MikeF (538) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - DEC 30, 2002
A hoppy, but more caramel-like nearly buttery aroma. Up front, very maltly, nearly creamy tasting finishing slightly more hoppy. Waughbrew (18) - Portsmouth, Rhode Island, USA - DEC 27, 2002
Bottled 11/15/2002. A beautiful red color with a small off-white head. Very nice aroma, with hops of course but maltiness and some alcohol too. Rather sweet, very smooth. Lingers for a long time. Recommended. Drew (2411) - Kent, Ohio, USA - DEC 25, 2002
Evening: 10 p.m. - 12/24/02 - the skies of Northeast Ohio are clear. 12/25/02 - 7 a.m. - Our daughter’s awake, ready for daddy to assemble the toys that Santa brought, and there’s 8 inches of snow in the driveway. So begins our Christmas day - we travel and visit and eat and deliver presents and eat and visit and eat and drive and eat and, finally arrive home safe and sound. I immediately grab this Old Horizontal (thanks V) and assemble more toys. Burnt orange - very clear - but bottle conditioned. Sweet fruits, strong yet gentle hops. This is 11%, but I don’t taste any alcohol at all. There’s not much more to say, this is by far the smoothest, most seductive barley wine yet. amx1970390 (480) - Southampton, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2002
I am in love! This is great! Wonderful hop aroma and taste, balanced well with malt and fruit (peaches and citrus) By far the best Barleywine I have had. A 2nd only to World Wide Stout as my current favorite American beer. But this is 1/3 the price of WWS and more drinkable. ToadMan (559) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 19, 2002
Rich hoppy aroma, strong taste of barley, hops and lots of alcohol. Some vanilla and fruit undertones, but the alcohol was just too dominant.
Holdwine (1227) - Beertimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 18, 2002
I marked this higher because of what they were trying to do. Maybe I got into an uneven keg, but the alcohol was overpowering. It was not masked as other barley wines have done, but right there burning all the way. Yes, it looked nice, and I could tell there were fruity undertones just rying to get out. But they were trapped. apoptosis (1317) - Denver, Colorado, USA - DEC 17, 2002
This beer is incredible! The alcohol is masked very well by the sweetness, and it smells like candy. Very complex and extremely delightful. notalush (5866) - Denver, Colorado, USA - DEC 17, 2002
UPDATED: AUG 11, 2006 [edit - this beer’s quality has suffered a great deal in recent years - hold on to those older bottles as long as you can] A deep, ruby red color and slight lacing make this look like any old barleywine.....but it most certainly is not! The aroma is mildy alcoholic, but mostly dominated by what I can only describe as ’candied fruit,’ if that makes sense. There is a subtle hop and alcohol presence in the flavor which is enjoyable on these long winter nights (but the alcohol is very well masked). The most dominant aspects of the flavor include a heavy malty sweetness, and a deluge of fruit flavors (black cherries, grapes, raisins, and possibly strawberries), which combine to make this my new favorite barleywine. The fruit and sweetness stick around in the finish for an astounding length of time after you swallow (if your don’t brush your teeth, the flavor could probably stick with you for weeks). Storm King is my favorite Victory beer, but I think this brew will make me call that title into question. slimjim (106) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 17, 2002
This is my favorite of this style. Deep amber, sweet malty. Enough hops to satisfy. DELICIOUS! Victory does it again! Dickinsonbeer (5074) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 16, 2002
UPDATED: MAR 19, 2005 Re rate: bottled nov 13 2002- Aroma is better this year I think- more hops in the aroma- and the head is larger and lasts longer. I also remember noticing the alcohol last year- but there is very little alcohol at the beginning- when it warms it becomes present but it is still slight. Since DFH WWS 23% any amount of alcohol in a beer is going to taste muted. Still the best barleywine I’ve had so far.
Color is deep amber. Almost no head. Smell was sweet and citrusy. Taste was extremely complex and changed after warming up. I first noticed a very sweet almost molasses-like taste witha nice toasty maltiness with mild hop taste. As it warmed there was plum and other caramel-like malt flavors with increasing hoppiness. I went directly to bed and passed out after having one of these at the end of a night fillled with drinking good beers at the local pub.