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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

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

4,074 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4074
Reviews: 1815
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%

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: 4,074 | Reviews: 1,815 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of samtrillo


3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Light translucent amber with a pretty white head that dissipates.

S - Bready malt with some fruitiness.

T - Dry bread malt followed by earthy tones with some hops, could use more IMO.

M - Medium body with crisp hitting carbonation but not overly carbonated. Dry feeling.

O - I'm a local and have been drinking and enjoying this since before I was a beer snob, however, older and with a more refined palate, this beer is only slightly above average for me. Not saying I wont enjoy more in the future, but Anchor Steam I'm sad to say is mediocre. Anchors other beers are great, though!

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 06:30:15 | More by samtrillo
Photo of Dope


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No date that I can see.

A: Pours a clear light red. Tall, frothy tan head. Thin but widespread lacing everywhere. Great head retention.

S: Mild bready, grainy malt. Maybe a little grassy? Almost smells a bit like corn.

T: Yep, definitely a bit grassy. Like wet hay. Grainy, bready malt. Lingering grass in the after with the lightest hint of tartness and bitterness.

M: Medium-light bodied. Not too watery but obviously around 5%.

O: I expected a simple beer and got one. It reminds me of a cream ale with a slight hoppiness and tartness to it. Simple but decently flavorful. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 05:41:17 | More by Dope
Photo of itsscience


3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Medium copper with a finger of white head that retains well. There's light fruitiness on the nose with sweet caramel malt and a minty quality from the Northern Brewer hops. Overall, though, the smell is rather subdued. Clean sweet malts show up first in the taste, followed by an earthy, grassy taste and a lingering hop bitterness at the end. No floral or citrus notes are imparted by the hops. The body is on the lighter side of medium and there's little carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 00:52:46 | More by itsscience
Photo of titty_mcbitty


3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden copper brown. Some lacing left but not much. Sipping from a wine glass for some reason...

S: Not a whole lot going on in the nose here- some citrus is all I get.

T: That clean gun barrel smokiness, nice lager notes, good malt back, metallic notes, some grassy flavors, and a clean hop finish.

M: Heavier light bodied. A good aftertaste left over, which is surprising.

O: This is a lovely beer. It's an awesome and unique style first off, and Anchor does a good job at creating a balanced flavor. Will try again soon!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 05:28:02 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of Badger6


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, did not see the bottle, poured in a restaurant.

A: Copper, with a slight haze int he body; thick, off-white, creamy chunky head. Good retention, and lots of lace.

S: Earthy malts, with semi-caramel sweetness. Hints of hops.

T: Begins bitter, slight citrusy notes, gives way quickly to a toasted earthy malt sweetness, that finishes cleanly with a mild citrusy aftertaste.

M: Medium body with light carbonation. Feels very smooth, dry on the palate.

O: With each aspect of the brew, it just got better and better to behold... It takes me back to one of the first craft/micro-brews I enjoyed as I reformed my pale American adjunct grain lager ways. After all of those years, I have come to realize just how unique, and special this brew is. A truly classic micro-brew, and one of the originals as free Americans rose up in protest to the swill the big breweries fooled us into drinking.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 00:01:26 | More by Badger6
Photo of illpass78


3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a golden amber with a half-inch off-white head that dissipates to film fairly quickly. Carbonation is heavy. Lacing moderate. Looks lager-like.

Aroma: Standard lager aromas; some toast, some caramel. I doubt anyone drinks Anchor Steam so they can smell it. It does smell crisp and clean.

Taste: Follows the nose, but is much more flavorful than the nose alludes. Crisp, clean lager-like flavor, with bready maltiness upfront. It has a nice, firm malt backbone and a modest amount of hop bite. It's a nice reminder that lager-style beers can be full of flavor even though we tend to associate them with macro crud.

Mouthfeel: Just the right amount of body. Good stuff.

Overall: What is there to say about this that hasn't been said? It's a key building block of the American craft brewing scene, and is a terrific all-purpose lager.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 01:38:07 | More by illpass78
Photo of GMB


4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A standard pour of Anchor Steam Beer yields a medium amber brew and a slightly off-white head with less staying power than expected. Golden highlights appear when the beer is held against a backlight. Carbonation is moderate.

The nose is less impressive than I recall, but nonetheless inviting. Toasty malts are clean and up front. Lingering in the background are some musty, grassy hops; no herbal or floral qualities are appreciable.

Balanced bitterness is the key to this beer's flavor profile. Bittering hops immediately assert themselves, and blend with toasted grain flavors to create woody, rustic flavors. Damp hay, freshly cut lumber, and just a hint of apple cider on the back end.

The mouthfeel is slightly astringent, but the beer's fullness nicely complements its earthy flavors, and a whirl around the tongue kicks up some respectably dense foam.

Overall, a much better beer than I remember. This is what hoppy bitterness is supposed to do to a beer's taste. I could drink these all day long.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 17:44:55 | More by GMB
Photo of a0lbudman


4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-clear dark gold with an off white head that faded quick
S-sweet or mint aroma with some caramel
T-slight malt taste but a different hop bitterness that i am not use to, but it was pleasant
M-medium body and medium carbonation
O-Glad I pulled this out and tried it. This was different and I like this style

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 02:46:21 | More by a0lbudman
Photo of Leviathan5


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker glass

A - Amber/copper color. One finger off-white head with some lacing

S - Fresh off the fridge it the aroma is more lager-like, with some minty touches in the background. As it warms the hops gain a little bit more presence, with support from caramel malt aromas.

T - Mostly toasted/caramel malts, with the hops noticeable in the crisp dry finish and the aftertaste

M - Medium body, with medium carbonatation. Smooth

O - An interesting hybrid beer, with attributes from lagers in smell and taste, but with a fuller body and a nice hop presence that meakes it different. Not my go-to beer, but definitely worth repeating

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 19:18:13 | More by Leviathan5
Photo of JJKBeerLvr


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Copper or bright amber, with nice thick and light colored head. The head lasted a very long time, and left a nice coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a strong hops bitterness in the aroma. There is some malty aroma, but the hops dominate.

Taste: A nice mix of hops and semi-sweet flavors, that make for an interesting and very unique Ale. There is a nice after-taste, that lasts for a while but not too long.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp, with a medium body.

Overall: This is an interesting and complex Ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 16:22:40 | More by JJKBeerLvr
Photo of BradC


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours orange gold with a thin head that lasts and nice lacing.

Smells of toasted malt, hops, and some toffee

Flavors follow the aroma, tastes bready with some toasted malt, slight caramel and a firm hop bitterness. This one is a little hoppier than I expected. Fairly high carbonation may lend to the perceived bitterness and bite that comes with the finish.

Light body and easy drinking.

Overall a good brew that I'd come back to, fairly complex for what I expected.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 01:07:56 | More by BradC
Photo of MattSweatshirt


3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange body and a nice thick white head from an aggressive pour. Leaves plenty of lace on the way down.

Doughy and bready malt with a hop character that is mostly herbal and gets a little floral and citric.

Light hop bitterness. Toasted bready malt and with those herbal and slightly citrus hops. Creamy mouthfeel. Slight crispness to it.

Packs some nice flavor. Can't believe it took me so long to crack open this craft beer staple.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 23:59:00 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of Goldndomer


4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Light Amber, more of a copper color. Thin white head which dissipated somewhat quickly. Trace head was maintained around the perimeter of the glass due to active, persistent carbonation.

Aroma - Smells of a fresh lager. Cold it exhibits an herbal almost minty smell. As it warms up, I pick up an aroma of honey.

Taste - Malty, caramel. Fairly dry with a lingering bitterness on the back end.

Mouthfeel - There's a good amount of carbonation. It's not too heavy or thin. Borderline creaminess at warmer temperatures.

Overall - Solid beer. Nice complexity. Clearly a step above an adjunct lager.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 02:45:39 | More by Goldndomer
Photo of abeeronthebeach


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber accented with gold. Clear body with little head. In fact that the clarity seems quite conspicuous, almost as if there is an absence of something as in a Kristalweizen.

S - Sweet malts, concentrated apple juice, a little fresh-lager hoppiness. Apricot jam and honey. The notes definitely develops as this beer sits and warms.

T - The taste is well-balanced; malt and hop play together nicely, but the experience is a little tame and I get none of the fruit from the nose.

M - Mouthfeel feels about right as well. Not overly or underly carbonated. Neither cloyingly thick nor feebly thin.

O - This is an okay beer, but I have no idea when I would drink this beer were I to have again. It is quite refreshing but there are certainly more refreshing beers around. It’s sessionable but I’d rather session a beer with stronger fruit, nut or malt profiles. It’s not particularly hoppy which is fine by me as I don’t enjoy the hops but if I did like hops I’d choose an IPA. It’s relatively inexpensive but if I really want to get after it there are cheaper beers with higher abv’s. It doesn’t taste bad, but if I want a tasty beer I’m going to have some variety of porter, stout, Belgian or sour. It is well-balanced which in this instance is somewhat of an inadmirable virtue as it renders a neutral beer which fails to offer a definitive characteristic required to compel purchase. There are various reasons why I buy beer, but there is not a situation I can think of where another beer would not better compliment that reason.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 02:19:29 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of CDAtkinson


4.56/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured an autumnal orange-golden hue. Less than a finger of a head but the carbonation was lively and discreetly sent bubbles up the glass the whole drink time.

S: Apricot, pine, barley (?)

T: This is such a well balanced beer. Bit of fruit (again, apricot) at the beginning with a palate cleansing dash of bitterness at the finish. It's well-hopped, but not overwhelmingly so.

M: Clean, crisp, medium to light bodied.

O: Anchor Steam has not failed to deliver on any of their beers I've had so far and this is no exception. Excellent pairer with medium to lighter fare (I had it with rice and chicken just fine) or on its own as a refreshing drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 15:23:36 | More by CDAtkinson
Photo of BeernerdJeff

South Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Because this beer appears at many grocery stores in my area, I had been very slow to try this beer thinking it to be in the category of Coors, Bud and other big name terrible beers. I am so glad that I finally tried it as this is a good beer. There is a faint sweet and sour smell. The taste is a slightly bitter fruit taste that is very refreshing and very drinkable. The mouth feel is quite creamy, something I would have never imaged from the look of this beer.

Overall, this is a very good little beer. I will certainly buy a six pack of this beer in the future. This is worth a try-don't judge it simply because of its availability.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 19:28:51 | More by BeernerdJeff
Photo of falloutsnow


3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

From: Piccadilly, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2013-10-19 (3ON on label)
Glass: Tulip

Anchor's Steam Beer is an enjoyably mild, yet modestly flavorful beer that highlights bread-like malt sweetness and subtle hop bittering, leading to a United States counterpart to sessionable German ales. While I've had more flavorful beers in a beer of similar strength, few of them are priced as affordably as this Steam Beer, making it an easy go-to for a balanced, though malty, beer.

Pours a 1cm tall head of white-colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles yielding a frothy appearance, with average retention of about one minute, falling to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass. Lacing is modest, but present, with a sparse scattering of small dots clinging to the glass' walls. Body is a fairly dark golden orange color, with light bringing out brighter golden orange hues. Carbonation visible through the transparent body, low in number and activity.

Aroma is malt-forward, of bread-like pale malt and modest straw, toasted bread and pale caramel-like sweetness. Little hop presence, what is present is the result being a mildly sweet and bread-like aroma.

Overall flavor of pale malt sweetness with a bit of toasted bread and light, pale caramel-like flavor; hops are tucked into the background, contributing a bit of bitterness and slightly herbal and woodsy flavor. Front of palate tastes lightly grainy and bread-like malts with toasted and pale caramel-like sweetness. Mid-palate of pale, lightly toasted, and pale caramel-like malt sweetness at fairly low levels with a hints of herbal and woodsy hop flavor and bitterness. Back of palate experiences lightly toasted bread-like malt, pale malt sweetness, and mild herbal and woodsy hop flavor and bitterness. Aftertaste is lightly grainy and bread-like, with low herbal and woodsy hop flavor and bitterness.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a lightly foamy (2/5) and otherwise smooth (3/5) body that's well-suited to the particular beer and style in general. Closes dry, with light stickiness clinging to the palate and lips.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 07:15:45 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of fourstringer


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz stubby bottle into a silly Sam Adams tulip-pint glass. Moderate hand. No clear date that I can find. Haven't had this for a long while.

A: Light amber with great clarity. 1/2 finger of mostly white, frothy head with ok retention. Nice lacing.

S: Malt sweetness with faint fruit notes. Bread. Mild straw. Lightly floral hop notes. A bit of brown sugar and honey as it warms.

T: Round malt sweetness with a touch of corn/adjunct-type flavor that is not unpleasant. Transitions to a balanced hop bitterness and closes with a semi-dry finish. No alcohol. Fairly clean in the end.

M: Moderate to high carbonation that feels a bit prickly for the first half of the beer. Moderate to light body. Does smooth out nicely over the course of the glass.

O: Nice little beer with a cool history. I think Dampfbier was better, but I don't have much else for a steam beer/CA common point of reference. Bonus points for being an American original.


Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 23:17:33 | More by fourstringer
Photo of ahommell


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Burnt umber to a deep amber. Full finger of head in a frozen pint glass. Lacing throughout.

S: Smells clean. One of those beers that smells like a lab. Pear is the light note that makes itself known.

T: Malted pears. Carmel tones hit on the finish. Clean.

M: Heavy at first... but the taste lightens. All around a pleasant feel. Wish more beers had this feel.

O: Lot's of taste. Lots of good things of note on this beer. The only thing against it I have is the unremarkable remembrance of this beer. Even beers that suck leave me remembering their suckiness... this does not. I really can say that I love this beer... but it is not remarkable to the palate... to the level that I have become accustomed.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 02:22:31 | More by ahommell
Photo of Jamey61


3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Served in a bottle poured into pint glass.

App- light caramel in color with a small head which dis not hang around long.

Smell- maybe it was because I am stuffy right now but I did not get much in the way of aroma on this one. Gonna try a few other beers tonight so I will know if I can or can't smell later.

Taste/mouthfeel- I was a little disappointed after first taste. However after sitting here sipping I am beginning to be able to taste it a little better. Again maybe to to stuffy head. Slightly bitter with a little sour mixed in. Enjoying the malty finish with a taste/feel of a cream ale.

I don't think I would go out and pick up a case of this but would be ok with downing a few from time to time.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:25:36 | More by Jamey61
Photo of Landar


4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Anchor Steam Beer
7B - California Common Beer

Pour on 1/18/14 from a bottle.

Aroma 10/12
Woody hops aroma supported by a toasted malt. As it warms a light fruitiness becomes pronounced with a hint of caramel. The pear fruitiness starts to become the dominant aroma with the toasted malt and woody hops taking a back seat.

Appearance 3/3
Medium amber color. Carbonation bubbles. Clear. White frothy head that builds surprisingly quickly with excellent retention.
A thick white foamy layer sticks to the sides of the glass and stays there.

Flavor 17/20
An immediate toasted biscuit malt with a noticeable woody hop bitterness and a distinct salt from the water profile hits you on the first taste. As you drink notes of caramel and pear comes through.
The finish is dry and very crisp. Very clean flavor. Grainy malt aftertaste with a lingering woody hop bitterness.
As it warms a pear fruitiness starts to dominate a tad too much and a grainy malt flavor comes through. The woody hop bitterness dominates the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel 4/5
Medium bodied with a high carbonation. Crisp, dry, clean feeling on the tongue as it washes over. There is a mild astringency.

Overall 10/10
Overall Impression
This is exactly what a California Commons/Steam beer should be. It highlights everything that one looks for in this style of beer. The balance of the woody Northern Brewer hops is well balanced with the toasted grainy malt. There is a hint of fruitiness that comes out as it warms. The beer is crisp, clean, and refreshing.


Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 22:28:03 | More by Landar
Photo of kaplunk02


4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark amber brown with a short white head.

S: Light hops and some serious pear aroma. Maybe some other sweet smells but the pear overpowers.

T: Much like the smell there's pear and hops but also a caramel malty flavor.

M: A fair bit of carbonation and a dry finish.

O: A tasty beer and much more flavor than I was expecting from this style.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 05:23:11 | More by kaplunk02
Photo of Mike_Moe


1.93/5  rDev -50%
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 dacrza1

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DATE TASTED: December 21, 2013... GLASSWARE: Howard's Pub pint...OCCASION: post Hobbit unwinding... APPEARANCE: beautiful copper-amber body supports a thick, pillowy head; solid lacing.. AROMA: fragrant, soft hops with floral hints; malts are minimal... PALATE: medium-bodied, almost creamy; highly drinkable lager...TASTE: crisp and clean; start to finish, an agreeable West Coast resin and moderate pine; little citrus to be found... OVERALL: though intimidating to rate a style all its own--I first sipped this "steam" beer with wide-eyed, impossible expectations--the experience is that of a refined, articulate pale ale with a slightly thin quality...

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 05:35:07 | More by dacrza1
Photo of ilikebeer03


3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. Pours a nice burnt orange. About a finger of head which has nice retention. Lacing is nothing special, but solid retention, like I said. Nice crist, clear appearance. Nose and mouth are very similary. very malty, earthy, biscuity, bready upfront. a slight hop presence. Very crisp. Pretty good mouth feel. the bready - biscuity taste lingers for awhile. Overall, pretty good. This was one of the very first craft beers that I ever had and I distinctly remember disliking it. That was at least 5 or 6 years ago. Anyway, suprised to find myself enjoying now the second time around.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 22:15:00 | More by ilikebeer03
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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,074 ratings.