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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

1,695 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,695
Reviews: 1,001
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 65
Gots: 88 | 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: 1,695 | Reviews: 1,001 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of objectivemonkey
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a chalice, pours a dark copper starting to brown, a small off-white head vanishes pretty quick , lacing is minimal. Clear, rich looking, but not much else going on. Aroma is a sweet dark caramel with toffee, fruits, alcohol isn't shy but isn't forceful, not to bad, but feels a little too sweet. The taste is much the same, would be good if it weren't too sweet. The mouth is creamy, buttery smoothness, warm, slick and sweet, the mouth is lovely, but even looking at it objectively, I just don't like it.

objectivemonkey, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this brewery, they make my favorite (Liberty ale), so I have been itching to taste this for quite a while since it's hard to find in my area. Pours a very dark red, nearly brown. Aroma is caramel and molasses like with that hint of port or brandy that is common to most barley wines. Very sweet malty taste mixed with something like roasted nuts. Alcohol comes through on the aftertaste. Good stuff. A little more drinkable for me unlike say Thomas Hardy's ale, which was enjoyable, but a task to drink. Anchor, they don't seem to make a bad beer. Wish I could get this more often.

saintwarrick, Apr 03, 2007
Photo of Redwood21
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it pours a dark copper brown that seems dark until held upto light. the head is a brownish white and not to tall, and goes away before too long. the aroma is not too strong, but the taste is suprising. its balanced smooth hoppy sweetness with a slight bitterness. the flavors blend extremely well together, and create an incredibly smooth barleywine. very drinkable despite high alcohol levels. This is not a big barleywine like SN but its very good.
a must try

Redwood21, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- ruby copper w/ red hues, tiny tan head that retreats quickly.

S- floral, malty, thick sweet alcohol, fruit

T- lots of malt, toasted and sweet, alcohol evident throughout, fruity, hop presence toward finish, citrus, sweet 'n' fruity aftertaste

M- full bodied, carbonation tickles, dry finish, sticky, warm

D- good flavor, good drinkability for barley wine, not a waste of time but I've liked others better

tonistruth, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of Sigmund
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. ABV is 10%. Imported to Europe by www.bierenco.nl . Hazy deep orange-brown colour, decent pale orangey head. Intense vinous sweet, oaky and very hoppy aroma. Some liquorice too. Intense flavour too, very oaky, nearly brandy-like, plenty of hops, but unfortunately too sweet for me, there’s something unbalanced about the entire flavour profile. Cough medicine in the finish, fairly bitter aftertaste.

Sigmund, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of allengarvin
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Noticed I'd never reviewed this, and acted to rectify. Pours a very dark orangish-red color without much head. Aroma has lots of spicy hops overlaying a hugely malty nose. Malt is not as strong in the flavor as one would expect, though it's not attenuated enough to be particularly dry. Hoppy bitterness is high, and the yeast character is generally fruity, somewhat vinous. Alcohol is quite apparent at the finish, and the bitterness lingers for a while. Body is a bit thinner than many barley wines.

I do rather miss the old 8-oz bottles this used to come in. They were great for saving for homebrew.

allengarvin, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

served into a flared tulip glass from a stubby brown 12oz. bottle with a twist-off cap

Clear reddish/brown color with a 1" light tan head dissapating fairly quicky to a coating with more thickness around the rim. Lively looking with very tiny bubbles tightly knitted together rushing from the sides and center of the glass.

Moderate aromas fruitty,chocolaty, hints of alcohol, sweet candied carmell,grassy, friut notes of plums and apples. A complex and interesting aroma.

Sweet,dark fruityness,chocolaty,boozy. A heavy,syrupy carmellness,piney.Finishes tart,fruity,with bittersweetness leaving a citrus rind bite

Thick body with a lot of chewyness. A sipping beer,a nightcapper,one at a time for me

jcdiflorio, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a snifter.
Bottled 12.2006.

Creamy, half-inch of off-white head that fades outward leaving intact whisps on the surface. Somewhat cloudy garnet in color. Minor trails of lacing with no hold.

Sweet caramel and milk chocolate engulfed by vinous fruit: apple, grape, and plum. Sharp whaffs of alcohol that add a noticeable acidity, along with notes of orange and grapefruit.

Creamy, semi-sweet toffee and milk chocolate that remain in the background throughout the sip. Citric fruit flavors that give an intense acidity, that's magnified by waves of static alcohol. A bit of bitterness leaves an aftertaste of fig, plum, and creamy toffee.

Full bodied; syrup-like and creamy that becomes vaporous as the alcohol presence takes hold and doesn't let go.

A young, rough, and aggressive Barleywine. The alcohol presence is what stands out the most with Old Foghorn, which is also its primary offensive aspect to the drinker. This would probably benefit a lot from laying it down for a few years to let the alcohol mellow and come together with the ale's other flavors, but right now it's a little too rough around the edges for my taste.

NEhophead, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of aquatonex
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lots of good barleywines out there, this one is on my current top 5 list...

Pours dark cola brown with a thick frothy head of two fingers at least, but was little much for my pour, was the bartenders fault. I was expecting the standard sweet and heavy alcohol smell from barleywine, but this one has a non-alcoholed nose. Sweet cream and malty coffees in the nose, it is strong but not too strong. Taste follows with a very well balanced sweet maltiness, some raisins but not as much as most barleys, along with some coffee notes that are more noticeable in the nose than in the taste. As it warms, the alcohols do peek through a little, but I was consistently surprised at the level of craft for this barleywine.

aquatonex, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours hazy brownish with a little swirl rather than a head.

While not much to look at, it has a nice aroma - caramelish sweetness with an apricot-like fruitiness with a touch of alcohol.

The taste is even better - sweet caramel with a hint of chocolate. Dark fruits - plums and raisins - intermingle with apricot - that balance out the sweetness. The subtle hop bitterness is indicative of this being an American interpretation, unlike the maltier English counterpart. Still the malt character stands out, as per the style. Finishes with a sweet and floral mix with mildly sharp, peppery alcohol dryness.

The body isn't quick as thick and coating as expected. Still, it holds onto a medium body with an oily, smooth texture.

A nice nightcap brew. Comes in the right size too. As delicious as it is, I found that the seven ounces were enough at a time. This was once THE American barleywine. It is still one of the better ones out there, and a deserved American craft-brew classic.

jwc215, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ruby amber color, clear. Mild head with moderate carbonation.

Dark ripe fruit, roasted sugary depths. Mild hop aroma, floral.

Thick delivery of strong hop bitterness, sweet roasty fruit, and alcohol. Deeper lies a wide floral hop bouquet contributing to the fruit flavor. Body comes from a dense biscuit/nut malt. Mild carbonation throughout. Bitter and somewhat dry aftertaste sticks around for a while.

Summary: really sweet and thick fruity-alcohol-concoction, definitely a sipper. Foghorn is a decent brew, however I feel it falls short of the likes of Ruffian or Bigfoot.

MrHungryMonkey, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

ah, the classic. didn't realize I hadn't reviewed this yet. I like this brew. a great example of the style. Since there's a ton of reviews already I'll point out a couple of things - a sweeter example but not as sweet as some of the high end english versions, a bit thin in the mouthfeel but very drinkable. A great accessible version. enjoy!

barleywinebrewer, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of schusterbauer
2.53/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

deep and surprisingly red, with just about no head. if there were an "n/a" option for smell, i would choose that. it smells like water. initial flavor is overly sweet bottled iced tea, with some malts, caramel, and sugar coming as an afterthought. metallic and medicinal flavors also are present. robitussin. body is timid and limp. i guess it's drinkable enough, because it's not unpleasant, but it's just not really good, in any sense of the word.

am i missing something here? i definitely won't be finishing the six pack any time soon, so i guess i'll get to see what some age does to it.

this makes me think of the difference between orange soda, and orange drink. maybe this is barley wine drink, not barley wine ale.

schusterbauer, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap. Holy shit. I love this shit. I had only had a sierra nevada barley wine before. I didn't care for it too much though, but this was an awesome brew. The barley was sweet and pronounced as well as a nice hop presence. Buttery, caramel, and chocolate flavors come out. This is an awesome brew to drink and I could have it all night. Holy crap. What a treat.

jasonjlewis, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7oz bottle, bottled on January 23, 2003. Code on bottle is 3JW

4 year old Old Foghorn, pulled from the cellar, let's see if it was time well spent.

Smell is wonderful, fairly hoppy, surprising that the hop scent lasted this long. And a very malty sweetness, no alcohol.

Taste, first thing to wash across the tongue is the sweetness, which is piled on by the pound. A distinct and direct hop bitterness hits you next, and I still can't believe such a great hop bite has lasted four years. Very smooth, there is no sight of the alcohol.

Overall, this was one of the first beers I put in my cellar, and the exquisite taste and body of this brew reminds me of why I go through such trouble. Very tasty, this beer seems to peak in the after two years window, but before its hits the 4 year mark. But 4 years did add new flavors, and that's what cellaring is all about.

leftmindedrighty, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of BeerSox
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Each tasting from 12oz bottle into snifter glass. Batch 7JD (January 4, 2007).

Tasting 1 - Jan 30, 2007 - 4.1
Deep amber color with a ruby red tint. A one finger light tan fizzy head lasts shortly, and dissolves to a frothy rim along the glass.

Wispy malts with a thick sugary fruit syrup like smell. A little bit of alcohol makes its way through the give the aroma a little sharpness. Piney hops give the beer its main scent character.

Toasty malts start off, then switching to the hops, which gives the flavor a spicy note. The background consists of a little bit of dark candy. The hops aren't strong, but still there enough to lend some considerable bitterness. Medium-full bodied, with good carbonation giving a little bite to the tongue along with the citrusy hops. The finish has some lingering bitterness as well as a little bit of dark candy. Some alcohol makes its presence toward the end, increasing a little bit with warmth.

This is a pretty good American Barleywine, with a good amount of malts and then a considerable amount of hops. However, the hops are not that overwhelming as some other Barley Wines are. It will be interesting to see how this ABW progresses, and see if it becomes more malty, similar to an English Barleywine.

Tasting 2 - Mar 4, 2007 - 4.0
Slightly hazy ruby red hue.

Citrus like hop aromas with a background of dark sugar.

Toasty malts with a hop presence that's slightly less pronounced. The sugary notes are still there. The finish is grainy with a little bit of hop bitterness lingering. Carbonation is still good, same as before. The alcohol still hides until the brew warms a little, and is still well hidden.

Not much change, as expected after about a month. The hops are maybe slightly less present.

Tasting 3 - March 31, 2007 - 4.0
Still sugary with the hop bite that comes in toward the middle. The alcohol comes out when its a bit warmer. In this tasting the malts are coming out more and the hop bitterness is becoming a little more tame. Still a good beer.

BeerSox, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of arguemaniac
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been aging this bottle for a little over a year now…

Pours a very hazy reddish brown with a frothy but short-lived red-tinged head. Fairly sweet nose with a clean, fruity raisin aroma. More of that rich, fruity raisin character in the smooth, delicious palate along with sweet caramel, a touch of toffee, slightly syrupy malt and lightly toasted grain, especially towards the surprisingly dry finish.

The standard of an American Barley Wine as far as I’m concerned. It’s especially smooth and refined and exceptionally delicious and drinkable. On a side note, in contrast with popular opinion, I really appreciate Anchor’s approach here with regards to packaging; where so many breweries carelessly put rich, intense and alcoholic brews into huge 22oz bombers (Stone Brewing, I’m looking in your direction), Anchor has gone in a completely different direction with their 7oz minis. Not only should beers this strong or stronger be approached with moderation, but I personally don’t always want to drink 22oz’s of such robust, alcoholic brews. I highly recommend you by a six-pack of this and drink a bottle once every couple of months, it ages very well.

arguemaniac, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of BelgianAleSlut
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Weekly trip to the beer store for something new. Didn't know Anchor Steam made a Barley Wine style ale. These beers leave little to critique because of the big emphasis on malt.

Pours somewhat flat and has a nice color, dark carmel red with a small cloud on top. Smell is similar to other barley wines I've had but more muted. Taste is good, not spectacular. Nothing offensive about this beer but nothing is standing out.

This beer looks nice, tastes good and has good drinkability, but too pricey for a return purchase. There are other barleywines that taste better, have more ABV, cost less and more of a warming effect that I prefer.

BelgianAleSlut, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of NBake
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says it was brewed in Oct of 06.

Pours a pale copper color with close to no head, but that was my fault. Looks good otherwise. Nothing spectacular here.

Smells of caramel and alcohol and some kind of fruit...raisin maybe.

Tastes good, but not anything like I expected. I've only had one other barleywine, Old Ruffian, and Old Foghorn was nothing like it. To me, this tastes like a sweetened up dubbel. This isn't a bad thing, but it wasn't what I was looking for. Starts out with a rush of carmely, fruity sweetness that is followed by alcohol and slight bitterness. There is also a yeasty flavor that I don't know how to explain that I usually associate with belgian brews. Overall it's very sweet and not balanced out very well by the hops. Disappointing.

Mouthfeel is good, a little syrupy but still light.

This one, being lighter than others, is fairly drinkable, but I don't think I'll be picking it up again. Like I said above, this one is like a sweeter dubbel. If that's your thing, go for it.

NBake, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of rayjay
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fresh batch, bought at Whole Foods. Equal parts thick and viscous and refreshing. Thick body, offset by generous carbonation. Rustic brown shade definately hints towards the British end of the scale in a non-subtle way. Sharp carmel malts dominate the body, and play nicely with lots of hops and alcohol. I love it young, although it's a bit untame; something tells me this one would thicken up too much in the cellar for too long. Very recognizable, and I could easily pick it out of a lineup. This one is a winter tradition that goes way back for me. Cheers!

rayjay, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of BeerNutta
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Old Foghorn

A = Pours a dark brown with a thick light brown head that quickly dissapates to a thin foam crown that lingers.

S = Sweet smell of caramel, prunes and maple syryp.

T = Initial sweetness of caramel and brown sugar gives way to a slight bitter finish. There is a slight sugary aftertaste but nothing to write home about. Its nice, but something is lacking.

M = Low carbonation. Pleasant to the mouth.

D = Drinkable. Not one I would always drink. But may once in a while.

BeerNutta, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of kkipple
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Got a tiny 7oz bottle of this from a fellow home brewer. No freshness date. Has “9%” scribbled on the front label.

I attempted an aggressive pour on this one, but it was for naught as I got no head, (not like that, perv) only some timid tan foam hugging the edge of my goblet. I note, with some trepidation, the dozens of yeast bits floating in the deep russet brown beer. There’s also a bit glob of the stuff stuck to the bottom of the bottle.

The smell is interesting, I’m getting more esters than malt OR hops. The smell reminds me strongly of something I can’t quite put my finger on. Port and brown sugar mingle with roses and brandy. Behind that, a strong malty sweetness and a chewy, alcoholic presence. Some citrus hops are present, but they’re quite muted for a barleywine.

Sip. Smooth, slick, sweet. Sip. Huh, almost no carbonation. Sip. Really sweet malt hits my tongue, and the alcohol makes itself known warming my throat on the way down. Dark molasses, rum raisins, brown sugar, bittering hops, and a Madeira-like sweetness combine to make an interesting, if not particularly drinkable, beer. The 7oz bottle suddenly makes sense. Some diacetyl, but it just adds to the smooth drinking character of this beer.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, but slick. Warming and finishes fruity. Probably the least carbonated, least hoppy barleywine I’ve had to date.

I really have no idea how old this bottle is, but I suspect a few years, mostly due to the lack of carbonation and ultra-smooth flavor.

Bottom line: Old Foghorn is a sweet, fruity, smooth alcoholic sipper. Went well with my brie and crackers. Not very beer-like, but treat it like a digestif or sip it in front of a warm fire and it’ll treat you well!

kkipple, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of terrabyte
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the new Great Dane.

Poured into a snifter class. When full, it was reddish brown and mostly opaque, so I assumed it was very cloudy. When not even half gone, I saw that it was much clearer than I had thought. Small white head.

Aroma smelled of peat, apples, brown sugar, raisons, and some booze.

Flavor was strong with smoked apples, a light wood, raisons, and cane sugar. Sweetness blended well with caramel or scorched sugar. Each sip ends in a warming, boozy burn.

Mouthful was slightly syrupy, a belly-warming booze aftertaste, and yet quite light.

Drinkability was excellent. Normally this beer could have had a lot of hurdles for me, but the sweetness was kept in check with well-blended flavors. I was quite taken away by this and would love to score some bottles for home so that I could serve it at a warmer temperature and really explore those ingredients. The boozy finish is extremely inviting, and not distracting at all. Best Barley Wine I've tasted yet.

terrabyte, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of tatterdash
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear mahogany red with a thing white head that quickly dissipates into a ring of bubbles. This beer is quite effervescent. Aroma of sweet raisiny malts, strawberries, cherries. Taste of dried fruits (cherry, apple, blueberry), citrusy hops, long spicy finish. High mineral content water seems to have been used, and the high ABV is well hidden. This is one of the most drinkable barleywines I have ever had, without comprimising complexity and flavour.

tatterdash, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A cloudy dark orange amber topped with a half finger of off white head that melts to a ring of lacing.
Aromas of brown sugar and caramel.
Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy.
Taste of caramel, brown sugar, raisins, prunes, citrus hops and alcohol.
Much more subdued than American Barleywines but very substancial none the less. Much more balanced and more drinkable without needed the aging most Americans do. It is surprisingly rich and smooth for being this year's vintage.

IntriqKen, Dec 29, 2006
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,695 ratings.