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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

5,237 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,237
Reviews: 1,922
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 161
Gots: 683 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,237 | Reviews: 1,922
Photo of JonathanCrites
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought this as part of a build your own six pack at the Krogers on W Gray in Houston.

A - Pours a bright amber into a pint glass with a tan head.

S - Lots of floral and grain aromas in the in the smell, also a sweet note like orange or lemon.

T - Taste follows from the smell, lots of grain with a variety of floral and herbaceous flavors. Delicious.

M - Light-medium mouthfeel, lots and lots of carbonation.

D - Low ABV, easy to drink outside of the heavy carbonation.

Photo of SnowGoon99
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours a dark straw or "dirty blonde" if you will. Nice thick head to start with but dissipates quickly. Aromas include a little sulfur with some earthiness and hints of caramel. Definitely more lager-like than ale-like which i guess is the point.

Flavors include the earthiness again from the hops and the slight caramel from the malt. A good balance here. It is carbonated a little more than your typical beer but right on for a lager beer. Was wishing for a little bit more body but the carbonation does help with the drinkability a lot. Very easy drinking.

Overall a nice beer. It is pretty much the quintessential California Common beer as it was pretty much the original. It is the style. But slowly forms of it are starting to emerge which is good. It's not an exceptional beer but it certainly is easy-drinking and when your looking for a couple lagers to drink one night or looking to get friends into craft beer, this may be the beer for you.

Photo of seedsofchaos
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was imported from out west, obviously, and had probably been sitting on the shelf for some time. Possibility of light exposure very possible.

Pours amber with hints of copper with a head that quickly dissipates even though active carbonation is present. Lacing is fine but lasting. Sweet malts pierce the nostrils with a healthy amount of caramelization. Buttery and creamy smelling but not of a diacetyl nature. The yeast seems to be doing something a bit funky with fruity undertones; perhaps a bit skunky/light-struck.

The flavor is very malt forward with just a touch of green apple (cidery) taste that's quite bothersome. Yeasty and tart in the aftertaste that is reminiscent of a homebrew that was over primed with sugar. The hop notes that are able to squeeze through are very earthy in nature. The taste of this beer, however, is off-putting.

All in all, I believe that I received an inferior example of this style due to storage and shipping. I'd love to try this beer fresh on tap in California as I've heard wonderful things. Highly sessionable, this brew probably could have been a winner.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Anchor Steam pours a dark orange color, cloudy with large bubbles clinging to the bottom of the glass before their inevitable ascent to maintain the head on top. Although a modest foamy white head is initially visible, it fades to a film with a pronounced ring.

Smell: Light toasted malt, long-lasting earthy hops.

Taste: A bit of caramel sneaks through, but the flavor here is mostly a modest level bitterness, with just a dash of tart lemon. The malt back is reminiscent of a toasted biscuit, but the earthy hop flavors step in front. The finish stays bitter.

Mouthfeel: Briskly carbonated, as was apparent from the appearance. Slightly dry, more so at the finish. Grainy and slightly astringent with a light to medium body.

Drinkability: This is definitely a beer worth trying. It is Anchor's flagship beer and has by far the most reviews of any Steam beer. There is a fair amount going on here, especially for an American Lager at 4.9%.

Photo of vfgccp
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Crystal clear orange amber. An average pour lead to ~2 fingers of super creamy head.

S - Light malt, touch of white bread. Fairly mild.

T - Bready caramel, French bead. Light, slightly waxy bitterness. Pleasant cumquat citrus character from the mid to the backend of the profile.

M - Refreshingly effervescent. Medium-light body. Bready sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. A refreshing beer with a great taste.

Photo of Lillenk
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was a very nice clear yet brownish color.

Smell was sort of lacking. Not much there at all.

Taste was pretty ok. Not a whole lot happening. A lot lighter body and flavor than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel was nice and because it was way lighter than expected, it was very easy to drink.

Photo of MadCat
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice brownish color, small head that disappears quickly

Smell: Malty, almost fruity smell

Taste: Malty, slightly fruity, slightly hoppy and bitter

Mouthfeel: Pretty standard, carbonation makes it feel crisp

Drinkability: Very average for me. Nothing about it makes me want to go for another one, but I have no issues finishing the bottle.

Overall, good, but not outstanding.

Photo of tykees88
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Copper amber color. Nice white fluffy head with bubbles

S- Malty fresh crisp smell

T- The malty goodness oozes from this. The beer has a slight hop finish, just to remind you it's there.

M- light bodied and crisp bubbly feel.

D- Pretty solid. Not going to say no to it and wouldn't say no to more than one or three.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from notes over the holidays
A - just slightly hazy copper, generous off white head
S - grainy and grassy, with some buttery and caramel hints
T - a sharp very toasted grainy malt flavour, a bitter grassy hint with buttery with a resiny and dry citrus finish, very interesting
M - medium refreshing carbonation kick, very clean and light, drying out on the finish
D - a complex and very drinkable brew, the flavour are interesting while being light and refreshing enough to be a great session option

Photo of scubasteve04
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured aggressively into a standard pint glass, apparently too aggressively as indicated by the 5 inches of foam in my glass. I let it settle for a minute and then poured the remainder of the bottle in. Took my first drink just below 45 degrees F, I'd guess.

A: Really classic, awesome looking brew. A not quite white, spongy head on top of the coppery, bubbly beer with a nice touch of red color in the right light.

S: Smell is pretty mild. Earthy, malty, and maybe just a bit of bitter hops. So fresh and so clean, clean.

T: You get a nice malty sweetness right up front, then a mix of hop bitterness and astringency with a really nice, clean, crisp finish. Perhaps just a trace of citrusy sour/bitterness left in the mouth, but not much.

M: Very light, bubbly, yet still very smooth and not watery. Surprised me, pleasantly.

D: Drinkable as hell. This would be a great go-to superbowl or "insert sporting event here" beer to drink all day with some good company. If it were not close to my bedtime I would have kept going.

I got this six-pack as a Christmas gift this year, and had not heard of it until then, so I didn't quite know what to expect. Turned out to be a great gift. Thanks, Tony.

Photo of heavy216
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: small 12oz bottle, huge fist of head which would no die, good/average amount of lacing, amber/gold in color, medium carbonation

S: very fruity smell

T/M: good mouthfeel, refreshing....taste average nothing special slightly fruity like the smell

D: little to no alcohol flavor....very enjoyable on nice day

Photo of e11iott
3.1/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: 12oz, must have poured this wrong, fist full of head, medium lacing, light amber color.

S: Faint smell of fruit and citrus.

T/M: Over all smooth beer, very easy to drink, surpirsed not a light beer. Carbonation was average but in a good way.

D: Enjoyable as it got warmer, cant taste the alcohol at all.

Photo of BB1313
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a beautiful rich golden color with a great white fluffy head and nice lacing. Great looking beer! There's a strong breadiness to this one with a slight amount of hops. Very grainy and metallic. I'm picking up some sweet fruits in a subtle way. Mouthfeel is nice, well carbonated, smooth. Drinkability is pretty good due to low abv. Great for casual drinking.

This is definitely a real beer, a man's beer. A great beer for warm weather.

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A=Light orange/amber with good head, lasting several minutes, leaving a amount of good sticky lacing.

S&T=Malted barley, some grains/fruit,maybe some nuts with a slight hop note/character in the background.

M=Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Easy to drink a lot of, not bloating, very smooth and pleasant. I like it. An excellent fallback/session brew, or if you're just looking for something more casual/refined.

Looking forward to having again sometime.

Photo of TCgoalie
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last of Kyle's bounty given to me.

Pours a near amber color with some foam upon pouring. A ring of bubbles exists throughout with some bubbles sticking to the glass to form lacing.

The smell is odd, butter, green grapes, and apple provide an almost champagne like smell.

I would say that this is better tasting than what I was expecting. There is a firm maltiness to it with subtle hops. The balance is nice with a very clean aftertaste.

Light to medium in the mouth, as I mentioned above, the aftertaste is clean. A small bit of bitterness adds some zing to the aftertaste.

I would describe this as a very drinkable beer which is session worthy. A tasty brew this is...

Photo of birdyone
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

looks good when poured. Not much head, not much fizz, but a beautiful color. It's kinda like that stereotypical ale color. very clear. nice amber color.

mild smell. very normal, and typical to the breed. nothing special.

taste is good, but more on the average side. again nothing too special.

good mouthfeel. smooth. crisp. refreshing.

great drinkability. its strength come from it averageness. it doesn't overpower you. you can sip it or you can throw some back with friends. it's fairly common in stores, the price isn't really out of reach for most people. it's better than the macro brews, but not snobbish. you could give it to connoisseur and noob alike and both would be pleased.

Photo of BFrost
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a mug. The color is a transparent amber with a slightly off-white head that appears to have nice density, but it fades quickly, though a decent lace is left after the head does fade.

The smell is initially faint, but eventually light malt, barley, and hops are noticed. A favorable bitterness is also present in the nose.

The barley, malt, and hops are present on the tongue as well, but it does not taste quite as bitter as it smells. The carbonation is light on the tongue, then it is smooth as it goes down.

Notes: This is my first encounter with a beer of this style. it is easy to drink, enjoyable, and would not be a poor choice on a night out with friends. It looks and tastes like a typical American Amber. I'd probably have mistaken it for one if I hadn't any knowledge of it being something else. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but I wouldn't mind having another.

Photo of Beerbluesbiology
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Duarte's tavern in Pescadero, CA with Artichoke soup and sourdough bread...heavenly trio. This beer is absolutely wonderful on tap, creamy, smooth white 1 inch head sitting atop a light amber transparent body. Smells and tastes very inviting with the caramel-malt backbone complimented superbly by the fine cone hop bitterness to even things out. A wonderful beer and one of the best lighter USA brews I have ever had.

Photo of WhiteOak
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Has a light copper color with a moderate off-white head.

S- There is a simple grain aroma along with hops and a sour off-note smell.

T- Generally malt & hops flavor along with a vegetal characteristic here with some metallic notes and some sourness.

M, D- Light bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

Photo of jmperez
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a beautiful copper color with a nice frothy white head. With aromas of toasted malts with hints of citrus. The first drink reveals a soft bitternes with a bit of caramel sweetness. The carbonation is nice and makes this american classic easy to drink. only the price keeps me from drinking this one on a regular basis.

Photo of andrenaline
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice copper colour, thumb of light bubbly beige head with relentless retention and heavy body carbonation. Very appetizing.

S - Scent is mild and musty, but comes across with grassy leafy hops followed by some light caramel malts.

T - Much like the scent, sweet caramel flavour off the top followed by some leafy green hops with a touch of grassiness. A delicious hop / malt balance.

M - This stuff goes down quickly and easily, medium bodied which is smooth going down and finishes with a touch of dryness.

D - Easily poundable with a good hop / malt balance with flavours that won't overload the palette. Highly recommended as a session beer and another quality offering from Anchor.

Photo of fostachild
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

best before 7 2012. beauty clear light copper colour. decent head that fades quick.

smell was heavy malt, with some citrus.

taste also malty, citrusy. slight bitterness. good carbonation but found this sort of dull as a whole - much like other times i've tried it. average drinkability.

Photo of alleykatking
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a lightly hazy amberish copper color. Two finger off white colored head shows medium retention. Web style lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrus style hops are the first thing in the aroma. Caramel malts show up as well with a hint of piney hops in the background. Nothing over the top but smells like some have said to a pale ale....and I agree.

T- Light citrus hops upfront with a hint of caramel malts. The middle of the flavor has some bready malt backbone that shines with a light sweetness. The ending of the flavor has piney hop bite to it with light caramel malts. The alcohol bite to this comes in very lightly and exits just as quickly.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Flavors left on the palate include caramel malts and light piney hops. Aftertaste includes light alcohol, bready malts, and yet again the piney hops. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were well balanced and no off flavors overall in the beer.

D- This was a good beer that I didn't mind at all. In fact I thought it was a lot better than what I figured it was going to be. Anchor which is the grandfather of craft beer seems to still be in the game with this one. The ABV is low enough to kill a sixer of this and still be good.

Photo of aranheaney
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 50th review, saved this one as it's a classic in the craft world:

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH Snifter

A-Bronze, gold, fluffy white head that's two fingers high with some nice lacing

S-floral, citrus with some yeast that comes through

T-interesting, well carbonated , not as much in flavor as I might have expected, but it does seem to do better on a second visit. Some citrus and yeast, not anywhere near as flavorful as a SN, but it seems to yearn to be more

M-good, hangs out for a bit and then goes, leaving you looking for more

D-high, low ABV allows for a really high drinkability

Photo of TheHammer
2.53/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Given that Anchor was the original steam beer, I'm going to try to use as many sea and sailing comparisons as I can in this review.

Appearance: This Lager pours with a frothy white layer of sea foam, an eighth of a span high which sticks to the side of the of the glass like a few stray barnacles to a ship. It lingers decent enough, as ample carbonation arise from bronze depths, coloured as the sky at sunset. A bit more lacing and retention is needed though.

Smell: What a happy coincidence, as this smells like what I would expect spiced grog to smell like. A great deal of yeasty spice with a bit of orange scent (perhaps to fight the scurvy?) and a light toasted bread touch. It warms the heart, but it's about as tame as still water.

Taste: Argh...we're running aground here. It sets sail to a calm sweet malt with orange notes, with only but a mild touch of yeast to warn you of the storm ahead. The beer turns to overpowering dry yeast that kills your thirst as sea water would. It ends as all who visit Davy Jones's Locker, with a bitter end as dry musty hop taste that is accented with sulphur that sinks the ship.

Mouthfeel: Well, the carbonation is good and the aftertaste lingers as long as a small boat's wake, which is good. However it leaves you as dry as the bones of dead men, left to bleach in the sun. Transitioning is a bit too abrupt for my liking.

Drinkability: This beer is quite possibly the only beer I've had that leaves you thirstier then when you started drinking it! It's light bodied and easy to keep down which is good if you are getting your sea legs, but not if you want to drink something. Too dry and about as satisfying as having to walk the plank.

Final Thoughts: Well, if you are on a boat with this stuff, I would suggest you follow the beer's namesake and pitch it overboard. It's like you found a treasure map, were overjoyed to a calm sea journey, only to toil through storms & pirates at great cost only to find that the treasure you found, didn't even cover the cost of the journey. Disappointing, although not unexpected I'd have to say. I knew Steam Beer had weird yeast so maybe it's just not the style for me. In conclusion, it won't leave you shanghaied, but don't expect smooth sailing so you'll want to pass.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,237 ratings.