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Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn
Very Good
1,997 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

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Ratings: 1,997 |  Reviews: 1,071
Photo of jar2574
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent beer. The first barleywine I've really enjoyed.

Brown-ruby colored, with a frothy head that sinks slowly and leaves tracks on the side.

Smells malty and fruity, and those are the dominant flavors as well. Some hops, but it's more mellow than hoppy.

Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Would be an excellent dessert beer. Almost like a port.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a braille type date code 6N3. According to Anchor's website this code translates to 2006, November 3.

Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine Ale poured a dark amber color with a very minimal tan head. Aroma and taste is of hops, malty sweetness, estery, fruity, nutty and a toasty caramel flavor. Mouth feel is a little chewy and slick on the tongue with champagne like bubbles.

As usual [for a Barley Wine] the flavor really comes out as it warms from 50 to 60 f. This Old Foghorn is almost 2-years old and has mellowed and become smoother [less hoppy]. Old Foghorn is the old man of American Barley Wine and while I like it, for the price, I feel there are better buys [i.e., Big Foot comes to mind].

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Photo of cjgator3
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz signature short and stubby bottle typical of Anchor brews poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark brownish amber color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt with dark fruits, brown sugar and hints of hops. I am really impressed by the aroma. It is a little on the sweet side, but pretty impressive.

T- The taste starts out with sweet malt and dark fruits, with some hops coming through in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- Not bad, I could drink a couple bottles of this in a sitting. Hides the alcohol pretty well.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with Anchor Old Foghorn. I think it could use a little more hops to balance out the sweetness, but it is a solid barleywine that is recommended.

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Photo of bloberglawp
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, I did not expect such a remarkable beer.

Pours a heavy cooper, a bit of haze but still quite clear, some foam but dissipates down to a shy film, little to no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma of boiled down first runnings, toffee and a elegant nose of fresh hops. Flavor is a burst of true malty heaven, with notes of toffee, candy (black licorice) and a balanced hop bitterness.

Sweet but not cloying, a very memorable barleywine. After this one, some other american barleywines now seem a little to hoppy. This one seems far more balanced without loosing out on some of that american hop caracter.

I'll buy cases of this if I ever get a chance.

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Photo of MisterClean
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Total Wine

A - Dark, reddish brown in color, light, orange head, and dissipates quickly.

S - Orange, honey, malts, and a bit of alcohol.

T - Notes of spiciness, orange, and warming.

M - Very spicy, carbonated, and warming.

D - Good, but a little too warming for my taste.

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Photo of pwoods
4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. stubbish brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a snifter.

A: Deep bronze tinted ruby with good visibility for as dark as it is. A short head forms and dies to a skim with thick edges. Some lacing.

S: Lots of rich, rounded malt sweetness. Some juicy, resinous dark fruits, dates. Some light citrusy hop notes. A pleasant alcohol aroma. Some Old Ale qualities and maybe a bit of ghost like smoky/meaty aromas. Not too much lacing at all.

T/M: Bitterness isn't out of control, nearly assertive but controlled very nicely. More of that great sweetness with some further added caramel and toffee notes and a bit of caramelized bananas. The alcohol is just fantastic. Same hops from the nose as well as that Old Ale quality. Body is medium full and completely lacking of that vinous, syrupy texture. Smoothing carbonation.

D: Very tasty and very drinkable. Not bursting with alcohol like most American Barleywines. I'm gonna buy a couple 6 packs to see how this gradually ages. I'm sure it's fantastic aged but it's gonna be hard to beat fresh... and I'm betting fresh will win in this case. This is the first American Barleywine and should be the model for the rest.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep copper with little to no head. appears syrupy when the glass was swirled.

S- faint odor of alcohol. sweet smell of melon and other fruits. about what i was expecting.

T- the alcohol was just as strong as it smelled. pretty well hidden considering how much their is in here. not as sweet as i was expecting, but the flavors i smelled were in there.

M- syrupy and thick with little or no carbonation present. just how it should be.

D- very nice and mild barleywine without the heavy alcohol presence. this would be easy to have a couple of.

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

I love barleywine, saw this and picked it up.

Poured a deep ruby with a bit of a brown hue. Thin and even tan head.

Smells like carmel and barleywine.

Taste is nice, little bit of malt and carmel, very hoppy with a bit of an alcohol finish. Leaves a nice taste in your mouth. Sweet.

Mouthfeel is good and balanced, perfect weight and goes down easier than other beers at this ABV. Nice job on the carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This is pretty much my go to for barleywines and I'll be buying alot more.

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

12 oz bottle into Orval chalice

A - Light head; smooth pour; brownish cranberry slightly see-through brew; looks nice

S - Pruney; caramely

T-M - Slight malt nose into hoppy barleywine bang; caramel, slight fruit; nice balance; good

D - Could definitely have another. Psyched to see this; wasnt aware of it. Loved it.

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

I enjoyed this beer. Maybe not as aggressive as some American barleywines, but still a good beer. Served in a tulip the beer was a hazy burnt sienna color with a medium tan head. It had a sweet caramel aroma, with some fruit also noticeable. The caramel came through quite well in the taste, as did a little bit of cherry and some late hops. A smooth, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of gpogo
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber with ruby tints and small off-white head that quickly dissipates. Very nice clarity.

A- Bready malty sweetness. Smells of fruitiness as well.

T- Sweet caramel malts. After that initial sweetness a slight amount of bittering comes out, but nowhere near as much as other American Barleywines.

M- Medium body with low carbonation. Finishes very clean, no coating of the mouth. A slight alcohol warmth

D- A very drinkable barleywine, a bit sweet for my taste. Goes down very easily so watch out for that 8.8% abv.

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Photo of YankChef
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into brooklyn snifter glass. This version is 9.6 abv

appearance: dark amber color that was dark caramel colored and an offwhite foamy head that dissipates

Smell: Sweet almost candy like with strong aromas of peach and juicyfruit, also molasses

Taste: Very sweet upfront with flavors of molasses and brown sugar and also fruit in the way of roasted apple and pear, hops present in the way to balance, as it warms they actually become more present and bring a surprising bitterness to the beer.

Overall: A damn decent barley wine that is very tasty and enjoyable. Somewhat complex but not overwhelmingly so. Anchor steam delivers what they are known for, strong solid versions that can be used as benchmarks in a style to compare other beers in the style to.

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Photo of demitriustown
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle: Aroma is almost a sweet caramel apple like scent, definite roasted caramel malt characteristics, and a candy like aroma as well. Pours a dark ruby color with a thick off white head that lingers. Taste has definite got the caramel malt on the forefront, dark fruit like prunes or raisins, the candy note in the aroma is more subdued in the taste, and an almost wiezen like quality. Palate is sweet and nicely carbonated. Overall, This seems really good fresh. I can't wait to see how this is when it ages as well. Cheers!

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

Vintage 2001 (December 7th, 2001, to be precise) from the Brickskeller in DC, enjoyed in the wee hours of June 6th, 2008 in a small 10 oz. goblet.

Appearance: A deep, ruddy brown with no head whatsoever and even less carbonation. It kinda just sloshed out of the bottle and *plop* fell into the bottom of the glass. The lacing it leaves (if it can be called that) is runny and disappears quickly back into the beer from whence it came. I'm attributing half of this to the style, and another 25% to the fact that the beer's over halfway to a decade old.

Aroma: Toffee and anise, some spicy, herbal, vegetal hops, and some estery fruits - raisins - that mix well with the pungent alcohol. A bit of diacetyl is noticeable. It's all very faint, but you'd smell faint after seven years too.

Taste: Lots of big complex fruits, and incredibly sweet - figs, raisins, and dark, wine-like grapes lend a nice, rounded sweetness to the slightly-toasted, fat malt presence. Hop bitterness holds its own, and the Cascades lend some of their tell-tale citrus zest, although by this point, it's understandably faint. There's a bit of oxidized funk, but if there wasn't, I might be somewhat concerned, so it's no biggie. Alcohol is hidden very well for a seven year-old beer, but you can taste it in the finish, spicy and dry.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, but very smooth, like motor oil. Although there's very little carbonation initially, some minor agitation does release a little bit as the sip progresses. The alcohol is incredibly warming in the finish.

Drinkability: Very sweet and very alcoholic, so it's definitely a sipper, but the sweetness isn't cloying or sticky - it's thought-provoking - and the alcohol is expertly hidden, and actually sort of on the low-side for a barleywine (although aging may have changed that, who knows - I left my hydrometer at home). A pleasant after-dinner sipper, this one. I don't know if it's still being made in 7 oz. bottles, but the quantity there was just about perfect.

It's sort of strange to have a beer that's been aged without having first tried a more recent example - it's hard to comment on the quality of this brew without knowing how much of the complexity and harmony is part of the brewing process and how much of it is a result of seven years of yeasties, sandpapering down the rough edges. Regardless of the origins of its taste, however, this beer tastes pretty good, and I'm sure a lot of what a more recent Old Foghorn would lose in complexity it would make up for with a more vibrant appearance, nose, and feel. It's not the best or the most complex barleywine I've ever had, but it's a fine example of the style from a fine brewery, and is worth trying, perhaps simply in honor of the great beginnings of the American craft brewery movement.

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Photo of cyrenaica
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
9.4% ABV

I tried this beer on June 6, 2008 at "The Beer Bistro" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer poured a murky brown colour with a thin white head. The aroma was sweet malt, caramel, rum, and alcohol. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour was sickingly sweet with the alcohol very prevalent. There was some malty and caramel hints as well.

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Photo of boulderglassmonk
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was given a full-sized keg of this beer (only about half full) by an eccentric and rich friend who had grown tired of it. It now graces the entire main compartment of my regular refrigerator as it would not fit in my fridge where my homebrew kegs live. The tag on the tap says it is 8.2% but does not have a year or expiration date.

When poured into a pint glass is has a rich carmel, burgandy color with a medium sized frothy head (this can be altered a bit since we have it on CO2).

It noses a rich sweet, alcohol flavor with a bit of hops that my amateur nostrils cannot yet identify. Very lovely.

Taste is sweet at the beginning and finishes with a full alcohol sensation. There is a lot of orange and carmel flavors within this beer as well as many others that change as it explores your palate.

Mouthfeel is thick and well carbonated. Perfect.

Drinkability: Having had this keg in my house for the last month I can say that while I like it very much, I wouldn't want to drink it day in and day out. I have had to mix it up with some Belgian ales and English creams to be able to get through a half of a keg.

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Photo of iuhophead87
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got lucky and found this at a liquor store here in Indiana.
Poured from a 12oz bottle.

A- Pored a very cloudy red, looked almost smoky in appearance. The light brown head faded quickly and left no tracing along the glass.
S- Wow! There were so many smells it was hard to pinpoint exactly what I was smelling. I could obviously smell caramel, dates, oranges, and hops. The hops were not strong and the sweetness of the other flavors is what you smell the most.
T- Taste is delicious and exactly what I wanted to finish the night off with. A little sweet at first, then fruity, and finally the strength of the alcohol kick in.
M- Very thick and full bodied and could be felt all the way down the throat.
D- Very tasty and would drink this beer often if I could get it easier. Not a session beer, but would have it after dinner often.

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Photo of avaulteriam
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wouldn't call this red, exactly. Appeared more the color of cognac. Had a nose that smelled strongly of alcohol, chocolate, and caramel. The taste was similar, though very English in character. Which is not surprising given the brewery. Not as much alcohol in the mouth as the nose. Caramel and roastiness and chocolate are evident. Overall, a nice enough experience

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

This worthwhile barleywine comes out as a rosey color with an decent off-white head and good lacing. It presents a solid malt and grape and cedar smell. A bit unique and likeable. The flavor is mildly winelike, grape and boysenberry with a touch of licorice. It's fairly drinkable for a barleywine and plenty smooth, medium to full bodied. I liked this one, typical of Anchor, well done.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ Approx. 50 Degrees


Today is my birthday so I'm pulling a couple bottles out to celebrate. This is the first one and it is probably my favorite of all of the Barleywines that are available (that I've tried, obviously).

The color is a dark brown. Dark enough that in a dimly lit room it looks black but if held up to a light it has definite ruby-copper tones.

The nose has malty raisins and a touch of alcohol. I marked it a little lower than I'd like to because it has a soy sauce smell creeping in. Not overpowering, but it's in there.

Malty candied currants and raisins on the tongue. Slight bit of alcohol here, too. Just enough for a nice warming effect.

The feel of it has gotten a bit watery and that dissapoints me. It still tastes great, just a bit thin.

After aging for a couple of years, this is still a very drinkable bottle. If anything, I'd say it's probably more drinkable now (for someone not familiar with Barleywines, anyway) because it has mellowed out and gotten smoother.
I'll have to pull out an '05 soon and check how it's doing.

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Photo of DIPAbrewer
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have tried the 2007 and 2008 versions and have to say that last years was better. Not to worry, after a year or so in the cellar this will also be delicious.

The '08 batch has a nice Burgandy color, its cloudy but has a stiff creamy head.

The aroma is filled with plums and sweet malt, seems to be missing the hop aroma I would expect from an American Barleywine.

The taste is sweet plum, brandy, and spice. Its fairly dry for the style but since it lacks strong hop flavor or bitterness it finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated, not too syrupy, but not too light.

The drinkability is average, its a sipping beer but won't leave you reeling. I would pair it with Maytag Bleu cheese or with a spicy roasted duck dish.

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Photo of rye726
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember this being a little better than it is now. Decent beige head and an amber color. Some fruity malts with faint hops and alcohol. The flavor has some fruit and candy malts, but is fairly light for the style. The medium body is well carbonated. This is a good beer, just not want I want in a barleywine.

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Photo of tpd975
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a nice chestnut brown color with red tints. The head was nice and thick; very creamy. The head lingered and lingered for quite sometime. Nice sheets of lace.

A: Lots of malty sweetness up front. Tons of caramel and toffee. Hints of leather and pipe tobacco. Pine and citrus hops make an enterance as well. Tons of alcohol soaked dark fruits in the finish.

T: Booze from the start. Nothing too overpowering but the alcohol soaked dark fruits were noticeable. The malt then cut thru. Sweet caramel melded with toffee. Hints of nuts and spice as well. The finish had hints of pine and grapefruit and more booze.

M: Full bodied, very thick, yet smooth.

D: It's a sipper, but an enjoyable one.

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Photo of theghost3
2.82/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is cloudy, light brown with just a rim of beige head. It smells very malty and fruity. The taste is almost sickeningly sweet with a distinct brandy flavor. There is an aftertaste that will stay with you for a long time. Mouthfeel is thick with very little acidity. This beer is not that drinkable because of its sweetness & the aftertaste is so prevalent.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep cloudy amber/brown color. The nose is oddly faint for what is typically a style with more pronounced aromas. The flavors are smooth and slick over the tongue. Very well blended caramel, grape, spicey alcohol and assertive hops. Carbonation is realtively low in the mix. Finishes dry and hoppy. This is a potent but very drinkable barleywine.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,997 ratings
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