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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,998 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 1,998 | Ratings: 5,795
Photo of connecticutpoet
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a nice amber color, slightly cloudy, with a low head when I poured it. A good looking brew.

The aroma was of slightly sweet malt, some woodiness, and some depth of hoppiness.

The taste did not disappoint. It was nicely bitter, which lasted long into the aftertaste. It also was smooth and rich. A little thin to the taste, though, so the mouthfeel was a little less than what I expected.

Still, a good beer and one to add to your tasting list when you can find it.

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

Slightly hazy copper color with firm, fluffy head which later broke into chunks and stuck to the glass, nice lacing. Malty smell, with earthy slightly nutty, uniquely woody undertones. Taste was very much like an amber lager with a hint of fruitiness, consistent with the beers' hybrid nature, very flavorful and complex. Hops were firm but in no way overbearing, nicely balanced. Very easy to drink many of these fine beers.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clean bronze gold color, and pretty much still in the glass, with a small head that fell to a thinner ring of cream and haze. Smell is light malts, flavorful but not too wild.

Taste was also flavorful caramel malts, with fruity apple notes. Clean finish, scant hops. The mouthfeel was the highlight for me, crisp yet firm soft bubbles.

This beer seemed highly drinkable to me, and great with the chicken gumbo I was eating.

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

Pours out a light copper with an off-white head. It built a good head readily, and eventually settled to about a 1/4 inch thick... still hasn't totally disappeared. Smells somewhat of sweet malt and fruity esters. Better smell than most beers I've reviewed so far. Tastes great! Immediate bitterness, balanced by smooth malt and fruity flavors. Finishes dry with a lingering bitterness...not too much, but enough to let you remember you've had a great beer. Mouthfeel also very good. Just enough carbonation to keep it light, but still feels substantial enough for my dark beer tastes. This is definitely a beer I can drink over and over again... a wonderful offering!

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me preface this review by saying that this is the first time I've tried this style, so my review may reflect a more subjective thought process.
A: Pours a nice amber color. Head was initially a big fluffy two inch deal. (I'm drinking it out of my fave beer glass, a Stella Artois glass I got at a bar). Head dissipated quickly, no lacing seen.
S: Heavy malty sweet aroma with some caramel hints. No hop aromas. Smell is quite unique and very pleasing.
T: Nice roasty malt taste right up front. There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear... This beer has a malty flavor I can recognize, but there's something else going on I don't know how to describe other than saying that it's damned tasty. Finish is a sharp sort of twang that doesn't last, there's virtually no aftertaste here.
M: Slick carbonation, medium bodied, with a nicely low ETOH level compared to some of the beers I've been drinking. Two of these won't have you giving your keys to a friend.
D&N: This a beer unlike any other. The taste is familiar, but with something extra that really makes this beer shine. I haven't finished a beer this quickly in a long time, but it's just so tasty that I "reviewed" it in about twenty minutes. Highly recommended.

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

earthy brown color of tree bark, with a tight foamy head that is just off-white and hangs around in the form of an ever-present collar. weak aroma of nutty grain and lemony hops. not much there. light to medium body builty on a foundation of steady CO2 bubbles. surprising sharp and earthy flavor that is completely new to me. this beer has a character all of its own, i keep thinking earthy in my mind, but not in a hoppy sense. this flavor dominates, which is followed by a salty/lemony hop bite that is actually quite assertive for a lager. easy to put away a few, once you become friends with the flavors going on here.

on of the boldest lager beers i can think of, unique and full of character. i don't know if i'd always reach for this first, but i think it will always stick out in my mind. another winning original.

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

I do like this beer - but I only get it when I cannot get their Liberty Ale. So I usually find myself drinking it while wishing I had a Liberty, which tends to lessen my opinion of this beer. I should really appreciate what it has to offer:

Nice rich color with a moderate head, a complex taste that says "this is beer, and good beer too". It doesn't try to be anything else other than a very good beer.

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Photo of Hunter
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've always liked the distinctive pot-bellied bottle, label, and blue cap.

Beer pours a nice tan head with good retention. Beer itself is a deep copperry color. Thin traces of carbonation throughout.

Sweet malt, light hops in the nose. As the beer warms it seems to go through a brief phase if unpleasantness before settling into a much nicer hop/spice note.

Hops are more prevalent in the taste but not by much; malt still dominates here. Finishes nicely. And yes, you'll have another.

This is a good one for those new to the microbrew scene to cut their teeth on.

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

Pours with a medium-sized creamy head. Pretty good retention there. Some lacing here. The body is a very nice copper color.

The smell is pretty simple to my nose. It's a nice, medium-toasty malty smell. I'm having a tought time getting anything else from it but I like it just the same.

The taste at the beginning is actually a tiny bit sweet. In the middle the malt comes out and I catch some wheat in there too. The end brings some balancing bitterness. A very unique taste, indeed.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick in the body, thicker than you might expect from looking at it. The carbonation is lively but balanced. Smooth finish.

This is easily a good beer for sessions, whether hanging around outside or inside watching the game.

Overall this is a very solid beer and the availability is a very good thing if you're stuck somewhere you can't get much else.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Cactus in Newport News, VA. Came to me in a glass with a nice amber color, but not much head in sight due to its pouring is my guess. A nice clean aroma with malt sweetness and notes of citrus detectable. A light toasted malt flavor is accompanied by a sweet taste and a slight bitterness. Definatly a lot of lager charecteristics to this beer. A little too thin in the mouthfeel and a very smooth drink. It has a slightly unusal flavor the is complex enough to keep you interested and makes for a good summer brew.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hmm, good beer in the Congo. Anchor Steam poured an amber colour, with a big three finger head. After a few minutes, the head went away, just leaving a small amount of foam. Lacing coats the glass like a curtain. Very pleasant. Sweet smell of malt(vienna?), banana, citrus, hop, and more malt. Sweet tasting, with enough of a bite to be satisfying. Little overcarbonated mouthfeel, but that's forgivable. Highly drinkable. A good session beer, and my first beer of this style.

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

Anchor Steam Beer was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a clear and vibrant orange amber and was topped by an ample white head that left thick sheets of lacing. The nose was crisp yet bready sweet with notes of banana, complemented by a nice resiny/citrus hop bouquet. The taste opened with smooth bready-citrus malts, followed by a spicy-zippy grapefruity bitter transition to a citrus zesty banana-tinged spicy, moderately bittered finish. The body was a little too thin for the flavors and character of the beer, but otherwise was appropriate. Anchor steam was a satisfying and tasty beer, with some uniqueness to add to the interest.

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

I’ve had this one several times, but I am finally getting around to review it. It pours light copper in color with an off-white head. The aroma is malty with a light hop fruitiness, and a bit of spiciness. The flavor is light in malt and fruit. It is very smooth and easy drinking. It is a really enjoyable, clear beer. This is a beer I would come back to again and again.

Sampled 2/1/04

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Photo of marcellaproust
2.83/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, fluffly head that eventually dissipates into an assertive cloud cover. Amber colored. Smells like basic beer: that Budweiser, Miller, Pabst scent. Starts with a malty (no roast) blank creaminess and ends with plenty of hops. A conversation-enabling beer: pleasant enough to go unnoticed.

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Photo of jsolack
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazey copper color... nice fluffy off white head that sticks around while you drink the beer. Overall very nice.

Carmel and grains with light floral accents. Citrus is in there as well. It's a pretty complex smell. Very intriguing.

Very interesting flavor. Slightly bitter and sharp initially but once it leaves the tounge it becomes sweeter and milder. Tasty finish, mildly bitter. Very complex and very good.

Great mouthfeel... coats tounge well and carbonation level is about perfect. Fits the flavor of the beer perfectly.

This is a great beer. It's unusual flavor sets it apart from other beer. Very easy to drink... Overall it's great.

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Photo of jvajda
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Yellow and clearer than I expected. I could mistake this for any number of macros just based on it's appearance.
Smell: Subtle bitterness.
Taste: Very bitter in an unpleasant way. Tastes like it is way past it's prime. I did not like the taste of this beer. Maybe it was from and old keg, but I don't think this is likely based on previous reviews.
Mouthfeel: Pretty standard mouthfeel. Right amount of carbonation.
Drinkabilty: No thanks. This is worth sampling, but the old bitterness make it bad in my book. I will sample this again to make sure I didn't get a skunked one, but I maintain that this beer has a low drinkability.

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

I picked this beer up as part of a mixed-single arrangement from Riverside Beverage in Chattanooga. I’ve been wanting to try it a long time but the six-pack price in my area is intimidating if it’s something I’m not sure whether I’ll like it or not.

It pours out a slightly dark shade of translucent amber-orange. A meager head appears less than a fingers breadth after the pour. Small carbonation bubbles abound.

The smell is slightly fruity, and that dense sweet “lagerish” presence is there. A background smell of alcohol is present as well.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy yet slick and quaffable, which is the first thing I notice. The flavors interweave across my tongue. The malt flavor leads off, sweet and tangily bready. Sweet fruits flirt with my tastebuds as well, ripe plums, etc. A dry after taste is left and my mouth waters for more.

This beer is unique and it has a beautiful character. I definitely enjoy this brew a lot, the price is pretty steep in my area though. I will definitely have to have a craving for this beer in particular to shell out the $11 for a six pack when compared to many other brews that I enjoy as much. I definitely owe a lot of respect to the history of this beer for helping to kick off the craft beer movement in the U.S. I will definitely drink again.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden with a 3/4" light tan head, which fades fairly quickly but leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass. Not much of an aroma at all, but what is there smells "like beer"...slightly hoppy and slightly malty. It smells like what you remember beer smelling like as a child. As the beer hits your tongue, there is a slight hop bitterness. As you begin the swallow, the bitterness changes to a malt presence that is not sweet. The bitterness reappears for the aftertaste. This is a rather strange blend. It is not my favorit beer, but it is very satisfying in warm weather and also when served with just about any meal. It is very drinkable.

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

This beer is a legend for a reason. Truly unique, Anchor Steam Beer monopolizes the California common beer style.

Crystal clear, rich amber, with a moderate head, Anchor Steam presents a fist class appearance.

The drinker is met by a big aroma of toasty (*toasty,* not sweet) malt. This toasty malt character is also very substantial in the taste. This beer screams malt. Delightful, toasty, dry malt. No sweetness needed here. The moderate hopping is in perfect balance. The highly aggressive ale-like taste profile diffeers slightly from that of an ale because of the lager yeast. This manifest somewhat in a slight tartness and the "shape" of the taste.

Anchor Steam is fully deserving of its reverence.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.
I must admit, this is not the first time I've tried this beer. The first taste I had was when I first started getting into better beer, I personally didn't like it at all whatsoever. It had a very strange aftertaste. This time is different.
Poured a nice deep honey color with a small thick white head.
Smells of grains and slight caramel notes. There is some hops in the nose, but nothing overpowering.
Taste is sweet, caramel, but not overwhelming. The graininess and hops balanace out this brew nicely. This brew is bitter, but not at all overwhelming. The malt character is astounding and I could not ask for a better balance between the two.
This is like no other beer I have tried. An excelent brew.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler, this honey amber brew grew a bubbly white head. The grain aroma, with it's subtle yeast accent, was inviting. The rolling malt flavors started grainy but became sweet and syrupy, only to lead to a crisp finish. The hop spicing provides some interesting counter point, and makes the brew an excellent pair with a bowl of chilli. The mouth feel is fair, at times a little too syrupy, but otherwise this is a drinkable beer that will likely return to my fridge.

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

Appearance: A nice honey amber with an excellent rocky white head; nice retention to boot. Some lacing, and active, but short-lived carbonation.

Smell: Sweet syrupy malt comes through, with apple yeast and a bit of hop spice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Uniquely steam. Very malty body with a strong, bready yeast flavor on top. Hops blend to create a somewhat perfumed fruitcake taste--you'll know it's Anchor Steam. Anchor's mouthfeel is, not surprisingly, a bit syrupy and creamy, though medium bodied. The finish is slightly bitter and drying. The carbonation is big and rough, but it settles quickly.

Drinkability: It's a good beer, but I'd prefer something a bit more focused and crisp. Still, it's easy to drink and quite tasty.

This is an American classic. The somewhat unusual, non-genre specific flavor might not appeal to all, but it's a well-made, enjoyable brew.

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Photo of palma
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber body with a creamy long lasting tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, brown sugar, and floral with an enticing hoppiness. Taste is caramel malt and some spiced hops. Earthy flavor comes through strong but it's not overpowering. Nice lingering grainy aftertaste. Carbonation a little high. This brew went down surprisingly easy. I would love to try this one on tap. This is a step above their Liberty Ale in my opinion.

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

Had this on draft in a very nice Las Vegas casino, and found it very pleasing. Had it on bottle the next day, and found the draft to be a step above.

Ruby red, with nice carbonation, and a decent head. The lacing was thick, and hung around 'til the very end.

Smells hoppy, but tastes malty. Very smooth, with what seems like a couple different malty flavors very nicely blended together.

Very smooth and a little creamy. Good stuff to drink, I could drink it on tap all day, but from the bottle it benefits from a bit of a chill.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a staple in Northern California, and a beer I can remember people drinking around me since my early years. Pours a gorgeous copper/amber color with an average, fizzy off-white head and some solid, sticky lacing. The aroma is strong and sweet with some green hops tang underneath and a note that reminds me of banana...though this is not nearly as bizarre as it sounds, and in fact imparts yet another distinctive aspect to an already unique brew. The taste is likewise singular. I get a big maltiness in the beginning that is masterfully balanced with a healthy dose of grassy hops that keeps the brew on the bitter side. The finish is citrusy and slightly minerally, with a hint of the same exotic banana note that is hinted at in the nose. The mouthfeel is good and chewy but refreshing as well. Drinkability is practically unparalleled. This is a must try and a true American icon of a brew.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,998 ratings.