Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,964 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,964
Hads: 5,655
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 196
Gots: 1,020 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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 (30) | 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: 1,964 | Hads: 5,655
Photo of tekstr1der
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jeez, took me about 20 years to revisit this. Great looking pour of chill-hazed copper with thin, though dense head. Aromas are excellent bready malt and caramel with a faint alcohol. All very complementary. Flavors are similar, thought the sweetness anticipated is subdued, and a clean/dry finish ensues. Slightly rough mouth-feel, but otherwise a winner. Wish I had more than one.

 382 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; best before Sept 2017. Listed at 4.8% and served barely chilled.

Pours a gorgeous, clear copper-amber colour, throwing up nearly an inch of fluffy, bone white-coloured head that displays superb retention. It gradually dissipates into a thick, creamy cap, leaving behind a curtain of lacing as it crawls downward over the next ten minutes or so. Very visually impressive, but the aroma keeps things in perspective for me. It smells clean, but straightforward - some bready, doughy malt sweetness, with a touch of caramelized sugar, earthy silage and fruit skins - I'm leaning toward apple and white grape, but the fruity facets of the nose are fairly ambiguous in stripe.

The flavour profile follows in the footsteps of the aroma - it is nowhere near complex, but you can tell that quality ingredients went into its making. Clean, bready barley malt sweetness is the name of the game for the first half of the sip, followed by a hint of caramel/honey sweetness and some additional ambiguous orchard fruit esters. It gets earthier toward the back end as the hops begin to strut their stuff, including wet hay mixed in with some floral notes. Bittersweet in the aftertaste; emphasis leaning towards the bitter, but still quite well-balanced overall. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation that offers up a restrained bite. Super-quaffable; rarely have I classified something as a "session beer" with more enthusiasm.

Final Grade: 4.22, an A-. Anchor Steam is a solid little brew, and one which the bulk of beer drinkers should find to be highly approachable. Indeed, it's not difficult to understand how this time-tested recipe has remained popular over the years - it is downright tasty and perfectly balanced. While there is certainly no shortage of more exciting styles to explore these days, well-brewed classics such as this will always manage to retain the business of consumers who appreciate a quality session beer. The quintessential steam beer, and totally a must-try.

 2,034 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, dated 5LO. I've only had this a couple of times and it has to be 6 or 7 years since I had it last. A friend of mine asked me to pick some up for him, so I got some for myself as well.
A - brilliant amber colored body with a frothy off-white head that holds excellent retention leaving thick lacing on the glass as it slowly fades down
S - very earthy; pale malt, and yeast in the nose as well
T - yeast, pale malt, earthy & spicy hops,
M - medium body, very creamy and smooth, finishes dry with moderate bitterness
O - an American classic, but I've never been that crazy over it. Good to come back to, but I bet it will be a long while before I come back to it again.

 681 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rusty orange with a khaki head and nice lacing rings on the glass. Notes of subtle toffee, sweet grain, pepper, and mild fruit. Creamy after a nice carbonation bite and slightly drying leaving a light lingering bitterness. Good beer here, nothing ground breaking but well done.

 280 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fresh bottle served in a pint glass.

Nice pale gold color with a 1 finger white head. Very clear. Bready malts in the nose with some hop character. Taste follows the nose but with some sweetness. A very refreshing brew. Delicious.

 232 characters

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.

 284 characters

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

 292 characters

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.

 676 characters

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.

 811 characters

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.

 197 characters

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.

 886 characters

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.

 699 characters

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

 204 characters

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel--
Bubbly and smooth

Overall--
Thirst-quenching

 274 characters

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.

 618 characters

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!

 691 characters

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.

 321 characters

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!

 1,160 characters

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.

 326 characters

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.

 424 characters

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.

 502 characters

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.

 750 characters

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.

 858 characters

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.

 521 characters

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.

 499 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,964 ratings.