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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

4,093 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4093
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)
View: Beers (21) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 4,093 | Reviews: 1,816 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of beyah


4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a Belgian goblet.

A- Deep copper color, head lasted only a few minutes with a little lacing.

S-Has a smell reminiscent of east coast ales of old.

T- Bittering Hops show right out front and followed by some malt sweetness, but somehow finishes dry.

M- Has a smooth mouthfeel, carbonation does not get in the way.

Overall- Good beer for watching a ballgame, with lots of hop and malt character. Best with strong flavor foods.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 23:44:19 | More by beyah
Photo of Ac2013


3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. Small, quickly receding head soon left after the pour. Initial smell is complex, but the combination of hops and floral tones makes it pleasant. The taste is sharp, but I think it lacks a full flavor. It is still very good though. A very sessionable beer as the palate is clean after drinking. A historic brew and certainly worth the try.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 23:30:00 | More by Ac2013
Photo of MaineBrewing


3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - poured a brilliant clear golden color with orange to amber highlights. Light 1/3 finger head didn't last long, no lacing whatsoever.

S - aroma is a soapy corny malt sweetness with slight alcohol.

T - taste is a surprisingly more complex for what I was expecting, at least more than what I got from the nose. Very light and crisp much like a generic AAL, but with a almost British character reminiscent of something from Samuel smith but much fresher, a very biscuity, nutty, caramel malt character with buttery diacetyl overtones. Low to no hop flavor but a balanced bitter finish that ends dry and refreshing.

M - light, light carbonation, dry finish.

O - this was enjoyable, reminded me of yuengling but with a very British flavor. Has a very bright, crisp, and refreshing flavor profile. Great refreshing beer, simple and straightforward but still very interesting.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 03:47:39 | More by MaineBrewing
Photo of fabiansoliz

New York

3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is the beer of choice when visiting San Francisco. It's somewhat of a dark beer but without a very heavy flavor. It's not a light beer and after only a few rounds the beer tends to give me that intoxicted affect.

I also had this in the bottle and didn't notice any differences. It definately has a signature taste. There is also a light lager version that I tried and it's probably what I would switch to when I'm ready to keep drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2013 05:02:23 | More by fabiansoliz
Photo of nanandtomfitz


3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

after drinking lots of this in college, got away from it for several years and had again for the first time in recent memory at a backyard BBQ. Maybe some nostalgia involved but really enjoyed having this again!

nice light copper color

smell - good malt, not too complex

taste very even and smooth; mostly one note

feels rich and well carbonated but still good for regular drinking, don't need to sip

very enjoyable overall, maybe not enough here to be a destination beer but a great companion to a meal or for an afternoon break from the golf course, etc.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 00:14:47 | More by nanandtomfitz
Photo of DryHoppedStout


3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an ISB into a mug. The appearance of this beer is a light amber with a 1 finger head after a settled pour. Upon drinking the beer revealed a modest amount of lacing. Picking up a strong lager smell from the beer. The taste was earthy with a slightly bitter finish, very pleasing. Mouthfeel is smooth and light with a hint of carbonation.

I forgot how good this beer is, great way to end the summer and bring in the fall.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 00:20:37 | More by DryHoppedStout
Photo of Celtics17


4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The aroma has a slight banana smell to it. The taste has a bit of banana bread elements to it. It's not strong at all though. It's very bready. The after taste is actually bitter. This beer is hoppy, more than I remember it to be. You can also taste a slight caramel malt after a few more sips. Amber color with a slight touch of clarity. One finger of head perhaps a touch less. Moderate lacing.

This is an Ale, with a touch of lager behind it.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2013 07:02:08 | More by Celtics17
Photo of mntlover


3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear really light amber color with a nice big frothy white head.

Aroma is malty some light caramel notes and earthy hints some light grassy hop notes.

Taste is like the smell a nice malt base with caramel notes, Some good earthy notes that lead to grassy hops for a finish. Nice lighter easy drinking favorable brew.

Mouthfeel is nice medium body with fairly peppy carbonation that suits this brew perfectly. Mouthfeel and carbonation defiantly aide the flavor on this one.

Overall for the style it is a great beer maybe should hit all fours easy drinking and favorable. Not something i would consume normally but would be a good session brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 01:20:27 | More by mntlover
Photo of dwren89


4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2013 02:19:19 | More by dwren89
Photo of mikefuski17


3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Second go with Anchor Steam.

A. The appearance is a golden amber, more on the darker side. There was a minimal head and dissipated quickly. Not cloudy or sedimenty.

S. The aroma was very light and was rather difficult for me to pick anything out. The only smell that could be picked out were the malts, but again it was so light, I couldn't get a full appreciation for it.

T. Like the smell, the taste is also very light. It is very light and crisp. The maltiness is quietly followed by the hops.

M. It has a slight and quick feel of carbonation initially then disappears within a blink. Again it feels light bodied and smooth.

O. I think this is a great summer beer due to the lightness of it all around. It tastes great and is an excellent beer to sit and relax with.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 01:26:57 | More by mikefuski17
Photo of CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A true classic. I have had this one many times and find it to be a nice refreshing summer beer with more character than a macro lager and enough complexity to keep things from getting too dull over the course of a session. Pours a deep amber on the SRM scale and leaves a nice rich foam if you pour the beer correctly (although with this one I often dispense with the glass). Aroma is a sweet and spicy combo of bready spicy yeast and herbal notes with some sweet malt. Taste is where the magic is, sourdough yeast, cleansing spice like white pepper, some banana and vanilla esters... A nice sour tang with a decent biscuity crystal malt lingering sweetness on the palate. Drinkable but not dull. Might underwhelm those who love hop bombs as the Northern Brewer are there to provide grassiness and a bitter foil rather than complex hop aroma but keep an open mind. There is enough ale character in this hybrid style to keep one engaged.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 22:16:04 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of archyquaffer


3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served from the bomber into an 8 ounce sampler. A moderate pour produces a short creamy white head that settles down into thin lacing sticking to the sides. The beer is a beautiful copper color with yellowish highlights and is quite effervescent.

I smell lots of sweet malt with some mild floral hops. The taste is a malt treat, with undertones of caramel, with just enough bitterness from the hops to balance. The finish is crisp with a lingering bitter-sweetness.

This true classic is very flavorful and refreshing, and quite reasonable priced as well.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 01:35:05 | More by archyquaffer
Photo of Haydn-Juby

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served to a pilsener glass.

A: Amber color with a slight touch of clarity. One finger of head perhaps a touch less. Moderate lacing.

S: Sweet malts some hops.

T: A nice caramel malt profile is present. Some what sweet initially but is backed by some nice subtle hops. Fairly clean in terms of esters and phenols but still some very slight fruitiness comes through which is somewhat unique in terms of what is typical in lagers.

M: Crisp and clean. Very refreshing.

O: Great beer and uniquely its own. Would be great with some grilled chicken or other light BBQ food.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 01:31:11 | More by Haydn-Juby
Photo of FLima


3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber color with an off-white head with good retention.
Malty aroma with hints of condiments, pine and caramel.
Unique flavor, predominant taste of peppery yeast, apple juice and biscuit malt. Notes of earthy hops and honey, with hints of lemon, minerals and salt. Not really sweet. Dry with an elegant bitterness aftertaste.
Light body with low carbonation.
Initially, it seemed not to be a big deal, but then it kind of grew on me for its unique taste. Though it resembles some British bitters. I could have drunk a few, very drinkable. Definitely worth it a try. I round it up given its historic twist.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 02:23:16 | More by FLima
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam pours a darker clear amber color with a nice large lacing head. There is a weak aroma, but has bitter and floral notes. The taste is a bit bitter, and has long drawn out floral notes. A bit watery, but nice flavors, easy to drink. Overall a solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-24-2013 02:59:58 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of williamjbauer

West Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled served in a pint glass

A - Clear dark amber with 1.5 off white head with minimal lacing and moderate head retention.

S - A little citrus hops with some peatiness.

T - Dry, peat, and bitter. Dry finish. Nothing super standout.

O - A decently refreshing beer but nothing too exciting.

7/23 revisited. Have a new appreciation for this brew, great creamy, biscuit, nutty malt flavors, crisp and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 23:27:40 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of Premo88


4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into pilsener
(3AA printed on bottle, translates to April 1, 2013 born date)

L: copper, bronze ... a lot of orange in it, burnt orange; thick 1 1/4-inch head or more, really explodes off a hard pour, nice light tan color; crystal clear, plenty of bubbles floating up in column; the color combination is fantastic -- burnt orange topped by tan, an earth-tone lovers dream; head is sticky

S: grain ... lots of grain when cold; spicy hops are present in a very light form, under the grain; as it warms up, wow! loads of bready, yeasty malt ... sweet, sweet and sweet; always get just a pinch of pepper in the nose

T: strong bitter bite inside a lot of grain with some malt sweetness at the end -- in other words, good. loads of taste, and the hop bite seems just a hair different than others ... the bitter is there, but I'm not detecting an overload of any taste note, maybe just the slightest hint of grass and spice. the upshot is it seems to be letting the solid malt backbone permeate the brew and allow for a really good sweet balance

F: good carbonation despite a strong pour that produced a big head

O: the brew lives up to the reputation ... it's so full of taste, and the thing I like most might be that it seems just different enough from other styles to be it's own thing -- it's very much a mix of czech and german pilseners and the good english-style malty euro pale lager, but it's not exactly like any one of those styles (at least not for me).

i will be purchasing more of this beer. it's light enough for the summer and tasty enough for the winter -- as good a lager as I've run across in the 5.0% ABV and under world.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 00:56:45 | More by Premo88
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear copper color amber with plenty of foam and good retention. Bubbles rising from the bottom. Beige head that left soapy wet lace and a layer on top. Very pretty beer. Nose is simple. A touch of sour yeast, some caramel malt and a bit of fruit. Malt is a touch toasted and grainy. First taste is some light citrus that washes over the palate like a gushing stream, then some hop bitter settles in on the mid palate. The malt is smooth toasted grain. There's a light sweetness and lager yeast. The malt is woody and earthy. The body of the beer is medium/ light and smooth. To look at it you would think it's very sweet but it isn't. It drinks so easily that you never notice how fat the malt is. Finish is dry and grainy.

This beer has a classic and clean taste that is enjoyable to say the least. The hops are soft yet bitter and drinks like a lazy afternoon. Friendly and approachable. Would pair well with black bean burgers and would compliment a variety of vegetarian dishes. Would also go well with spicy foods like chili or sweetly smoky foods like barbecue. It's versatile.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2013 19:04:08 | More by utopiajane
Photo of artoolemomo


3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head with minimal retention. Some lacing is left behind. The body is off white with hints of yellow while the body is a little hazy with an almost medium amber/honey hue that glows orange when held up to the light.

Nose- Fairly subdued- takes a quite a bit of probing around and swirling to get something more than the sweet malt and stereotypical beer aroma. Grain, sweet malt, and a slight hint of sour spice are the dominant aspects but hints of caramel do come out later. Some fruity esters come out as well- some faint peach, apricot. Some complexity but very subtle.

Taste- Initially, citrus notes followed by woody bitterness with some resin. The bitterness is well rounded and is never overpowering. I had never noticed it before, the Northern Brewer hops do give a mild minty flavor which hangs around the wood of the profile. The hops also have a herbal/floral spiciness to them as well. Some biscuit, some grain but the caramel (like on the nose) is pretty tucked away. The dual use hops really stave of the possibility of any of the malts taking over the palate. Not the most complex beer but it is a very solid and well balanced one.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied. Lots of carbonation but the zip is welcome.

Drinkability- Very easygoing. Crisp and refreshing. Perfect for a summer day. A classic for a reason.

Overall- Solid beer. I've been drinking Anchor's products for years but I haven't reviewed many of them.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2013 23:54:03 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of jeffjeff1


3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had this last night at The Dead Fish in Crockett, CA. I had a liter of it which was awesome!

Appearance- amber color, pretty thin head

Smell- citrus hops, malt

Taste- light amount of citrus hops, malt, tastes lighter than a pale ale but stronger than a lager

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I have had this beer so much but never reviewed it until now. It is a very good beer and a great session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2013 21:48:35 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of BethanyB

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear, dark gold. A thick cloud of an off-white head.

Smell: Sinus-clearing mint and citrusy hops on one end, and plenty of grainy malt on the other. As a whole, however, the aroma is light and clean.

Taste: Earthy bitterness and a tart character overpower the biscuity malt. Altogether, the taste is much less complex than I had expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light mouthfeel and high carbonation keep the brew crisp and clean.

Overall: More flavorful than a lager, yet more simple than a typical ale. It's a solid beer, but not one that sparks any real interest for me. I can't think of a specific season or situation where something different would be more appropriate or satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2013 20:01:15 | More by BethanyB
Photo of BigJim5021


3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My old review of this beer was pure shit. It was back when I thought every beer had to be huge or insanely hoppy.

Just know this. Anchor Steam is a true American classic. It's everything Anchor intended it to be, and anyone that appreciates good beer should have one every once in a while to remind themselves of where the movement began (I know this isn't literally the first "craft" beer. Just one of the progenitors.)

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 03:26:15 | More by BigJim5021
Photo of dougbassett


3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the "1001 Beers You Should Taste Before You Die" -- #27 of the ones I've reviewed here.

A pretty important beer for America, historically -- along with Sam Adams and a couple others it helped to kick off the microbrew revolution. Add to that on the East Coast it was never easy to get (it's not really *hard*, especially nowadays, but it's not omnipresent the way Sam Adams Boston Lager is) and it quickly developed a reputation (at least when it came out) as something extraordinary.

I like a lot of Anchor Brewing's beers, so I hope the Beer Gods don't curse me when I confess that I've never really been enthusiastic about their flagship beer. It's okay, but to my mind little more -- about on a par with Sam Adams Boston Lager, in fact. Pours a nice golden-caramel brown color but keeps no head, which may be part of the style (I don't know, actually) but is disappointing nonetheless. A mildly fruity nose which is pleasant. A very spritzy, effervescent mouthfeel, in fact I think that's probably the most notable thing about Anchor Steam, it has a consistency very different from most beers I know. The flavors are pleasant and well-balanced but nothing really extraordinary: some toast, some caramel, some hop bitterness, a rather nice, lingering finish that balances the malt and hops (the finish is very nice, actually).

It comes across as damning with faint praise, I know, but there you are. It's not a bad beer by any means, just to my mind rather overhyped (and overpriced, to be honest). What it really is, when all is said and done, is a solid session beer, not that far removed from Boston Lager. Folk who've drank a lot of Sam Adams and have never tried this really should, they'd probably like it a lot.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 22:40:03 | More by dougbassett
Photo of gutbucket2

United Kingdom (England)

3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle. ap: amber, short-lived head. sm: herbal hop. ta: medium sweetness and bitterness, minty. mo: light med body, oily texture. ov: full-flavoured, prickly carbonation. A beer that I okay, not good or bad. Best before date unreadable on label.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 11:57:50 | More by gutbucket2
Photo of Ugarte_CP


4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tried this beer at Lombard's Restaurant at Universal Studios Florida. Was very pleasantly surprised to enjoy a good micro-brew at the theme park. Great taste with no bitterness. Paired it with the Turkey burger and calamari appetizer. I will have to find this one again.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 00:20:25 | More by Ugarte_CP
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,093 ratings.