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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

5,191 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,191
Reviews: 1,914
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 154
Gots: 634 | 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:
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: 5,191 | Reviews: 1,914 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnWaynes44
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured a clear burnt orange, with a lovely frothy head with nice retention. Smell of sweet grains, hint of raisin. Flavors of caramel and malt is nicely balanced with somewhat bitter hops, but hops aren't real noticeable, they simply hold back the sugars and balance everything, providing a kind of dry finish. This is so unique and very good. I love this beer. It is very versitile. By that I mean it is hard to pigeonhole into a category. I think it could satisfy many different style palates. Very well made and a classic in my house. Thanks Wal-Mart for the fresh sixer.

Photo of Gorgoroth
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: Great, uncommon squat brown bottle; awesome retro-like artwork. Looks great next to Anchor's other bottles which all have a similar style.

Appearance: Pours into a generic English pint glass with a clean, deep amber color and vigorous initial carbonation; boasts a massive and dense initial head with cream of wheat color and great retention; leaves lovely spotted lacing.

Smell: Very full aroma boasting notes of sweet malt, caramel, and honey; undertones of raisiny and bready yeast with a slight floral hop backbone.

Taste: Front of mouth is full of hop bitterness and malt, with notes of lemon zest, fresh herbs, honey, grapefruit bitterness and sourness, and orange peel; the aftertaste is complex and bitter with hints of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Pervasive, tingly carbonation supports a medium body; the finish is full and chewy with a minimal flash of alcohol in the throat.

Drinkability/Final Thoughts: Very drinkable, though rather complex. It definitely deserves its fame as one of America's oldest craft-made brews and at a very reasonable price and high availability, I will definitely be revisiting this beer in the future.

Photo of bs870621345
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The perfect session beer. There is something about this beer that I have never encountered.

Appearance is amber colored, white head, with lacing down the sides.

Smell is decent, nice malt smell as well as piney hops. Nothing overly special, just an extra something that bumps it past average.

Taste is sweet up front, with a nice crisp hop bitterness on the end. Sweet with some pine notes, nicely balenced.

Mouthfeel is alright, little too carbonated, but light like a good lager.

Drinkability is extremely high. These things go down very easy, almost too easy.

Photo of vkv822
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle into pint glass.

Thus beer has a beautiful billowy off white head with great retention, and the body is a nice light amber.
The aroma is of biscuity malts, with some light hop bitterness. The flavor follows the aroma fairly well, with also quite a bit off caramel malt notes as well and some very light fruity hop notes towards the finish. The mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated,and nice medium bodied.
This is a very drinkable beer, and one of the better lagers I have had thus far. Definitely something I could go back to as a unique session beer.

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint class this brew pours a yellow amber color with a thick firm head.

Not much to the aroma. It has a very natural bread like smell, a little on the sweet side, with a fresh mild hop aroma.

The taste is bread like grain, with a very mild hop bitterness similar to English hops.

Overall, Anchor Steam is a very full, and balanced beer. There isn't much to it, there isn't a challenge like the big brews, but this is definitely a refreshing, enjoyable brew.

Photo of JimBird
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't reviewed in a while; this is a good one to get back into it with:

Poured a pale amber color, with a decent head. Bright, hoppy aroma hit my nostrils as soon as I had poured it, with a hint of sweetness.
The taste is amazingly caramel-like. It doesn't taste as hoppy as it smells, but the flavor is there. Very good balance.
Slightly fizzy mouthfeel that adds a little prick to the character; best served ice cold.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer suprisingly more than I thought I would. Thumbs up!

Photo of exonthebottle
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. amber appearance with a white head that fades

S. faint hop smell and honey

T. malt caramel but rather light not impressive taste. dry finish

M. body thin texture lager like just a simple beer over carbonated

D. easy to drink a few but not worth it


Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at Albona's Ristorante SFO, served with prosciutto and saffron risotto (yummy) 5.29.10.

Hard pour resulted in two finger off-white head, slow dissipation with nice lacing. Dark amber body with no visible carbonation. Nose features a big malt hit, not too sweet, great balance with minimal hop presence. Taste is unique to the style quite malt forward with some floral and grassy hop notes muted by big malt bill and lager yeast. Medium mouthfeel, not sticky, decent effervescence. A totally unique drinking experience which highlights the craft in craft brewing, a truly great session beer (as are all the beers in Anchor product line). No trip to SFO is complete without at least one of these iconic American brews. We all owe Fritz Maytag a big debt of gratitude for reviving the American brewing industry and this (un)Common style. Cheers, Fritz!

Photo of berpwillie
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy copper color with large head and lacing with lively carbonation. light hoppy bitter taste. good smooth beer but not much else to it. light body and thin texture. short flavor duration. nothing special, pretty average but a decent easy to attain beer.

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

Coming back to this beer, I haven't had one for years. Can't say why.

Appearance: Beatiful reddish brown coloration, thick fluffy head.

Smell: Feint honey-like malt smell, very pleasant

Taste: Smooth honey/caramel-like malt taste, with a health bite of hops lingering in the mouth. Beer also contains a citrus-like note. Light, refreshing, and nice carbonation. Decent balance, though the style is bit sweet for me and the honey/caramel taste of the malt crowds out the other flavors a bit.

Mouthfeel: Not watery, though the beer is fairly light it retains good substance.

Drinkability: Good.

All in all, a very nice beer, and a true classic. Not my favorite style but it defines California Common beer. Anchor Steam also deserves to be commended for its focus in subtlety and balance--one can only with that more micros focused on the subtleties and delicate balance in great beer rather than going for over-the-top flavors.

Photo of DrewS667
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a 16 0z US pint glass...

Nice tawny, copper coloring, about one inch of head, light activity in the glass

Taste is bold upfront and is super clean in the finish due to a bitter bite at the end. A bit metallic, similar to an amber lager.

Clam, smooth mouthfeel, very clean crisp finish due to the bitterness

Not a bad beer, could knock a couple back, not a bad session choice. A good beer, would definitely have again

Photo of dasenebler
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear amber hue, with a thick and creamy head. Retention wasn't too great, but the lacing was nice.

Grainy, lager-like aromas with earthy, grassy hops.

Flavor is very nice. Bready, biscuity notes mix with a subtle toasty complexity. Hops are restrained, but definitely there: think earthy, clean bitterness. Probably in the 30 IBU range. This basically tastes like a pilsner with a slightly heavier, perhaps slightly ale-like, malt profile. In the end though, you can definitely taste the lager character, even though it's a warm-fermented lager. Medium-light body, with fine medium carbonation that adds some creaminess. I'm finding this very easy to drink, but also delicious at the same time. As the shining example of our only indigenous style, this beer might be the quintessential American craft session beer.

Anchor Steam is brewed with enough restraint (in both alcohol and flavor) and subtlety to be a highly quaffable beer. Also doesn't hurt to be an American classic.

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

poured a nice amber color into a weizen glass

S-sweet slight biscuity lager notes

T-very clean and tasty...great with a meal

N-had this back when i was in my 20s and really appreciate it now in my 50s...this is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer.I enjoy trying all the different styles of beers and the"big" brews.but this is quality in a bottle...its a keeper...even though its only 4.9 abv.

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


Pours a clear copper gold with a thin white head with okay retention.

Smells malty sweet and lagery.

Taste is about the same. Good barley malt and a hint of hop bitterness that remains subtle.

Feels thin to moderate with light carbonation that sharpens a bit on the back of the tongue.

Very good lager. Not heavy, refreshing, easy to drink, easy to like.

Photo of ADZA
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks go out to Adam and Joel for this little number,it pours a light clearish amber hue with nice carbonation that leaves a creamy two finger head and heaps of lacing,the smell is a combination of aromas of maple syrup,light toffee,sweet honey and caramel,it has a pretty lightbodied mouthfeel to it almost close to carbonated water and exudes light tastes of honey,maple syrup and finishes with a dry caramel finish at the end and to be honest i gotta say its quite a bland taste for a brew that i expected and heard so much from and even though its very easy to knock back as a session brew it really doesnt have much substance to it all.

Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam seems to be a cult favorite among American craft beer fans, and being in that community myself I've actually only recently tried this craft icon.

I have to say the beer is good, but overhyped. Controversial? Probably, but I'll break it down.

Appearance - Golden brown, with quite a fluffy head.

Smell - Sweet, syrupy maple - carmel aroma. Actually quite pleasant.

Taste - Here's where my issue comes in. The flavor is light, refreshing, but also a little bland. The flavor is soapy, with a hint of citrus. I wish the carmel flavors that were so prevalent in the aroma was carried over in the taste, but I honestly couldn't get paste the soapy overtones.

Mouthfeel - Pleasant, lightly carbonated but ultimately very smooth.

Drinkability - I give Anchor Steam credit for being quite refreshing to drink. It's light, smooth, and not challenging to the palate.

Overall it's a solid beer, but all the hype seems a little unfounded. An "A-" from the Bros? This is a "B" beer in my humble opinion.

Photo of JMad
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

1. Beer poured a light copper amber color, 1 finger head that shrunk into a thin ring after a few sips. left a little lacing on glass.

2. The smell was pleasant. Faint hops and malt scent but nothing stood out much, slightly fruity.

3. This beer has a unique taste, kind of fruity. I can taste some apricot, and a small amount of bitterness lingers after a gulp.

4. Carbonation is not too strong. The beer feels bubbly and light for the flavor.

5. Very drinkable. Almost finished this beer before I even got to the drinkability. It goes down easy, has a great unique flavor.

I didn't know what to expect when I bought this beer, but I am impressed. I would drink this over and over again. Now I'm gonna go pour two of these bad boys in my mug.

Photo of Kaiser777
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drop the anchor I am ready to get steamed.

A- It is a golden brownish yellow, with little bubbles rising to the top of a solid white foam, witch disappears rather quickly, and leaves a light residue that disappears quickly also.

S- It has a similar smell to most American lagers, with a hint of barley and malt.

T- Just an edge over average I do like the taste, just wasn't blown away by it, but it is very delicious.

MF- Also just above average although it is on the brink of being a 4.

D- I am very impressed by it's drink ability, I could drink this beer all the time, with that said I want to thank all my G's in Cali that steam there beer, west coast in the house!!!!

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery in San Francisco. Poured into a small 6 ounce fluted glass. Learned today that this beer is the only lager that Anchor makes. Also learned the various reasons this beer is called a steam beer and that nobody knows the truth for sure. Scoring bonus points for history, normally wouldn't do that but in some subconcious way, you can taste the history in the glass. A classic.

Photo of Shrews629
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Creamy, frothy, two-fingered head that reminds me of the top of a milkshake. Clear burnt orange, almost amber color with red highlights on the side of the glass. Tremendous lacing that really stuck around.

Smell - Picked up the sweet caramel right off the bat, which was very pleasurable, along with some sweet floral hops and a slight herbal or earthy hint in the background.

Taste - Tasted sweet caramel and a bit of pine actually. Bitter aftertaste that stayed on the back of the tongue. Just how I like it.

Mouthfeel - Medium/chewy mouthfeel that was very smooth.

Drinkability - I really like this beer. One of my favorites. Very nice. Another beer that I could drink during any season.

Photo of david131
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A clear orange liquid with numerous streams of carbonation making their way to a thick and creamy bone white head. The head eventually falls to a creamy thin covering.

S- Apples, pears, and caramel. A little simple but fragrant enough and enjoyable.

T- Caramel, apples, and pears. There is a distinct hop bitterness at the end.

M- The bitterness has a nice, crisp bite to it and leaves a lasting dryness.

D- A great, drinkable session beer. Not as sweet as expected- which is a good thing. A great beer to keep around.

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam Beer | 330 ml. | 4.9% ABV

Brewer: Anchor Brewing Company
Style: California Common / Steam Beer
Glass: Pint

First off, I'm a huge fan of the bottle itself. It's sort of plump, with dark brown glass and an attractive label design. Bottle cap looks great too.

Pours a crisp, clear orange-gold. Head is about 1", rocky and white. Lacing is decent.

Earthy malts, caramel, slight floral tinge.

The bitter hops are really quite intense, but they soon segue into the malty backbone. Hins of lemon and sea salt. Grainy and citrus aftertaste.

Light bodied but chewy.

Great drinkability and harmony on this one. The flavors play together so well.

Price = $5.49 at Winberrie's

Photo of Gyle41386
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hard to believe I haven't reviewed this one yet. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Dark amber pour. Two fingers of dense foam retain pretty well. Some really nice lacing is crusted to the glass.

Aroma is earthy, grainy, and lightly musty. Sweet and a little bready.

Flavor follows. Apparently there's a fruity flavor, but I'm not tasting it. Some spicy hops. Nice bitter finish.

Medium bodied, with an appropriate level of carbonation. Really easy drinker. Nothing too exciting, but a true classic.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one draft at Sabella & La Torre's in fisherman's Wharf, San Fransisco on Sat, May 8th.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've had this beer even thought it's readily available to me in Cincinnati.

It was poured a clear, dark tan with red highlights. The head was nice and stuck around during the duration of the drink.

Mild hoppiness with a moderate amount of malts were on the forefront with this one. A light yeast presence was detected, as well.

Very nice & easy to drink.

3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass. Batch # 9S9.

A: A 3 finger large fluffy head deflates rather quickly from its rocky state to a frothy film. The body is the color of polished brass or a twenty year old penny. Very clear and clean looking. There is a small amount of visible carbonation. Spare lacing.

S & T: Malts and hops are of equal, both of average intensity. Toasted malts of caramel, freshly risen dinner rolls and grains. Hops are grassy. This brew has a granulated sugar semi sweetness throughout the palate and mild fruity esters. Decent flavor duration.

M: Medium body mouthfeel and fizzy carbonation. Finishes crisply, aided by a slight dryness and bitterness.

D: Definitely a quality brew and probably great for the style (my frame of reference is lacking) but not exactly thought provoking in my opinion. More interesting to me is the history/process of the style and how Anchor has the trademark rights to the "Steam Beer" style.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,191 ratings.