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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

4,079 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4079
Reviews: 1816
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.66%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001)
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Ratings: 4,079 | Reviews: 1,816 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SoCaliC8
SoCaliC8

California

1.6/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I don't like this beer...it taste way too bitter and sour for my taste. It's really unflavorful and one of the worst beers that I have ever had. I tried to at least give it some sort of love since it's a California thing but I just couldn't do it. Sorry but it's just not the best thing that I have ever drank for sure...

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 17:07:12 | More by SoCaliC8
Photo of surcorx
surcorx

Illinois

1.65/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance--This pours a deep golden amber color. Nearly no surface foam. Low carbonation--nearly flat. No lacing.

Aroma--Smells of slight carmel, malt and hints of a metal trash can. Smells like a dirty bar room floor. Sorry. A combination of puke and metal.

Taste--This was terrible. Actually one of the first beers I have ever stopped drinking. No skunking, but possibly it has gone bad. Unfortunately, there are no dates for freshness. That is their fault for not labeling as such. It was bought at a very good high volume store--Binny's in Chicago. I am willing someday to try again based on the favorable reviews of others. But if it has gone bad it speaks volumes to the importance of date labeling.

Mouthfeel--Watery, flat metallic- awful.

Drinkability--I stopped drinking it.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 11:13:15 | More by surcorx
Photo of Vito
Vito

California

1.8/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Anchor Steam. I thought I'd give it a try, because I overheard a few people talking about it during a recent visit to San Francisco. Here goes:

Appearance: It has a unique look. It pours a burnt-orange color that glows like the fluid in a lava lamp. Thin head that looks like the foam on a glass of iced tea.

Smell: I really couldn't smell anything at all.

Taste: I don't like the taste. Bitter, sour, acidic.

Mouthfeel: Average. Low carbonation, but still sort of crisp.

Drinkability: Nope.

For me, Anchor Steam is custom-made for the kind of beer drinker who orders one beer, takes a few sips, and talks about how great it is instead of actually finishing the bottle and ordering another. I can't understand why this beer gets such high ratings. I guess it's one of those "Emperor's New Clothes" things.

Tastes bad, overpriced, no big f***in' deal.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 03:29:42 | More by Vito
Photo of Mike_Moe
Mike_Moe

Illinois

1.93/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Light amber brown color, small white head.
Aroma: Lightly toasted malt aroma.
Taste: Lightly roasted malt, somewhat smokey flavor. Very bitter harsh finish. Medium bodied, medium carbonation.
Overall: This beer is a major disappointment. It miss the mark on every level. The aroma and taste only gave hints of roasted malts. While trying to infuse a hoppy finish, this brew ended up being a “bitter” mess.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 17:46:08 | More by Mike_Moe
Photo of AdamBear
AdamBear

Pennsylvania

2.08/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A-Amber and bubbly with a thick off white colored head. some lacing

S-has a distinct corn american adjunct lager smell to it. its a weak scent

T-comes in with a strong taste of rice and then transforms in to a really bitter and somehow boozy taste of plastic. The after-taste isn't so bad. It has that barley/corn taste to it. Overall, I am not a fan of this beer. I'm not sure if it is the style or not, but this isn't to my liking...the bitterness is just to odd and strong to be in this beer.

M-strong carbonation but has a light body that reminds me of a BMC drink with a resembling finish as well

D-I'll be honest, this is on the same level as many BMC beers...even the light ones. I don't think I'll ever have another one of these.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2011 20:24:11 | More by AdamBear
Photo of AnIrishCroi
AnIrishCroi

Illinois

2.08/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I flew into San Francisco airport and was stuck waiting for my "lost" baggage so I decided to have the amulet beer of northern Cali.

A: Clear, golden amber. LOTS of carbonation. Solid white head with good retention, lacing.

S: Malty, overwhelming yeast - sweet, nutty.

T: This is where I was shocked and disappointed, up to this point it seemed like a promising beer. Heavy malts. Extremely bitter, almost metallic. There wasn't much flavor, more so was just an assault on my tastebuds.

M: Light bodied, in the realm of BMC... leaves palate quickly, leaves mouth dry.

O: I was disappointed with this beer. Tasted incredibly bitter and not refreshing at all. I would put it on par with Bud/Miller but not as neutral.
I'll need to try again because there is no way this beer is as famous and world renowned as it is if it tastes as I had it. I was hoping by being in the hometown it would result in an above par experience but that was not the case.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2012 01:44:57 | More by AnIrishCroi
Photo of beerkittycat
beerkittycat

Minnesota

2.17/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Note: this beer is waaaay better on tap, especially closer to San Francisco. Having said that, this bottle product's appearance is slightly hazy amber with ruby highlights and a frothy off-white head. Aroma, oh boy, has some issues. Vegetal hits my right away with smells of cook asparagus. Behind that was a decent malt profile of toasted grains and some caramel. No hop aroma. Flavor has some more asparagus, wet paper cardboard, and the same malt profile behind all that such as in the aroma. Medium hop bitterness but barely any trace of Northern Brewer hop which is the highlight of this style. My conclusion is that this was from old stock because the hop aroma and flavor had completely faded and the oxidation, but there are some brewing issues there, too, that produced the vegetal issues. I've had this beer at the brewery and there it was absolutely delicious. Shame that there's packaging issues.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 20:52:42 | More by beerkittycat
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

2.23/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Slightly hazy copper to auburn with a medium head with no lacing.

S - Caramel malt with a touch of vanilla and some golden delicious apples.

T - Slight smokey sweetness with a hint of apple flavor followed by a very potent, and not so pleasant, hop bitterness that lingers long, far, far, far too long, after I sipped. The aftertaste ruins this beer.

M - Carbonation too high, viscous, slightly refreshing, but the oppressive aftertaste ruins the prospect of true refreshment.

D - Pretty bad. I passed off the second half of my bomber. It just wasn't an enjoyable brew. I don't know about food pairings, I think there might be something with which it would be sucessfully paired, but I cannot envision it (might be the barleywine that I just drank). Sessionable? No. Not at all. It is weak enough for sure, but the aftertaste destroys the prospect of sessioning this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 05:02:04 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of SometimesIfart
SometimesIfart

Michigan

2.24/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Pours dark gold with a finger and a half of white head. Left no lacing.

S - Sour malt and creamed corn.

T - Predominantly creamed corn, With a bit of the " steamed " character.

M - Medium slightly smoky body with heavy carbonation.

O - Overall, What the hell? Why is their so much praise for this beer? Perhaps I just got a bad bottle, But it tasted like a slightly smoked corona.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 21:22:59 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of Sycodrummer
Sycodrummer

Massachusetts

2.28/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass yielding a small 1/2 finger white head atop a light copper colored beer. The head quickly faded to nothing and no lacing during the sample.

It was hard to detect (or at least come up with a good comparison) to describe the smell. Rather bland with slight malt, but nothing distinquishig it at all.

Taste was bland as well. Slightly bitter and hoppy with some fruitiness as well coming through. Not much to talk about, it lacked any really great taste.

Light to moderate on the palate with ample carbonation.

This beer didn't seem to do it for me. I know Anchor pioneered the style and name "steam beer" which led me to believe this is the ultimate of the style; if so, then this style is not for me. I was left unimpressed, and don't think I'll try it again soon.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2005 03:20:40 | More by Sycodrummer
Photo of vrushing88
vrushing88

Pennsylvania

2.3/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer on tap last night.

It presented with a dark golden color, with a quickly dissipating head.

I could smell mostly yeast in this beer.

The taste was somewhere between an amber lager and an amber ale, which I suppose was fitting for what they wanted.

No real feel to this. It was extremely light, and airy, almost as if it were floating in my mouth.

Overall I am not a fan nor am I impressed. I am not saying this is a bad beer. It just is not something I care for. Being on the east coast, I suppose I'm judging harshly as this is my first steam beer. I do plan to revisit.

I recommend this beer to anyone who would like to try steam-beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2011 17:49:44 | More by vrushing88
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC

Illinois

2.3/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours translucent copper in color with a creamy off-white head that dissipates in short order. Aroma is mild and wheaty. Vigorous carbonation and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel are nice, but the taste is underwhelming. There's caramel malt and some wheat, a touch of hops... Tastes like beer. What else can I say? The balance isn't bad, but there's nothing in the flavor department that draws me in. The incredible rep that preceded this brew is a mystery to me, and I doubt that I could pick this out of a ineup of generic session beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2012 00:56:30 | More by MaximalC
Photo of jvajda
jvajda

Ohio

2.35/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Yellow and clearer than I expected. I could mistake this for any number of macros just based on it's appearance.
Smell: Subtle bitterness.
Taste: Very bitter in an unpleasant way. Tastes like it is way past it's prime. I did not like the taste of this beer. Maybe it was from and old keg, but I don't think this is likely based on previous reviews.
Mouthfeel: Pretty standard mouthfeel. Right amount of carbonation.
Drinkabilty: No thanks. This is worth sampling, but the old bitterness make it bad in my book. I will sample this again to make sure I didn't get a skunked one, but I maintain that this beer has a low drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2004 06:12:15 | More by jvajda
Photo of Schmit
Schmit

Washington

2.35/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Drank from the bottle, so I'll just assume that it looks fine. The label is appealing, anyway. Tried it while I was in Berkeley for the weekend since it was local and I couldn't remember seeing it in Tacoma (though now that I'm back, I keep seeing it around).

Anyway, couldn't really smell it in the bottle. It tasted fine, pretty much like any ol' somewhat drinkable lager. At first. There was a hot, lingering aftertaste that must be the weird California heat-loving brewing agents which this stuff has been concocted with.

I'd drink it if it were the only thing on hand, but I don't exactly have high praise for this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 06:21:35 | More by Schmit
Photo of riversider76
riversider76

New York

2.38/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I know I'm in the minorty,but I just did not like this beer. For me, it was way to creamy tasting. I thought the head was never going to go away. There has been a lot of hype about this beer,and I guess is was expecting more. It was average at best.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2005 19:54:01 | More by riversider76
Photo of Brunite
Brunite

Illinois

2.4/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice orange/amber color with a decent head.

S - Nothing noteworthy....a slight adjunct lager smell to it.

T - A rather distinct flavor. Not entirely pleasant. Sort of bitter and sour. Almost a bubblegum funkiness.

M - Decent carbonation....light.

D - Hard to get past the flavor. Perhaps this is the style...but I'm not much of a fan.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 05:21:31 | More by Brunite
Photo of rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

Arizona

2.4/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

We only have a few more of these "boring" beers in the fridge… and then it's time to go shopping! That is my favorite part, buying new bottles to have in the fridge. Gives me something to look forward to. I like to let Sheryl pick a number to determine the beer we are going to drink. Let me tell you… the beer selection process is pretty crazy!

Anyway, tonight we are drinking a bottle of Anchor Steam Beer from the Anchor Brewing Company. Until tonight, I didn't realize that Anchor owned the trademark on the word "steam". I wonder how that works… I wonder what it costs to buy a trademark. Maybe I should trademark the word "beer"… I'd make millions! Come on people, let's drink.

In the Glass: It has a nice copper color in the glass. It makes me think of those giant cider stills you see in breweries. I call them cider stills because I don't know the correct name for them… but they use them to make cider, I know that much. This beer also provides little head, and a weak lace.

Nose: The nose is pretty boring. Smells like a typical American lager, really. I wonder what makes this a "steam beer"… I mean, I know what makes it a steam beer, but I have never heard of this style before. Maybe because Anchor owns the trademark to the word "steam".

Flavor: The flavor is unexpected. It has some subtle sweetness to it, but then the malts really hit. In the tasting notes they call the mouthfeel "spritzy"… I call it carbonated. It's not overwhelming, though. Provides an easy drinking sensation that reminds me of a polished session beer.

Mouthfeel: There are a lot of bubbles going on here. Not too much, but enough that from my first drink I remember the carbonation.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste, what little aftertaste there is, has a certain malty sweetness to it. The tasting notes said it was lingering… but it's not. It's there and gone again. However, the sweetness stick around and begs for another sip.

Regardless of how they make this beer, I wouldn't consider buying this on a regular basis. I would simply grab a case on the way to the ballgame or pass it around in the parking lot while we tailgate. It's nothing to write home about. I will say, after sparking up a conversation with Anchor Brewing on Twitter, that their porter is one of the best porters on the market. But out of all the Anchor beers I have tried, most of them are middle of the road. Good thing they have that porter to keep me buying their product! Bottoms up, people.

Anchor Steam Beer - The bottle says: "Anchor Steam brand beer is virtually handmade with an exceptional respect for the ancient art of brewing. The deep amber color, thick creamy head, and the rich flavor all testify to our traditional brewing methods. Anchor Steam Beer derives its unusual name from the 19th century when "steam" seems to have been a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of American under primitive conditions and without ice. The word "steam" may have referred to the pressure of nature carbonation developing in the beers. Today the brewing methods of those days are a mystery, and for many decades Anchor alone has used the quaint name "steam" for its unique beer. Today Anchor is one of the smallest and most traditional breweries in the world. San Francisco's famous Anchor Steam brand beer is unique, for our brewing process has evolved over many decades and is like no other in the world."

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 04:54:16 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of TheHammer
TheHammer

Ontario (Canada)

2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Given that Anchor was the original steam beer, I'm going to try to use as many sea and sailing comparisons as I can in this review.

Appearance: This Lager pours with a frothy white layer of sea foam, an eighth of a span high which sticks to the side of the of the glass like a few stray barnacles to a ship. It lingers decent enough, as ample carbonation arise from bronze depths, coloured as the sky at sunset. A bit more lacing and retention is needed though.

Smell: What a happy coincidence, as this smells like what I would expect spiced grog to smell like. A great deal of yeasty spice with a bit of orange scent (perhaps to fight the scurvy?) and a light toasted bread touch. It warms the heart, but it's about as tame as still water.

Taste: Argh...we're running aground here. It sets sail to a calm sweet malt with orange notes, with only but a mild touch of yeast to warn you of the storm ahead. The beer turns to overpowering dry yeast that kills your thirst as sea water would. It ends as all who visit Davy Jones's Locker, with a bitter end as dry musty hop taste that is accented with sulphur that sinks the ship.

Mouthfeel: Well, the carbonation is good and the aftertaste lingers as long as a small boat's wake, which is good. However it leaves you as dry as the bones of dead men, left to bleach in the sun. Transitioning is a bit too abrupt for my liking.

Drinkability: This beer is quite possibly the only beer I've had that leaves you thirstier then when you started drinking it! It's light bodied and easy to keep down which is good if you are getting your sea legs, but not if you want to drink something. Too dry and about as satisfying as having to walk the plank.

Final Thoughts: Well, if you are on a boat with this stuff, I would suggest you follow the beer's namesake and pitch it overboard. It's like you found a treasure map, were overjoyed to a calm sea journey, only to toil through storms & pirates at great cost only to find that the treasure you found, didn't even cover the cost of the journey. Disappointing, although not unexpected I'd have to say. I knew Steam Beer had weird yeast so maybe it's just not the style for me. In conclusion, it won't leave you shanghaied, but don't expect smooth sailing so you'll want to pass.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 03:48:26 | More by TheHammer
Photo of DesMoinesMike
DesMoinesMike

Iowa

2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with an overabundance of white foam. The aroma is kinda hoppy but bland. The taste has a tartness that I don't find appealing, like it's meant to be acidic instead of build character. The finish is tart leaving a somewhat nasty aftertaste. No me gusta. Drain pour.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 23:32:51 | More by DesMoinesMike
Photo of avaulteriam
avaulteriam

Illinois

2.48/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Certainly not my style at all. Smells of some sweetness and soap? Very malty with weird lager-esque taste predominant. Similar to Kolsch styles. Contrary to some, I didn't think immediately of an ale. Definitely not the smoothest or most likable in my opinion

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2008 22:46:16 | More by avaulteriam
Photo of jar2574
jar2574

Missouri

2.5/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed with the appearance. A tiny amount of head formed, and then disappeared quickly. What remains is a flat looking, orangish beer.

Metallic fruity smell.

Not a good beer. Malty, musty taste with a sickly aftertaste than just hangs on your tongue.

Better than a macro-brew, because at least it has a distinctive taste. But not better by much.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2008 00:33:50 | More by jar2574
Photo of Anthony1
Anthony1

Colorado

2.5/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass

This beer was also an upset. I have never had a steam beer before, so perhaps i am missing the point of the style. Pours a lighter amber color with a terrible head that quickly disappeared and left no signs for its existance. The aroma was very basic with no specific smells. The taste was similar. There were no distinct flavors, mild hoppiness and malt. Felt light but had no redeeming features. I didn't want to finish the beer, but i did in hopes it would get better toward the end... it didn't

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2009 15:04:06 | More by Anthony1
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros

Australia

2.53/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Pours dark amber with a large white head.
Nose shows grainy malt, cardboard notes, soft spicy hops and a bit of wholegrain bread.
Slightly better flavours, more malt. Other than that, not much difference.
Body seems watery.
Not sold on this at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 22:49:29 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of SteveTheDog
SteveTheDog

California

2.55/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I poured this into a pilsner glass and it looked very enticing with a big head and a lot of bright orange bubbling action. The smell was a little citrusy and a hint of pepper but the taste reminded me of eating soap, as did the mouthfeel. Maybe I'm just not a steam beer kinda guy but be that as it may, I didn't like this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 21:27:59 | More by SteveTheDog
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

2.58/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The ol’ standard, eh? Well, it did have a nice pour- amber /orange with a foamy tan head. Only a slight malt aroma. But the taste, not good. Not much in the way of malts or hop. Just some earthy, slightly bitter flavor. Kinda flat in the mouth. Boy, overall a dull & boring lager. Wasn’t’ offensive, but didn’t do anything for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2005 17:38:00 | More by Vancer
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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,079 ratings.