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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,720 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,720
Reviews: 1,002
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 65
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: 1,720 | Reviews: 1,002 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of kmo1030
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

orangey reddish with a little bit of haze and almost no head. caramel and dark fruit nose with a noticable amount of alcohol. a near cinnamony spicey aroma is present as well. dark fruity flavored, with grape, cherry, strawberry and mild fig. spicey caramel after that. probably a 4.25 for taste, but i'll give it a 4.5. medium bodied with soft carbonation. a little thin bodied for the style, but not distracting. good drinkability, it definitely left me wanting more but maybe thats because it was in a 7 oz bottle. i appreciate anchor looking out for me, but i think i could have handled a 12 oz bottle.

kmo1030, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of MrSeth
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the classic American Barley Wine so I'm very happy to be writing about it. If you haven't tried Old Foghorn, you should.

Color: Dark Amber, the very thin head forms a lasting ring around the glass.

Nose: A rich malty aroma over a winey undertone, aaaah. There is also a ripe fruitiness which doesn't overpower the balance of aromas.

Taste: Caramel apples, a slight bitterness too.

Finish: Fairly short, but with a lingering tartness.

MrSeth, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of Wonka
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7 FL. OZ.
Labeled – 4AT

Appearance – brown-red body; a quick quarter-inch white head that runs away; lacing is minimal

Smell – grainy; plum; light dose of spice

Taste – a real nice malt/hop balance in the peak; a bit of alcohol, caramel and a bit fruity-dates?; bitter closes and runs for the aftertaste

Mouthfeel – a bit oily and a bit crisp; crisp opens and closes and pairs with the bitter taste at the end; the palate is ready for another go due to the moderate dryness

Drinkability – not as smooth as I’d prefer but its good enough for a barley wine ‘style’; nice late warming effect

Damn the 7 fl. oz. bottle! For a barley wine it did less for me than just calling it a good strong ale.

Wonka, Mar 10, 2005
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.

Recommended.

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.

Update:
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
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,720 ratings.