Barleywine Commentary: Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine

By Ken Carman

I started this as a profile for PGA, but decided a commentary might be more appropriate. The Professor not only agreed but is hoping to make this a semi-regular feature with rotating writers.

Barleywines tend to be high abv. Yes, but this is higher alcohol-ish. Not much, but annoyingly so. But more than that I am going to abandon my standard BJCP-type review because, IMO, the 2015 Guidelines contributed to this. I understand that commercial versions of American Barleywine have gotten more hoppy, but this is what you get. It was annoyingly bitter, so much so it was hard to drink. And what the hell is wrong with having a sweeter barleywine? The bitter masks the rich goodness a great barleywine has to offer.

And having been through many craft breweries over the year on the east coast the idea that everything American has to be more hoppy is silly.

Damn near undrinkable.

But I can’t rate it because it is what newer barleywines are supposed to be. Sometimes this leads to a ruination of the style, IMO.