Editor’s Note: Since this is Thanksgiving week, instead of having our beer review on Friday we’ll have it a smidgin earlier so you can all revel in your beerful knowledge before your tryptophan-induced comas. Happy Turkey Day everyone!
By Anchor Brewing Co. (San Francisco, CA)
12 fl oz.
San Francisco’s celebrated Old Foghorn Ale has been virtually handmade by the brewers of Anchor Steam Beer, in one of the world’s smallest and most traditional breweries, since 1975. Our barleywine-style ale, the first of its kind in modern times in the United States, has a luscious depth of flavor that makes it ideal for sipping after dinner. It is made with top-fermenting yeast, fresh whole hops, and “first wort,” the richest runnings of a thick all-malt mash. Old Foghorn is “dry-hopped” in the classic ale tradition and aged in our cellars until it attains the perfect balance of malty sweetness, estery fruitiness, and exquisite hop character, for which it is known throughout the world.
Barleywine is one of my favorite styles the beer world has to offer. Is it called a barleywine because it’s produced with grapes? Not at all. The English Barleywine was one of the first beers to be brewed to the “strength of wine,” hence barley-wine. The original version tended to be sweeter and extremely malty but with just enough hops to balance the sweetness. And what did we Americans do? We hopped the crap out of it. Furthermore, the residual sweetness is a result of the yeast failing to ferment all the sugars in the beer resulting in a malty sweet, alcoholic beverage. These beers age well, keep a few.
A six-pack for $12.99? Risky purchase since they don’t offer this in single bottles. Worth it? We’ll see…Amber brownish in color with a tan-beige colored head that has medium retention. This barleywine is quite opaque, seems to be unfiltered. The aroma starts off a little musky with some cloves. Hop aroma is very mild with hints of orange and citrus. The malt dominates with flavors of figs and raisins. The initial sip is loaded with intense maltiness, with a strong hop bitterness following. The malt profile is simple but with emphasis on caramel/toffee and some bubblegum notes. The hops in this beer seem to focus more on bitterness rather than flavor. Very full-bodied with moderate level of carbonation and some alcoholic warmth. This beer is extremely rich and well-supported by the hops. This beer is definitely a after dinner sipping beer, savor it.
Category 19C: American Barleywine
Total: 40/50 — B+