Victory Oaked Horizontal
Tasting: March 29, 2013
Style: Barley Wine
Beer #: 451
Victory Oaked Horizontal : My wife is out with the girls tonight and what I thought would be a fun evening with my boys deteriorated quickly into a screaming and fighting match. I spent the evening trying to rationalize with the irrational. Thankfully, they are off to bed and the hum of the appliances is the only sound that breaks the silence.
Winter has held its grip on us for far too long and hopefully the warm day today finally signals that we’ve turned the seasonal corner. My refrigerator still reflects the lingering winter season as it’s still stocked full with stout and barley wine. The high ABV warms the bones – but frankly, I’m ready to move on to lighter summer fare — well at least comparatively lighter to my recent samplings.
This barley wine is from Victory (Pennsylvania) and is the bourbon-barrel aged version of “Old Horizontal”. It pours a cloudy rusty brown color. Pow – raisins, prunes and caramel right in your face. Has a creeping alcohol burn and a slight fizziness as the ethers waft by the palate. The bourbon barrel influence is subtle with some oak and vanilla tucked on the finish. Nicely sweet and has a hop resin bitterness. High ABV of 10.5% certainly lend itself to a syrupy mouthfeel. I love the style and even though this one has its faults, I’m enjoying it. I’m also enjoying the peace and quiet and that might help the score. This one would do well with a little age — but for now, I’ll put it at 90 points.
I’d categorize this as an English-style barley wine as it’s ripe with dark fruit and syrupy sweetness. California versions of the style layer in amped up hop bitterness. If you are curious to try a nice California barley wine — Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot is still available in stores.
Update: May 19, 2015: I had purchased two bottles of Oaked Horizontal back in 2013 and had the second bottle of the 2012 vintage tonight. Hops have disappeared and the dark fruit have gone to the forefront. This one still has its faults as in a booziness that hasn’t mellowed.