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Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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very good
1,055 Reviews
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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: 1,055 | Ratings: 1,962
Photo of mobyfann
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paid only $4.99 for a 6-pack at Jungle Jim's...

The appearence looks like a beer and a wine mated, so it's a rusty red colored base with a little white head, low retention and no signs of lacing, not impressed... The aroma is pretty good, it speaks of malts and sweets.

The taste is not too shabby, it almost feels like a wine crossbred with a beer, quite unique, but not a real beer in my opinion... It's good in the mouth, not heavy nor strong, I enjoyed it slowly. The 8.8% ABV seems too low with what I am tasting here, I've had imperial stouts with better days than this one (Blackout/Storm King), and they didn't hint this much alcohol.

Final Thought: I'll stick with beer thank you, first barley wine making it want to be the last one, nothing good enough here, porters and specialty stouts wins any day!

Re-Review: Upgraded the Taste and Drinkability up to a 4, the taste was complex of a nice blend of fruit and malt. More drinkable than the last time I had it, maybe my taste is becoming more developed???

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz. bottle

I was surprised to pay to much for these beers (14 bucks for a 6 pack of 7oz) but I haven't tried them yet, so what the heck. Thanks to their FAQ I found out that 2G8 means August 28, 2002.

Pours a deep red that looks like a solid brown until you hold it up to a light. Small off-white head that dissipates quickly

Smell is sweet maltiness, dark fruit (maybe fig or plum), and alcohol.

Taste follows the smell, sweet malty, dark fruit, alcohol, slight hop finish. Really great complexity in this one.

I don't know a whole lot about this style beer, but I like this one. I will need to look at others more seriously.

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Photo of cbl2
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Opaque Reddish-orange with a 1/4 inch tan head.


Sweet with candy carmel odors.


Tickles the tongue with sweet candy flavor at first that finishes hoppy and bitter; Good; served in 7oz bottle.


This is my first experience with a barleywine (12-8-2002), and I like what I'm tasting. Very complex, and the perfect winter warmer with all that alcohol.

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

This beer poured a nice dark amber with little to no head. It had the thick, oily look of a barleywine perfectly.

The aroma was of strong rich malt with some hoppiness, and light but noticeable alcohol.

The taste was full and rich, only slightly sweet, and the alcohol was much more noticeable than in the nose. It had the right mouthfeel... a little thick, covering the tongue well.

If you can find it, get it.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice little 7oz Bottle on a hot summer day! I had been craving a barleywine since winter and this surely satisfied me. THe color was a doark golden and very tiny carbonation bubbles filled the glass. Tons of sweetness on the toungue and it was very smooth tasting! Excellent Barleywine!

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Photo of dedalus
2.86/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

appearance: dark amber with next to no head

smell: deep, malty aromas, with rum and raisin notes. suspicious lack of hop scents.

taste: is this a wee heavy? no, but had i been blindfolded and asked to sample a wee heavy and the old foghorn side by side, i would not have been able to tell the difference. this was all sweet malt flavors, with none of the hops or fruity esters that the label promised. hugely disappointing. i've got nothing against sweet malt, mind you, as long as the hop presence can balance it out. but the old foghorn's hops fail to do so. the flavors (or lack thereof) are completely inappropriate for an american barleywine.

mouthfeel: thick and satisfying, but not so much that it makes up for the beer's lack of flavor and complexity.

drinkability: far too cloying in its relentless malt sweetness to be very drinkable.

hmmm. despite all the good things i've heard about this beer, i think i'll be steering clear from now on. there are so many other classic anchor brews that far exceed the old foghorn in depth of flavor; the liberty ale and the anchor porter are beautiful beers, and they set a standard the foghorn simply fails to live up to.



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

2002 Vintage from the typical nip bottle. Practically no ullage at all on this one…in fact, it was nearly overflowing with liquid as I lifted the cap. Pours a deep mahogany color with an impressive tan head. The head is surprisingly frothy for a barley wine. Alcohol aroma is evident on the pour, followed quickly with piney hops and ripe fruits. Sweet malt is evident in the smell as well, but takes a backseat to hops…certainly an American Barleywine. Warming begins on the tip of the tongue, and continues to build from there. Expected sweetness up front, mixed with fruitiness and esters. Still, as in the aroma, the balance is tilted toward hops. Overall, the beer has moderate carbonation, but it seems fairly pronounced for the style. Full mouthfeel, and slightly oily. This is a fantastic beer. It’s flavorful, intense, and well-made. It’s not my favorite Barleywine, but it’s very solid.

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Photo of granger10
2.55/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer just arrived at my local beer store much to my anticipation. I had to buy it even though the price seemed a bit high for such a little bottle. The appearance of this beer is light in color in comparison to most barleywines with a small fizzy lightly tan head. The smell is a little on the weak side but I noticed a toffee flavor mixed with a pinewood precense. Taste is strong on the malts with caramel being the main flavor. Surprisingly, considering this is an American barleywine, the hops were very weak and seemed to be dominated by the malts. This beer had a thin body and was a little buttery as well. Alcohol was not really too noticeable until the finish but it faded quickly and there was basically no finish. Maybe it was the Thomas Hardy's I had the night before, or maybe it was because the Pistons were losing, but I was really disappointed with this beer. Not complex, no depth of flavor, unbalanced, weak. Maybe it would improve with age but I don't think so. Definitely not worth the $3.19 for 7oz I paid.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a brown colored, hazy body, with a khaki colored bubbly head. The scent is majorly malts, some hop and alcohol notes as well. As for the taste, its got thick, chewy malts, warming alcohol, and some well balanced hops. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel. These need to come in bigger bottles.

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Photo of merlin48
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I assume these wee, seven ounce bottles are a tradition of some kind, but they should put this in bombers, at least for limited release, for those of us who can't find it on tap. This one was bottled in August of 2002(thanks to Cellarman for deciphering the date code).
Pours a clear, reddish mahogany into a tulip glass. Skimpy, beige head quickly falls to a collar. Quite a bit of sticky lace patches the glass.

The aroma is seductive. Molasses/Caramel, then Pine/Grapefruit. The malt and hops aromas keep dancing back and forth, in a very playful aroma.

Mouthfeel is near perfect. The carbonation bursts forth into a rich and coating feel of caramel malt and citrusy hops. Very pleasant!

Taste features the same "hide and go seek" game of hops/malts. Sweet, caramel maltiness and grapefruit and citrus hops keep jumping around the palate, but both end up sharing the stage in this intriguing balance of the two. Alcohol is cleverly concealed, but after finishing this tiny bottle I can feel its effects.

Very drinkable. In fact, this was a lot of fun to sip down and enjoy the way the hops and malts kept playing together. One little bottle just isn't enough to appreciate the other complexities going on here.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Malty, alcoholic caramel aroma. Small yellowish tan colored head, fades quickly to a ring. Glowing, light mahogany colored beer. Rich sweet caramel malt, and grapefruit hop flavor. Lightly bitter piney hop aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel, mildy bitter and alcoholic finish leaves a warm stomach. Lots of flavors coming and going in this beer. This hoppy barleywine reminds me of some of the potenet IIPAs.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cute little 7ozer bottle bought as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter glass, formed a small 1/4" light tan head that quickly faded to a layer of foam over the deep reddish-amber brew. Acceptable lacing, and this offering has a hearty grainy aroma which also gives away the higher alcohol content (as if the wimpy bottle size didn't trumpet the fact). Taste is upfront with some good malt character, then segues into a slight amount bitterness, which finally gives way to the radiational warming of the alcohol. The mouthfeel works great for me, but I fear the sweetness and alcohol could be somewhat limiting for this brew, which knocked the drinkability down a peg.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7oz bottle thanks to piscator34. Cloudy dark amber body, no head at all. Toffee and pine in the aroma. Very caramelic palate, big and malty creamy body, very sweet like a caramel pudding with a mild bite of piney hops, perhaps a touch of melon or grapes as in a restrained fruitiness. Warming finish with a light touch of alcohol, quite short ending actually. Rather simple barley wine imo and far less intense than I wished it to be.

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Photo of Zorro
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark mahogany brown brew with an oily hop sheen on top.

Smell is sweet with lots of malt aroma. Mild tea hop scent is also present.

Taste is very sweet and a bit stingy to the tongue. Lots of fruity flavors in this mostly raisins and plums with an assertive bitter hop finish. Dark molasses and a bit of woody oak in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is very thick.

A drinkable and truly tasty barley wine, but sip this one.

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Photo of oberon
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours tawny brown color with a few light highlights with a thin lace,aroma is deeply fruity and a little alcoholic.Taste is rich and warming alot of fruity estures with a hint of molassis with an underlying herbal,grassy flavor in the finish.A nice complex brew but whats up with the tiny bottles?

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

Stubby, narrow 7 ounce bottle purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, CA.

Poured a tad too carefully into a tulip glass, so no head to mention. Body is light mahogony, bright amber when held close to the light.

Ah, the smell is wonderfully dense in its malt sweetness. Bubblegum, but better than that (freshly pulled taffy), and a vigorously spicy undertone like pepper corns if you can imagine them dipped into the foreground of sweetness.

Taste opens with a sharp pinch of hops before the malts roll out in the background. The middle is a lot of dead air, at least to my palate, and serves as a pregnant pause before the bitterness stirs back into the mix, rising at a steep incline and straight through to the finish. The aftertaste is dry, bitter, and at the very tip of the end the malts come through with a melon-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel: not too thin, not too thick; actually, more thin than I'd like, it slides too quickly off of my palate. Carbonated nicely and is most noticeable toward the finish.

Compared to some other American barley wines I've had, this one has a tender touch -- worth a try.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the GingerMan in Dallas
Aroma: Malty.
Appearance: Dark clear golden brown. A thin head of off white crowned this beauty.
Flavor: Slightly sweet and very smooth. It’s all about the malt here, but enough hops to back it. I got hints of maple syrup with a touch of spice, perhaps clove.
Mouthfeel: Thin for such rich flavor, but really close to a medium body, let’s say medium light. There is a slight alcohol burn and numbing sensation, and this beer left my lips happy and sticky.
Overall Impression: Compared to the little bottles, on tap I found this to be smoother, clearer, and more carbonated. The basic taste profile isn’t dramatic different, but it just seemed to be a bit more gentle. May the keg had aged a bit, but I found this to be very enjoyable. The alcohol put an end to any thoughts of another; this was the perfect way to end the night.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew comes in a small 7 oz bottle so I was forced to buy a 6er to feel like I got enough of em. I am sampling this brew at room temperature and pouring into a snifter.
Wow, not used to emptying a bottle in this glass. The beer pours a rich copper color with ruby tints when held to the light. I get a small large bubbled beige head that fades very quickly to nothing after the pour.
Aroma...very nice! I get a mix of toffee, raisins, ripe pears and a mild floral hop scent.
Onto the drinking, very fine prickly carbonation, with a fairly thick body, even slightly viscous. The carbonation leaves a tingly feeling on my tongue long after I swallow. The flavor is tasty. I get some sweet malt and fruit up front with a rich caramel middle and some nice grassy hops on the finish. Alcohol warming from mid-chest to my belly. Ah, what a fine example of a barleywine. Wish this made the rounds in CT more often. If you like big beers this is definitely one you need to try!

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

Dark mahogany with a thin tan film that quickly dissipated, leaving just a thin ring around the glass. Did not lace, but thats not an issue with the high ABV.
Fruity, malt sweet aroma, with strong high alcohol notes.
Apricot, toasted malt, sweet taste. High alcohol esters, flowery (lilac?)
Medium-full and dry. Better than a tylenol PM at bedtime.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper in color with a minute micro-layer of fine bubbles providing for a spotty, but noteable level of lace.

Smell: Powerful! Oily malt sweetness, similar to warm candy caramel. Lots of fruity esters. Strong medicine-like alcohol aroma, similar to antiseptic menthol.

Strong candy apple flavors up front. This concoction is very thick, rich and syrupy (like watered down maple syrup). Although the carbonation is expectedly low, it does provide an adequate foil to coy sweetness. There is a subtle hop bitterness at the end of the sip. That quickly subsides after the swallow to a sugary aftertaste. The strong aromas discribed above continue throughout the tasting.

Although this is not my favorite barley wine, I believe it fits the profile exceptionally well. This beer would be wonderful with tart desserts or as an after-dinner cordial.

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

A tiny 7oz. bottle of beautiful dark amber beer, unfortunately there was very little head, and very little carbonation. But it smells great.

This is a very easy drinking barley wine, I don't know why they put it in such small bottles. It is very sweet with lots of alcohol. For a barley wine it just doesn't seem hoppy enough.

I put a few in the cellar but I think I better pull most of them out and drink them now. I can't see that aging this beer will have a positive effect on it.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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 +4.6%
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 +10.5%
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 +10.2%
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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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,962 ratings.
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