1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

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

4,762 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,762
Reviews: 1,855
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 131
Gots: 373 | FT: 1
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,762 | Reviews: 1,855 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of riversider76
2.38/5  rDev -38.3%
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.

riversider76, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of Brunite
2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
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.

Brunite, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of rickyleepotts
2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
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."

rickyleepotts, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of TheHammer
2.45/5  rDev -36.5%
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.

TheHammer, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.45/5  rDev -36.5%
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.

DesMoinesMike, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of avaulteriam
2.48/5  rDev -35.8%
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

avaulteriam, May 29, 2008
Photo of mdcajun
2.48/5  rDev -35.8%

mdcajun, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of iemailjack
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

iemailjack, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of atlbravsrno1
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

atlbravsrno1, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of cfrobrew
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

cfrobrew, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of dnoahg
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

dnoahg, May 25, 2013
Photo of SpartyJoe
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

SpartyJoe, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of JimmyP
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

JimmyP, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of abernethyj
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

abernethyj, Jul 10, 2013
Photo of wiegs4life
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

wiegs4life, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of core42
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

core42, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of beerbtl
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

beerbtl, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of Stratocat0
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Stratocat0, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of jar2574
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
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.

jar2574, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of Metal4Breakfast
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Metal4Breakfast, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of OleDixie
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

OleDixie, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of godmare
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

godmare, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of yas
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

yas, May 31, 2012
Photo of amalburg
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

amalburg, May 03, 2014
Photo of Anthony1
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
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

Anthony1, Jun 20, 2009
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,762 ratings.