Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,977 Ratings
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,977 |  Reviews: 1,060
Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled March 1st 2010.

Appearance -- Pours a dark cherry hue with two fingers of foamy beige head. Retention is pretty decent.

Smell -- Lots of toffee and caramel, fresh cut plum, rum-soaked raisin. Citrusy hop aroma brightens up the sweet malt overload. Overall, Sweet and a bit fruity.

Taste -- Quite hoppy; wrong classification? Bright citrusy hops up front. Stone fruits and red grapes take over the malt department with with the caramelized malt notes nearly nonexistent as compared to the nose. Alcohol is quite evident, a little sharp on the back of the tongue. Minty, herbal hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel -- A bit on the thin side with mild carbonation. More body would be a big improvement.

Drinkability -- Better than average, but not the first barlewine I'd reach for. While the citrusy hops liven things up, the malt base is pretty uninspired and the alcohol presence is way too high for the abv. I can certainly appreciate this being the original American Barleywine, but there are many better options now.

 1,025 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. Bottling code on the back reads 9AG (April 7, 2009). Pours a hazy caramel color with a loose, cream-colored head that quickly disperses into a bubbly band around the shoulders and a broken froth across the surface. Some lacing, but no legs. Nose suggests candied fruit, toffee and a hint of booze. Taste consistent with nose - some citrus acidity is also revealed (tangerines) as well as a faint, slightly metallic quality. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a lively carbonation. A very approachable English Barleywine. Carbonation may be a little too assertive, but quite flavorful and drinkable. Might be worth saving a few to cellar.

 678 characters

Photo of Daktyls
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an ruby-ish amber color with a half finger head that disappears almost immediately. Bubbles slowly from the bottom of the glass while the lacing left on top continues to diminish in size.

S: Very light on the overall aromas but there are some slight undertone of brown sugars and some malts. There was a general overtone, though not a strong one, of hops.

T: Pretty smooth flavoring, I detected raisin and roasted malts with a little bit of brown sugars and as with the nose, some hops. Again, pretty smooth overall but you can also definitely detect the alcohol.

M: Medium amount of carbonation for a medium bodied beer. Burns ever so slightly on the way down, just enough to let you know that the alcohol is there without burning like a heavy liquor.

D: Drinkable yes, but more than likely I'd stop at just the one. the prevalence of the alcohol afterwords is a little on the stronger side from what I'd prefer.

 926 characters

Photo of bfree
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: nice color of brown/amber with a thin head that dissipates quickly, and bubbles coming up from the bottom
S: brown sugar, malty, and a strong scent of alcohol, similar to other barleywines...very pleasant
T: the alcohol comes through strong, and I can taste raisins and brown sugar...a little smoky flavor as well
M: light-medium bodied but a little syrupy with decent carbonation
D: very tasty with a strong alcohol taste...not my favorite barleywine but still a good beer...enjoyable but do not think I could drink too many of these in one sitting, but what do you expect with ~9% ABV?

 590 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a moderate copper color with a bit if a head and small amouts of lacing. Nose is quite nice with some good fruitiness as well as some sweet malt. The taste is a bit sweet and malty, remindig me a bit of cake. Quite tasty and I imagine this will age really well. Medium body without much of any boozy presence. Drinks quite nicely and I am looking forward to aging a bit of this.

 384 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a certain opaqueness to it and a few yeast floccs floating about in the glass. The head is no more than a thin ring of tan foam.

S: A rich aroma of toffee, brown sugar, and caramel is noticeable right away. A hint of alcohol is there too, but a sort of brandy like character is there as well. A bit of raisin and sweet apples provide some fruitiness.

T: The flavor is similarly smooth. Lots of malt character to this beer in the form of toffee, molasses, and caramel. The alcohol is not quite as noticeable here except for its warming qualities. More raisins coming through as well as a slight cherry flavor.

M: The body is medium with a subtle but smooth carbonation.

D: This bottle was quite easy to put away. It's a shame this beer is so expensive because I really enjoyed it, but I don't see myself purchasing it all that often.

 875 characters

Photo of katybee
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm so tired of citrusy hefeweissens...I wanted to try something truly sweet and different, and am finding it in smooth, maltier ales.

Poured from the bottle, it had a thick, creamy, 1/2" tan head, thought its a shame it didn't stick around longer. Beautiful amber brown color.

Very light smell; very bright hops if any, only a subtle maltiness.

The taste is malty, balanced by the light bitterness of hops. But what comes across is the carmelized malt sweetness, with a real tinge of molasses. To me the taste is better at room temp, when the hops are less pronounced. My first sampling of this beer, I compared it to citrusy hefwiesens, and was highly impressed. My second bottle, after sampling other brown ales and a doppelbock, I was not as impressed. It seems mouthfeel is relative, and the second sample seemed more hoppy, more carbonated, thinner, and overall less tasty than I'd given it on first impression. The sweetness might interfere with some food choices.

The mouthfeel was was medium/thin-bodied, smooth compared to the thinness of most lagers. But still not as creamy as some doppelbocks. The flavor actually improved as the carbonation settled to room temp and the sweet maltiness came to the fore.

Very drinkable all the way down, with increasing malty sweetness towards room temp. Perhaps not quaffable. Perhaps too sweet for some food choices such as pasta or even pizza. The alcohol content does sneak up on you and one is enough.

 1,459 characters

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 10-12oz pour in a large snifter.

Appearance: Deep, rich amber brew with an ivory cap which soon fades to a thin film and thick ring aroun the edges of the glass. Decent amount of small-beaded carbonation.

Smell: Definitely falls into the "English" camp as far as barleywines go. Lots of boozy sweetness, almost like cotton candy. Hint of sweet caramel. A bit simplistic, but nice. Some very light earthy hops in here.

Taste: Tons of boozy medium-dark fruit. Um. And that's honestly pretty much it at this point. Maybe a hint of earthy/herbal hop, but if it's there, it's just a ghost. The barest ghost of bready toastiness. I swear, a ghostly hint of sweet orange. Not bad per se, but dead simple and...meh

I will not totally write this one off...some barleywines just need some serious time to mellow out and change, for the flavors to develop. Maybe I'll pick up a bottle of this (if I can find a single) to cellar for a couple of years. At any rate, this isn't anything special fresh, and definitely (IMHO) not worth 16 a sixer.

 1,052 characters

Photo of jbriggs7036
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from the Bottle into my Chimay Goblet

A- Dark amber/rose with a thin head that recedes in less than 5 mimutes

S- Love it! Some rose with raisin. Boozy grapes come in too.

T- Like it, not love it, but like it a lot. Booze hits first with some fresh apple and boozy-graped-wine. Raisin in the swallow

M- Extremely carbonated. Smooth swallow leaving a hint of wine and raisin.

Drinkability- Can't have more than one tonight. I'd drink maybe one more in a night. The 9.4% makes me feel fine.

Overall its purty good. I'd love to find it on tp somewhere, from the bottle its maybe a little too strong. I'd like to try it aged for 2 years.

 645 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A beautiful dark rose coloring is revealed with backlighting. Steady streams of tightly bound carbonation bubbles rise in unison at a leisure pace while the head dissipates almost immediately with a fizzy bubbly nature.

S: Alcohol soaked apples with touches of rum raisin and sugary sweet caramel syrup first appear on the nose with good results. The alcohol nature is highlighted here, with notes of fruit such as pears from a fruit cup and some dried cantelope.

T: Warm alcohol and a full sweet worty caramel experience presents itself upfront flavor wise. Warm apples, rum raisin and some sugary and tart mentions of peaches come about. Malty and sweet with some fruity notes pairs well for a good combination per style. Additional warming and the finish brings out some fresh cola and licorice notes, especially on the swallow.

M: Medium bodied, some warming boozy moments with a syrupy feel. The carbonation is soft, adding to the fullness perceived. Nice finish of spicy licorice upon the swallow.

D: Good drinkability, only slight mentions of booze but not enough to keep chugging this down. A very good example per style and case worthy option here.

 1,167 characters

Photo of bamadog
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review is from notes taken on 10/5/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a solid coppery color and has a bit of an amber hue to it; starts with a full 1 and 1/2 finger light tan head with really strong retention -- eventually fades to a firm and full cap; body has very good clarity to it and shows moderately strong, but slow, carbonation bubbling throughout; really no lacing left behind.

Smell: A really great blend of sticky hops (piney, mostly, but a sweeter aspect as well, perhaps a bit of pineapple?) and chewy and sticky malts -- well blended and well balanced.

Taste: A pretty solid Barleywine overall -- I thought it was going to be a bit of a misnaming at first as it's listed as an English and I smelled a TON of hops upon cracking it, but it really mellows once it sits in the glass for a few moments; hops are prominent and like in the smell, have a very piney and earthy aspect to them, but also a sweeter, more tropical side as well; malts also very well represented and offer a great off-setting balance to the bitterness; hops have a burnt sugar/caramel flavor; definite presence of alcohol in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Very sticky coating is left all over the roof of the mouth -- very prominent feature of this beer -- and it becomes semi-dry after sitting for a moment; body is of medium weight, and comes across as very smooth and almost velvety; the carbonation is soft and really compliments; belly is left quite warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: It's quite nice, and is quite fitting for a nice cool night like this. Definitely a sipper with an ABV near 10%, not to mention it was $4/bottle -- a bit steep, but could be a nice treat every once in a while.

 1,717 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass, date code reveals it was bottle in March, 2010.

A dark amber colored body with great clarity. Capped by a slightly creamy ivory colored head which unfortunately faded a bit too quickly.

Aroma is pleasant but rather mundane. Notably sweet with hints of caramel malts but not much else.

Taste is very enjoyable, with just about the perfect balance of sweet malts and bitter hops. However, it appears the hop flavors may have faded a bit, letting the super sweet malts show off.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected but still carries it well. Overall an enjoyable barleywine, especially since its not the hop-forward IPA-like barleywines that many other american breweries are putting out. Highly recommended.

 735 characters

Photo of silentjay
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a deep mahogany beer with an eggshell colored head that rises to well over two fingers, sticks around a while, and laces well.

rather faint aroma of grains, molasses, brown sugar, lots of sweetened and dried fruits, herbal hops, and lots of caramel.

tons of molasses and dark caramel subdue the graininess. a bit of alcohol is detected, but pushed to the background. some herbal hops support the tremendous malt profile. its not quite an english barleywine, but its nowhere near the hopped-up american versions either.

an oily medium bodied brew that finishes surprisingly dry and sweet with just a bit of heat in the gullet.

drinks rather well. a bit rough around the edges, but thats not unusual for a barleywine. this one claims and identity and its welcome. nice, though not my favorite.

 796 characters

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a single squatty 12oz bottle for $2.84 at Harvest Fine Wine in West Hartford CT. Served cold in a chilled goblet.

Beautiful clear dark mahogany brew gives a small but dense and creamy tan head. Smell is thick and sweet like cordial cherries with a whole bunch of florals. Taste is also pretty sweet, cherries and florals, with a spicy booze and anise note cutting through. Feel is a medium-thick body. Finishes boozy. Decent. Not the best, but very drinkable.

 471 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, cloudy red-brown. Can't see much carbonation with the darkness. Tons of great foam and good lacing here as well.

Smell: Extremely strong fruit. Alcohol fruit at that. Definitely one of the strongest smelling beers I've ever tried.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Great spicy bite that balances a fruit maltiness. A wonderful taste. I'm a bit disappointed with the mouthfeel here. It kind of fizzles out and feels pretty watery. Overall I like this.

Drinkability: The high alcohol content might hurt this category, but it's still very drinkable.

Overall: I definitely recommend this beer as something different.

 617 characters

Photo of bnes09
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brownish red in color. Exceptional clarity. Bubbly tan head with poor retention and zero lacing.

Complex fruity and spicy aromas. Cinnamon, nutmeg and dates are the most prominent. Hints of scotch.

Tons of rich and complex flavors. Taste is sweet overall embodied by maple, prunes and dates. Solid hop character does not dominate but provides balance with a grassy, soapy bite. Spices present as well and mirror the smell. Also a touch of smokey flavors, some oak and chocolate. Smooth and delicious flavors up-front but the aftertaste reminds me slightly of cough syrup.

Medium to full-bodied and well carbonated. Not overdrying but somewhat sticky.

I enjoy the complexity of flavors and aromas. This one is definetly more about the malt but the hops are do a good job of adding depth. Not a bad brew, I'd probably drink it again.

 841 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a a clear ruby copper with lots of active bubbles.

S - Candied cherries, hints orange and grapefruit, boozy malt, slight chocolate notes.

T - Sugary malt, dark fruits soaked in alcohol, most notably cherries and raisins. Molasses and roasted brown sugar. A slight floral/orange seeps through from the mild hops.

A good sipper. Drinks a tad warm as the alcohol is not shy in this one. It sticks out equally with the rest of the gang. Lots of good fruit flavors and plenty of malt. Actually has a nice citrus aftertaste. Not sure I'll buy again at $16 a six pack.

 575 characters

Photo of augustgarage
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wine glass.

Dark rufous/beer-bottle-brown liquid with crimson and copper highlights, topped by a creamy/soapy beige finger of foam. Thick even lacing, viscous legs, and excellent head retention.

Deep wort aromatics, brown sugar, malt syrup, and floral piney hops in the nose.

Dates, montmorency cherries, and orange peels on the palate. Raisin-bread-like malt along with a hint of caramel comes next along with a mild hop bitterness. Earthy, figgy finish with a bit of sherried/biscuity malt.

Creamy, chewy, yet somewhat thin bodied and surprisingly effervescent.

Exceptionally balanced, though lacking the vinuous qualities I usually associate with an English (vs American) Barleywine. Not the most distinctive example, but still, very enjoyable.

 787 characters

Photo of zhanson88
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Old Foghorn pours a deep red color, I'd almost call it blood red. There is one finger of beige head when I pour it that reduces to nothing in a short amount of time.

Smell: Hops, pine, and caramel are all prevalent. You can definitely smell the alcohol in this beer.

Taste: Very similar to the smell. First comes the pine, followed by a relatively mild hop finish. Overlaying all of that is a caramely sweetness that is honestly a bit too much.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with little carbonation. It is a pretty smooth mouthfeel that is easy to drink.

Drinkability: Even with the 9.4% ABV, this is a very drinkable beer; very sweet due to the low carbonation and smooth. The sweetness of the beer probably helps this factor. Overall it is definitely worth a try, but it's not my favorite barleywine.

 813 characters

Photo of Lukafer
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a thin tannish, off-white head. Smells like dark fruits, raisins, malty with some brown/burnt sugar. Taste like dark fruits, which quickly fade into nothing but a little alcohol. Kinda disappointed, I wish the flavor was a bit more robust and had more staying power. Drinkability is okay, not a bad beer but not a great beer either.

 349 characters

Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't believe I waited this long to review this classic beer.

Pours a copper color with a two finger light tan head with nice retention. The aroma has toffee, sweet caramel, and raisins. Very nice.

The flavor is just like the aroma with toffee, caramel, and raisins. There is a light hop presence, which seems right for an English style Barleywine.

Full bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated, and the alcohol is well disguised. Just a pleasure to drink.

 462 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from the 2008 vintage. Pours a tawny ruby color with a creamy tan foam. Retention is ok and lacing is modest to say the least.

Nose is heavy and deep caramel with a vague sugary aspect. Little oxidation on the malt, but not too much. Almost reminds me of opening a box of Cracker-Jacks. Seems to fall somewhere in between an American and English barleywine on the smell.

Cotton candy and caramel sweetness are the heavy hitters on the palate and comes off as a bit one-dimensional at first. Slowly, some earthy and citric bitterness as well as some raisin-esque fruitiness come through. Good enough beer and I could see it aging well for a few more years, if not longer, but it does not interest me enough to take up precious cellar space with.

 759 characters

Photo of BeerCon5
4.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark amber color with a two finger thick foamy tan head, there is not much retention as the head recedes quickly.

The scent is very complex, there are a variety of fruits; orange pineapple, light hops, some spice.;

The taste again is of various fruits; pineapple, citrus, grape, maybe a little apple. There is a roasty malt presece and some hops.

Full bodied, chewy, low carbonation.

This was a very good beer. There was so much complex flavor every sip seemed to expose something new. I wouldn't say it was easy to drink as it was very filling.

 563 characters

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got things to do, like watch football, make dinner and work on something...Pours a beautiful, Dark Maple syrup color. No discernable head, albeit with good carbonation. Smell carries a lot of pineapple, good maltiness, but not a lotta hop character. Flavor is a sharp combination of malt, very very sweet, with maybe slightly over-ripe fig in there. Mouth is not a thick and chewy as I expected, but pleasantly drinkable. Not cheaply priced, though, at $2.49/12oz. bottle. Good beer, but not spectacular.

 504 characters

Photo of claybeer
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Anchor Foghorn pours a light reddish brown. It reminds me of some of the back roads of Oklahoma when the clay gets wet or the dirt at the Saturday night races. The head is a thick bamboo-like-tan. It continues to lace the pint glass as it sits. The nose is sweet! Raisins and plums fragrant the air. It has a rich, thick feel that coats every corner of my mouth. It has sweet yet dry fruits that roll around as well. A tartness lingers on the finish and a feeling of alcohol warms the depths of my belly. I would treat this beer much like I would a port wine. Perfect for after dinner or with my favorite cigar.

 611 characters

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,977 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.