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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,934 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,934
Hads: 5,518
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 186
Gots: 933 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
California Common / Steam Beer |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,934 | Hads: 5,518
Photo of rangerred
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a clear light copper with a one finger head that fades rather quickly.

Smells has caramel with some lightly toasted malt. Some floral hop aromas comes through as well.

The taste is quite malty and has some caramel and biscuit. A moderate bitterness comes in about halfway through with some floral hop flavor. Finishes clean and slightly sticky.

Overall a solid beer but it seemed a little thin and lacking in flavor. I have had this on tap before and it was better. Might have to revisit this sometime.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beautiful clear, amber pour with a small foamy head. Very appetizing.

The nose was very dull with nothing distinct standing out in my mind. There was a touch of caramel but it seemed very lightly hopped.

The mouthfeel was pleasant and smooth if not creamy.The taste was light with some maltiness to give it body. And there was a touch of caramel on the fuzzy finish with just a hint of fruitiness.....possibly apricot (again, this was minimal).

For the most part a nice drinking experience but not one that i would call memorable.

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Photo of samie85
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes; originally 5/29/11.

A-Served in a pint glass with a robust, clear, amber color with a 1/2 finger head.

S-Fruity ale esters with caramel malt and light clean hops.

T-Crisp, fruity notes with a dry bitterness and caramel malt base.

M-Moderate carbonation with a medium body and a pretty dry feel.

D-Very drinkable and my introduction to the style; a light but complex beer.

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Photo of BasementBer
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A great piece of American beer history. Particularly in that this label represents a regional history and a specific time period of industrial manufacturing. To their benefit, Anchor Brewing leaves the story a bit brief and general on the bottle adding to the allure of just how this beer got so cemented in the small-scale brewing milieu.

A: Thick, lasting head with tight bubbles. Consistent lacing around the glass. A light amber (though self described as being a 'deep amber') which doesn't wow me. After 15 minutes, "steam" bubbles still flowing at pace.

S: Initial smell reminds me of Budmilloors, with a slightly more hoppy-sweeter aroma. Smells like cheap beer.

T: Simple, less bitter than I would like, but a seemingly rustic beer cannot afford or be expected to change its recipe to fit modern hop-head cravings. So for this very reason, and the oft reason that this is the only true California Common that gets carried in my neck of the woods, it deserves positive reinforcement.

M: Again, simple. Nothing jumping out here, not even bitterness that speaks dry hopping or freshness. A pale lager taste that barely steps over that base light beer hurdle.

D: Heavy drink-ability in terms of putting back a true bitter beer than most where the hops stands tall and fast. However the staleness of the beer would be hard to go back to if not just looking for "beer" to drink.

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Photo of ARoman
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into a shaker. The aroma is a honey and grains combination with a bit of a dry, grassy herb. It's aroma is mellow overall. It pours amber and clear with white fuzzy head that has light medium lace moderate retention. The taste is a medium bitter and light, dry sweet. The texture is thin with a fizzy carbonation and light body. The taste is a light berry and honey with a pronounced grain taste, the finish is clean with a mellow, bitter citrus and a light bread touch that carries to the aftertaste.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ordered at the Kitty Cat club, which has a nice beer list, but I went for something I hadn't had before.

Served in the bottle, I asked for a glass. I got a Tulip glass, and poured it in. Light transparent amber color with a lively carbonation and a white head. No lacing.

The nose is not much different from any macro I've had, but there is a stronger bitterness than those and just slightly more substance.

The taste isn't anything special, a light malt backbone and a light hop bitterness. Do I detect some derivative of citrus flavor?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't like over carbonated beers. This is one. I don't like the sharp Sprite-like bite in your through from too much carbonation. Drinkability is ok.

Not something I would order again, but glad I got a chance to try this legend of a beer.

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Photo of frankiepop
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In the book of Frankiepop, the American classic Anchor is a tad overrated. However, Frankie likes a beer with a little more sweetness and dare I say, a little more flavor. True this special lager beer is nice beer. Easy to drink, a good summer choice, and with a refreshing twist of lemony citrus twang. So it is not an American crappy lager. No, Anchor is kind of creamy, kind of foamy, and kind of smooth. It's more of a bitter beer, a nice light hoppiness that makes IPA guys smile a little.

I on the otherhand found the taste a little weak. I prefer a Tecate, a Greek Marathon, or a European lager like Carlsberg. Anchor's summer citrus quality is nice. Very west coasty. Anyway, I'm saving the rest of the six pack for July! Still above average ratings though I will stick Anchor's wonderful Porter. Blow me down. Got to admit as it warms the more I drink the more I likey....

So pair this on a hot day with some nice traditional Jazz music. I might suggest a cd by Bucky Pizzarelli called Challis in Wonderland where this guitar phenom sits in with some wonderful arrangement with a small string section performing some old great jazz pieces arranged by Challis who worked with Bix Beiderbecke. Another wise choice might be Hampton Hawes trio music.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a light amber color, decently carbonated, with a nice white head.

S: Some hint of citrus; very faint lemon/apricot, mixed with hoppiness.

T: Was looking for more citrus flavor to balance out the more-pronounced-than-expected hoppiness, but then again, this is California Common, not Pale Ale. A good representative of the style.

M: Decent carbonation; lighter body than expected.

D: If you can get past the flavor, the nicely carbonated body is such that you can certainly down a few.

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Photo of mltobin
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at a bar in NYC.

A nice amber tone with a short head.
It had a pleasant smell, not overpowering.
The taste was clean can crisp, certainly not bitter.
A refreshing mouthfeel, no fowl aftertaste.
A higher than average drinkability, goes well with lighter dishes such as poultry and seafood.

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Photo of deaconoflove
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam was my very first craft beer back in the late 70's...Baltimore's Inner Harbor, outdoor lunch...I'd never heard of any beer other than Bud, Pabst, Grain Belt, etc. So, 30 years later...I'm disappointed.
Ap. Beautiful golden amber with very little head...but great bubbles in the light.
Sm. Slight caramel and light hops and some fruit. Emphasis on the slight.
Ta. Again, light caramel, then slight red grapefruit/hops, caramel again with a tart finish, why does "tinny" come mind? (I have no idea what I was talking about!)
Mf. Significant carbonation, thin, but smooth.
Dr. Yes, it's okay, but there are much better ones out there. (10/29/11 edit. It's very good stuff. Not life changing at this point...but it was 30 years ago.)

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Photo of mortarit
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Steam Beer you say,
Actually I like this one very much since I've gone back more of it.
Honestly, I didn't get a lot of smell coming from this pour. I have been sick this past week so that may explain some of it.

The taste has a clean, crisp liking to it that stay awile before leaving the palate. I guess you can say the caramel tint is hidden in the flavor.

I think this beer is due a better rating than what I see. This is a good session beer to have on the menu.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint class this brew pours a yellow amber color with a thick firm head.

Not much to the aroma. It has a very natural bread like smell, a little on the sweet side, with a fresh mild hop aroma.

The taste is bread like grain, with a very mild hop bitterness similar to English hops.

Overall, Anchor Steam is a very full, and balanced beer. There isn't much to it, there isn't a challenge like the big brews, but this is definitely a refreshing, enjoyable brew.

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Photo of soper2000
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While Anchor is a flagship of American brewing this brew does not do much for me but I love Anchor for doing it as it has provided a stepping stone into the craft brewing world. I cut my teeth on this beer so to speak and still revisit it from time to time. The beer pours a light amber color with a clear head. The smell is nothing spectacular but then again, it's not offensive either. Its taste is initially interesting as the hops struggle to let presence be known. As the bottle is finished it leaves you with just an average feeling. This beer is tons better than BMC but again, it does not do much for me. I must salute Anchor for being a pioneer though and this beer definately has its place in my fridge for the occasional BBQ or for my as of yet to be BA friends

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Photo of hotstuff
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When poured, this beer had a medium sized off-white head along with fine-small bubbles that quickly diminished.The body was carbonated and clear.The hue was orange and the nose of this beer was medium malty.The lacing was good on the sides of my glass.The flavor had a bitter fore and aftertaste that lingered.The mouthfeel of this beer was smooth and thin.

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Photo of malthead
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good appearance, dark amber color and big head. No single, overwhelming smell... mostly just clean, dry, a little malt, maybe a little hops. Taste is rather nondescript as well, maybe just a little grain, except for a strange, slightly bitter aftertaste. I like a good bitter, but this is either too bitter or not bitter enough, it just doesn't seem to work for me. However, this is my first of the style, so take that into consideration. Good drinkability, it goes down smoothly, but I just can't say I'd want to buy another one.

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Photo of MrStark
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a mostly clear amber orange with a one-finger off white head. Pretty good retention.

Smell is of slightly sweet malts and a little bit of hops. A mild hint of spice.

Taste is similar to the smell. Hops are present as well as the malts. A mild amount of bitterness, almost reminds me of an APA.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy.

Drinkability is good. It goes down pretty easy and has a nice taste. I'd have a few more but its not something I'd go crazy for.

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Photo of becktone
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Anchor Steam pours a rich orange color. It is crystal clear and has an off white billowy head. Carbonation is visible, therefore bringing a lifelike appearance to the beer. First began with a two finger head, now down to about a finger and a half, somewhat good retention. The beer exhibits farily good lacing characteristics.

The nose of this beer is of strong sweet malts. Reminds me somewhat of candy,(however, not belgian candi sugar). Don't detect any hops in the aroma of this beer. The sweet malt smell is too upfront and in the face, I can't take much of it before I have to move the glass away from my nose, I think that it could be toned down a bit.

When it first hits the tongue bitterness if very evident, whether it was from hops or roasted grain I couldn't tell on the first taste, but it is very evident, right up there in the front car on a big rollercoaster. This beer is a big malt beer. While it is in balance between bitter and sweet, the main flavor profile is composed of sweet malts. Not much hop flavor in this brew. A little bit might be nice. Big on a darker caramel flavor.

The carbonation of this beer is forefront. It is highly carbonated. The carbonation can be felt up to the point where one swallows the beer. I'm not a big fan of that, seems to be a little too much if you ask me. This is a beer that I'll drink again, but I don't know how soon I'll be in the mood to drink this beer again. It is something unique, however, there are many unique beers that I have had that I might prefer over this one. It just doesn't seem to hit the spot, or any spot like a good beer (in my opinion) should.

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Photo of horshack7
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Out of a twelve ounce bottle with the big blue anchor on it. It pours a golden amber with a lacey thick head.

Aromas: Big malt aroma real sweet. Light hop nose along with slight fuit notes.

Taste: Very crisp mouthfeel a decent amount of sweetness from the malts yet slightly hoppy. The hops taste like saaz hops but I could be wrong.

Notes: This is quite a unique style nicely drinkable as well.Cheers

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Photo of SurgeonGeneral
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving temp: 45F Serving glass: Pint Glass

Aroma: Soft graniness, a light spicy hop aroma in there as well. Slight caramel/candyish sweetness as it warms.

Appearance: Clear amber with an aggressive pour yielding a large off white & rocky head. slight & attractive beading, little lace with such a large head.

Taste: Same soft graniness with a resttrained sweetness. A subdued bitterness which finishes with some astringency. Some odd fruity tastes detected similar to green apples, a very similar taste I get from their Liberty Ale.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, expected it to refresh but a "fluffly," airy texture makes it a bit difficult to quaff. Meh.

Drinkability: Like other Anchor brews, that unique airy mouthfeel dominated the experience for me, and I'm not very fond of it. It doesn't seem to blend well with the rest of this beer. An American classic to be sure, just not for me.

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Photo of kennyo
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

At one time this was probably one of the better beers available to beer drinkers. For what its worth, it really is a good drinking beer, goes good with food or not. I would choose this over pilsners/exports/canadians and of course, the BMC conglomerates. This is a very expensive session beer.

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Photo of Dave1999
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured an amber orange with a huge amount of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

Smell of citrus,lemons some sweet malts.

Tastes malty a bit sweet not a lot going on.

Mouth feel is quite dry and pretty well carbonated.

This is the first steam beer I've had,it was ok I'd say it was a slightly above average lager.

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Photo of danielharper
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

After reviewing the Flying Dog Old Scratch, I figured I might as well take the last of my current sixer of Anchor Steam and write up a review. I believe this was the first of the commerically-available American microbrews, and thus deserves a shot from the craft beer drinker just for historical interest.

Appearance is quite nice. A kind of "squat" brown bottle with a simply-designed but pleasant Anchor label on it. The label is unlaminated, without the glossy finish that most beers have -- gives the bottle an old-fashioned feel to it. Beer pours into a lager glass with a light amber color, and a large head that slowly dissipates. I've had this beer in a pilsener glass before, and the head seemed to stick around forever in that instance.

Smell is nice, if uncomplicated. Kinda hoppy, kinda spicy. I've been sniffing at this for a while, but have yet to get any noticeable fruit aroma from the glass.

Tasting the beer, ah, now there's the fruit I was missing. It tastes a lot like it smells, with the hoppy/spicy combination that works pretty well for this beer, but after washing away the dominant bitterness, some of the liquid flavors appear underneath. I like to wash my tongue through this to get all the flavors out of it.

Mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is fairly high but not extreme, although the beer could use a bit more body. Works well as a lager to wash down food, although the spiciness in the brew might tend to overpower dishes that aren't strong enough to hold up to it.

For me, the drinkability is fairly low just because while I like the individual parts of the beer, and can respect it for what it is, I don't find myself wishing for another afterwards. Perhaps the bitterness and the spiciness just don't add together for a refreshing experience, but I find myself wanting something a bit smoother after finishing this beer. I usually have this beer first in the evening, while preparing food or eating it, and finish off the meal with a Hefe-Weiss or a Milk Stout.

Overall, a nice beer -- I'd recommend it to friends looking for a change of pace from a macro lager, but nothing that I'd put on my favorites list. I will certainly buy this again (and I'd love to try it on-tap), but I won't be pining for it in the meantime.

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Photo of Brewzzle
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

As the only commercially available Steam style beer I have found I am not sure if it is good or bad example, I can say though that it left a bad taste in my mouth.

It pours to a nice amber color with a head that disappears quickly. Just after pouring there is a slight citrus hint on the nose, as the beer warms a little there is a slightly stale/yeast aroma.

The initial mouthfeel is pleasing, a medium body, rolls around the mouth nicely, however this is where the nicer qualities stop. There is a strong yeast taste, almost like a bread yeast (perhaps something to do with a high fermentation temp?). A subtle hop bitterness at first which lingers and accentuates as an unpleasant `tea' like bitterness as an aftertaste.

Overall, it pretty much met my expectation of a beer style that originated as a crudely made beer, made under hot and trying conditions. Not for me, but a unique beer and probably enjoyed by many.

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Photo of BCMan
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured up a deep copper color that was lighter around the edges. A big fluffy head was generated and faded slowly while lacing the glass. The aroma is very subtle. Flavor is crisp with nice hop character. Finish is dry and clean. Leaves your mouth watering until the next sip. It's no secret why Anchor is a strong player in the market they virtually created. It makes for a great session beer. Perfect for a hot summer day.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint glass, clear copper to orange color. Frothy finger plus of head.
Lager yeast smell, borderline metallic.
Crisp and clean tasting. Dry bitter throughout. Some pear and green apple at the end.
Lighter body, moderate carbonation.
Interesting enough style, not my favorite though.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,934 ratings.