Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Old FoghornOld Foghorn
Very Good
2,011 Ratings
Old FoghornOld 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

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,011 |  Reviews: 1,077
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: minimal head on a amber burgandy clear body.

S: dark fruits, lots of wood especially oak and cedar, caramel malts, a touch boozy.

T: very sweet with candied dark fruits, rich caramel, toffee, and a lot of brown sugar. not very boozy at all

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Sweet with the booze well hidden. very easy to drink for the style.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled sometime in 2010.

Pours a dark semi-clear honey brown color with a 2 inch light brown head that fades to a thin cap. Nice distinct rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, apple peels, and malt. Taste is very, very sweet. Lots of brown sugar, toffee, caramel sweetness with some toasted malt and citrus zest hops flavors. Low hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. A pretty low level of carbonation with a sticky and thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good English barleywine. Just as the description on BA states, there is definitely less emphasis on the hops compared to American barleywines. A good balance between sweetness, malt, and hops. I have 2 more of these in my cellar and I am looking forward to how this beer develops over time.

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

definitely not my favorite barleywine, even of the English blood. this one is a little too sweet and fruity, more like a jammy desert than a beer, but it is still expertly crafted, I just personally don't care a whole lot for the flavor, especially compared to other anchor brews. a little haze to the deep amber bodied liquid. an inch of tan head dies in a minute or so, and a still, intimidating glass remains. aromatics of dried apples, fresh apples, and a certain nutty vibe, underneath English ale yeast. molasses notes on the flavor, with a whole truckload of grain, thick an sticky sweet. the apples are there too on the first half, and as I wait and wait for the dry hopping the label tells me to expect, it never comes. sweetness is never cut by hops, and the aftertaste is real odd as a result. the alcohol is hidden well enough, but this is a dense brew that demands persistence and patience. I like the carbonation, and I like the body, I just don't really care for the taste. well made though, and sturdy for anchor. fall would be its most appropriate season.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage bottle from the Farmhouse in Emmaus PA. dating back to sometime before 2005 because it was a 7.5oz bottle. Served at cellar room temperature. Very strong smell of booze and strong malts. The taste was really good still with some grainy malts and some hops still in there, the flavors changed into something more boozey now. A definite sipper, Had all the qualities of a good barley wine. Very complex and very warming. Felt like a was getting a fever after I had this one.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a nice mahogany color, decent head to it.. moderate lacing. Odd aroma to it... definitely get a huge whiff of chocolate (more than most chocolate stouts I've tried!) and some raisin/plum smells. First impression on the taste is the hotness of the alcohol.. wow this is like a mixed drink. Not saying I don't like it but this is like DFH 120 min. territory. A little on the thin bodied side, which is surprising. Lots of flavors going on.. mostly getting that chocolate though, which I just never expected to be getting from a barley wine, tastes a little out of balance to me too... just too much going on. Interesting to try, and it will definitely leave you pretty buzzed. I was expecting better to be honest though, I've had a lot better barley wines but this one gets points for being different I guess (this is in no way a hop bomb like SN.. reminds me more of Brooklyns Monster Ale).

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Photo of t0rin0
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had a number of different vintages of this over the past couple months. I am not overly impressed with this beer when its young but I've had the opportunity to sample some 8 and 10 year old versions that were very nice.

The beer is always hazy and brownish red no matter how old it is. The color is pretty cool as a lot more colors show up in the light but its kinda murky. The head is slightly orange colored and its creamy.

The smell is real sweet and fruity with a little hops showing up. Pretty enjoyable. Interestingly enough, the smell doesn't change much other than the hop smell disappears and the malt gets a little richer. Considering the age I would expect it to smell way different.

The flavor is decent all around when new but its nothing to write home about when compared to other barleywines. Its quite sweet and the bitterness is mellow. The description that comes to mind is "tart". There are definitely some crystal malts in there somewhere and possibly british malts as well. Not much hop flavor to note. When its aged the malt flavor changes drastically. Its rich and sweet and a nice sipping drink. If you have the patience to age one of these for 10 years, do it.

The body is heavy and consistent. Surprisingly smooth considering what it looks like.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that gradually died down and left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass along with some lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderately strong sweet aromas of dark fruits and toffee in the nose. Hints of alcohol also become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The beer has lots of malty sweetness, but isn’t that cloying because it is balanced off by a light amount of bitterness from the underlying hops. There are flavors of brandy and toffee along with hints of cherries.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a little syrupy on the palate and with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness and warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The beer is relatively easy to drink for the style because it is well balanced and the alcohol is mostly hidden from the taste.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, a distant straggler from last summer's tour of better grocery stores in the mountain parks of Big Sky Country. Now, a fitting tipple before heading out for an opulent NYE dinner.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves a solid low horizon paint job of lace around the glass as things start to get busy.

It smells strongly of caramel/toffee malt, besotted plump raisins, earthy yeast, musty prune and fig, and herbal, well-perfumed hops. The taste is a moderately sweet caramel malt, bready toffee, mildly sour dark fruit - cherry being the most prevalent, with a lesser amount of underripe plum, bruised apple, and more exotic date - some bitter pine and citrus hop notes, and generally soft wood grain alcohol.

The carbonation is more or less AWOL, beyond a timid, low-fi frothiness, the body a heady medium, yet not quite full weight, and pleasantly filling with its airy creaminess. It finishes on an alcohol-tinted toffee candy bender.

A generally agreeable old-new-world barleywine, the hops betraying its west coast origins, despite the English style aspirations. Not particularly complex, and drinkable only until that inevitable barrier is crossed - I have to assume, as I only have the single serving.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable Barleywine that doesn't offend. More of an English style than American. Odd prune juice-like or rust color with mild carbonation and dainty head that traded thickness for lacing and legging. Aromas of over-rippened fruits and thick malt syrup. Sweet alcoholic notes float closely behind the molassas and brown sugar flavors. Smooth, less than thick, body sifts through the mouth effortlessly and silky. Finish reveals mild sweetness, fruitiness, and alcohol. Slight detections of cardboard and metal (ut oh) --Signs of oxidation. I may have gotten a bad bottle or an over-matured release. I need to check the bottle for date. Otherwise a very good beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I just chanced across a 2005 vintage at my local bottle store for $2.99 USD and snapped it up. Date code: "5J7" (2005 January 27th). Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I have a great respect for Anchor Brewing. I love Anchor's bottles and the label art here is no exception. Then again, it's rare I enjoy a beer that's been aged more than 5 years. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded classy twist-off pressure cap served into a Glenmorangie whisky tumbler glass. Reviewed at low altitude in Austin, Texas.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with a little extra vigor as carbonation issues are anticipated given its age.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger khaki colour headd of above average thickness. Recedes to a ring within 20 seconds, but the ring is strong and thick and holds for an additional 3 minutes - not too shabby for a beer with nearly 9 years on it. Good consistency and complexion.

Body colour is rich and dark; a very dark auburn or copper perhaps. Quasitranslucent if you count the reflection lighting on the bottom of the glass. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty standard for the style and quite good for its age. It's impressive it's held up this well; if I didn't know in advance it wasn't fresh I doubt I'd suspect anything based on the appearance alone.

Sm: The powerful aromatics were the first thing I noticed upon opening. The aroma fills the room - wonderfully rich toffee and caramel notes, plentiful residual sugars, and an indistinct fruitiness. When I bring the glass a bit closer, I pick up faint traces of the beginnings of oxidation - a hint of cardboard and a dab of stale malts. Somewhat tannic. A kiss of port wine. There's still plenty of sweetness too - I get a lot of English brown malt and biscuit malt. Toasty character. Faded brown sugar. Any hop profile has melded into the malts. The fruit is half exquisite, half muted. Faint cherries, grape, and hints of stonefruit. Sticky rum. Sugarcane. Bread crust and bready malts.

No yeast character is detectable. Some alcohol warmth is noticeable.

It's a good aroma for a barleywine, but I fear oxidation may hold it back. I also suspect the balance has fallen apart a bit. It seems a bit off-peak, but I'll find out once I taste it. Certainly English in character.

A rich aroma of deceptively high strength.

T: Oxidation has definitely begun, but it hasn't deteriorated all that much - especially compared to other barleywines I've had at or around this age (see my reviews for Sierra Nevada Bigfoot). It has come apart a bit, but it's still fairly approachable for an aged barleywine. Faint hints of wet cardboard and stale malts are present throughout.

It's got a syrupy brown malt body with lots of sweet English biscuit malt. Toffee and caramel are strong here. Bready malts. Crust. Vague fruit - stonefruit, depleted cherry, over-fermented plum skin. Some light sugarcane/rum notes. A bit of marshmallow. Molasses. Raisin. Brandy notes.

No (dead) yeast character or hop character comes through. Alcohol is noticeable but not distracting.

No, the balance isn't ideal. It's a bit past-peak, but still enjoyable. Not cloying, but too sweet. Good depth of flavour. Above average duration and intensity of flavour. Once this warms up a bit, its nuance really emerges. Nice complexity and some pretty good subtlety. A cohesive build, but not a gestalt one.

Mf: The mouthfeel of an aged barleywine can ruin it. Luckily, this isn't too syrupy, dry, stale, rough, or astringent. It is a bit too thick, and is slightly rubbery on the backend. Good carbonation - especially for its age. Thank God it's not flat. A bit dry to style. Good smoothness/coarseness. Has some alcohol warmth. It's done well with time.

Not oily, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: I stand by my general rule of not aging a beer more than 5 years, but this was a nice treat for the night. I won't go back to the store for the 3 or 4 other bottles they have at $2.99, but I'm glad I tried this once. I'd like to try it fresh, and I do think I'd like it better fresh. I'm not sure what that says about aging it. In any case, I definitely prefer it to Bigfoot and I'd like to try it with less than 5 years on it - ideally 3. Anchor's brought out an interesting barleywine with a build that is now seemingly the standard. Definitely a heavy brew to bring out during the cold winter months. This sipper will take some time for me to take down alone. I certainly wouldn't want a second in the same night (or even the same week) - it's an acquired taste. Barleywine newcomers should look elsewhere for an introduction to the style.

Serve chilled and let warm.

The soaky rum was a standout note for me, and the marshmallow was a pleasant surprise.

Drinks quite well from a whisky tumbler.

High C+ cold. Low B- at room temperature.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an amber hue with a bubbly, off-white, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and had subtle notes of spice.

T - It tasted very spicy and had a good biscuity-malt flavor.

M - It was soft and smooth. A slightly warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good barley wine. It is not overpowering at all.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 3/27/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep reddish copper color with a nice 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasted brown bread, light molasses, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasted brown bread, light molasses, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, fig, apricot, apple, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasted brown bread, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and slightly slick/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent English barleywine! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of brentk56
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut color with some garnet highlights; I was able to create a thick tan head that retained well and left a nice pattern of lace

Smell: Caramel and butterscotch with a vague hint of dried cherry and raisins

Taste: Starts out very malty and alcoholic; caramel and rum-soaked cherry/raisin flavors dominate and are met by a vaguely hoppy build-up in the finish

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied and syrupy; low levels of carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice sipper, particularly on a chilly night; too bad it was 95 degrees today!

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Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,011 ratings