Nick Carr on August 17, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company Location: San Francisco, CA Style: American Barley Wine ABV: 8-10% IBU: 39 Appearance: Deep reddish amber with thick foam; Good clarity throughout. Aroma: Strong caramel malt with fruity notes; Slight hoppiness; Slight sense of alcohol. Flavor: Sweet malts overlaid with pervasive warming of alcohol; Fruitiness is present; Low sensation of citrusy hops; Warming & fruity finish/ Hops: Cascade hops Malt: Blend of 2-Row Pale & Caramel Shelf-Life: Unlimited Suggested Glass: Snifter, Nonic pint, Shaker pint Serving Temp: 55°F—64°F Availability: Year-Round Pairs With: Roast Duck, English Stilton, Chocolate Layer Cake, Rum Raisin Ice Cream Fog lay like a tattered sheet across the gun-gray sea. Water lapped at the side of the ship unrelenting in its gentle knocking. The water wanted in and, seemingly, had the whole expanse of time to see its entry made. It was patient, methodical, like the tick-tock of a clock marking time. Tim stood at the prow of the small ship and looked out into the wet darkness. His eyes strained to make sense of the shifting mirk, watching for those darker areas, those formless floating moats that would signify rocks. His ears sifting and categorizing the water’s sounds, awaiting the off-beat, the out-or-rhythm punctuation of water licking something other than wood. For the hundredth time he inhaled as a dark form rose built itself out of some ethereal substance ahead. For the hundredth time the yell of, “ROCKS!! Dead Ahead,” about to crash through his dry throat before the dark fog broke its congregation and became again just tattered pieces of a world gone wet both below and above. Where was the lighthouse? They’d sailed this same route twice before, granted never gaining the coast in such an impenetrable fog, none the less, Tim was sure their baring was right. The lighthouse should be close. A flash of lightening, far off, momentarily put a glowing tinge to the heavy hung mist. Then a sound issued forth out of the nothingness. A deeply robust, yet somehow lonely sound, like a father’s searching call to come home, out of the cold darkness; warm, friendly, familiar. Calling a child home. It was the foghorn singing out from the cape lighthouse. Tim smiled wearily, buoyed by the strong long-sung single note. It was a note of safety, of dangers almost past. It sang of warm fires, dry comfort, and adventurous stories ripe for the sharing. It came again in all its bassoon-like sweetness. And then a flash of light heroically slipped an unclear passage through the immense fog bank. Pour and Aroma: Old Foghorn pours a deep reddish amber color, like a red sunset turned liquid. A finger’s worth of thick foam rides the surface, diminishing slowly to settle and sit a quarter inch above the surface. Clarity is good and a decent amount of carbonation streams from the bottom. Caramel malt is big in the nose. Fruity with nuances of raisin and dark stone fruit. Some slight citrus hoppiness and the warming sense of alcohol. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is medium and seems on the lighter side for a barleywine, but satiating, smooth, and medium-full in the mouth. Medium-low carbonation, very warming, but never uncomfortable. Same as the nose, there are huge malts in the taste but overlaid with the pervasive vinous, warming quality of alcohol. The sense of alcohol is wonderfully bombastic and holds little shame in its presentation. Malts shine as sweet toffee and caramel. Some fruitiness is present in the form of fresh grape turned raisiny as it sits; and prune. Low sensation of citrusy hops that take on the malt sweetiness and lose most assertively, but not before killing any overbearing cloying qualities that may have been present otherwise. Backend remains boozy with the nice warming sensation playing over a fruity finish. Finishing the Impression: Anchor Steam’s Old Foghorn was one of the first barleywine examples in the U.S. It is hard to say if this falls into an English Barleywine category or American. The use of American hops points one way and the malt flavors point the other. Maybe just call it a hybrid, something in between the two, but I put it down as an English Barleywine, because, for me, it skews more in that direction. First brewed in 1975 this robust sipper is brewed with the first runnings or first wort of a mash. Much like the English used to do by collecting three different strengths of wort of the same mash to make three beers at consecutively lower strengths. Here Anchor Steam is just taking the runnings that would be used for the strongest of the three beers, thus (as it states on their site) it takes three mashes to make one batch of Old Foghorn. It seems like a lot of work, but oh is it worth it. This brew is for after meal enjoyment. A sipper to be studied and wallowed in. It’s smooth lines and robustly sweet warming profile will easily set the mood for good conversation or deep reflection. Cheers!