Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Old FoghornOld Foghorn
Very Good
2,011 Ratings
Old FoghornOld 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: 2,011 |  Reviews: 1,077
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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Photo of Atron67
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this as an extra from skinny elvis, thanks again

A- poured a really cloudy slightly red almost copper color with a tan off brown head with a light small head on top which fell pretty quickly and left almost no head on top. the thin film of head which formed pretty quickly from the head falling down stayed pretty long.

S- big malty charachter as expected, light fruit dark fig charachter, theres a light harshness to the maltiness that ive come to know in love in barleywines and im glad to see it here again. the hops are there and pretty decent, but nothing huge, and there is an underlying sweetness that stays there probably due to the high FG and is balanced by the hops at the finish, but which stays with the malts throughout and peaks through occasionally

T- i actually notice both malts and hops right away, the hops dont last at the first burst and give way to a really smooth and nice dark fig fruity character that is really enjoyable, while the fruits are coming to the top the characteristic malt harshness comes in and gives a great complementary character to it. after the harshness fades back the fruits are still there and the hops are coming back as a nice balance and finish it up. there is a slight sweetness on the finish which is ok and enjoyed for the style.

M- full bodied, pretty creamy, fine carbonation, struggled to get through the body.

D- pretty damn delicious, really enjoyed it

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Photo of RickSawyer
4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich oak brown with a creamy deer hide head that falls to a thin disk of foam. Smell is carmel, toffee, dates, apricot and some floral hints of hop to balance this english barleywine out. Taste is dessert. Hints of molasses drizzles on cream cake, dried cherry/date earthy sweetness, red apple, red grape, mango floral hops chasing the slight alcohol burn down the way. Outstanding. This is to beer what port is to wine. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. I am in love.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's been a long time since I've rejoined this American classic.

Appearance: reddish-dark garnet; low-carbo head
Smell: high-grade chocolate, toffee, caramel notes throughout the nose. The aromatics say "gird yourself. This is a treat."
Taste: Very malt-accented beer, especially in the front and back, but has a middle hop characer that is divine, and has that classic "Anchor" taste, probably attributed to a hale yeast culture.
Mouthfeel: Malty-sweet for the most part, but has an aged character about it (which tends to bring out some dryness), that is hard to replicate among even the most cutting-edge brewers these days.
Drinkability: Verdict? This is truly an American classic barleywine. It clocks in at around 8.8%; nothing too over-the-top, but right in the pocket for the style.

I hope many of the folks on this site give respect where respect is due: Old Foghorn (and perhaps Bigfoot BW from Sierra Nevada) pioneered the barleywine revolution in this country, and continue to maintain the highest standards of the style. My only lament is that it's been so long since I've had an Old Foggy; I hope it ain't too long 'til the next one!

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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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Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,011 ratings