Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,977 Ratings
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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Foghorn® is brewed based on historic English barleywine methods. It is highly hopped, fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast, carbonated by a natural process called "bunging" to produce champagne-like bubbles, and dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars. Made only from “first wort,” the rich first runnings of an all-malt mash, three mashes are required to produce just one barleywine brew.

ABV varies slightly over the years.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Ratings: 1,977 |  Reviews: 1,060
Photo of far333
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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 +7.4%
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 -6.6%
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 +21.4%
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 +2.3%
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 +6.1%
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 -3.3%
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 +4.3%
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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Photo of JDV
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown colored pour at the brewery in S.F. Smell is of mild hops and some sweet malts, while the taste is fairly sweet, malty, and of some alcohol. Not as overpowering and wildly undrinkable as I thought my 1st barley wine would be. The alcohol in the taste is more pronounced as it comes to room temperature. This is definitely not bad, and would be great cold and with a slice of cake, pie, or ice cream.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle served in a brandy snifter. Poured a brilliant dark amber with a sparse head that quickly dissipated. Not a lot of carbonation. Huge malt nose with a faint whiff of hops. Deep malty flavor with lots of caramel. Balanced towards the malt, but hop bitterness does appear in the finish. Very drinkable for the ABV.

More of an English style barleywine with the balance tipped to the malty side. Very good to drink while fresh.

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Photo of KodyBrannon
4.95/5  rDev +26%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Previously had this beer on-tap at the flying saucer. Saw it at the store and had to try it in the bottle. Poured this into my pint glass, It poured a brownish/amber color, with a thin white head that went away as quickly as it started. It left no lacing on the glass. The first smell of this beer opened up my senses with a mixture of hots and malts. But upon another sniff, I detected a hint of fruit. The taste of this beer is a good even mix of hops and malts, but once agian i detect a faint taste of fruit in the aftertaste. Also, there is a bit of an alcohol flavor that hits you right at the start, but it smooths out as you get towards the middle of your glass.The mouthfeel of this beer is very light and crisp, leaves no coating and goes down smooth. Overall this is a very enjoyable beer, but it is definatly more is a sipping beer, towards the end of the glass, you can feel the 8% abv coming thorugh. I Could enjoy this beer on a nightly basis as a nice desert beer. Recomended to anyone who likes a good barleywine.This is probably the best one I have had yet.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Old Foghorn pours a dark red hue with little or no foam head or retention. It had a smattering of lacing.

The aroma was filled with berries, I could make out cherries. Flowers and a caramel smell.

The flavor was a strong malt dominated brew with a uncanny smoothness to it. In the mouth it was velvety and sweet in the finish with a cherry drop on the way out. Overall a very relaxing and enjoyable night time libation.

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Photo of mnj21655
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 13oz. tulip at Sunset Tap & Grill in Allston, MA

Poured a dark reddish-brown, mahogany, in color with a scant amount of foamy head that quickly disappeared. Aroma was pleasant with some molasses and caramel malts with just a bit of hoppyness. Taste was quite good, the first sip was really quite extraordinary. Raisins, brown sugar, molasses, caramel malts, some sweetness, and a solid but not dominant citrus/floral hop flavor. As I continued to drink this I picked up some and more alcohol. This is only 8.8% ABV and that was hidden amazingly well at first but quickly became apparent and a bit too noticeable. Mouthfeel is good, medium-full bodied with residual sweetness, a bit syrupy, and moderate carbonation. Drinkability was pretty good. The only thing that held this beer back was an alcohol presence that exceeded its ABV. By the end of the glass I felt that I was drinking a much stronger barley wine. Despite that this beer was quite good and pretty delicious, I'd recommend it.

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

This beer pours a shiny brown color. The head is a half an inch in height, but is firm and does not recede. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, alcohol, molasses, with a hint of green hops. The taste is of like the aroma, but not as pronounced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a high level of carbonation for the style. Overall, this is a nice barleywine, and I would drink it again.

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Photo of bobsy
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle came home with me from San Francisco.

The pour is a very dark clouded orange, with a minimal, wispy off-white head. A little more head would have been nice, but the depth of the body colour compensates, and helps the drink to look very attractive in the tulip. The aroma smells strongly of raisins that have been soaking in brandy. Its rich, deep, sweet and malty, with great toffee accents that beg for the glass to be raised to the lips. The taste is fruity, with strong element of cherry and fig dancing around a sweet caramel malt punch. Hops put in a brief appearance in the warming finish, but do not feel out of place. The body is full and viscous, matching the style of a sipper well.

This is a good take on an English barleywine, and I appreciate that Anchor have approached the style without feeling the need to go overboard with the alcohol.

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Photo of srroos
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with 6LZ bottling code, poured into Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a cloudy orange-brown with a small short lived head.

S: Very malty and sweet with some hoppiness.

T: Very malty and sweet with some hoppiness like the aroma. (I didn't note much complexity, perhaps it was drank too cold?)

MF: Very well carbonated and light in the mouth, keeping it from being too syrupy.

D: Quite drinkable. Probably wouldn't want to have too much due to the sweetness.

I have lots more of this in my stash, so it should be interesting to see how this ages. Also, the next bottle will probably be tasted quite a bit warmer, hopefully bringing out more complex flavors and aromas.

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

Appearance: Crystal clear ruby-garnet red-brown color, with hardly any head at all. Looks very distinguished, somehow.

Smell: Slightly musty. Raisiny and/or figgy. There's a touch of alcohol aroma, with some subtle caramel and chocolate notes. It somehow smells clean.

Taste: It is very fruity and estery, and the alcohol is detectable. Hops bitterness is assertive, but not to overcome the big malt backbone. It has a sweet dark cherry flavor, almost like a cough drop, but in a good way. It is robust and tasty, with a clean taste that's a bit more hoppy than some barley wines, but just a bit. It has just the right amount of warmth.

Mouthfeel: It is big, but clean and smooth. There's a bit of water that hits you in the middle, which keeps it light enough to not overwhelm. It is kind of a bit sticky, and a little tingly at times.

Drinkability: A very nice sipper for after dinner with some chocolates or cheese and crackers.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the best barleywines I've had. Not over the top syrupy or disgustingly raisiny.

The beer pours to a light plum red color. Poured with almost no head, and subsequently no lacing. Color looks great, but at least a little bit of head would have been nice.

The smell is a little bland as well. Perhaps it just needs to warm up and breath a little bit, but now it has a hint of metallic and not much else. Just a feint bit of hops with an even more subtle sweet caramel maltiness. (edit: as it warmed, the metal dropped out a bit, and more cherry and pipe tobacco aromas seeped out)

The taste is nothing short of exceptional. Roasted caramel malt at first, followed by a great balancing herbal, woody hop. Very complex, yet so subtle and hard to define. Chocolate, cherry, dark dried fruits, pipe tobacco...? Hard to really put my finger on, because it doesn't seem so much to be a blend of flavors as it is just one cohesive experience.

The body is thick without being syrupy with a fairly light carbonation. Bitterness is there, but well balanced by the sweetness of the malt. Alcohol is very well masked. This one is very easy to drink. In fact, it's probably the most drinkable barleywine I've had (except maybe Behemoth from FFF). I would highly suggest trying this. I'm definitely going to pick up more than the single bottle I purchased last time. Cheers to Anchor!

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Photo of deepsouth
3.12/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i drank this old foghorn out of a tremins glass.

the beer poured a ruby red color with no head and medium carbonation.

the smell was pretty sweet. mostly like raisins and a bit of alcohol.

the taste is ok. it's a bit sweet and doesn't have much bitter to balance it out.

the mouthfeel is again average. a bit thin for this style in my opinion.

hmmm. i really wanted this to be better as it's only my second barleywine style ale and i think it pales in comparison to the flying dog horn dog.

on the up side, i have some more of these i'm going to put up and try again later.

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Photo of thartman
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This was in my cellar for a year, last one!

Good looking pour, nice head some carbonation, mahogany and cherry in color, some carbonation. The head didn't last very long.

Malty-sweet smell, with caramel. I'm tasting cherry, malts, caramel, some hops and alcohol on the finish. This definitely has mellowed and changed after sitting a year in the cellar, very smooth, more pronounced on the malts, not as much hops.

Nice American-style barleywine, from a great brewery.

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Photo of JEdmund
2.28/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ruby red to tobacco brown; 1/2" head; dissipates quickly! decent level of carbonation

Raisin/candied fruit sweetness; more sugary sweet than hoppy and malty

Taste & Mouth Feel
Sweet! Followed by more sweet. Noticeable alcohol burn; pretty thin body; lightest mouth feel I've ever experienced with a barley wine; pretty pronounced cherry flavor, a bit of chocolate, and not enough hops for my liking (needs more to provide balance); gets way too sweet to be enjoyable

Just not impressed with this one--way too sweet for me, like artificial sweetener. Not enough hops and cookie malts to make this my kind of barley wine; it's also way too thin and lacks back palate flavor. It was a chore to drink, and I bailed a third of the way through, dumping the rest.

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Photo of beerking1
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rich, amber-red color, with a small but dense tan head that lingers long. Aroma of juicy malt, raisins and faint hops. Flavor is well balanced, malty with a low hop balance. Crystal malts are obvious, with some gentle fruity notes. Comes across more like a British BW than American.

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

Poured an attractive dark ruby/copper color with almost no head, whatsoever. Aroma is of dark fruit. Taste is also of dark fruit and caramel. I can see how this would really improve with aging. Pretty smooth for something of 9%ABV. Would like to put a couple of these back and re-assess in a year or so.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Old foghorn pours a dark red brown, with good head. great lace. The nose is very malty with slight hops. Taste is malty and has very english tones. Not hoppy at all compared to alot of american barleywines. smooth taste with dark malts and dark fruits. light in taste but still very sweet. very smooth, but i do feel it lacks in strength of flavor. alcohol goes down easy but still has a very warming effect. Mouthfeel is quite good but a wee bit thin. Drinkability is very high for a barleywine. A good offering from anchor, perfect carbonation, as opposed to their usual high fizz. Get it, its great and i could see it better in a few years.

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Photo of NitroGen
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 12 oz. Brown Bottel.

A: Pours a dark amber that is very translucent with a small foam head that quickly dissolves to a scant foam ring and no lacing.

S: Raisins, dark brown sugar and almost a liquor taste with slight alcohol fumes that fill the nose.

T: Fruits like figs and raisins with a slight amount of lightly roasted grains and pronounced alcohol fumes that fill the mouth and nose while on the palate.

M: Well balanced flavors from start to finish with a slightly sweet finish for the palate. Most of the ‘taste’ is savoring the finish on the tongue and mouth.

D: Very nice to end an evening as the taste keeps going and going. Great on a cold evening to warm the entire body.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,977 ratings.
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