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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,947 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,947
Hads: 5,576
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 190
Gots: 957 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,947 | Hads: 5,576
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Always saw this in the package store and finally got around to giving it a whirl. I was curious to see how a brewery invented its own style of beer basically, and man this shit is good. It's one of the most crisp and refreshing beers I've ever had. There's also this nice fruity character about and it is extremely drinkable. I like this beer a lot and wish my store carried more from this brewery.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Salt House pub in Galway, Ireland. Poured into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

A: One finger head of fair cream and thickness. A hazy copper colour. Appealing, if not for the poor retention of the head.

Sm: Barley, LOTS of hops. Maybe an apple ester?

T: Apple is definitely there, along with other estery hops. Off-cream, apple finish. Very crisp and refreshing, whilst avoiding going into cider territory. I'm curious which sugar they used to accomplish this.

Mf: Crisp. Nice coarseness and near-perfect dryness.

Dr: Far too expensive in Ireland, but certainly worth a go.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color with a medium dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt and a little bit of spice, fruit and hops.

T: The taste is fruity, spicy and malty, with flavors of caramel & citrus. A strong but complimentary hops presence comes in quickly and provides a very good balance without being over-powering. Once the hops flavor fades a bit, there’s a nice bready taste that remains with a mild sweetness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, this is good beer to stick with for an evening if you want something a lot of substance that isn’t going try to knock you over. I liked this beer and thought it was very good.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Four Points Sheraton next to Round the Clock diner in North York, Pa. Served cold w/ a pils glass

A - A very light shade of bronze w/ a quick condensing head of beige that becomes a ring w/ a tight bead

S - Slightly citrus/tannic w/ green apple hint and an earthy estery combo of malt and subtle woody odors

M - A very effervescent and dry feel w/ a clean finish and nice tannic fruitiness w/ a slight grainy quality

T - Very crisp w/ rye and piney northern brewer citrus rind and spice flavor. There is a gentle rye taste w/ toasted malt flavor and a touch of sweetness w/ grapefruit in small quantities. The overall taste is dry and piney w/ a spice accent there are subtle earthy hop flavors as I taste bottle #3.

D - A fine hybrid beer - more ale like. I appreciate the historic relevance of this specimen to the American Brewing landscape. This is one I welcome to my lips w/ a great hop and malt balance. Pale ale in some repsects yet Steam beer deserves a category all its own. There is fruit and woody earthy flavor but the finish is clean and this one goes down refreshingly easy. I already mentioned I had three, but for a buck a bottle at a place that has a decent selection locally I couldn't resist. Kudos to Fritz Maytag for reviving Anchor and keeping this style alive.

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Photo of Jason
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 16oz brown "fatty" with the infamous anchor, hops and barley label. "Made in San Francisco since 1896" No freshness date.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a thick, off-white, rocky, bubbly, sticky, chunky head.

Smell: Earthy malt aromas with semi-caramel sweetness.

Taste: Immediately, the mouth is hit by a sharp bitterness, some salt and slight lemon from the hops. This is a beautiful thing, full of flavour and character. After, a mildly astringent, earthy, highly toasted malt guides you to a dry, grainy, residual citrus after-taste.

Notes: You don't find other beers like this, not even close in their mimics. This is truly a unique brew, and a classic; a legend in the hand-crafted/micro industry.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Finnegan's Wake third floor bar, Philly, PA

A: Clear copper, with a light white head, some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean with some citrus notes.

T: Clean mixture of malts and semi-citrusy hops.

M: Light body with some carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, but not something I have too often.

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Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: A bit of caramel & fruittyness

T; A little fruittyness & some serious herbal hop snap up front. A little grainyness , fruittyness kicks in as this warms. Finishes dry, fruitty & quenching with a piney hop edge

MF: Medium bodied, perfect carbonation & pretty good balance

Drinks too easy, baseline for the style. Even better on draft

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh the classics. Tangy kind of tone to this one. It doesn't push it to an obnoxious level, but it's almost a bit too much for my preferences really. Flavor delivery is smooth and consistent. Feel is smooth. A pretty easy drinker, but a bit too tangy for me personally. Still a good one though (of course).

Side note: as this one warms, you can really get a sense of the grain in there.

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Photo of superspak
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled 1/11/2012. Pours slightly cloudy golden copper color with a very nice 3 finger dense off white head with incredible retention that reduces to a thick cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of bready grains, grass, floral hops, herbal spiciness, caramel, and a bit of light fruitiness. Some nice and well balanced aromas; but are a bit muted. Taste of bready grain, floral, grass, pepper, caramel, herbal, and light apricot. A decent amount of peppery bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of bread, pepper, herbal, floral, and light fruit on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a smooth and crisp mouthfeel as expected. No alcohol noticeable at all as expected for 4.9%. Overall this is a very nice brew from Anchor. Very crisp with a nice flavor profile; and easily drinkable. Definitely a great session beer contender.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can honestly say that I have never been too fond of this beer in the bottle, maybe it's the trip across country it has to make to get here but there is always a funky grassy taste going on that does nothing for me. However on draught this beer pours a nice amber with a creamy off white head. Leaving a decent lace around the rim of my mug. The aroma is a sweet caramelly malty aroma with a nice solid back bone of hop aroma. The taste of this beer is unique due to the fact that when they orginally brewed this beer they had lager yeast, but no refrigeration to ferment it as a true lager. So, they fermented this beer at ale temperature using the lager yeast creating the California common or "steam" beer style. This beer has a wonderful hop bitterness with sweet apple tones and a nice full malt profile wonderful beer. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated with a great smooth finish from this medium to light bodied beer. Incredilbly drinkable if obtained freshly.

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Photo of chinchill
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with an average white head that soon reduces to a lasting ring and leaves a modicum of lacing.

The light, earthy aroma is pleasing, but it is too mild to be very enticing.

The flavor (4.2) starts with a good hit of earthy/spicy hops, with the malt component becoming more apparent mid-taste. The hops are present all the way through, making this steam beer seeming to build in intensity through the finish. Great hops/malt balance leaves both bitter/sweet and other flavor components in exemplary balance. Excellent roster of malts.

Anchor Steam has a medium body; excellent carbonation, and a refreshing crispness.

O: excellent choice as a session beer or replacement for one of any light or macro-adjunct beer. Slightly milder than an average APA, but with as much flavor. Should work well with many lighter-flavored foods.

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Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and solidly amber. Moderate chaulky white head with good lasting power.

Good caramel notes in the nose. Light background hoppy aromas.

Much more bitter than the aroma suggests. It's not an IPA but the hop bite is quick to show and long to fade, even after the swallow. Still, I'd describe this as a well-balanced beer with lots of astringent malt background. Good body and slightly high carbonation.

If I were blindfolded, I'd presume this to be a typical APA. I imagine the uninitiated wouldn't realize that they were drinking the most original of American beers--the first of our own.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd had this in bottles before and thought it was just fine enough, but on first tasting it on draft, my eyes and tastebuds blew wide open, and were all the happier for it! WOW!, what a difference freshness makes!
Appearance: clear, bright amber hue, and a frothy, thick off-white head.
Aroma: soft and clean, with hints of fruit, bread, cream, nuts.
On the palate: smooth and fruity, with a small hop contingent, and very, very tasty. Body is light/ medium, texture is good, finish is long and friendly!
The fruity flavor stays on the palate for the greatest portion of this drink, and continues to reward it's consumption. With every sip, the flavor jumps aboard with zeal and vigor, fresh and ready for the task (of refreshment!). Tasty, and tangy, and, again, very giving.
A bright, beautiful hybrid beer that goes down smooth and easily, always accompanied by flavor. A great American brewing accomplishment, I always say! I'm forever glad there's always Anchor Steam around!

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Photo of orangesol
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the The Batdorf into a standard pint.

A - Pours orange-ish yellow with a small one finger tall white head leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of lightly toasted sweet buiscuity malt, earthy hops, and a touch of spice toward the end. Simple yet enjoyable.

T - The taste is pretty similar to the nose. Hints of sweet caramel malt, earthy hops, light spice, and the ever present buiscuity feel. The flavors are simple yet enjoyable. It goes down easy and often.

M - Medium-Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Light body with some lingering buiscuity sweetness in the finish.

O - This is my favorite Cali common. The flavors are simple and it is extremely easy drinking. I am glad we are finally starting to see more Anchor products in our area.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've seen this beer around quite a bit in Chicago, but I've never bothered to pick it up. A friend brought over a few bottles so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Not sure how old this bottle is - it has 8LW punched in the back.

A - Very handsome beer with a rich amber color. Tons of head and carbonation - it's hypnotic watching all the bubbles.

S - Fairly understated smell - mostly malt, with some some hoppy bitterness.

T - Tastes like it smells, but with more presence. Hits you with some malty biscuit flavor at first, but leaves you with a citrus aftertaste.

M - Creamy and just the right amount of carbonation. Goes down easy.

D - I could definitely put back a few of these on a hot summer day.

This is a solid, but largely unexceptional brew. I might pick up a sixer if it was on sale, but there are a ton of equally priced brews that I like more.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a a light amber color with a relatively thick head that fairly quickly becomes a thin lace. There is quite a bit of carbonation at first. But that too disspipates after a brief time.
The smell is light. After smelling it, I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a hint of caramel flavor. Nothing special, but nothing offensive.
The taste is thick but without much of a distinct flavor, except a bit of refreshing sweetness. Tastes good but nothing special.
It does leave a refreshing feel in the mouth, as there is nothing offensive, while nothing special about it either.
Overall, it is a decent session beer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear amber color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin layer of bubbles across the entire top of the beer, though slightly thicker around the edges of the glass. Light lacing is observed.

S: Aromas are predominantly pale + caramel malts with a slight hint of lemon and hops.

T: The flavor is extremely malty with hints of caramel sweetness. There is a small amount of bitterness from the hops.

M: Light to medium bodied with significant amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: Pretty easy to drink and probably the best known beer in the style - I probably had my first one of these about 15 years ago. There is a nice complexity to the flavor and the beer is quite easy to drink. Makes me think of being in San Fran.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper color with a very foamy three finger head upon pouring. Great retention, slowly reducing to one finger for the majority of the time drinking, leaving behind thick lacing down the sides. Lots of bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Very biscuity. There is a strong malt sweetness and a light amount of hops and bit of spice. Upon warming a bit of grainy malt begins to come forward.

T: The taste is similar to the aroma, rather biscuity mixed with some sweetness. There is some light fruit and a little bit of spice and a slightly bittersweet finish.

M: Very smooth, medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Goes down very easy.

O: An extremely drinkable beer, the classic in its style. I don't drink it often, but when I want it, its always there.

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Photo of mothman
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with no freshness date on it. Color is a nice light orange/straw. Head is just a slight off white that keeps for a while. Nice lacing observed.

Smells very subtle, but of hints of honey. Taste is very clean. Not much going on, but very wonderful. I would note the small taste of fruit in this. Very good carbonation.

Overall, this is quite the beer. I have never had a steam beer, but I do like it. I am more of a dark beer drinker, but I could see this being a nice session beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor steam is an interesting beer. People should check this out if for no other reason that there are so few steam beers and they are a truly American addition to the beer vocabulary. Poured from a bottle into an Anchor Steam pint glass, copper in color, nice head, falls away rather quickly with steady carbonation. Aroma is a mixture of malt and a lagerish odor. beer is easy to drink and tastes wonderful. This is one of my standby beers, I order when I see it at an average bar. Its a great beer "brewed in San Fran since 1896"

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Photo of tdm168
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass at Sawmill Tap Room on 4/28/12

A - pale amber; thick white head; great retention

S - caramel and lager yeast

T - straw, caramel, grassy, yeasty

M - medium bodied, crisp, good carbonation, smooth

This is a decent beer. A classic for sure. It has great drinkability, it's smooth, and has a refreshing flavor. It being a classic, I'll probably be back to it as some time.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A legend in the craft beer industry, I'm enjoying this refreshing brew on a rainy autumn afternoon.

A: Sunburst orange to golden in color, this beer has a massive, thick head like a cumulus cloud floating on a golden river. As the head recedes, it leaves a noticeable residue on around the circumference of the glass.

S: Malt, lager scents. Rather simple and inviting.

T: A really refreshing beer with a clean and easy taste, I find this to be rather enjoyable. There is a nice maltiness throughout, with a subtle hop bitterness near the back. There are delicate hints of fruit in there, as well. Overall, a very solid brew.

M: Medium bodied, and thicker than your average >5% beer. Again, a very pleasant beer to drink.

D: Very sessionable and enjoyable. Absolutely worth a try.

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Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It is of sweet malts and a mild hops; very aromatic. The taste is good. It is dry and malty. It has a bit of a watery finish, but all in all it's pretty good. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer; an excellent sessions ale.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004. Purchased at the local Safeway. Pours with a deep copper/amber color. I very nice head, which some was still remaining after it was gone. Very little lace, but not expected either. Smells of hops, malt, maybe a bit of citrus. A very unique beer in my opinion. Has that lager taste, but also has that IPA taste to it. Even has a bit of citrus taste in the mix. It goes down very smooth. A very easy beer to go through a six pack and still want more. Possibly my favorite session beer, or at least for a nice hot day after working or playing hard. This was the first beer I was introduced to while growing up. I remember swimming in Eagle Lake (Northern California) and doing a little snorkling and finding a bottle cap from an Anchor Steam bottle. I must have smelled it for days. It was such a facsinating smell to me. This was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Ahhhh, good old memories. Too bad it took me almost 20 years from then to try my first.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Plano Gingerman.

The beer pours and orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is grassy hops with some grapes and caramel malt. The flavor is toffee, grassy hops, grain and some metallic notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Good for the style, but this is a style I am not much of a fan of.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,947 ratings.