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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

4,101 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4101
Reviews: 1817
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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Photo of Serge

Alberta (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pretty darkish cobber amber with a medium creamy off white head. Lots of bubbles in the liquid. Aroma is malty, some barn and rye bread. Wonderful spritzy carbonation with lots of small bubbles. Flavor is sweet, caramel malty with a slight peppery bitterness. Nice and fresh - wonderful summer beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 03:14:09 | More by Serge
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 11/17/12

Appearance: Crystal clear, an amber/deep orange color - pours with an off-white head, leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Mild, as it should be for the style - light pale and caramel malts - undercooked biscuits and light bread - some lightly grassy hops in the distant background

Taste: Caramel malts - lightly malty, delicate, yet also deep - pale and caramel grains - lightly chewy, lightly sweet - some hints of spices - some light, citrusy hops to balance things out - mildly bitter - nicely balanced, nicely drinkable

Mouthfeel: Light, almost medium, nicely carbonated, highly quaffable

Overall: Pretty much the definition of classic

Fritz Maytag's purchase and subsequent revival of Anchor Brewing is considered by many to be the start of modern craft beer. I've been meaning to review this for a while. It's more than just a historical artifact. It's a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 06:38:18 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of BEERMILER12


4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Code on back reads 2SE, so bottled on September 5, 2012

A: Pours a golden amber color with 2 fingers worth of head

S: Definitely a huge hit of lager yeast, along with some nice fruitiness and pale malts

T: Follows the nose. Nice and fruity with a hint of bready malts and yeast

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Well, not much to say here. The original steam beer. A smooth, easy-going lager with good flavors and good drinkability. A classic, for sure

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 03:57:46 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of ElSid


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beers of California


Freshess Date: None

A: Orange copper with a good amount of visible carbonation which culminates to a finger of off white foam. The head sticks around for several moments leaving behind ample lace on the glass.

S: Mostly sugar, caramel malt breadiness with notes of earth, leafiness, and lemon zest.

T: Similar to the nose with caramel sweet malts up front. An earthy, herbal bitterness rides the initial sweetness offering balance to the initial sugary onslaught. Puckering lemon and a spicy, almost peppery finish.

M: Smooth and substantial with very active carbonation which really adds to the palate.

O: A unique and refreshing brew with wonderful flavors and high drinkability. A great brew for a sunny day. One of my go to session beers which pairs well with summer BBQ.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 02:22:04 | More by ElSid
Photo of isdash

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a lively head that disappears fast and doesn't lace. Smell's subtle and dry. Hop-dominant and burnt, yet crisp and subtle.

This is not a typical lager, but it's a very beer-y tasting beer, unique in its simplicity. Great session choice if you're in the mood for something dry that's not a hopmonster.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 22:06:10 | More by isdash
Photo of ThePaleRider


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with 2L3 stamped on the label.

A - Dark amber that pours with a thin head that disappears leaving no trace of head at all.

S - Nut brown smell. Skunky smell, reminds me of Newcastle, but not overpowering.

T - Heavy lager taste that is followed up by some brown ale flavor that is followed up by a little bit of skunk. Really reminds me of a Newcastle Brown Ale, but with much more flavor and body. Big drinkability for different palettes.

M - Smooth body that finishes a little tangy, leaving you wanting another drink. Nice carbonation.

O - Nice flavor and a great session beer. Nothing fancy, but decently priced. Probably a great party brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 06:04:33 | More by ThePaleRider
Photo of Guden


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- coppery with a bit of haze, and a thin layer of head that sticks around

S- lots of bready and caramel malt with a nice balancing earthy hops.

T- again caramel and earthy, minty hops balance each other along with a finish of minerals.

M- medium thin in body with low carbonation. Similar to an english bitter it works well with such a balanced beer.

O- a very nice beer that I put off trying for far too long. Not overly complex but nicely balanced and uniquely interesting.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 02:01:45 | More by Guden
Photo of wethorseblanket


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ SFO waitin for a jet airliner.

A: Pours a clear light copper with a quarter-inch white head which fades to the rim leaving some spotty lace.

N: Biscuit yeast, malts, caramel, fruity and floral.

T: Crisp, clean malty and fruity quality combine in an interesting way with yeast and hops. Getting some grainy and faint spices.

M: Semi-moderate body and carbonation. Somewhat dry and bitter finish.

O: Quite enjoyable classic style.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2012 00:44:32 | More by wethorseblanket
Photo of 57md


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

Pours a light copper with half a finger of head. The nose is distinctly caramelized malt notes. Malty, but it also has a dry white wine bitterness to it. Dry and mildly hoppy on the finish. The quintessential version of a truly unique American style.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 17:53:00 | More by 57md
Photo of Jsteez


3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It was poured into a dimpled mug.

A-Medium amber with a deep orange hue. Nice tan foamy head that didn't last longer than 2 minutes. A little lacing left on the glass. A thin head remained on the surface of the beer. Moderate carbonation.

S-I could smell caramel malt and trace barley hops. Not a lot in the nose, pretty basic.

T-Nice and crisp malt hoppiness up front with an undertone of caramel malt. The finish was dry with a bitter taste from the hops. Quite a sessionable beer to have any time of year.

M-It is on the lighter side with a crisp, clean feel. The amount of carbonation created a more satisfying journey.

Overall- I bought a couple of these from the store to enjoy after work. It feels good to have a lighter beer to enjoy during the early fall months. This is an above average brew that is worth a try. If you like English Bitters, then this brew is for you.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2012 14:00:18 | More by Jsteez
Photo of mscudder


4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug.

A - An orange-lager hue with a fluffy, two-finger head. Average retention and lacing.

S - Earthy hops, dominated by caramel malts and some floral notes.

T - Caramel malts start with one out with some smooth sweetness. Behind the malts, some floral hops surface, pair with some citrus. Some biscuit flavors linger throughout. This is not overly complex, yet is quite enjoyable.

M - A medium body with an almost pillow-esque mouthfeel. Carbonation is average, adding a nice way of keeping the beer together.

O - Low ABV, highly drinkable and perhaps one of my favorite lagers (or should I say steam beer!) that I move towards. Nothing to blow anyone's socks off, but for one looking for a well put together, upper-end brew, this is it.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2012 03:18:59 | More by mscudder
Photo of Fatehunter


3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint glass, clear copper to orange color. Frothy finger plus of head.
Lager yeast smell, borderline metallic.
Crisp and clean tasting. Dry bitter throughout. Some pear and green apple at the end.
Lighter body, moderate carbonation.
Interesting enough style, not my favorite though.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 00:50:43 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of jerbear3

Rhode Island

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: rich amber color with clean appearance. Solid head after pour.
S: smells delicious with floral hints and a caramel suttleness.
T: rich in flavor of toasted caramel with a hit of citrus notes.
M: moist on the pallet without a overpowering feel.
O: solid beer great for any occasion. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 18:48:55 | More by jerbear3
Photo of rickyleepotts


2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

We only have a few more of these "boring" beers in the fridge… and then it's time to go shopping! That is my favorite part, buying new bottles to have in the fridge. Gives me something to look forward to. I like to let Sheryl pick a number to determine the beer we are going to drink. Let me tell you… the beer selection process is pretty crazy!

Anyway, tonight we are drinking a bottle of Anchor Steam Beer from the Anchor Brewing Company. Until tonight, I didn't realize that Anchor owned the trademark on the word "steam". I wonder how that works… I wonder what it costs to buy a trademark. Maybe I should trademark the word "beer"… I'd make millions! Come on people, let's drink.

In the Glass: It has a nice copper color in the glass. It makes me think of those giant cider stills you see in breweries. I call them cider stills because I don't know the correct name for them… but they use them to make cider, I know that much. This beer also provides little head, and a weak lace.

Nose: The nose is pretty boring. Smells like a typical American lager, really. I wonder what makes this a "steam beer"… I mean, I know what makes it a steam beer, but I have never heard of this style before. Maybe because Anchor owns the trademark to the word "steam".

Flavor: The flavor is unexpected. It has some subtle sweetness to it, but then the malts really hit. In the tasting notes they call the mouthfeel "spritzy"… I call it carbonated. It's not overwhelming, though. Provides an easy drinking sensation that reminds me of a polished session beer.

Mouthfeel: There are a lot of bubbles going on here. Not too much, but enough that from my first drink I remember the carbonation.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste, what little aftertaste there is, has a certain malty sweetness to it. The tasting notes said it was lingering… but it's not. It's there and gone again. However, the sweetness stick around and begs for another sip.

Regardless of how they make this beer, I wouldn't consider buying this on a regular basis. I would simply grab a case on the way to the ballgame or pass it around in the parking lot while we tailgate. It's nothing to write home about. I will say, after sparking up a conversation with Anchor Brewing on Twitter, that their porter is one of the best porters on the market. But out of all the Anchor beers I have tried, most of them are middle of the road. Good thing they have that porter to keep me buying their product! Bottoms up, people.

Anchor Steam Beer - The bottle says: "Anchor Steam brand beer is virtually handmade with an exceptional respect for the ancient art of brewing. The deep amber color, thick creamy head, and the rich flavor all testify to our traditional brewing methods. Anchor Steam Beer derives its unusual name from the 19th century when "steam" seems to have been a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of American under primitive conditions and without ice. The word "steam" may have referred to the pressure of nature carbonation developing in the beers. Today the brewing methods of those days are a mystery, and for many decades Anchor alone has used the quaint name "steam" for its unique beer. Today Anchor is one of the smallest and most traditional breweries in the world. San Francisco's famous Anchor Steam brand beer is unique, for our brewing process has evolved over many decades and is like no other in the world."

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 04:54:16 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of mgironta

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body is a clear amber color with mild visible carbonation. The nose is really muted. And I mean muted to the point that I was sticking my face in the glass and couldn’t get much. I was really searching and got a slight hint of hops. The taste was boring at best. There was a crispness to it, which was the good part. Otherwise, I got some malt on it with a hint of hops. Wow this is just bland. It goes down easily but I think my qualm is more with the style. It’s just very boring to me. I could easily put a few back, but I really wouldn’t want to. Finish is quick and unremarkable. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2012 02:44:09 | More by mgironta
Photo of jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml bottle with a BB of July 2013. ABV is stated as 4.8%. Picked up some time back from the York Wine & Beer shop. I had this ages ago and remember enjoying it; the story of 19th century West coast brewing that underpins this beer is colourful.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep orange-amber hue with faint haze and light carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a surface layer. Aroma of caramel malt with earthy yeast esters and stewed hops. Faintly sweet. A hint of cardboard/sherry in the background, along with an alcoholic note.

Tastes of caramel malt with a dry finish. Notes of fruity, earthy yeast esters, stewed hops and a hint of solvent. Faint cardboard and sherry in the background. Dry, with a mild bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body. Could perhaps be a tad more carbonated. Aftertaste of caramel malt and stewed hops.

It's an OK beer, though not amazing. From the stale background notes I'm wondering if this is old, though it's well within date. Decent malt character with an unusual yeast presence (like an English ale). No aromatic hops to be discerned. Goes down easily enough but just isn't that interesting. I wanted to like this more - perhaps I'll have another, fresher one some time.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 21:33:04 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of iSip


3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam Beer: A dark honey color beer with a good head. Lots of malt throughout, and tempered by some bitterness in the finish. Wet and dry at the same time. The finish is definitely unique. Worth a try if you have never sampled a steam beer. Better than most beers you find on tap at your average well. Still, I was not wowed enough to make it part of my standard favorite rotation beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 14:15:23 | More by iSip
Photo of MadScientist

New York

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

A: A deep gold with excellent clarity. The creamy, low off-white head has a very decent retention period.

S: Moderate citrus hops aroma, mainly lemony and a peach and orange-like ester are prominent in the aroma. There is a light biscuty and toasted malt aroma i the background.

T: the flavor is dominated by a moderate hop bitterness and a citrus hops flavor which is again mainly lemon like. There is a decent support from a biscuit and toasty malt flavor with the balance being moderately toward the bitter side. The cirtus hops flavor and bitterness linger a little past the dry finish.

M: moderately-light bodied with moderate carbonation and a light astringency.

O: A crisp and refreshing, somewhat hoppy beer with a nice bit of fruity ester complexity.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 23:46:01 | More by MadScientist
Photo of FlyingBull


3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: About 1 finger of head, medium carbonation

S: Malty aroma with an underlying slight floral and fruity aroma

T: tastes malty and similar to a lager on the front end; slightly bitter finish.

M: medium bodied

O: I seem to remeber this as a much more flavorful hoppy beer. All in all, this was a very average beer, but I appreciate the backstory of steam beers/California common beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 22:33:26 | More by FlyingBull
Photo of B0BZ1LLA

3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: little to no head with a soda-like carbonation

S: floral and fruity aroma

T: tastes like a lager on the front end, and finishes up with a warm alcohol flavor

M: medium bodied

O: To me this is a very average beer, but I appreciate the backstory of steam beers/California common beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 00:03:29 | More by B0BZ1LLA
Photo of PorterLambic


4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arrives in my greedy little mitt a dark amber liquid with a creamy, tan head. I suspect the retention is good but since the table got bumped and the head got spilled... Good lacing, though.
Smell is a well-balanced malt and hop combo with sourdough and a nut note. Very nice.
Taste is exactly what you would expect from the smell, malt, slightly evergreen hop note,sourdough bread and nuts. Great balance.
Mostly full bodied, lightly effervescent, with a faint dryness to it. Drinks so much like my perception of an English pale ale with a lessened hop note. Good all around.

Serving type: on-tap

08-31-2012 23:35:12 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of curasowa

New York

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, copper color with one finger of off-white head and a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom. The head fades slowly to a thin cap with chunky lacing.

Aroma: Bready malt over faint citrus hops with some ripe fruit and lemon notes.

Taste: Creamy, bready malt up front, then thinning a bit in the middle with some mild, prickly bitterness and just a hint of sourness. Finish is fairly fast and clean with some faint residual bitterness.

The Rest: A true classic. Great balance, some subtle complexity and great drinkability make this an excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2012 00:58:05 | More by curasowa
Photo of hoppyhayashi

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is a beautiful, clear, light golden amber colour... the colour of liquid honey. It pours to create a 2 finger width off-white, foamy, fluffy head that dissipates slowly. Leaves a slight foamy lace.

S: slightly metallic, citrusy, hints of grapefruit.

T: Has an amazing taste... at first buttery, honey, fresh grapefruits and oranges, gingerbread. The best way to put it would be that this beer takes a taste intermission, because it takes a break before a mild hop flavour arrives at the end on the back palate.

M: Mouthfeel is really smooth, creamy, light bodied, with nice carbonation on the tip of the tongue. It dissipates evenly across the entire palate. Fills the whole mouth. Easy drinking beer.

O: Really pleasant, clean, quality beer. It's good for the summertime! Love the way it has two distinct taste intervals!

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 04:29:48 | More by hoppyhayashi
Photo of adevans

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - One finger head with very little lacing. The head was dense and the liquid was an amber brown.

S - Faint citrusy smell with a touch of butter.

T - Ripe citrus taste was balanced well with rich hops and left a slightly bitter aftertaste.

M - Very light mouthfeel with very little carbonation, which makes it quite refreshing.

O - Easy drinker that still satisfies the palate.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 13:16:10 | More by adevans
Photo of zeledonia


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Code 2YU, which I think means bottled 21 May 2012. Tasted 7 August 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a clear medium orange amber, bright and glossy-colored. Two fingers of yellowish head, dense and pillowy. It forms pocks and craters, gradually relaxing to a thick layer of foam. Nice lacing, too.

Smells like a malty lager, alright, with very buttery, lightly toasted malts. Biscuits with butter, that's what I smell.

Taste is, hmm, dully refreshing. There's just not much to it. Those biscuity malts are present here, but less rich, and emptier in a way. Drifts into a mildly bitter finish that's only tolerable for me. Meh.

Mouthfeel is fine. Light-medium body, plenty of carbonation, and a long-lasting, fairly dry finish.

My first foray into the style, so I'm not sure if I'm undervaluing it. But I'm not particularly impressed. It's not especially tasty, or refreshing, or anything, really.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2012 06:07:33 | More by zeledonia
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,101 ratings.