1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

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

4,480 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,480
Reviews: 1,836
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 119
Gots: 268 | 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)
View: Beers (23) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,480 | Reviews: 1,836 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tosshin


4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: crystal clear. amber. perfect fluffy white head
s: barley, slight citrus, earthy. makes me want to drink more of them! slight hint of caramel?
t: well balanced. caramelly malt and the perfect amount of hoppy bitterness at the end. I barely tasted the alcohol
m: medium body, slightly carbonated. really not much to say here
d: I have no idea what the ABV on this beer is, but I know that this is a beer that I wish was commonly on tap at my local bars!

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 00:02:43 | More by tosshin
Photo of cbutova


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

Pours a straight up amber color that is transparent and has a one-two finger head that is just between creamy and fizzy, head retains for a bit and leaves no lacing, the only weak part of the appearance. Smell is the weakest aspect of this beer though, weak smell, can pick up malts, some hops and a pretty solid lager smell, nothing special but not bad in the least. Taste is good, great malt backbone to this one with a finish of some hoppy bitterness, overall a great lagery solid flavor. Mouthfeel is medium and a bit creamy, coats the mouth with a good aftertaste that leaves you wanting more. Drinkability is huge here, could get a keg of this and be very very happy, doesn't fill you up and the taste seems like it would not fade away after many of these.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 21:50:36 | More by cbutova
Photo of Mistofminn


3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ordered at the Kitty Cat club, which has a nice beer list, but I went for something I hadn't had before.

Served in the bottle, I asked for a glass. I got a Tulip glass, and poured it in. Light transparent amber color with a lively carbonation and a white head. No lacing.

The nose is not much different from any macro I've had, but there is a stronger bitterness than those and just slightly more substance.

The taste isn't anything special, a light malt backbone and a light hop bitterness. Do I detect some derivative of citrus flavor?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't like over carbonated beers. This is one. I don't like the sharp Sprite-like bite in your through from too much carbonation. Drinkability is ok.

Not something I would order again, but glad I got a chance to try this legend of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 07:48:35 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of burnerfinger


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

: Appearance poured from the 12 oz into a clear mug. nice orange-amber color - firm looking head settled without too much lacing. carbonation bubbles can be seen thru the clear brew.

S: Smell - not much aroma here maybe just a hint of a clean scent, I really can't put a name to it.(does that imply good balance? maybe)

T: nicely balanced but severly understated. can't really define WHAT is going on here.
but then as the beer warms, the bitter hops taste really comes out front. not bad.

Mouthfeel - heavy carbonation - nice flavor that does not really scream out of any specific taste, but I like it nonetheless.

D: Very drinkable. At 4.9 it's got more than a bit of a punch, but the alcohol is well disguised. nice drinker here. (not me - the beer!)

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 01:39:43 | More by burnerfinger
Photo of MaxBrews


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz uniquely shaped anchor bottle

Appearance: Nice 2 finger head which dissipates into a very soapy lacing. Color is amber. The beer is clear and the bubbles would suggest it is full of carbonation. Lacing clings to glass wonderfully.

Smell: Big malt character can be smelled from affair, when your nose zooms in you also get citrusy and floral hop that combined with the malt create a fresh and clean aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: A big malty character balanced a very floral and dark fruit taste. A bit of a citrus twang from the hops, that allows for a slightly but dry finnish. A tiny bit of bitterness from the hops but nothing overwhelming. A medium body and is a very filling beer.

Drinkability: a good clean all rounded lager. Very drinkable, its a very malty beer but avoids tasting cereal. Provides a good contrast with Dark fruit & citrus flavors and aromas. One of the most flavorful lagers I've had.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 21:47:09 | More by MaxBrews
Photo of Crimefish22

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a golden/amber hue with about a two-finger eggshell colored head. The head quickly dissapates and there is very little lace retention.

S- Malty with a faint twinge of hops toward the end. Earthy but sweet, the malt dominates the nose.

T- Malt up front with a welcome bite of hops in the finish. Bready and balanced. A palate pleaser. It loses some flavor as it warms but not enough to hurt its rating.

M- Medium body with crisp carbonation. Very refreshing.

D- Easily sessionable, the drinkability is the most dangerous weapon in Anchor Steam's arsenal.

Tasty and refreshing, Anchor Steam is simply a versatile, sturdy craft beer. You could pair it with just about anything, in my opinion. I put it up against some meunster cheese and they got along like old friends.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2009 06:43:18 | More by Crimefish22
Photo of tone77


2.95/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1 1/2 inch head. Smell is, well there really is no smell. Taste a tad malty and fairly bitter, I bit to bitter for my taste. Feels medium bodied and bitter in the mouth. Drinkability is o.k. I suppose. Overall this is a fairly mediocre offering.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2009 23:06:59 | More by tone77
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a light amber color, decently carbonated, with a nice white head.

S: Some hint of citrus; very faint lemon/apricot, mixed with hoppiness.

T: Was looking for more citrus flavor to balance out the more-pronounced-than-expected hoppiness, but then again, this is California Common, not Pale Ale. A good representative of the style.

M: Decent carbonation; lighter body than expected.

D: If you can get past the flavor, the nicely carbonated body is such that you can certainly down a few.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2009 00:43:34 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of sweemzander


3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. No bottled date except for a mish-mash of letters and numbers.

(A)- Pours a clear orange-ish amber color with a billowy off-white head that is sticking to every inch of the glass! Superb retention.

(S)- Flowery lemon with honeyed corn meal

(T)- Hoppy dryness with a considerable malt backbone of honeyed corn.

(M)- Solid carbonation with a superb balance of bitter/sweet influences.

(D)- A fine beer that I would gladly choose over M/C/B. Solid flavors with a good balance to it. 6 of these wouldnt be that hard to finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2009 20:57:34 | More by sweemzander
Photo of pants678


3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour into a standard english pint. Produced a two finger, white head. The color is stark amber with some deeper browns toward the middle and lighter orange and carmel colors at the edges.

Not getting much of anything from the nose... there is no smell.

Pungent flavors of light but defined malts. There's a bread taste that's balanced out with tinges of citrus. It's a medium bodied beer that makes its mark on the edges. It's very well balanced. The selling point is the back end for me, a toasted flavor that sits just long enough.

Anchor's Steam is all about texture. It has a very pleasant mix of frothy and creamy, but not overly so. Carbonation is nice, feels big, expansive, but fits this brew to cushion what could be harsher flavors.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2009 01:23:34 | More by pants678
Photo of velosuds


3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Appears to be a code printed on the label. I'm lazy. I like bottled on dates foremost, and then best by dates. Codes are better than nothing, for I suppose they can be decoded. Single purchased at local health food store for $1.59.

A-Poured a medium amber hue with a 2+ finger head and modest lacing. Overall, a nice looking beer in the glass.

S-What smell? If I had been wearing a blindfold, I would have only recognized it as "beer." Non-descript.

T-I'm still waiting for this. Someone, please let me know the secret to discerning this beer's taste. But a 12 oz. bottle for nostalgia's sake is all I am willing to grant this offering. Very disappointing. Mostly earthy malts and bitterness. Can't quite tell if bitterness from hops or the modest alcohol. Not very well crafted.

M-Excellent mouthfeel. Exceedingly smooth and well balanced carbonation. This and the appearance are quite good. Too bad taste accounts for 40% of the rating.

D-This went down very easily, but I wouldn't readily reach for another. Taste just isn't there, and there are much more affordable alternatives available for getting a buzz, not that I was looking to this beer for, but presently I can't see much other use for this. Sad.

Not sure about what the California Common/Steam Beer style is all about. This beer makes me want to suggest a new style: enigma. This is a craft beer icon, but it has no taste. Thankfully, it is not yellow. I want to like this beer. It is probably one of the first craft beers I recall having at an excellent hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in Sausalito, CA while on my honeymoon 26 August's ago. Not even close to the caliber of Anchor Liberty or Anchor Porter. I am flummoxed, and disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2009 03:12:18 | More by velosuds
Photo of PerroGrande


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Anchor steam pours to a beautiful deep golden color with prodigious, rich foam. The head endures nicely adhering nicely to the sides of the glass.

Smell: I picked up some nice malt and caramel overtones, along with some hops. There were some citrus hints hanging around ever so slightly on the periphery, but I couldn't isolate what they were.

Taste: Anchor Steam is on the bitter side of center, but certainly isn't off-putting to one who isn't a big hops or IPA fan. It represents a nice compromise point in a number of ways. The opening is mildly bitter with hops overtones, but follows with an interesting malty, caramel taste with hints of sweetness in the background. The finish is long and pleasing with a nice mix of hops and malt hanging around for a long time. I find the taste and finish of this beer very pleasing.

Mouthfeel: Less creamy than the glorious foam would indicate, but certainly acceptable.

Drinkability: Outstanding. Very refreshing. Would be a nice session beer, good in both cold and warm weather, and a complement to numerous foods.

Until tonight, it had been a few years since I had an Anchor Steam, and I'm reminded again of how much I enjoy this beer. I need to work it back in to my regular beer "rotation".

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 01:06:54 | More by PerroGrande
Photo of fropones


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 50 cl bottle into a nucleated pint glass.

A - poured a nice amber with a thick cream head that dissipated quickly with no lacing.

S - smells of barley and slightly of hops. Similar to a bock in my opinion.

T - a little bitter, a hint of caramel with a dry finish.

M - medium body, light carbonation and somewhat creamy.

D - goes down very nicely. Could easily drink a couple.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2009 17:28:55 | More by fropones
Photo of AgentZero


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Slight head, quick disapation. No lacing. Pale, cloudy yellow in color.

S - Nice smelling, friendly, but not a whole lot there, pretty weak.

T - A lot more than I was expecting. Started out like an IPA but finished very dry. No real follow through on the taste. A bit of citris, maybe some apple? Very unique tasting.

M - Medium bodied, a little thin, carbonation give a little kick.

D - Goes down very easily, not heavy at all. I could drink these all day and enjoy.

Overall this is a unique beer with a great taste that I feel I should get more of.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2009 01:59:45 | More by AgentZero


4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To start with I am an Ale fan. I have never found a Dunkel I could tolerate and most good Lagers are ok ( to me) if there is nothing else and I am thirsty for beer. But this stuff...wow! A warmer fermenting Lager, darker and cloudier than a Lager, is this a hybrid? An Ale like Lager?
A cloudy dark yellow/light amber pour that brings out a thick long lasting head. Lacing and retention. Gluten proteins clinging on baby!! No rice, no corn, this looks like it is going to be BEER !!
Smell is fantastic - sweat and inviting - bitter and alluring, smells like a Lager ought to taste
Mouth feel is very good, no artificial carbonation burn/bubble, just enough natural action to make the feel part of the experience.
Taste is what it's all about and this beer is all about it. A very good balance of sweat and bitter. A very slight citrus after taste, just enough and I mean just a touch to let me know it is there. Alot of American brews use Cascade hops that taste like sour squash and this beer avoids that strong "citrus" punch. Good with food, good as a session beer and complex enough to be a good slow night cap after a long day in the salt mines.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2009 16:23:22 | More by DAVIDMAGNUM
Photo of berley31

New Brunswick (Canada)

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

A: Poured with an average-sized, white head that diminished fairly quickly to a thin lace. Some slight lacing on the side of the glass. Body is a very nice copper color, and slightly hazy.

S: Interesting... seems to be some caramel in there, along with some citrus (orange? lemon?)... light hops in the aroma as well. Quite pleasant.

T: Definitely as interesting as the smell... not quite like anything I've had before. Again, the caramel comes out at first, but then it finishes slightly bitter and dry. I can still detect the citrus in there as well, and maybe some herbs/spices.

M: Medium-bodied and thin-textured, but still some slight creaminess coming in as well. Good carbonation.

D: I could have several of these... they go down quite easy, but still really wake you up with their unique taste. Wish this was more readily available around here!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 16:39:43 | More by berley31
Photo of albern


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After nearly 1200 previous reviews, what more could be added. This is an old standby and I'm surprised that after reviewing over 800 beers I forgot this old favorite. It pours a nice clear amber color with a soft off white, slightly creamy head, some retention, not much lacing. The nose is toffee, crystal malt, cracked grain, some fruitiness once the beer settles. Right out of the bottle, this is olde English toffee and caramel if there ever was one. As the beer settles there is a strong, very interesting, green grass herbal aroma that is very unique. Wow, that is a first, but you have to let the beer settle in to get there.

This has a very nice taste, very smooth, very creamy, low carbonation beer, lots of semi sweet caramel, lots of toffee flavor, some saltene cracker dryness as well. There is a cracked grain appeal to the beer, an herbalness, and a leafy hop bite in the finish that dries things out just right. This is a fairly complex beer, more than I remember it, but than again, most beers are more complex when you sit down and do a review in the right setting. The mouthfeel is slightly drying and there is a cracked grain dryness in the aftertaste balanced out by some sweetish malts. Very interesting beer for sure. L'Chaim.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 22:25:53 | More by albern
Photo of drabmuh


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

Anchor steam is an interesting beer. People should check this out if for no other reason that there are so few steam beers and they are a truly American addition to the beer vocabulary. Poured from a bottle into an Anchor Steam pint glass, copper in color, nice head, falls away rather quickly with steady carbonation. Aroma is a mixture of malt and a lagerish odor. beer is easy to drink and tastes wonderful. This is one of my standby beers, I order when I see it at an average bar. Its a great beer "brewed in San Fran since 1896"

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 02:04:10 | More by drabmuh
Photo of MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 6 2011.

Whether by accident or by design, you can't help but marvel at the timeless retro-chic of the label, to say nothing of the bottle it's attached to. It's just a neat looking little beer.

After a hard pour it comes out a caramel shade of amber with a billowy, bubbly chunky head. The head looks simply amazing. The lacing is good.

I'm getting a whiff of acetaldehyde, like sliced green apples, in the nose, metal, very fresh and clean with hints of freshly mown grass and caramel that simply begs you to press the glass to your lips.

Taste is earthy, woody and bitter right from the get-go, metallic hops in the middle, with a bit of astringency at play. The malt is sweet, toasted bread and definitely caramel. It finishes dry and the bitterness clings to your tongue and hangs on for dear life.

This was one of a handful of gateways beers that opened my eyes to what beer could be some time ago but, whereas just about all of the others now leave me wanting, Anchor Steam Beer is every bit as flavorful and satisfying as it ever was.

It's an unusual but really wonderful beer. I can't for the life of me explain why I don't get it more often.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 01:53:17 | More by MeisterBurger
Photo of mintjellie

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper with 2-3 fingers of very light tan head. Head fades away somewhat quickly to a cap over the body, then holds on nicely. Patchy lace.

Sweet caramel malt aroma. A little bit of grassy hop.

Caramel malt on the palate backed by citrusy hop. Moderate bitterness. Bread. Bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Medium body and medium carbonation. A craft beer classic.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 20:08:40 | More by mintjellie
Photo of NODAK


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is of caramel malt and a bit of hops. Pretty strong smell.

Taste has a fair amount of sweet caramel malt at first with a small note of toasted grain there as well in the background. At the backend, there's a small bitterness that rounds the beer out but doesn't come close to the maltiness. I seem to remember this as a more hoppy beer than this, but as it is it seemed more like an EPA than anything to be quite honest. Interesting. I'll have to have it again sometime.

Tasty, though. Very easy to put down.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2009 02:37:30 | More by NODAK
Photo of cpone

New York

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

Pours a nice amber/copper color with about two fingers of head which recedes quickly and leaves some lacing. Smells of malt and hints of caramel - subtle hops in there too. Great taste - some bitterness but well balanced with hops and some citrus. Good carbonation and a medium body make this a very drinkable beer - was my session beer a few days ago.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2009 13:48:51 | More by cpone
Photo of jackofclubs


3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i always come back to this one

A- golden copper with i 3 finger airy head that doesn't stay too long

S- piney hops with a bread like malty backbone

T balanced maltyness with good bitter dry hop flavor

M medium body medium carbonation a classic

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2009 16:55:20 | More by jackofclubs
Photo of merryjoulton


2.65/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an amber with light head that retains well and does a bit of lacing down the glass. Smell is interesting, clean malty bready character along with a slight hint of hops... a tad citrusy. Taste is disappointing, there is a strong bite that is very unpleasant but I can't put my finger on it. Mouthfeel and drinkability are ok.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 17:56:04 | More by merryjoulton
Photo of DannyS

New York

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. oddly-shaped bomber into a pint glass.

A - Almost Idyllic in its clear dark amber with a lovely little half-inch head that retains amazingly well. Also leaves a thick web of lacing.

S - Not a lot going on aroma wise. Slightly grassy and grainy, with a touch of pine and wood.

T - The bitter hops smack the tongue but quickly subside to usher in the malty, grassy, bready flavor. Kind of basic, but very enjoyable.

M - Medium carbonation, thin, slightly watery body.

D - clean flavors that aren't overwhelming and a low ABV make this an excellent session beer.

Overall - Is it a pale ale? A dark lager? It's somewhere in between. It's unique, not to mention uniquely American!

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 01:50:30 | More by DannyS
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,480 ratings.