Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,974 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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Reviews: 1,059 | Ratings: 1,974
Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the mini-sized 8oz bottle - cute, but they could stand to be a little more generous with the bottle size. Other than that, I can't complain, the Old Foghorn is an excellent barleywine. Pours out a nice toasted auburn color, crystal clear, no visible head. Mildly but perfectly carbonated. Aroma is very sweet and caramely, very little hops in the nose. Taste has just enough hops to grab you at first before easing into a tantalizing blend of malty complexity and fruity esters. Alcohol is definitely noticeable, but pleasantly so such that it lends a bit of a spicy bite. Finish is a bit bitter with notes of bourbon soaked raisins. Damn tasty...very drinkable barleywine. Mouthfeel is on the medium side for a barleywine, sending it down easy despite its alcoholic character.

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Photo of yankeeheel
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely golden amber with a small eggshell layer of foam. Too small to call a head. Lots of lacing even as the beer is consumed.

Smells nicely musty and a little fruity. Perhaps a little citrus in the background.

Has all the great barleywine flavors. Leathery, dark fruit, peppery spice. Lots of malt dominated tones here. Quite a bit of clove and allspice too. Slightly hoppy finish that dissipates quickly.

Mouthfeel is moderateky huge. Very filling and enjoyable for a little bottle.

I'm always a little leary of a "new" barleywine, but I would almost say this is ready to drink from jump street. It certainy doesn't need years of aging to settle it. Perhaps a year, tops. I'll let you know next year.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish copper with a small beige head that disappeared quickly. Aromas of sweet malt, fruits, spicy/citrusy hops and alcohol.
Taste is malty sweet upfront. There were tropical/bubblegum fruits, brown sugar and nuts all soaked in brandy. Finished with a slightly resinous, spicy hop aftertaste with a bit of pepper. Almost cloyingly sweet at first, but the hop bitterness really came through at the end.
Rich,creamy semi-viscous mouthfeel. The alcohol was certainly present but still great drinkability for a barleywine. Now about those puny 7oz. bottles...

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 29 December 2003, Sampled February 2004
Pours a reddish copper color that is lightly hazy, and is topped by a tan head. Aromas of alcohol, restrained hop floral, and sweet malt. The hop nose is made up of grapefruit, orange which is perhaps the strongest, and a bit of raisin. This beer is thick, though not overly so: sweet, though not sticky. There are definitely some hops here, they are one of the more dominant flavors, but it is in a very good balance with the sweet caramel malt flavors. Finishes with a bit of a hop bite bitterness. The taste is made up of alcohol, orange, sweet malt, caramel, pine, hop nectar, and biscuit/ bready notes.

The grandfather U.S. Barley Wine that spawned the American variety. Very restrained compared to many of the brash youngsters, though ground breaking and even explosively flavorful in its day. Funny that now a days this beer shows a sophisticated and balanced restraint in its marriage between malt and hop. The nip bottles are the perfect size for this beer.

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

Seven-ounce nip bottle. Gotta love the nip bottle... but I digress.

Copper-amber pour with a fizzy taupe head that is quick to disappear.

Sweet, fruity nose shows notes of pineapple, caramel, toffee, and hints at apricot. Somewhat of a molasses scent, too. The dry hopping draws but minor attention.

More sweet, fruity notes reign in the flavor department. Pineapple, caramel, toffee, bubblegum and sappy hops. Nicely integrated flavors keep the alcohol content from becoming overly prevalent.

Mouthfeel seems a touch thin, though this is quite the smooth barleywine.

Drinks very well for a barleywine, but I think part of this is attributed to the seemingly lighter mouthfeel Old Foghorn possesses. Not overly heavy, but packs enough of a punch to demand respect. A well done barleywine that put American examples of the style on the map not too long ago.

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Photo of filabrazilia
4.82/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a semi-hazy copper orange with a small off-white head. Great lace decorates the glass.

Exceptionally malty nose balanced with the spicy citrusy character of the hops. There is a slight presence of alcohol.

The taste is absolutely wonderful. Subtle fruits dance in the mouth with the rich malt sweetness. The maple like malts are finished off by the slightly bitter hops. As the beer warmed, the flavors became more complex. Carmel and chocolate were present.

This is a medium bodied beer that blankets the mouth with layers of flavor and character. It is simultaneously subtle and rich.

This is a fantastic beer that comes close to liquid perfection. I could drink these by the dozen. I loved it.

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Seven ounce brown bottle, with bottling code 3DJ printed on back.

Clear auburn hue, modest carbonation. Thin white head recedes rater quickly into a tiny halo.

Rich malt, citrusy hops, & fruity notes assault the nose.

Sweet bready malt, caramel, strange estery fruit. Dries quickly with orangey hop flavours that linger. Medium body, a bit oily w/ subtle carbonation.

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

It may be sold in a 7-ounce bottle or served in small quantity at the draught house, but there is a lot of bang for a lot of bucks here.

Old Foghorn has been crafted by Anchor since 1975 and is consistently balanced with about 8.8 percent alcohol, the best of malts and whole hops and an aging process that brings together sweetness, fruitiness and bitterness into a powerful package.

Although the alcohol content is lower than some barleywines, the heartiness of Old Foghorn demands respect. This one reminds you with the sternness of a ship's captain that the rations are made for sipping, not swilling.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cryptic "3MK" embossed stamp on the back label, on this little 7.0 oz. bottle starts the intrigue rolling like a mystery novel. [Update: Anchor website explains the 3MK.] Poured into a small wine glass, Anchor's BW reflects like a prism. Room light refractions are clear at the bottom, giving way to a darker hazy top. Nice! This is a whodunnit of sorts with the usual suspects: Bountiful nose bouquet garnering a 5/5 superlative aroma that can not improve any better, stands next to his partner in crime: Complex aroma, wearing estery plum, apricot, and spiced cider complement the elusive Kraft caramel squares & Twizzlers' Red Liquorice scents. This is guilty of delight. Now that a hand is caught red handed in the cookie jar, let's investigate...

At the scene of the crime, flavor clues are equally up in the nose as on the tongue. Chock full fruity pleasant spicey cinnamon & nutmeg dryness are presant. As small sips quickly deplete my wineglass of this jem, leaving no fingerprints of lace, mild alcohol scents combine with hints of dark malty flavor. I can not understate the aromatic smell enough, with each sip.

There is not a lot of carbonation here. A foamy at best mouthfeel guides this beauty while deceivingly potent. These could get me in trouble, drinking these all night, but that would be a short night indeed. I am thouroghly enjoying each sniff and sip with this review. Please, somebody pay me to do this. Heavenly. To improve? Hard to say.

For this Horn to cut through the San Fran Fog and be heard in Yuengling-ville, PA: $70 I repeat $70 Georgies for 24, 7 oz.bottles. I defrayed the cost 50/50. Special thanks to my friend's husband that turned me onto this treat and shelled out 1/2. Worth it? If you feel that you deserve a Barleywine Style (insert annoying, feckless, US government marketing interference stipulation blurb right here) Ale, with the hefty price tag, do it at least once. Your beer karma commands you! Last sips: Just as good, spicey and warming as the first. That's complex! Mmmm. This is a BW to swig after sledding in the snow and not going to work one day. Get tunafied unknowingly! Last chapter? Mr. Plumflavor did it in the conservtory with a bottle of Foghorn. I have a few more bottles. Clue: There will be an update as these mature.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

Orangey amber color with a thin white head. Very little lacing is evident, and only on the mouth side of the glass. Very sweet strong aroma comes up at you from the glass, very nice. Taste is a bit sweet with good malt and hop balance. Thick mouth feel, a definite sipper is this one. Noticible alcohol presence. Barley Wine style ales are not my favorite style, but I can appreciate them and their place in beerdom. You can't go wrong with Anchor, and as far as BW's go, I guess it's O.K.. Probably would rate higher with some aging. I bought my samples straight from the brewery and they were pretty fresh. I'll try that possibly and re review in the future. I have had this beer some more and can qualify it as a real heavy hitting beer. I love it. Ultra smooth, a fine sipping beer for a cold night.

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Photo of Elemental
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice amber brown color that has very little head if any. very malty sweet smelling with a gingerbread aroma. The taste is very very sweet with a nice hop profile and little spiciness. Finishes slightly bitter but is overpowered by the sweetness. Overall an ok beer but needs some maturing and a little too sweet for me.

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Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a light bronze color with a spotty head. The aroma was of malt and alcohol. The flavors are typical barley wine, sweet malt and fruity, but there is more of a hop kick in this than others I have tried. Alcohol is quite noticeable.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the body is on the lighter side of the heavy scale. The malt lasts long on your tastebuds as it seems to coat the tongue. I used to drink this on tap at one of my favorite establishments years ago, and I still prefer the tap version even though the bottle version is good.

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

Old Foghorn was a nice amber pour with a thin white lace. It had a nice sharp alcohol and spicy smell. The taste is a little sour with out much malt to it. It has a bit of hop kick at the end that leaves a decent aftertaste. A nice smooth beer. I don't know if I'll be buying much of this in the future though. The result for me isn't worth the price.

After a very pleasant experience with Young's Old Nick as an introduction to Barley Wines I took the chance that these little bottles, and my first chance to get an anchor product, would be a step up. I was disappointed.

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

What can I say, the best Barleywine out there. An English style with malt being the defining aspect. Supposedly hopped with Cascade, but you cannot pick out the piney character of Cascade.

Medium amber with strong alcohol and toffee notes. Some hope aroma, almost minty, Cascade?

Flavor is all malt a nice hop bitterness to keep this thing in line. A mild hop flavor does appear in the end.

Not too bitter and definitely not a "west coast" style Barleywine.

One of my favorite beers of all time.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My Old Foghorn came in a 7 oz bottle warning me about the high strength of the beer. There was no vintage date on the bottle, indeed no date at all that I could tell, but I believe this bottle was a few years old when I had it. There was very little head from the beer, which may have been handicapped by the fact that I poured it into a fairly wide "brandy snifter" type glass. The beer was not highly carbonated either. The color was a light brownish-amber, and was noticably cloudy as well. The aroma was very powerful, and featured a bit of malt along with spicy notes - raisins, a minty quality, and another aroma that reminded me of tea leaves. The flavor was big and bold and seemed balanced toward the bitter side. The finish had hints of dark chocolate and sharp, rich resiny bitter notes. The beer was good but seemed a little one-dimensional - I expected more fruitiness and malty sweetness. Still, this has its place in my barley wine favorites and I enjoyed it immensely.

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

Pours a deep clear amber with a very thin tan head that rests on top for the duration... it doesn't leave much of a lace behind however. Aroma is full of dried fruit and bubblegum, with some rum and spicy hop notes. Flavor begins sweet with dried fig and brown sugar, then becomes spicy and herbal... the hops shine through but don't dominate. Moutfeel is medium to full... on the light side for a barleywine, which might make it more drinkable. Carbonation is medium. The flavors are completely in balance, and this is a very fine barleywine!

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

Poured from a cute little 7oz bottle.
Nice amber/brown with a thin off-white head and just a touch of lace. The fragrant aroma of sweet malt, pear brandy, and hops is quite potent at first, but fades to a faint rummy fuminess. The caramel sweet malt body is fairly substantial. Candy sugar, prunes and toffee mingle with a mild lemony citrus bitterness. A peppery spiciness offers a bit of an edge to an otherwise rounded and mellow brew. The warming alcohol remains throughout, though sort of, in the background. Mellows and sweetens as it ages.

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Photo of taez555
4.59/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured ruby red/tan/brown body with a small white/tan head.

The nose was simply mesmerizing. Sugary sweet, sharp crystal like sugar and fruit. Tropical fruits, banana, bubble gum, tropical sugar, malt. Little hints of a Belgian double, hints of a big malty American beer on the other. Really amazing.

The taste was big, thick and very smooth. Apples, malt, brown sugar, caramel, fruit, bubble gum, tropical fruits, a slight earth hop touch. A perfect hop bitterness balanced effortlessly with every sip from start to finish.

Overall a very enjoyable beer. Not like your typical American hop monster barleywine. This is just a simple, complex, very tasty big malty sweet beer in a little bottle.

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Photo of Riggo
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Not really a fan of barleywines, though i read that American micros tend to balance the normal heavy maltiness of the style with plenty of hops. That seems to be the case with Anchor.

A gorgeous beer, Old Foghorn pours a pretty red-orange, pekoe tea-color with minimal head. Smell is powerful, with an intensity that reminds me of spray-paint ether. Notes of bubblegum, orange liquer or orange rind/oil. Taste is strong, warmly alcoholic, reminiscent of cognac. Notes of oranges and pine sap. A heavy, sticky sweet maltiness is well-balanced by piney/citrusy hops. In the mouth the ale is velvety smooth, with very low carbonation.

All this makes for a great nightcap, sipping slowly and enjoying the warming alcohol, the mellow low carbonation, and the soporific hops. Nighty-night.

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

What a good beer. I had this on tap at the Flying Saucer in Memphis. It poured a redish color with a slight head, it quickly went away with little lace, Id say due to the glass and how it was cleaned. Besides that it looked great and had a sweet smell. A very nice warming taste with a nice mild alchol taste. A very smooth beer that has a full body and taste.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A very clear orangish-red with a small beige head that clings tightly to the glass. Smells bright with esters and alcohol - cherries, raisins, sherry, port, sweet sugary malt, and hops. The hops were a lot less present than I expected, since they say this is dry-hopped with a lot of Cascades. The alcohol really sticks out in the flavor, and the raisins come back in. Hops carry on throughout, as does the malt body. A little maple syrup character. Medium body is thinner than most barleywines. Extremely well balanced throughout. Medium carbonation, smooth and creamy. Feels great. Very drinkable. A little bit less alcohol flavor in this brew and it would be a regular of mine.

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Photo of maybrick
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured from the 7 oz bottle. I wish it had been bigger because I really think this is a special one. I found this brew to be very balanced. malty sweet but not overpowerring and a an honest hop backend. The balance between the wto is great.
Nice head with an almost white lace.

I'm not certain what year this is from but am going to be seeking out mroe of it.

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Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was ruby brown with a good almost white head. There's a good balance here. There's a lot of caramel malt sweetnees, but not too much. There is also just enough hop bitterness to balance the malty sweetness. This is definitely a great barleywine.

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Photo of Naerhu
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cedar colored tiny head, opaque amber body. No lace.
Sweet malty aroma with alcohol noticeable.
Warming sweet malty flavor. Juicy caramel is all over the place. Is this made from toffee, I would scarce believe you if you told me no. Hop bitterness present only to balance the creamy lovely dominating malt body. The hops are reserved, barely noticing slight citrus flavors. If I were to guess the ingredients of this beer (not seriously) I would say butter, toffee, and a bit of orange juice. The buttery aftertaste is to die for, gimme more.

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Photo of Nytemare
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Some people have been listing the vintage of the Old Foghorn. Myself, I havn't a clue. I bought it as a single because I'd never had it before and didn't wanna shell out the 14 bucks for a fresher sixer. I can only assume from the amount of dust found upon the bottle that it's at least a year old. So, let's get to this.
Poured a clear amber color. Little carbonation, virtually no head or lacing. Looked pretty good. Smelled of floral hops. That was really all I could smell, but that was probably me. The taste was really shocking. I was expecting the bitterness of the hops to really play a major role in the taste. Instead they were just there to balance the sweetness as far as I could tell. Very sweet and fruity upfront with a floral hopiness in the back. Some hops bitterness showing up in the end with a roasted, bready malt just filling the mouth in the aftertaste. Very full bodied and clinging. Creamy smooth. I'm now debating taking a sixer of this to New Years instead of my New Belgium Abby Grand Cru. Tough decision, at least for me. Very yummy.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 1,974 ratings.
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