Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,986 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: 1,986 |  Reviews: 1,067
Photo of hoppymeal
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz bottle from January 06. Pours a rusty copper to amber color, mainly clear, with a decent sized cream head that slowly recedes. Aroma is sweet and sugary maltiness, a rich buttery caramel with darker sweet fruits, dates, prunes, and grapes. As it warms there is a little saltiness and leather in the aroma as well. Great aroma dominated by malts. Taste shows some cola sweetness and some coconut. Rich caramel sweet maltiness with some berries and fruit, finishing with just a hint of hoppy dryness mixing with the sweet and tangy berry taste. Medium to heavy in body, not at all cloying despite the strong malt richness. A favorite, this beer is as good today as when I first tried it 10 or so years ago.

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Photo of mdm46410
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a deep brown/amber with a minimal tan head that quickly disappears. Almost no lacing. Aromas are of citrus, strong caramel, and some malts. Flavor is of red grapes, orange, caramel and malts. Man, this beer has a lot going on, but is still very balanced. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a small dose of carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden. Nice and creamy with a warm finish. Wow, this is a good beer! This one is a keeper.

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

Beautiful deep red copper clear semitransparent body, low carbonation. Huge tan creamy head up to medium bubbles, great retention and decent lace.
Sweet round toffee and mild spice, caramel as it warms.
Caramel, malts and mild spice well balanced with pleasantly flowing hops. Long hoppy aftertaste.
Medium body, residual sugars and good coating.
Highly drinkable.


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Photo of geexploitation
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled January 2007. Pours a dark, reddish amber with a substantial head for the style. Aromas are hugely sweet, mainly some pruney sweetness and sugared grapefruit. On the palate, bitter and citric first-off, before transitioning into some heavy, sweet tea-like flavors. It's an intense, cloying sweetness that's unattenuated by aging. Mouthfeel is quite thick, with zesty bitterness that clings to the tongue. Overall, this beer has too much sweetness at this young age, and not enough hop bitterness. With time, what hop bitterness is here will thin out a bit, but the malts will become smoother as well, creating a more palatable drink. Good now, but without a strong food pairing, it's best to hold off on this and let it age a bit.

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Photo of ericj551
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Foghorn pours a beautiful clear amber with a thin whispy head. Aroma is sweet and slighlty fruity with a hint of hops. Taste is delicous sweet malt, reminiscent of dark fruits. Hops bitterness and flavor is there, but much more subdued than I'm used to with an American Barleywine. The beer is deliciously balanced, and the alcohol is only barely noticeable.

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Photo of Bobikel
2.74/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This comes to me at an "extra premium" charge of $15.99 a sixer. Hope its worth it.

Appearance - Pours a clear coppery - red with a small tan head that recedes into a thin ring in about the same manner as a can of coke would. Lacing is a little below average.

Smell - Strong yeastyness dominates the nose. Very bready. Some very mild pine and citrus hops linger in the background.

Taste - Malt dominates with a little spicy bitter character that clasps around the tongue. Slightly cloying after the swallow. Alchohol heat is very present, even more so than in some of the most extreme beers I've tried, and at "only" %8.8, I have to wonder if that means fusels...

Mouthfeel - Very thick and slick, with probably what would have been a traditional amount of carbonation. ie. lightly carbed.

Overall - drinkability suffers a little in this one due to the mouthfeel, I could see this to be a good example of what barleywines used to be 100-200 years ago, but beyond that, it's just to goddamn expensive for me to ever justify buying again.

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Photo of crwills
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't remember where I got this. Poured my one and only bottle into an oversized wine glass at cellar temparature. Good sized tan head sits atop a light brown beer. Lots of lacing all the way down, although the head faded rather quickly.

Took poor notes on this one (it being my fourth or so brew that afternoon), but it was a solid American barley wine with very good balance between citrusey hops and sugary malt. Leaned a little more toward the sweet side than some others within the style. Well-hidden alcohol, and clean (if a bit oily) mouthfeel.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours dark and red and bubbly with a big blond head. lots of bubbles rise continuously. a bit more carbonated than i'd expect it to be. hops and syrup and alcohol on the nose...also some malts and a smoky character. Taste is of a soft, not particularly aggressive barleywine with nice subdued peaty notes along with malt and noble hops. A bit of a metallic note to it but not in an extreme way. alchol obviously present, but blended well with the malt flavor. as it warms, a fruitness comes out as well that's nice. thinner than i expected but fine for the style i guess. a nice drinking, if run-of-the-mill barleywine.

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

This beer is very sweet and caramel-y, and very drinkable for this style.

The beer pours a bright sparkling copper red with a decent amount of head (for a barley wine) which quickly faded to a minimal amount of head (typical of a barley-wine). Aroma is heavy malt sweetness, and flavor is much the same. The beer doesn’t have a lot of liquor-ish character; in fact its flavor is a bit light for a barley wine, but it is still a balanced syrup-y mix of malt sweetness and bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky. Quite good.

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

Reddish-brown mahogany color with little head.

Sweet roasty malt, vanilla, banana and maybe some fig all come out in the nose.

First impression is a definate sweetness, like nutty banana bread maybe. Lots of other fruity esters, some bubblegum, honey. Finished rather clean and balanced for the richness of taste.

Aggressive carbonation burns the tip of my tongue, but good mouthfeel overall.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear yet effervescent mahogany color with a full finger light tan head of very tiny bubbles that resists fading. Nice amount of lacing observed.

The aroma, although timid is classic. Sweet malts and caramel suggest a syrupy beverage is on the way. You can smell the alcohol but it reminds one of a fruity Cadbury easter egg of olde.

Full bodied, smooth and creamy with a tingle from carbonation.

The flavor is classic. Very sweet with a balanced hop signature and a nicely complex finishing characteristic.

Warm in the chest on the way down... always the last one prior to the drive home; mitigating a regretful urge for another. Truth is...i can't help but hold O'Foghorn as the "bar" to measure others.

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Photo of riversider76
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber brown,with a nice tan head. Decent retention,but not much lacing. Smell is of sweet dark fruit. Body is medium,with a bit of carbionation. Taste is of carmel,chocolate, roasted malts,and dark fruits. This is a smooth,great tasting beer from start to finish. Enjoy!

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

Served at cellar temp.

Glass-amber brown body graced with a dense finger of off-khaki head. Head lasts forever and crawls up the glass. Rich toffee, caramel, plum, and butterscotch malts blend with whiskey and herbally-bitter hops.

Taste starts out with sweet chocolate-tinged sugary fruits (plums, dates). Notes of toffee and butter rum settle in, along with leather, madeira and port flavors. This wasn't aged (by me) for more than a few months, but it has some aged qualities to it. Very smooth and delicious. Finish shows some baking chocolate bitterness along with lasting, mellow, herbal hops. Slightly warming. Medium-full bodied with a creamy, smooth feel. Velvety. A classic barleywine that still does the trick, ever so smoothly.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

This beer poured a foggy (no pun intended) amber with a khaki colored head that seems to die down immediately after pour. Lacing is not present, stickinness is nothing. This is one of the most unique smelling barleywines I have ever experienced. It seems almost like a cologne. Very sweet with a hint of grapes and cherries with a good alcohol tingle. Taste seemed to have an overpowering alcohol presence, but also has a good hop bite with a smooth malt aftertaste. Wasn't really impressed by this brew. Alcohol taste seemed to be a bit too much, mouthfeel seems higher than 9.4%. Give it a try none the less.

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Photo of lehows
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber color with an off-white head that dissapeared completely. Great aromas of sweet fruit, alcohol, and mellow hops. Taste was extremely smooth and pleasant. The fruit and nut flavors play around the toungue and a perfect touch of hops ends of the finish. Good mouthfeel. One of the most drinkable barleywines I've had and a damn good one at that. Hit the spot after a big dinner and only got better as it warmed.

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Photo of mpyle
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App - Rich amber color with good clarity. A smallish white head with relatively poor head retention.

Aroma - Caramel sweetness and some alcohol. No hop aroma, and generally a clean nose

Flavor - Strong caramel malt flavor, alcohol, with subdued hop flavor and bitterness. However, enough hop bitterness to prevent it from being totally sweet. Alcohol flavor notable but not overpowering.

Full bodied and lightly carbonated. No astringency, and well-controlled alcohol warming. Phenomenal mouthfeel!

A big malty, alcohol-laden beer. Exceptionally smooth. Would like a bit more hop flavor/character, but works well as a malty English style BW (but made with American hops). Very drinkable.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a chalice, pours a dark copper starting to brown, a small off-white head vanishes pretty quick , lacing is minimal. Clear, rich looking, but not much else going on. Aroma is a sweet dark caramel with toffee, fruits, alcohol isn't shy but isn't forceful, not to bad, but feels a little too sweet. The taste is much the same, would be good if it weren't too sweet. The mouth is creamy, buttery smoothness, warm, slick and sweet, the mouth is lovely, but even looking at it objectively, I just don't like it.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this brewery, they make my favorite (Liberty ale), so I have been itching to taste this for quite a while since it's hard to find in my area. Pours a very dark red, nearly brown. Aroma is caramel and molasses like with that hint of port or brandy that is common to most barley wines. Very sweet malty taste mixed with something like roasted nuts. Alcohol comes through on the aftertaste. Good stuff. A little more drinkable for me unlike say Thomas Hardy's ale, which was enjoyable, but a task to drink. Anchor, they don't seem to make a bad beer. Wish I could get this more often.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it pours a dark copper brown that seems dark until held upto light. the head is a brownish white and not to tall, and goes away before too long. the aroma is not too strong, but the taste is suprising. its balanced smooth hoppy sweetness with a slight bitterness. the flavors blend extremely well together, and create an incredibly smooth barleywine. very drinkable despite high alcohol levels. This is not a big barleywine like SN but its very good.
a must try

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Photo of tonistruth
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- ruby copper w/ red hues, tiny tan head that retreats quickly.

S- floral, malty, thick sweet alcohol, fruit

T- lots of malt, toasted and sweet, alcohol evident throughout, fruity, hop presence toward finish, citrus, sweet 'n' fruity aftertaste

M- full bodied, carbonation tickles, dry finish, sticky, warm

D- good flavor, good drinkability for barley wine, not a waste of time but I've liked others better

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Photo of Sigmund
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. ABV is 10%. Imported to Europe by . Hazy deep orange-brown colour, decent pale orangey head. Intense vinous sweet, oaky and very hoppy aroma. Some liquorice too. Intense flavour too, very oaky, nearly brandy-like, plenty of hops, but unfortunately too sweet for me, there’s something unbalanced about the entire flavour profile. Cough medicine in the finish, fairly bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Noticed I'd never reviewed this, and acted to rectify. Pours a very dark orangish-red color without much head. Aroma has lots of spicy hops overlaying a hugely malty nose. Malt is not as strong in the flavor as one would expect, though it's not attenuated enough to be particularly dry. Hoppy bitterness is high, and the yeast character is generally fruity, somewhat vinous. Alcohol is quite apparent at the finish, and the bitterness lingers for a while. Body is a bit thinner than many barley wines.

I do rather miss the old 8-oz bottles this used to come in. They were great for saving for homebrew.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

served into a flared tulip glass from a stubby brown 12oz. bottle with a twist-off cap

Clear reddish/brown color with a 1" light tan head dissapating fairly quicky to a coating with more thickness around the rim. Lively looking with very tiny bubbles tightly knitted together rushing from the sides and center of the glass.

Moderate aromas fruitty,chocolaty, hints of alcohol, sweet candied carmell,grassy, friut notes of plums and apples. A complex and interesting aroma.

Sweet,dark fruityness,chocolaty,boozy. A heavy,syrupy carmellness,piney.Finishes tart,fruity,with bittersweetness leaving a citrus rind bite

Thick body with a lot of chewyness. A sipping beer,a nightcapper,one at a time for me

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Photo of NEhophead
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a snifter.
Bottled 12.2006.

Creamy, half-inch of off-white head that fades outward leaving intact whisps on the surface. Somewhat cloudy garnet in color. Minor trails of lacing with no hold.

Sweet caramel and milk chocolate engulfed by vinous fruit: apple, grape, and plum. Sharp whaffs of alcohol that add a noticeable acidity, along with notes of orange and grapefruit.

Creamy, semi-sweet toffee and milk chocolate that remain in the background throughout the sip. Citric fruit flavors that give an intense acidity, that's magnified by waves of static alcohol. A bit of bitterness leaves an aftertaste of fig, plum, and creamy toffee.

Full bodied; syrup-like and creamy that becomes vaporous as the alcohol presence takes hold and doesn't let go.

A young, rough, and aggressive Barleywine. The alcohol presence is what stands out the most with Old Foghorn, which is also its primary offensive aspect to the drinker. This would probably benefit a lot from laying it down for a few years to let the alcohol mellow and come together with the ale's other flavors, but right now it's a little too rough around the edges for my taste.

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

Lots of good barleywines out there, this one is on my current top 5 list...

Pours dark cola brown with a thick frothy head of two fingers at least, but was little much for my pour, was the bartenders fault. I was expecting the standard sweet and heavy alcohol smell from barleywine, but this one has a non-alcoholed nose. Sweet cream and malty coffees in the nose, it is strong but not too strong. Taste follows with a very well balanced sweet maltiness, some raisins but not as much as most barleys, along with some coffee notes that are more noticeable in the nose than in the taste. As it warms, the alcohols do peek through a little, but I was consistently surprised at the level of craft for this barleywine.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,986 ratings.
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