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 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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Photo of Docer
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Snagged up a nicely shaped 12oz. bottle from The BeerMongers here in SEPDX!

- Dark rich clear copper... fuzzy white head... leaves a nice thick ring about. Lookin' good for the style.

- Malts, sweet caramel, more malt... bready malt, yeast... sweet.. bitter hops with a zing and zest.

- Sweet 'n strong! Nice honey flavors... sweet molasses, fig, barley.. grain... just a touch sweet for my tastes... almost could ferment longer, and become a 14% bomb like (bare with me) Samichlaus... ? Not bad.. some subtle hops, but this is a malt bomb... too sweet.

- Thick and sweet, syrupy.... honey...

- Overall not bad, but I'd take a Stone Old Guardian way before this sweet bad boy. Just too sweet... but is complex with a world of fantastic malty flavors.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a woody brown with a finger width of light brown head that fades into a thick ring around the edge of the glass.
S: Dark fruits, roasted malt, raisins, spices, with boozy notes.
T: Toasted malt, sweet dark fruits, pepper and spices with some grassy hop notes in the finish.
M: Very mellow and smooth. Alcohol slightly warms the palate but never burns. Carbonation is soft and pleasant.
D: A very drinkable barlywine. A bit weak maybe, but delicious none the less. Alcohol is present but by no means hot or uncomfortable. The hops are balanced with the toasted malt and fruit flavors, but they add a nice subtle grassy bite in the finish. This is a good gateway to the style (not that I'm an expert). I would recommend giving it a try.

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Photo of GregPearson33
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Color is a dark amber brown topped with a fluffy one-finger head of miniscule, tightly laced foam bubbles. The appearance actually threw me off as I had expected it to pour a much darker complexion.

Smell was typically strong and hinted at a sweet taste, possibly with a hint of berry? The flavor cheerfully reflected the pleasant aroma; it is robust and malty with roasted toffee-vanilla notes tinged with what I can only describe as a sour raspberry flavor? Currant? Regardless, the body maintains a surprisingly light mouth-feel given the ABV (10% or so). It finishes fairly crisp and smooth, followed by a lingering but welcome aftertaste.

It's been a while since I've tried a Barleywine and until I split this glass with my brother I thought it was a style that had no personal appeal. I can't deny that Anchor did a fantastic job with this beer though -- I definitely recommend that everyone give it a try!

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Photo of j37geogaddi
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one has a typical barleywine appearance; pours relatively flat and has a red tint to its brown color.

Smells of raisin and sweet caramel malt- really nice.

Very smooth cinnamon, caramel malt taste. No real hint of the 8.2 alcohol content, but it does taste like its meant to be drank slowly. The flavors are relativly complex and you can definitely detect the hop bitterness in the backround. It's incredibly tasty and one of the best examples of its style.

The beer has a thick enough mouthfeel to show off its flavors very well but its on the lighter side of barleywines. It's not too thick, yet by no means thin.

As many of these as I could probably throw back myself, because of its style, most people won't want to drink too many of them. That said, as barleywines go, it is as drinkeable as they get.

Again, I think Anchor pegged the style perfectly. As an English Barleywine, one of my favorite styles, you expect the sweetness and the fruit tones, but this has just the right balance of hops just to remind you it is still a beer, and a great one at that. Fritz Maytag of Anchor brewing is a known craft beer legend, and this beer is to me, their most under rated offering. My hats off to to them-

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a rich mahogany into a medium wine glass. Looks ruby-brownish when held to light. Its thin, 1-finger head dissipates quickly. A thin, sticky lacing clings to the glass as the beer goes down my gullet.

S: Caramel-toffee with a big, roasty malt aroma. Also some black currant, anise, and definitely some brown sugar and cinnamon hints. A very sweet, almost port-like aroma.

T: Sweet barley malarmey! Rich malt sweetness dominates this brew. A very liqueur- like quality with heavy brown sugar accents are present. Definitely a dessert-style sipper. Fruit flavors include raisin and fig. I would really appreciate a little more hop bitterness to balance out the huge malt presence, but the lack of hop flavor certainly doesn't ruin the taste. Just a little booziness is detectable near the end of a sip. Medium carbonation.

M: I really enjoy the feel of this beer. It is really creamy with a medium-heavy sweetness that coats the entire palate. Sticky-icky (in a good way).

D: The sweetness of it leads me to not give it a great rating... I really enjoyed about the first 2/3 of the brew, but the last 1/3 was just a little too sweet and sticky. One and done for me, thank you, and I'll probably enjoy another in a couple of months or so.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours into a tulip glass a deep brown with orange highlights. Big creamy off-white head leaves some serious lacing throughout the session.

Smells of grain and sweet hard candies. Notes of preserved fruits and slight alcoholic vapors.

Tastes very sweet and malty with just a bit of flowery hop bitterness. Very fruity. Big big malty sweetness and a delightful warmth brought on by the considerable (and deceitfully well-hidden) ABV.

Fairly thick mouthfeel, mitigated slightly by the aggressive carbonation. A little syrupy.

To me, the Old Foghorn is extremely tasty, but I find it to be a bit much. Not an example of what I consider "drinkable".

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

Poured into a large wine glass it produces a 10 mm head that leaves light lacing. The appearance is ruby amber and clear. The aroma is of sweet malt and fruity-earthy hops. The taste delicious, complex with sweet roasted malts, black currants, and perhaps some coriander. The feel is medium bodied with a clean finish and nice alcoholic warmth.

This is an excellent ale for sipping after a good meal.

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Photo of schoolcb
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant dark amber with ruby highlights and a tan head that stood up fairly well. Complex toasty malt notes, and earthy hops make up the bulk of the aroma. Big malt flavor, again toasty, with a sweet caramel like bite. Earthy hop flavors. A little bit of alcohol flavor is noted. Is well carbonated, the head persisted given the alcohol level. The sweet toasty malt profile carries well into the aftertaste but has enough hop bitterness to keep it from being sickly sweet.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Meantime tulip. GDP punched in the back of the label. No further info/date.

Thanks to Sweemzander for this bottle!

A - A hazy, muddy pond-water brown pours out with a low cream head. Poor retention left a lace ring and bubble halo.

S - Roasted amber malts with toasted bread and caramel on the nose right away. A little dry leaf earthiness pokes out with a mellow, warm alcohol nose. A modest spiciness finishes the aroma. Small floral and fruit notes later on.

T - While the malts are still strong with toasted bread and caramel, a slightly tart and spicy alcohol flavor takes the lead. Earthy undertones develop through the flavor of the beer and culminate at the dry finish.

M - It's a medium-full bodied barleywine with a little tart zest interlaced with a crisp carbonation kick. The dry spicy finish ends with a complex warming note.

D - This is a very nice sipping barleywine from Anchor. Depth and complexity give it a thought-provoking aura and it's one hell of a brew to sip while I work on design!

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, goblet, the enduring and silly Anchor bottling code on this bottle reads '9GJ' meaning 8/10/2009. This bottling says 9.4% abv, as opposed to BA's 8.8% above.

A ruddy, copper red with a yellow custard tinted head. The foam isn't long lasting. Very clear, not bottle conditioned.

Raspberry, sugary sweet, caramel malt is powerful on the nose. Flowery, berryish hops.

We carry on with a very raspberry inspired caramel malty sweetness. It isn't as if fruit were added to this beer but there is a decidedly open, fresh fruitiness rather than 'dark fruit' such as currants, raisins, or grapes. Following all the sweetness is buttery diacetyl on dry crackers. Almost tasting oats. Floral and slightly chalky light bitterness follows this. Finish drys and alcohol becomes apparent with great sweetness.

Even with a finish that drys more every sip its one of the first beers I've reviewed that I can place the adjective cloying on. The carbonation is at a nice clean level but the body is too heavy with caramel malts.

This may be a great beer to cellar or it may not be. If the caramel malts would assimilate with the fruitiness that would be a pleasant change. Losing the hops would unbalance it severely on the other hand. Too sweet, give me more English hops.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/25/2009. Been sitting in my cellar since about May.

Pours a copper amber color with ruby highlights around the edges. About 2 fingers of khaki head is produced, with decent retention but lacing is lacking.

The nose is very sweet and malty. Hops are definitely faded. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare this too, but I don't think that the fresh hop level of this matches that of other common barleywines such as Big Foot. Very sweet.

Tastes sweet again, but this time the hops come out just a little bit more. Floral and piney, with a light bitterness nearly swallowed up by the sweet malts. Actually more bitterness than I gave it credit for in the nose, the hops held up surprisingly well.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, with a rather high carbonation. A little heavier than I would have expected. Drinkability is ok, but a little too sweet for me.

Overall, a good barleywine, but not a great one. I have a sixer or two of this and will sit on it longer to see if the sweetness mellows out a little and allows the other qualities of the malts to come through. I think this has great potential, but for the price of nearly $3 a bottle I think I'll pass in the future.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle code says this was bottled in January 09

Pours a 2 finger cappuccino colored head. Body is a dark amber color with little light passing through. Head retention and lacing are average at best

Smell is of sweet syrupy malts and honey. Dont know why I get the smell of honey in alot of barleywines but I do. Hops are faint and so is alcohol.

Taste is of sweet syrupy malts and some diacetyls. There are also some floral hops in the background. Bitterness is surprisingly present for a year old bottle. Alcohol is tame for 9 percent

Mouthfeel is aggressively carbonated for this style. Body has a nice thick consistency but there is no head which would have been nice.

Overall good beer. Drinkability was good for a barleywine. Not the best barleywine I've had but a steal for 3 dollars a bottle. Will buy some more to age for acouple years

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

No freshness date, but I believe this is a rather fresh sample.

A: Pours a deep, clear ruby red color with a nice off white head that has faded to a ring around the surface of the beer.

S: A great sweet, fruity fresh aroma. Brown sugar and a healthy does of alcohol are in the forefront. A trailing hop bitterness is also apparent in the nose.

T: A very complex and very smooth flavor to this one. Caramel and butterscotch are present along with some flavors of dates. Some alcohol is noticeable, and it provides a warming sensation which is accompanied by a hoppy bitterness.

M: Very nice smooth mouthfeel with quite a bit of carbonation to it, which I am enjoying. This is a full bodied beer that is leaving a coating in my mouth.

D: While there is some alcohol is present in the nose and taste of this beer it does not detract from the drinkability.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Head seemed slightly too slippery to be clinging well, and just smell speckles stick. 1 finger creamy, light brown/tan head. Caramel in color. Nice thick, dense ring around rim the keeps entire time.

Huge malts, and caramel. I think this one smells great. A sweet malty caramel. Alcohol is there but not overpowering anything else in any way.

This has the usual good BW taste, with a nice hop bite. Lots of caramel and some hoppiness. Nice alcohol touch, without burn. Candied sugar sweetness, but its not syrupy. Fine tasting BW. I also taste some kind of mild fruitiness. Toothpaste? No.

The mouthfeel is only mildly syrupy and is good overall.

Give this one a try for sure. Im pleased with this one.

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

A - Pours a nice dark reddish orange with half a finger of creme head that dissipates to a pile of bubbles.

S - A bit of citrusy hop aroma mixed in with some caramel malts. Some rum soaked pears as well.

T - Toffee and caramel up front with a bit of hops in the back. A nice sweetness laced throughout. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be, which is a good thing. A nice warming afterward. Some fruits in here too. Alcohol well hidden.

M - Nice full bodied, creamy

D - One of the first few barleywines I've had. I knew there was a reason I've been becoming more curious about barleywines as of late, and its because of treasures like this. Makes me think I may prefer the English style over the American style of barleywines.

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

This poured a clear dark copper with some tan head. It smelled like sweet caramel and rusty copper with some bready yeast and honey wheat and nutty malt. It tasted like copper and caramel and nutty malt, with some sweet raisin and bready yeast. It was oily with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was pretty tasty with nice body. It hid the alcohol well too, so it wasn't difficult to drink. It had surprisingly sharp hops to balance the very sweet malt, but aging this could turn this into a great malt bomb. Fresh, this is a nice drinkable barleywine, although not too exciting.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange, old copper, and is opaque with a modest off-white head. Little or no lace is deposited on the tulip glass, despite continuous carbonation throughout.

The aroma is dominated by fresh oranges with caramel, spruce and nutmeg. As it warms, pineapple comes into the fore.

This one opens with light bitterness and is surprisingly well balanced for a barleywine. It basically follows the nose, replacing orange with fresh figs. The finish is gentle and lingering, tilting from bitter to sweet and back again for a long while.

The alcohol is present on the palate, however, this medium-bodied beer with a slick texture and prickly carbonation is quite satisfying.

This is easily consumable and more suited to an afternoon or a meal than most barleywines and less suited for late night contemplation.

Time was a good friend to Old Foghorn. Three years of cellaring was definitely worth the wait as the character comes through and the sharpness has been mellowed out.

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

Poured from tap into a smaller lager glass, decent tan head and a nice hazy brown color at that in the body.

Smelled of sweet fruit, caramel, very light cherry or plum presence, dark fruit and a nice toasted sugar presence.

Tasted very similar to the smell. The only thing I did not expect was a slightly dry finish. At 8% abv though, this beer certainly held its weight and is deserving of a standby position in your fridge if you have not had this before. There is a slight alchohol presence - I have read that this does not age magnificently in the past, but have never had it. At 8% I assume that this on is ready to drink on spot - very similiar IMO to an Old Ale even though they are technically very close -

BW or Old Ale - you make the decision.... I say old ale on this one, but it is good in either category

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Photo of hosehead83
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a twelve ounce "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass
Deep amber in color with a big, two-inch, off-white head of foam
Aroma-Malt, and subtle fresh hops
Taste-Malty, fruity, with a faint, but noticeable, hop backbone that lends a nice balance to the overall flavor of this brew.
Very pleasant and tasty, and one of the easier drinking barleywines out there, in my humble opinion. Certainly worth a try!

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, it's been a long time! I have continued to seek out great beer and taste some of the best beers in the world but have not done a review since Sept...

12 oz. great looking bottle poured into an oversided wine glass (no snifter on hand for the tasting).

A- Light mahogany brown. The color of brown sugar and caramel. Nice little bubbly tan head floating on the top of the glass- sediement floating- carbonation quite evident.

S- Smell was very sugary sweet- caramel, chocolate, alcohol, cherry, dark fruit.

T- This was one of the more drinkable BW's I have ever tasted. Extremely sweet yet complex. The hop notes were very faint. Caramel, dulce de leche ice cream flavors, cherries, prunes. Alcohol was well hidden.

M- Chewy and slick.

D- Easy drinking BW (if one does exist- this is it). Classic brew!

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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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