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Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,816 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,816
Reviews: 1,026
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 73
Gots: 128 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

ABV varies slightly over the years.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,816 | Reviews: 1,026
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Sunset Grill in Allston, MA.

A murky deep dark brown with ruby edges ... little to no head.

Esters and a big alcohol nose. Grape, herbal and a bit spicy with some backing soft malts in the aroma.

Smooth, mature and extremely mellow -- medium bodied, and a bit thin for a Barleywine. Big malt flavours, grape, raisin and plenty of complex esters. Nice dose of spicy alcohol and mingling hops.Thin caramel and chocolate -- a bit buttery. Light oxidation in the finish leaves a cardboard/wet paper flavour on the palate.

The 2001 on tap seems to be holding up somewhat. I definately enjoyed this beer, but I recommend letting it warm to near room temperature in order to release more flavours.

Photo of Jason
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Tiny 7oz brown bottle with a coded freshness date on the back label that denotes it was brewed on December 27, 2001.

Appearance: Two fingered frothy beige lace over a tarnished and hazed amber hue.

Smell: Smells of ginger snap cookies, ripe plums and a touch of grain as well as a hint of alcohol and faint buttery diacetyl on the nose.

Taste: Lovingly crisp and smooth on the tongue with a moderate carbonation and thick body. Mellow hops throw an ample bitterness into the mix, maltiness wants to be dominant but is not strong enough to hold the crown. Soft citric flavours and a bit of hop flavour show the only liveliness. The best of the malt is a caramel and shortbread like flavour that fades too quickly. Touch of buttery diacetyl is present, maltiness seems bit thin from middle to end. Vague fruitiness confuses the taste buds. Finishes pretty clean and quite dry.

Notes: What happened to Old Foghorn? Tastes refined, over-filtered and drawn back. This is by far a good beer but does not seem to be what it was years past. Worth a try though nothing spectacular. As for cellaring this brew? Not sure if this vintage would bring any good.

1996 Vintage:

Presentation: 7 oz. bottle with a coded freshness date (6LR) which the brewery informed us that it was a 96'. Noted on the label ... "Our barleywine style ale, the first of its kind in the United States ..."

Appearance: Deep red ... very bright with a tight and really creamy light tan lace.

Smell: Mild rum like aromas with malt, light molasses and a raisin like sweetness. Very fruity with a heaping handful of alcoholic esters.

Taste: Nice fat chewy malt upfront with a light crispness in this full bodied brew. Good amount of hop bitterness and sweet/spicy alcohol that gives a sharp bite though the strong malt backbone holds its own very well. Hints of molasses and chocolate mingle with the other flavours. Mellow hop flavour and a husk / bread malt flavour finish this brew off though there is the slightest ghost like wet paper flavour which actualy adds to this brews greatness.

Notes: A sample with age that is for sure, a little loss taken with the hop character both in aroma and flavour. Yet the aging has seemed to put a bit more depth back in. Sip this with after dinner or even with a cigar. A sure thing either way as far as barleywines go. If you are into aged barleywine and don't mind spending the $2.99 then this is for you. Just shy of 9.0% abv.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours tawny brown color with a few light highlights with a thin lace,aroma is deeply fruity and a little alcoholic.Taste is rich and warming alot of fruity estures with a hint of molassis with an underlying herbal,grassy flavor in the finish.A nice complex brew but whats up with the tiny bottles?

Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Clear, orangish-brown body that produced a big head that left quickly, which is very typical of the style.

Smell – This one has the sweet, malty, alcoholic aroma of a good barley wine. There’s also some hop bitterness there for balance, but mostly the smell announces a sugary substance.

Taste – Yes, there’s a big sweetness from this one. The malt is present but clearly in the background. The main thrust of this brew is the sweetness, predominantly alcoholic molasses and brown sugar. There are some dark fruits as well; mostly bloody peaches and plums doused in table sugar, but the molasses and brown sugar are the strongest. Lastly, there’s a slight floral hop balance to round this one out.

Mouthfeel – This one is flat and smooth and full-bodied.

Drinkability – This is a great sipping beer. I had this with a charbroiled tenderloin, and it was heaven.

Update – This is one of the first ales that I rated after joining the site in 2003, so I thought it would be fun to re-rate it with a 2004 vintage. I “ditto” the review from over a year ago. It isn’t as hoppy as some American BWs but goes down quite well.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a rich mahogany into a medium wine glass. Looks ruby-brownish when held to light. Its thin, 1-finger head dissipates quickly. A thin, sticky lacing clings to the glass as the beer goes down my gullet.

S: Caramel-toffee with a big, roasty malt aroma. Also some black currant, anise, and definitely some brown sugar and cinnamon hints. A very sweet, almost port-like aroma.

T: Sweet barley malarmey! Rich malt sweetness dominates this brew. A very liqueur- like quality with heavy brown sugar accents are present. Definitely a dessert-style sipper. Fruit flavors include raisin and fig. I would really appreciate a little more hop bitterness to balance out the huge malt presence, but the lack of hop flavor certainly doesn't ruin the taste. Just a little booziness is detectable near the end of a sip. Medium carbonation.

M: I really enjoy the feel of this beer. It is really creamy with a medium-heavy sweetness that coats the entire palate. Sticky-icky (in a good way).

D: The sweetness of it leads me to not give it a great rating... I really enjoyed about the first 2/3 of the brew, but the last 1/3 was just a little too sweet and sticky. One and done for me, thank you, and I'll probably enjoy another in a couple of months or so.

Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber, fluffy off-white head.

S- Classic robust barleywine aroma. Spicy, fruity hops, pine, toffee, doughy, with an alcohol presense.

T- This was a let down for me after the great nose. It kind of fell flat. The hops almost disappeared. Malty caramel, banana, raisin fading to a warm alcohol feel.

M- Medium bodied with light, soft carbonation. Needs more body but it still works for the most part.

D- Well made beer,easy drinking, but I kind of lose my interest after one.

Photo of kaimcm
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle, but not just any bottle, one of those little 7 ounce bastards that I love so much which are now gone. little 7 ounce bastard, I salute you and your achievments. poured into a Caracole snifter.

A: deep brownish/burgundy hue. light sploch on the off white head. disipates quickly but no surprise there.

S: cant decide if its more caramel or brown sugar, vanilla, white grapes, a hint of pear, alcohol.

T: light, sweet but not cloying, and complex sugar profile. very clean malt bill to support the sugars. butter, vinous, grape like aromas translate easily into similar flavors. dries somewhat during the finish which is a nice balance and ends somewhat fruity, apples, pears, barely tart.

M: honestly a little too light for the style. and at what used to be a 7ounce serving, Anchor shouldnt have been that concerned with thinning the viscosity to make it more drinkable. I would like to see a heavier more, viscous mouthfeel.

D: a damn tasty brew. im curious to see how the switch to 12 oz bottles goes over. ill pick some up myself and see how i feel after 12 instead of the 7 im used too.

Photo of Dmann
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this was a great barleywine. I had this on tap at the San Diego Brewing Co. tonight and it was great! The first thing I noticed was the great smell of spices, plum and a slight scent of alchohol. The taste had a good portion of maltiness with a good balance of hoppiness and a good spice/plum flavor. This was a great beer on tap and much better than out of the bottle.

Photo of BJ1833
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 7 oz bottle

Appearance: Dark amber color with thin white head

Aroma: Smell of roasted malt and slight nut character. Aroma of plums and raisins.

Taste: Sweet taste of roasted malt and dark fruits. Alcohol taste is present, but not overpowering. Slight spiciness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: Good barleywine that would go down great on a winter night. Complex flavors blend well into an extremely enjoyable brew. This is a beer that you want to stop analyzing and just sit back and enjoy.

Photo of skybluewater
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely deep cherry color. No head, no lace (although I believe that's normal for this style...). Smell is quite nice, with a bit of raisin and cherry poking through. I really like the taste. There's a little raisin, a little cherry, with a nice maltiness (with a bit of caramel) and some hops. The mouthfeel is pretty full, although it gets a little weaker as the beer warms.

This is only my second barleywine, but I'm really developing a liking for this style (along with old and strong ales). This is a nice little beer (that comes in a cute little bottle) to sip on a bitterly cold winter's eve. (Although 7 ounces isn't enough...)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Foghorn pours from the 12oz bottle into my tulip glass a deep dark reddish brown with a nice creamy khaki head atop. Spotty lacing forms all over the side of the glass as garnet hues shine out when I hold it up to the light. Aroma is rich, sweet caramelly malt, dark fruits, cherries and brown sugar. There's a really nice herbal, green, slightly citric hoppiness throughout. Quite nice.

First sip brings a rich, fruity, caramelly maltiness with hints of cherry, molasses and burnt sugars. This is followed by a nice wave of herbal hoppiness, a touch citrusy, that brings a nice flow of bitterness to the back of the palate. This is a tasty barleywine and I'm glad to see it coming in full 12oz bottles now. Quite refined with a nice malt/hop balance and bold flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. A decent bit lighter in body that many other barleywines...but it serves to make it all the more drinkable. I could see sitting down to a few bottles of this with no problem at all. My fiance also enjoyed this with me as she has been getting into barleywines! Definetly a brew that everyone should try at least once.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky reddish brown color. Small head. Malty nose. There's a detectable alcohol taste, which I'm not really into. Kind of sweetish too, which I'm also not into. A bit syrupy. Can't say I'm really liked this one. Dont think I'll be getting it again, and certainly not for $12+ a six pack.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer. Maybe not as aggressive as some American barleywines, but still a good beer. Served in a tulip the beer was a hazy burnt sienna color with a medium tan head. It had a sweet caramel aroma, with some fruit also noticeable. The caramel came through quite well in the taste, as did a little bit of cherry and some late hops. A smooth, enjoyable beer.

Photo of NWer
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured nice dark amber into a wine snifter. Moderate golden head. Smells nice. The taste is balanced enough to style for an English Barleywine but the maltiness is too milky. The sweetness leaves an unpleasant aftertaste that gets old quickly.
I'm glad I tried it once.

Photo of grynder33
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got a amberish brown color pour, a big head for a barleywine, much less of an aroma than I had hoped for, mouthfuls going down were smooth hoppy kind of a cherrish taste with kind of a bitter sweet fruity aftertaste. I found this to be just a little to sweet for my tastes.

Photo of marvin213
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I just poured this here Old Foghorn into my Carolina Brewery pint glass in a hurry. This suprisingly dark barleywine came gushing out and topped off the glass with a big, thick head. It quickly dissipated into a thin, topping layer within a minute of the pour. I started sorta squinting my eyes at it wondering why it's so dark. It's almost like an amber red. Is it gonna taste like a barleywine? I bring it to my nose and smell...and smell...and...not much of anything, honestly. I put it down and try again. Nothing.

Time to taste. I'm instantly reminded of Sprite marketing because image is nothing. It definitely tastes better than nothingness; nevertheless, it's nothing special. Old Foghorn definitely seems like a malty-type barleywine to me. Is that supposed to happen? I'm sorta wierded out. I keep looking at it and smelling it, not knowing what to think, but each taste strikes me as suprisingly good--at least relative to how it appears.

I went back to get and read the bottle. Its description is purty accurate--it is indeed a malty "barleywine style." The label says "ideal" for after dinner, though I'd only go so far as "appropriate." The mouthfeel is the best part. The chocolatey malt and the "barleywine style" sit and tingle my whole mouth with yummy sweetness quite well.

I keep looking at it inquisitively. I smell it again. Maybe it smells more like a barleywine as it warms slightly. Still, I judge beer smell more on immediate effect--straight from its home. The beer is good. Its taste, again, is better than its image. Mouthfeel is quite good.

Since thirst is still everything (at least in line with my Sprite motif), I'll say I'd definitely drink another one, maybe even two...but writing home about it, I probably wouldn't do.

Photo of Beaver13
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a clear light ruby brown with a huge rocky off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a bit subdued - caramel malts, molasses, dark fruits with some resiny hops and a bit of wood and alcohol.

The flavor is sweet fruity (plum) sugary/molasses malts with some bitterness and an alcoholic burn in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a very nice barley wine. It's a bit young with some big sweetness battling some harsh alcohol. But it's still good now. I'd love to try this aged.

Photo of merlin48
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I assume these wee, seven ounce bottles are a tradition of some kind, but they should put this in bombers, at least for limited release, for those of us who can't find it on tap. This one was bottled in August of 2002(thanks to Cellarman for deciphering the date code).
Pours a clear, reddish mahogany into a tulip glass. Skimpy, beige head quickly falls to a collar. Quite a bit of sticky lace patches the glass.

The aroma is seductive. Molasses/Caramel, then Pine/Grapefruit. The malt and hops aromas keep dancing back and forth, in a very playful aroma.

Mouthfeel is near perfect. The carbonation bursts forth into a rich and coating feel of caramel malt and citrusy hops. Very pleasant!

Taste features the same "hide and go seek" game of hops/malts. Sweet, caramel maltiness and grapefruit and citrus hops keep jumping around the palate, but both end up sharing the stage in this intriguing balance of the two. Alcohol is cleverly concealed, but after finishing this tiny bottle I can feel its effects.

Very drinkable. In fact, this was a lot of fun to sip down and enjoy the way the hops and malts kept playing together. One little bottle just isn't enough to appreciate the other complexities going on here.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful burnt orange w/ nothing but a haze formed on top...with no lace.
Smell is amazing...reminding me of Harpoon's 100 Barrell Series.
Sweet aromas filled with cherries, caramel and vanilla.
The taste is more mellow than I was expecting, but the mouthfeel is top notch. I'm real glad this one is not too sweet, with decent hops...and not dry at all. It's fairly easy to drink and has a clean aftertaste....leaving me wishing it was more than just 7oz. This Barleywine style ale has left one heck of a first impression on me.

Photo of Homebrew35
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours one fingers worth of an off white head. Good lacing and some retention.

Smells of toffee, carmel, burnt sugar and simple sugar. Some floral hops and a bit of alcohol.

Tastes like a big, sweet, carmel and buttery flavored beer. It has a creamy, toffee and molasses taste mid palate. Finish is fairly sweet, a bit of alcohol taste and some warmth is felt.

Medium thin bodied. Medium low carbonation. Fairly short and slightly sweet quick finish.

Overall this is a good barleywine. The alcohol taste, slight buttery taste, medium thin body and quick finish detract from the score.
Dated Dec 11 1DO
$3.75 a single

Photo of badbeer
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Labeled 4FD which means this is from February 4, 2004. Writing from notes, I opened this on February 4, 2006, two years old.

Poured a dull amber color that had a tan head but lasted only for a moment, left some lacing but very little. Caramel, sweet and dark fruits, and a tiney hint of pine composed the smell. It tasted of sweet malt, dark fruit, and pine. It starts off sweet and then the hops kick in for a nice balance, not a strong hop taste however. Low carbonation, medium to full bodied, seemed to suit this beer quite well. Pretty good to drink after a meal as the label says, but I wouldn't do it everyday.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the pine, caramel and brown sugar. The flavor is heavy on the brown sugar, toffee, caramel, pine, oranges and alcohol. The beer tastes like candy. Very interesting and very nice. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Single bottle picked up at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo, as part of a Christmas haul. Enjoyed on one of the coldest evenings so far this winter.

Poured into my Duvel tulip glass. Dark caramel-ruby, with a half inch of head that settles into a thick ring. A few flecks and streaks of lacing as well.

Nose is very malty and quite pleasant - bit of cherry, grape, oak and faint piney hops. Has that large malt and booze smell that is unmistakably 'barleywine'.

If you're like me, and you like your barleywines a bit on the sweeter, maltier side, this one is just the ticket. Sweetness is quite noticeable, but has a nice puckery hop finish to it that is quite refreshing and makes me want to come back for more. Same fruit, oak and mild pine notes to it as in the nose, as well as some English hopping.

Sticky, medium thickness, carbonation is mild but assertive enough. Very easy to sip.

Tasty barleywine, sweeter than most, which lets the malt get its full billing. Great evening sipper.

Photo of mattster
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes, originally tasted 20-Sept-08 Opened 12 Ounce bottle, poured into Snifter glass.

Upon pour, large 2" head develops, dies down to ¼" that retains well. Brew is a burnt amber that is mostly opaque.

Smell is of dark malts with slight fruit smells. Follows along with smell; fruit is light but pronounced. Nice bubbles for this style; I was shocked to find the 9.4 ABV because this brew doesn't show it. Really pleasant finish with no bad after taste...

Definitely let this beast warm before drinking, as the flavor really comes forward as it warms and opens.

Photo of puertobrewing
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured beautifully on a pilsner glass. Amber with a foamy one finger head that disappeared almost instantly. Practically no lacing left behind.

S - Nice balanced smell between the hops and the malt. The alcohol kicks in a bit but not overwhelming. Get a bit of citrus and just a tiny bit of bourbon with woody hints. Definitely a great smell.

T - Up front I taste the bitterness of the hops, which is enough and then it turns to sweetness washing the bitterness, thus balancing the palette. Can taste the wood, probably oak, bourbon, a little bit of chick-o-stick kind of flavor and spices.

M - Nice carbonation for its style and it doesn't feel dry at all. Smooth and full bodied.

Overall it is a nice barleywine perfect for a dessert after a great meal, or for having it when you feel like drinking only one beer. Well, or maybe like me... I'm having this beer as a closing beer after an Abita Mardi Gras and three Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stouts. No more beer for today!

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,816 ratings.