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

4,697 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,697
Reviews: 1,848
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 128
Gots: 349 | 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: 4,697 | Reviews: 1,848 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of birchstick


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%

A - 4 - pours a darker amber color with an attractive head
S - 3.5 - smells of malts and bready/biscuity
T - 3.5 - malty and bready/biscuity, with an interesting bitterness to it. A bit more bitter than I was initially expecting, but it worked well.
M - nice mouthfeel to it
D - 4 - this is a good session beer, one to enjoy many through the course of a night with friends.

09-20-2008 02:11:58 | More by birchstick
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured from a brown bottle with no freshness date on it. Color is a nice light orange/straw. Head is just a slight off white that keeps for a while. Nice lacing observed.

Smells very subtle, but of hints of honey. Taste is very clean. Not much going on, but very wonderful. I would note the small taste of fruit in this. Very good carbonation.

Overall, this is quite the beer. I have never had a steam beer, but I do like it. I am more of a dark beer drinker, but I could see this being a nice session beer.

09-20-2008 01:02:33 | More by mothman
Photo of tugdriver7


4/5  rDev +3.6%

I had tried this a few years ago and tried it again on the recommendation of a fellow BA (Thanks DKB!) who says it's one of his favorites. It was like trying it again for the first time. Beautiful orange amber in the glass with a healthy (almost decadent) head of foam that lingered through the first few sips and laced the glass. Malty nose, but the initial taste was a nice balanced malt and (fruity?) hops that added a whole bunch of tastes to the mix. Not cloying, not too bitter, and definitely very drinkable. A bit of astringent in the aftertaste, but nothing to detract from the flavor. Loved it. I understand the attraction.

09-14-2008 04:08:16 | More by tugdriver7
Photo of IBUnit63


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%

Solid, wonderful latte head - almost a perfect pour. Solid bourbon-copper body with loads of carbonation. Head develops yeasty muffin tunnels and has staying power;, when it finally dissipates the lacing is a little austere.

For the look and sizzle of this the nose doesn't necessarily deliver a lot of steak. Mild malt character with a little hop pine and a smidge of sliage. Carbonation makes malt quite clean, though.

Tight taste with a little metallic bite in there. Hop character is slight and grassy. Malt is much more faint on the palate than on the nose. Slight off-taste on the finish.

Too earthy on the palate. Hop bittterness is backed up by decent grain texture. Slight tinny aftertaste.

This is a decent mid-major. It's clean and doesn't drink too badly - better than most. Sessionable.

09-13-2008 23:28:50 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%

12 oz. bottle purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an orangey-amber body with an inch of frothy, white head.

Smell: Mild caramel, bready malts with a savory spicy, peppery note and teensy weensy hint of berry fruitiness.

Taste: Lightly bready, lightly caramel-coated maltiness. Not much sweetness. Tiniest bit of fruit -- watch out or you'll miss it. Tiny touch of acidity. Spicy, peppery hops, maybe a small pinch of lemon zest, too. Medium-low bitterness. Finishes dry and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Paired quite well with the film Karate Kid playing in the background. A fine, drinkable brew all around that appeals to my session beer sensibilities.

09-13-2008 04:12:00 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of MisterClean


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%

At homebrew club's hybrid and blonde style meeting.

A - Golden, orange head, dissipates, but a little bit still sticks to the glass. Nice.

S - Honey and malts.

T - Sweet up front with honey and malts, but slightly bitter.

M - Slightly bitter aftertaste. A little bit unbalanced.

D - Not great, but not bad.

09-13-2008 00:22:45 | More by MisterClean
Photo of Jmamay22

New York

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

This Steam Beer pours a light honey brown with a tan creamy head. Plenty of gobs of lacing down the glass.

Smells lightly of syrup and honey with fruity and floral undertones. A gentle scent with no aspect overwhelming another.

More of the same as the nose with a stronger honey and fruit scent. Again, soft flickers of flavor that are enjoyable, but faint. The finish is underwhelming and lacks definition as the flavor just thins out and drifts away. Hop bitterness doesn't provide the proper leverage to balance this one out.

Mouthfeel is medium with an ample dose of carbonation. Very drinkable beer that I could find myself enjoying several. Great segueway into the fall as it is a slightly sweeter tasting beer, but doesn't hit as hard as some of the malt bombs that come with the fall.

09-09-2008 22:15:29 | More by Jmamay22
Photo of brewmudgeon


3.13/5  rDev -18.9%

3.5 A love the bottle shape. light ruddy brown brew.
3 S not much, but that faint bitterness is pleasant enough
3 T bitter, not much to note. clean and simple. but too clean.
3 M fairly watery, carbonation can lend creaminess if swished across tongue
3.5 D simple and weak, bitterness a bit unbalanced, but maybe good for tossing back quickly.
had another one this year and body was a bit thicker than recalled, taste a little sweeter.

09-09-2008 17:55:11 | More by brewmudgeon
Photo of JustinBathurst

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured red copper with a 2 cm tan crown. Good lacing.

Smells of bread dough, celery, floral hops, and is a bit grainy.

The mouthfeel is slightly thicker than crisp.

Taste is malty sweet, with the hops coming through. Very bready without being heavy. A slight toffee shows up in there as well.

Really good beer.

09-09-2008 00:32:23 | More by JustinBathurst
Photo of RodBurg


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

I finally tried this classic at a buddy's birthday party this past weekend. Had on tap at Milano Pizza in San Francisco. Poured a nice amber color with an off white head. Nice lacing.

Smells like toasty malt and bread with a good citrus hop hit.

Taste is very well balanced. Bready malt and hops in harmonious accord. It's a beautiful thing. Finishes with a slight hop bite. This one is extremely drinkable. Had it with pizza and the two went wonderfully together.

09-02-2008 22:38:17 | More by RodBurg
Photo of errantnight


4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

On the long list of beers that are old staples that I've never reviewed, that I almost feel either unqualified, unneeded, or unable to properly quantify in a simple review how I feel about it. The score will either ultimately seem too low for the esteem I hold it, or too high for overcompensating. I hope I nailed this one, but that's of less importance than this beer.

From a sixer brought by a friend that had never actually HAD an Anchor Steam...

Pours a brilliant, rich orange gold. Crystal clear, beautiful couple fingers of head that rapidly dissipate, leaving little lacing on the way down.

Aroma is a rich, almost toffee-like melanoidin-rich, malt-forward experience, heady and almost caramel rich, it's clean, inviting, warm, just a hint of spice at the end. Good stuff.

The taste is practically the definition of balance. Rich and full through the middle with caramel bold sweetness that drops off into a clean, slightly rough bitterness that makes for a formidable introduction at first, full of flavor. As it warms, the harshness of the bitterness drops out, into a clean, earthy quality. If there's a beer that NEEDS to be available on cask that isn't... it's this beer.

Has a substantial feel to it, a solid medium, maybe medium-full body, which is awesome considering how moderate the alcohol content and how restrained the sweetness.

Really, my "criticisms" or evaluation of this beer are almost beside the point. It's an institution, it's an innovator, it's a classic. It's great for beginners, it's practically sessionable. It's important, it's fucking delicious.

08-31-2008 00:16:00 | More by errantnight
Photo of zdyeates


4/5  rDev +3.6%

A: Clear, light amber hue with a nice frothy head that dissipates a bit too quickly. Personally a bigger fan a more cloudy appearance but that a personal and not very important note. For a filtered beer the appearance is very nice.

S: The smell is not too remarkable, but you do get a hint at the spicy character of the beer. There is also a nice fruity undertone to the aroma.

T: Very nice, well hopped with a malty finish. A fairly well balanced beer, wouldn't think of turning one down.

M: Excellent! Very refreshing, great for summer or for cutting a heavy meal in the winter. Because of the speed at which the head died I was not expecting such a nice level of carbonation, but the beer seems to dance on my taste buds.

D: Very Good, could enjoy having a solo or a six pack. The carbonation is not overwhelming at all and creates a great combination of refreshment and drinkability.

I would definitely love to try this beer on tap because out of the bottle it is a very solid brew.

08-30-2008 17:08:00 | More by zdyeates
Photo of nrbw23


3.63/5  rDev -6%

A- Pours a copper color with a cream colored head that leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Pretty weak here some caramel malts and tiny bit of floral hops but I really had to search.

T- Taste is pretty unique. The beer has much of the flavour of a lager, but the complexity of an ale.

M- Light to medium bodied, crisp and refreshing, but a little watery

D- Interesting beer and a nice change up.

08-29-2008 15:13:52 | More by nrbw23
Photo of Jyubei

New Mexico

4.6/5  rDev +19.2%

A. Amber red with a 1 1/2 finger head, tan in color.

S. Light fruit bouquet the a strong aroma of hops and malt.

T. Strong bread smell. A heavy meal bread at that. Also, slight grapefruit at the back of the throat. The after taste leads to a definite grapefruit and hops.

M. Slight syrup with the feel of pudding in accompaniment.

D. Very enjoyable. I will definitely be getting this one again.

08-24-2008 05:11:05 | More by Jyubei
Photo of changeup45


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%

Originally sampled from the bottle and now sampled on draft 5/9/08. Good beer, I like it better now than I did when I first sampled it. Amber colored with a nice khaki head which leaves some nice lacing. Some sweet caramel malts in the aroma with some fruity spice. The flavor starts off with carmel malts but it is also nicely hopped making it pretty well balanced. I'd get it again.

08-23-2008 20:20:57 | More by changeup45
Photo of ectomorph


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

12oz bottle, no best by date.

A - Clear copper with a thick of white head that is just staring at me...

S - I noticed the malts 1st, almost caramel. Hops biterness barely noticed at the end. Sweet overall on the 2nd whiff.

T - This is the 1st of this style for me. I taste a honey and sweet darkness. I'm not used to hops on the end only. I like the separation here.

M - The head is still there and the body of this brew is balanced and easy.

D - I could pair this with any BBQ and great summertime sessions. The diamond of this mixed 6...

08-22-2008 21:50:21 | More by ectomorph
Photo of OtherShoe2


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

Pours a nice deep copper with a dense frothy head that left decent lacing.

Good malt aroma with some brown sugar characteristics.

Tastes of toasted grain, a little citrus rind, and very firm hop bitterness.

A very very drinkable beer. A fantastic standard and no-fail fallback. It is actually hard not to grab a 6 of these.

08-22-2008 01:59:30 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of adamette


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%

Poured from 12 ounce brown bottle into clear glass.

A clean amber, brown body actually very much like the color of the bottle. one finger head dissipated in about 60 seconds.

S minimal barley, not much hops smell.

T Barley taste with little hops persists to the taste. I can already tell that this is very drinkable. Taste is really of and pertaining to Barley. I feel like I am drinking liquid barley.

M Good, smooth, moderate mouthfeel.

D Excellent, as predicted above.

Notes: My impression is that if you stumbled upon this in San Fran (on tap) that it would be a great find (along with the ambience and what not). A good drinking beer and a great alternative to mass market beers for sure.

08-21-2008 02:12:37 | More by adamette
Photo of jake87


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%

L. Amber redin color with a two finger off-white head and moderate lacing
S. very faint, but mild sweetness with hops
T. starts off with a hoppy bitterness followed by light maltiness and fruitiness
F. Good carbonation and moderate body followed by a near sticky feel

A very nice beer, I wish I hadn't had those others before it though

08-18-2008 23:24:31 | More by jake87
Photo of roadhouse


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

Can't believe I haven't tried this one yet. Finally picked up a single today. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appears a very nice looking clear amber color with very lively sparkling carbonation that produces a big three finger off-white head brimming over the top of the pint glass. Leaves a fair amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma is almost non-existent, very faint hints of caramel malts and herbal/earthy hops.

Taste is full of toasty flavors with some caramel malt. Earthy hops come out strongly on the finish with a good amount of bitterness and almost have a very slight minty flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium-light and insanely smooth, I love the hyrbid ale/lager thing.

I had no idea what to expect from this beer but it's really quite good. It might be the color, but for some reason this beer reminds me of autumn. I could see this being very sessionable this coming season.

08-18-2008 21:23:49 | More by roadhouse
Photo of denflyr


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

I have to admit a sin...

As much as I like craft beer, I have never had this beer up till this point. I wish I had had it earlier!!!

Overall a very drinkable beer.

Poured out an amber color in a pilsner glass. Not much of a head or lacing.

Nice flavors and a good mouthfeel. Not much of a hop character. A solid malt backbone, but not in a sweet way.

Reminded me a Alaskan Amber which is one of my favorites. So I will be getting more Anchor Steam. A solid beer that is a great drink on a hot Houston afternoon!

08-18-2008 00:54:59 | More by denflyr
Photo of smcolw


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

Clear and solidly amber. Moderate chaulky white head with good lasting power.

Good caramel notes in the nose. Light background hoppy aromas.

Much more bitter than the aroma suggests. It's not an IPA but the hop bite is quick to show and long to fade, even after the swallow. Still, I'd describe this as a well-balanced beer with lots of astringent malt background. Good body and slightly high carbonation.

If I were blindfolded, I'd presume this to be a typical APA. I imagine the uninitiated wouldn't realize that they were drinking the most original of American beers--the first of our own.

08-10-2008 21:00:07 | More by smcolw
Photo of youngleo


3.35/5  rDev -13.2%

Poured to a good head that lasted a while. Head was slightly off white. Also had some lacing. Poured gold in color. Smelled very light. Maybe a little malt. Tasted very light also. Some citrus and hops. Then again very light tasting. Had a slightly bitter aftertaste. Felt good in the mouth. I thought maybe a little too much carbonation. I will buy these again on occasion. I just wouldnt want to make this a session beer.

08-08-2008 18:27:59 | More by youngleo
Photo of HoppyMcStout


3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

This was my first steam brew ever. It had a pleasing dark golden hue to it. The taste was clearly lagerish as it should be, but without a doubt had a leg up on your standard lager. It had a healthy kick of hops and finished rather clean. Not a bad beer.

08-06-2008 01:42:31 | More by HoppyMcStout
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

How have I not reviewed this before- a tremendous standy beer. One that led me to the craft brew scene on tap in SF many years back.

A: Darck gold with active carbonation and a fluffy white head.

N: Loads of dough, caramel and cheerios.

T: A nice spice up front with the sweet sugary caramel quickly following. You catch the hop presence that rounds this out to near perfection. Crap, this is good. Nice pine flavor.

M: Full and chewy, bready and the spices are constant.

D: Ultimate drinkability- not like the BMC commercials claim. This is a beautifully crafted beer and perfect for summer and a long session.

An absolute fridge staple.

08-03-2008 23:20:41 | More by marcpal
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,697 ratings.