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Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

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

1,689 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,689
Reviews: 1,001
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 64
Gots: 87 | FT: 2
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
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Ratings: 1,689 | Reviews: 1,001 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in December, 2001

Murky, peachy-coppery-brown in hue with a reddish highlight, the color doesn’t change much when held to a light. The head never formed that well, at the most it reached a fourth of a finger and it didn’t lasted very long. Actually by the time I set my snifter down the head had faded to a soapy collar. The color of the head was off-beige. Some lacing attempted to form once I started to imbibe; the spotty lacing didn’t cling very well. It looks like a Barleywine. And, oh my, does it smell like one! The rich malty aromas ignited my mouth, a fit of watering ensued! Caramel infused with alcohol, distant but still noticeable hops, firm and American. Kisses of ginger cookies, dry sugar dusting coats a plum or a cherry. The bouquet reminds me a great deal of Free State’s Old Backus Barleywine. I don’t think Anchor’s has as much depth but I am not complaining! The potency is moderate but the invitation is clearly positive! “Drink me!” The palate is very good, no complaints, I could quaff this all night, I mean 7-ounces at a time isn’t much. Okay aside from that, my only negative remark about this beer is if I crank up the beer geek in me. What is the issue? The malt backbone just doesn’t have much taste-depth. Nitpicking I know. I really like the juicy characteristics, which work in harmony with a slight plumy taste, oranges too. The hops are firm but not overly flavorful. Well crafted for sure, not that loud however. I’m sure age and brewing style has a lot to do with this. Sugary sweet finish, ample and tasty, turning warm from the alcohol. The aftertaste is very relaxing. This is a classic beer for a warm winter night. It is a shame that this beer is impossible for me to find anywhere locally (including KC and Iowa City). The mouthfeel is a bit slight, even watery, low carbonation but, overall, it feels good in the mouth. This beer is tasty, I like it, and even with the high abv it is easy to drink. This is a very good Barleywine, not perfect but a joy nevertheless. I purchased this in Burnsville, MN for $2.50.

bditty187, Aug 14, 2004
Photo of Truh
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found my way to shore with this one on 5/1/2004. 10-oz. pour in a tulip glass at Sunset Bar and Grill.

Treacly, deep brown hue with all light trapped inside, swallowed by anti-matter. Light skin of head on top that slowly wafted away, although this could have been due to the lackadaisical washing of the glassware it was served in. Prunes, dates, and fig characteristics in nose. Thick, thick malt, like molasses at first taste. Pungent, yet excellent sweetness, and seemingly less astringent than the Bigfoot. Alcohol doesn’t overwhelm. Gurgly, maple syrup mouthfeel.

I would be quite happy with a case of this tucked under my bed at home. Yes, quite happy.

Truh, Aug 13, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and complex malt scent with some hops and a warm finish. The taste is good as well. It has a very rich and flavorful malt palate that goes down smooth and finishes both a bit hoppy and warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine barleywine. It has everything; another winner from Anchor.

WesWes, Aug 10, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red-brown in color with nothing but a small ring present for head. The nose is very sweet, with figs and raisons coming through. The beer is thick and malty in flavor, with sweet fig coming through as the most prevalent flavor. Nice and not too overpowering. It is very thick and syrupy, staying on my tongue after swallowing the beer. There is a nice sweetness that stays after the beer is swallowed. This is a rather drinkable barleywine, but as with most, one is enough. I do enjoy that this was a smaller beer than 12 oz, leaving me to enjoy it, but not get run over by it. I can continure my session even after drinking this heavy beer.

kmpitz2, Aug 08, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from this year’s teaser size 7oz bottle. This poured out a dark mahogany color with a quickly fleeting light tan head. After the head was down to a few random bubbles coating the top no significant lace was present during its consumption. The aroma is of a slightly sweet fruity malt nature with a bit of alcohol emerging after warming. Sweet fruity malt is the main component of the taste with dark fruits showing and a slight earthy tone as well. There is enough hop inhere to give it a good balance and keep this from being an overly sweet barley wine. A full and creamy mouthfeel is what you’ll get with this as the warm coating fruity covers with every sip. Fairly drinkable with a not so strong alcohol presence and a pleasant taste. Overall a good barely wine but it could defiantly be more complex and flavorful bringing it to a great barely wine.

meathookjones, Aug 07, 2004
Photo of sacfly
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice 7oz bottle. Wish more did this.

No head, amber/red color. Slight sweet (banana?) smell. Thick, malty sweetness. Syrup lingers on the tongue. Slight alcohol aftertaste. Very drinkable barley wine.

I like it, but it is way too expensive. $2.65 for a 7oz bottle?!?!? It was by far the most expensive beer I bought that day, and the others were 12 oz bottles.

sacfly, Aug 05, 2004
Photo of Crotor
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Old Foghorn pours a clear, medium amber with a low, low head and next to no retention. The immediate aroma is of big chewey caramel with a hint of citrus hops. This morphs into a big, sweet, alcoholic malt aroma with the hop nose all but dispersed...

The first sip reveals a caressing, sweet maltiness with a bit of breadiness that seems to be a house characteristic of Anchor (anyone know what malt they use and how they mash?) The alcohol is rather resigned in the taste, and as the beer warms, more caramel and a bit of fruit (raisin?) comes through. There's no roastiness and the hops are decidedly resigned, making this a pleasantly surprising and surprisingly old-world style barleywine. The taste profile is relatively easy on the palate, and supported by an excellent - though perhaps a bit light for the style - mouthfeel, Old Foghorn is a highly drinkable example of the style...

Crotor, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of mobyfann
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paid only $4.99 for a 6-pack at Jungle Jim's...

The appearence looks like a beer and a wine mated, so it's a rusty red colored base with a little white head, low retention and no signs of lacing, not impressed... The aroma is pretty good, it speaks of malts and sweets.

The taste is not too shabby, it almost feels like a wine crossbred with a beer, quite unique, but not a real beer in my opinion... It's good in the mouth, not heavy nor strong, I enjoyed it slowly. The 8.8% ABV seems too low with what I am tasting here, I've had imperial stouts with better days than this one (Blackout/Storm King), and they didn't hint this much alcohol.

Final Thought: I'll stick with beer thank you, first barley wine making it want to be the last one, nothing good enough here, porters and specialty stouts wins any day!

Re-Review: Upgraded the Taste and Drinkability up to a 4, the taste was complex of a nice blend of fruit and malt. More drinkable than the last time I had it, maybe my taste is becoming more developed???

mobyfann, Jul 26, 2004
Photo of hobbes2112
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz. bottle

I was surprised to pay to much for these beers (14 bucks for a 6 pack of 7oz) but I haven't tried them yet, so what the heck. Thanks to their FAQ I found out that 2G8 means August 28, 2002.

Pours a deep red that looks like a solid brown until you hold it up to a light. Small off-white head that dissipates quickly

Smell is sweet maltiness, dark fruit (maybe fig or plum), and alcohol.

Taste follows the smell, sweet malty, dark fruit, alcohol, slight hop finish. Really great complexity in this one.

I don't know a whole lot about this style beer, but I like this one. I will need to look at others more seriously.

hobbes2112, Jul 18, 2004
Photo of cbl2
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Opaque Reddish-orange with a 1/4 inch tan head.


Sweet with candy carmel odors.


Tickles the tongue with sweet candy flavor at first that finishes hoppy and bitter; Good; served in 7oz bottle.


This is my first experience with a barleywine (12-8-2002), and I like what I'm tasting. Very complex, and the perfect winter warmer with all that alcohol.

cbl2, Jul 02, 2004
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice dark amber with little to no head. It had the thick, oily look of a barleywine perfectly.

The aroma was of strong rich malt with some hoppiness, and light but noticeable alcohol.

The taste was full and rich, only slightly sweet, and the alcohol was much more noticeable than in the nose. It had the right mouthfeel... a little thick, covering the tongue well.

If you can find it, get it.

connecticutpoet, Jun 26, 2004
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice little 7oz Bottle on a hot summer day! I had been craving a barleywine since winter and this surely satisfied me. THe color was a doark golden and very tiny carbonation bubbles filled the glass. Tons of sweetness on the toungue and it was very smooth tasting! Excellent Barleywine!

ALESwhatCURESya, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of dedalus
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

appearance: dark amber with next to no head

smell: deep, malty aromas, with rum and raisin notes. suspicious lack of hop scents.

taste: is this a wee heavy? no, but had i been blindfolded and asked to sample a wee heavy and the old foghorn side by side, i would not have been able to tell the difference. this was all sweet malt flavors, with none of the hops or fruity esters that the label promised. hugely disappointing. i've got nothing against sweet malt, mind you, as long as the hop presence can balance it out. but the old foghorn's hops fail to do so. the flavors (or lack thereof) are completely inappropriate for an american barleywine.

mouthfeel: thick and satisfying, but not so much that it makes up for the beer's lack of flavor and complexity.

drinkability: far too cloying in its relentless malt sweetness to be very drinkable.

hmmm. despite all the good things i've heard about this beer, i think i'll be steering clear from now on. there are so many other classic anchor brews that far exceed the old foghorn in depth of flavor; the liberty ale and the anchor porter are beautiful beers, and they set a standard the foghorn simply fails to live up to.



dedalus, May 30, 2004
Photo of Suds
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 Vintage from the typical nip bottle. Practically no ullage at all on this one…in fact, it was nearly overflowing with liquid as I lifted the cap. Pours a deep mahogany color with an impressive tan head. The head is surprisingly frothy for a barley wine. Alcohol aroma is evident on the pour, followed quickly with piney hops and ripe fruits. Sweet malt is evident in the smell as well, but takes a backseat to hops…certainly an American Barleywine. Warming begins on the tip of the tongue, and continues to build from there. Expected sweetness up front, mixed with fruitiness and esters. Still, as in the aroma, the balance is tilted toward hops. Overall, the beer has moderate carbonation, but it seems fairly pronounced for the style. Full mouthfeel, and slightly oily. This is a fantastic beer. It’s flavorful, intense, and well-made. It’s not my favorite Barleywine, but it’s very solid.

Suds, May 30, 2004
Photo of granger10
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer just arrived at my local beer store much to my anticipation. I had to buy it even though the price seemed a bit high for such a little bottle. The appearance of this beer is light in color in comparison to most barleywines with a small fizzy lightly tan head. The smell is a little on the weak side but I noticed a toffee flavor mixed with a pinewood precense. Taste is strong on the malts with caramel being the main flavor. Surprisingly, considering this is an American barleywine, the hops were very weak and seemed to be dominated by the malts. This beer had a thin body and was a little buttery as well. Alcohol was not really too noticeable until the finish but it faded quickly and there was basically no finish. Maybe it was the Thomas Hardy's I had the night before, or maybe it was because the Pistons were losing, but I was really disappointed with this beer. Not complex, no depth of flavor, unbalanced, weak. Maybe it would improve with age but I don't think so. Definitely not worth the $3.19 for 7oz I paid.

granger10, May 23, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a brown colored, hazy body, with a khaki colored bubbly head. The scent is majorly malts, some hop and alcohol notes as well. As for the taste, its got thick, chewy malts, warming alcohol, and some well balanced hops. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel. These need to come in bigger bottles.

Tballz420, May 07, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I assume these wee, seven ounce bottles are a tradition of some kind, but they should put this in bombers, at least for limited release, for those of us who can't find it on tap. This one was bottled in August of 2002(thanks to Cellarman for deciphering the date code).
Pours a clear, reddish mahogany into a tulip glass. Skimpy, beige head quickly falls to a collar. Quite a bit of sticky lace patches the glass.

The aroma is seductive. Molasses/Caramel, then Pine/Grapefruit. The malt and hops aromas keep dancing back and forth, in a very playful aroma.

Mouthfeel is near perfect. The carbonation bursts forth into a rich and coating feel of caramel malt and citrusy hops. Very pleasant!

Taste features the same "hide and go seek" game of hops/malts. Sweet, caramel maltiness and grapefruit and citrus hops keep jumping around the palate, but both end up sharing the stage in this intriguing balance of the two. Alcohol is cleverly concealed, but after finishing this tiny bottle I can feel its effects.

Very drinkable. In fact, this was a lot of fun to sip down and enjoy the way the hops and malts kept playing together. One little bottle just isn't enough to appreciate the other complexities going on here.

merlin48, May 06, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Malty, alcoholic caramel aroma. Small yellowish tan colored head, fades quickly to a ring. Glowing, light mahogany colored beer. Rich sweet caramel malt, and grapefruit hop flavor. Lightly bitter piney hop aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel, mildy bitter and alcoholic finish leaves a warm stomach. Lots of flavors coming and going in this beer. This hoppy barleywine reminds me of some of the potenet IIPAs.

HappyHourHero, May 04, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cute little 7ozer bottle bought as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter glass, formed a small 1/4" light tan head that quickly faded to a layer of foam over the deep reddish-amber brew. Acceptable lacing, and this offering has a hearty grainy aroma which also gives away the higher alcohol content (as if the wimpy bottle size didn't trumpet the fact). Taste is upfront with some good malt character, then segues into a slight amount bitterness, which finally gives way to the radiational warming of the alcohol. The mouthfeel works great for me, but I fear the sweetness and alcohol could be somewhat limiting for this brew, which knocked the drinkability down a peg.

ppoitras, Apr 30, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7oz bottle thanks to piscator34. Cloudy dark amber body, no head at all. Toffee and pine in the aroma. Very caramelic palate, big and malty creamy body, very sweet like a caramel pudding with a mild bite of piney hops, perhaps a touch of melon or grapes as in a restrained fruitiness. Warming finish with a light touch of alcohol, quite short ending actually. Rather simple barley wine imo and far less intense than I wished it to be.

Rastacouere, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark mahogany brown brew with an oily hop sheen on top.

Smell is sweet with lots of malt aroma. Mild tea hop scent is also present.

Taste is very sweet and a bit stingy to the tongue. Lots of fruity flavors in this mostly raisins and plums with an assertive bitter hop finish. Dark molasses and a bit of woody oak in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is very thick.

A drinkable and truly tasty barley wine, but sip this one.

Zorro, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours tawny brown color with a few light highlights with a thin lace,aroma is deeply fruity and a little alcoholic.Taste is rich and warming alot of fruity estures with a hint of molassis with an underlying herbal,grassy flavor in the finish.A nice complex brew but whats up with the tiny bottles?

oberon, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of RootedFool
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby, narrow 7 ounce bottle purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, CA.

Poured a tad too carefully into a tulip glass, so no head to mention. Body is light mahogony, bright amber when held close to the light.

Ah, the smell is wonderfully dense in its malt sweetness. Bubblegum, but better than that (freshly pulled taffy), and a vigorously spicy undertone like pepper corns if you can imagine them dipped into the foreground of sweetness.

Taste opens with a sharp pinch of hops before the malts roll out in the background. The middle is a lot of dead air, at least to my palate, and serves as a pregnant pause before the bitterness stirs back into the mix, rising at a steep incline and straight through to the finish. The aftertaste is dry, bitter, and at the very tip of the end the malts come through with a melon-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel: not too thin, not too thick; actually, more thin than I'd like, it slides too quickly off of my palate. Carbonated nicely and is most noticeable toward the finish.

Compared to some other American barley wines I've had, this one has a tender touch -- worth a try.

RootedFool, Apr 07, 2004
Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,689 ratings.