Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,977 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: 1,977 |  Reviews: 1,060
Photo of FreshHawk
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Scarlet brown, somewhat like a buckeye with more red. Small, foamy head that sticks around awhile, forming a nice foamy layer of lace concentrated on one side.

S - A lot of caramel and toffee malt aroma in the initial whiff. Subsequent noses bring out some alcohol aroma as well as a bit of citrus and tea hop smells. Just a touch of fruitiness comes out as well, with apple, golden raisin, and a little bit of apricot or peach.

T - Pretty heavy on the caramel/toffee malt flavors initially. Some toasted bread and butterscotch flavors as well. Not overly rich or sweet, but those are the strongest initial flavors. These give way to more of the golden fruit (apple, golden raisin, and some apricot/peach). Also has a touch of citrus orange. This gives way toward the finish with some tea, grassy, and citrus (mostly orange) hops. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Not overly hoppy in taste.

M - Medium body, but for the style a bit on the light side and a little below average carbonation. Fairly smooth and slick feel.

D - Really a pretty drinkable beer, especially for a barleywine (as far as having another in one night). The smooth, lighter body really helps make this a quite drinkable beer, along with the balanced, slightly subdued taste.

Notes: Best before June 2011. This is a bit lighter, more subdued barleywine. Fairly malty with enough hops to keep it interesting, but they are not dominant. Overall it was a nice, light, and easy to drink barleywine. Not as big and boozy and a bit less of a night capping beer, but a lighter more accessible barleywine. Not an amazing tasting beer, but a solid one. Definitely worth trying, and I would get it again, especially considering the price.

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Photo of SAABtech
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

clean crisp beer with an average apperance with a solid 2 finger white head and sweet smell. taste is plesent with an earth hoppy bit for and aft. the middle is balanced with a spicey sweetness that blends well with the alcohol content. it is just within my liking but definately worth the $3 i spent and will get it again.

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Photo of bump8628
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours murky dark copper with a fizzle of head that goes quickly.

Lots of caramel, toffee, and fruitiness like grapes, plum, and bruised strawberry. Really nice depth and lots of flavor (some good, some not so). It's thickish and sweet on the palate (nearly sticky sweet), and not in the good full-bodied Barleywine way. Finishes with hint of alcohol burn.

All in all a pretty average Barleywine, but I expect more from a fine brewer such as Anchor. Really not worth the ABV. If I'm going to drink something with punch, I want something that's going to warrant the beating my liver is going to take.

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Photo of endovelico
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into dimpled stein.

Appearance: Volumptous beautiful tan head. Good retention. Deep aged burgundy color. Unperceived carbonation.

Aroma: Intense nose of mold, sweat, grass, caramel, anise, smokiness, gaminess with alcohol punching through. Chocolate and coffee on the backend. Very complex, albeit not for every taste.

Taste: Intense flavor of caramel, cacao, slightly grassy, anise, strong alcohol flavor. Melanoidin rich.

Palate: Full bodied, chewy, very low bitterness. Low carbonation. Alcohol evident. Lasting earthiness and caramel melanoidin aftertaste. Sizzling spicy alcohol heat.

Drinkability: Fits the style well enough, not particularly unique. Drinkability severely reduced by the alcohol heat.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a tight tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of alcohol, bready malts, caramel sweetness, and some citrus hops.

Tastes of a big doughy malt flavor layered with sweetness and citric hops. Fruity notes are also present with some alcohol. Caramel malt is predominant and gives a good dose of dough and sweetness. Hops are bitter, but kept well in check by the maltiness.

Mouthfeel is full and slick with a smooth amount of carbonation.

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

the pour looks good, there is a strong head that hold well. alcohol smell is there, but it also smells sweet. flavor is rich. a slight hint of sourness in the front, but smooths off. taste is mostly grape/wine. good carbonation and coats your mouth.

I enjoyed this and would get it again.

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Photo of udubdawg
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'08 edition.

pours a copper/orange that looks quite gorgeous red in the light. 1 finger of head fades to a ring as expected and then disappears. a swirl brings it back briefly.

Pretty big aroma. Toffee, caramel. Dark fruit. Some hops and plenty of alcoholic notes give it a spicy feel and suggestion of warmth. Mild suggestion of sherry/oxidation adding complexity. Really nice!

taste...bark is worse than the bite on this one. Most of that alcohol flavor/heat noted in the aroma has been aged out or was never present. Toffee, raisin and general fruitiness. Some hop flavor, bitterness is even, melds nicely with strength of sweet malt. Mild warming in throat, not really in mouth. Extremely tasty, but lacking in complexity as compared to the aroma - both are close to 4.25; I bumped up the better attribute and down the other.

Round, medium/light body for the style but pretty full otherwise. Soft carbonation. Not as big as many and corresponding sticky mouthfeel is low, but eventually builds on the palate a bit.

"drinkability" and "barleywine" just seem at odds, you know? For the style this is extremely drinkable. Not quite the best or most complex but no slouch. Not the most bitter and I suppose for the style the high drinkability compared to the perception of this as a "sipping" style could almost be construed as a flaw...I don't see it that way. I think of this as a slightly larger "winter warmer"
a classic I'm always happy to revisit.

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

Copper color. Not too much of a head.

Smells sweet, like raisins, butterscotch, caramel, and other candy. Also fruity, very reminiscent of green apple Dum-dums. Sort of wonderful, but also one-sided.

Milder flavor than most barleywines I've had - perhaps not surprising given a relatively tame 8.2% abv. Malts dominate, and the sweetness seems to build further into the bottle. Hops are apparent only in a faint floral, perfume-y quality, and a slightly soapy aftertaste. Alcohol actually is slightly noticeable, along with an underlying bready flavor.

Slightly sweet and a bit light on flavor, it still is tasty. No serious knocks, but doesn't distinguish itself.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up on a whim...

A: Near perfect. Deep ruby red with a 1/2 inch off-white head that quickly fades to a foamy lace on the top of the brew.

S: Smells of wine, malts, grapes, booziness and slight oaks upfront. Hints of caramel and vanilla in the middle. Awesome!

T: Grape, raisin, yeasty breadiness, with a slight bitter wheat type flavor. Wine flavor in the middle with a slight booziness on the backend. Good.

M: A little too much carbonation on this brew. Leaves the mouth a little dry.

D: Goes down very good. A little harsh from the bitterness. A little age might treat this one well.

All in all, this brew surprised me. For the cheap price, this is an excellent English barleywine. Might be one of my "go-to" brews from now on. If you like the sweeter side of barleywines, then give this one a try. If you need hops, this might not be for you.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a nice dark copper color with some caramel hints and a nice light tan head that is about half an inch tall. Nice and dense and recedes at a medium rate. Nice slow CO2 bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. It recedes to a thin film.

S - Nice grainy malt character initially that is followed by a nice caramel sweetness. Some nice yeast smell is felt as well with some mild grassy hops.

T & M - A nice caramel malt sweetness is felt along with the grain/bready flavor of the malt. There is a nice yeast flavor and character in the taste as well. There is a creamy mouth feel that is very attractive and goes well wit the dark fruit-like flavors of the beer. Some mild alcoholic esters are also felt and have a nice warming effect.

D - Good drinkability for a Barleywine with a 8% ABV. Still two might be the max for me.

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Photo of bob3701
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint. Poured a cloudy light mahogany color with particulates floating around with a small off-white head and no lacing. Aroma dominated by toffee malts. Very sweet toffee flavor with a crisp finish. Hides the alcohol well and is very smooth and drinkable.

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

Served on top in a fluted goblet.

A - Hazy copper color with a finger of yellow-white head. The head consists of very fine bubbles with average retention. It disappears in a few minutes, leaving some lacing and legs.

S - Sweet malt, toffee, and grassy hops. There is a a little alcohol in the smell.

T - Sweet malt, raisin, honey, and fruity, with slight berry flavors. As it warms, the fruitiness fades and the toffee flavor grows. The finish is drier, with slight alcohol and grassy hops.

M - Full body with lively carbonation for the style. The carbonation cuts the sweetness, which would otherwise a little syrupy. It feels sticky on the lips.

D - I feel the alcohol more than taste it. The drinkability is pretty good for the style. The carbonation gives it more crispness.

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Photo of JoePat
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with an off white head.
Smells like raisons and caramel
Tastes like careml with some bitterness from the hops. A little bit of alochol on the back end.
Very drinkable with a syrupy mouth feel in the beginning but thin and hard from the alochol at the end.

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Photo of anneseg
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starting off my new foray into more barleywines. you could definitely smell the caramel malts. the pour left much to be desired. Particulate matter came through very early in the pour. The head retention was lacking as well.

The smell was great. Hop flavors were difficult to taste and were over taken by the maltiness. Definitely weaker than other barleywine's I've had but it was a good place to start getting back into them.

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Photo of generalnotsew
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Very dark amber coloring but the lacing is pretty weak and also got a decent head out of it.

S: Sweet caramel malts with a tinge of hops. Not cloyingly sweet like the last English Barleywine I had. This smells actually quite nice.

T: Kind of a tart, tangy taste with the sweetness of the malts in the end. Hops aren't really making a show here. Not really enough Oomph for me.

M: A tad weak to me. Doesn't really make it's presence known.

D: It is pretty easy to drink it down. Not being overly sweet is a big help.

Not really something I care for. Only my second English Barleywine and have decided it is not my style. But you never know til you give it a fair shot.

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

Ah, Anchor Old Foghorn, not only we're you the beer that introduced Chadquest to Barley Wines years ago, but you we're also the first to introduce all of America to Barley Wines way back in 1975, when this was but a forlorn style in our new world. And oh man, Mr Foghorn, you knocked our socks off with your strength.

Now , you've been around the block about 35 years, compared to the young kids being birthed these days your not that strong anymore, pretty tame infact. But what you have Old Foggy, is style and prose, you carry yourself very well. You have that lace around your Amber weathered body that those strong young lads don't, because their strength doesn't allow that.

You have always been very open and revealing of your love of fruit and sweet caramel, explaining to us how its possible to be both dark and exotic and yet have a bright and citrus side to yourself.

Lastly Mr Foghorn, that you for being so approachable, especially to the people who haven't met your type yet, you've always embraced them with open arms. We always feel like spending lots of time with you is not a chore, but rewarding and comforting.

Thanks for being who you are, and for the leassons learned.
To the next 35 years.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with minimal white head. Spice and malt in the nose. A little alcohol smell.

Dark fruit flavor, good balance of malts and hops. Pleasant mouthfeel, which is to say not too malty sticky.

All told, this is a really nice brew. It's got a fair amount of alcohol content, though is extremely drinkable for a barleywine. I guess I would call it a gnarlywine light- not quite as heavy, heady, and complex as other more potent BWs, but pleasant for what it is.

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Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my goblet coaxed two fingers worth of creamy tan foam on top of the deep, garnet colored elixer. The head lingered for a bit and then receded down to a nice ring of foam around the glass. Globs of sticky lace trailed in the wake.
The aroma was a robust, rum-raisin, candied fig, big and sweet, with drippy caramels, toffee, an alcoholic heat, and a whisp of pine. Big and aromatic and clingy.
The taste of the beer was sweet, with candied dark fruits, figs, big toffee and caramels, a balanced bitterness, and a touch of hot alcohol near the finish.
The beer feels thick, oily and coats the mouth. It's a very drinkable and easily accessable barleywine.
In my opinion, this is American craft brewing history in a glass. Not the most powerful barleywine, but bigger doesn't always equate to better.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burgundy brown color with red and golden hues with a short-lived, lively tan colored head dissipates quick and has a relaxed, aged look.

A very sweet nose, rock candy in the malt, maple syrup, estery heat tingle and some earthy yeastie balance.

This is a light medium feel, slick but not hefty or full, a bit juicy feel for the style. Earthy, sour, tangy and sweet hop presence that balances out the sweet-fruity malt. Brandy-like heat effect, warming, slightly bitter tinge. sour and sweet with good depth, not insane complexity but a good balance, perhaps too sweet overall. The malt could go further...perhaps with some age?

cellar a few of these, the malt will mature. $3.50 per 12 0z. bottle is still pretty good for America's first Barley wine in the modern age.

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Photo of philbe311
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A fingers worth full rich light to medium colored tan head... Slight retention gives way to a frothy ring around with a very thin veil of lace in the center... Deep ruby red color reminiscent of cranberry juice... A slight orange hue is present when held up to the light... Modest amounts of carbonation cling to the sides of the glass and proceed quite slowly... Translucent and it fills with light...

S - Quite sweet... Gooey caramel... Toffee... Raisins... Figs... Plums... Cherries... Just the slightest touch of honey... Simple, straight-forward, and quite appealing...

T - Sweet dark fruits... Very light delectable caramel... A touch of honey... Similar to the aroma, just simple, straight-forward, and quite appealing... Tends to turn a tad cloying as this one warms...

M - A near perfect carbonated bite to start... Medium to full bodied... Syrupy... Slightly sticky... Slightly creamy... Absolutely terrific...

D - Terrific and wonderfully drinkable... This brew oozes with character and malty goodness... What this beer lacks in complexity, it makes up for with a simple sincerity... Quite quaffable, especially considering the 8.2% ABV... I would gladly welcome in my glass again and recommend to all...

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

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Amber to redwood color, translucent more than clear, with a small light yellow head that quickly resolves into ring of bubbles around edge and a muddled thinly bubbled area in the middle of the surface.

S = Tropical fruits with just a hint of pine needles, cinnamon buns, three fruit marmalade on English muffins, maple extract, light plastic taste.

T = Passion fruit, maple syrup, balancing bitterness, slight black pepper, marmalade and toasted English muffin,

M = Medium, heavy body, has small carbonation bubbles that sting a bit more than I would prefer, mouthcoating is adequate.

D = This is pleasant enough, but I really believe it needs some time in the cellar to really come alive. Right now, though drinking well, the slight bitter plastic taste is a bit much.

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

2006 bottle.

A - Nice dark amber color with a small head that would quickly reappear and disappear with some swirling. Minimal lacing.

S - Caramel malts and some prunes and/or figs coming through on the nose. Little alcohol burn adds some edge to this.

T - Alcohol comes through and cuts nicely through the sweetness of this giving it a great balance. The dark fruits are a nice touch, but not sugary sweet to be too much.

M - Nicely thick, carbonation could use just a tad more bite, but works well with the taste.

D - Pretty drinkable and tasty.

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

Old Foghort poured a nice glowing red/brown into the snifter. The head was pretty modest as expected from the ABV, and faded to a ring around the edge.

A lot of good comes from the aroma. Lots of fresh fruit and dry hops is warmed by alcohol and aged wood tones. Sweet caramel, dark sugars, spice, and raisins are all distinguishable. Good nose.

Taste doesn't seem as complex as the nose at first sip, but the finish is particularly good and the flavors begin to shine more and more as it warms. Sweet flavors are nicely countered by drying hops. Alcohol is clearly evident, especially in the cognac-like finish.

The body is pretty full and very creamy. The carbonation is pretty high keeping it very crisp and lively throughout. The dry finish is long and mouth-watering. I sensed the alcohol in every whiff/sniff, which kept me under control when trying to gulp it down. Great beer.

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Photo of Kromes
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A clear dark amber with a thick tan colored head.

S: There is only a slight yeast and toasted malt aroma that give it an almost nutty scent. The alcohol aromas can be detected also.

T: The toasted malt flavor really takes a backseat to the alcohol in this beer. There are some fruity hop flavors as it crosses the tongue. The hop bitterness does show up in the finish a little.

M: I found this beer to be a little on the oily side. It starts really sweet and it leaves the mouth with a bitter tingling warmth from the aftermath of alcohol and hop. Lots of sugar that leaves a sticky feel.

D: The alcohol and sugary stickyness kind of limits the drinkability of the beer. It is a decent barleywine that has quite a kick.

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Photo of brendanmoody
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

very beautiful bottle, poured into my new belgium snifter

a- super dark amber color, pour with a little less than a finger of tan tinged head, that is revitalized with some mild swirling
s- super malty, some slight caramel, dark fruit, and slight alcohol
t- super deep, dark fruit and caramel with a malty vanilla finish and just a little bit of bite
m- very syrupy, slight carbonation, thick, but not in a bad way
d- very drinkable given the style!

over all this is a great beer! haven't had very many in this style but this is a great beer regardless!

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