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Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,672 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,672
Reviews: 997
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 64
Gots: 83 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies slightly over the years.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,672 | Reviews: 997 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerbuddha


3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Appearance- Nice amber-red color with very little head. Maybe half an inch.

Smell- A lot of alcohol with hint of spices and fruit

Taste- Very sweet up front with a dry finish. Felt like I was drinking a brandy or something similar.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with little carbonation.

Drinkability- This was a descent beer. It would be recommended as an after dinner beer.

08-02-2007 13:39:54 | More by Beerbuddha
Photo of BretSikkink


3.7/5  rDev -5.4%

Clear, dark copper brew with some highlighting. Cream head is not voluminous, nor does it display a lot of retention. Easy to understand with the high abv, and this is a regal-looking brew nonetheless.

The aroma is surprisingly light, though pleasant, for the style: caramel malt is more subdued and less sugary than expected, and leans towards English toffee as well, with major additions of floral, grassy hops. These I would attribute to Hallertau/N. Brewer style hops, while there is also the Liberty Ale's characteristic Cascade hopping that lends a citric bite.

These also make an appearance in the flavor, with noticeable traces of dry hopping, piney, herbal notes, along with a mild malt flavor. The body is lighter than many barleywines, which helps with drinkability, and showcases the hops. Finish is hoppy, slightly dry, warming, and a little oily.

Tasty, relatively balanced barley wine. Emphasizes the hops, but not to the extent of some of the Northwest varieties, while not being as sweet, and more drinkable, than the high-gravity English versions. Cheers.

07-23-2007 02:38:22 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of baos


4.93/5  rDev +26.1%

Poured 12 ounce bottle into my favorite Trappist glass.

Head was 3 fingers immediately after pour then settled to half finger to nearly no head. Beer is a nice dark amber color. The smell is the sweet dark smell of moldering apples under my Grandmama's apple tree. The taste starts out a mildly bitter caramel with deep and sweet cider hints, a little hoppy, but more malty, with hints of prune and raisins, then it finishes with a kind of waxy honeycomb flavor with the presence of alcohol but not overpowering by any means. Truly remarkable beer!

07-23-2007 02:26:39 | More by baos
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

4.35/5  rDev +11.3%

Note: The bottle I had is packaged for distribution in Japan, so it has no production date on it. I have no idea when this was brewed.

Appearance: Brandy orange-brown with a fair, yellowy parchment-colored cakey head that retains poorly, but that's to be expected of any 9% alcohol brew.

Smell: Oh, my God... this is amazing. My first whiff struck me with something familiar, yet totally unexpected, fruity and sweet and vaguely nutty... then I realized what it was: melon! This nose is thick with a musky, mango-macerated Cantaloupe aroma, but of course that's not the only thing going on. Lots of burnt sugar, fine dark rum, brandy, black cherries, caramel, and some woodsy, almost hashish (tobacco)-like hops. The nose is predominantly malty and sugary, but the alcohol presence is absolutely perfect: spicy and sharp but not irritatingly so and not at all medicinal, with a clean, snappy character. Wow. Lovely lumber mill woody pine notes develop as it warms.

Taste: Grand! Malty as hell, loads of brandy (Calvados?) flavors up front with a deep, dark, Bananas Foster boozy fruit-and-spice character. Honey and some vaguely mocha-like roasty notes appear mid-sip. Hops lend a resiny, estery undertone that reminds me of lime zest. Alcohol rushes in at the swallow point for a remarkably clean finish for a beer this malty. Warming alcohol and an earthy, tangy hop bitterness linger on in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Fine bubbles create a nicely chewable and soft beer out of a heavy malt base and bracing alcohol spice. Just right.

Drinkability: Wow. I'm so impressed with this beer, almost definitely my favorite of the style so far. Bold and flavorful with enough of a bite to let you know it's not your average ale, but not so horribly bitter and spicy to make finishing a bottle a chore. Very nice work, Anchor. Works extremely well with very old cheddar and Danish blue.

07-12-2007 08:35:35 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of chrhowe


4.15/5  rDev +6.1%

12 oz. bottle pours a dark amber with a finger and half head that settles quickly and laces decently.
Smells of dark fruits, very sweet. A fair amount of hops come through and also very malty.
Tastes of raisins, banana, and dark sweet fruit, plum maybe.
Also there is a hint of brandy-like candy to this beer that takes the sweetness to quite a level.
Mouthfeel is smooth, heavy with alcohol. But I find that the alcohol in this beer does not affect its drinkability.
All in all, I could sit down and enjoy a few of these fine beers.

07-11-2007 00:50:25 | More by chrhowe
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -14.3%

First off, my bottle states the ABV is 9.4%. (It's from December of 2006.) This is one I've been wanting to taste for a long time, and with my affection for barleywines I can only believe I'll like it. Admittedly, I've had some great barleywines (DuckRabbit and Dogfish rank the highest for me), so there's a lot to live up to.

The color is right on: it's a dark amber with chestnut highlights. No substantial head formed, but that's probably due to my advanced slow-pouring technique! Dark toasted malts are certainly present through the nose, as are a pruny sweetness and just the hint of hops. It really has a nice aroma that makes me want to just sniff it over and over again.

I took my first long sip with much anticipation. The initial hit included a slight metallic flavor that disturbed me, but it faded quickly and didn't return with subsequent gulps. What struck me was the intense flavor of warm alcohol and dark, sweet fruit. Delicious! There's just enough hop bitterness at the finish to balance the malts, and the lingering aftertaste has a biscuit-like texture that really appeals to me.

I did find that Anchor's Old Foghorn was a bit too carbonated for me, but that's true with most beers I try; it's just a personal preference.

07-07-2007 02:30:13 | More by CWiggins
Photo of boelker62


3.28/5  rDev -16.1%

A - pours a slightly hazy copper under a tiny little, mostly diminishing head with no lacing throughout.

S - a light malty hint of grains, but certainly a good hop nose shining through. Similarly, a little tawny cask hint, but I may be crazy.

T - an unexpectedly, moderately, sweet start, expecting more throughout, but the hoppiness shone through mid palate. Then, a super long finish abounded in a metallic and alcohlicly astringent haze.

M - medium to full body with soft carbonation.

D - a little more than expected, but stil a sipper for me.

07-05-2007 13:20:00 | More by boelker62
Photo of vancurly


3.18/5  rDev -18.7%

Bottle traded with joecast, who kindly brought this one back from a recent trip to US (see his review below).

As with joe, batch 7AB., Served cool, not cold. A moderate 8.8% ABV, for this style anyway.

Now, I've never had an ABW before... had plenty of EBW, but was led to believe that American BW was more hop-driven... nose, palate, bitterness. This doesn't seem to be the case with this ale....

Pours a clear mahogany, or maybe cherry/brown. A thin beige foam tops it up (which disappears quickly), and a couple of bubble-beads feeding it, briefly.

Initial impression of cough-medicine, but then toffee, and tropical-or-stone fruit hints....maybe candied pawpaw or similar.

First flavour impression is licorice, and candy sweetness. This is liquid licorice allsorts.... Touch of toastiness, and a biscuity back palate. The bitterness is modest, but there's a flavour of certain bitter herbs.... cassia bark, gentian.

Mouthfeel is medium, but with a slight sugary stickiness, like cough medicine. Slight alcohol heat.

Yeah....not bad.

07-01-2007 07:14:52 | More by vancurly
Photo of warmstorage


4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

12 ounce bottle, believed to be 2005 vintage, with raise-printed code on the back: "6YL" Bottle states 9.4% ABV. $2.99 for the single 12 ounce bottle at Marcellar's Vintage Wines in Idaho Falls, ID.

At cellar temp (approx. 54*F) pours a deep, deep amber, almost brown, with a dense, tight medium-beige head. Leaves relatively little lacing.

Aroma: sweet and prune and sherry and alcohol warmth, much like Thomas Hardys and the English barleywine style.

Taste: again, sweet, warm alcohol, prunes, figs, stonefruit. Minimal hop presence, just enough to round out the huge malt bill.

Mouth: low to low-moderate carbonation, slightly tingly in the mouth, distinct alcohol warmth.

Overall: delightful, delicious, fantastic stuff. I honestly believe that, along with Rogue Old Crustacean and vintage Thomas Hardys, this stuff defines the style of *English* style barleywine. If I could find it, and then if I could afford it, I could sit and drink this every single night.

I just returned home from a lengthy trip to Australia, and wanted something absolutely different than what I've been drinking there. This was absolutely a solid choice. (I certainly sought out good stuff, but since I can't afford Red Oak and the like every night, often fell back to wine rather than drinking the various craptastic, punterrific BMC-style garbage that pervades mainstream Australian beer culture, and isn't particularly cheap in any case.)

Sorry for the off-topic rant: in short, this is absolutely a delightful cellar-prize for a well needed good beer, even on this 80*F June evening.

06-19-2007 05:37:16 | More by warmstorage
Photo of sierra11b


3.9/5  rDev -0.3%

Bottle into pint glass at 55 degrees.

Appearance - Carbonated, light-caramel colored head that quick dissipates into a thin, almost non-existent lace around the glass. Light passes through the beer crimson red. Great color.

Smell - Sweet, subtle smell of apple cider with a hint of hops, very faint citrus.

Taste - Hops. Little malty sweetness with slight alcohol aftertaste and warming sensation. Tasty.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated, but nice overall. A little more than I had expected. The body of the liquid surprised me at first.

Drinkability - For me, Barley Wines aren't my favorite drinking style. In fact, if it wasn't for an old BevMo gift card and me wanting to try an array of different brews, I would of never given this one a shot. But given the fact this barley wine was one of the more drinkable ones i've ever tried, i'll have to give it slightly above average.

06-11-2007 06:05:05 | More by sierra11b
Photo of joecast


2.4/5  rDev -38.6%

date code 7AB so this is a pretty fresh example.

poured into a glass that was just washed so may have been a bit wet. the beer poured with no head to speak of, but i wont mark it too harshly as it may have been my own fault. deep ruby/copper color, very little carbonation. it is a damn attractive color though.

swirling the beer to help the aroma. damn that is one sweet smelling beer. a whiff of alcohol and caramel or peanut brittle or toffee (something like that anyway). the neck label mentions dry hopping so there might be some floral hops in there, but they are hard to pick up.

taste is a bit less over powered by sweetness, but still not so good. surprised by the lack of bitterness, sweetness, and alcohol. only noticing some alcohol hints now because im drinking it so slow.

well, could be two things. its a bad bottle, or its way too young. its a big beer so im sure some age wouldnt hurt it. hopefully the bigfoot in the fridge is a bit older...

06-05-2007 05:28:18 | More by joecast
Photo of hoppymeal


4.2/5  rDev +7.4%

From a 12oz bottle from January 06. Pours a rusty copper to amber color, mainly clear, with a decent sized cream head that slowly recedes. Aroma is sweet and sugary maltiness, a rich buttery caramel with darker sweet fruits, dates, prunes, and grapes. As it warms there is a little saltiness and leather in the aroma as well. Great aroma dominated by malts. Taste shows some cola sweetness and some coconut. Rich caramel sweet maltiness with some berries and fruit, finishing with just a hint of hoppy dryness mixing with the sweet and tangy berry taste. Medium to heavy in body, not at all cloying despite the strong malt richness. A favorite, this beer is as good today as when I first tried it 10 or so years ago.

05-31-2007 02:01:44 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of mdm46410


4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

12 oz bottle. Pours a deep brown/amber with a minimal tan head that quickly disappears. Almost no lacing. Aromas are of citrus, strong caramel, and some malts. Flavor is of red grapes, orange, caramel and malts. Man, this beer has a lot going on, but is still very balanced. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a small dose of carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden. Nice and creamy with a warm finish. Wow, this is a good beer! This one is a keeper.

05-28-2007 15:24:13 | More by mdm46410
Photo of oelergud


4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Beautiful deep red copper clear semitransparent body, low carbonation. Huge tan creamy head up to medium bubbles, great retention and decent lace.
Sweet round toffee and mild spice, caramel as it warms.
Caramel, malts and mild spice well balanced with pleasantly flowing hops. Long hoppy aftertaste.
Medium body, residual sugars and good coating.
Highly drinkable.


05-19-2007 01:38:59 | More by oelergud
Photo of geexploitation


3.58/5  rDev -8.4%

Bottled January 2007. Pours a dark, reddish amber with a substantial head for the style. Aromas are hugely sweet, mainly some pruney sweetness and sugared grapefruit. On the palate, bitter and citric first-off, before transitioning into some heavy, sweet tea-like flavors. It's an intense, cloying sweetness that's unattenuated by aging. Mouthfeel is quite thick, with zesty bitterness that clings to the tongue. Overall, this beer has too much sweetness at this young age, and not enough hop bitterness. With time, what hop bitterness is here will thin out a bit, but the malts will become smoother as well, creating a more palatable drink. Good now, but without a strong food pairing, it's best to hold off on this and let it age a bit.

05-15-2007 04:56:08 | More by geexploitation
Photo of ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +6.9%

Old Foghorn pours a beautiful clear amber with a thin whispy head. Aroma is sweet and slighlty fruity with a hint of hops. Taste is delicous sweet malt, reminiscent of dark fruits. Hops bitterness and flavor is there, but much more subdued than I'm used to with an American Barleywine. The beer is deliciously balanced, and the alcohol is only barely noticeable.

05-11-2007 23:50:55 | More by ericj551
Photo of Bobikel


2.78/5  rDev -28.9%

This comes to me at an "extra premium" charge of $15.99 a sixer. Hope its worth it.

Appearance - Pours a clear coppery - red with a small tan head that recedes into a thin ring in about the same manner as a can of coke would. Lacing is a little below average.

Smell - Strong yeastyness dominates the nose. Very bready. Some very mild pine and citrus hops linger in the background.

Taste - Malt dominates with a little spicy bitter character that clasps around the tongue. Slightly cloying after the swallow. Alchohol heat is very present, even more so than in some of the most extreme beers I've tried, and at "only" %8.8, I have to wonder if that means fusels...

Mouthfeel - Very thick and slick, with probably what would have been a traditional amount of carbonation. ie. lightly carbed.

Overall - drinkability suffers a little in this one due to the mouthfeel, I could see this to be a good example of what barleywines used to be 100-200 years ago, but beyond that, it's just to goddamn expensive for me to ever justify buying again.

05-11-2007 00:41:12 | More by Bobikel
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%

Don't remember where I got this. Poured my one and only bottle into an oversized wine glass at cellar temparature. Good sized tan head sits atop a light brown beer. Lots of lacing all the way down, although the head faded rather quickly.

Took poor notes on this one (it being my fourth or so brew that afternoon), but it was a solid American barley wine with very good balance between citrusey hops and sugary malt. Leaned a little more toward the sweet side than some others within the style. Well-hidden alcohol, and clean (if a bit oily) mouthfeel.

05-09-2007 19:04:49 | More by crwills
Photo of aforbes10


3.93/5  rDev +0.5%

pours dark and red and bubbly with a big blond head. lots of bubbles rise continuously. a bit more carbonated than i'd expect it to be. hops and syrup and alcohol on the nose...also some malts and a smoky character. Taste is of a soft, not particularly aggressive barleywine with nice subdued peaty notes along with malt and noble hops. A bit of a metallic note to it but not in an extreme way. alchol obviously present, but blended well with the malt flavor. as it warms, a fruitness comes out as well that's nice. thinner than i expected but fine for the style i guess. a nice drinking, if run-of-the-mill barleywine.

05-08-2007 13:01:24 | More by aforbes10
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.95/5  rDev +1%

This beer is very sweet and caramel-y, and very drinkable for this style.

The beer pours a bright sparkling copper red with a decent amount of head (for a barley wine) which quickly faded to a minimal amount of head (typical of a barley-wine). Aroma is heavy malt sweetness, and flavor is much the same. The beer doesn’t have a lot of liquor-ish character; in fact its flavor is a bit light for a barley wine, but it is still a balanced syrup-y mix of malt sweetness and bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky. Quite good.

05-05-2007 22:19:16 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%

Reddish-brown mahogany color with little head.

Sweet roasty malt, vanilla, banana and maybe some fig all come out in the nose.

First impression is a definate sweetness, like nutty banana bread maybe. Lots of other fruity esters, some bubblegum, honey. Finished rather clean and balanced for the richness of taste.

Aggressive carbonation burns the tip of my tongue, but good mouthfeel overall.

04-28-2007 14:04:46 | More by BeerZack
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

Pours a clear yet effervescent mahogany color with a full finger light tan head of very tiny bubbles that resists fading. Nice amount of lacing observed.

The aroma, although timid is classic. Sweet malts and caramel suggest a syrupy beverage is on the way. You can smell the alcohol but it reminds one of a fruity Cadbury easter egg of olde.

Full bodied, smooth and creamy with a tingle from carbonation.

The flavor is classic. Very sweet with a balanced hop signature and a nicely complex finishing characteristic.

Warm in the chest on the way down... always the last one prior to the drive home; mitigating a regretful urge for another. Truth is...i can't help but hold O'Foghorn as the "bar" to measure others.

04-24-2007 01:26:30 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%

Pours amber brown,with a nice tan head. Decent retention,but not much lacing. Smell is of sweet dark fruit. Body is medium,with a bit of carbionation. Taste is of carmel,chocolate, roasted malts,and dark fruits. This is a smooth,great tasting beer from start to finish. Enjoy!

04-20-2007 01:10:18 | More by riversider76
Photo of alexgash


4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Served at cellar temp.

Glass-amber brown body graced with a dense finger of off-khaki head. Head lasts forever and crawls up the glass. Rich toffee, caramel, plum, and butterscotch malts blend with whiskey and herbally-bitter hops.

Taste starts out with sweet chocolate-tinged sugary fruits (plums, dates). Notes of toffee and butter rum settle in, along with leather, madeira and port flavors. This wasn't aged (by me) for more than a few months, but it has some aged qualities to it. Very smooth and delicious. Finish shows some baking chocolate bitterness along with lasting, mellow, herbal hops. Slightly warming. Medium-full bodied with a creamy, smooth feel. Velvety. A classic barleywine that still does the trick, ever so smoothly.

04-19-2007 02:56:42 | More by alexgash
Photo of BeerTruth


3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

This beer poured a foggy (no pun intended) amber with a khaki colored head that seems to die down immediately after pour. Lacing is not present, stickinness is nothing. This is one of the most unique smelling barleywines I have ever experienced. It seems almost like a cologne. Very sweet with a hint of grapes and cherries with a good alcohol tingle. Taste seemed to have an overpowering alcohol presence, but also has a good hop bite with a smooth malt aftertaste. Wasn't really impressed by this brew. Alcohol taste seemed to be a bit too much, mouthfeel seems higher than 9.4%. Give it a try none the less.

04-17-2007 00:54:27 | More by BeerTruth
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,672 ratings.