Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn
1,993 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,993 |  Reviews: 1,069
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

 304 characters

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
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...

 836 characters

Photo of ricke49
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

 771 characters

Photo of Natural510
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 584 characters

Photo of bret27
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

 573 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
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!

 334 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

 757 characters

Photo of webmanspidey
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 656 characters

Photo of wl0307
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

 1,972 characters

Photo of dmamiano
3.02/5  rDev -23%
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.

 282 characters

Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

 767 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a nice mahogany color, decent head to it.. moderate lacing. Odd aroma to it... definitely get a huge whiff of chocolate (more than most chocolate stouts I've tried!) and some raisin/plum smells. First impression on the taste is the hotness of the alcohol.. wow this is like a mixed drink. Not saying I don't like it but this is like DFH 120 min. territory. A little on the thin bodied side, which is surprising. Lots of flavors going on.. mostly getting that chocolate though, which I just never expected to be getting from a barley wine, tastes a little out of balance to me too... just too much going on. Interesting to try, and it will definitely leave you pretty buzzed. I was expecting better to be honest though, I've had a lot better barley wines but this one gets points for being different I guess (this is in no way a hop bomb like SN.. reminds me more of Brooklyns Monster Ale).

 900 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has been a long time coming. Chris made me grab a couple last May, and I'm finally getting around to drinking it.

A: Gorgeous hazy ruby red with a dense, tan head with great retention and nice lacework. Well done, Anchor!

S: Spot on for the style, this one's loaded with bright, citrus hops and backed by plenty of caramel sweetness. There's plenty of hop character for a 16+month old beer! While I'm not particularly enamored with the style, I find this beer very good. Simple and pleasing.

T: Opening up with a lot of citrus and tropical fruit ( papaya) hop flavor and aroma, this beer is pretty darned good. Bitterness is reserved, and the dominant flavor characteristics are from the malt that's got caramel and notes of figs. Finishes on the drier side, with some hop bitterness. Good.

M: Surprisingly full bodied for the ABV, this beer is smooth on the palate with prickly carbonation. Good finish too!

D: I'm going to nurse this as I fall asleep tonight.

**Edit 02 September 2012**
Drinking my other bottle of the 08 vintage. The nose is very floral - rose hips, sherry, toffee, burnt sugar, a little nutty as well. The palate is quite fruity but also has quite an array of caramelized sugar notes - burnt sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, toffee and caramel. Still very fruity, this has aged quite gracefully, with plums, raisins and figs present. Very nice. 4/3.5/4

 1,387 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


12oz bottle with twist-off cap. batch code 8AQ. tasted in early may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark copper w ruby amber tones. gemstone clear. 1-finger tan head, but fades to wisps, then just a ring. lacing never sticks, no matter how i try to tilt the glass.

aroma: moderately citrusy hops with hint of pine and grassiness. caramel maltiness with hint of honey and apple.

taste: caramel and apple, balanced by mildly citrusy, faintly piney, somewhat grassy, boldly bitter hops, but everything's all just a tad watered down. some alcohol along with faint fusel and phenol peeks in at the end.

light to medium body, smooth enough, but with some watery thinness too. resins in finish, plus alcohol (and phenols again?), which makes the otherwise moderate carbonation a bit too prickly.

ok, obviously that bottle from two years back was spoiled or something. this one is decent enough, and deserves mention as a pioneer in american craft brewing. but it's now been overshadowed by all the newcomers, and seems thin in comparison.

OLD REVIEW 8-30-07

poured into brandy snifter. nice dark copper color, decent head, but it dissapates very quickly.

aroma is fruity and alcoholic. melon? cherry? papaya?

mouthfeel is thick, perhaps due to the nearly 9% abv.

the taste however just didn't jive with me. there was the initial sweet fruitiness, maybe even lychees. but in the end it just became too medicinal and chemical for me.

maybe a bad batch? or maybe needs more aging. we'll see...?

 1,560 characters

Photo of charlzm
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 07/01/09 at 38 Degrees Alhambra. Noted on menu as 6.0% ABV.

Deep burnished copper beer. Very fine off-white head.

Aroma is fresh bread sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick, though not oily or coating.

Flavor is well-defined, though not as strong as I had anticipated (feared?). Medicinal character mingles with yeasty dark bread (wheat/rye) and sweet malts (made me think of molasses, but that's not it). No bitterness to note.

Fairly low in ABV and, with the restrained flavor, quite drinkable.

 499 characters

Photo of jizdepski
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a non chilled goblet from tap. color is a bright mahogany hue, beaneath a cream colored head. minimal retention, and less lacing from the head. smells are of malts, figs, and raisin. the taste was quite complex, more than expected. it was sweet, with a tart-like hop bitterness underneath. caramel, fruits, and malts add nice balance to the alcohol and hops. this ones pretty medium bodied, without too much carbonation. as far as drinkability, it scores well for the style. this went down smooth and easy. very enjoyable and the best widely available barley wine i've had.

 585 characters

Photo of strengthdoc
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Very nice aroma of apricot and raisin. The color is hazy amber/ruby. There is a very sweet and malty raisin taste from the beginning that stays pretty consistent until the finish when a very mild hoppiness comes in. There is the typical anchor bitterness in the aftertatste but it is joined by a much too sweet and syrupy feel in the mouth.

 340 characters

Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. If I'm reading the date stamp right, it was bottled on May 20, 2009. Ooh, I got a fresh one.

A: Ruby red body with a nice big head.

S: Caramel, raisins, Cascade hops.

T: An American barleywine that's balanced right out the gate? Stop the presses! There's lots of caramel and dark fruits, but there's just enough citrusy hoppiness to balance it out. Aftertaste is bread and cherries.

M: Middle of the road in body and carbonation.

D: A classic that still stands out as one of the better examples of the style. I can only imagine how shocking this must have been to American tastebuds in 1975.

 630 characters

Photo of damienblack
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent dark amber, nice bubbles racing to the top. Thin head that dissipates quickly. On the nose, I get alcohol soaked berry, some graham cracker. Not a lot of hops. Taste echoes this. Not hoppy at all, for an american BWine. Lots of sweet malt, with a sharp twang near the back palate. A bit on the boozey side, and the mouthfeel is pretty slick, and only moderately cloying. Seems a lot less chewy than a lot of other Barleywines. I'd put this one on the heavier side of medium. Regardless, a nice little sipper.

 528 characters

Photo of BitterPachyderm
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some reviews mean a bit more to me than others, and this is one of those reviews. Anchor is the epitomy of what all craft brewers hope to accomplish. They have that much needed staying power to last and withstand the culture changes and the social changes and yet still remain relevant in the beer world. So without further ado...

Cute little 12 oz. bottle, with a freshness date I cannot read, poured into my SN pint glass. I will probably have this in a snifter or oversized wine glass the next time for aesthetic reasons, but this will do for now.

With a somewhat gentle pour, I begin to stare at a towering mound of tiny tan bubbles and foam, about five fingers. It doesn't have much lacing, but does have some decent legs. That head is absolutely gorgeous! The body is a perfect auburn with strong ruby highlights showing throughout the glass. Looks like a solid barleywine.

At first it seemed a little light on the pine, which is something that seems to always be the domination factor in the aroma of barleywines. They went heavy on the spice factor. I can make out all kinds of spices, from nutmeg to cinammon to allspice. It also has a woodiness to it that is very unique, considering it isn't barrel aged (right?).

Lots of wood up front on this one, with the pine making it's presence known in the finish. A solid sweetness in every ounce of this beer; tart cherries, sweet figs, and nuts are dominating my tongue...almost medicinal and herb(ish).

Slightly low on the carbonation, but the syrupiness makes up for it. It almost has an oiliness to it that makes it incredibly smooth.

So smooth and complex, that if I was at a bar, I would have shouted, "Hey barkeep! Pour me another...and send a couple that way!" This was incredibly drinkable.

As a classic, I knew it was going to be good, but not THIS good. Bold and complex, yet smooth and old fashioned, there is so much going on with this beer. No wonder Anchor has lasted this long. I'm going to have to buy a case of this every year, because I can tell it's going to age with the best of them. Would like to see this in a blind taste test with SN Bigfoot. You can tell that they are different, but I'm curious who would win.


 2,206 characters

Photo of montecristo2
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in an oversized merlot style wine glass.

Little to no head at first pour that dissipates to nothing after a few minutes.

Color is rusty with a slightly cloudy appearance.

Viscous mouthfeel, a bit of alcohol on the finish. Some sweet fruits(prunes?) as the beer warms.

Malty, very little hop presence here, but to be expected from a barleywine.

I generally like Anchor's beers, this is good example of an American barleywine, however I remember tasting more caramel last time I drank it-perhaps I had it too cold upon serving.

As others have said, an expensive 6 pack, something like $18. Not something to buy often, but a good one to have in your collection. Ages well.

 682 characters

Photo of jackofclubs
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

i havent had too many barleywines before but anchor is one of my top breweries easy drinking big head quickly fades to nothing its good but i wish there was more hops. i feel like bigfoot had more to it. it might be me but im not getting to much from the aroma.

 261 characters

Photo of flexabull
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a 2006 bottle for .99 cents! And this has been a beer that I don't think I've ever tried. I have always balked at the high six pack price.

Pours a muddied brown color with a faint white head.

Aromas are quite spicy, some deep dark stewed fruits, brown sugar, and light booze.

Taste has a light cream and dark sugar malt flavors. Beer then settles into light booze, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol. Finish is crisp, with a very light mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is nice, full enough, and with a nice smooth feel.

Drinkability is quite good. This is a nice English Style Barleywine that goes down easy, but has nice smooth flavors.

 643 characters

Photo of u2carew
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A) Transparent. pours with a half inch head then settles to the outside edge. Visible carbonation.
S) Caramel and toffee aromas mixed with some alcohol.
T) Alcohol is noticeable via it's effervescence. Sweet notes of molasses. Some herbal spiciness.
M) Slightly syrupy. Thick and chewy. Full bodied. Despite visible carbonation, fairly smooth.
D) Basic run of the mill barleywine. A decent brew, but not a standout.

 415 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish copper with large white head that took forever to die. A yeasty, funky malt smell of caramel and other sugary sweetness...leads to a bit of woodiness mixed with some floral, grassy hops also. Smooth and creamy mixed w/ hop bitterness that leads to a dry, warming beer (ABV makes itself known) that has sweet tastes as well as some fruit flavors. A little rough as not completely balanced, but a good beer nonetheless.

 434 characters

Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,993 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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