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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

4,911 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,911
Reviews: 1,865
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 132
Gots: 420 | FT: 1
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,911 | Reviews: 1,865 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Holland
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear orangish amber color with a one finger head. Full of fizz, this keeps its head for a while, but the bubbles are gigantic and leave a froth.

S: smells of malt, alcohol, slight fruity or sourness. I'm put off a bit by the alcohol, especially at less than 5% ABV.

T: tastes of malt, fruity/sourness, some bitterness. Interesting and more complex than I had figured.

M: smoother than the carbonation level indicates, but it does have a crisp feeling for a while. Nice feeling, great summer beer.

O: cool style, I've never had it before. I love a complex lager, and the yeast gives some itneresting flavor. This is available all over and fairly delicious - recommended as a gateway beer at the very least.

Holland, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of Flux
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

straight from fridge, poured into a pint glass.

A- Deep amber with no haze. White foamy head that eventually dissipates but lacing persists.

S- caramel malts and hops. Toasty. Mild bread smell.

T- Sweet malts are upfront and the bittering hops come through at the end. Notes of bread crust is detectable.

M- Medium to high carbonation, full bodied but still makes for an easy session beer.

Overall a really great flavorful beer. Don't have too much experience with a California Common style beer but this seems to really fit the bill.

Flux, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of devinoconnor
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Anchor... 3/3 in my book. Being a huge fan of their porter and Humming Ale, I was very excited to try the Stream right where it's made: San Francisco.

Pours a bright, sunny orange with a nice foamy head. Smell is malts and citrus. Well-balanced, very easy drinking beer which is perfect for the warmer months.

Def a good choice.

devinoconnor, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Dmbhawker
4.9/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Apperance-copper/amberish very clear and clean. Creamy head that lasts
Aroma-malty, raisins, sweet.
Taste-malty, sweet, toasty, caramelly, hop bitterness comes through after you swallow,
Mouthfeel-smooth mild carbonation
Overall- first tasting of this style, will definitely drink some more!


Dmbhawker, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of homebrew311
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a medium amber with a dense creamy 1 finger head, great head retention, very clear

S: rich caramel, bread, grain, a touch of honey come through. Very malty on the nose, smells nice.

T: taste starts out somewhat sweet, notes of raisin and caramel to start, this works up to a slight hop bitterness on the finish. Nice and full flavored.

MF: high carbonation, refreshing

O: this is a highly drinkable brew that I often overlook. It is full over flavor and has a nice refreshing balance.

homebrew311, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright…I’m not quite sure what a California Common is, but I know that Anchor Steam is the model for the style. The label says “deep amber color, thick creamy head, and rich flavor,” so I feel like this is something I’d enjoy – I like all of those things!

A: Awesome shine; deep amber is right. And the head really is thick and creamy – there’s sticky white lacing everywhere. So far, their assessment of the beer is accurate. Let’s check out this nose…

S: It’s bright, that’s for sure; mostly in a light macro-wheat taste. Sort of skunky, with just a hint of natural fruitiness. There’s some creamy malts there, too, coming off in a sugary amber way; banana, baked breads, and a bit of cinnamon-sugar. Pretty mild; pretty average.

T: Upon first taste, it comes off as yet another macro-lager: lacklust wheats and yeast. It’s definitely growing on me after a few sips in, though. The hops start to come out, thankfully, with a lemony tang – not as big as a pale ale, but good and bitter. Malts and yeast are like the nose: banana bread and the slightest hint of dark sugars. Aftertaste is bready, showing some slight smoked bitters. A balanced, decently interesting palate.

M: Very light – the body’s gone as soon as you let it sit for a second. Smooth, and just a tad bubbly.

O: A unique American lager. I’m really glad to see our country representing in the lager game, especially with a style all our own. Lager doesn’t mean “boring beer;” in fact, some of my absolute favorite beers are lagers (mostly German, though). Nice going, Anchor Steam – gotta love good beer with good history.

BarryMFBurton, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of blakelive784
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass:

A - Pours a tawny/burnt orange color with a creamy 3 finger head. Retention is solid and there's a fair amount of lacing.

S - Citrus hops balanced by a sweet, clean malty aroma. Quite mild.

T - Rather muddy. Tangy citrus notes and subtle bread notes. Disappointing, really.

M - Dry and highly carbonated. Doesn't do any flavors justice either.

D - As the prototype common/steam beer, I was pretty disappointed. Not a bad beer, but not what I was expecting.

blakelive784, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of hmf05
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear deep gold color with a three finger pillowy head. There are tons and tons of tiny bubbles rising to the top. Looks very nice in the glass. Smells of caramel, toasted malt, and grassy hops. Nothing wildly complex, but it smells good. The taste is mostly toasty and caramel malts. It finishes with pleasant grassy hops. Mouthfeel is light to medium and the carbonation is pretty high. This is one hell of a drinkable beer. Overall, incredible for the style. Light and refreshing, yet still maintains a rich flavor throughout. Highly recommended.

hmf05, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of EmperorBevis
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is what first brought my attention to American craft beer and my first purchase of said, I'm always on the look out for Anchor beer now :D

The bottle is a real beauty and pours out a crisp looking beer of golden hue with a lovely head.

The taste is near perfect with a hoppy bite and malty finish
it the kind of taste that you probably would put into a taste dictionary under beer, does that make sense lol.

Effortlessly drinkable yet hugely tasty and always welcome

EmperorBevis, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of cjacobsen
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(A) Pours an evenly colored golden orange. Clear visibility and a great foamy head. Leaves adequate lacing. Diminishes to a thin layer atop the brew.

(S) Smells of sweet, lightly toasted malts. Has a good amount of citric fruits dominated by orange and lemon peel. Has that fresh acidic zest smell to it.

(T) A lot of orange peel and lemon zest along with some cereal and bread. The hops are present in the aftertaste and give a nice overtone to the decent malts that lay the foundation. Has a bit of sweetness with a hint of grapefruit and...ginger? A hint of ginger perhaps.

(M) Crisp, medium body. Slight bitterness and slight zest from the carbonation.

(O) I really like this beer a lot. Has a really good flavor profile and it's crisp and refreshing. Definitely a quality crafted brew that's been holding steady for a really long time.

cjacobsen, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of bnes09
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light copper and transparent lager. Lots of visible bubbles. Solid, fluffy head that sticks to the glass like cotton candy.

Fresh, crisp aroma. Semi fruity.

Sturdy malt forms the base with a smooth, bread-like character. Hint of rye. Reasonable amount of hops in the mix, providing a mildly bitter, herbal bite. Ginger? Smooth in the middle with a dry, crisp finish.

Lighter bodied with a crisp feel. Carbonation compliments the flavor perfectly.

This is some solid stuff. Highly refreshing and one of the most drinkable beers I have had in a while.

bnes09, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of GarrettMD
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear hazelnut brown hue with a lot of tiny bubbles rising. Thin layer of white frothy head that fades to a thinner layer of bubbles pretty quickly.

S - Sweet malts and fruity hops dominate the smell of this. Some nice spice as well. Some nice bready yeasts too.

T - Bready yeast/malts with some slight caramel flavoring and a nice kick of hops that I didn't quite expect. There's also a very nice nutty flavor as the beer warms. Fairly simple yet complex in a way I can't quite describe.

M - Thin to medium bodied, very crisp. Finish is that kick of bitter hops followed by a nice sweet aftertaste that stays around for quite a while.

O - I had never had a beer in this style before, and decided this was as good a beer as any to start on. I can see why it's been brewed for over 100 years.

GarrettMD, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of CircusBoy
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a rusty orange with a half inch fluffy white head which drops quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Aroma is grassy and malty

Taste is very malty and grainy with hints of hops and citrus .

Goes down smooth and well carbonated, could easily drink a few of these

Overall this is a good beer and is a great "go to". It is very unique, but tastes great, is priced well, and not hard to find.

CircusBoy, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of flyingpig
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An orange amber colour that is slightly darker in places & settles with a thin white, bubbly head with average retention.

Strong hop aroma with some nice herbal notes & a little spiciness too. The later part is similar but with more of a citrus & pine presence. Well balanced.

A lot a pine in the flavour that is blended together nicely with some good citrus flavours & just a hint of sweetness. Along with the initial bitter hops their is a background herbal & grassy hops taste & a semi bitter, hop infused semi-bitter one.

Very smooth to drink & highly drinkable as a direct result of this. The beer is a medium bodied one & the carbonation is about right for the type of beer.

Overall this one was great with a beautiful bitter hop flavour that was very well balanced & went down great. I imagine this would make an excellent session beer.

1001 Beers Blog:

flyingpig, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of shawnsmith1
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden amber into a tulip glass. 1/2" ivory head disappears quickly.

S: Estery. Up front pear, followed by candied orange peel. Pleasing and promising.

T: Rich bready malts on a backbone of hop bitterness which lingers well into the finish. Well balanced.

M: Medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Finishes long with a satisfying hop bitterness.

O: Well balanced and refreshing--an easy session beer.

shawnsmith1, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of dansmcd
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky amber topped by a creamy one finger of white head. Curls of lacing follow.

S - Wheat, berries, honey.

T - Nice balance of barley malt at the front with the hop bitterness at the back end. Smooth and very tasty.

M - Smooth, medium body and just the right carbonation.

O - Yep, it's a classic. Rich in flavour, handsome, sessionable, affordable. Great beer.

dansmcd, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from two 12oz bottles into my Moonlight shaped pint glass.

Brilliantly clear safety orange liquid is capped by a half finger of active seashell foam, fed by a fury of rising micro-bubbles. Decent lacing and retention.

Faintly sweet caramel notes in the nose along with lightly toasted pale malt. Herbal notes hint at sage and wet wood.

Malty palate entry with a grassy hop note for contrast. Grainy/tangy finish vaguely suggesting triticale, oats, with hints of bitter melon. Clean and medium-dry overall. Lager-ish...

Light-bodied, well carbonated, and just slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Defines the style, so rating to style is almost redundant. Uniquely crafted session-able ale that immediately brings to mind foggy Summer mornings in The City. Not often craved, but when I'm in the mood for it, little else will do.

augustgarage, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of RoamingGnome
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into my Cheers drinking mug. Let's watch some baseball.

A) A nice looking amber, maybe more of a light amber. There was about a quarter inch of off white head, which settled into spotty coverage, with some patchy lacing.

S) Malt, light hops, a bit grassy/leafy.

T) Malt, some Ritz cracker, hops, some grass. A slightly bitter dry finish. Very nice....

M) This is crisp and clean. The body is medium/light, with decent carbonation. This is smooth and has a good finish.

O) Haven't had this in a while, and I have to say, this is a highly enjoyable brew, that is plenty easy to drink. I can see why this is an old reliable for many a craft beer drinker.

RoamingGnome, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of jale
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear tawny with a finger of off-white head.

S: Roasted malt and light hops. A hint of fruitiness.

T: Light malt, fruity esters and mild hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Heavier side of medium body with good carbonation.

O: Not my favorite style of beer, but a well done beer.

jale, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of CoalPorter
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes - hadn't had one in a while.

A - Bright copper color with golden undertones, thick creamy off white head settles slowly leaving moderate lacing

S - Subtle malt aromas suggest bread and caramel, but not too sweet

T - Initially clean and light malty flavors with a slight sweetness. Moving into a bitter to dry middle and finish with quinine notes

M - bright and clean, medium feel from the steady carbonation

O - Very drinkable old standby

CoalPorter, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of chefelf
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hadn't had this beer in over ten years. Recently I was watching Michael Jackson's show "The Beer Hunter" and in an episode he goes to Anchor's brewery and meets the former owner. After hearing him speak about the beer I had to give it another try.

It's better than I remember. There's a nice malt taste and light hop flavor, though not overly bitter.

This beer is often priced in the $13.50 range for a six pack in the NY area but if you do some looking you can find it for $11.99 some places. Kind of a lot but it's a more special beer than I remember.

chefelf, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of montecristo2
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A very drinkable offering from Anchor Steam-their signature beer that got them all started!

Pours a clear light amber color. Decent head, two fingers of thick bubbles. Head dissipates pretty fast leaving nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is faint- I get some malt/bread. Light citrus.

Taste is a nice blend of malt and hops-maltiness is a bit more pronounced, but the hop bite is there in the finish.

A great session beer-an awesome choice for a drinkable, solid beer that you can drink often or save for your own stash!


montecristo2, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of wnh
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a bright, crisp golden copper with a thick, frothy and creamy white head.

Nose is gentle but nice, slightly citric and fruity hops on top of a light grainy malt base. A little earthy, almost cocoa powder character underneath. Sweet on the whole.

Suprising on the palate, with chocolate-covered oranges and an earthy, somewhat tannic dark fruit character. Fruit blend flavor includes a muddled earthy-but-tart raspberry note, and subtle lime. Finishes with a dry yeasty twang.

Fullish in body, quite well carbonated, somewhat scrubbing. It's been perhaps four years since I first had Anchor Steam, and I had no real memory of this beer. A bit muddled on the whole. Certainly not bad, but I'm not a huge fan.

wnh, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of dmcbeerington
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is an overall good beer. The color, head and taste are higher than average. Not only that, the bottle itself is unique. The bottle is cute. This beer tastes a little sweet first, then a little straightly bitter taste late.

Color is darker than more pale amber which looks great. The bottle is dark brown. I think serious beer makers all use brown bottle.

Good head, though not really last long.

Good amount of carbonation; you really can taste it.

dmcbeerington, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip. Foggy orange pour with a quarter inch foam cover that settles to a steady thin surface film. Lacing is minimal.

Smell is faint spice, must, and yeast.

Skinned fleshy apples with a moderate and pleasant hop bite and sweet floral kiss on the finish. Not overly complex, but really clean and rounded.

Medium bodies and very lush and creamy. The highlight of this beer for sure. A real pleasure to drink.

This beer just hit all the right buttons for me tonight. Having previously enjoyed this on many occasions, I have tended to overlook this as it's readily available in a world of the elusive hunt and desire to seek out more limited or exciting beers. Not really overly complicated or vivid, but really well executed.

BarrytheBear, Aug 27, 2011
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 4,911 ratings.