Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,982 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,982 |  Reviews: 1,065
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pored from the 12oz. bottle into a pint glass

The color is a reddish brown with a foamy off-white head and some slight lacing.

The smell is a mix of toffee and some slight butterscotch flavors. There is also a hint of dried fruit flavor.

The taste is caramel and toffee flavored at first with a malty, bready flavor coming in behind it. There is a nice dried fruit flavor with some peach, rasin and slight white grape flavor in the background.

This beer has a pretty big body to it with a smooth, drinkable feel. It is pretty drinkable with a nice English Barelywine feel.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours well to produce a finger thick light tan head, which retains quite well. The body is copper in color and is totally filtered for crystal clarity.

The aroma is nicely balanced between the toffee fragrances of the malt and the spicy and grassy nuances of the hops.

In the taste it is sweet with an over ripe orange type of flavor. There is a hint of vanilla and peach here too.

Mouth feel wise it is full in body with a chewy character, then goes to a slight creamy and oiliness, and finishes with a mild warmness.

This is one of the first extreme beers brewed in America since that nasty prohibition we had a while back, and still holds up to today's taste... It's hard to beat a classic!

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Photo of Amalak
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had at Talllys in Queens out of what they called a nitro-tap, though I am not sure what that is.
A- It's brownish orange in color. Think clay. It has a very limited head.
S- Nice nutty scent.
T- It has a malty nut taste to it, just like the scent suggests. The Alcohol is strong. Bold. It's also quite carbonated. I'm tasting some apple in there, too.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into .3L Krusovice chalice.

Appearance: Dark caramel color with a medium-sized creamy tan-ish head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving no lace but a nice foam is left floating on the beer.

Smell: Plum and prune aromas with caramel and hints of alcohol.

Taste: Begins very sweet with a plum flavor, finishing with a doppelbock-like caramel sweetness and bittwersweet alcohol. Also has hints of grapefruit throughout.

Mouthfeel: Thick, sticky body with light carbonation and a heavy, sticky finish with some burning alcohol in the throat.

Drinkability: A pretty good beer, and one that I can imagine is very good with age, so maybe I'll pick out a bottle or two of this stuff for cellaring. Not the best barleywine I can remember tasting, but still a damn good one.

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Photo of birchstick
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark rub / faint brown with a decent looking 1 finger head

S - sweet, sticky malts, brown sugar / caramel apples, and some grass and pine hops

T/M - the taste is very similar to the nose. Sugary, caramel malts with tones of some dark fruits (plums). Finishes with a noticeable pine hop. Nicely balanced. Old Foghorn has a lighter body than I would have hoped, but it is excellently carbonated.

D - this is a very solid barleywine. Very nice palate makes this very drinkable. Can't wait to see how this one will be hard to beat this fresh.

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Photo of halo21
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is the first time I have had this beer, by one of my favorite breweries. I poured the bottle into a tulip glass, revealing a dark earthy brown with hints of red where light can almost make it through. Little head appears, typical of a barleywine.

Smell: Potent and bold on the nose; heat and yeast esters, with sweet malts and dried fruits.

Taste: Complex with dried fruits (raisins), yeast esters and more malts giving way to mild hops. This is not as big of a beer as expected, but it comes in on the lesser ABV of the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium weight; it has character and it is mildly chewy.

Drinkability: Quite high for the style. This is a solid approachable example of American Barleywine that is tasty and satisfying.

Notes: A good barleywine that does not have to be enjoyed only in the heart of winter. This beer has legs and is awesome. Solid all around.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - copper color with a thick tan head that subsides a bit but is fairly well retained

S - strong sweet malt, some resinous hop a touch of alcohol

T - strong sweet malt up front, bready with hints of caramel; hop bitterness is moderately strong on the finish and hints of hops are throughout the flavor; yeasty esters are very low

M - full-body with a moderately low carbonation

D - This is an excellent American Barleywine and it was rated as such. The hops are too aggressive for the English style. While it isn't quite as aggressive as some American versions, it still has the character. This is a sipper, like all-barleywines, and a classic from the vanguard craft brewery.

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Photo of vdread
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor Old Foghorn pours a foamy dark maroon, with a thick, slowly-winding cap.

smells of caramel and fruitiness, with some earthy hops in the back.
tastes are dark and toffee-like, at times tasting slightly of dark, roasted coffee. caramel and fruits dominate, followed by fruity, earthy hops.

mouthfeel full, well carbonated, creamy. alcohol well hidden.

this is one of the better english style barleywines i've tried. it has quality in taste without being overbearing, overly alcoholic, or pungent.

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Photo of 2late2brew
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours seems to improve with age, if young flat matured good head, kinda like a women.

caramel brown, clear with some toffee fig note aroma, excellent here.

very sweet to moderate hop flavor, less than expected bitterness, per style balance accentuated towards malt. more & more balanced the longer its layed down.

medium full body one dimensional off the shelf, once again more layered as its ages. need to buy & hold this one, est one year.

overall a delicate English Barleywine (09) not sure how much these vary from year to year? Still in a landscape devoid of truely great beers not a bad buy to celler, it improves with time (been only about 6 months so far) so its a wait & hold.

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

Brown with a ruby hue and a thin white head that fades quickly. Not much lacing.
Smell is slightly roasted, sweet malts, with a little bit of hops coming through. Caramel, plum, figs, and raisins. Slight hint of cocoa, as well as some alcohol.
Taste is sweet caramelly malts with the hops presence being a little stronger than it is in the smell. Toffee, raisins, figs, and a touch of mocha.
Mouthfeel is smooth with a little more carbonation than expected, though still fairly low. Slightly sticky on the finish. Medium-light body.
Drinkability is decent. Alcohol is well-hidden. A bit on the sweet side.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: wonderful reddish amber nice lace along the glass head does not say for long

S: toffee spice brown sugar and light cinnamon a heavenly smell

T: brown sugar and toffee along with light cinnamon spice very malty

M: med body with med carbonation

D: very drinkable I do not detect any alcohol in the beer

overall: good barley wine really enjoyed it. there is a signature style that Anchor brewing has and this is well with in that style cheers to Anchor.

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Photo of thetomG
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice clear amber color with a minimal amount of head - almost no lacing at all. Aroma has a spicy yeasty funky caramel sweetness to it with flavors that match up well. Taste also has additional elements of huge malt and some slight bitterness. Old Foghorn feels fairly sticky & syrupy in your mouth with not much carbonation so when you add that to the sweetness it makes it hard to drink a lot of this one....

Glad I tried this, but not something I'd go out of my way for.

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Photo of Briken
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A clear red amber with a tan foamy head with good retention. Sweet, fruity aromas. Light molasses and spice with a little tea flavor and caramel. Fantastic balance with a good hop presence and not too sweet with light alcohol finish. Lightly syrupy and fuzzy with a smooth mouthcoating.

This is a very balanced and very drinkable barleywine. You can easily get into a bit of trouble having a few of these. Nothing too strong in taste but nice subtle flavors and no strong alcohol so it's not restricted to sipping over a long period of time.

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Photo of beertunes
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a beautiful coppery-brown with over an inch of light tan head that had good retention and light-moderate lacing.

The aroma was the expected sweet, malty scent typical of the style, with a bit of spice and alcohol in the nose. The smooth malt flavors come out nicely on the tongue. There is a nicely interesting bite of spices and a hint of yeast as well.

The body is pleasantly full, but a bit lighter than I would have liked. Drinkability is very good for the style, but that is going to depend on your tolerance for high ABV, sweet beers.

Overall, a very good version of the style, worth your time.

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Photo of Elimination
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz in goblet-from notes

Look- pours soft, thin head, almost looks purple in the glass. cant see finger through, cant see any bubbles.

smell: grape juice right away, slight hops, fruity, berries. smell of a light ipa but with fruit.

taste: i dont know how to describe it, sweet first, dryish, more fruityness. aspects pop in n out of the tastebuds, slight hop aftertaste, boozy very wine like. Second sip its all still there, this is one of the first barleywines i have really liked.

mouth: for the abv, you cant tell

drink- well it has a pretty good abv but you dont know till you have had it.

This is the first barleywine i have ever had that i really liked!

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 7oz. nip. Bottle code puts this as an '03. Uncapped and poured into a Selin's Grove wine glass. Appears a murky chestnut brown color with barely a finger of tan foam. The head leaves no lace. Nose and flavors consist of molasses, port wine, raisins, dark brown sugar, black cherries, prunes. Mildly carbonated which world well here, but the body is thinner than you'd expect from a barleywine. A very nice sipper overall.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into duvel tulip

A: pours deep red dark copper, finger thick light brown head that settled to a thin layer
S: sweet barley malt, slightly bready doughy and a slight hint of alcohol.
T: sweet with caramel, brown sugar and a bit of raisin. a little bit of bitter hops on the after taste and backend. picked up another empty glass.
M: linger around for a long time, it is sort of thick but not overly. low carbonation.
D: as i said i picked up an empty glass, so its quite drinkable.

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Photo of mjurney
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

[Appearance]: Deep burgundy color, clear, lots of carbonation, head looks foamy, leaves a little lacing on the glass.
[Smell]: Fruity aroma, sweet caramel malts, some brown sugar. Smells very sweet.
[Taste]: Very fruity up front, black cherries and grapes, caramel malts, spicy floral hops in the mid-palate, slight sweet citrus at the end.
[Mouthfeel]: Juicy mouthfeel, carbonation is about medium, very smooth.
[Drinkability]: Very drinkable. A lot more sweeter than Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery in San Francisco. Poured into a small 6 ounce fluted glass. Lovely hop aroma balanced by some malt sweetness. Looks a touch thin, a light ruby color. Taste is also bitter balanced with some over ripe pit fruit sweetness. Abc is very, very well hidden. I believe this is the first in this style made in America, so credit must be given for setting the bar that many others have leapt over. Delicious none the less.

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Photo of chaz01
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Dilly Deli's Cafe in Cincinnati, served in a snifter glass.

A: Deep amber brown color with a thick foamy head overflowing from the top of the snifter glass.

S: Sweet malty caramel aromas.

T: Malty and caramel with raisins and dark fruit flavors. Very pleasant lingering port and sherry notes in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, expected in a little more fullness for a barleywine, but still good. Low carbonation detected in the mouth despite the rich thick head.

D: Nice sipping beer to have as an after dinner cordial or even with desert.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,982 ratings.
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