Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn
Very Good
2,008 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,008 |  Reviews: 1,075
Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Tops in a small tasting snifter.

Deep, clear crimson-orange, like ruby-red grapefruit. It's topped with a delicious, pillowy, creamy whitish-orange head about a finger in thickness that billows over the rim of the glass. It recedes slowly, leaving behind a medium ring but no lace.

In the nose: dried apples, white raisins, floral and earthy hops, elderflower, ethanol. It's sweet and liquor-like.

The taste follows from the aroma. It's rather sweet and old ale-like in character, imparting flavors of bread pudding with rum. There are naturally a lot of overlap between the barleywine and old ale styles, and this one definitely toes the line. It becomes tangy and almost acidic as the flavor opens in the mouth, transitioning for red apples to green. Slightly drying finish.

Moderately prickly carbonation hits the tongue and makes the beer rather fizzy as it moves about. Some alcohol heat can be picked up on the tongue, and in a lighter form in the nose. Medium body.

Fairly alcoholic yet flavorful; a little heavy yet matched with nice complexity. Foghorn is a nice English barleywine, and was even better when enjoyed with some sweet Thai Basil.

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Photo of beeragent
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a hazy medium brown, forming a thin white head that faded quickly.

S - Strong malt aroma with brown sugar and caramel. Noticeable but not overpowering alcohol aroma. Smells like an alcoholic butterscotch candy!!

T - Smooth malty goodness coats the palate! Caramel, toffee, and a hint of dark fruit. The hops are mixed throughout but take a backseat to the malts. Very sweet but not overpowering.

M - Thick body but still very smooth. Low carbonation.

D - Its been years since I had one of these, and I must say this tastes way better than I remember. Amazing full delicious flavor. The only drawback, and I know its a barleywine, is the high alcohol. I could easily enjoy a few of these at a time.

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

From a 2009 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Red tinged copper with a light haze. A small yet dense cream cap falls quickly to a patchwork film. Leaves no lace.

S: Toffee, caramel and leather dominate. Black tea and earth balance the sweeter aromas. Alcohol adds a light tingle.

T: Bittersweet toffee and brown sugar hit first. Bitterness is light and adds flavors of pepper, tea and anise. Alcohol aids the bitterness and brings a nice warmth to the system. Finishes warm, with lingering toffee flavors.

M: The medium-heavy body is syrupy and has a bit too much carbonation.

D: This beer is a nice accompaniment to a frigid evening. I'm glad I held onto it.

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Photo of patreely12
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - first pours a bright orange, then settles down to a deep amber color. about an inch of quickly dissolving head. minor carbonation visible. no lacing.

S - the strong barley is the first thing that hits my nose. the yeast is very strong as well. there is also the presence of some sweet, fruity esters and a little bit of the malt.

T/M - the fruitiness of the esters and the bitterness of the hops are the two most prominent flavors, and they balance out nicely. the malted barley and yeast also have their moment. the complexity of all these flavors is crazy, it's almost too much. sweet, sour, salty, bitter, are all present. light to medium bodied. some mild carbonation. finishes with a slight bitter aftertaste.

D - a relaxing brew. I couldn't see myself drinking more than one of these at a time. though it does have a lot of flavor, I think that it's too much for my taste buds to handle. a very well crafted beer.

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

From notes. Clear, active, deep amber, thin tan head falls fast, and leaves only spotty lacing. Quite attractive.

With a swirl I get caramel malty notes and zesty lemony hops, with a bit of booze. Without a swirl, and after some warming, boozy esters are stronger, and I find some hints of dark fruit.

Smooth and well balanced. Caramel malty sweet with fruity and floral hop flavors are the foundation, with some mild hop bitterness on top.

Well carbonated , modest alcohol warming, medium/full body, and medium viscosity before the drying finish that is faintly bitter.

Wicked smooth and way to easy to drink for a beer of this size. Extremely well balanced.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.56/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(snifter pour, relatively recent bottling)

Tiny head - poofs out quick, low retention/collar lingers (seems as though it's either this OR big-head/darker-hue with others..."American" versions?) The color on this one is amber w/ moderately deep brown/red highlights - blandish, no glow, and (a bit of) a chill haze throughout?!

Mmm, smelly! (mini freight train to the nostrils) Deep malty/fruity, rich - moderate, earthy piney hop aroma (very west coast), but not overly so. Sugar cookie/biscuit malt profile and brown sugar. Tiny bit of booze pokes out as it warms.

Tastes sublime! Huge vinous fruity esters, warm liquor - a touch of burn at the end, and noticeable hop bitterness. English biscuit malt flavor shows light, late, finishing not too sweet. It's cool though, it's certainly identifiable as an Anchor beer!

Now, feel: moderate cough syrup viscosity, clean finish, super smooth - almost perfection. Wanting a little fuller of a body maybe, however, it's closer to an English example - which is great. Suits it (Anchor, and this ale) well.

I gotta say, a hair better than SN Bigfoot. Enjoyed this each time I've had it. Definitely want another one right after. Nothing here flavor or feel that's a turn-off. Well-balanced, not boastful.

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Photo of PurpleCloud
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber with a tan, foamy head.

S: Sweet hops with limited barley nose. Pleasant.

T: Hoppy and sweet with a bit of a copper aftertaste. The sweetness is distinct and reminds me of wort before adding hops. It feels light but has a big, thick taste. Seems very complex.

M: Despite the hops, it is surprisingly smooth.

D: Goes down well.

Overall: Thanks to Wisrarebeer, this is my first Barleywine. Old Foghorn has a distinct, malty, sweet hops taste. It appears light and feels light on the palate, but the taste is heavy and complex and overall, quite nice. Glad I got the chance to try this one!

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug. Poured a clear orange/copper color with a thin off white head that disappeared quickly to just a film. There was a good strong sweet aroma with a hint of orange. There was a silky, thick texture with a bold alcohol feel initially. A creamy sweetness of caramel, molasses and raisins developed followed by a mild bitterness towards the finish with the alcohol to counter balance the sweetness. A good warmth on the finish from the alcohol. One of the better barleywines I had.

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Photo of harrymel
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$3 for 12 oz @ Hucks in Spokane, WA
Poured to SA signature glass.

A: Tan 1/4 finger head retains it's value throughout life of beer, and is the cap of the ruby red ale.

S: Multilayered: graham, cinnamon, brown sugar, pine, citrus. Coffee and caramel dance in the background as well. Nice.

T: The beer is nice and well appropriated with bread, sweet, toast, toffee. Hops impart a earthy and herbal tone. I had anticipated a little more malt fruition, but there is quite a bit of bitter still rolling along.

M: Warms the mouth as the ale slides over the mouth with lower carbonation and medium-heavy body.

D: Great beer for under $5. I wish Fritz included a date on the bottle.

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

12oz bottled March 1, 2010. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours red with a two finger light beige head that holds a nice cap and leaves a few spots of lacing.

Aroma is toffee, pear, apple, banana, spice, caramel, pine, herbal and grassy with some alcohol. Moderate strength.

Flavor is caramel, pine, spice, brown sugar, golden raisins, apples, pears, a bit of banana, minimal alcohol, fair sweetness with a bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is foamy and creamy, medium bodied, soft carbonation.

Solid Barley Wine.

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Photo of jpro
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Bell's tulip glass...

A: Reminds me of tea with a splash of OJ; murky; half-finger of light almond head recedes after a few minutes and leaves virtually no lace - despite that, it still looks good to me.

S: Rich, sweet malts; figs; a touch of alcohol; slight brown sugariness.

T: Dark bread maltiness; caramelized pineapples; very light grapefruit bitterness provides some good balance; some estery fruitiness.

M: Close to full-bodied; higher than expected carbonation; a slight bit of oiliness provides an extra dimension.

D: One of the more drinkable barleywines out there; very good stuff; rich, malty sweetness and not super hoppy. Mmmmm...

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

a keg of '09, saved by the Tap and Mallet, had a glass on 1/19/11

A - copper-red-amber with faint off-white lacing

S - BIG malt with a significant backing of hops - fruity and funky earth; lots of toffee and caramel notes

T - layers of rich caramel inflected malt, good sweetness through the middle with a sweet hop lift at the back - big impact, but a little lacking in complexity; aging was a good thing, though

M - heavy and delicious without being cloying

D - for a barleywine, it is very approachable

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Photo of gopens44
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Ruby red, clear, and a very lean foamy head.

S - Malty with the essence of plums and dark cherries poking through

T - Mildly bitter and a touch boozy with a the taste of plums and tart cherries. Just a touch tinny as well.

M - Well carbonated and a little thin. An odd, cumbersome, festering and slightly annoying medicinal aftertaste was the biggest disappointment of this beer.

Meh.... Guess I've been spoiled by American style barley wines, but when compared to Blithering Idiot as a companion in the style, this one fails to move me.

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

Seen this beer around forever and Lundeen's is selling it as a single so I don't have to splurge on a six pack.

A: Pours out a clear, robust golden brown with a rather scant white head.

S: Heavy on the malt sweetness but no shortage of the funky hop frutiness on the back end. Aromas of fruity earthiness take control here if that makes any sense at all.

T/MF: Heavy hits of malty sweetness, rich, deep and wonderful. Very good hoppiness, light, but deep, sweet and lasting.

D: Pretty good beer. Thick rich and rather tasty. Recommended.

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

12 oz bottle at 45 degrees into a snifter.

A: It pours a transluscent brownish ruby red color with a half-finger of slighlty off-white head that has no retention but laces decently.

S: Molasses, dates, figs, caramel, burnt sugar; it smells the way a good English barleywine should.

T: Sweet dates and figs, caramel apples, molasses, vanilla, and a tangy citrus twist at the end.

M: It has a thick body with medium carbonation and a sticky finish.

D: This is solid for the style and is certainly reasonably priced.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

03/2010 bottle, opened 01/2011. Poured a vivid burnt copper into a tulip with a finger of long-lasting eggshell head. Malty aroma with some honey, toffee, and woody vanilla notes along with gently spicy hops.

Moderate carbonation and a full mouthfeel that manages to be both creamy and prickly. Lots of caramel and dark fruit sweetness up front with some subtle vanilla and raisin. Nice burst of citrusy hops on the back end. The finish was a little brief, but the alcohol was well-masked and the overall impression was pleasant if not as complex as some of the big American-style barleywines.

I really enjoyed this one fresh and thought it was quite well-balanced overall. Will make a point to pick up some more for the cellar.

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Photo of mempath
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours fairly carbonated, but not as radical as expected...deep applejack color...some chunky, drifting lacing

nose is an interesting sweetish, hoppiness...smells of raisans, panettone

taste kicks things up a notch...nothing one-dimensional here, there's a simultaneous blast of alcohol, sweet maltiness and perfectly balanced hops fused into the mix. creamy but lively mouthfeel allows a nice, but fast fade. this would be nearly perfect if the carbonation was slightly less and the mouthfeel more lush...still, nearly perfect and i imagine the draft version is better...quite drinkable at this high but lower-than-expected barleywine. nice interepretation by Anchor.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a murky caramel brown color with light amber highlights. One finger tan head shows medium retention. Some light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Tons of caramel bready malts with light brown sugar notes. There is also a big citrus hop burst to this as well. Some darker fruits linger in the background which I expected to be a lot more agressive.

T- Caramel malts in the front with a lot of darker fruit notes (plum mostly). The middle shows a caramel malt base which gives off a bready vibe to it. The darker fruits kind of show back up in the backend along with a citrus hops blast with hints of piney hops as well. Clean crisp and to the point flavor wise.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Bready malts and darker fruits left on the palate. Aftertaste is alcohol heat and darker fruits with a hint of hops that fade quickly. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were well put together and no off flavors at all in the overall experiance.

D- This is a fair and easy drinking barleywine. I would suggest this one to people who want to get into the style. A lower ABV on this makes it also wasy for the first time drinker of barleywines. Anchor made a good tasting and easy drinking beer in a style that likes to go over the top with flavor and aroma profile.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a Smuttynose tulip glass.

Appearance: Light caramel brown in color with a two finger beige head and some nice retention. Leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Some herbal qualities are definitely present here. Backed by ample amounts of raisan and caramel.

Taste: Caramel and dark fruit sweetness upfront. Very sweet, even a touch leathery. Balanced with some light herbal qualities from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, but the ample carbonation keeps it light.

Drinkability: Not intensely boozy for a barleywine at all. The sweetness could get cloying after a couple pours though.

Overall, I really enjoyed this barleywine. A really solid example of the English style for me. A biut pricey for a six pack, but definitely something I will get from time to time.

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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 hopstradamus
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a murky, muddy, crimson color with good carbonation but little to no head.

S. A muted malt background along with hints of grapes, plums, and figs.

T. The taste is still dark fruits, but with more malt to back it up. Strong alcohol helps to spread the flavors across the palate.

M. Decent mouthfeel but a little too thin for a Barleywine along with a slightly dry finish.

D. I prefer the more hoppy American Barleywine to the more mild English Barleywine. This one was very drinkable and one I would like to pair with a good cigar.

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Photo of rlshep
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big malt character. Strong caramel. Some dark fruit, plums, maybe some currants.

Pours big thick creamy biege head. Dark amber, garnet color. Good clarity. Good lacing. Lots of bubbles.

I'm surprised. First thing I noticed was a big citrusy and piney hop presence. Caramel and more dark fruit, more fig in the taste. Bitterness is balanced with the big malts.

Thick sticky sweet mouthfeel. It coats the tongue and lips. Lots of carbonation, it took a few pours to get the whole bottle in the glass. Alcohol is high, but you already knew that since its a barleywine.

A really good barleywine. Only down point was the high level of alcohol. I'm sure this would mellow out with some age. Wish I had bought more for this purpose.

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amberish copper color with a moderate tan head and cascading bubbles that maintain the suds.

Sweet and hoppy. Brown and caramelized sugars along with bountiful citrus hops.

Much like the nose. There is more plum and raisin present with some cherry syrup and woody rum notes. Noticeable alcohol with a bitter finish.

Full and smooth with outstanding carbonation.

A very nice barleywine that is quite enjoyable and on for the style. A nice, nice brew from a craft icon.

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Photo of nhindian
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A - This beer is certainly one of the better looking beers I've had. It pours a dark ruby color, almost like a deep cherry cordial. The head and retention is pretty modest, only about 1.5-fingers worth of cream colored head. Definitely a steady stream of carbonation rises in this beer. Moderate lacing, just a few randomly strewn legs here and there.

S - Smell is very sweet with a fruit and caramel background to it. Some darker fruits like plums and raisins come through after the malts, and it has a sort of toffee characteristic that it a light rum aroma to it. Very aromatic.

T - Taste is extremely sweet throughout the beer. The malts and barley up front set the sweet course for this beer and the fruits certainly carry that throughout. The hops are noticeable, but are faint and only contribute a mild citrus bitter finish before, again, being swept away by the sweetness. The alcohol hits the roof of the mouth about midway through and slowly creeps down to the throat, hitting a bit after the rest of the flavor finishes. This leaves a bitter finish that helps contrast the almost saccharine nature of the front of this beer.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy with ample carbonation. It moves well through the mouth and activates all sorts of taste buds.

D - Drinkability is moderately low. The sweetness just pushes this beer a bit too much, and the hops are a bit too muted to counteract this. I understand that barleywines are notably malt-oriented, but this one could use a little less sweetness. However, the alcohol is well masked, only coming through about midway and takes a back seat to the malts.

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Photo of goldbot
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crystal clear ruby color with plenty of cream colored head that sticks around. Sweet-smelling malts, soft grain aroma, caramel, some raisin. Resinous, slightly citric hops to match. Flavor is more sweet malts. Dark fruits, plenty of caramel. Not very hoppy; the malt profile definitely takes center stage. While not terribly complex, it has a very smooth flavor. Good mouthfeel, sweet but not as sweet as many others in the style.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,008 ratings
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