Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

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BA SCORE
88
very good

1,762 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,762
Reviews: 1,008
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 69
Gots: 98 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,762 | Reviews: 1,008 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Higravity
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice crisp caramel color with a cream tan head but not much lacing. The smell is a wonder full of cascade like perfection strong and pugent yet soft in the nose with plenty of malt and a little alcohol for back up. At 9% alcohol this is balanced about perfect if the malt was just a little more I think we might have a hands down winner. Nice and chewy with decent carbonation. Easy drinker and good dinner.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. with some code on the back label. Pours into the wine glass a clear crimson with a 1/4 inch tan head that sometimes laces but gets swirled away. By the end the head recedes completely, making it look kinda like a liqueur. There's an initial punch of sweetness and burning alcohol in the nose followed by a good amount of hops, raisins, and caramel with perhaps molasses. The alcohol aroma then hides until the end. Lots of sweet malts on the palate, with caramel, molasses, bubblegum, fruitiness, raisins, anise, and piney/citric hops with a bitterness that is substantial but tamed by the malts. There's also a kind of rooty character to it - that's the best way I can describe it. The body is thick and smooth, with a high viscosity that coats the mouth well. Despite all the flavors I have named, it is hard to point out/describe the flavors because they are blended so well. A tasty barley wine, but I usually like mine with more bitterness and hop flavor.

Photo of orfeu
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Loud fizzy head that dissappears almost immediately on top of hazy ruby-brown. The nose is frankly unimpressive with spicy alcohol notes on a malty base. The taste is spicy and malty sweet, with a mildly bittering hoppiness. Juicy cherries and raisins in bourbon, perhaps. Finishes very dry, with an aftertaste that is somewhat reminiscent of cheddar... The mouthfeel is chewy, but only for a couple of seconds. Not really much to it, unfortunately. I rated the drinability higher because it is very easy going down, but at $3.00+/bottle, the taste, aroma and appearance of this one just don't measure up...All respect due to Anchor for inaugurating this style in the U.S., but it seems that Old Foghorn's time has come and gone.

Photo of Muddybuddy
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is called a "Barleywine Style Ale" and I can't really argue about that, as it is much thinner in appearance from any other barleywine I have ever had.

The aroma is slightly acetaldehyde, very malty and somewhat fruity. All in all it is an appealing aroma for a barleywine and doesn't assault your nose like some other barleywines do.

The appearance is clear and free from sediment, brown like the bottle with a hint of red. The carbonation was appropriate and the head (cream) persisted throughout the tasting (over an hour) with small "islands" of foam in the glass.

The flavor of the Old Foghorn is much like a rasin soaked in malt and left to ferment on its own. There is appreciable alcohol warming, as should be expected in an 8.8% barleywine. I did note that this was a much less "salty" barleywine than others I have tasted.

The body was more on the robust side with a slight creamy feeling persisting at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this barleywine and think that it fits the style that it helped generate.

Photo of hero27
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle.

Translucent dark brown. Beige head is modest, but does leaves a thin cap that stays the entire time. Sweet fruits & toasted malt dominate the taste..very little noticeable hop character, but I'm used to drinking more hoppy barleywines. Alcohol is noticeable, however, and it does pack a punch at nearly 9%. Pretty bold flavor, actually..even for a barleywine. Drinkability is about average, as it's definitely a sipping beverage. Much better than it's bastard cousin Anchor Small Beer, but that's not saying much. Not a barleywine I'd go out of my way to seek out, and considering the price tag, not one I'll likely buy in the future. Would still be interesting to try on-tap somewhere, however.

Photo of Gruntlumber
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this in the cellar for a good year or so. I haven't had Old Foghorn since I drank the other 5 so my comparison of new versus aged is drawn from memory. I recall really liking Old Foghorn, often referring to it as one of the best barleywines. It no doubt is good, but over the past year I've had many, many barleywines and now I feel this one isn't quite on the top perch anymore. After a year of aging it has mellowed out some more, although this was never an aggressive beer to begin with; much more on the malty side campared to the plethora of hoppy barleywines out there. Has a very nice sweet cognac character to it, definitely a sipper. Hell, if you don't sip it you'll be finished in several swallows anyway (damn small bottles). I wonder if this really benefited much from aging because although it may have changed slightly, I wouldn't say it's any better. In comparison, I noticed a bigger difference after cellaring Bigfoot for a year or so. Still a great, strong, drinkable brew, and a classic one-of-a-kind to boot.

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

Appearance: Old Foghorn pours a deep red caramel hue accompanied by whispy, foamy crest that--er, its gone already. No matter!

Aroma: I smell a great deal of alcohol in the nose on this one. Also, there's sweet, honeyish malts and a pleasant perfumy hop scent. Some raisins and prunes to be found in the bouquet, but you gotta really get a good snoutful to find them.

Taste: There's a real tasty maltiness to the brew, and the hops lend a much appreciated zingy citric presence. The alcohol is also a key player, but doesn't really bully around the other flavors as it does in the smell. Finishes dry and warming.

Mouthfeel: Compared to other beers within this style, Old Foghorn comes up a tad bit on the thin side, but that only lends to the drinkability of this barleywine.

Drinkability: I vote: YES. Its lighter mouthfeel really helps the drinkability of Old Foghorn. I could easily go through a few of these in a session (and have). I would also say that Old Foghorn is an excellent beginning into the barleywine style. An Introductory Barleywine, and one that I always like to keep a few around.

Photo of radshoesbro
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

7 oz bottle

a - orangish brown with minimal head not a lot of lacing.

s - malts and alcohol.

t - alochol, malts, and a mild finish.

m - tannic, smooth, medium bodied.

d - it's not super impressive, but i'd have it again. not a session beer by any means.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is yet another solid offering from Anchor.

It pours a somewhat cloudy amber colour with a big frothy head that hangs around for a little while, and leaves a mild amount of residue on the glass as it dissolves.

Aromas are woody, earthy and malty. A stronger whiff into the glass reveals a heavier alcohol presnece than necessary and masks the other aromas making this one a bit medicinal at times.

The flavour starts of strong and sweet and moves quickly into an earth/malt/alcohol combo, with the alcohol being far more subtle than it is in the aroma. The finish has a bit of a spice bite to it. Body is slick and oily and pretty much what I expected.

This is a nice brew overall, and one I'd certainly be content to drink again in the future.

Photo of whynot44
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Full bodied, very nice mahogany red with a small tan head.

Aroma is interesting - toffee, molasses, and pine needles.

Taste starts with a malty sweetness of toffee, caramel and molasses then finishes with a bit of grapefruit and pine, then back to molasses in the aftertaste.

A bit syrupy with an almost oily feel and a bit of alcohol warmth for good measure. Fairly mellow for a barleywine, a good starter for the style.

What's with the teeny little bottles? A pint would be about right.

Photo of lou91
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1997 vintage in 2005. You have to appreciate vintage barley wines to appreciate the complexity of how the alcohol, sugar, hops and malts age and combine into an adult sipping beer. Figs, rum, malt and a hop bitterness that leaves a long rich aftertaste. As it warmed, it showed some imperfections and imbalance as well as some saltiness. This may be one to drink within a year.

Photo of Citadel82
4.68/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Rich and balanced is how I would describe this brew. Many beers of this style tend to be overly sweet up front and try to compensate with a severe and dry finish. This one gets it just right. Sweet caramel malt and some spice and tart fruit up front with a slow dry finish that is not over the top and balances the sweet notes with some nice herbal hoppiness.

Photo of dirtylou
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, I bought these at Greene's in Atlanta this summer, check that place out

appearance: pour a sexy amber color, with some light creamy head and adequate lacing

smell: lots of different dark fruit, more grape aromas than any other barleywine I have had, some plum, fig, and apple as well. mild hop aromas

taste: pretty smooth but not very groundbreaking...I like my barleywines jacked up a bit and this one is pretty timid, relatively speaking...Not too much of a hop bite to speak of...very smooth dark red fruit flavors, some grape, alcohol present

mouthfeel: very smooth, not bitter, creamy medium body

drinkability: very drinkable for the style


This is not one of my favorite barleywines...nothing about it is offensive in particular but it just seems a little boring to me. If priced properly it can serve as a rather dispensable barleywine to keep on hand

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is dark burgundy with a ruby glow. The head is average-sized and light brown. The aroma is of rich, dark malts with a nice level of fruitiness and a whiff of alcohol. The taste is, perhaps, the most balanced for a barleywine that I've sampled. This isn't nearly as hoppy as expected, seems that I've gotten used to the "extreme" barleywines of the west coast like Old Crustacian. Rich malts rule the palate here with dark fruit flavors and hints of chocolate coming through. Mild alcohol flavor becomes apparent in the finish. This is exceptionally balanced and is one of the few barleywines that I could see having more than two of in a sitting. Also, I think this is a perfect choice for introducing a newbie to the barleywine style.

Photo of germaniac
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy red-brown. Maybe the darkest BW I've had.

Smells all come across faintly, without much zest. Some sweet malt and tangy hops. Maybe a bit of cinnamon. Pretty unexciting, so far.

The taste doesn't do much for me. More alcohol burn than anything.
The astringency covers up all but a smidgen of malt. The barely there sweetness comes across as almost artificial tasting, though. Like it was originally a recipe for Lipton sweet tea. Don't think another visit to this beer is in the cards for me.

Anchor pretty much screwed the pooch on this one, I think.

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

the first barley wine that i've reviewed. so more of an overall review than a type-specific.

looks ruby brown with a short-term beige head

smells pungent, definitely strong abv. raisin baked goods and wine.

tastes strong and sweet with a surprisingly sour aftertaste. thick and filling.

this is an excellent sipping brew.

Photo of RedHaze
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with almost not head and very little lacing.

Smells of apples, plums, brown sugar and spices(cinnamon?), and just a little bit of alcohol.

Taste is fruity, with the brown sugar sweetness coming through followed by a nice hop bitterness to offset the sweet. Finished with just a little alcohol bite to it. Started off a rough around the edges, but really smoothed out as it warmed up. Overall I really liked this version of a barleywine. I like sipping beers, and this is definitely a sipper.

Photo of mattcrill
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Compliments of BIF 16

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear ruby with a quickly fading tan head.

Smell: Plums, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, peppery with a bit of alcohol and rum soaked raisins on the nose.

Taste: Brown sugar and cinnamon, a little peppery with that alcohol base and warming on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium and a tad over board on the carbonation. A warm finish.

Drinkability: A sipper. The alcohol is hidden well. A good example of the style but I think there are better versions out there. I'm not a huge fan of barleywines but I think there are better ones to be had.

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

Luscious crimson body with a surprisingly prominent beige head. Mellow carbonation in the form of plump bubbles. Arches of lace form following my sipping as the head reduces to a donut complete with a hole that offers a glimpse into the core of the drank.

The nose is fruity and full of brown sugar and caramel. Grainy. Alcoholic. Somewhat vinous with apples and burnt smokiness. Raw and hearty and begging to be tasted.

The flavor reminds me of apple cider with spike. A dark sugary presence and sour fruitiness lead to a bitter end with a lingering slick wetness on the palate. The taste here is actually not very heavy. I had been expecting something a bit more intense, but this is a fairly tame beast. There is a nice malt feel to the flavor without any pushing of the envelope. Safe and solid. This could be sold in a twelve ounce bottle.

The mouthfeel is medium to light for the style. The body density follows the flavor and ends up flirting with being a bit underweight.

Drinkability is good as this is a bit light afterall. Not much of an exclamation point on any aspect, but it tastes good and has a nice feel. Tame yet satisfying. Nice.

Photo of brewQ
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

@ Landmark Inn Milwaukee
Tapped with a thin collar of tight tan foam.

Ruby-brown color befitting the wine and brandy aromas that I perceived.
The balance of distinct hops and malt make for easy sipping.

I hold the Anchor folks in very high regard.

I need to try this brew First sometime- I often work up to it and likely miss the subtleties.

Photo of unklesyd
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This may be my favority Barleywine!

A fantastic pour with no head to speak of left a beautiful, smooth deep ruby liquid that produced carbonation patterns throughout reminiscent of 2001's intergalactic cosmoses.

A very nice, subdued nose with the usual dried fruit aromas without being too in-your-face.

Exceptionally smooth, slightly tart, effervescent, and very lightbodied for a big beer. It never got too cloying or biting, even toward the end of the glass.

I could drink this all night, but the supreme complement I could give is this: after I finished this one, I didn't want another. Not because it was too much, but because it was JUST RIGHT.

Kudos to Anchor on this one!

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

Pours an amber with a tan head that shows just how thick this beer is. Retreats into a thick collar leaving some spotty lace.

Sweet fruity aroma, lots of different but unidentifiable fruits. Malt makes an appearance. Slight floral aroma.

Strong carmel in the upfront malt flavor, gives way to a slight bitterness that leaves floral hop resins on the back of the tongue. Alcohol makes itself known at the finish. Warms strongly. A little rough around the edges but good for sure.

Pretty full bodied with just light carbonation.

A pretty good barley wine with a good American hop character. I think it would mellow with age but to be honest I don't want it to. The hops are great as they are.

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!

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.

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.

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,762 ratings.