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Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,050 Reviews
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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies slightly over the years.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Reviews: 1,050 | Ratings: 1,939
Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Brown Bottle with pry-off cap and no date. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep mahogany with 1 finger of off-white head

Smell: Toffee and and dark fruits

Taste: Dark fruits and raisin with hop flavors in the middle with some cherry and chocolate notes and a malty finish with some fruity esters

Mouthfeel: full-bodied and just right

Overall: A great english style barleywine. Lots of malt complexity without getting too muddled and provides much depth. Im curious as to how some age will affect it.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Nose: caramel, dried fruit, alcohol,
Pours brilliant deep orange amber with a brown tint under an off-white to lightly tan tinted 1" foam cap that drops to a thick film but is easily roused. Has some legs.
Palate: A lovely development of malt flavors, rich, dark and creamy suggesting a rich fruit bread or bready cake, fruit suggests plum joined by dark caramelly toffee sugars with fig and dates. Citrusy hop accent on the finish.
Very creamy, chewy, medium carbonation, some warming.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4/5  rDev +2%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, completely opaque, deep, dark mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with lots of pleasant, delicious-smelling aromas of bready, toasted malt and dried stone fruits such as apricots, dates, figs, prunes and raisins. There are also lots of strong aromas of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and all-spice, and a hint of Belgian yeast.

Taste: Wow! Great flavors of toasted malt, brown sugar-like sweetness and dried stone fruit! I get lots of flavors of dates, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, as well as a hint of Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 9.4%, there is a pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a very, very good, very delicious barleywine. It has great, bready, fruity, sweet flavors wrapped up in a very pleasant chewy and smooth mouthfeel. While there are stronger, more flavorful barleywines out there now, this one must’ve been revolutionary back in 1975 when it was first brewed and released! Definitely worth a drink!

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Photo of ilikebeer03
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter.

A: pours a wonderful deep amber / ruby red color with about a finger of nice thick, tan head. this fads to a fair ring around the glass, with some lingering in the center.

S: upfront, I get a malty sweetness with dark fruits like plums a little bit of hop, but not much.

T: I get a sweetness and a breadyness from the malt initially, then some fruits, figs, and a bit of resinous hop character at the end.

M: pretty good mouthfeel, good carbonation.

O: i havent had a whole lot of barleywines (even less english barleywines) so im certainly a bit out of my element in regards to this beers representation of the style. this is based more on my general opinions. a pretty good beer, though. I wouldn't ever turn one down.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown filtered with lots of carbonation, even bubbles cling to the inside of the glass. There are 2 fingers of creamy beige head.

S: Malt, toffee, butter scotch, crème brulee, apple candy.

T: Butter scotch, candy, alcohol on the end, caramelized sugar like crème brulee, apple candy comes in as well.

M: Thick syrupy body is balanced by the heavy carbonation so much so that its smooth with a light bitter aftertaste.

O: Considered a standard by many in the beer world for a Barleywine, I was glad to finally find this on the east coast at Brawley’s Beverage in Charlotte. Drank in Boca Raton July 12th, 2014.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Thirsty Monk Asheville. Served in a Lagunitas pint glass.

A- Pours a reddish dark amber with a 1/2 inch light tan had that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Sweet smelling with some notes of dark fruit, caramel and a touch of brown sugar.

T- Big hits of Bready malt, booze and more dark fruit. Everything melds together to make for a drinkable barleywine, there's just not a lot of complexity. Bitter aftertaste.

M- Somewhat syrupy with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Definitely a sweeter barleywine with a lot of residual sugars but still quite drinkable if not very complex.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Just found this today, and discovered that it's the 8.8% 2008 vintage! Yeah, we get some old beers around here sometimes, but damn. So it's 5~6 years old. Good thing it's a barleywine. Served in a snifter at cellar temperature.

An two-finger beige head fizzed up and receded to a thin ring over a beautiful clear garnet or ruby barleywine. A bigger head than I expected from such an old barleywine.

It smells fruity, with cherries being the specific fruit that stands out the most. I also get prunes, red apples, a hint of citrus, a bit of maple syrup... maybe even a dash of some type of brighter fruit like peaches.

Tart fruits take effect initially, like cherries, nectarines, peaches, and then red apples toward the middle. The finish has a nice breadiness and some bitter, slightly astringent hops that give off noticeable notes of pine and citrus. Kind of a dry aftertaste like highly hopped American barleywines and DIPAs, which surprises me since this has aged for so long.

The carbonation is fairly high, once again despite the old age, and the feel is substantially thick, viscous, and full.

I didn't know what to expect since this is the oldest beer I've ever tried up to this point, but it's really held up well. While it does fit the more malt-forward profile of an English barleywine, I also think it walks a nice line between the English and American barleywine styles, with a little bit of American hoppiness to balance the sweet English maltiness.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A 355ml bottle with a BB of May 2014. ABV is stated as 9.4%. Picked up a while back from the York Beer & Wine shop. An American classic that I've had before but not got round to reviewing - here goes....

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A very deep reddish-amber hue with tons of chunky floating sediment and medium carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a few minutes before subsiding to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of exceptionally sweet, fruity malt with hints of prunes, dried fruit, port/sherry, brown sugar, caramel, yeast esters, mild pine, faint roasted grain and stewed hops. A warming whiff of booze in the background - very rich and fruity.

Tastes of very sweet, fruity malt with a lingering finish. Notes of prunes, dried fruit, port/sherry, brown sugar, caramel, yeast esters, mild pine resin, subtle roasted grain and stewed hops. A significant hint of alcohol in the background, followed by a restrained hoppy bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and a lovely creamy body. Faint hop oils on the tongue. Faintly astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt, piny hops and yeast esters.

Rather nice, though I feel that attenuating the sweetness and booze slightly would be beneficial. Looks alright, in spite of the floating yeast/protein. The aroma and flavour are similar, with a backbone of sweet, fruity malt and subtle hop notes. Fantastic body - borders on unctuous. Very sweet but a pleasant sipper. Would be perfect for winter; worth sampling if you have the chance.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

a: beautiful brown body with ruby highlights; great fluffy off-white head that lasts like none i have seen--i poured it as i made dinner to give it a little bit of time to warm up and it lasted for at least 20 minutes thick and creamy as ever; leaves light sticky lacing; light movement glistens in glass

s: darker caramel and toffee malts; light chocolate and sweet apples; spicy kick; really nice warm fragrance; alcohol

t: warm toffee; nice nuttiness; some grain; light alcohol/brandy; fruity apple malts; butter; light citrus hops

m: creamy and smooth but medium body and medium carb so a good mix of the heavier side and the refreshing side

d: i think that this is an amazingly good beer and the pour was one of the best i've seen period; strong flavors and a smooth finish; i'm interested to see how it ages
ok, from the same six pack, has been in the cellar for almost exactly 2 years

a: insanely beautiful; deep purple brown body with a 1/2-1/4 inch of tan-yellow foam that is thick and has great retention; eventually it fades leaving light traces f foam on the glass and a light coating of foam on top

s: mellow sweet abv; whiskey; light bitter tinge; grapes; warm

t: first sip abv is strong followed by a slow fading in of beautiful toffee and light chocolate flavors; abv slowy fades and rich toffee really fills the mouth with hints of piny hops in the back of the sip; buttery quality; quite good

m: smooth and creamy; mild carb

d: really good beer; at least as good as the two years ago taste and a little diffrent from what i remember
Excited to taste this beer after 6 years in the cellar:

A: beautiful cafe au lait head made up of tight distinct tiny bubbles, like fish roe, with a deep, lush brown/ruby body; some small columns of quickly moving bubbles; foam leaves beautiful lace on the glass and lasts for the duration

S: caramel, sweetness, light brandy in the back of nose, toffee, some brown sugar, light raisins

T: the taste has smoothed out immensely; almost no abv (a little bit at the back end); toffee, light hop twinge still present in the finish;

M: the mouthfeel has become basically perfect; light carb; buttery medium body; so smooth; maybe a teeny teeny bit of cloy, but I've never had a barley wine with no cloy at all

O: i already thought that this was a great beer, but the age has really mellowed out the flavor and made the abv disappear; great beer.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewing this on a second take, nearly a year after the first time I had it, for which I gave it a quick rating of 4.75 (11/26/2012). Definitely downgrading that.

It's certainly a beautiful beer in a snifter, clear motor-oil golden goodness, with a luxurious off-white head and serious legs sticking to the glass.

The aroma is a big disappointment, with esthery alcohol pretty much all I'm getting, and maybe a faint honey. The flavor in the mouth is not very complex, with a banana sweetness, bready malt, fruity alcohol, and a fig/prune sweetness. It's surprisingly low bitterness makes learning that this was dry hopped leaves me scratching my head. The awesome creamy mouth feel may be this brew's saving grace.

My wife likes it a lot, so I think I'll bump up the flavor points. Total score: 4.2
I'm nodding my head at my previous review and score (though I'm also lowering that score). The huge banana/fig/prune/honey sweetness is a bit much. It's my least favorite barley-wine flavor--cloying, sickeningly sweet. You also find it in Weyerbacher Insanity, Shipyard Double ESB, Lakefront Beer Line, North Coast Old Stock (the worst in this list), and Big Eddy Ryewine. If only it were balanced by some floral or citrus hop bitterness. There's also an undercurrent of leather that's slightly offputting.

In the aroma, there's a tart, fuming fusile alcohol that reminds one of Hendrick's gin.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clean, deep amber. Probably more of a dull brown really. Full 1.5 finger khaki head that hangs around for about a minute.

S- Caramel toasted malt and fruity esters. A little boozy. A little sweet. Pretty standard barleywine aroma with a solid presence.

T- Terrific balance. Doesn't have the age that I usually prefer on this style, but this one isn't hot or "green" tasting in the least bit. Sweetness forward and the piney hop presence lingers on the back end. Smooth

M- On the lighter side of the style by today's standards, but makes for easier drinkability as well. Not quite the sipper that others can be. Mid body bordering on full and just creamy enough to coat the tongue.

O- I wouldn't go so far as to say the flavors are bold, but effortless nature of this one is really impressive. Given that it's a bit lighter for the style, this is one that could pair well with scallops, duck, or game meats.

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Photo of samtrillo
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep Amber Hue. Head dissipated quickly.

S - Caramel, candied malt. Fruity pebbles.

T - Sweet fruity barley malt. Extension of the smell. Slight hit of hops at the end. Alcohol aftertaste mixed with lingering sugar is a bit unpleasant.

M - Medium to full bodied with a desirable amount of carbonation.

O - My second of this style and it seems to be an acquired taste but at least I can see why it'd be good. Can't wait to see what this is like aged but I guess I will. Until next year...

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Photo of safaricook
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very clear deep amber body with some coarse bubbles and a beige head that last rather long considering the style and high ABV.
Aroma is caramel malts, piney hops, a wood character, sugar candy, ester, idea of maple sirup.
Rather sweet caramel malt taste just kept in check by a hoppy bitterness, maple sirup, soja sauce.
Smooth carbonation, full body, warming alcohol.
Not my favorite style as it is too sweet for me most of the time, but this one is pretty drinkable. Good one for a late evening sipper.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Serving Type- On tap poured into a snifter glass

Appearance- Dark off redish color, a classic barley wine color almost a mahogany just a beautiful beer, not much of a head because its a barley wine, pretty solid alcohol legs on this beer just a awesome beer

Smell- Caramel, barley, sweet malts, some hint of hops, roasted sugar, just a great smelling barley wine

Taste- Caramel, barley, sweet malts, sticky mouthfeel, smooth finish on the palate like a good scotch, just a great finish on this barley wine one of my favorites in this style

Mouthfell- Pretty sticky mouthfeel because of the residual sugar in the barley wine, thick but goes down smooth, not much of an alcohol burn even though this beer is around 8%ABV

Overall- This is a very good barley wine but a little disjointed fresh it would do better in the bottle with some age on it but if you are able to try it on tap you should its a great barley wine...CHEERS

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Photo of whatthehull
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted July 21rst 2011 (from notes)

A - blood red, three finger off white head and some ok lacing

S - wine barrels, flowers, super sweet, lots of toasty malts, very sugary, earthy but sweet hops and there is a note that a I can't describe!

T - hoppy, cherries, wine barrels, vanilla, molasses, super sugary, flowers, toasted malts, soil, citrus and a nice bitterness

M - full bodied, nice complexity, well balanced, low acidity and long finish

D - great from finish to start, nice big sweet with a great floral, citrus hop finish. Not huge on this brewery, but this beer is awesome

Final thought - try this one! Great price at $2 a pop and 8.8 ABV, awesome beer!

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Some people in the US may laugh at the notion, but this beer has been one of my so-called "whales" for a long time. I had yet to find it in Canada, anywhere, and still have yet to see it in bottles. Alas, Beer Revolution here in Cowtown snagged a keg and I essentially teleported down there to sample a 12 oz. goblet. A unique brick red shading into brown hue that recalls autumn leaves (uh oh, finding this brew has brought out my whimsical artsy side ...), with some light tan bubbles draped over the matte bronze. Very hop forward aroma, with rich toffee, orchard fruit, cut flowers and pine resins intermingling but not clashing. Palate features licorice toffee, molasses, leather, candy apple, burnt pancakes, port wine, pine, and hazelnuts, with a lemon-lime hop garnish that becomes more perceptible as your palate habituates to the malts. Yeast esters galore and overall features a complex and robust yet refined flavor profile, less intense than many so-called American barley wines but still hoppy and vibrant. I get the English designation but the hops are American in my book. Less thick than many other barley wines, quite smooth on the mouth but finishes rather bitter, medicinal, and woody. Although allegedly this brew has changed over the years, it still tastes like a true classic to me. With any luck we'll get bottles in this province. I have to say, coming to craft beer at this relatively late stage in my life has made the whole ride quite fun ... Read about the iconic beers, wait for them to show up in this market, rejoice when they finally do ...

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Photo of ranger7
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.
Review from notes: February 7th, 2014.

A: Amber with off-white head which quickly disappears.

S: Citrus; lemon with slight hop aroma.

T: Somewhat bitter and boozy. It gets better as I drink.

M: Interesting. Slick and thick.

O: This is my first taste of this style. It's pretty interesting. The only negative with this brew is that it is expensive around here, around $3 a bottle.

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Photo of DamageCase76
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

App: Deep mahogany reddish brown with moderate lacing

Smell: Complex rich aromas of raisin, fig, dried fruit, roasted nuts and hints of vanilla and brown sugar.

Taste: sweet, full bodied, rich and complex flavours mirror the nose but add more depth, baked apples and spice come through.

Mouthfeel: full and rich, alcohol is noticeable but balanced by sweet malty and dried fruit characters.

Overall: Fantastic beer! Have this with a beauty of a blue cheese for dessert or all on its own and enjoy the changing complexity of the beer, with its long, ever changing finish that goes from nuts to dried fruit to baking spices.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Somewhat transparent red, with a brown head.

S: Sweet, citrus, cherry, orange in the nose.

T: Apple, cherry, plum, apricot, grape flavors. Delicious.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: Wow. This beer is underrated. It's by far my favorite beer from Anchor (that said, I have yet to try their barrel aged beer).

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Photo of Jim_Benz
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

After a vigorous pour in a snifter at cellar temp:

appearance: Almost two inches of cream-colored head, a dark amber body. Very clear, very pretty.

smell: At first sniff, indistinct hops and sweetness, but after a moment the sweetness swallows the hops and begins to reveal subtle notes of honey, biscuit, fig and apricot. Interesting.

taste: Sweet, practically begging for oxidation to bring out some sherry; very little bitterness to offset the sweetness but good all the same. Rich malt, bisquit, honey, apricot, a little dark fruit. Marachino cherry? Odd--the sweet cherry starts to dominate when I think of it.

mouthfeel: perfectly carbonated, a little sticky due to the overt sweetness, medium to thick.

overall: Could be better, especially with some oxidation. More bitterness would help too, but only if it accentuated the existing flavors which are promising. I'll have another bottle soon but then let it sit for a few months and try it again.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Single bottle picked up at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo, as part of a Christmas haul. Enjoyed on one of the coldest evenings so far this winter.

Poured into my Duvel tulip glass. Dark caramel-ruby, with a half inch of head that settles into a thick ring. A few flecks and streaks of lacing as well.

Nose is very malty and quite pleasant - bit of cherry, grape, oak and faint piney hops. Has that large malt and booze smell that is unmistakably 'barleywine'.

If you're like me, and you like your barleywines a bit on the sweeter, maltier side, this one is just the ticket. Sweetness is quite noticeable, but has a nice puckery hop finish to it that is quite refreshing and makes me want to come back for more. Same fruit, oak and mild pine notes to it as in the nose, as well as some English hopping.

Sticky, medium thickness, carbonation is mild but assertive enough. Very easy to sip.

Tasty barleywine, sweeter than most, which lets the malt get its full billing. Great evening sipper.

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Photo of Spikester
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown but looking through it against my computer screen it is ruby red. Nice two finger light tan head that sticks around to the half way mark Nice clumps of lacing.
Smell is big malty molasses with some cherries and plums.
Taste is similar very sweet with lots of plum and dark cherry flavors.
Mouthfeel is full close to chewy. Carbonation is adequete. Finish sticky sweet with just a hint of bitterness at the very end.
Very tasty desert beer wish they would bump up the hops a touch.

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Photo of sommersb
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted On: 12-29-2013
Freshness: Bottled 08-21-2013
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

This is a beer I've wanted to try for some time. We just recently started getting more of Anchor's offerings in Nashville, so I was delighted to pick some bottles up...

The beer pours with a reddish-brown color that is semi-clear. The off-white head starts out at about a head high, but fades pretty quickly (OK for a beer of this ABV). Lacing is good.

Aromas let you know this is a malt-dominated ale, with rich notes of dark fruits and some woodiness. The fruits that come to mind are raisins, dark cherries and figs.

The taste matches the nose well, with sweetness of caramel malts chiming in first and foremost. The thickness and richness make me think of molasses. There is an earthly bitterness of hops too, but this is of low strength. Full-bodied on the mouthfeel, the finish leaves you with more of the same as in the taste; woodiness, dark sweet fruit and caramels.

Overall I really like this barleywine. I think I prefer American versions with their higher hop levels than the English kind such as this, but this is an excellent brew and I'd have it again. I think it would be wonderful with a cigar or pipe, sipping slowly.

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Photo of soju6
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a nice ruby red color with a small tan head. Aroma of malt and barley, bit of citrus and fruity. There is just a hint of alcohol. Taste of Malt and Barley with some caramel sweetness, fruity with a bit of citrus. Mild bitterness and a clean finish. Has a moderate body, smooth with no real hint of the 8.8% ABV. Very well balanced. great sipper to kick back and relax with.

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Photo of FLima
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Due date Jan-15.
Dark amber color with one finger head with low retention.
Intense aroma of pine resin, caramels, toasted malts and spices. I was expecting more from its aroma.
Sweet fruity flavor with lots of red fruits, citrus hops, caramels, plums, apple juice, raisins, toasted malts, molasses, tangerine, cherries, rum, licorice and finishing with oak. You really have to stop looking for more fruity esters because they will keep coming. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Full body with appropriate carbonation. Slightly citric and sticky. Alcohol of 9.4% abv is relatively well hidden.
A sweet fruity Barley wine, very complex. Worth trying.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,050 ratings.