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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

1,944 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,944
Hads: 5,567
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: 1,944 | Hads: 5,567
Photo of smakawhat
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. About time I review some Anchor Steam. The first time I tried it, was many years ago and it was tasty. Hopefully those old memories are still here since I occasionally have it.

Anchor Steam pours a nice off white head of a very large four fingers. It has a gorgeous clear color of dark to brown copper. Wonderful ice cream cone retention on the head as well, looks like a root beer float. Some small carbonation from the bottom. Some stickyness and lacing. She looks good in the pint!

A very faint airy malt aroma, but a very nice one. Small grain in the nose kind of lingers after you pull the beer away. Some very faint hops.

On taste it's at first a sweet grain, then gives way to a subtle hop finish. Fells a little carbonated in the mouth and wet but the body doesn't feel like complete water. Quite solid and good nothing fancy, just simple.

Anchor steam is still solid just as I remember it. Inexpensive to boot too and easy drinking. Not the most knockout beer I've had, but certainly one that is worth its price and then some and easily available.

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

12 ouncer sampled. No freshness indication on the label. Pours a nice rich dark amber, with an off white creamy, dense head. Respectable lacing left behind. Sweet nose of caramel and brown sugar. Medium bodied, smooth malty base to this one, soft, creamy mouthfeel, very easy on the tongue. Smooth subtle hops in the finish, slightly dry very pleasant quafer/sessoner. Classic early/back in the day micro. thanks for the memories and for the fine suds for all these years!

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color with a 1" head. Only a wisp of lace develops. The aroma was of bread and malt. The flavor was a well balanced and simple blend of caramel, bread, fruit, and mild bitterness. Definitely a bit on the sweeter side.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start with a crisp, slightly dry finish. Extremely drinkable, and a perfect brew to enjoy with a pizza.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has an enticing copper color and pours with a light beige head. There is not a huge amount of aroma to it, it smells clean, malty and a bit of floral grassiness to it. A light sweet/ malty taste up front that finishes with a good bitterness. This beer is about perfect balance between the hop and the malt. Just a wonderful beer that, because of its popularity/ availability, of the gets short shrift. In my mind this is one of the great everyday drinking beers.

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

Pours a deep amber color with a thick fluffy head that sticks around forever. Smells of earthy hops, a bit of toffee, and sweet grainy malt. The taste follows the aroma. Earthy hops and sweet malt with a long lingering mild hop bitterness in the finish. Medium body, creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. I drank a lot of this beer in the mid nineties it was somewhat of a gateway beer for me. Delicious in its simplicity, yet interesting enough for my ever changing palette. Great session beer!

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

Part five in the Unorganized Invitation brings us to Anchor Steam Beer. Time to try to out:

In color, the beer is amber in color with a soild, desne head. The flavor is dominated by toasty malts, and it's damn tasty. A little fruity underneath the toasty flavor, creamy, and thick. Yum. I've found another option for a session brew.

I had hopes for this beer, and boy it did it hit the spot. It just took the lead in the Unorganized Invitational from it's brother Anchor Bock. It'll have to hold off New Belgium's 1554 to secure the title.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange/yellow, with some haze and a fluffy white head. The head lingered for a while, but didn't last more than half the drinking time.
Smells of sweet malt, some citrus and a bit phenolic.
Tastes like a dry lager. Mostly malt and biscuit, yet a bit dry due to the hops. Some floral and diacetyl, but that may be due to the tap lines.
Crisp feel, especially if its colder. A nice low alcohol brew. Should try it again in the summer

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

On par with a craft amber ale. I cant say I can pick out the difference aside from more hops. Looks amber with a nice white head. Smells very caramel and tastes it with a nicely balanced bitterness. A pleasure to drink and great with rich food. I get a hint of alcohol as it warms, but thats really the only bad thing I can say. Cheers to this classic.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Dark amber orange with pretty thick white head.

S: Thick malt, with baking bread, sugar cookies, maybe a bit of barnyard feel, interesting.

T: Maltiness, with that fruity ale yeast ester flavor due to high fermentation temperatures, steamy. A bit of sulfur carries the load, with a midly astringent taste, it's a difficult taste to describe.

M: Smooth, that steam beer lager character is there.

D: Very drinkable, not the best beer in the world by any stretch, but a very good one.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.03/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown 355ml bottle, best before Oct 2008, drank Apr 2007.

Poured into a Corsendonk Tulip glass, dull copper, hazy more than cloudy. A good white head and carbonisation rising through the beer to replenish the head as it shrank away.

Aroma of malt biscuits and some caramel.

Unremarkable taste, barley malts and not a lot of anything.

A slight bitterness does linger in the aftertaste, but there is no great body to this beer, it isn't watery by any means, but there just isn't much too it either.

A little disappointed with this one really, was expecting more flavour and a better mouthfeel from a beer most beer lovers in the UK have at least heard of, if not tried.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, slightly hazy, slow bubbling orange-copper coloring that has a thin, filmy, white head of very low profile. Aromas are very well blended, with a caramel malt presence and roasted characteristics. Flavors showcase a more tangy malt presence, with a good hops bitterness to balance from the background. The roasty character and the peppery spices from the hops are great accents to the malty backbone of the beer. Smooth bodied, with a crispness to the finish from the hops. The aftertaste is a good blend of the malt sweetness and the roasty notes. Very well balanced beer, and insanely easy to drink.

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

Pours a dark amber with a tan head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is mostly of malt- fairly light, and pleasing.

The taste is balanced, a little spicy, followed by some hop bitterness, followed by a lager aftertaste and some malt on the finish. Very bready tasting.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and fairly highly carbonated.

Quite drinkable- has enough interesting flavors to hold your interest, but also is crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear beer that is a deep bronze color.

Smell is mostly of hop perfume. There is also malt, grain and toffee smells here.

Taste is of malt balanced by hops, it is a little sweet but then the hops dry the flavor out without being bitter. Mild caramel and citrus are in here. Many ghostly flavors to this, you taste it and then it changes or hides. Succeeds in being flavorful without being harsh in any respect, an excellent brew to convert the Budweiser drinkers of the world.

Mouthfeel is solid.

Super drinkable, mild yet flavorful.

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

A: poured a golden orange with yellow highlights that had a half finger of head and left great sticky lacing on the glass.

S: there was a big sweet caramel malt aroma along with various grains very slight citrus, and hints of wheat as well.

T: like the nose the sweet caramel malt was also dominate on the palate but the grains meshed really well with the malts and did add some depth. As far as the citrus it was very mild but did add a little bitterness along side the hops that were very faint.

M: the brew was medium body with a fair amount of carbonation that had a sweet malt crisp and creamy finish.

D: it drank very good and went well with cajun calamari and some cajun gumbo; pretty decent.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to small pint glass.

A - Translucent light amber colour with a yellow glow and a very small amount of bubbly off-white head.

S - Crisp hops and bready malts in a seemingly good balance. Clean and crisp.

T - Bitter crisp hop bite up front, followed by bready malts and then the crisp hop flavour returns in the finish. A slight sweetness is present throughout, which compliments the hops nicely.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

D - A very drinkable beer that would be as well suited for a hot summer day as it would a cool fall evening.

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

Copper tinted gold with the a very toasty complexion. Despite a deep set haze the beer is transparent, dotted only with steady paced streams of ascending carbonation. Its topping is thick and creamy, persistent and adhering. Its markings appear like some ancient scripture.

Steam beer (or 'California Common' as other examples must legally be referred as) is slightly more distinctive than other styles of standard ales. It smells no more exciting but it's an aroma specific to the style. It's a very earthy, pungently hoppy smell with an unexpected lack of caramel given the deep hue in its colour.

The flavour also makes explicit that you aren't drinking a typical ale. It's distinctive without anything obviously distinct about it. The flavour is quite toasty. I taste a bit of toffee and light apple. The character is quite grainy and dry. The hops again have a pronounced character and linger along with the crisp malty flavor.

This method of fermentation uses a significant strain of lager yeast, one that developed over the years in the cool, ambient temperatures of the San Francisco Bay area. It's a lager yeast fermented at typically ale temperatures - no wonder the beer is so distinctive!

The most common explanation for where Anchor Steam took its name is said to come from the steam that would rise from the large, shallow open 'coolships' that were traditionally used in the American West before the introduction of refrigeration.

San Fransisco is an amazing place. It's home to a founding brewery of the American craft beer movement as well as one of the world's most reputable and highly revered beer bars. If you do visit the city (which you should) and wish to visit the Anchor brewery (which you should) than I recommend that you make reservations way ahead of time; it's a popular spot.

I'm not sure if Americans cherish Anchor Brewing as much as I do. I am certain, however, that I can't be speaking solely for myself when I say that finding Anchor beer on the shelves was one of the pivotal turning points in my beer drinking life.

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Photo of weeare138
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I've never reviewed this. This is the one that started the craft brew craze many, many years ago...
On tap at Maggiano's KOP.
Appears a copper toned gold with a small, fizzy white head that slowly fades into a gentle floating cap.
Smell is of caramel, floral citrus, with a touch of biscuit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a balanced flavor of caramel and light hops the meld together nicely.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly carbonated, balanced, a tiny bit sweet, and very drinkable.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all time favorites. One of the first micro's I bought in CA. Pours a nice golden/amber color with a nice head, but does not last long, very light lacing if any at all. Nice malty scent with a great light taste. I really enjoy this beer, very drinkable.

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

Thanks to my girlfriend for bringing this back from the States for me.

Nice dark orange, tending-to-amber body with a tightly packed head of off-white foam. Lots of streaming carbonation. Excellent lacing. Nice looking beer.

Odd toffee characters on the nose, hints of grain bread and molasses. Even an odd tang reminiscent of sea-water. Or am I imagining that from the Anchor imagery?

On the palate, it's quite unlike anything I've tried. The taste profile's just warped. Light, frothy kind of bitterness first up, then a subtle, smooth, vaguely sweet honey character, and finally, a grassy fresh fragrant flavour. Finish is quite dry and with a residual pleasant bitterness. Really even a vague seafood character lurking at the back, which I swear I'm not making up, like fresh mussels or pipis. It's quite unlike anything I've had before, but it's the sort of beer I can imagine starting to crave after a while, just because it's so unique.

Really pleasant, very drinkable beer. It's the sort of beer that makes its way by pure quality, not by being something extreme. Next time I myself am in San Francisco I'll be picking up a couple more of these for sure...

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has been a while since I drank an Anchor Steam...I forgot how good it is! The color is a rich amber and clear. Decent white head that laced pretty well. There was not much to smell other than hints of malt and bread. The taste was good....definite malt base that was balanced neatly with hops. The beer had some body but was still light on the pallet. Mouthfeel was great...very easy to drink and had anice clean finish.

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Photo of John_M
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Detroit airport yesterday. Have had this beer many, many times... high time I reviewed it.

The beer pours the expected light amber brown color with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just a hint of malt and hops (it's been my experience that most airports tend to serve their beer excessively cold and with too much CO2, which I'm sure affects the aroma). On the palate, the famous anchor steam flavor. There is nothing else quite like it. The beer has a fascinating malty flavor, but with a huge presence of drying hoppiness. There is almost a peppery finish on the palate, and somehow this beer manages to taste a bit sweet and malty, yet dry and bitter, at the same time. Mouthfeel is pretty light, but the amount of flavor in this low abv. beer is nothing short of astounding.

Truly a classic. Nothing else quite like it. As excellent and intriguing today as it was 30 some years ago when I first tried it.

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Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Finley's in Huntington.

Poured a slightly hazy medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a subtle fruity hop and a soft sweetness.

The taste consisted of a balanced clean grainand grassy hop. Slight esters detected as well.

The mouthfeel was average for the style (it is the style).

Overall a tasty and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz picked up at the Boise Coop for about $1.45... shared with a buddy... poured into a tulip while grooving to Sasha Live at the Avalon and talking about beer and work.

Nice 3/4" off white head atop a very clear amber brew... lite lacing that dries to crusty bubbles.

Aroma is bunches of toasted and caramel malts melting perfectly into earthy hops... few other brews are like it... clean, no yeast esters at all.

This beer is dialed in... not really any way I can see to make it better tasting... toasted bread and lite caramel... clean bitterness and malts with a long lingering earthy undertow.

Anchor is always a goto beer when I can't decide what I want... I don't know what else to say except thanks to Fritz and Anchor for being revolutionaries.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Crystal clear orange amber. An average pour lead to ~2 fingers of super creamy head.

S - Light malt, touch of white bread. Fairly mild.

T - Bready caramel, French bead. Light, slightly waxy bitterness. Pleasant cumquat citrus character from the mid to the backend of the profile.

M - Refreshingly effervescent. Medium-light body. Bready sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. A refreshing beer with a great taste.

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

Poured a clear, light copper color with a nice tan head. Nose was moderately hoppy with some caramel in the background. Taste is malts and hops and sugary and bready too. Mouthfeel was lively though a bit thin. Drinkability was good but I dont see myself drinking to many of these at once. One and I am pretty much ready to move on.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,944 ratings.