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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

1,932 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,932
Hads: 5,515
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 185
Gots: 931 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,932 | Hads: 5,515
Photo of SWOhio-aquifer
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure what category here to put this one in.

A classic. A little hearty at times. Could be served year round.

My brother in law had at his wedding on draft. That kind of beer that is micro but still a crowd pleaser.

Get it fresh, like most brews and I bet you won't be sad.

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Photo of KensWorld
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

An old friend, I first had this back in the 1980's and it was one of my first craft beers. I remember it being very strong, full bodied and hard to drink. Wow has my pallet evolved. It's now a medium body easy drinker. This is a true classic beer that all BAers should try it least once. 4.50

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Photo of Catracho5
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark orange, honey color with a nice creamy white head, lots of tiny bubbles, some lacing, lots of carbonation, clear, looks pretty good.

A: Lots of malts, bread, biscuits, picking up some honey, slight floral hop notes at the end, no alcohol.

T: First impression, very smooth and easy drinking, malts, bread notes, slight honey, some spiciness in the middle, finishes dry with a strong lager flavor.

M: Medium bodied beer, very smooth and easy drinking on the palate.

O: This is very good, very drinkable, lots of flavors for such a small beer, some complexity, very balanced, going to have to pick this up again.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: [3.50] Dark honey colored beer. The beer pours out with a nice full finger of white head. I can't find an ABV listing. The date is "5UP" (which magically translates to born on 6/15/15)

S: [3.50] Prominent "lager" type scents. Breadiness. Biscuit. Caramalized sugars.

T: [3.50] My first instinct was Belgian yeast (for the first several sips) but that was gone so fast that it almost didn't seem real. After that if follows the nose. Bready flavors with some malt backbone sweetness. I still get hints of some spiciness from the yeast.

M: [3.25] Tingly carbonation. Decent body to back it up.

O: [3.25] This is nothing to write home about. It is a solid beer. Tastes like a traditional lager with maybe a tiny curve ball with the yeast. It is drinkable and repeatable. But also forgettable.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber in color with a fingernail of eggshell white. I small light malt with a slight marzipan note. To taste light malt, marzipan, and faint citrus. The mouth is light, crisp, and lightly salty.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle, no date. Coded 5UI. Threshold beer glass.

S: sour hoppiness. I recognize the familiar smell of Northern brewer hops. Nice toasty maltiness.

A: pours a deep clear amber with 1 finger pillowy khaki head. Ample carbonation, excellent retention. Excellent lacing.

T: toasty, malty arrival. Not really any sweetness to speak of. Malty middle turns slightly sour, then the firm woody, stemmy bitter back end of Northern Brewer hops. It's a very strong and distinctive hop, but it is not done in excessive quantities here.

M: lighter side of mid weight. Lots of carbonation. Very clean finish.

O: a great amber lager (style) beer with very firm bitter back end. In the dark old days before craft beer, I can see why this was so loved. Now it's A very good, well-made beer, but nothing to write home about. I'd buy it again occasionally. Probably among the best sub-5% beers ever.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into an English pub glass.

Enormous, thick and foamy head that forms into a majestic peak. Persists forever. Copper liquid with pristine clarity and robust carbonation. Looks flawless. 5

Smells very lager-like, swet and bready and caramel-like with a light floral-hopping. 4

Consistent flavor with the aroma. Caramel notes, breadiness, light honey, and then an earthy, grassy hop presence. 3.75

Starts off smooth and creamy and develops a bit of a spicy bite mid-palate to finish. Finishes with a light lingering finish, some bitterness and a semi-dry feel. 4

Good stuff. Difficult to distinguish between this and a German lager, other than this feels a bit more bitter.

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Photo of timfelix
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a balanced brew. Something that one can drink with or without food. Enough flavor to stand alone, but not so much to overwhelm you.
If there was only one beer and this was it, it would be a good choice

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Photo of codekiln
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful, large head, ruby color, clear, decent lace

Metallic, slightly sweet, a little sour (like a midwestern silo)

Balanced, not too hoppy; berry notes, gentle, deliciously bitter finish

Bubbly and smooth


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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My pops picked up a sixer of this and I decided to have a few. Harkening back to my old college days!! I used to have this on draft all the time when we went out. A real classic. Look is amber, head is fantastic and lingers long. Smell: Bready, sweet and a touch of bitterness. Roasted malts. Taste: I can't believe this beer is sub-5% alcohol. Tastes terrific for such an offering. Roasted and semisweet malts, a bit of toastiness, bitter hops at the finish. I appreciate this beer so much more now that I've been around the good-beer block. This one is a winner. Cheers to the real San Francisco treat.

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Photo of StevenMilligan
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Mahogany

S: English yeast, caramel malt, tinge OG fresh fruit

T: caramel malts, caramel malts, carmel malts! Then it's herbal dry hops for what I consider to be the best finish in any beer to date. It's drawn out, not bitter, not sweet, but not bland.

F: Typical lager carbonation here. Nothing noteworthy.

O: I love this beer. It's a bit simplistic maybe, but it's just a great heavy lager. Reminds me of pils with more flavor. I a shockingly bitter IPA and a complex coffee stout, but this...this is just a very tasty beer! I hope that makes sense. Give this brew a try. I think it hits all the marks for a steam/California common. Bonus, it has a great unique fermentation process!

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

355 ml bottle, Hort's bar, Bristol - Pours clear amber with a very large white foamy head which settles down after a while. Strong carbonation. Nice lacing. Smell - malts, yeasty. Taste - Malts predominate, caramel with a dry hopped bitter finish. Taste belies its lowish ABV. Certainly different and would see out again.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer under the fierce recommendation of my brother who loves this brew, because of the unique way that it is fermented in a shallow steam bath. It sports plenty of flavor yet a low 4.9% ABV.

Look-This one pours a clear mahogany amber color with thick bubbles of carbonation clinging to the glass as the head settles from thick to a thin layer. It glints a reddish-orange in the light.

Smell-The smell is simple yet satisfying. I smell English yeast and malts as well as a hint of grape skins at the end.

Taste-It’s heavier than a pilsner and richer than a lager. I can taste some West coast style hops amidst the malt-forward components of this beer. It has a rich biscuit taste with a dry hopped finish, but is not bitter. The caramel malts run rampant until the hops build on the tongue. There is a slight sweetness that is perfectly balanced by a tinge of hops.

Mouthfeel-It is a medium/light bodied brew, ample carbonation, and with a lingering toasty or oily aftertaste.

Overall- It is a very pleasant and unique beer that I was glad to try. It drinks like a 6% brew, but has a variety of attributes that are unlike most beers. Cheers!

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with fluffy white head that dissipates quickly to a thin cap. Smells of steely noble hops layered over cereal malt. Taste is again of steely/grassy noble hops, bitter up front and the bitterness lingers. Slight sweetness with taste of toast. Overall very tasty, and much more bitter than I remember it.

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Photo of DerAtomsmasher
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A nice reddish orange in the glass. A nice head was evident in just pulling the cap off.

The nose is one of a familiar Anchor quality; West Coast hops with an all-malt grain bill.

A nice dry, easy drinking (sort of) lager that leans ever so slightly biscuity with a hop dryness.

A little heavier than a pilsner.

A great argument for a brewer's flagship beer being a solidly crafted lager and not a suped-up hop monster.

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Photo of Svingjo
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a clear bronze with a thin beige head that dissipates very quickly leaving a thin ring of small bubbles around the glass. The nose leads with a caramel maltiness and earthy hop notes. The taste leads with a sweet malt, toasted bread and an earthy pine bitterness that coats your mouth. The carbonation is very active but doesn't really cut through the coating of bitterness. Enjoyed the malty flavour but thought that the high carbonation was too distracting. Just not my thing I guess.

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Photo of Dikfour
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Three fingers of tan head has some nice sticking power. Beer is slightly hazy and amber in color. Super active carbonation. Light lacing.

Smell: Caramel and bread malts. Slight hint of sea salt. Fruity ester at the end.

Taste: Much more salt than was originally on the nose. Light noble hop bitter finish. Pretty interesting balance between sweet, salty, and bitter.

Feel: Kinda watery. Fun carbonation. Crisp and clean.

Overall: Gets all fives from me as it is a tent-pole of a brewing style. This is what all other Cali Commons are based on. That being said, it is a really great beer. Sure it's essentially a lager, but this more complex than most lagers I've had and it is very well balanced. Best enjoyed overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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Photo of Kelz87
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From bomber into pub pint, not my typical style of beer, but figured I'd give it a shot due to the big name/heritage.

A- pours a clear dark red/ copper color with about a 2 finger head that quickly dissipated leaving some good lacing.

S- nice sweet bready aroma, maybe some caramel malts and few fruity notes

T- very smooth malty taste, not overly sweet which I hate in my beers and not very bitter, a very good balance actually. Bread and some caramel seem to be the main flavor here. Bitterness seems to increase as the beer warms up

M- average to high carbo, medium mouthfeel, leaving a mild burn feeling

O- I grabbed this beer thinking I wasn't going to like it, but it's actually a very solid beer, seems like a great Bbq or just drinking beer with your non-craft friends. Not my usual IPA that I would pick, but just a smooth easy drinking beer.

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Photo of ARoman
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into a shaker. The aroma is a honey and grains combination with a bit of a dry, grassy herb. It's aroma is mellow overall. It pours amber and clear with white fuzzy head that has light medium lace moderate retention. The taste is a medium bitter and light, dry sweet. The texture is thin with a fizzy carbonation and light body. The taste is a light berry and honey with a pronounced grain taste, the finish is clean with a mellow, bitter citrus and a light bread touch that carries to the aftertaste.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a pale amber with a fluffy, flimsy head. The aroma is classic malt sweetness with a touch of tropical fruit and and little earthy quality. The mildly bitter tropical hop flavor is present at the start of the sip, supported by a semi-sweet malt backbone. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. This is a classic beer. I often pass it over in the store, but I should give it more attention. Great in all seasons, awesome with a wide variety of dishes, this is a pure, everyday table beer.

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Photo of JOldewurtel
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It really is a beautiful looking beer. For me tho, that's all that really stands out. I'm not seeing a best by date, but there may be a chance it's an older bottle. At least I hope so, because it really wasn't all that good.

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Photo of lastmango
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Deep amber fluffy white 2 finger head that dissipated to a half finger and stayed awhile. Moderate lacing. Nose was a bit of biscuit malt and a hint of honey. Tastes of just a hint of malt and finishes with a surprisingly strong hop kick. This is more like an IPA to my uneducated palate. The beer has a nice clean feel. This is a good beer but a bit to hoppy for me.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Some light biscuit malts a very small tad of grain and a slight herbal/floral hop. Sweet bready/biscuit malts with an herbal/floral hop. It definitely seems like an old fashioned beer for lack of a better way to put it because it does have a bit of that grainy malt flavor but the richness of the malt and hop character definitely put it above your average macro. As the beer warms the biscuit sweet malt comes out and reminds me of a samuel adams lager. Very drinkable and a full body for only a 4.9 percent. Definitely an artfully crafted beer.

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Photo of DaverCS
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours Amber in color with 1/2 finger of quick dissipating head.

Nose smells like a classic lager but with a bit more malt and some roasty notes.

Taste is unique. Starts like a pilsner with a breadiness, hay, slight iron note, and lemony citrus. Then the malt kicks in with some sweetness and a slight earthiness. Additionally it has only a mild amount of carbonation, less than normal for a pilsner but slightly above or equal to an amber ale.

Overall slightly strange combination. It's like a light amber ale or malty pilsner, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I'm slightly puzzled about this beer. I see it pairing well with San Fran oysters with mignonette sauce. It gets a 74/100.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: clear amber body under a few fingers of tan foam; soft fluffy cap persisted throughout

S: something fruity, malty bread notes, suggestions of spice and maybe soft brown bread

T: fuller tasting than I expected, bringing breads with caramel and spice, dark fruits and toasted breads; just enough hop and bitterness to keep it lean

F: medium-light weight, ample carbonation, smooth, like shellac; light toasty aftertaste

O: delicious beer, very satisfying - a must try.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,932 ratings.