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 Wetpaperbag
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been sitting for a year.

A- Wonderful dark golden brown with a one inch head.

S- The smell is great and very noticeable from a distance. Dark fruits, molasses, woodyness, bubble gum, and a slight booze presence.

T- This has a decent taste, sweet, fruity, similar to a quad almost in flavors and tastes only less carbination.

M- There is a spicyness that stings a bit on the tongue. But has great feel in the mouth, with a nice long lasting aftertaste.

D- Very drinkable. It would be interesting to see how this would be fresh.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, full, reddish-brown color. The tan head is fairly tall, dense, and frothy. Retention is good, with some frothy lace left along the glass.

S: Toffee and caramel are prominent - it smells rather sweet. Some citric hops, along with a dose of dried/preserved fruit. A definite dash of alcohol is also evident.

T: Firm notes of toffee and caramel malt. Again, citric hops provide some flavor. There are dried fruit notes - maybe some raisin. Some alcohol definitely enters the picture as you drink - halfway through, I'm feeling some warm fuzziness.

M: Thick, syrupy, and full-bodied. Soft, creamy carbonation. A considerable flush of alcoholic heat into the finish.

D: A very nice, old-school barleywine from Anchor. Well balanced and undeniably tasty. This has been the coldest day so far this fall, and I don't mind sipping this after work at all.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Foghorn has an interesting overall quality to it.

It is a dark amber with little head, maybe two centimeters.
Smells of dark fruits and alcohol.
Taste is a bit exciting to me, it has the familiar taste of barley wine styles and has that strong alcohol taste that I love.
A little thin for a barley wine but still delicious.

I would buy again.

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Photo of Vengeance526
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown color with a small head that lasts for a little while before slowly fading away and leaving moderate lacing.

Sweet aroma of dried fruit with caramel, sugar and an overall sweet malty feel.

Taste reveals notes of dried fruit with a lesser degree of citrus and cherries along with caramel and some slightly spicy hops in the background. Slightly boozy in the finish.

Medium to full bodied with appropiate amount of carbonation. I haven't been the biggest fan of Anchor in the past, but they really impressed me here. A nice sipper that seems to just get better as it warms.

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

A- Lighter than expected for a Barleywine. A slight head of off white foam that leaves noticeable lacing.

S- Very balanced. Slight alcohol and malt notes. Hop aroma is present, but not a key player.

T- Surprisingly drinkable. Balance is very enjoyable. Would definitely purchase again.

M- Surprisingly crisp. Good amount of body.

D- Very enjoyable experience. Likely my favorite Barleywine.

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

The old foghorn beer was the (temporarily) replacement of the hard to get Sam Smith Strong Golden Barley wine on my personal beer-menu.

Poured into a Westvleteren glass. The beer pours a dark brown, amber color, with an off-beige-white head.

Smell: caramel, toffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, sweet malts and fruits (peach, plum). One will understand, very sweet in general.

Taste: Malty and sweet in general. Dark fruits are present, caramel, some hops that give the beer a slight unexpected bitterness, orange peel, vanilla, toffee and some hints of cherries. The beer has a great maple syrup taste in the aftertaste, together with some hops and warming alcohol, very, very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thick bodied, medium carbonation

Overall: There are so many different flavors in this beer, that it is easy to miss one or two. Maybe even a bit too complex, especially compared to my favorite Barley wine, the Sam Smiths golden. That one is less complex, one can easily name the ingredients, and much more balanced. As usual, a simple beer with a very long history beats the beer that is newer and overdone in ingredients, brewed just to be complex. But don't misunderstand me, it is still a very very good barley wine!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange with a decent beige head, some lacing.

Scents of fermented fruit, raisins, cookie dough, spice, sweet caramel, and malt. Nice.

Sweet malt, caramel, spices, woody chemical alcohol, toasted grain, booze-soaked dark stone fruit, dried fig. Hop bite is up front, but not monster. But still there, be sure.

A little thinner than expected, but this aids in drinkability. Easy to sip, and actually rather clean in the finish. No tart or off flavors. This was a real decent one. Good for cold night.

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

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: Pretty ruby red color with a lighter and slightly off-white head. Thick raindrops around the glass, a head staying slightly above the body.

Smell: Whiffy of estery booze, along with some sherry notes, caramel, cookie dough, and mild chocolate. And there's a lot of earthy hops / fruit / esters going on, and coupled with all the malty sweetness, the balance is nice and visceral. Lots going on, and I like it a lot.

Taste: Big bold flavors, more so than many domestic English version I've had. There's a huge level of spiciness of an almost puckering nature that I really like -- almost a hop sourness coupled with big fruit esters. Lots of earthy citrus and grapefruit, along with some earthy citrus and cherry. These aren't sugar-coated malts and estery notes; the hops are there, alive and kicking. Finish is long and there's much going on, even some cookie dough and caramel malts kicking in with the hops.

Mouthfeel: A little heavy, but there's a good squinching attack of carbonation at the end, and it seems coating more than cloying or sugary. I think they did a good job with this all around.

Drinkability: These days I prefer the English over American styles, mostly because of the more malty and estery attack rather than some of the super-hopped barley wines, and this is certainly the former. Quality, quality stuff. Tons of flavor with a good visceral spiciness which makes this one more of a sipper than many. I wish I could find this more often.

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Photo of corby112
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/light chestnut brown color with a thin white foamy head that immediately fades into nothingness with not trace of lacing.

Strong alcohol aroma with a nice leathery malt presence as well as hints of dark fruit, cherry, pear strawberry and grape. I'm pleasantly surprised by the amount of fruit I'm picking up.

Nice balanced with sweet alcohol and earthy malts. Pretty sweet with the fruit notes from the aroma coming into play. Nice hop presence which is severely lacking in many examples of this style. Hints of vanilla, caramel, cherry, grape and other light fruit with a slight alcohol warmth in the finish.

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Photo of GregoryShmegory
3.39/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured out of the refrigerator into a point glass. Appearance is very attractive; a deep, bold red that glows in the light. Surprisingly clear too. Smells like a standard Barley wine with sweet malts and alcohol overpowering any hop presence. Initial taste is sharp, bold, sweet, strong and intense. Finishes with a feint smokiness that pleases the palate. As the beer warms the flavors blend together nicely. A good Barleywine, worth having again.

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Photo of cnally
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a wicked looking beer. Beautiful rosy brown hazy, but still transparent...with a initially massive tannish head. But inside the beer is a cloudy dark wisp of residue, which looks like a dust devil or twister.

The aroma is musty, malty and appley...tannin qualities and a bit spicy.

Very malty, oaky, old ale flavored, with a mildly bitter flavor.

Creamy feel but also dry.

Sneaky alcohol, of course but maybe a bit low for a barleywine. Very tasty and great to marvel at.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Wow! at first it is simply a deep reddish/brick/amber, but up to the the light it is a warm hazy peach nectar shade of reddish orange. As I've compared other beers to the sun or sunsets, I believe all beers up to the light resemble some portion of the day, perhaps in relevance to what time is best they are to be drank (RIS at deep black in the night, a deep barleywine like this in the evening, and maybe a refreshing pils on a hot afternoon day) Nice little off white head that dissipates to a moderately paced disappearing lace

S- Very strong, I can smell it from a few feet away as it rises out of my oversized wine glass. Upon placing my nose to the glass, first a sweet maltiness that immediately for some reason brought Celebrator to my sense memory. Then a hint of liquorice, followed by a faint sting of alcohol in the nose. Esters, Dried fruit on second smell.

T- Very nice taste to it. nothing overbearing. It is a very nice balance of sweet malt at the tip of the tongue and slowly rolls into a hoppy bitter finish that seems to last forever. Other taste notes: at first a little buttery piecrust or shortbread diacetyl, it is a little herbal, a touch phenolic,

M- It has a good thickness to it and chewiness that I really enjoy in a beer. Has the right amount of sweetness that quickly fades so it is very enjoyable. Moderate carbonation. This is a stronger beer, but is in no way overpowering

D- Thumbs up. This is a strong beer, but in my opinion it is sessionable, but as it is a barleywine, it could be a short sesh!

Overall impression: I was turned off to the Anchor Brewery, even as a Rhode Islander who of course must be infatuated with anchors. I had their porter a long time ago when I wasn't that into beer. This was a gamble for me as I had a bad memory affiliation with the label. I'm glad I found this though.Delicious. It isn't too dark, as I find most of the beers I like are. This is a welcome change. It is beautiful to look at (important to me) and it is a beautiful experience to drink it. I really enjoy this beer, only bought one as a taster, but will definitely buy more soon, and I have changed my position on the brewery. More Anchors please!

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Photo of Trappissed
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First thing I have to mention is the mouthfeel. Far too syrupy and thick, even for the style. Also feels and tastes more alcoholic than the 8.8% would lead me to believe. However the flavor itself is quite good and different. Very sweet, candied, and some hints of hazelnut and figs. Maple syrup and caramel. Extremely malty.

There are better English Barley Wines, but this is worth trying. Kind of cool that these come in 6-packs, as I am used to getting 22 oz or 750 ml for the style. I have one more in the fridge and going to cellar the remaining four and see what happens.

Updated tasting from 1/6/10:

I guess 4 months can make a difference. Much smoother and alcohol has eased down some. Still retains all the great flavors mentioned before. I would give it an A- based on the aged tasting.

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Photo of SamN
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Foghorn in a bottle, purchased from Wilbur's in the Fort. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Pours clear ruby red, lots of visible carbonation, little to no head.

Smells of astringent, strong sweetness, a little hoppy. Not wholly appetizing.

Taste is quite strong; bit of alcohol in the front, gives way to strong hops and bitter notes, grains, finishes with more alcohol burn and a nice, almost fruity finish that lingers for a second before disappearing without a trace. Not bad!

Medium-full body with very little carbonation to speak of. Smooth texture.

Drinkability is better than other barleywines I've had, but this is a sipper for someone with time to kill. Not a session brew.

Overall, I'm happily underwhelmed with this beer; I was preparing myself for a kick in the mouth, but found it to be a much more subdued version of the style. I'm gonna get another one a stash it for a year or two and give it another go.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.83/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick white head. Aroma of sweet caramel malts, sweet potato, molassess, cinnamon, and allspice. Flavor is very similar to the aroma but perhaps not as sweet. Lots of caramel malt and sweet potato. Complex but not really that good. Also quite hard to drink. Meh.

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Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an Apple like reddish Amber color. 1 finger tan head dissolves slowly to a thin froth.

S - lots to talk about here: alcohol up-front (not bad, but noticeable), Fruit, Spices, Prune, Blackberry, Strawberry, pepper, etc. you really get your money's worth on the nose.

T - Alcohol upfront. Prune, Berry, Rasin, black pepper, spices, herbs, banana...malt backbone is complemented by a hopy finnish. nice blend.

M - Chewy mouthfeel. Full bodied for sure. almost creamy! carbonation is a little bit over the top for the style, but not disliked.

D - as a barleywine, this is obviously a sipper. it's got a solid malt backbone, which is complemented nicely by a slightly above average hop content for an english BW. I actually like the additional hops. I like sweet, but balanced. this was pretty darn good. i'll have it again...

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Photo of ricke49
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Transparent orange. pours with a full inch, very creamy head

Smell - Caramel and fruit aromas mixed with minimal hint of alcohol.

Taste - Sweet, fruity, spicy with just enough hops to tame the sweetness. Definitely an English style BW, as opposed to American BW.

Mouthfeel - like it says on the label, good for an after dinner sipping session. This is to be sipped to be enjoyed. Slightly chewy; definitely full-bodied. Very smooth.

Overall drinkability - a classic to appreciate time and time again.

Update 4/2016, enjoying a 12/2014 bottling: appreciate the relatively low abv compared to other EBW; nice to be able to consume a couple and still go about ones business. Tough to find several of my favorite EBW's - but can alway count on this one.

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Photo of Natural510
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color which is actually a bright red when held to light. Foam disappears quickly, but it does leave a nice lacing as it goes down.
A syrupy sweetness to the nose; hints of fruit such as apple and plum.
Rich flavor; layers of sweet malt balanced by a nice hop undertone. Molasses, red apple and a hint of raisin. Yeast can be detected as well. Alcohol well-hidden
Full-bodied, while remaining highly drinkable. Goes down easy for a barleywine.
This is the stuff! Bold but not too heavy; an all-occasion barleywine which goes down easy but retains its character throughout.

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Photo of bret27
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red/brown, hot much head, but a little lace out of a snifter. Ruby red through the light.

Smell: fruity sweetness, toffee

taste: sweet, balanced w/hoppiness, but the sweet maltiness really powers through.

Body/Aftertaste: solid but not viscious, light hop tingle down sides of tongue. Nice little alcohol at the end w/sweetness.

Overall: About 1/4 through the bottle hits you w/the classic alcohol light warming sensation. Very tasty and drinkable for a barleywine. Not the most extreme but a classic and time-tested tribute to the english barleywine style.

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Photo of 1759Girl
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance> Clear, medium brown. Lively. No head. Slightly lacy.

Smell>Barley, burnt sugar, mulling spices. MMMmm

Taste>A little more alcohol in the hang than I like, but really very good. Great representation of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel>nothing offensive,nothing amazing.

Drinkability> Why, sure, I'll take another!

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 7/2/09

A - Slightly cloudy & obscured, yet all-the-while transparent brown. Head dissipates quickly. Lacing is minimal.

S - Potent sweetness in the nose. Almost pine-sol or detergent-like; it's kind of hard to identify.

T - Slight hop bitterness gives way to a rather cloying sweetness. There is a distinct fruit presence - something citrusy that I can't quite pick out. There are also hints of piney earth-tones.

M - Decent carbonation; swirling the glass revives some bubbles. It has syrupy feel that comes off as medicinal.

D - This bottle is around 6-8 months old (presuming it was new when I bought it). Overall, a non-offensive offering. However, it is a bit too sweet & syrupy for me to drink more than one at a time.

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Photo of webmanspidey
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle.. poured into a DFH snifter.

A cloudy burnt orange/brown color, light carbonation on top but not much in terms of head. There's a very sweet smell here: honey, sugarglaze, caramel, and mild alcohol. I can find some piney hops somewhere in the background.

Taste is pretty darn sweet and alcoholic. Very sugary and caramel-like without much in terms of hops or bitterness. Some slightly fruity and perfume-like flavors pop in there as well. The alcohol is little more present than most would probably like, but this is pretty tasty and enjoyable.

This is not one of the better barleywines I've had, but it isn't bad and overall a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of wl0307
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted during a horizontal tasting of two American Barley Wines, the other one being the Flying Dog "Horn Dog" (F); BB OCT 09, served only faintly chilled in Hapkin's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: pours a lightly murky, dark russet hue, coming with faint carbonation and a gradually dissipating beige froth, settling slowly to a rim on the top.
S: aromatic hops, dense honey-ish malts and semi-astringent estery fruits (featuring raisins, prunes, and oxidised pineapples as in a yeasty strong English ale) come in abundance, not short of the typical bouquet of US hops and citric hops, and crystal+pale malts. In a way the aroma is reminiscent of quite a few top-quality English barley wines that I've had recently, J.W.Lees Harvest Ale being one of them. A swirl yields notes of brandy-flavoured liquor, longan-fruit honey, and an intense aroma of fig jam and brown sugar, but the lightly sharp estery fruitiness lingers always. Thick, rich, aromatic yet also semi-balanced.
T: like an aromatic wine even, the creamy-smooth foretaste is not particularly sweet but scented, scattered with light honey, dried longan-fruits, jasmine flowery, brown prunes, and a decent, integrated malt composition, with the overripe pear-ish fruit-esters playing a secondary role. Quietly and seamlessly, the impact of hops creeps up with more longan-fruits, apples, and fine bitterness, leading towards a slightly herbal and flowery finish as a reminder of the dry-hopping effect. Lightly chewy in the end as well.
M&D: throughout the drink, not a little trace of alc. is detected on my tongue - it drinks just silky smooth and fine on the carbonation. More in line with a well-balanced English barley wine than its American, heavily hopped counterparts, the hops are used in such a skill that a balance overall is beautifully showcased, albeit without surprising flavours or the wow effect. Quite different from (F) tasted alongside, this barley wine is far lighter and easier to enjoy.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.02/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a rather unimpressive hazy orangish color. no head or lacing to speak of.
Very sweet and malty in the nose. This one was a malt bomb, i could tell.
Taste was thick, sweet and rather cloying. Seemed to lack carbonation or something, but this one was just too thick and sweet.

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

A- A nice dark molasses color with small tan head that fades rapidly. Little lacing.

S- A nice toasted malt with maybe some hops. Largely some molasses and toasted bread. Not bad.

T- Can taste the alcohol, a little sweet here. The toasted malt comes through a little bit, but kind of in a supporting role/lingering taste. It's got a big caramel/molasses sweetness to it too. Some raisin flavor. The sweetness overpowers any hop bitterness. This isn't bad, but I like my barleywines with more hops. Some piney/resinous hops are in there, though.

M- Medium body with medium carbonation. Coating. Nothing special, not quite syrupy.

D- I like it, but the sweetness is a little cloying. A nice try at the barleywine, but I'd rather have Old Guardian or BackBurner etc.

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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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