Anchor Old Foghorn

Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by: Anchor Brewing

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: Barleywine
  • Variation: American Style
  • Seasonal: No
  • ABV: 8-10%
  • IBU: N/A

Notes: The ABV can vary slightly across batches.

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

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.

Hops: Cascade

Malts: Blend of 2-row pale and caramel

Additional: Dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops

More Old Foghorn Images

First Impressions

Artwork: Another Jim Stitt hand-drawn label, with two-row barley spikelets and hops around the “Old Foghorn” typeface.

Color: Cloudy, reddish auburn.

Aroma: Hints of yeast, with cloves and spice. Very sweet. Drink it in a snifter or wine glass for maximum olfactory enjoyment.

The Tasting

Arrived in: Bottle

Served in: Wine glass

Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale used to be a seasonal (spring) release, but now it looks like Anchor has opened up production to year round.

This barleywine was recommended in a gift we got for Christmas, 300 Beers to Try Before You Die! Another book, The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes credited Anchor for introducing America to the barleywine style back in 1975.

Like most of Anchor’s roster, this is another historical creation, following English barleywine brewing methods. With the leftover wort, Anchor implements another classic brewing tradition, using the same mash to produce two different beers.

The result is Anchor Small Beer, which we have had before. Maybe we should track down a review copy to complete the two piece set…

Old Foghorn poured an eruptive sea foam topper, that reduced down into a thinner fluffy layer. It literally had a creamy head – like a finely whipped desert topping, or artisan latte.

Eventually the froth disappeared, and revealed all the deep, beautiful auburn liquid. Not much carbonation on the tongue, but you did see trails of minuscule champagne-like bubbles, a result of “bunging” during the brewing process.

Right off the bat, we picked up Old Foghorn’s substantial malt presence. It wasn’t overly chewy, but just right. Its initial toasted bready flavor was countered by mild hops.

But the hop bitterness quickly faded into a multi-layered finish. It was complex in sweetness, with caramel and molasses notes, followed by plum. Almost like a beer version of brandy – candied, yet smooth, with a boozy kick.

Old Foghorn was hefty enough, but not overly filling, with a smooth mouthfeel. This barleywine maintained a perfect balancing act between maltiness and sweetness.

Heavier styles like barleywines and stouts open up after they get more room temperature, but Old Foghorn drank the same all the way through.

Final Score: 4/5

4 Stars

Absolutely one of the better barley wines on the market. Many can be filling and rough around the edges, but Old Foghorn was a bit lighter consistency, and more refined. It might also serve as a good introductory barleywine, for those who don’t drink a lot of that style.

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