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

4,762 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,762
Reviews: 1,855
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 131
Gots: 373 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,762 | Reviews: 1,855 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Summit Pint glass.

Appearance: Clear amber with relatively thin head but expansive lacing.

Smell: Caramel, biscuit, toast and some earthiness.

Taste: Earthy, toasty malt that has a semi-sweet caramel middle before ending with a strong earthy bitterness that is almost too much for this particular beer. Somehow it doesn't come together as well as it should in terms of malts vs. hops.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation (almost fizzy), medium body, dry finish.

Drinkability: Obviously a very important beer in craft beer history that is quite good but is ultimately more relevant for its history. Nice to have every once in a while.

bsp77, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of GregoryShmegory
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a very tasty beer. After drinking a mix 6 pack of Anchor Brewing Company, this is probably my favorite. Pours a beautiful color- golden orange. Smells sweet and fruity. Tastes balanced and plentiful. Would be a good session beer. I'd buy again if it wasn't for the price.

GregoryShmegory, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of Beernoisseur
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a treat. I've saved this beer for some time now. I am sad I waited this long to try it.

Pretty hazy copper color in my pilsener glass. The head hangs around forever. Little lacing.

The nose is really unique. It has the sharp freshness of a lager, but also a touch of sweetness like a belgian. Light toastiness in the nose, with a drop of honey like sweetness or two.

The flavor is really unique. I really like this. Nice bitterness, with a touch of toasty flavor. Again, there's almost a belgian quality to this beer. I've never had anything like it.

Feels great going down, and i could drink these forever. All in all, a great beer.

Beernoisseur, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of langcpa
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wheat beer glass, nice foamy offwhite head that lasted until the final sip, nice lacing. clear amber color with little earthy but no other noticable smells, the taste was mostly malt at the begining with a slightly hoppy wet finish, the mouthfeel is medium body with slight carbonation, a very smooth drinkable beer that is one I could have several of and not feel like I just had a meal.

langcpa, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of hooliganlife
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into an anchor steam glass, pours deep copper with a light fluffy creamy white head.

mostly malts with light biscuit and earth bread notes.

quite malty with a light hop bitterness that emerges through the finish.

very full bodied! carbonation is light but has some bite. adds to the body. very smooth and easy to drink

this is my lawnmower beer. not too light and reminds you that beer is supposed to taste good.

hooliganlife, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of ipazilla
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a six on sale for $8 So i figured why not.
Appearance : amber
Smell: Malty with a slight hop aroma
Taste: Malty dry and very little hop in the background, but overall a solid flavor.
Feel: Very smooth not too carbonated
Drinkability: I'm more of an IPA fan so this was a little to big in the malts to takedown but I could have one or two with a meal

ipazilla, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of VikeMan
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Coppery amber color. 1/2 finger beige head, quickly dissolving into a thin film, then just a little fine lace around the edges, not very clingy.

Smell...nicely balanced yeast and malt, with a little bit of fruity hops.

Taste.. a bit hoppy, more so than in the aroma. Malty, slightly bitter...a good sort of bitter

Mouth feel.. medium carbonation. Thin to medium body.

This is a unique beer. I'm not much of a lager fan, but then other lagers are really nothing like this. This is very refreshing, and I plan to serve it soon at a barbeque, where I think it will go great with pork butt and hot weather.

VikeMan, Sep 06, 2009
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!

tosshin, Sep 06, 2009
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.

cbutova, Sep 05, 2009
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.

Mistofminn, Sep 05, 2009
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!)

burnerfinger, Sep 05, 2009
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.

MaxBrews, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of Crimefish22
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.

Crimefish22, Sep 01, 2009
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.

tone77, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
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.

donniecuffs, Aug 27, 2009
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.

sweemzander, Aug 24, 2009
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.

pants678, Aug 24, 2009
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.

velosuds, Aug 23, 2009
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".

PerroGrande, Aug 20, 2009
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.

fropones, Aug 17, 2009
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.

AgentZero, Aug 10, 2009
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.

DAVIDMAGNUM, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of berley31
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!

berley31, Aug 07, 2009
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.

albern, Aug 06, 2009
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"

drabmuh, Jul 24, 2009
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,762 ratings.