Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anchor Brewing Company - Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale

Purchased From: Sonoma Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a snifter

Old Foghorn is Anchor's barleywine, a style known for its strength (although not extraordinarily strong in this case) and malty character. Unlike many American barleywine's Old Foghorn isn't highly hopped, and instead allows the malts to remain the focus of attention, more in the English tradition. The beer pours a murky brown with a slight cherry hue and a healthy light tan head. The foam fades fast and doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

The aroma carries hints of vanilla and has very fruity components. The beer seems quite sweet off the nose, but stays not-quite-cloying. Beneath the sweetness there are mild earthy tones and a slight complimentary spiciness. Dark fruits like figs and plums are clearly present along with minor hints of dried apricots. The mouthfeel is quite crisp and there's a prominent alcohol character. At only 8% ABV it seems that the alcohol comes through stronger than expected.

At first it seems like the flavor dissolves very quickly leaving a somewhat bleak palate. Luckily, the beer opens up nicely as it warms up. This is definitely a candidate for cellar temperature drinking. The finish is dry and lightly peppery. There's also tons of sweetness in the aftertaste and alcohol warmth.

Final Verdict: B

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