Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Old FoghornOld Foghorn
Very Good
2,015 Ratings
Old FoghornOld Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Foghorn® is brewed based on historic English barleywine methods. It is highly hopped, fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast, carbonated by a natural process called "bunging" to produce champagne-like bubbles, and dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars. Made only from “first wort,” the rich first runnings of an all-malt mash, three mashes are required to produce just one barleywine brew.

ABV varies slightly over the years.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,015 |  Reviews: 1,077
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Sunset Grill in Allston, MA.

A murky deep dark brown with ruby edges ... little to no head.

Esters and a big alcohol nose. Grape, herbal and a bit spicy with some backing soft malts in the aroma.

Smooth, mature and extremely mellow -- medium bodied, and a bit thin for a Barleywine. Big malt flavours, grape, raisin and plenty of complex esters. Nice dose of spicy alcohol and mingling hops.Thin caramel and chocolate -- a bit buttery. Light oxidation in the finish leaves a cardboard/wet paper flavour on the palate.

The 2001 on tap seems to be holding up somewhat. I definately enjoyed this beer, but I recommend letting it warm to near room temperature in order to release more flavours.

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

Presentation: Tiny 7oz brown bottle with a coded freshness date on the back label that denotes it was brewed on December 27, 2001.

Appearance: Two fingered frothy beige lace over a tarnished and hazed amber hue.

Smell: Smells of ginger snap cookies, ripe plums and a touch of grain as well as a hint of alcohol and faint buttery diacetyl on the nose.

Taste: Lovingly crisp and smooth on the tongue with a moderate carbonation and thick body. Mellow hops throw an ample bitterness into the mix, maltiness wants to be dominant but is not strong enough to hold the crown. Soft citric flavours and a bit of hop flavour show the only liveliness. The best of the malt is a caramel and shortbread like flavour that fades too quickly. Touch of buttery diacetyl is present, maltiness seems bit thin from middle to end. Vague fruitiness confuses the taste buds. Finishes pretty clean and quite dry.

Notes: What happened to Old Foghorn? Tastes refined, over-filtered and drawn back. This is by far a good beer but does not seem to be what it was years past. Worth a try though nothing spectacular. As for cellaring this brew? Not sure if this vintage would bring any good.

1996 Vintage:

Presentation: 7 oz. bottle with a coded freshness date (6LR) which the brewery informed us that it was a 96'. Noted on the label ... "Our barleywine style ale, the first of its kind in the United States ..."

Appearance: Deep red ... very bright with a tight and really creamy light tan lace.

Smell: Mild rum like aromas with malt, light molasses and a raisin like sweetness. Very fruity with a heaping handful of alcoholic esters.

Taste: Nice fat chewy malt upfront with a light crispness in this full bodied brew. Good amount of hop bitterness and sweet/spicy alcohol that gives a sharp bite though the strong malt backbone holds its own very well. Hints of molasses and chocolate mingle with the other flavours. Mellow hop flavour and a husk / bread malt flavour finish this brew off though there is the slightest ghost like wet paper flavour which actualy adds to this brews greatness.

Notes: A sample with age that is for sure, a little loss taken with the hop character both in aroma and flavour. Yet the aging has seemed to put a bit more depth back in. Sip this with after dinner or even with a cigar. A sure thing either way as far as barleywines go. If you are into aged barleywine and don't mind spending the $2.99 then this is for you. Just shy of 9.0% abv.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MartyMaltose
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage, 12 oz bottle. My original entry into the limited but heavenly world of barleywines, about 20 years ago. I had been a little disappointed with the past couple of years but this year's seems back as good as ever. Sweet, malty, syrupy, raisins, esters, dates, blah blah. Now let's get useful: compared to Bigfoot? Much more syrupy, less hoppy. Old Stock Ale? 25% denser, less bite. When you buy it, do you get a sissy 4-pack? No. You get a full 6-pack. Should you buy it? If you "get" barleywines, yes. You'll like it, maybe love it. If you've never had a dark English, German dopplebock, or a sweet, dark Belgian, don't waste your money. It's best left on the shelf for me to buy later...I would appreciate being able to buy this year-round.

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Photo of Jeffrey84
4.84/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not sure if it was the 14 years this beer was cellared or if this is just the best barley wine I've ever had. This beer had zero hop presence and had the sweetest rasen,cherry, and apple flavors. I must get more to cellar for years.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a stone glass.Smell is pairs plums apples.Taste is apple`s & Pairs.I like this.It has a really good tasted to it plus the fact that it`s got a pretty good kick to.ABV9.4.I would buy this again.Give it a try.

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Photo of Shanex
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A pretty rare beer in Europe so I guess I was just lucky to put my hand on this one, pretty tasty and a good barley wine. . Worth a try especially with the warming weather.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter in the bath.

It has a beautiful golden-mango glow to start, with 1 finger of steady head, sticking around for quite some time. As it settles in the head becomes moss and the body turns to a crumpled raisin color. Impressive display. 70% opaque.

Smell is gigantic. This is a huge beer. Waves of alcohol-soaked citrus - orange, lime, lemon rind; heavy raisin. With agitation, a sublime freshly cut pineapple note just takes over everything. Wow.

Flavor starts off with a stinging snake bite of alcohol burn, but tapers off quickly to a total tropical assault : dried mangoes, papaya, guava, pineapple; fading into a dry hopped utopia with dark malts and bright fruits.

The feel is heavy, thick without being sappy, and provides ample carbonation to keep the boat afloat. Finish is dry, dry, dry.

Old Foghorn isn't a beer you just drink; it's a beer you sip and philosophize over. This is one deep, humongous, cavernous beer.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle dated from 11/2014 served in a tulip glass. Already six months old per the bottling date. They say that this beer is kept in their cellars till it is ready. Who knows how long that is.

Appearance: deep ruddy brown with a yellowy tan head and wonderful clarity.

Nose: fruity sweetness, prunes, candy shop caramel

Taste: fresh and fruity, candied apples, pears, beautiful mouthfeel but a bit on the thin side to support extended cellaring. Carbonation enough to lift the flavors off your tongue and to the back of your throat.

Overall: I have been looking for this beer for a while since I got into barleywines. It was a bit pricy: $19 for a six pack. I'm still glad I tried it and that it comes in enough quantity to allow for some aging experiments. See you in a few months.

Bottle from the same pack as listed above cellared in my basement. Nothing too huge to note in the change. I believe it has thinned out a bit and taken on some sherry and port oxidation notes but nothing that would detract from the overall experience. I don't think this beer has the ABV to last for years in the cellar but at least 2-3 would help it develop more of those micro oxidation flavors English Barleywines are famous for. Rating remains unchanged.

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Photo of oberon
4.09/5  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?

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Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Clear, orangish-brown body that produced a big head that left quickly, which is very typical of the style.

Smell – This one has the sweet, malty, alcoholic aroma of a good barley wine. There’s also some hop bitterness there for balance, but mostly the smell announces a sugary substance.

Taste – Yes, there’s a big sweetness from this one. The malt is present but clearly in the background. The main thrust of this brew is the sweetness, predominantly alcoholic molasses and brown sugar. There are some dark fruits as well; mostly bloody peaches and plums doused in table sugar, but the molasses and brown sugar are the strongest. Lastly, there’s a slight floral hop balance to round this one out.

Mouthfeel – This one is flat and smooth and full-bodied.

Drinkability – This is a great sipping beer. I had this with a charbroiled tenderloin, and it was heaven.

Update – This is one of the first ales that I rated after joining the site in 2003, so I thought it would be fun to re-rate it with a 2004 vintage. I “ditto” the review from over a year ago. It isn’t as hoppy as some American BWs but goes down quite well.

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Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a rich mahogany into a medium wine glass. Looks ruby-brownish when held to light. Its thin, 1-finger head dissipates quickly. A thin, sticky lacing clings to the glass as the beer goes down my gullet.

S: Caramel-toffee with a big, roasty malt aroma. Also some black currant, anise, and definitely some brown sugar and cinnamon hints. A very sweet, almost port-like aroma.

T: Sweet barley malarmey! Rich malt sweetness dominates this brew. A very liqueur- like quality with heavy brown sugar accents are present. Definitely a dessert-style sipper. Fruit flavors include raisin and fig. I would really appreciate a little more hop bitterness to balance out the huge malt presence, but the lack of hop flavor certainly doesn't ruin the taste. Just a little booziness is detectable near the end of a sip. Medium carbonation.

M: I really enjoy the feel of this beer. It is really creamy with a medium-heavy sweetness that coats the entire palate. Sticky-icky (in a good way).

D: The sweetness of it leads me to not give it a great rating... I really enjoyed about the first 2/3 of the brew, but the last 1/3 was just a little too sweet and sticky. One and done for me, thank you, and I'll probably enjoy another in a couple of months or so.

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Photo of MadScientist
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber, fluffy off-white head.

S- Classic robust barleywine aroma. Spicy, fruity hops, pine, toffee, doughy, with an alcohol presense.

T- This was a let down for me after the great nose. It kind of fell flat. The hops almost disappeared. Malty caramel, banana, raisin fading to a warm alcohol feel.

M- Medium bodied with light, soft carbonation. Needs more body but it still works for the most part.

D- Well made beer,easy drinking, but I kind of lose my interest after one.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2013 vintage reviewed December 2017.

Aroma - syrupy sweet malt, insanely rich. Plum flesh ester is medium high, low creamy vanilla character, very faint herbal hop, slight hint of paper, not very complex but quite inviting.

Flavor - Fairly refined sherry character dominates, thin molasses malt character is medium high and allows just a touch of herbal\ blackcurrant hop to show through before a papery finish. A little solvent alcohol is discernible but very slight on the palate.

MF - medium-full, pleasantly grippy but undercut by oiliness from alcohol, and general thin oxidized character.

Overall- O2 was not very kind to this 4-5 year old beer and the alcohol still needles it slightly. Overall pretty pleasant to drink but not a memorable aged strong ale.

APP - deep ruby beer with slight haze and a low tan head the persists. Thick legs.

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Photo of kaimcm
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ldennis
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of joemetric
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of sdsimkins
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Dmann
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this was a great barleywine. I had this on tap at the San Diego Brewing Co. tonight and it was great! The first thing I noticed was the great smell of spices, plum and a slight scent of alchohol. The taste had a good portion of maltiness with a good balance of hoppiness and a good spice/plum flavor. This was a great beer on tap and much better than out of the bottle.

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Photo of BJ1833
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of skybluewater
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely deep cherry color. No head, no lace (although I believe that's normal for this style...). Smell is quite nice, with a bit of raisin and cherry poking through. I really like the taste. There's a little raisin, a little cherry, with a nice maltiness (with a bit of caramel) and some hops. The mouthfeel is pretty full, although it gets a little weaker as the beer warms.

This is only my second barleywine, but I'm really developing a liking for this style (along with old and strong ales). This is a nice little beer (that comes in a cute little bottle) to sip on a bitterly cold winter's eve. (Although 7 ounces isn't enough...)

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Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,015 ratings