Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Old FoghornOld Foghorn
Very Good
2,013 Ratings
Old FoghornOld Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: British 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: 2,013 |  Reviews: 1,077
Photo of nomad
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003, so barely aged...

Poured a russet - ruby red color. The off-white head started large and foamy then fell into a swiss cheese-like appearance: a head of irregular foam, bursting bubbles, and caverns through out. Also left lots of stain behing.

Smelled of a huge grapefruit scent, as well as some pine and bready malt scents, too. Tasted of sweet cherries and grapefruit, then a noticeable creamy taste, and the hops come real slow at the end. That’s all, unfortunately. Fairly thick mouthfeel - decent. Too simple and only sweet to crave for, especially in the realm of highly competitive world of great barleywines. Nice scent, though.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Amber color, no head, malt and citrus aroma. Big malty barleywine. Taste is nearly oily, fruit and citrus. Slightly sweet at the start and finishes with some hoppyness and an alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is full and round, nearly chewy. Finish is crisp and dry. Aftertaste is malty and slightly bitter with some alcohol warmth. Nice beer.

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Photo of dwarbi
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful looking barley-wine. It's a reddish-brown color. Looks much better than most. Pours a thin head but it hangs around the rim for a time. Doesn't smell too sweet. Very thick taste -- makes me think of a sugarcane, but there's not a tongue-covering feeling. Not cakey -- refreshing. Would be a good 6-pack beer.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled 7 June 2002. This is a beautifully smooth barleywine. It's incredibly easy to drink, despite an ABV of 10%. It starts out sweet & malty but finishes dry. I've had it both on draught at the brewery & in the 7 ounce 'nipper' bottles. It's a wonderful barleywine.

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

I had this beer in the 7oz. bottle. I poured it into a small snifter, noticing the ruby red color and about 1 finger of off-white head. Not a trace of lace is left on the glass. The initial smell was strong alcohol, but it softened down after a minute. Strong, but not overwhelming flavor of cascade hops at first drink. The mouthfeel is very bold and full. Spicy, yet fruitful taste with heavy alcohol makes the drinkability only average. Balance is a little on the hops side, but not as strong as an IPA. Really a great brew for my first Barleywine, and this beer does make a wonderful nightcap!

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

This brew pours a hazy copper with very little head, and no lace is left behind. The caramel aroma is very pleasant. Hop aroma is mild. The caramel flavor is very strong, along with a mild hop flavor. A citrus flavor starts to come out as the beer get warmer. The hops also start to stick out more at the same time. This is a very good beer. I am glad I have a six pack to cellar for while.


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

It's always a shame when a decent beer is contrained to a mere 7oz bottle. Well at least I got to enjoy those 7 ounces. Pours a deep reddish-orange with a thin but lasting off-white head. Aroma of malt, cherry, and alcohol (rum). Medium-bodied and easy to drink for a Barley Wine, with flavors of sweet fruit, malt, and spices. Alcohol is well-masked. The finish is sweet and lingering. Nicely done.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a few months in my fridge, reviewed 45F-65F.

I poured a dense 1cm cream-colored head and got nice lacing. The beer is a gorgeous clear, deep garnet color.

The smell is sweet, creamy, malty with some grapefruit hoppiness. In the back there seems to be almost a cheesy smell, but it's probably my sense of smell being overloaded. The front is sweet and creamy, with some grapes. The middle is malty with very slight hints of bubblegum. The finish is a nice, clean hoppy bitterness with a touch of pepper. I get some licorice and grains in the aftertaste. I love this beer. It's amazingly complex without being over-the-top. My only complaint is the 7oz bottle.

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

Pours to a deep copper color with a tan head that settles to a ring. The aroma is full of fruity esters, with a sweet, alcoholic, malty smell. The flavor is spicy and fruity, with an alcoholic finish. It has a good balance between malty sweetness and hop flavor. It has a sweet, alcoholic finish. A very warming, full-bodied brew. I really enjoyed this barley-wine.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber that is clear and has a very think small bubbled head. The nose is almost all hops that has a minimal sugary undertone. The flavor is in contrast to the nose, far more malt than hops to the taste initially. The hops are well blended giving this barely wine a surprisingly sophisticated overall satisfaction that is rare these days. The finish is sweet giving way again to the well balanced hops. I would have to say this is my second favorite barley wine following behind North Coast Old Stock Ale.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sitting in a cafe overlooking the Bay, I am warming myself with the local barleywine. It's made to shake the wet chill off and get you back to room temperature quickly. It glows like the bridge,an amber brew with tan head.The aroma fills the room with cedar and earthy,resiny hops. Its creamy texture helps this 10% abv beverage go down easily with no trace of alcohol in the finish. It has a fruity woody flavor, peaches on oak. It finishes dry with a slight buttered toast flavor.This full bodied drink is the perfect compliment to the cool wet climate that is San Francisco.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1996 bottling:

Appearance: Deep orange amber in color with a small tan head that subsides quickly, leaving small islands of foam, modest carbonation.

Aroma: Raw honey, hops, charred oak, dark fruits, ginger, and strong alcohol.

Taste: Strong and rich toasted malt flavors dominate after a slight tingle of carbonation, strong and spicy-sweet notes of alcohol soon follow, along with rich dark fruit flavors and hints of bitter cocoa. The pinesap character of the hops has mellowed considerably, although still quite recognizable, the most assertive notes have faded.

Notes: Old Foghorn is an excellent aperitif or dessert beer. With proper aging its nature exhibits the sublime character of cognac. Though there are many great styles of beer, barley wine will always be my favorite - and whenever I drink it, I am reminded of why.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The 7oz. little bottles makes this beer look kind of wimpy, but at 8.8 it packs a punch. Appearance is an amber tone with a haze of orange over it, with a tan head. The head retention was pretty good for the ABV, and it is already forming a nice lace around the edges. The aroma is packing an apple sweetness with some raisins thrown in there. Smells of syrup malt sweetness, and finishes with a trace of hop aroma here. Very drinkable barley wine, not overdone in anyway. Unless your not into the west coast style barley wines, a little more hopped up then the typical barley wine, but it is still very tame compared to Old Guardian from Stone. Very sweet, palate is absorbed with malt and then the bitterness and bite of alcohol swirl to form a great taste. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and this one is warming great for a cold day like today. Medium bodied beer that is very well balanced creates a enjoyable tasting experience for me. This just isn't a style I would throw down one right after another.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Unknown Vintage, Purchased in 2003

I was a bit disappointed with the bottle version of this beer. I'd had it on tap a few times at a local pizza parlor several years back, and remember quite enjoying it. The trouble with the bottle started as soon as it was poured -- a nice, bright reddish color with a very thin, quickly dissipating head, but almost no carbonation to speak of. The nose is malty, with a bit of tart fruitiness, and a distractingly strong alcohol nose. Mouthfeel was the main problem -- this beer just struck me as too limp, almost watery. This affected the perception of the flavor for me. The flavor came off as a sort of malty nuttiness, combined with all too much hop bitterness (not a phrase I utter often). Fruitiness lends a sweetness for just an instant mid-palate, but not enough for balance. I wish I knew what happened to this beer. Might be a bad vintage, might be a bad bottle, might be just better on draught, or it might be that the spicy pizza compensated for a weak-bodied beer.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7 oz. Bottle

Appearance: I poured this beer aggresively and was rewarded by a dense tan head that rose up above the deep amber liquid. The head was very sticky, coating the sides of the glass when tipped and leaving some lace behind.

Smell: From the bottle, all that I really smelled was raw hops. From the snifter, however, the aroma was much different. Slightly sweet smells of bananas, raisins, and malt rose up to my nose. There was a little whiff of alcohol, as well, but no hops aromas to speak of.

Mouthfeel: This brew was medium- to full-bodied and very smooth.

Taste: The flavor of this beer was a little one-dimensional. There were sweet malt and raisin tastes up front that gave way eventually to a very, very slight bitterness. I had to really search for any hops flavor at all. There was some alcohol on the palette as well, but no warming effect.

Compared to the other barley wines that I have had (Old Crustacean and Bigfoot) this brew was melllloooww. While the other two can be a little harsh when young and will benefit and stand up to some long term aging, the same cannot be said for Old Foghorn. It is a good beer, but just not very aggressive or a good candidate for cellaring.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber/orange tea color with a nice 2-finger tan head. Its aromas are fresh baked bread, fruit, malt, and light alcohol notes in the background. The taste is dominated by a fruity taste with a light cough-medicine type taste, but not in a bad way. The hops are perfectly proportioned and taper into a slightly dry finish. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and it drinks down fairly easy for the ABV. This is a pretty decent brew. Cheers!

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

2001 vintage pours a deep clear dark amber-copper, small creamy off-white head that doesn't last long, sweet fruity aromas of apples and pears. Sweet and malty like a good barleywine, sweet slick finish, very smooth and full bodied with a full and syrupy, creamy mouthfeel, very complex and very smooth.

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

2003 edition I assume:
This beer poured a lovely reddish amber color and formed a small off white foamy head that diminished leaving some trace lace. A good deal of carbonation was present. The aroma was of malt and caramel. A flavor of malt, caramel and a finish of some sweetness that strikes me of alcohol. Not a bad barley wine, but far from the best I have tried so far and a bit of a disappointment from Anchor.

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

This is was my first taste of a barley wine. So I have nothing to compare it with.
Very dark amber in color with tiny bubbles of foam at the top.
The flavor was sweet and spicy and had a very faint alcohol taste. Not bad. I would say it isn't bad for its style, but I am just not a barley wine drinker.

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Photo of mickeymac
3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I love barley wine and was seriously disappointed with Foghorhn. I had it on tap twice and just didn't get it. It's a bit lighter in color than most BWs. The smell is mostly sweet with just a hint of hops. The taste is too sweet, even for a barley wine and only gets mor cloying as it warms. I really wanted to like this one.

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Photo of John
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap and presumably 2002 vintage. Deep cloudy amber/brown color. Dense foam lays atop. 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 LarryKemp
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thie beer poured a very deep amber. The aroma filled the Belgian glass. The fruitiness in the aroma made me want to taste the beer. I detected no hops in either the aroma nor the taste. The alchohol kept the head down and was quite prevelant in the taste. The mouthfeel was firm and the beer clung to the tongue. With the high alcohol, one should not drink too many of these at one sitting, but the flavor is striking making it a pleasure.

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Photo of TXHops
3.01/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I used to drink a lot of Old Foghorn on tap at the Flying Saucer. On Monday nights, when just about everything on draft is $2.50, Old Foghorn and Celebrator were hard to pass up. I decided to splurge and spend the $3 or so on a single 7 ounce nip bottle to see if it tastes any differently in the bottle. The quick consensus is no...

Foghorn pours a beautiful, clear, tawny amber color with an off-white, tiny bubbled head that quickly recedes to the edges of the glass, where it lives for the remainder of the beer's tenure in front of me. The aroma is that of rum-soaked banana bread. The sourish-spiciness of cooked bananas is a shock to the olfactory system, just as I remember it on draft. The banana flavor is just as evident in the flavor too. I've always found this to be an odd flavor in a barleywine. None of the other Anchor brews exhibit a banana flavor that I can recall. Perhaps it's a result of using the first runnings of the mash??? I'm really just grabbing at straws here... Anyway, the mildly sickly-sweet banana flavor and aroma mingle to create a vaguely medicinal, vaguely rotten, slightly appealing malty base that quickly sours in my nose and my mouth. This beer is quintessentially English in that regard. Actually, I should say that this beer acts like a quintessentially English ale imported into America, though I've found Red Tail Ale to have the same characteristics. The slightly sour maltiness can't shake the banana undertones, even with a modest hoppiness in the finish. The medium-full body would allow it's true viscosity to show through if the beer were slightly less carbonated.

As with all my other tastings of this beer, I find it to be very strange indeed—an English Style barleywine that tastes like it was fermented at a Bavarian Weisse brewery. Infinite props to Fritz for reviving the barleywine style in 1975. At the same time, thank you to all the American micros who made barleywine in America what it is today.

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Photo of Morris729
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium mahogany color with a thin yet creamy tan colored head that fades into a thin lace with a bubbly ring along the sides of the glass. Nose is dark sweet fruits and caramel with a hint of spice. Taste is a nice balance of sweet malts and bitter hops with notes of chewy caramel and a noticeable alcohol bite. The taste seems to come more alive as the beer warms a bit. A nice barley wine. My biggest complaint—the silly little 7oz. bottles!

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Photo of cokes
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A leathery amber colored brew with a beige cap that fades quickly to a memory.
Nose of dried berries, grapes, malts, leather, band-aid gauze, paper and alcohol. It actually works together pretty well.
A good deal of caramel on the taste buds, coupled with some candied fruits (grapes and berries). Ghosty grain. A small alcohol flourish. Moderate hop bursts seals things up, and add late pineapple.
Seems caged and tranquilized and sedately gummi-fruited, yet content. A very tame, candy sweet barleywine, seemingly without the complexities nor the ruggedness I've come to expect from the style.
Decent, though far from a favorite.

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Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 2,013 ratings