Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,055 Reviews
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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: English 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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Reviews: 1,055 | Ratings: 1,966
Photo of JEdmund
2.28/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ruby red to tobacco brown; 1/2" head; dissipates quickly! decent level of carbonation

Raisin/candied fruit sweetness; more sugary sweet than hoppy and malty

Taste & Mouth Feel
Sweet! Followed by more sweet. Noticeable alcohol burn; pretty thin body; lightest mouth feel I've ever experienced with a barley wine; pretty pronounced cherry flavor, a bit of chocolate, and not enough hops for my liking (needs more to provide balance); gets way too sweet to be enjoyable

Just not impressed with this one--way too sweet for me, like artificial sweetener. Not enough hops and cookie malts to make this my kind of barley wine; it's also way too thin and lacks back palate flavor. It was a chore to drink, and I bailed a third of the way through, dumping the rest.

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Photo of joecast
2.39/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

date code 7AB so this is a pretty fresh example.

poured into a glass that was just washed so may have been a bit wet. the beer poured with no head to speak of, but i wont mark it too harshly as it may have been my own fault. deep ruby/copper color, very little carbonation. it is a damn attractive color though.

swirling the beer to help the aroma. damn that is one sweet smelling beer. a whiff of alcohol and caramel or peanut brittle or toffee (something like that anyway). the neck label mentions dry hopping so there might be some floral hops in there, but they are hard to pick up.

taste is a bit less over powered by sweetness, but still not so good. surprised by the lack of bitterness, sweetness, and alcohol. only noticing some alcohol hints now because im drinking it so slow.

well, could be two things. its a bad bottle, or its way too young. its a big beer so im sure some age wouldnt hurt it. hopefully the bigfoot in the fridge is a bit older...

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Photo of kernalklink
2.43/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I was excited about finding this brew, i knew anchor had some good beer out there in CA. The barleywine poured a off color brown, with some fizzy head, and aromas of medicinal alcohols and candied malts. Flavors were less than impressive- odd earthy malts, with an oily, burning ,syrupy, pharmaceutical essence. A few sips of this carbonated used bubble gum water and i was done. I love barleywines- they need to be balanced, have a pleasing flavor and hide their ABV with tongue pleasing ferocity. this brew misses the mark- try a weyerbacher and sleep well instead.

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Photo of germaniac
2.48/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy red-brown. Maybe the darkest BW I've had.

Smells all come across faintly, without much zest. Some sweet malt and tangy hops. Maybe a bit of cinnamon. Pretty unexciting, so far.

The taste doesn't do much for me. More alcohol burn than anything.
The astringency covers up all but a smidgen of malt. The barely there sweetness comes across as almost artificial tasting, though. Like it was originally a recipe for Lipton sweet tea. Don't think another visit to this beer is in the cards for me.

Anchor pretty much screwed the pooch on this one, I think.

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Photo of schusterbauer
2.51/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

deep and surprisingly red, with just about no head. if there were an "n/a" option for smell, i would choose that. it smells like water. initial flavor is overly sweet bottled iced tea, with some malts, caramel, and sugar coming as an afterthought. metallic and medicinal flavors also are present. robitussin. body is timid and limp. i guess it's drinkable enough, because it's not unpleasant, but it's just not really good, in any sense of the word.

am i missing something here? i definitely won't be finishing the six pack any time soon, so i guess i'll get to see what some age does to it.

this makes me think of the difference between orange soda, and orange drink. maybe this is barley wine drink, not barley wine ale.

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Photo of granger10
2.55/5  rDev -34.9%
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.

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Photo of Crosling
2.55/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark orange leather in color with a head that was doomed from the beginning. Harshly alcoholic nose, yet it does have some appealing qualities, especially its caramel malty sweetness along with hints of red licorice, pancake batter, pit fruit, grapes and citrus fruits. The flavor is malt accented, light bodied and again, harshly alcoholic. I understand the rich history and tradition of this beer, but I have had it several times on draught and in the stubbie little bottles and it just plain sucks. They should consider changing the recipe.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.56/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed a newer vintage that from their website i deciphered as March 11 2003. I'm not sure if this is the brewdate or the date of bottling. Sampled in a snifter type glass for increased aroma. Strong alcohol aroma with a lot of fruity esters. Color of ruby red with a brownish tint. Sweet smell with no bitterness detectable. Very strong alcohol taste up front with sweetness and a complex hop flavor in the finish. Clean finish. For a barley wine it is kind of mild in terms of flavor and the body is light as well.

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Photo of charlesw
2.62/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Beautiful deep amber, medium head of dark tan. Very tight bubbles. Unfortunately, they're gone very soon with no lacing at all.

Smells deep, rich, bitter. Like a BW, you know? Caramel malts, dry leaves...

Tastes. Sigh. Oh well. Tastes like a blend of EKU 28 and something bitter. Very weird. Sweet and thick caramel. Not lightly caramel and heavy on the malt like, say, Old Ruffian or Smutty BW. No, sweet caramel like EKU 28. And very little hop flavor or bitterness. I mean, whoa. I'll have to try this one again some other time, but to me it tastes like under-attenuated extract homebrew. Man, I hope it's just this bottle!

Great, thick mouth. That would make sense from the under-attenuated extract brew point of view, of course.

I can't finish the bottle. I can't even finish my 15cl glass.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
2.65/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Deep copper in color with a very small off-white head. No lacing left behind, though it does cling to the glass a bit with a little swirl.

S - Caramel, alcohol, a subtle sourness, and a small amount of grapefruit.

T - The alcohol tastes a bit subdued compared to the nose. Tastes of caramel malt and citrus are about all I get from this with a mild alcohol taste in the finish. By the end of the glass I found the sweetness to be a bit cloying.

M - Fairly thin compared to others of the style.

D - While lacking in complexity when compare to other beers in the style, I still found this to be fairly enjoyable, but I probably won't purchase this again.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
2.67/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Just a bad experience all around. I ended up dumping out this beer 1/2 way in. Served at cellar temp.

A - Standard for the style, copperish brown in color, no head or lacing to speak of. Not impressed.

S - Typical Anchor profile smell along with lots of caramel and smells almost syrupy. Smells bigger than 8.8%

T - Little to no carbonation to speak of, lots of syrupy caramel malts and notes of fig and rotten plums but faint. A bit too sweet and off putting

M - Syrupy period.

D - Not bad if you like the flavor profile and a syrup consistency.

Bar far the worst barleywine I've had.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
2.69/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Left a beige one finger head that subsided into surface skim that lingered, leaving no lacing. Color was red-brown copper.

Aroma - diacetyl, and more diacetyl. Hint of lemony hops. Hint of bready malt. Some ester.

Taste - dark dried fruit, apple juice, diacetyl. Some alcohol warmth.
Finishes with aftertaste of sweet bread.

Mouthfeel - full, a little chewy, smooth.

Drinkability - goes down easy, but the diacetyl ruins this for me. Will avoid this.

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Photo of Bobikel
2.74/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This comes to me at an "extra premium" charge of $15.99 a sixer. Hope its worth it.

Appearance - Pours a clear coppery - red with a small tan head that recedes into a thin ring in about the same manner as a can of coke would. Lacing is a little below average.

Smell - Strong yeastyness dominates the nose. Very bready. Some very mild pine and citrus hops linger in the background.

Taste - Malt dominates with a little spicy bitter character that clasps around the tongue. Slightly cloying after the swallow. Alchohol heat is very present, even more so than in some of the most extreme beers I've tried, and at "only" %8.8, I have to wonder if that means fusels...

Mouthfeel - Very thick and slick, with probably what would have been a traditional amount of carbonation. ie. lightly carbed.

Overall - drinkability suffers a little in this one due to the mouthfeel, I could see this to be a good example of what barleywines used to be 100-200 years ago, but beyond that, it's just to goddamn expensive for me to ever justify buying again.

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Photo of Overlord
2.75/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Considering how much I've enjoyed other Anchor products, I have to chalk this up as a disappointment.

Overly sweet, huge malt flavoring, and that's about it. Not a lot of fruit, no real texture to speak of: just sickly sweet alcoholic liquid. I didn't enjoy finishing it.

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Photo of billysj
2.8/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle purchased at Bevmo.

Pours as a thick amber color with no head.

Smells of sweet malt and caramel.

The taste starts out as a chocolate flavor with little hoppiness after taste.

Mouthfeel is syrupy with little carbonation

I would drink this one again but wasn't impressed

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Photo of theghost3
2.82/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is cloudy, light brown with just a rim of beige head. It smells very malty and fruity. The taste is almost sickeningly sweet with a distinct brandy flavor. There is an aftertaste that will stay with you for a long time. Mouthfeel is thick with very little acidity. This beer is not that drinkable because of its sweetness & the aftertaste is so prevalent.

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Photo of AlexLMS
2.82/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Old Foghorn poured with a deep amber colour. It was slightly hazy but with no floating sediments. The head was tan, frothy and low with poor retention.
The nose was a mixture of alcoholic vinous and honey.
The taste was very sweet (almost cloying) and the alcohol was the dominant feature in the palate. Besides the alcohol I got honey, sweet malts and some biscuit notes.
The mouthfeel was unctuous with a low carbonation level and a full body. The finish started sweet and warming but in the end it assumed a more bitter feeling.

Overall Old Foghorn is dominated by its strong alcoholic character. It was my first Barley Wine but unfortunately I was not impressed. Not my stuff.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

AROMA:Lemon, but very faint. Some Grains.
LOOK: Dark Copper. No head.
TASTE: Cherry, blueberry, wheat, some interesting things going on that I did not sense in the aroma
FEEL: Thin Body, and a little flat.

Not bad, but not something I'll go out seeking.

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Photo of cyrenaica
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
9.4% ABV

I tried this beer on June 6, 2008 at "The Beer Bistro" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer poured a murky brown colour with a thin white head. The aroma was sweet malt, caramel, rum, and alcohol. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour was sickingly sweet with the alcohol very prevalent. There was some malty and caramel hints as well.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick white head. Aroma of sweet caramel malts, sweet potato, molassess, cinnamon, and allspice. Flavor is very similar to the aroma but perhaps not as sweet. Lots of caramel malt and sweet potato. Complex but not really that good. Also quite hard to drink. Meh.

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Photo of dedalus
2.86/5  rDev -27%
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.



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Photo of nandemo1
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy caramel with an off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Smells malty, fruity and floral. Taste is also quite fruity and sweet, very much like cough medicine. Not a fan.

Medium bodied with little carbonation.

A fan of barleywines, this is just too over the top sweet and medicinal for me.

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Photo of heath1agnew
2.9/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

appearance- had a darker brown appearance with a shade of purple. a one finger head with a little bit of lacing.

smell- smelled extremely sweet with alcohol fumes.

taste- it was really a bit to sweet to me, and had a rough bitter finish with alcohol at the end.

mouthfeel- i would say the mouthfeel was fairly heavy with a bit of a rough feel.

drinkability- it was a bit hard to finish this beer due to the sweetness and harsh alcohol finish.

i have discovered this is probably not my favorite style.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark, rusty red-brown colour, with only a slight film around the top of the glass. No lacing, but the body looks thick and heavy. Some large bubbled carbonation which pours surprisingly quickly up the insides of the glass. Not bad overall.

Light tannic bitter aromatics on the nose, with a bit of leather and grainy whiskey. Little sweetness, the black-tea tannic notes are the most prominent. Smells rather darker than it actually is.

Taste is redolent with booze notes, especially when aerated. Big clunking notes of dark liquor, aniseed, and acetone with a tingling feel that can't entirely be put down to the carbonation. Rather bitter in a clinging, chemical way. Unfortunately, all the notes are confronting and harsh, with little to leaven or balance the palate.

It's a big and boisterous beer this one, but it feels too much so - there's nothing lively or jubilant about it. It ends up sitting heavy, serious and rather depressingly unenjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
2.96/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Maybe this was a classic years ago, but it seems undrinkable without Sir Thomas More warming it up with a hot poker. Strong, peculiar smell. Musty, camphor, burnt butter. Nice copper color with a long-lasting low foam. Some bubbles and plenty of carbonation in the mouth.

There is a funny oxidized taste, like cheap sweet vermouth. The odd fruitiness is raisins and something else. Now I remember-- dried jujube fruit. This would put me off Barleywines if I thought this was a new trend. I can only think of a Chinese medicinal wine I regret tasting.

Tastes so alcoholic you'd think it was stronger. The bottle seems OK, this must be the way they like it. Maybe the monk who copied this recipe onto vellum made a mistake somewhere. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bottleworks in San Diego.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,966 ratings.
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