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Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,794 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,794
Reviews: 1,018
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 73
Gots: 119 | 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.
View: Beers (24) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,794 | Reviews: 1,018 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ultralarry2006
2.69/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Left a beige one finger head that subsided into surface skim that lingered, leaving no lacing. Color was red-brown copper.

Aroma - diacetyl, and more diacetyl. Hint of lemony hops. Hint of bready malt. Some ester.

Taste - dark dried fruit, apple juice, diacetyl. Some alcohol warmth.
Finishes with aftertaste of sweet bread.

Mouthfeel - full, a little chewy, smooth.

Drinkability - goes down easy, but the diacetyl ruins this for me. Will avoid this.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Little bottle with 1 D 7 on the back.

Appearance is purple and the head went from 1/2in to almost nothing but a thin layer with a little lacing.

Smell is fruity and very hoppy, burnt sugar, dark fruit, and blended together very nicely. The fruit comes out clear with burnt sugar in the backround.

Taste is very mellow, not as powerful as the smell. The fruit and the hops and burnt sugar have all blended together and created a ver complex flavor that is very suttle.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but not far from watery.

I will look for a fresher bottle to see the differences between the two.

Photo of mcallister
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a burnt caramel/butterscoth brown and with a haze too it. A decent half inch head upon pouring but quick to subside. Some lacing with little retention.

Smells of rich malt, biscotti, toffee, caramel, nice floral type hop aroma, a bit of maple syrup.

Wonderful roasted caramel malt flavors coat the tongue. Alcohol somewhat noticeable in the mouth also. Deep caramel, and toasty flavors, good sweet hop taste. Finish is a little short and somewhat drying.

An above average barley wine. But there are definitely some better ones to be had out there.

Photo of jmz62565
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a rich mahogny with a small tan head that leaves very quickly. The smell has a dark fruit and sweet malt aroma,but it's not as strong as other barleywines. The taste has a creamy earthy tone to it. The dark fruit is much softer in flavor than the malt. The flavor has mostly malt with some fruit,but also some hops in the background. The m/f is medium and well balanced. This is a very good beer,but for $12.99 it's a little pricey.

Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6-pack of 12oz. bottles for $12.99 which seemed a pretty good price around these parts.

Nice aroma that grows in intensity and substance, but does cap off at a not quite bold enough level. Rich of malt with sweetness, oxidation and alcohol.
Cloudy amber of brownish red. Nice full tan head that is impressive in its perseverance. Lots of lacing.
Greater sense of bolness and intensity than aroma, yet in the end still not quite enough. Touch of toastiness. Rich malty sweetness, that doesn't push too close to cloy. Good sherry notes. Soft on bitterness and mild dyness. Nice long lasting finish that is tasty.
Great fine carbonation that lends fullness and softness. Slightly slippery. Fairly heavy.
Well balanced and crafted beer. In that sense it exemplifies the beers of this brewery. Never pushing the envelop, just solid, well-done examples of style. A nice beer to use as a comparative beer and always a pleasure to consume.

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

First time trying the 'original American barleywine.' Pours a medium brown color, with a normal-sized white head. There is quite a bit of bubble activity throughout the glass. The smell is sweet and hoppy. There is certainly a good deal of candied fruit--i.e. plums and/or raisins--present, along with a hint of caramel. The taste is bitter, sweet and hoppy. There are hints of molasses and smoky malt. Well-balanced. In the mouth, this beer is bitter, full and has minimal carbonation. Overall, this is a decent barleywine. It has good balance, is tasty and drinkable. Not the best of the style, but as the original deserves respect.

Photo of Enola
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured into my Chimay chalice with a decent head that has faded into a small ring. The color is a cloudy purplish mahogony. The smell reminded me of a fruity milkshake. The taste revealed some of the same fruity notes with a faint hint of roasted malt. The mouthfeel is semi-sweet and the alcohol is well blended into the beer. There is a strong fruit-like aftertaste. The drinkability is good. A good sipping beer. Very smooth for a big beer.

Photo of nickss
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber hue with a moderate 1/2" rocky khaki head. Lots of lacing.

Big hoppy aroma with a light malt backbone. Nice.

Not as much hop in the taste.... much more malt. While typically I like balance in my brews, that is not the case with barleywines.... I much prefer this style to be unbalanced. It is as if this brew couldn't decide whether it wanted to follow the ultra-hoppy American style, or the super-malty U.K. style, and it got stuck in a boring place in between.

The mouthfeel is too light and too highly carbonated for my taste.

Reasonably drinkable for the abv, but very muddled and boring. I'll stick with Great Divide for this style... especially considering the price.

Photo of hefevice
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first American Barley Wine...well it looks the part, deep garnet, tiny light beige bubbles forming a good moussy head as a result of being poured fairly hard into my Maudite tulip. Head thins out to form a light cover, with a bit of lacing left behind on the glass.

Aroma is sweet malt up front, with pot-pouri in the middle followed by the noticible alcohol in the form of rum and raisins. Quite a fragrent brew!

After the aroma, the taste is a little disappointing. Very sweet malty start, noticible alcholol bite with a pleasantly bitter finish to balance the sweet start and prevent it from becoming cloying. Only evidence of hops is the perception of bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. Didn't get the complexity expected of such a big beer and the aroma

Mouth is chewy as expected, with subtle carbonation that works well for the style. Excellent night cap designed for slow sipping.

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

Appears much like a brown ale. Sweetish smell. Very sweet lingering taste. Not my favorite Barley Wine, but still drinkable. Very little head. This is from the slightly older "small bottles" 7 oz. Maddenly, it has no date stamp that I can tell... just some code gibberish. [I always like to keep a bottle or two from every six pack or batch in the back of the refrigerator] Age doesn't seem to have changed it much.
This is from the sweeter side of the spectrum.

Photo of tomParis
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark amber color with a thick light golden head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smells sweet and malty more than hoppy. Honey, brown sugar, pear, and citrus hops are the dominant aromas.

Taste is also more malt than hops, but it is well balanced. The taste is alright, but not very complex. Very malty, somewhat sweet, a little bit of tart apple/pear flavor, and a citrusy/flowery bitterness. I don't really like the cascade hops used by themselves for both bittering and aroma. The alcohol is very pronounced for a 9% ale.

Mouthfeel is average for a barleywine with good carbonation.

Scores well on drinkability. Very smooth. It is very malty but not too sweet. A session barleywine if there ever was one.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - this barleywine pours a tea brown with a creamy thin tan head that fades to a lace quickly

S - typical barleywine aromas of dark Arabian fruits, like dates or figs, and a sweet smell like molasses with a slight hint of citrus

T - very smooth, moreso than i thought it would be, typical raisin-y flavors, and a great brown sugar aftertaste that enhances the drinkability

M - very sweet and mouth coating, a nice smooth brew

D - very high, a greatly balanced brew

Photo of doppelmeup
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle into a snifter glass.

Beautiful dark amber color, similar to a fine brandy. Just a slight head, resolving quickly to only a slim ring around the edge.

Very malty, sweet smell. Hints of alcohol, brown sugar, caramel. Not a very hoppy aroma. The luscious smell really makes me want to drink this! Quite different than a Bigfoot.

Taste is excellent!. Smooth, malty and warming in the mouth. Not much bitterness. It is sweet, but leaves a clean palate.

Thick, syrapy mouthfeel. The alcohol is very warming, but it doesn't overpower the barleywine flavors.

This beer really lived up to my expectations. I liked it because it wasn't overpoweringly hoppy, as was Bigfoot. I'd definitely recommend this. It is a great sipper, but it would be hard to drink more than one at a time.

Photo of RedDiamond
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The original American barleywine of the modern era, Old Foghorn is now in its 30th year of bottling and enjoys an enviable legacy as an American classic. Unfortunately, the brewing world has grown up quite a bit in the past three decades and most American barleywines have long surpassed this innovative ale from the mid-seventies.

I drank a dainty little seven-ounce bottle recently and noted a surprisingly strong measure of alcohol in the nose given the modest 8.2% ABV indicated on the label. The smell was also fruity yet somewhat medicinal. The body was placid and cognac colored with a peculiar gray-green tint in direct light. It is modestly clouded with suspended flocs. The taste is traditional with lingering sweetness though the alcohol was prominent and made the overall character a bit rough around the edges. Hop flavors had broken down considerably in my two year old bottle.

This is a nice little sipping ale though aside from its pedigree, Old Foghorn is not a distinctive barleywine.

Photo of qcitydarkstar
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My 2005 Old Foghorn poured a muddy brown with minimal head and to make surprise only somewhat opaque. I’m used to barleywines that are thick and impenetrably dark. Is this ale filtered? The scent is estery and unmitigated alcohol with notes of dried raisins and toffee. The initial taste is quite a punch—a malt punch—quickly chased down by caramel and semi-sweet chocolate. Given the esters in the smell, this ale is much sweeter than I expected. As it goes down, it has a distinctly slippery mouth feel, reminiscent of olive oil-soaked noodles. This mouth feel could lead one to try to gulp this beer, but at a listed 10% ABV, that might be problematic. On the other hand, the alcoholic burn as one swallows is certainly a negative.

Photo of cheers2beers
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter:

Appearance: This fine beer pours a deep redish brown hue with a well stacked cream colored head.Not much laceing,but many columns of beading rumbleing to the top.

Smell: The nose is of alcohol and a sweet malty apple cider.Caramel and a maple syrup followed again by an overwelming rush of alcohol.

Taste: The taste is much like the nose candied apples,very sweet syrup,huge alcohol bursting with each gulp,and a subtle herbal flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This brew feels slick,oily and not a slamming beer to say the least.Medium to thick liquid with a gasly vapor of alcohol that doesn't cease.

Drinkability: This is definitely one of those night cap kinda beers or a slow sipping evening beer.Overall, has a good taste and nice alcohol potentency that just keeps me begging for more.


Photo of Crosling
2.55/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark orange leather in color with a head that was doomed from the beginning. Harshly alcoholic nose, yet it does have some appealing qualities, especially its caramel malty sweetness along with hints of red licorice, pancake batter, pit fruit, grapes and citrus fruits. The flavor is malt accented, light bodied and again, harshly alcoholic. I understand the rich history and tradition of this beer, but I have had it several times on draught and in the stubbie little bottles and it just plain sucks. They should consider changing the recipe.

Photo of mcowgill
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an amber red color with a very small head that completely disappears - I mean completely. On the nose I get sweet fruits, raisins and caramel. The taste is very hoppy, alcoholic and fruity. It has a rather thick mouthfeel and is definitely a sipping beer. One of my favorite Anchor beers.

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

Undated 12oz twist top purchased from Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Brownish red under a finger of off white. Decent retention with a layered lace effect.

The nose has a nice combination of bubblegum and sweet yet slightly roasted malts with just enough piney hop to add complexity. I really like this combination of aromas.

This is one of the maltiest ABWs I have ever tasted. An earthy sweetness with lots of yeast and the hops are perceptible in the finish as a hint of pine needles. Alcohol is only noticable as a bit of warmth on my breath after exhaling.

Full in the mouth with a hint of slickness but it washes clean. I like the unique character of this beer as it is not a boozy hop bomb like many other ABWs. I'm buying more tomorrow.

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

Poured from bottle(room temp) a dark gold with very little head of foam at first but it grows into about a 1 inch layer that dissipates slowly but stays for the entire session.

The smell is very fruity with some malt notes also hitting my nose.

The taste is *very* malty sweet at first sip with some strong fruitiness(major plum notes) that I mentioned in the smell. Subsequent sips give me more of the malt but it's not as sweet and the hops start to do their bit making for a better balance than you'd think after the initial taste. Oh, and it's quite warming for the 8.8%abv this BWSA carries so 1 of these and I'll be done for quite a while.

Bottom line: A good, malty interpretation of an American BWSA that I will pick up from time to time because it *does* seem to break away from the mainstream. I recommend it.

Photo of rabsten
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my second barleywine tonight, so this may not be a good idea. Nevertheless...

Poured into a pub pint. Amber-caramel color, thick - but not long lasting - head, laces nicely.

Smells sweet and malty, with vanilla tones. As it warms up, the alcohol becomes apparent and kind of, i don't know, "bites" the nose.

Taste: Sweet. Sweet and malty, with little hop presence. The alcohol is apparent from the first sip and looms larger with each subsequent taste.

Mouthfeel: It sits well in the mouth, but lingers on the palate more than it needs to. I'm thinking about chasing it with some water.

Drinkability: not bad.

I may be hard on this right now, having just finished of an "Old Ruffian" from Great Divide (worth every penny of the $7.99, btw). However, I bought a six of these at the same time as the OR and this is the last one. I just didn't enjoy these anywhere near as much as the OR, or the Warrior IPA, or anything else I got on that beer run. All in all, it's worth a try, but dont invest in a whole six unless you know you already like it. The six set me back $18, and I'd'a been happier if I'd got 2 more Ruffians, or a Yeti or two.

Photo of arizcards
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle from AJ's in late September for $2.79. Dated 5AN.

Brew poured a deep amber with a nice initial head that has retained well. Nose is of sweet malts and dark fruits. Taste is very malty and somewhat sweet. In the middle a heavy raisony taste hits blending into a nice hop finish. Mouthfeel is almost creamy smooth and is medium to full bodied. Overall drinkability is very good for the style. I am not a huge fan of the style but this is one I could enjoy again!

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

2006 release. Just came out.

Fresh, piney hop aromas burst forth from this deep golden-copper beer, as well as some slightly spicey elements. On the palate the hops are in charge, in a big and satisfying way, followed by alcohol warmth and notes of sweet, candied malt. This beer drinks fairly easily; it coats the palate somewhat but it's not chewy. The bitter finish is carried through by a major warming effect.

Even at such a young age, for those of us who like hops, this beer is imminently drinkable.


2002 Release. The scores above apply only to 2006. I'll go category-by-category for this one.

A: Hazy, with a good head. 4.0

S: Deeply malty, and alcoholic. The hops hang out in the background but it's mostly about the malt. 4.0

T: The flavors seem to rush through the palate at a surprisingly quick rate, particularly the hops and alcohol. The finish is rather brisk. 4.0

M: Can't really complain much but it was surprisingly easy. Getting soft in your old age OFH? 4.0

D: This is surely drinkable, and it stands on its own merits as a very solid beer. But perhaps I expected more. 4.0

Photo of JiminKY
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I generally enjoy barleywines, with SN Bigfoot being one of my favorite beers, and Stone Double Bastard ranking very highly. Anchor Old Foghorn was good, not great. I did not feel it warranted it's cost of $4 more per sixpack, compared to Bigfoot.

A - A nice clear reddish brown color with a small, quickly diminishing head. The lacing was decent. Somewhat thick and oily in appearance.

S - A dominating "yeasty" smell led my girlfriend to remark that it smelled like I was drinking bread. I discerned the odor of sweet maple syrup.

T - Somewhat sweeter and heavier on the malt balance. Less hop bitterness than I normally expect in a barleywine. A lasting aftertaste that sours after a few moments.

M - Very filling mouthfeel. Heavy, full and sticky--it made my tongue almost stick to the roof of my mouth.

D - Definitely good for a couple, as such a big beer should be. Not nearly sessionable, as Bigfoot seems to be,

Photo of bennetj17
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark reddish-copper, no head to speak of, carbonation appears low. Smell is a bit faint, sort of winey and alcoholic, with fruit flavors of grapes, cherry, and caramel. Taste is nice and sweet, cherry and raisin malt with a nutty finish. I can feel the alcohol but luckily I don't taste it too strongly (might have to be careful). Hop flavor is mild.Carbonation is fairly low on the palate, and mouthfeel leans toward being a bit thin, but not bad. Drinkablity is good and not hindered by strong alcohol dominance. Another solid selection from Anchor...

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,794 ratings.