Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

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BA SCORE
87
very good

5,061 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,061
Reviews: 1,877
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 140
Gots: 494 | 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)
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Ratings: 5,061 | Reviews: 1,877 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rayek
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper color with a thick off-white head. The head dissipates slowly and leaves a fair lace.

S: Caramel sweetness, plus earthy undertones of oak and pine.

T: Complex malts with qualities of caramel, oak and toasted grain hit first. Spicy hops dominate the middle with flavors of lemon and pepper. Hops give way to a dry finish with only a small amount of lingering bitterness. There's a very faint metallic flavor in the background. A well balanced beer overall.

M: Medium body with the right amount of carbonation. Somewhat dry.

D: Excellent. A true classic that provided one of my earliest exposures to craft beers back in the 90's. Worth every penny I paid for it.

Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that is semi readily available around here, and I got it as an extra from AgentZero, but hey, its an extra so I can't complain. In fact, I've had it before and think its a pretty good clean drinking ale, so here comes the review finally.

A: Nice frothy 2 finger head with some pot marks. Extremely brilliantly crystal clear with a very light amber color.

N: Some light toasty malts, amber ale malt aromas, and light earthy hops. Almost a slight banana aroma too, but that might be my imagination. Crisp aromas and pretty clean.

T: Pretty similar to what you would expect. Some nice toasty earthy malts, crystal malt flavors, some light caramel, earthy toasty malt flavors. The some light earthy hops that add a nice flavor. A slight malty sweetness and some very light fruity flavors.

M: Semi light, decent carbonation, crisp and refreshing.

F: Finishes semi bitter but pretty dry. Semi light but pretty crisp finishing flavors, reminiscent of a nice lager. A slight spice and some slight earthy flavors linger a bit. The nice malty flavor fades nicely but leaves the nice bitterness, which also doesn't hang out for long. Pretty crisp and refreshing.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reliable if not too exciting beer. An icon for the style.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Classic label design around the central image of an anchor surrounded by hops and malt. Neck label offers a narrative highlighting style and history and a description of the brew. Does not show date of bottling, and notes an all barley composition, but not Alc. by Vol. Poured at a bar into a bulbous. but not quite tulip, glass.

A - Pale amber color with a generous head that shows little retention and shrinks to faint lacing and a thin surface memory.

S - Light smell with a bit of bready malty and a remote fruity note with a fain hoppy sense.

T - Light malty sweetness with a nice soft bitter note.

M - Light body with generous carbonation that works well for the style.

D - It´s a nice go-to beer in the absence of more exciting options and certainly on another level altogether than most macro choices. For a light refreshing beer with a cogent and respectable character this is highly drinkable.

Notes: It is a good brew and is a pleasure to have it around. But style purity and all, there isn´t much to rave about. It´s pleasant to be had but much of the hype and claim to originality pivots around how it represents steam beers, which in fact and thanks to them is legally a void style since they trademarked the term and all other brewers are legally banned from using the definition commercially. The fact that thanks to them beers of this particular craft have to be called "California Common" after they appropriated a piece of shared culture does not raise much sympathy from me and certainly does not add to the drinking experience.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool stubby lil' bottle with the classic anchor and blue top. One of most tattoo ready bottle along with Miller High Life.

2 finger, pillowy white head leaves lace dripping from foam rings. Clear honeyed amber.

Light caramel grainy malt and fresh grapefruit with sugar on top.

Crisp and grainy yet light and toasty. Light apple juice fruits balance an earthy bitter...ah steam beer. What I think of when I hear the generalized word "beer."

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

Appearance: Vibrant, clear copper color with a enormous head.
Smell: Really deep earthy hops aroma.
Taste: Deep hoppy taste with an almost citrus finish. Very clean with a hint of malt flavor.
Drinkability and mouthfeel: Crisp/lightly carbonated so it goes down smooth. Easy to enjoy on any occasion. A real testament to the craft brewing movement in america.

Photo of glamphetamine
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a translucent red-orange brown. The head stays fluffy for a couple of minutes, eventually fading to a light layer of bubbles and leaving some lacing.

S - Slightly floral hop aroma with a hint of fruit and oak. Also has just a trace of corn or grain.

T - Very hoppy, mild bitter finish, slightly oaky and fruity. The finish presents a bitterness that doesn't quite hit until just after the beer has been swallowed. The aftertaste fades, though a pleasant trace remains for a while.

M - Carbonation is mild, not totally flat but doesn't seem to fizz. You can sip or gulp this and won't end up overloading on bubbles either way.

D - Very enjoyable, but I'd recommend not having two of these in a row so that you don't deaden yourself to the taste.

Photo of lester619
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've heard about how great this beer is for years. I waited until I got one free to try it. This is worth paying for. Dark gold boardering on red, big, thick dense rocky head. Clean, mallty, sweet, somewhat fruity nose. Nice sharp bite from the hops. More hoppy than I expected. Some grapefruit-citrus, then malty, yeasty finish. Pleasantly bitter aftertaste. This might not quite as great as some people have told me it was, but it's a very satisfying and drinkable well made brew.

Photo of Whiteweasel
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a seidel. Labeled 9SA

Appearance: Pours with a pleasing amount of head. Head is frothy and white, looks almost whipped. Stays around forever. Lacing is impressive but not the best ive ever seen. This head will not die, and seems to form a thick, solid entity all its own. Never seen anything like it Colour is an appetizing orangish-gold, perhaps goldenrod if you've ever seen the flower. Lots of little carbonation bubbles coming up to the top.

Smell: Not an incredibly strong smell from this one, so its very difficult to really say much. Smells flowerey, hoppy. Not much else can be detected

Taste: Oh wow. The taste. This is where the beer shines. Its quite hoppy and a little bitter, but with something else that is hard to describe. Theres some sort of bitter taste like a type of nuttiness, but a nuttiness completely unlike belgian yeast. It could be described as almost pecan-like. There is some sort of hops that I'm not familiar with (but I do like it).

Mouthfeel: Smooth, nice amount of carbonation. No bad aftertastes. Head is so creamy in your mouth; it becomes a quasi-solid conglomeration of foam. No boozy warmth, but a lot of refreshment.

Drinkability: This is a fantastically easy beer to drink, and one of the closest examples of what I think a session beer should be. Low abv, delicious, not too strong, but very complex in a subtle way.

Photo of heissebier
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first steamer, but I've heard good things.

Appearance- Buttery orange color with a nice, long lasting head that leaves good lacing.

Smell- Malty and hops, with a hint of fairly unusual spices.

Taste- Like steam, for real. Whoever named this beer is a genius! Tastes of hops, fruit, and sweetness (bubble gum?) bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation, very refreshing!

Drinkability- Excellent, low ABV and unique taste makes this a great session beer. Leaves me wanting more.

Photo of jsh420
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

code on the bottle 917

pours clear copper orange with a big 2+ finger head that leaves lacing down the glass

smells of malt and fresh fruit pears and apples

taste is very good - great balance of carmel malts along side fresh fruit apples and pears with a good bitter bite on the end

mouthfeel light/medium with good carbonation that gives it the beer both a smooth creamy feel but nice crisp as well

drinkability of this beer was great - by far the best anchor beer i have had

overall i was very suprised - i have many anchor steams through out the years and was never impressed but this bottle was great and kind of wish i would have bought a 6er instead of a single

Photo of nerow
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a simple, unpretentious beer. It pours a clean copper color, acceptable head, moderate lacing. This beer smells earthy and slightly sweet. Some absolutley charming floral flavors with a delightful semi-sweet aftertaste. Very clean mouthfeel, very easy to drink. If not for the price (10$ for a six-pack), this would be a fantastic sessioner.

Photo of selecter70
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite West Coast beers, maybe because it does not push the hop envelope, but rather seeks a nice balance for a great drinkable lager. A nice clean bright pour settles to a darker copper with decent white head, some lace & good biting carbonation. The aroma hints at more floral hops than malt, whereas the flavor mates some clean bright hops with roasted malt in a good earthy way. Just a simply great all around refreshing beer.

Photo of NicholasSchell
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into U.S. Pint glass, medium/medium-dark amber color, clear, 1 finger head dissipates to 1/2 finger with decent lacing and retention for the amount of head, appears to be pleasantly bubbly.

S- Inviting warm malty scent. Earthy. Smells like Fall. Faint hoppiness.

T- Slighty more hoppy than the smell suggests. Good malt flavor, not too sweet. Taste lingers, promoting frequent glass to mouth contact.

M- Medium body, perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Very drinkable, great candidate for a session.

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

Pours a deep amber color with a thick fluffy head that sticks around forever. Smells of earthy hops, a bit of toffee, and sweet grainy malt. The taste follows the aroma. Earthy hops and sweet malt with a long lingering mild hop bitterness in the finish. Medium body, creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. I drank a lot of this beer in the mid nineties it was somewhat of a gateway beer for me. Delicious in its simplicity, yet interesting enough for my ever changing palette. Great session beer!

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

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

Appearance is a mostly clear amber orange with a one-finger off white head. Pretty good retention.

Smell is of slightly sweet malts and a little bit of hops. A mild hint of spice.

Taste is similar to the smell. Hops are present as well as the malts. A mild amount of bitterness, almost reminds me of an APA.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy.

Drinkability is good. It goes down pretty easy and has a nice taste. I'd have a few more but its not something I'd go crazy for.

Photo of dcxxray
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the most unique lagers. I've never seen a beer with better head than this beer. It doesn't have a strong smell. As far as drinkability goes, you can drink this beer pretty much anywhere. If you're a fan of lagers, you have to give this a try.

Photo of mightymoksha
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in pint glass.

Pours a translucent, dark amber, with a rich, off-white head. Mild retention and lacing.

Clean, earthy aroma, with hints of toffee and raw pecans.

First up is a soft hop bitterness, followed by a clean, mild malty sweetness and notes of lemon and very faint caramel. The latter become more prominent in the dry, prickly aftertaste.

Full-bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation make this beer very pleasant on the palate.

Very drinkable. When suggesting new beers for friends unfamiliar with craft brews, this guy is one of the first on the list.

Photo of bonkers
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. It pours a clear copper with a long lasting 2 finger white head. The aroma is earthy, bready with a bit of sweetness. The flavor is pleasantly bitter with a dry, bitter finish that lingers. The beer is medium bodied and IMO very sessionable. A great all around beer.

Photo of BeerCon5
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy/cloudy dark amber color, with thick off-white bubbly head.

The scent is mostly of caramel malts.

Toasted caramel malts are apparent, dry bitter hoppiness, and some citrus.

Full bodied, creamy feel with low carbonation.

Very tasty and complex beer.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Slightly hazy light amber. Fizzy white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Some carbonation is present.

S - Baked bread aroma with a mildly spicy citrusy hop overtone. Nice, but very mild.

T/M - This is where it loses me. Hops hit, but leave no flavor. Malts are mildly sweet, but not compelling. Mouthfeel is at least clean.

D - Fair drinkability. It's standard beer. Nothing special in my book.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: completely transparent with a nice golden hue; head is giant, white and tenacious.

Smell: smell is subtle but interesting; getting a nice fruity maltiness.

Taste: very dry malt flavor with a hint of graininess. Hops are floral in character and sparing in presence, but overall it's a pretty good effect. I can't put my finger on it, but this beer really reminds me of autumn.

Mouthfeel: body is light side of medium and there is a tiny bit of an astringent quality which is interesting.

Drinkability: this is a very interesting beer to me which I like because it is different. I think it would pair great with something unctuous like salmon or fried whitefish.

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

On a trip to San Francisco I drank quite a bit of this stuff from the hotel bar. I'd had it in the bottles at home a few times before, but this is just so much better off tap. Needless to say I saw pleasantly surprised when I fould this on tap locally at Mr. Dunderbak's.

Pours a nice amber color with a nice head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smells like nice malts with a bit of hops thrown in there.

The taste is much like the smell, lots of sweet maltiness with a little bitter bite at the end.

This beer goes down very smooth. It is fairly creamy with a nice balance.

Very drinkable, one of my favorite tap offerings. This keg traveled particularly well. If it wasn't for the distance I would have this beer as often as I can.

Photo of t3hcho53non3
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Orangish hazy color with almost no head, but good lacing

S: Caramel, bready, some fruitiness

T: Earthy, bready malt that is semi sweet but at the same time somewhat bitter at the end. Malts vs. hops is clearly seperated.

M: Light body, medium/highly carbonated. Very dry finish

D: Not something that I would have on a regular basis. Not very complex and after one you have this style down.

Photo of BierFan
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice sized light tan head. Amber/coppery body.

Smell: It smells a bit like a German oktoberfest.

Taste: More complex than I was expecting. Some caramel, sulfur/minerals, medium bitterness.

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.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,061 ratings.