Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Old FoghornOld Foghorn
Very Good
2,012 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: 2,012 |  Reviews: 1,078
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally, barleywine season is upon my home again. Man I missed these guys, but it's hard to drink one on my back porch when it's 85 F+ outside... So it's a bottle is the old snifter, and away we go...

A - Little to no head.... Dark body with an amber tint... eh...

S - Real heavy on the grape nad ester aromas. The alcohol leaves pleasent spice, but not overwhelming or buring at all. Dry-hopping is evident from the get go, but actually blends quite well with the other aromas, all in all a very balenced start.

T - Grape/chocolate dominate the entry, and the finish. Ester like sweet notes hit right before the swallow, where the alcohol warms the whole way down, and leaves spice into the finish. No complaints here.

M - Could use some more body.

D - Although I'm not exactly a year around barleywine guy, it's nice to know that this one is actually avaiable year around.

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Photo of billysj
2.8/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle purchased at Bevmo.

Pours as a thick amber color with no head.

Smells of sweet malt and caramel.

The taste starts out as a chocolate flavor with little hoppiness after taste.

Mouthfeel is syrupy with little carbonation

I would drink this one again but wasn't impressed

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Photo of stcules
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown / dark mahogany. Ruby edges. Quite scarce foam, quickly falling down, but beautiful.
Malt, toasted malt at the smell. Fruit in syrup, cherries, raisins and plums. Berry fruit. And hop lying over all. Woody notes, tending to tannic.
At the taste, malt, caramel, berry fruit, cherries, and a good strong hop, with woody notes.
At the aftertaste some rhubarb notes, alpine heerbs, and a strong hop, balanced by the sweet notes (raisins, plums).
Average to high body.

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Photo of snpub540
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle that was marked 7AB on the back.

It poured out a scarlet hue with a small white ring of bubbles. The foam barely clung to the glass between drinks before sliding back into the thin ring.

The smell was intoxicating. Picked up the scent of cherries, coffee, grapefruit, malts, and sweet alcohol. The nose on this beer was by far the best part of the experience.

Malts were most present with the taste of coffee and bitter chocolate. Followed by a small amount of hop bitterness and finished with the sweetness and warmth of alcohol. Tatsted a little watered down to me.

Felt a little thin on the palate. All in all it was enjoyable but I have had far better barleywines before. Did not leave me with anything to remember it by, except the smell. Drinkability was good. The alcohol is not overpowering and makes it easy to drink more than 1 bottle.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, bought at the Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA,

A: Pours a dark maroon colour, with a small, somewhat fizzy white head, but since it's a high alcohol brew, I'll give it a slide.

S: Smells of dark malts, fruit, and alcohol, very pungent.

T: Taste is much of the same, dark malts and fruit, a lot fig, and a pungent alcohol taste, prototypical of an American barley wine, very well done.

M: Smooth and alcoholic, with a lot of phenols, complex and powerful.

D: A good American barley wine, not the best in the world, but a solid production and easy to drink, lower in alcohol than most barley wines, would buy again.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I must say I was a little disappointed in this one after having the Steam and Liberty Ale. This one poured a fairly nice looking deep amber color, although the smallish head disappeared in a flash, leaving what appeared to be cranberry juice in my glass. Nose was fairly noticeable caramel and fruit. Taste was likewise, a lot of breadiness, very sweet toffee malt, prunes, and other fruits floating around in there. Feel was almost syrupy, and too lacking in carbonation. I don't know if that was a bad bottle or what, but this definitely left something to be desired. Not bad, but there lots of better barley wines out there.

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Photo of Overlord
2.75/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Considering how much I've enjoyed other Anchor products, I have to chalk this up as a disappointment.

Overly sweet, huge malt flavoring, and that's about it. Not a lot of fruit, no real texture to speak of: just sickly sweet alcoholic liquid. I didn't enjoy finishing it.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is ruby and coppery combining into a warm glowing brown under a tan, small head. Retention is thin and swirly. Carbonation bubbles are easily visible as they rise when held up to the light. Aroma is sweet and fruity. Apples, pears, light cocoa notes, sweet caramel, and intoxication comes to mind. Flavors are softly malty and fruity. Just as I expected from the nose. Not hard to drink compared to some barley wines I've had but still an apparent high abv. Enjoyable though and not a bad option. Fruity and malty flavors mix in a subtle way among the prickly fine carbonation. I could follow this serving with one or two more. I can't say I'll be awake after that though.

Not bad/pretty good.

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Photo of Floydster
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle

Purchased from Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles

Poured into a pint glass with pretty much no head

Very sour for a barleywine and can taste it more as it warms, strong smell

Not my favorite beer from Anchor Steam Brewing, but still good

Might be better if stored for a couple months and the flavor settles a little bit

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The color when poured was a thick dark amber with a reddish hue and a little foam that dissapated in a couple of seconds. The smell of sweet malts and caramel with a hint of fruit filled the nose. The taste was of a medium thick ale with roasted malts and sweet notes of fruit and a hint of caramel. Well balance of sweet, tart and bitterness. Not over powering on the hops, nice flavor all around.

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

2006 - 9.4%

Pours a thick auburn color with a stubborn, creamy tan head. Fresh fruit, toffee and leather aromas and something resembling bubblegum. A strong malty sweetness hits the palate first followed by warm, dark, fruity alcohol. The hops are still fresh but get along nicely with the barley. Flavorful and sticky - like sugar-coated, rum-soaked bread. Quite tasty and yet, I imagine its even better with some more age. Nice, solid mouthfeel - very smooth and lightly carbonated. Not as outright hoppy as most American versions.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely one of the best American Barley Wines I've tried.

App: Pours a ruby/ very dark amber with two fingers of off white head. The head retention is so so, but the head never disappears completely. No lacing, which I prefer for the style. I like how it sits in my glass rather majestically.

Smell: Fruity esters come out in the aroma; some apple and very sweet cherry.

Taste: I taste a good deal of caramel and brown sugar along with more pronounced apple and cherry, which unbalance it in a malt direction. It ends with just a hint of some sweet floral hops. It reminds me more of an English Barley Wine in taste, as the hop characteristics are rather low.

Mouthfeel: It has the perfect body for sipping. It's not too thick, nor too oily, nor too thin. It sits right in the middle and reminds me of J.W. Lee's in that respect. There is a nice alcohol bite during the aftertaste which combines with some subtle hop bitterness, neither of which are too intense or distracting, and probably considered quite subtle compared to higher abv barley wines.

Drinkability: I am usually not much of a barley wine fan, and tend to only like them on occasion. This one, however, I would drink fairly often during a cold Vermont winter (if I could find it)... but I don't live in Vermont anymore, so I'll probably just drink it once in awhile. I would also love to experience the cask version of this.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a brown color with a cream colored head that quickly dissipated. The aroma is sweet and caramel - malt is noticeable as well as some slight fruit notes. The taste is very sweet and malty. Hops can be tasted, but do not dominate this brew. The mouthfeel is full and the alcohol is noticeable. Overall, I think this is a good example of a drinkable barleywine. I’d like to age one for a few years, I think it will mellow nicely.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.43/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I was excited about finding this brew, i knew anchor had some good beer out there in CA. The barleywine poured a off color brown, with some fizzy head, and aromas of medicinal alcohols and candied malts. Flavors were less than impressive- odd earthy malts, with an oily, burning ,syrupy, pharmaceutical essence. A few sips of this carbonated used bubble gum water and i was done. I love barleywines- they need to be balanced, have a pleasing flavor and hide their ABV with tongue pleasing ferocity. this brew misses the mark- try a weyerbacher and sleep well instead.

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

Pours a nice red brown color with a 1/2 finger white head that recedes.

Smells malty and sweet. I like it.

Taste is excellent. Nice and rich caramel malt flavors here. Not too much in the way of hops, but enough to balance it. Touch of dates and molasses. Excellent. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel is rich and satisfying.

Drinkability is very good considering the style.

Highly recommended. An excellent, sweeter barleywine.

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Photo of Beerbuddha
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Nice amber-red color with very little head. Maybe half an inch.

Smell- A lot of alcohol with hint of spices and fruit

Taste- Very sweet up front with a dry finish. Felt like I was drinking a brandy or something similar.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with little carbonation.

Drinkability- This was a descent beer. It would be recommended as an after dinner beer.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark copper brew with some highlighting. Cream head is not voluminous, nor does it display a lot of retention. Easy to understand with the high abv, and this is a regal-looking brew nonetheless.

The aroma is surprisingly light, though pleasant, for the style: caramel malt is more subdued and less sugary than expected, and leans towards English toffee as well, with major additions of floral, grassy hops. These I would attribute to Hallertau/N. Brewer style hops, while there is also the Liberty Ale's characteristic Cascade hopping that lends a citric bite.

These also make an appearance in the flavor, with noticeable traces of dry hopping, piney, herbal notes, along with a mild malt flavor. The body is lighter than many barleywines, which helps with drinkability, and showcases the hops. Finish is hoppy, slightly dry, warming, and a little oily.

Tasty, relatively balanced barley wine. Emphasizes the hops, but not to the extent of some of the Northwest varieties, while not being as sweet, and more drinkable, than the high-gravity English versions. Cheers.

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Photo of baos
4.92/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 12 ounce bottle into my favorite Trappist glass.

Head was 3 fingers immediately after pour then settled to half finger to nearly no head. Beer is a nice dark amber color. The smell is the sweet dark smell of moldering apples under my Grandmama's apple tree. The taste starts out a mildly bitter caramel with deep and sweet cider hints, a little hoppy, but more malty, with hints of prune and raisins, then it finishes with a kind of waxy honeycomb flavor with the presence of alcohol but not overpowering by any means. Truly remarkable beer!

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Note: The bottle I had is packaged for distribution in Japan, so it has no production date on it. I have no idea when this was brewed.

Appearance: Brandy orange-brown with a fair, yellowy parchment-colored cakey head that retains poorly, but that's to be expected of any 9% alcohol brew.

Smell: Oh, my God... this is amazing. My first whiff struck me with something familiar, yet totally unexpected, fruity and sweet and vaguely nutty... then I realized what it was: melon! This nose is thick with a musky, mango-macerated Cantaloupe aroma, but of course that's not the only thing going on. Lots of burnt sugar, fine dark rum, brandy, black cherries, caramel, and some woodsy, almost hashish (tobacco)-like hops. The nose is predominantly malty and sugary, but the alcohol presence is absolutely perfect: spicy and sharp but not irritatingly so and not at all medicinal, with a clean, snappy character. Wow. Lovely lumber mill woody pine notes develop as it warms.

Taste: Grand! Malty as hell, loads of brandy (Calvados?) flavors up front with a deep, dark, Bananas Foster boozy fruit-and-spice character. Honey and some vaguely mocha-like roasty notes appear mid-sip. Hops lend a resiny, estery undertone that reminds me of lime zest. Alcohol rushes in at the swallow point for a remarkably clean finish for a beer this malty. Warming alcohol and an earthy, tangy hop bitterness linger on in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Fine bubbles create a nicely chewable and soft beer out of a heavy malt base and bracing alcohol spice. Just right.

Drinkability: Wow. I'm so impressed with this beer, almost definitely my favorite of the style so far. Bold and flavorful with enough of a bite to let you know it's not your average ale, but not so horribly bitter and spicy to make finishing a bottle a chore. Very nice work, Anchor. Works extremely well with very old cheddar and Danish blue.

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Photo of chrhowe
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle pours a dark amber with a finger and half head that settles quickly and laces decently.
Smells of dark fruits, very sweet. A fair amount of hops come through and also very malty.
Tastes of raisins, banana, and dark sweet fruit, plum maybe.
Also there is a hint of brandy-like candy to this beer that takes the sweetness to quite a level.
Mouthfeel is smooth, heavy with alcohol. But I find that the alcohol in this beer does not affect its drinkability.
All in all, I could sit down and enjoy a few of these fine beers.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, my bottle states the ABV is 9.4%. (It's from December of 2006.) This is one I've been wanting to taste for a long time, and with my affection for barleywines I can only believe I'll like it. Admittedly, I've had some great barleywines (DuckRabbit and Dogfish rank the highest for me), so there's a lot to live up to.

The color is right on: it's a dark amber with chestnut highlights. No substantial head formed, but that's probably due to my advanced slow-pouring technique! Dark toasted malts are certainly present through the nose, as are a pruny sweetness and just the hint of hops. It really has a nice aroma that makes me want to just sniff it over and over again.

I took my first long sip with much anticipation. The initial hit included a slight metallic flavor that disturbed me, but it faded quickly and didn't return with subsequent gulps. What struck me was the intense flavor of warm alcohol and dark, sweet fruit. Delicious! There's just enough hop bitterness at the finish to balance the malts, and the lingering aftertaste has a biscuit-like texture that really appeals to me.

I did find that Anchor's Old Foghorn was a bit too carbonated for me, but that's true with most beers I try; it's just a personal preference.

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Photo of boelker62
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a slightly hazy copper under a tiny little, mostly diminishing head with no lacing throughout.

S - a light malty hint of grains, but certainly a good hop nose shining through. Similarly, a little tawny cask hint, but I may be crazy.

T - an unexpectedly, moderately, sweet start, expecting more throughout, but the hoppiness shone through mid palate. Then, a super long finish abounded in a metallic and alcohlicly astringent haze.

M - medium to full body with soft carbonation.

D - a little more than expected, but stil a sipper for me.

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Photo of vancurly
3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle traded with joecast, who kindly brought this one back from a recent trip to US (see his review below).

As with joe, batch 7AB., Served cool, not cold. A moderate 8.8% ABV, for this style anyway.

Now, I've never had an ABW before... had plenty of EBW, but was led to believe that American BW was more hop-driven... nose, palate, bitterness. This doesn't seem to be the case with this ale....

Pours a clear mahogany, or maybe cherry/brown. A thin beige foam tops it up (which disappears quickly), and a couple of bubble-beads feeding it, briefly.

Initial impression of cough-medicine, but then toffee, and tropical-or-stone fruit hints....maybe candied pawpaw or similar.

First flavour impression is licorice, and candy sweetness. This is liquid licorice allsorts.... Touch of toastiness, and a biscuity back palate. The bitterness is modest, but there's a flavour of certain bitter herbs.... cassia bark, gentian.

Mouthfeel is medium, but with a slight sugary stickiness, like cough medicine. Slight alcohol heat.

Yeah....not bad.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, believed to be 2005 vintage, with raise-printed code on the back: "6YL" Bottle states 9.4% ABV. $2.99 for the single 12 ounce bottle at Marcellar's Vintage Wines in Idaho Falls, ID.

At cellar temp (approx. 54*F) pours a deep, deep amber, almost brown, with a dense, tight medium-beige head. Leaves relatively little lacing.

Aroma: sweet and prune and sherry and alcohol warmth, much like Thomas Hardys and the English barleywine style.

Taste: again, sweet, warm alcohol, prunes, figs, stonefruit. Minimal hop presence, just enough to round out the huge malt bill.

Mouth: low to low-moderate carbonation, slightly tingly in the mouth, distinct alcohol warmth.

Overall: delightful, delicious, fantastic stuff. I honestly believe that, along with Rogue Old Crustacean and vintage Thomas Hardys, this stuff defines the style of *English* style barleywine. If I could find it, and then if I could afford it, I could sit and drink this every single night.

I just returned home from a lengthy trip to Australia, and wanted something absolutely different than what I've been drinking there. This was absolutely a solid choice. (I certainly sought out good stuff, but since I can't afford Red Oak and the like every night, often fell back to wine rather than drinking the various craptastic, punterrific BMC-style garbage that pervades mainstream Australian beer culture, and isn't particularly cheap in any case.)

Sorry for the off-topic rant: in short, this is absolutely a delightful cellar-prize for a well needed good beer, even on this 80*F June evening.

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Photo of sierra11b
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass at 55 degrees.

Appearance - Carbonated, light-caramel colored head that quick dissipates into a thin, almost non-existent lace around the glass. Light passes through the beer crimson red. Great color.

Smell - Sweet, subtle smell of apple cider with a hint of hops, very faint citrus.

Taste - Hops. Little malty sweetness with slight alcohol aftertaste and warming sensation. Tasty.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated, but nice overall. A little more than I had expected. The body of the liquid surprised me at first.

Drinkability - For me, Barley Wines aren't my favorite drinking style. In fact, if it wasn't for an old BevMo gift card and me wanting to try an array of different brews, I would of never given this one a shot. But given the fact this barley wine was one of the more drinkable ones i've ever tried, i'll have to give it slightly above average.

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Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,012 ratings