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Anchor Old Foghorn - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,794 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,794
Reviews: 1,018
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 72
Gots: 119 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

ABV varies slightly over the years.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,794 | Reviews: 1,018 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a slightly foggy amber honey with some peach highlights. Rising up through this beer are by far the laziest bubbles I have ever seen. They add to a thin creamy tan head that leaves only traces of lace after it falls to a small ring. Smells of slightly roasted honey and molasses malt. There are also some red liquorish, strawberries and blueberries and a hint of an ambiguous dry hop that is obscuring a bit of alcohol. Very nice, but very subtle. Starts with a smooth pale malt base and some raspberries but then picks up some rather large hop notes that are primarily drying but release some rose and pineapple notes. The finish is oaky and it leaves a strange little sting right in the middle my tongue. The mouth feel isn’t as thick as the slow bubbles suggested. The body is medium and the carbonation is tiny. This one’s a little too far on the dry side for my liking, and the strange sting in the finish is down right unpleasant, but there are some unique and delightful fruit notes that I greatly appreciated in a barley wine.

Photo of goochpunch
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a color of dark honey with a tannish head that peters out into a thin ring of bubbles around the surface. I don't know, but it LOOKS sort of thin to me. I kind of expected a more viscous barleywine from it's flavor profile. Starts smelling fruity with a little hop background, but shortly after, alcohol hits the nose. Lot of toffee in the nose. Fruits, caramel, toffee, and bitterness from the hops and alcohol. Great flavors going on here. Mouthfeel is smooth as eggs, but I really wanted this to be thicker. To me, I felt that the mouthfeel should have been just as assertive as the scents and tastes were. Having said that, this really is a very drinkable barleywine.

I was going to write this off, but then it warmed up to just below room temperature and then came the complexities. Too bad this is about $15 a 6 pack where I live.

I'm having a 2007 Old Foghorn now with a beefed up 9.4% or so ABV. Flavor is just boozier while somehow losing out on some of the complexities I remember this having. Taste and drinkability goes down on this one.

Photo of badbeer
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Labeled 4FD which means this is from February 4, 2004. Writing from notes, I opened this on February 4, 2006, two years old.

Poured a dull amber color that had a tan head but lasted only for a moment, left some lacing but very little. Caramel, sweet and dark fruits, and a tiney hint of pine composed the smell. It tasted of sweet malt, dark fruit, and pine. It starts off sweet and then the hops kick in for a nice balance, not a strong hop taste however. Low carbonation, medium to full bodied, seemed to suit this beer quite well. Pretty good to drink after a meal as the label says, but I wouldn't do it everyday.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/7/01. It's been in the cellar for a few years, just checking to see how it turned out.

Appearance - iced-tea color, quick to form a head and just as quick to lose it. Some stray bubbles linger on the surface.

Aroma - very aromatic, the smell comes after you as soon as it escapes the bottle. Big boozy hops, rather piny.

Taste - licorice, molasses, restrained hops. It reminds me of their Christmas beer but more ramped up. Lots of malty sweetness up front, plenty of alcohol warmth on the swallow and following, but little hop influence. The aroma sets up for some hops but I think it is the molasses/licorice combo doing that.

Mouthfeel - thick, clingy, modestly carbonated.Good suit to the style.

Drinkability - potent, that much is evident, but quite tasty. The nip bottles make it easy to do a vertical on these without going broke.

Photo of budsboy
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, deep amber with a fine tan head that is short lived.

Smell is fruity-sweet malt, clovey spices and alcohol. The fruit is of plum, raisen nature and is quite vinous.

Mild toasty malts, raisen, plum and a cool mintness dominate. Alcohol dances on the edge of hotness. There is a gratifying and lasting bitterness. Hop profile is muted and almost not there at all. You have to squint to taste the hops.

Fairly thin in the mouth, bit dry on the finish.

Eh. Good enough. Probably one I'll be able to pass up when I see it on the shelves, but it surely is worth a try.

Photo of Bcant
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Aside from the light carbonation and slight purple hue, one could mistake Old Foghorn in your snifter for a very generous measure of cognac. When first pored, there is a small head but it dissipates fast and leaves little indication that it existed.

The aroma has a lot alcohol but also fruit – plumbs and apples. If you stick your nose into the glass the first thing you get is a bit of pleasant sweet alcohol, followed by the fruit but then the liquor kicks into drive and blocks out the other smells.

The flavor is complex but blended very well. Red grapes, caramel, some tastiness, and a touch of bitter citrus hop at the finish. The flavors pull around the tong, bringing them all together simultaneously. Alcohol is warming but a touch too apparent, even for a barley wine.

Warming and soft, while the alcohol may comprise the taste a little, when it comes to the moutfeel it gives Old Foghorn the respect it deserves (in terms of savoring the beer).

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a nice two-finger head which goes down into a one finger heade before turning into a lasting lace. Nice brown-amber. Boozy smell typical of quads, barleywines and other high octain brews. That smell dominates the taste. It's the taste that reminds you of dark fruit and such things. Too much in my opinion. Well, not too much. But it needs other things to mellow that out. Very nice mouthfeel as it gets warmer.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Who are you calling old? Pours a mostly clear rich amber color with red hues. When poured it seems thicker then most beers. A decent head that quickly hid to the edges but remained through the whole sample. But limited lacing.

The smell is very malty with what I would consider more of an English Barelywine feel. The malt is big with caramel and earthy tones to it (almost Marris Otter-esk). Big pine and grapefruit notes back up the malt.

The taste is sweet and very malty. Again I have to note the English like Barelywine feel. The malt has a caramel flavor that is really sweet In addition there is a heighten alcoholic flavor brings a hot texture to the taste and covers up some of the malt. The taste starts off all malt but finishes all hops. A big bite near the end with a twinge of citrus is followed by a grapefruit and earthy hop finish.

The body is big and carbonation is good. The texture is borderline syrupy for beer but doesn't cross the line. It could be just me but this is more of an English style, while I pefer the Bigfoot as per American style. Both are good.

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

bottle, but not just any bottle, one of those little 7 ounce bastards that I love so much which are now gone. little 7 ounce bastard, I salute you and your achievments. poured into a Caracole snifter.

A: deep brownish/burgundy hue. light sploch on the off white head. disipates quickly but no surprise there.

S: cant decide if its more caramel or brown sugar, vanilla, white grapes, a hint of pear, alcohol.

T: light, sweet but not cloying, and complex sugar profile. very clean malt bill to support the sugars. butter, vinous, grape like aromas translate easily into similar flavors. dries somewhat during the finish which is a nice balance and ends somewhat fruity, apples, pears, barely tart.

M: honestly a little too light for the style. and at what used to be a 7ounce serving, Anchor shouldnt have been that concerned with thinning the viscosity to make it more drinkable. I would like to see a heavier more, viscous mouthfeel.

D: a damn tasty brew. im curious to see how the switch to 12 oz bottles goes over. ill pick some up myself and see how i feel after 12 instead of the 7 im used too.

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

The beer poured into the glass clear deep amber with a tan and frothy head which rose well and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with a subdued citrusy grapefruit presence. The aroma contained caramel and some bready character. The aroma was nicely fruity and muted with regard to hop character.

The flavor was malty and a smidge sweet when it first contacts the palate with caramel and a nice toffee that were well merged with hop bittering. The bittering was strong but melded in this bottle and added complexity to the beer.

The finish was dry with a lasting bitteirng on the tongue and palate with a malty impression long into the aftertaste. The body was medium full and the carbonation was moderate. A nice barleywine*.

12 ounce bottle, date 5F8. Purchased in GA at Greens in summer 2005.

*Note - tasted a 2006 on draft in GA at Summits and it could not hold a candle to this bottled version from 2005. Did not review the 2006 in case it was an off keg.

Photo of waldowin
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle, with a coded date on the back (boo! hiss!)

Pours a golden ruby, very clear, with visible carbonation. A three-finger head forms quickly, and fades very slowly. Very little lacing at all.

Smells of grapefruits, oranges, and strongly smells of cedar and pine trees. Very nice.

Very light in flavor, and smooth. Not much there, but bits of oak and grapefruit work their way through at the end. Somewhat disappointed, after the strong smell. No alcohol present in the taste, however, but it does show up in a bit of a 'dry' effect.

Mouthfeel is thin, smooth, and slightly astringent, with healthy carbonation.

Being so smooth and mild, this would be very drinkable, if not for the ABV. However, I prefer my barleywines to have some character to them, this is a bit on the thin side for me.

OK, as it warms up, it begins to show some hop bite and some malts. Don't drink this one cold, folks, it's much better just barely below room temp.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Foghorn pours from the 12oz bottle into my tulip glass a deep dark reddish brown with a nice creamy khaki head atop. Spotty lacing forms all over the side of the glass as garnet hues shine out when I hold it up to the light. Aroma is rich, sweet caramelly malt, dark fruits, cherries and brown sugar. There's a really nice herbal, green, slightly citric hoppiness throughout. Quite nice.

First sip brings a rich, fruity, caramelly maltiness with hints of cherry, molasses and burnt sugars. This is followed by a nice wave of herbal hoppiness, a touch citrusy, that brings a nice flow of bitterness to the back of the palate. This is a tasty barleywine and I'm glad to see it coming in full 12oz bottles now. Quite refined with a nice malt/hop balance and bold flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. A decent bit lighter in body that many other barleywines...but it serves to make it all the more drinkable. I could see sitting down to a few bottles of this with no problem at all. My fiance also enjoyed this with me as she has been getting into barleywines! Definetly a brew that everyone should try at least once.

Photo of Absumaster
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Declining head, dark amber beer in a very tiny bottle.
smell: chocolate, malty and some yeasty flavors.
taste: dry, sticky, chocolate, coffee, roasted/burned, caramel and alcoholic
This is an American barley wine, but the examples I have tasted before are way more over the top than this one in bitterness and alcohol. This is a very good beer and to be honest I did not expect anything extravagantly bitter or alcoholic from Anchor. All together a very good beer for the colder times of year.

Photo of GreenWBush
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on January 7th, 2005...consumed January 10th 2006. This is the second time I've ever consumed OF, comparing it to when I first tried it fresh in the new 12 oz. bottle format.

Old Foghorn pours forth lightly, a ruby amber liquid with amazing clarity. A Decent lace cap adorns, followed by a mild cowhide-pattern of lace.

The nose is still full of bananas and coppery alcohol, but an interesting spiced twang has develop, hinting mildly at Anchor's own OSA. Interesting interplay with my flavor memory of Anchor Small, this beer's after-incarnation. Finely grounded brown sugar notes arise as well.

The taste hasn't become more complex or diverse with time, unfortunately, like the nose did. Predominant aged 'paper' tastes I get from oft-over the hill beers like Samuel Smith's. Past that major impression, I get a strange melding of apple juice, cider, red wine. Bigger alcohol bite and burn than many BW's, even after a full year of aging and definite deterioration.

Harmony of some of the strong elements of this beer fresh - mainly the bordering-on-cloying sweetness - have melded. Unfortunately this beer has just peaked in many ways. I think this is aged at the brewery also, so I should try it more at the six month age of rest instead of a year.

Photo of DogFood11
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've always had a love hate relationship with barleywines. Some of them just kick ass and others I either don't understand and my palate disagrees or they are just bad. Subjective as I "think" I am this one was a winner.

Alcohol really doesn't allow this brew to have much retention. The head is nice on the pour but after a couple pulls it's gone, no retention. To be expected for sure in a 9% brew. Amber to copper in color.

This slides towards the sweet end of an american barleywine. Alcohol is evident and not shy at all. Fruity but overall the general taste is sweet with a whacking alcohol finish. A citrus cutter is about half way through and once again sugared.

Notes: Anchor is a staple in the household beer fridge, any variety will do. I mean for fuck sake every beer i've tried from them has been good to great. This is Another of a long list of beers I've had and enjoyed many many times that I've never bothered to jot down a note about. I guess this is a good thing that I don't want to bother with notes while enjoying a fine brew. One of the better barleywines I've tried at this point in time. Many Many more to try.

Photo of baiser
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, dark brown body. Thick, syrupy, and a very small, dissipating head. Big alcoholic nose, pine, pure hoppy goodness. Drinks quite smoothly. Sweet, syrupy, fruity, caramel and rich. Full bodied, low in carbonation and quite a good sipper. There was much more flavour once it warmed to room temp.

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

Had the bottled version of this barley wine in a beer tasting event. It pours an amber-reddish color into my taster glass. I’ve had this barley wine before and enjoyed it then also. Smell nice with light scents of caramel and citrus. The taste is smooth and that’s what I like in a barley wine. A good barley wine to me should be strong but smooth (like Makers Mark is to bourbon). It says it’s highly hopped and dry hopped but the effect isn’t sharp but balanced well with the other malty flavors. Very Nice with a warming finish.

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dinky 7 ounce bottle. Anchor Old Foghorn pours out a dark brown color with a small head. Threre's little sediment in this beer. The aroma is caramel, dark fruit, and hops. Alcohol is very noticable in the nose. The flavor is malty, but not quite as malty as the aroma led me to believe it would be. Lot's of caramel and berry flavors. There's a good amount of hop flavor, but I wouldn't call this an especially hoppy barleywine. Mouthfeel is medium. Not as sticky as many barleywines. Good drinkability. I enjoy this beer, but I seem to remember it being slightly better in past years.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

A bit expensive for what it is, $3.00 for a ten ounce bottle. Good beer, but what the f..., only ten ounces, that's why the drinkabilty is so low. Come on, give it to me, it's not like it's that good.

Deep copper color, with only a slight head. A crazily (in)balanced amount of hops. Not very sweet, and not very hoppy, but along different lines, a warming consumable beer regardless of the price per ounce ratio.

Photo of MSchae1017
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage 3 years aged.

This beer still has nice carbonation and head despite the twist top. Te beer has taken on earthy and port wine line characteristics...very interesting. Still not quite as complex as other, but a fine beer. This on certainly has benefitted from 3 years of aging.

This beer was tasted from a bottle in a tulip glass.

The beer pours an amber brown color with tanish head that doesnt hold too well or lace at all. It has a mild fruity aroma about it. It tastes fruity with a natural sweetness rather than a sugary one. Possible fruits could be raisins or cherries. There is a mild hop taste balancing this beer but it could be stronger in this respect. It has a terrific mouthfeel. There is a good thickness balanced with an even carbonation. Overall it is a good barleywine that I would love to drink again.

Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/31/05- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, assuming from year 2005. I think the older ones come in the 7oz bottles. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Darker amber, maybe garnet or ruby hued. Pours with a 1/2 inch head and light lace.

Smell- Great scent of caramel malts and grapefruit hops. Reminescent of Bigfoot without the big hop hit.

Taste- Wow, this is like a Bigfoot Jr. Not incredibly hoppy like the Sr., but the malt flavor reminds me much of it. Sweet and creamy caramel malt taste with a muted batch of grapefruit hoppiness.

Mouthfeel- As stated before, very creamy an also is ultra smooth. Warming towards the middle and end with a lower carbonation level.

Drinkability- If the price wasn't so steep for these bastards, I would probably drink this with Bigfoot as my standby barleywine. Not liking the $13 six pack price though, when I can get a better beer in Bigfoot for $4 less.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter of sorts (a large, wide bowled wine glass). Minimal head is formed and evaporates rather quickly. A ring of lace is left around the top of the beer. A hazy, caramel amber color beverage is dispensed.

Smells of alcohol and pineapple. Quite fruity as well. Not much hop in the aroma. A pleasant sweetness throws itself into the party as well. Alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms. Smell becomes a bit medicinal as well. Very fruity. Raisins and figs enter the equation as well.

Sweet tasting and quite frankly cloying. A certain medicinal quality is present. The alcohol is definitely present and is a little too much in my opinion. Hard to detect anything else through the alcohol, but it is fruity. A little bit of brown sugar or molasses is present.

Definitely a nice winter warming beer. Slick mouthfeel. I have had this on draft it seemed much better on draft. However I did not take notes, but the alcohol seemed less present and there was more of a hop profile as well. A little dissapointed with this in the bottle, but still pretty good.

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

Pours a lightly hazy deep amber/copper color with a nice light tan colored head that falls slow and laces well

Aroma is nice fruity malt some sweetness dominating with nice citrus hops orange peel hints of grapefruit.

Taste is nice sweet and fruity caramel malt with decent hop flavors that leave bitter grapefruit rind bitterness on your tounge. Flavor is nice not as big as some barleywines more a medium intensity enjoyable experience. Can see how this became a modern icon in barlewines along with Bigfoot not quite as big but just as tastey.

Mouthfeel is pushing towards full nice mellow carbonation adds to the bitter hops some.

Drinkability is good an enjoyable brew would be great with dinner or sipping by the fire. Want to thank babydoc and BCG-BIF for this bottle.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on code shows November 14th, 2005: Pours a remarkably clear reddish amber with a thick tan head that retains well for a barleywine. The aroma has big citrus and piney hop character, as well as sweet caramel malt, fruity esters, ethanol, and some toasted bread...not the most complex but seems traditional and appropriate. The flavor starts off with some citrus and piney hop notes, followed by a big malt character consisting of caramel, molasses, dark fruits (prune, fig, date, raisin, plum), licorice, vanilla, fruity esters, extremely mild alcohol and some oak. The mouthfeel is rich and chewy, with light carbonation and high drinkability, especially for an american barleywine. If you're looking for an over-the-top hop bomb then this certainly isn't for you, but if an exquisitely well balanced beer is your thing then look no further. An exceptional barleywine, perhaps should be catergorized as english in style but awesome nonetheless.

Photo of AlexJ
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love it when I try a beer I haven't had in years and it actually tastes better than I remember. This is one of those. Muddled copper in color with a light beige head that is both dense and creamy with great retention and ridiculous amounts of lace.

Aroma damn near knocks my socks off before I even get it close to my face. Caramel and brown sugar sweetness with a boatload of citrussy pine cone hops. Superb candied and lightly scorched orange peel notes. Intense.

Flavor is certainly no letdown. Huge chewy malt flavors of molasses and caramel with massive citrus and oozing pine sap hops. Glowing fruits, subtle spice, and christmas cookie goodness heighten the mix. Complex and warming with well disguised alcohol.

Body is big, dense, and velvet smooth. Texture is lush and creamy with fantastic drinkability. Very, very good.

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,794 ratings.