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

1,712 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,712
Reviews: 1,002
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 66
Gots: 89 | 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: 1,712 | Reviews: 1,002 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WetCoaster
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear deep red/amber with an off-white/caramel swirled head. Decent retention, but little lacing. Surprisingly active carbonation.

Smell: Bright, sunny floral hoppiness. Crisp, almost tripel-like fruitiness. Mild caramel. A bit of alcohol/solvent as it warms. A bit of pine hop.

Taste/Mouthfeel: There's a bit of chewy caramel up front, but it's very fruity, with strong apple flavors. It becomes hoppy midpalette and finishes slightly bitter. Alcohol vapors bite as it warms. The mouthfeel is a medium and quite crisp, but a bit light for a barleywine, IMHO.

Drinkability: Again, light for a barleywine, but a very tasty beer. It's very "bright" for this style--none of the darkness or weight you might expect--but its fresh, juicy character makes it a novel, refeshing, even sessionable BW. Be aware, though, that this is still a BIG beer--don't get too much of a good thing.

WetCoaster, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of CortexBomb
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out dirty brown with a tiny white head which quickly dissipated into a ring only. Scent is sweet and carmely with hints of hoppiness and vanilla on the edge.

Taste start out with a top of the mouth sweet effect with hints of raisins, cherries, and very creamy malts present and a vague reminder of hops on the back of the tongue. Finish is dryly alcoholic, seemingly pretty typical for the style. Quality stuff.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, but not over the top on the clinginess, while the drinkability continues the across the board 4 rating for the beer, quite drinkable for a heavy beer.

Overall, a fine barley wine that doesn't seem to require aging to make drinkable like some of the over hopped varities in the family. A nice winter treat.

CortexBomb, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful burnt orange w/ nothing but a haze formed on top...with no lace.
Smell is amazing...reminding me of Harpoon's 100 Barrell Series.
Sweet aromas filled with cherries, caramel and vanilla.
The taste is more mellow than I was expecting, but the mouthfeel is top notch. I'm real glad this one is not too sweet, with decent hops...and not dry at all. It's fairly easy to drink and has a clean aftertaste....leaving me wishing it was more than just 7oz. This Barleywine style ale has left one heck of a first impression on me.

warriorsoul, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of Illini5596
4.93/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An excellent beer. Being a Barleywine it is very drinkable, having a strong and pleasing taste, but very little taste of hops despite the high amount used in brewing (again common for Barleywines). Out of all the Barleywines I have tasted this has the strongest taste of fruits, reminding one of grapes or cherries. By far one of the best beers I have tasted, it truly lives up to it's reputation as one of America's best beers.

Illini5596, Jan 11, 2005
Photo of skybluewater
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely deep cherry color. No head, no lace (although I believe that's normal for this style...). Smell is quite nice, with a bit of raisin and cherry poking through. I really like the taste. There's a little raisin, a little cherry, with a nice maltiness (with a bit of caramel) and some hops. The mouthfeel is pretty full, although it gets a little weaker as the beer warms.

This is only my second barleywine, but I'm really developing a liking for this style (along with old and strong ales). This is a nice little beer (that comes in a cute little bottle) to sip on a bitterly cold winter's eve. (Although 7 ounces isn't enough...)

skybluewater, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat of a normal run of the mill barleywine color. A deep russet color with hints of scarlet. Very little head to speak of. The smell was sharp and fruity with notes of figs and alcohol. The taste was rich and full fo alcohol and fruity notes. Very decent barleywine and for some reason I think that the nip bottle is a cool touch to days of yore.

GreatPondBrewer, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of FormatKid
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7oz nip bottle, nice serving size for mid-day on the coldest day of the year so far. I poured this one into my La Trappe goblet. The body is a rusty/ruddy shade of a nice deep brown. The head is small, yet appears sticky. It does however recede rather quickly into a crusting around the edge of the rim and a thin film on top. The nose on this one is rich and practically bursting at the seams. Piney hops, tangy alcohol bite, ripe plums, grape-skins, ash, rum-soaked raisons. A perfect representation of the taste practically, malty and rich up front with flavors of mild caramel and raison , then I pick up on the plum and grape-skin. Admirable bitterness through-out, the finish is rich and creamy with dense malts, pine-sap hops, and a spicy twang of alcohol. Rich and wonderful beer perfect to sip on when it’s cold outside (or not!). Once again, much respect due to Anchor Brewing for breaking ground here in the States.

FormatKid, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7 oz. bottle: This one pours a hazy amber color. The head was about non-existent, with just some lingering bubles around the edges. Caramel, dark fruits and maybe a hint of smokiness to the nose. A silky taste to it, sweet, matly, with hints of the fruits. Maybe a hint of alcohol. The sweetness lingers. Very nice!

Boto, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Beastdog75
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Foghorn is Anchor's storied barleywine (and they use the second runnings of this to make the much less-storied Small Beer), and it's a decent one at that. To my surprise, the bottle is a tiny 7 oz., but it somewhat adds to the allure of this brew.

Old Foghorn pours a caramel/amber color and much to my surprise, a decent head forms on this brew and lasts for a little over a minute. The brew is very sweet smelling. Big caramel and butterscotch maltiness in the nose, and some lemony hoppiness present as well. The mouthfeel is rich and slightly syrupy. The sweet malty notes carry over into the flavor as well (same caramel and butterscotch presence). The hops lend some citric and piney qualities, but the malts are definitely the focal point. The alcohol does show up in the flavor but does not overpower it. The aftertaste consists of some buttery flavors along with the lingering malts and alcohol. This brews finishes out with a good alcoholic warmth.

This is a nice tasting barleywine. My only gripe was that I didn't find it terribly complex and it was seemingly one-dimensional. I thought I could discern some more flavor notes than what I provided but it wasn't meant to be. I might have to seek out some of the older stuff to see how it compares.

Beastdog75, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to see this beer in BC. I compared a 2 year old version to a fairly new bottle and I must say that the fresher beer is better. The main selling point of this barley wine is the nice use of hops. The older version tasted too rounded and lacked any real big flavour profile. The newer version was hoopy yet backed by a big malt presence. This is a less intense example of the style compared to Old Crustacean or Old Guardian. Don't cellat this too long.

canucklehead, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for supplying my wish, Lubiere. She looks like a barleywine, and smells like one (with extra alcohol punch). But it tastes like toothpaste. It is dry and on the thinner side, one of the weaker barleywines I have had. Fortunately the bottle was only 7 oz. so I could finish it.

Sammy, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of Hibernator
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Old Foghorn 2003
8.2% ABV

I had this out of a 7 oz brown bottle and served in a snifter. Bottled on date on the back of bottle is marked that 3DS, which transfers to December 2003. Awesome looking label on a mini 7 oz brown bottle.

Redish brown in appearance. No head.

Aroma of raisins, hops, and plums.

Smooth and tasty barleywine. Complex flavors of sweet caramel malts, raisins, prunes, and a dash of cascade hops on the finish. Just the slightest hint of some alcohol warmth, but the flavors of this barleywine are on point.

This is one very drinkable barleywine. Smooth and flowing, I truly enjoyed every sip of this beer. Another great offering from Anchor.


Hibernator, Nov 21, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Foghorn is gorgeous in the glass. Deep, dark reddish orange that has enough brown to be called caramel-like. The creamy, golden ecru cap is small to start and doesn't have enough wherewithal to last all that long or to leave much lace. The nose consists of toffeeish malt, weak citric hops and alcohol, but is strangely underpowered.

Thankfully, the flavor more than makes up for the aroma's reticence and is reminiscent of sweet, sticky, dark rum-soaked bread pudding with toffee sauce. In fact, it makes my mouth water for that very dessert. There's a lovely dovetailing of dark caramel malt and brown sugar-crusted Cascade hops that is the best of both flavor worlds. Alcohol is masked much better on the palate than in the nose.

The mouthfeel is full and is as silky as liquid velvet. This beer goes down way too easily and I can see that this little nip bottle won't last long at all. The long, lingering finish is sublime. A warm bloom has begun in my center and is rapidly spreading to the tips of my fingers and the ends of my toes. Now I wish that I had poured this nectar into a brandy snifter.

Old Foghorn is my first foray into the world of barleywines (an unfortunate experience with Dogfish Head Immort Ale notwithstanding). I must admit that I was somewhat intimidated by the style and questioned my ability to adequately appreciate it. I'm glad I decided to start my journey with the American original because it is stunningly obvious that this is superb beer.

One of the things that I love about beer of this style is that it usually improve with age. I have quite a few quality barleywines in my cellar and now can't wait to sample each and every one over the long, cold, Midwestern winter that is fast approaching.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 20, 2004
Photo of horndecker
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's a wee 7 ounce bottle it is. But it turns out to be just the right amount of brew for a nightcap.
A beautiful creamy head which slowly falls to a deep red to golden brown liquid. A very bright nose, with limes, apricots, oranges, shades of Grand Marnier.
The taste is lots of malt, a juicy hit of sweetness and fruit with a dry, pleasant, almost medicinal hoppy finish. Reminds me of Fernet Branca at the close.
It also recalls a desert wine I've known by the name Essencia, and then also Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale.
And although it might remind me of all these other things, forgive me, it does have it's own identity.
An enjoyable ale, and I think I'll make sure to have some on hand for the coming winter months....

horndecker, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of BlueEcho
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

June seemed to be a funny month for a Barleywine, but the Porstmouth Brewery had their Foghorn on tap, so I couldn?t resist trying a new one. This ruby ale was served with only a modest head, but still managed to catch my eye with its deep and mysterious hues. The aroma mixed citrus notes with hints of chocolate and caramel. The flavors didn?t disappoint. The malt backbone provided robust caramel and chocolate flavors, which were balanced by a subtle citrus hop flavor. The strong beer was medium bodied, dry, and quite drinkable.

BlueEcho, Nov 06, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottling code of 4GQ indicated that this bottle came out on August 17, 2004, and was 2½ months fresh when it completed its maiden voyage to the shelves of Sherlock’s Beer and Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia. Priced pretty dearly at about $12 a six pack of the crazy little 7 oz. bottles, I decided to live a little and picked it up.

Looked great in the goblet with a lovely deep orange color, low carbonation releasing a thin collar of bubbles at the top. I guess the glass was half full in this department, rather than half empty. The aroma was warm with grassy and peppery hops literally jumping out of the glass. There was also a raisin like vinousness wafting around as I inhaled.

The taste however was much less intense than I was hoping for. I could detect caramel, grapes, raisins, black pepper, and a hint of smoke, however I had to work the beer around my tongue to detect these flavors, and they were fleeting at best. In mid palette, the beer just tasted like bubbly malt and hop water, and the aftertaste was a bit rubber like.

Mouthfeel was soft and silky, but a bit too thin for the style. I am more used to the tongue numbing, mind altering approach used by Old Crustacean and Bigfoot. Compared to those this beer is much more approachable, but ultimately a bit more hollow. May be additional age will be kinder to this grand old brew.

A stop by the liquor store on my way home indicated a close out price on a batch of sixpacks at $7.99. Thinking this was a good deal on a batch of 7 oz. nips, I picked up a sixer. As the bottle stangely filled up the 16 oz wine glass, I looked at the label. 12 oz. of Barlewine in each bottle, woo hoo. At that price, I think I am going to get a few more sixers. Bottling date of February 8, 2005, purchased on June 1, 2005.

rajendra82, Nov 06, 2004
Photo of Rio
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice reddish-brown color with minimal head. Floral and grape aromas up front, with a tiny bit of a spicy smell, as well as smell of alcohol, in the background.

The grape flavors are there in the taste, too, but a spiciness is more promenent. Good bit of hops in the taste, too. Feels pretty smooth, but thin for a barleywine.

Good presentation, but the taste and feel are a little off for a barleywine. Still good, and still very drinkable.

Rio, Oct 29, 2004
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany with a thin, quickly dissipating tan head. Smell is rich malt and a cherry fruitiness. Hints of sweet spice.

Taste is relatively mild for a barleywine. Rich caramel and fruity malt with some nice bitterness to back it up. Light alcohol tinge. Very well balanced and silky smooth. Not as bold as I would expect. I like my barleywines a bit rougher when young. A just-above-average barleywine and worth a try once or twice.

ViveLaChouffe, Oct 27, 2004
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date stamp of 4FD (Feb '04). Bought new and kept in the back of my closet for about six months, then a few weeks in the fridge.

Pours a dirty amber with a thin head. Aroma is strong alcohol, candied fruit and hop sweetness. Lots of alcoholic legs as it is swirled in the snifter.

Taste is very strong malt with a good backbone of rich hops. Mild spices and some residual tartness lead to a smooth, luxurious sweetness in the finish. Hints of raisins, caramel, rum and wood. Faint trace of alcohol in the flavors but not really enough to put off, rather blends well with the other flavors.

Aftertaste leaves with a light trace of the taste, not quite clean but not unpleasant. Mouthfeel is light for the style, a little oily but remains very smooth and drinkable. I'm not a big fan of barleywines but I really like this one, mostly because of its comparative mildness. I've had this before and aging really goes a long way to smooth out this brew, but that's more a personal preference.

assurbanipaul, Oct 15, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a russet copper color with a miniscule beige head. Malty and hoppy nose, some fruity esters, too. Caramelly, syrupy sweet with a bit of hoppiness near the finish. Carbonation is pretty low. Alcohol is considerably noticable, but doesn't take away anything from the experience. Not a bad barley wine, not too aggressive. Easyily drinkable. Would make a good introductory barley wine for someone that has never tried the style.

crookedhalo, Sep 25, 2004
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A syrupy sweet sense is the overwhelming sense I get from this brew. The pour gives a deep bronze body with virtually no head whatsoever. The nose is full of alcohol and fruit notes. The flavor is almost medicinal in its sweetness, giving a sense of prunes in the overall taste. The body is heavy and cloying as would be expected from the syrupy nature. Not as drinkable as many barleywines.

AtLagerHeads, Sep 22, 2004
Photo of Fish113d
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring this interesting morsal, virtually little head poured from the bottle; instead a fizzy (like pop rocks almost), then to absolutely no head in my goblet. Reddish amber in color. Wow!!! Smelling this, I get a malty, sweet vanilla-i, cherry aroma, w/ possibly my favorite fruit (plums) in there somewhere. TAking the first sip it made my cheeks pucker a good deal. It is very dry and oakey in flavor and the alcohol burn lasts like forever! The carbonation is light up front, and the tartness (puckering cheeks) gives me the flavor of a grapefruit i think. Mouthfeel is incredible!!! This is truly a beer that is close to a wine...maybe one of the best I have had...could I drink a sixer of it? Probably not, but then again, I don't want to puke! Cheers!!!!

Fish113d, Sep 22, 2004
Photo of donnebaby
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not as thick as other barley wines I've had, pretty filtered. Looks remind of a red or a dark amber ale. Offwhite 1 cm foam lasting top. Nose exhibits a breezy sweetness blowing off notes of tropical fruits and watermelon (?).

Taste includes a big layer caramel that spreads from an initial tropical fruit sweetness. Carbonation was at a great level, just enough to push the liquid through. Low hops.

Not too complex, a very easy barley wine to handle, with the alcohol well-covered. Drinkable and refined.

donnebaby, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-brownish color with almost no head to be found.

Aroma full of grape fruitiness, sweetness and some alcohol. Not nearly as bitter smelling as other barley wines.

Full bodied, quite smooth. Lots of caramel, fruits and malts up front. Very smooth flavors, well blended. A very light alcohol flavor grazes the tongue then vanishes but the alcohol does provide some warming.

Leaves a light caramel and bitter aftertaste.

A very fine barley wine, not nearly as hoppy as other American versions, I'm excited to see how this ages.

Southernbrew, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of BJ1833
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 7 oz bottle

Appearance: Dark amber color with thin white head

Aroma: Smell of roasted malt and slight nut character. Aroma of plums and raisins.

Taste: Sweet taste of roasted malt and dark fruits. Alcohol taste is present, but not overpowering. Slight spiciness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: Good barleywine that would go down great on a winter night. Complex flavors blend well into an extremely enjoyable brew. This is a beer that you want to stop analyzing and just sit back and enjoy.

BJ1833, Sep 08, 2004
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,712 ratings.