt and hop flavours clash in the mouth. Lacking complexity for a beer of its strength.
jthg (84) - Austin, Texas, USA - FEB 20, 2009
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I had this one last night. I didn’t want a barley wine but I figured I needed to taste such a highly valued beer.
The Horizontal was amazing. It has a sweetness like from C20. And, if it can be said for a barley wine - well balanced. Not overly bitter.
PolakPorter (83) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 30, 2008
4.3 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
One of my all-time favs. Dark luscious caramel color. The aroma consists of a wild combination of nearly every fruit found in the western hemisphere. Going down, it is seductively sticky. The array of sweet fruits becomes apparent and the alcohol performs its warming effect. At about that time, it becomes obvious that this is an excellent barley wine. Not at all overpowering, but not for the weak. Really glad I stocked up on this one last spring!
suchen (81) - , Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 16, 2009
3.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: APR 7, 2009 The pour was a nice slightly murky copper-brown. I have to first say that I am not a fan of over-hopping. When the lively hop aroma assailed my nostrils, I thought oh great here we go again. Having said that, when I had my first taste it blew me away! One of the thickest and most mouth-filling beers I’ve yet rated. And warming is right! The barely noticeable a.b.v. nevertheless reaches right down to your toes and out to your fingertips. Hops are wonderfully balanced with the thick malty sweetness of the brew, but (unfortunately for me) the beer finishes on a strongly hoppy and modestly bitter note leaving the taste of mellower flowery hops.
valejo (81) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - JUN 10, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
What a yummy beer. The good news is I have four more. The bad news is they sat in my hot car for a week. Do you think they’ll be okay?
jobrewmeister (81) - - MAR 28, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a red amber with a tan head. Very nice lacing. Smell is of toasted malts, cherries, caramel. Came on very strong, candy/malt opening and middle, with a with a hop bite finish.
seekingup2 (80) - - DEC 12, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Since Im not a huge barleywine fan, i didnt expect to like this...and I was wrong. Great beer!! Huge flavor without having the "wine" kind of flavor to it. For an 11% barleywine I couldnt be more surprised with how good this was!