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Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn
Very Good
1,994 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: 1,994 |  Reviews: 1,070
Photo of champ103
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy orange/reddish color. A small white head forms and sticks around as a small cap. Not much lace is left behind though.
S: Malty with some sweet candy and fruit aromas. Just a bit of floral hops.
T: Sweet malt, but not cloying at all. Fruit and candy flavors again. Just a hint of hops to balance the flavor. Layers of round and mellow flavors that I am not good at describing. Take my word for it though, a great tasting barleywine.
M/D: A fairly heavy and thick beer, but soft. A good creamy coat of the tongue. For a high ABV beer, this is very smooth and easy to drink. Just a touch of alcohol warming as I take a sip.

This is now one of my favorite barlewine's. A real treat.

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Photo of sstackho
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased from Charles Street Liquors in Boston. Pours a rich copper with some head that goes away relatively quickly. Aroma is very sweet, that scares me into thinking this will be one of those sweet barleywines that I don't enjoy much. Flavour does follow the aroma, though it's not all bad. But this is what I feel is a "typical' barleywine, all sweet and sherry flavours (I guess... like I ever drink sherry!). But the flavour is rich and full, and would probably be liked by people who like this style.

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Photo of BMoney575
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 4-18-08

Pours a cloudy orange, with lots of bubbles rising to the surface. The head settle to a thin, off-white ring.

Smell is subtle hops, citrus and fruity, with a good malt and maybe a little clove to back it up.

Taste alot like the smell, malty with a ever-present, more sour then bitter hop character. Very tasty, with a grassy, vegetable aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is dead-on for the style. Creamy, a bite from the hops.

Drinkability is very good, considering the ABV.

Overall, the best English/American barleywine combo I've ever had. Not too hoppy, not too sweet, just a good beer.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, CA. Poured a caramel sort of color. The smell was very fruity, maybe citrusy. The taste was an explosion of fruit. I wanna say very berry-ish, with almost a juicy quality to it. Nice sweet maltiness in the background too. The mouthfeel was just right. This was a very interesting barleywine, as the bitterness was fairly low but the flavor was bursting.

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Photo of Quej
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Reddish-brown beer, with no head and no visible carbonation.
S - Smells sweetly of chocolate and molasses but with a comforting hint of hops. Smells quite syrupy.
T - Almost candy-tasting. Very sweet, not overpowering, but significant. Not bitter, but drying. Almost no trace of alcohol. Little or no alcohol. A decent amount of hops balances quite nicely.
M - Thick, but light from the alcohol and coating from the sweetness.
D - Not terrible, but a little too sweet.
Great beer.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - A light brown with a ruby tint. A small head that lingers surprisingly long and no lacing.

S - Slightly fruity with a hint of gum ball aroma as well as cotton candy.

T - Caramel, cotton candy, dates and alcohol infused fruit - pears, black berries. The aftertaste has a touch of a medicinal bitterness - not strong enough to be offensive. There is cotton candy in the aftertaste as flavor as well.

M - Thick, but not as thick as I expected. Smooth and drying. Gums up in my throat. After I finish I will need to wash my throat with a big glass of water.

D - It is very sweet. Definitely a dessert beer. It is good, but I couldn't have more than one in a sitting. I am surprising it is only 9% - it hits like a 12. I've had it before (I thought I had reviewed it too), it was worth another try.

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Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottled poured into my Spiegelau snifter, Old Foghorn is a chill hazed dark garnet that glows a brilliant, bubbly ruby, with a one-finger khaki head that settles into a long-lasting, thick foamy skim, leaving scattered lace.

Smell is strong and sweet but wonderfully rounded, caramel malt, brown sugar and tropical fruits.

Taste is rich and full, caramel malt and fantastic fruit esters. Succulent, juicy and sweet fruits and honey, with tinges of metal and nuts, citrus hops and just enough alcohol to help dry out the finish without overwhelming. Even though this is the original American BW, it's really more in the English style, aside from the Cascade hops (which happens to be my preference).

Mouthfeel is dry and crisp, with a lighter body. Digestibility is very high for a BW.

Drinkabilty is really high, especially once you get a few sips down and adjust to it's complex flavors. Super smooth and tasty, a world classic and benchmark for the style, and a beer, as much as a barleywine, that I've always held in very high regard. ABV, price, and availability are all as good as it gets for a world class BW, and contribute to the perfect score. Have another? Why wouldn't you!

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Photo of woemad
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $3.06. I had no idea this was in 12oz bottles, and not just the cheezy 7oz. According to the bottling code on the Anchor page, this would appear to have been bottled on January 8, 2008.

This poured a color somewhere between dark amber and caramel. Decent sized off-white head that hung around for a couple of minutes. Spotty lace.

Very malty nose, much like an English barleywine, as others have noted. Hops were most notable by a mild, spicy scent.

Mediocre tasting beer, with the maltiness front and center, and the hops procviding a mild spiciness and a verly low level of bitterness.

Surprisingly mellow in the body for a barleywine. Medium bodied, with a fairly forgettable mouthfeel.

Possibly the most non-descript barleywine I've ever had. Unless this has had a recipe change, I've missed nothing by not trying it before now.

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Photo of timbro81
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderful orangish/amber with good clarity and a small head that soon faded altogether. Smells of sweet malts, fruity esters, and I'm also getting a hint of chocolate. Taste it is of tamed malty sweetness balanced with some noticable but not over the top hops. Upon swallowing the fruity esters make their presence known and the tamed malty sweetness amps it up a notch, a big notch. This was my first barleywine some years ago and I didn't grasp the whole slow sipping style and I drank it way to fast and thought it was terrible. Now I have come to respect it very much and in the immortal words of Borat, "I like!"

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Photo of stephens101
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark reddish/brown brew with a fluffy one finger tan head. Head fades fairly quickly leaving virtually no lacing behind. Smell is complex with caramel up front, hops, raisins, faint chocolate and big malts surrounding the other elements. Taste is robust and fulfilling, including a sugary sweetness right up front before the well-balanced hops and malts hit. The alcohol heat is very apparent. Mouth-feel is smooth and rounded. Carbonation is a bit lacking. I realize this Barleywine ale is not on the top of many lists, but it works very well for me.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two fat fingers of tan-caramel froth top this slightly cloudy brown body with ruby highlights. A lack of lacing and durable head cost this perfection in the presentation, but it's still great-looking. The aromas are good but subtle, with caramel, fruit, and brown sugar oozing forth.

This is a rather different barleywine from, say, Bigfoot in that it's much less hopped and far sweeter. I love the hops generally, and especially in big DIPAs and barleywines, but this is no slouch and is very delicious. Chocolate, caramel, berry, and orange figure in this sweet, smooth offering. Really well done.

I'd like to see this more carbonated, but it's hard to complain about its smooth texture and sweet flavor. While not a sipper, its fairly high ABV (8.8%) makes this one to savor and enjoy, which is not hard to do. Great job with Old Foghorn. This won't be the last time by a long shot that I grab this beauty.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Short, fat 12 oz bottle copped singly from Super Saver in Somerville for $3.99...
Heard a lot of good things about this beer, so I decided to give it a go when I had the opportunity to purchase it singly...
Amazing appearance with a full, five-fingered foamy and frothy head that kept on rising and refused to dissipate, with a mahogany-brown appearance bordering on ruby-red...
Excellent aroma replete with fresh caramel, dark brown Belgian candied sugars, and rich toffee...
Taste paid homage to the aroma with strong caramel, toffee, and fruity malts slightly balances with a touch of citrus hops... Excellent crisp, clear, and refreshing taste full of flavor and character adding quality into the mix without being overbearing or cloying with the rich and intricate flavors, dominated by sweet malts, toffee, caramel, dark sugars, figs, prunes, plums, and dehydrated fruits...
Certainly one of Anchor's best beers that I've ever sampled...
An overall excellent depiction of the style, one of America's best Barleywines, for sure...
Teriffic rich, thick, and creamy mouthfeel without the slightest hint of the hefty ABV...
Good drinkability, as well...
Anchor did exceptionally well with this one...
Definitely recommended...

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Photo of bigeyedfish
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from the foodery. brewed January 4, 2007 (took me 5 minutes trying to figure out the brewing information on anchors website) poured into an Ommegang Hennepin flute. 9.4% alc/vol listed on the back of the bottle.

a finger and a half of tan head sits on top of a burgundy body. the head has a lot of surface bubbles and recedes pretty quickly.when the beer is swirled a nice, thick wall of lacing is present, but it falls down the glass almost as quickly as it formed, leaving little specs of thin head here and there with some distance between the surface of the beer and the lacing on the glass. the head reduces to almost nothing pretty quickly (~90 seconds)

a pretty big strawberry/raspberry nose along with some strong hints of candied sugar and a decent caramel malt/toffee presence. even a small hint of buttered popcorn. a nose that seems to rotate between being pleasantly strong and over the top, almost offensively sugared.

the taste of this beer, unlike the smell, is pretty spot on being delicious. some malt/sugar/a light hint of alcohol in the beginning smooths out to a nice finish of raspberries with just the slightest hint of hop bitterness on the finish. i'm sure the age of this beer (almost 14 months) has something to do with its smoothness. there's some alcohol again present between the mid-palate and the finish, but it's kind of a flash-in-the-pan-sensation; the raspberry>hop bitterness>malt sweetness quickly erases the memory of it.

the mouthfeel is tough with this beer, mainly, because there isn't much of an impression left. it's a super smooth barleywine, which is kind of an anomaly; it doesn't have a lot of the huge palate grip of the higher alcohol aged barleywine's, it doesn't have the almost-unpleasant medicinal/over-hopped/over-malted characteristics of some fresh barleywines- it's just a smooth, for a brief bit very velvety, very luscious beer that's only non redeeming quality is the fact that the finish is comprised of a slight bit of hop bitterness.

in terms of being a barleywine, it's really drinkable. it's not overly alcoholic, overly sweet or overly malty. again, i'm sure the age has something to do with its refinedness. regardless, this is a darn good barleywine. it's the first one ever made and more than 30 years after it was first brewed it still stands out in a style that is becoming more and more a staple of every breweries repertoire. this is a good beer that can only get better, and i, for one, can't wait to see how it does.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz from the cellar.. I've had a few of these for a while ... I think that this one was picked up in Seattle back in August/September.

Thick dark amber brew... very short lasting off white/yellow head and almost no lacing.

Aroma is toward the malt side of things .. caramel and toffee with only slight whiffs of citrusy hops.

Dark malt flavors mingle well with caramel ... very light dried fruit and more hop flavor than the aroma. Mouthfeel is on the light side for the current trend in West Coast Barlewines... Carbonation is light but everpresent.

I absolutely don't understand why we don't get Old Foghorn in Boise anymore.. does not make sense; Boise has more beer choices than ever before.. but many of the old guards are no longer present ... sad to say the least. Old Foghorn would definitely be a staple in the basement if I could buy it without traveling.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My gosh, I can't believe I haven't reviewed this beer. I've had it on tap at the brewery, no less, and I've been drinking it for years. Oh well. This one cost $3 for a stubby 12oz bottle at Jack's.

Pours out to a cloudy murky dark brown, eeking out a creamy light tan head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Mild carbonation. The aroma is inviting with suggestions of carob, light roast columbian coffee, dates, and a healthy dose of alcohol when swirled. The mouthfeel is smooth with a dense body. The taste begins with a very definite 'homebrew' taste. Something I have tasted too many times in my life yet still can't describe, and something that I'm surprised to find here today, as I don't recall having noted this in the past. Kinda like vanilla and apples that have gone funky. Big sticky malts in the middle give the beer a general moderate sweetness. Bitterness is minimal and hops are sparse compared to it's other American brethren. Finish is clean and the aftertaste is of tobacco and funky apple juice.

Hrmm, not quite as impressed as I recall it. A little oxidized and suggestive of fusels, I guess I'll try this one again next year.

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Photo of JamesS
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very nice dark copper, with just a bit of head and no lacing. Very nice malty and heady scent, if a little tamer for a bw. Excellent taste, a nice deep malt flavor, with a little licorice after taste. Goes down fine, a bit rough, but nothing out of the ordinary for a bw. A very nice barley wine.

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Photo of Shiredave
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this dusty little bottle way behind some 2003 and "04 stuff - no date just a brail type stamp of: " 2 0(G?) 3(8?)". I dont know what that means, or how long I've had it or if Anchor still puts Foghorn in these little 7 oz. bottles but Im thinking this is has been here at least 4 - 5 years. It's been in a good "cellar" but I'm not sure of the bottling year.

It pours a murky medium brown color with a tight tan head and lots of lacing.

Strong higher alcohol aromas blast the nose along with some pastey oxidized notes - this one has seen better days. The classic foghorn nose of rich toffee and stewed fruit is there but behind the stale scents.

Sour cherry flavors dominate a once succulently sweet flavor profile. Not a nasty sourness but a sour edge floats around the perimeter of bittered caramel and fruit. Full bodied, mouth flooding flavors to which the sour notes strangely both add and detract.

Finish is a long mix of warm alcohol, meloow smoldering bitterness and mild sour bite with a side order of oxidation funk.

This one was old and on the edge buy still quite drinkabe and interesting and complexly tasty after the stale aromas out gassed. Not the best example to crtique but worth noting that 3 years may be the max for optimal enjoyment when aging this one in the future.

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Photo of far333
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy brownish copper with a low thin beige head. Aroma of toffee, citrus and ripe fruit.

Flavor seems lighjt on the front of the tongue, but firms up as it moves through the mouth. Lots of nuances to the flavor as it develops, starting with caramel, brown sugar, marshmallow, ripe pear and tangerine peel, moving slowly to hints of lemon zest and rosemary. Also a smooth bourbony thing in the finish. The ABV is well hidden in this one.

Moferate carbonation, thinnish body, but finishes tingly. Great beer, very drinkable, can't believe I waited this long to review it.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint....

A: Good copper color but no head. Lacing is so-so, but I think this beer maybe have been aging for awhile.

S: Deep sweet smells, thick in the nose.

T: Rich malty sweetness with good complexity. Very tasty.

M: Pretty good, but a little thin to be perfect.

D: Great beer, I might have a second, but its a powerful brew to begin with.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had a number of different vintages of this over the past couple months. I am not overly impressed with this beer when its young but I've had the opportunity to sample some 8 and 10 year old versions that were very nice.

The beer is always hazy and brownish red no matter how old it is. The color is pretty cool as a lot more colors show up in the light but its kinda murky. The head is slightly orange colored and its creamy.

The smell is real sweet and fruity with a little hops showing up. Pretty enjoyable. Interestingly enough, the smell doesn't change much other than the hop smell disappears and the malt gets a little richer. Considering the age I would expect it to smell way different.

The flavor is decent all around when new but its nothing to write home about when compared to other barleywines. Its quite sweet and the bitterness is mellow. The description that comes to mind is "tart". There are definitely some crystal malts in there somewhere and possibly british malts as well. Not much hop flavor to note. When its aged the malt flavor changes drastically. Its rich and sweet and a nice sipping drink. If you have the patience to age one of these for 10 years, do it.

The body is heavy and consistent. Surprisingly smooth considering what it looks like.

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Photo of marcpal
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Old Bay, New Brunswick- poured into 11oz goblet.

A: Creamy crimson red with thin but thick head. Thick body.

S: Figs and dried fruit and strong silky malts. Caramel is intense and the hops show a presence.

T: Fruits and malts. Hops are deliciously balanced and the dark dried fruits are awesome. Warming taste is tremendous- this is one hell of a tasty barleywine. The toffee and caramel flavors are intense, sweet and distinctive.

M: Sticks to the tongue and has a warming feel without crushing you with the alcohol.

D: A great sipping barleywine that you can have a few of and not be in bad shape. A truly great beer.

Why have I not had this one until now, this is my new favorite of the style. Flat out awesome. Going to load up and enjoy through the year. Good chewy sipper.

EDIT in 2008: 2 year old bottle that Ive broken open on a very cold night. Even better- loads of sweet apple and juicy sweet.

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

Had a taste for barleywine this evening. Probably because of the cold rainy weather. Anyways I'm expecting good things from this Anchor offering so here it goes.

Dark foggy, caramel brown with an orange tint. A creamy cap of an orangey-eggshell color accompanies.

The smell is all sweet, fruity, and alcohol; Caramel, toffee, peach, cherry, citrusy orange, and plum brandy.

CreaMMMy and smooth fullness to this one. Malty sweet brown sugar and toffee introduce taste. Peach, plum, and citrus round out the sweetness, but are not as strong as indicated by the smell. Earthy-bitter spiciness lingers with a touch of alcohol in the finish.

Old Foghorn is a very good barleywine, but it doesn't quite reach greatness in my opinion. In fact, I'm not sure I've actually had a barleywine that has yet. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, but I will have to continue my search for a b-dub that really blows me away with its depth and complexity.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to ilovedarkbeer (of ratebeer) for this one. Indicated 9.4% abv. This brew is upfront and strong in every sense. This is a bright sparkling amber brew with a light brown head that goes away quickly. The aroma is strong of floral hops, alcohol, ginger and raisins (also some bready malts and yeast). The flavor is fruity and malty with a strong alcohol presence. Creamy mouthfeel.

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

A dark mahogany liquid flowed out of the 12 ounce bottle of Old Foghorn, producing a reasonable amount of creamy foam. The nose is a fruity bouquet with bananas and raisins. The scent of bubble gum is also present. The beer is medium to full bodied on the palate and somewhat dry. Ripe fruit is easy to pull out of the sweet malt flavor, possibly apricot or peach. There is also some slightly acidic bitterness lingering around. A decent beer for a an after dinner quaff.

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

A: Pours reddish brown, not too dark.

S: Smells like a Barley Wine, sweet and malty hint of allspice.

T: Malty and very sweet not not like some other BWs. Very smooth and not that bitter at all.

MF: Creamy and syrupy at the sametime.

D: Probably the best of the BWs I've had in awhile. I could drink more then one in a session, not over powering like a lot of BWs can be. Some alcoholness but nothing that assaults your taste buds.

Thank goodness this is now available in 12oz bottles. Recommended and a good example of a complex style. That goes for just about every Anchor Steam beer too!


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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,994 ratings
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