1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

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

1,715 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,715
Reviews: 1,002
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 66
Gots: 91 | 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:
ABV varies slightly over the years.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Old Foghorn Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,715 | Reviews: 1,002 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Derek
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly suprised by this brew. I'm actually not a big fan of the other Anchor products...

A: Ruby-black. Very clean (finnings or filtered?)

S: Wow. American hops!

T: Suprisingly very well balanced. Not bitter like Rogue's Old Foghorn or Sierra Nevada's Big Foot. There's a full flavour of malts with american hops, with just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness. The alcohol strength is not apparant.

M: Heavy, syrupy.

D: Very drinkable. Potential for trouble!

Derek, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of Wasatch
4.78/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown almost black. Nice head, but dissipates quickly, also some nice carbonations. Lots of lacing, but dissappears after awhile. There's a toffee, malt, sweet scent. I really like the taste, the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body with a sweet taste. Very drinkable for a 8.8% barley wine. This is on my list for getting more.

Wasatch, Aug 31, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle of Old Foghorn, that is odd, I thought it only came in little bottles. Clear dark maroon color, with lots of visible carbonation. Head is extremely creamy looking, good retention after the initial fade. Smells very nice, vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate and cherries. Taste is very full and complex, lots of vanilla, fruit, milk chocolate, roasted malt, and a hop finish that in no way overpowers this delicious beer. Very good carbonation levels, this is a very good, well refined barleywine. A great beer.

TastyTaste, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable Barleywine that doesn't offend. More of an English style than American. Odd prune juice-like or rust color with mild carbonation and dainty head that traded thickness for lacing and legging. Aromas of over-rippened fruits and thick malt syrup. Sweet alcoholic notes float closely behind the molassas and brown sugar flavors. Smooth, less than thick, body sifts through the mouth effortlessly and silky. Finish reveals mild sweetness, fruitiness, and alcohol. Slight detections of cardboard and metal (ut oh) --Signs of oxidation. I may have gotten a bad bottle or an over-matured release. I need to check the bottle for date. Otherwise a very good beer.

BEERchitect, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of beertaster13
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark mohoggany cherry. The head is a gorgeous cream/mocha. The smell is of roasted barley and chocolate cherries. The brown sugar malts are remarkably smooth. A light floral/citrus hint. The taste has a bicuity yeast. The malts and nice and dark and rich. The hops are live with citrus, hints of floral. Great for those cold winter months in the Pac NW.

beertaster13, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of mentor
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snifter served on tap at BJ's in Boulder Colorado. Presents a thin layer of tan head (very fine bubbles) over a dark caramel, brownish liquid. A little bit cloudy. Smells like the sugary scent of a Halloween candy bowl filled with oodles of mixed goodies. Crystal malt, caramelized sugars, fig newtons, and a rummy sourness. Tastes of caramel, chocolate, alcohol, and c hops. Woody oranges and maybe some grapefruit. A chocolate finish kicks to a dry cocoa aftertaste. Still sweet overall in the mouth, the thick liquid clings to the inside of the mouth. Thick body and moderate, but sharp carbonation.

mentor, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of bultrey
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had alot of this for having never reviewed it, so here we go...
Appearance is chestnut colored, with a nice thin head for a beer of this style. The nose is maple and soy all the way -- just like the glaze my girlfriend and I put on our grilled salmon the other night. You could just marinade your salmon in this -- I guarantee it would be fantastic. Maybe there is a hint of vanilla and almond, too.
The taste is bubblegum malty sweet, but not cloyingly so, with hints of good naturally brewed soy sauce, almond, and some grapefruit/pine hops with alot of bitterness. The mouthfeel is adequate. Drinkability -- well, I actually sometimes wished it came in bigger bottles.

This beer is closer to Arrogant Bastard than you might think. An American classic, but always, always better on draft in San Francisco...

bultrey, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on-tap at Barcade.

The appearance was a deep amber color, and it had a slight amount of haze to it.

The aroma was almost all fruit and no hops. Very complex and dynamic nose on this one - a distinguished malt profile.

Taste? I give this beer a perfect 5.0 for one main reason: vanilla. In the aftertaste of this beer, I picked up the most subtle but perfect contribution of a true vanilla flavor. I know they are not using vanilla beans in this beer, so this flavor is coming from the yeast. Bravo. What a unique and pleasant characteristic.

The body of this beer was a bit thin for a barleywine, so I find myself slightly disappinted by that.

Overall, it was a drinkable brew, especially for a barleywine, and indeed, an American classic.

Sixpoint, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of UncleFlip
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour is almost ruby as I pour a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. There are some dark orangish hints to it, as well. An off white half-centimeter head goes away fairly quickly.

The smell is thick with fruity and malty aromas, with a nice overlay of hoppy goodness. The smell makes me think of oranges, even though I don't really think I detect it in the aroma. However, I do find just a hint of papaya.

The flavour is not as fruity as the aroma would let on. First thing that hits is a slightly woody combination of maltiness and hoppiness. Odd to have them hit at the same time, as I usually find one hits before the other in most beers. However, I don't mind being double-teamed by the Foghorn. :) It's a deep rich flavour, with hints of black cherry, that rolls off nicely instead of dropping immediately. It leaves some woodiness, bitterness, and alcohol behind.

The fizziness is deceptive. when it first hits, it seems to be perceived, but not actually fully there. It's very tight and small, but quickly expands and loosens. It then rolls off faster than the flavour. Underneath it all is a thick body that does not come across as syrupy. It seem dryer than that.

This one may be a bit much for some folks, but I rather like it as a session beer, and could down it all night long. It's one of my faves. Well done, Anchor.

Be well

UncleFlip, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of gbontrag
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a touch of burnished walnut in the color, and pretty clear. Little frothy top squeaks hello, waves good-bye all in one breath.

Smells a little minerally, and a puff of scorched caramel.
the taste and aroma come all in one lump...burnt scone, brown sugar, alcohol. viscuous. Has great burps. The hop vine grows as it warms up. Best had at room temp. A fine brew.

gbontrag, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of karst
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Foghorn is based on traditional English barley wines but is highly hopped, using only Cascade hops. It is fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast. Carbonation is produced by an entirely natural process called "bunging," which produces champagne-like bubbles and is dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it aged in Anchor's cellars. Because of the high original gravity, the yeast is unable to ferment all of the sugars. As a result, barley wine is high in alcohol, and is slightly sweet, due to the residual sugars. The high original gravity is obtained by using only the very first running of the mash. Three mashes are required to produce one barley wine brew, this is reflected in the price of the 7 oz bottle.

Pours whiskey red, negligable head low fine bubbled carbination. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, toffee, toasted malt, and alcohol. Although noticable the extensive (see above) Cascade hops seem faded after only a couple of months in my celar -- offering only a hint of citrus. Sweet dates, and dark crystal malt flavors dominate some fruity yeast esters. Bitterness is restrained and preventd cloying of residual malt sweetness. Great sipping.

karst, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of PSUDREW
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

first thing is first...i am angry/disspointed that a 7 oz. bottle costs so much. Yeah, free market, etc. but...it just aint right. 8.8% isn't that much by todays standards, so let's grow up...

pours a nice copper color, with slight head that dissapapates, but laces nicely.

nose is potenet, frutiy, and alchohol laced.Very floral. I am not excited, but it makes one prepared for the taste...

1st taste is sweet maltiness,followed by slight hoppyness, finished my more malt and alcohol. reminds me more of a UK barleywine then a US barelywine. Overpowering, syrupy-sweet and alchohol finish.

Over all, it is solid, but not amazing. again, still angry about 7 oz. bottle, but not a bad brew, per say.

PSUDREW, Jul 14, 2005
Photo of JackStraw22
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a clear, dark amber with little head at all. What head there was receeded quickly. The aroma was pleasant. Lots of more herbal hops and a bright sweetness. Unfortunately I just couldn't get into this beer. The alcohol was present more than I like, and it was quite biting. Really sweet flavor that was just too much. Tasted more like and English barleywine than American as well. The mouthfeel was a little thin too. Too many other good barleywines, so I'll probably pass on this in the future.

JackStraw22, Jul 09, 2005
Photo of tjd25
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery.

Glittering orange color with a nice creamy head on top. The smell was rather sweet, slightly syrupy; fruity with grapefruit and hints of raspberry and orange. The taste, also, was sweet and syrupy, with some more floral notes; fruity notes combined with liquorice and tree branch. Mouthfeel was smooth, not too thick or viscuous for the style, and quite enjoyable. A nice one!

tjd25, Jun 27, 2005
Photo of KoG
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby with a small head that leaves not so much lacing. Small ring adorns the brew the rest of the way.

Smell is alcohol and dark fruit with some rum and raisin.

Taste is sweet. Alcohol is present and becomes more evident as it warms. Plum, raisin, and sweet malt with a touch of citric hop.

Goes down thick, but still good. Too heavy and sweet to drink more than 1, but good to try. Sip this slowly and it's more bearable.

KoG, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut color with some garnet highlights; I was able to create a thick tan head that retained well and left a nice pattern of lace

Smell: Caramel and butterscotch with a vague hint of dried cherry and raisins

Taste: Starts out very malty and alcoholic; caramel and rum-soaked cherry/raisin flavors dominate and are met by a vaguely hoppy build-up in the finish

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied and syrupy; low levels of carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice sipper, particularly on a chilly night; too bad it was 95 degrees today!

brentk56, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of mportsch
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 7oz. bottle (stamped 6LQ) into a snifter. $14/six at Schnuck's - surprised to see a barley wine there and hadn't yet tried one, so here goes!

Appearance: Pours an amber color with no head whatsoever. My first thought as it came out of the bottle was 'syrupy'. A casual observer might think I'm enjoying a snifter half full of brandy.

Smell: Rum raisin. Sweets. Plums. The aroma was present as soon as I cracked the bottle. Alcohol is certainly present.

Taste: More mild than the smell indicates... a bit of hop bitterness and a touch of alcohol. Faint raisin flavor. I'm enjoying the flavor more and more as it warms. It leaves my mouth feeling a little dry.

Mouthfeel: Almost no carbonation. Feels more like scotch in my mouth than beer, just without the alcohol burn.

Drinkability: It's definitely a beer to sip slowly, but I could probably put down 2 or 3 of these small bottles in an evening.

All in all, I'd call my first encounter with a barley wine a pleasant one, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I think I started drinking it too cold, as it really mellows and becomes a nice smooth drink as it warms. I could really see myself enjoying this during a cold Illinois winter.

mportsch, Jun 02, 2005
Photo of sinistermadman
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This brew pours a warm orange-red hue and emanates a 1/4" head that quickly disappears.

Smell: ginger, alcohol, misc. sweets and some fruit tinges which I can't make out.

Taste is very mild mannered with medium body and carbonation. Extremely smooth and mild. Almost too mild for a barley wine. Hops have just enough umph to nudge their way into the flavor while the malts bring in a soft, sweet character. Finishes with a clean, subtle citrus color. Mouthfeel is descent, but a little whispy for a barley wine. A very drinkable brew that leaves something to be desired in a catagory dominated by more assertive challengers.

sinistermadman, May 18, 2005
Photo of euskera
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had this stuff in years, back to my Boston days. Pours out a cloudy auburn red into my Hennepin glass. Small head that dissipates quite quickly. Plenty of carbonation. Smell is sweet, some honey overtones in there amongst the malt characteristics. Taste is on the sweet side, not overly so. Very smooth. Caramel is the first taste that hits me. Then a little hop and some pines overtones as well. Not overly complex, but nicely well balanced. This is the first barleywine I ever tasted and still quite pleasant. A solid 4 all around..

euskera, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color and has a thick tan head. The aroma is very fruity, ripe banana mostly and hoppy. The aroma screams yummy. The flavor is heavy on the hops then goes sweet and follows with a decent hop bite. Nothing extreme like a Bigfoot, but pretty hoppy and that goes well with the huge malt profile this beer has. All in all I am quite impressed. I certainly will keep this beer in mind when I am craving a good Barleywine.

RushLimbmalt, Apr 21, 2005
Photo of Star80
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish copper color out of a 12 oz bottle. Yay! Head was only about a quarter of an inch after a hard pour and now forms a thin covering on top. No lacing. Smells of fruit with some banana notes and molasses. I'm not detecting much alcohol in the nose. The taste is of some citric/piney hop but with more of an estery aftertaste. I am detecting black cherries, cranberry, candied molasses, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is fine. This is a drinkable American Barley Wine, but for some reason others go down better.

Star80, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of mgdeth
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Deep amber, with tan head. Decent head and retention.

Smell - Good balance of hops and malt, with hops winning out a little.

Taste - Caramelly or toffee maltiness, with a roasty chocolatey aftertaste. Alcohol taste is also present. Solid bitterness. Fruity esters appear more as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Thick body, but still smooth for a barley wine. Carbonation is good for the style.

Drinkability - The alcohol is a little hot, but otherwise this is a pleasant drinking experience.

Comments - In my opinion, this is a pretty complex beer. Let it warm up a bit to best experience all it has to offer.

mgdeth, Apr 14, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Poured a crystal clear copper with a rich, fomay biege head.

Smell: The smell is more spicy and peppery than it is malty. The sweetness is not there, but the spiciness is ok.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The nice barletwine taste is there: caramel, prunes and alcohol - but it feels a little bit watered down. It's a decent barleywine taste but not potent or strong enough. The mouthfeel is thin and unimpressive.

Drinkability and Overall: Not bad. Not a horrible barleywine but far from the best. Too watered down and week for me. I'd drink it again definitly, but that's if no other good barleywines are available. Pretty average.

santoslhalper, Apr 08, 2005
Photo of bnuttz
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 version I believe, I dont know how to date these, but they are singles that have been sitting around in my local store for a while. Pours a very dark and cloudy crimson copper color with an ever fast fading head into my chalice. Smells sweet, of berries and cream almost. There is some alcohol in there to balance as well. Some of the hops may contribute to the fruitiness. Taste is creamy on the mouth with some alcohol burn. But the sweet and fruity malts counteract the alcohol well. I am picking up some woody and smokey notes as well, even though i know this isnt barrel aged or anything. Mouthfeel is fairly thick and creamy. This is a nicely drinkable barley wine. The price and bottle size kind of get on my nerves however. This is one of my favorites of the style.

bnuttz, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of trancefishy
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served cellar temp, from a very small bottle (thought that i had been drinking too many 750s lately, and thought "my, regular bottles sure are small..."). the beer was filled to about 4mm below the cap, the highest i have ever seen a beer filled. weird.

appearance; dark amber colour, small head that runs away.

aroma: deep, thick, lucious malt. oh glorious malt. even in the aroma, i can sense there is a balance of malt and hop.

taste: hm, kind of not what i was expecting from the smell. the flavours kind of run together a bit, creating a rather featureless terrain. sure, there is a malt sweetness, and some good hop taste, but, it's all smeared like a monet subjected to a child with fingerpaints (the alcohol). not much to say about it otherwise.

mouthfeel is top notch, creamy, just the right texture and carbonation. drinkability is pretty good, nice to go along with the book i'm reading this evening.

Good beer, but, i think it's one of the more uninteresting barleywines i have had. i'd drink it again, though, it's kind of overpriced for such a tiny bottle. i could buy twice the amount of beer for the same price, or cheaper, and get something tastier.

trancefishy, Mar 24, 2005
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,715 ratings.