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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

1,777 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,777
Reviews: 1,012
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 71
Gots: 106 | 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.
View: Beers (23) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,777 | Reviews: 1,012 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.


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.

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....

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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???

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.

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.

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,777 ratings.