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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,997 Reviews
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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 1,997 | Ratings: 5,790
Photo of EatsTacos
4.31/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark copper with a beautiful lumpy off-white head. Great retention. Great lacing.

Smell is floral hops but with a pretty strong malt character.

The taste is so well balanced while still being flavourful. Creamy grainy caramel malts begin. Biscuity and buttered bread come to mind. Short bread cookies. The taste moves into a mildly bitter hop profile which is quite floral with hints of citrus (grapefruit). The finish is bitter and pretty dry with an aftertaste of grapefruits and orange peels.

Pretty creamy feel to it with a moderate soft carbonation and a medium to heavy body.

5/5 for drinkability.

Its hard for me to criticize this beer, its so tastey and well balanced.

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Photo of chicagoabbot
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into a snifter. Pale ale color with a decent head. Wow, what a wonderful nose, just fantastic. It has that lager funk but the maltiness and hop balance of a pale ale. This beer is just so clean, it drinks well, preserving the lager yeast on the tongue but the pale ale qualities on the roof of the mouth, not as crisp as a lager, more gentle. Really a wonderful brew, the "California Common". My friend and I like to brew a similar brew to this in the fall, a pale ale with lager yeast, fermented at room temperature, and this was the beer that inspired us to take matters into our own hands (and to save some money). Great brew from Anchor, cheers.

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Photo of ATPete
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a burnt orange brown color with a small white head that leaves some soapy stickage on the glass. Unique nose, definitely balanced. Balance is a key word when describing Anchor Steam Beer, crackery malt character, good sweetness and a superb hop bitterness on the finish that begs for another sip. A bit astringent, a bit acidic with some notes of lemon skin on the aftertaste. Mild carbonation and excellent drinkability. Classic and always a winner.

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Photo of mmthompson33
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Such a great beer, tastes a bit like fresh greens in a backyard garden, especially if you drink it at the brewery. Sometimes it's not good, sometimes it's the best thing on earth, it just depends on your mood. A historic beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured clear golden amber. The head was white and did not hang around long, but laced the glass.

The aroma was woodsy Northern Brewer hops and some slight caramel.

The flavor was bitter NBrewer hops with caramel but no sweetness.

The finish was dry and woodsy bitter into the aftertaste. The body was medium.

12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The flagship beer from an iconic brewery. This pours a autumn-straw burnt toast color with a generous amount of foam. Great nose, with a muted maltiness. I pick up a light malty sweetness with a bit of a dark biscuit on the taste. The effervescence keeps it light, with a crisp, dry finish. An old favorite and a classic standby.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Nice & Clean Orange color with a good amount of carbonation.

Smell - Yeasty and Bready scents with some minor barley and floral hops. Reminds me of Fat Tire in some respects to the yeasty aspects. Smells good!

Taste - Yeasty and yet at the same time, contains copious amounts of malts. The hops are a bit more citrusy here than in the smell. Pretty simple flavor, but it tastes excellent!

Mouthfeel - Crisp and Refreshing. Body is light and the carbonation is fairly mild once you let it sit for a couple of minutes, and that makes it a very easy to drink!

Overall - This is a beer that anyone can enjoy, whether its the craft beer enthusiast or the casual yard beer drinker. It's simple in flavor, yet it tastes good enough that it can please just about anyone!

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Photo of icemonkey908
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presented from the tap in a pint glass. Very clear with an amber hue and a couple fingers of head. The beer smells like bread with hints of fruit. Wow, the taste is very refreshing, clean, fresh, and crisp. This is a wonderfully drinkable beer. I don't know how I missed this one for so long!

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Photo of leantom
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decided to buy this beer after months of equivocating (poor college student - have to spend limited beer-money wisely), and boy am I glad that I did. Here's my review of Anchor Steam Beer.

A: Copper-colored with a thick, creamy head. The beer, although somewhat dark for a pale ale, is still very clear. I particularly liked the thick, creamy head (which was supported with lots of carbonation).

S: Very herbal and citrusy. However, I have to add a slight caveat for all the Advocates who like the over-hopped, Californian IPA's: This is not one of those over-hopped, overpowering IPA's that's loaded with northwestern Cascade hops. The citrusy and piney smells, while apparent, do not dominate the beer in a manner reminiscent of West Coast IPA's. The hops are perfectly balanced with the malt, much like imported English Pale Ales (this is great if you like British ales). It reminds me of Fuller's ESB.

T: Loved it. Very rich and creamy, however not overwhelmingly malty. No, in fact, the malt is balanced quite well with a leveled addition of piney, citrusy Cascade hops. This beer is a very well-balanced pale ale. There's also a lingering hop taste

M: Like the taste (i.e., very rich and creamy).

O: I liked this beer a lot. It's very reminiscent of Fuller's ESB. Try it with fish and chips (excess carbonation is good at cutting through oils and fats).

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Photo of scriabin
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor's flagship beer is very solid and never disappoints. It seems to be one of the more versatile beers in that I love it on a hot summer day and it satisfies on the coldest night.

This one has a lovely copperish color and a subtle but enticing smell steeped in hops. The flavor is a nice mix of hops and malt. It is quite flavorful, yet light enough to enjoy again and again without bogging down the stomach. Mmmm...

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Photo of jsolack
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazey copper color... nice fluffy off white head that sticks around while you drink the beer. Overall very nice.

Carmel and grains with light floral accents. Citrus is in there as well. It's a pretty complex smell. Very intriguing.

Very interesting flavor. Slightly bitter and sharp initially but once it leaves the tounge it becomes sweeter and milder. Tasty finish, mildly bitter. Very complex and very good.

Great mouthfeel... coats tounge well and carbonation level is about perfect. Fits the flavor of the beer perfectly.

This is a great beer. It's unusual flavor sets it apart from other beer. Very easy to drink... Overall it's great.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Attractive and golden, with exceptional white head of foam. Heavy 2-finger lace. Quite attractive presentation!

Aroma is biscuity, yeasty, and a little hoppy. Solid.

Flavor is a crisp and fresh citrusy, balancing out the maltiness and grainy character. A very delicious lager, with a smooth and complex flavor profile.

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Photo of SteelKettle
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pick up a six pack from the local store enjoyed in a pint glass.

A. golden amber color with nice head which went away pretty quickly

S. smells of roasted malts very slight

T. clean smooth aftertaste

M. full smooth crisp

D. easy drinking with a clean feel

enjoyed this beer wish he had a little more smell to it.

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Photo of veech
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a standard pint glass
The beer pours a gorgeous copper color with a medium head and light lacing. The aroma is that of citrus and mild hops. It is very palatable with mild hoppiness and light citrus undertones. The mouthfeel is substantial and a little more than I expected. The taste is a bready yeast with the aforementioned nuances. As I try to partake of the local offerings when visiting a city, I reverted back to Anchor Steam when a particular SF restaurant had a more limited beer menu. It's superior drinkability paired well with food or multiple pints in a session. As an aside, it was also nice to see it in stores priced less than $10 a six pack, even if it had to be in it's hometown.

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Photo of doppelmeup
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear amber with a thin layer of foam that leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Aromas are not strong, nothing to really grab you but nothing bad either.

Taste is very crisp and pure. A slight hoppy bitterness shows itself as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Dry, crisp, with slight carbonation and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

This is one of the most drinkable beers I've had! I could drink these all evening long, and at just 4.9% that would be a great option! Anchor Steam has always been one of my favorite beers, and I'm glad I'm finally getting a chance to review it!

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Photo of RasputinsRevenge
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had forgotten how much I liked this beer before I picked some up at the store this weekend. Appearance was a shade of copper, with a respectable head. The aroma has a pleasant fruity smell to it, along with a slightly burnt malty smell. The taste, mouthfeel and drinkability, are good to very good. This is by no means a "heavy" beer nor a "light" beer, to me, it has an almost perfect balance that makes it not only tastey, but very drinkable - something that I think is not easily achievable in the brewing world. This is one of the breweries and beers that revitalized the craft-brewing industry in America, and it's still making a statement some 30+ years later. If you haven't tried this beer, this humble reviewer highly recommends it!

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Photo of Ralphus
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor's Steam Beer, whether they know what the term steam means or not, is good beer. It shares qualities of its hoppier cousin Liberty but is easier to drink from the start. My sample was purchased at the LCBO, the best before date some 18 months away.

Liberty pours beautifully. A rich golden brown colour with a creamy three finger head. It simply looks good, matching the prototypes of great looking beer in your mind. The head recedes in time but it leaves behind wonderful lacing for you to remember it by. The first smells have welcome hints of vanilla, fruitiness and hops. The taste is full of a complex mix of fruit, malts, creaminess all topped off with a respectable hoppy finish. The mouthfeel is silky smooth but lacking a little in carbonation.

Overall Steam is a real treat. Pick it up and enjoy.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh man, Anchor Steam. I've probably lost count on how many times I've had this. For this review, I poured it into a pint glass - bottle had no freshness date.

Appearance: A bold amber color with a small lacy head that maintains throughout. Carbonation, as expected, is highly present. If this beer was less clear in appearance, you could easily mistake it for an amber ale.

Smell: A combination of a fruity, yeasty smell with noticeable biscuit aromas. The citrus hops tingle the nose. It may be a simple smell, but it's enjoyable.

Taste: This is where the greatest aspect of this beer lies! There's nothing but warm, flavorful malts to enjoy here. It also holds an extremely tasty fruity smell reminiscent of, but not limited to, berries and limes. In this case, the hops serve the malts, but that is no problem at all.

Mouthfeel: Due to the maltiness of this beer, it allows itself to be a creamy and warming beverage to drink. There is a slight bitter aftertaste due to the hops, but nothing too noticeable. As it's quite thick in feel, I'm still stunned every time I crack open one of these and remember that it's not an ale.

Overall: A true standout classic amongst craft brewing. As an SF resident, I'm quite proud to call this our iconic flagship beer. I always take this over a pale ale any day due to its unique fruity and malty flavor!

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Photo of chuckm
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Because this was the first steam beer I was ever exposed to I suppose I'm biased towards it , still while pouring a magnificent 2.5 finger head and lacing the glass nicely it lacks a distinctive smell. Taste , while not overpowering is strong enough to get your attention and I find it to be a beer one can drink all night long ( assuming an unlimited budget).

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Photo of BMoldy
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium amber in color with a large white head that fades within a minute but leaves good lacing. Excellent clarity.

S: Lightly woody, somewhat fruity hop character. Background aroma of full, toasted barley.

T: Initial faint fruit/herbal notes fade to a more pronounced bitterness, followed by a wave of soft toasted grain. Relatively balanced. Has a slightly dry, cellar-like character to it.

M: Medium-bodied with a good crispness.

O: Truly one of a kind, this beer has an X-factor that reminds me a lot of Orval. Rich in flavor, yet relatively simple and refreshing.

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Photo of albern
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After nearly 1200 previous reviews, what more could be added. This is an old standby and I'm surprised that after reviewing over 800 beers I forgot this old favorite. It pours a nice clear amber color with a soft off white, slightly creamy head, some retention, not much lacing. The nose is toffee, crystal malt, cracked grain, some fruitiness once the beer settles. Right out of the bottle, this is olde English toffee and caramel if there ever was one. As the beer settles there is a strong, very interesting, green grass herbal aroma that is very unique. Wow, that is a first, but you have to let the beer settle in to get there.

This has a very nice taste, very smooth, very creamy, low carbonation beer, lots of semi sweet caramel, lots of toffee flavor, some saltene cracker dryness as well. There is a cracked grain appeal to the beer, an herbalness, and a leafy hop bite in the finish that dries things out just right. This is a fairly complex beer, more than I remember it, but than again, most beers are more complex when you sit down and do a review in the right setting. The mouthfeel is slightly drying and there is a cracked grain dryness in the aftertaste balanced out by some sweetish malts. Very interesting beer for sure. L'Chaim.

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Photo of bl400315
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

New to BA, first review! Big Anchor fan, picked up in philadelphia. Type-bottle.

Poured nicely. Good white head, brown-copper color. Caramel smell. Very sweet taste, leaves a bitter, dry taste.

Had 2 to get a feel for it but could have easily kept going. Drinks very easy. Great steam beer.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Bright and clear amber orange with lots of bubbles. Big white head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Grains and yeast with caramel malts and some earthy hops. Hop scent is fairly subdued.

Taste: Lots of caramel malts and grains up front with hints of citrus. Finishes with a mild hop bitterness. Tastes like a spring bock that has a more full malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high carbonation. Rich, creamy, and very smooth.

Overall: A very tasty and rich brew.

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Photo of dwren89
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: amber gold with thick moussey white head and great clarity

Aroma: Northern brewer hop showcase, with woodsy and minty aroma and a clean lager like bready malt aroma

Taste: very much like aroma but with a beautiful malty finish that is very bready with a slight toast to it. Very nice, rustic and woodsy flavor with hint of mint and a great bready malt character holding it all together.

Mouthfeel: very hybrid between the cleanliness of a lager and the range of an ale. Medium carbonation, smooth and refreshing

Overall: Delicious. An american classic that is a hybrid between an ale and lager, the unique brewing process (which is worth looking up for those who don't know what a Steam Beer is!!) gives the pleasing versatility of this beer. The northern brewer hops mix perfectly to give the woodsy, minty, and overall rustic hop flavor. A must try that can easily become an old standby, especially for cool fall nights.

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Photo of tenaciousp65
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor steam. My main man. Shorty poured into a pint glass.

a-When i first looked this a few years ago i thought to myself wow this looks just like a lager. not much head the same straw colored clearness. boy was i wrong

s-the smell is where you start to notice. It smells like the crispness of a lager but there are the subtle fruity undertones there that make you start doubting

t-bam this is something else. You get hit right away at first with some sweetness on the front but it quickly moves away for that signature smooth lager finish

m-solid through and through. Perfect balance between the sweetness and the bitter finish

o-can't get anything like it. This baby is in a league of its own and I am always happy to drink it.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,997 ratings.