Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Anchor Brewing Co. Old Foghorn Tasting

Tonight I am trying out one of the standard Barleywines from Norther California, Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Co.

Background - 

I have tried this beer before in the past, last time in 2008 preparing for brewing my version of a Barleywine.  The Hobson Barleywine turned out amazing, and I was very excited to try Old Foghorn again.

Aroma - 

The first impression I receive when smelling this beer is a sweet, toffee-like aroma.  It smells like there is a strong influence from the darker crystal malts in this beer.  You can definitely smell the prune, and raisin aromas as the beer warms.  It is not unpleasant, and gives a very accurate preview of the flavor.

Hop aroma is essentially undetectable, however you can catch a hint of something that is almost apple-like.

Appearance - 

It pours with a nice foamy head, dissipating to a tan foam that stays throughout the drinking process.  Head retention is good.  The beer has a deep red color.

Body and Texture - 

Tastes strongly of raisin, and is very sweet.  While bitter, the flavor is dominated by sweet and raisin, leaving your mouth feeling coated.  To me, it is a bit overpowering and nearly unpleasant.

Hop flavor is there, but difficult to isolate when drinking Old Foghorn by itself.  With a sweet dessert it is detectable, and is a much more pleasant flavor than this beer alone.

Aftertaste - 

There is a lingering bitterness, that helps balance out the sweetness.  The dominant aftertaste though is dried dark fruit.  Your mouth feels slightly stick from residual sugar after drinking.  The aftertaste leaves a sticky feeling, almost like drinking a flat soda.

Overall Impressions - 

This comes across to me as a dessert beer.  Paired with the right dessert it could be good.  I tried it with a small amount of cheese cake, and the sweetness of the cheesecake helped to bring out a nice bitterness.  But even the cheese cake wasn't sweet enough to make this beer lose its malt-dominated nature.  You'll need something very sweet to balance this.  Possibly a vanilla ice cream would be good.

This beer gets a D+ from me.  It is far enough below average that I do not plan to purchase it again.

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