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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

4,526 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,526
Reviews: 1,837
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 121
Gots: 288 | 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: 4,526 | Reviews: 1,837 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Damian


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep crimson-amber with a large, pillowy head. Lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma was intensely hoppy with some malts becoming noticeable mid-glass.

Taste was similar to smell. Hoppy and bitter from start to finish. The beer seemed to have a slight metallic taste at first, but this later subsided.

Rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2006 03:54:02 | More by Damian
Photo of SkeeterHawk


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

Appearance: Pours a light amber color with a 1/4" head of small off-white bubbles on top. The head fell slowly and ended up as a ring around the top of the beer within a minute or so. There are quite a few bubbles rising that keep the layer of bubbles on top of the beer for quite some time. There is quite a bit of Belgian Lace left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: The aroma reminds me of light caramel and bread first off. There is a very distinct buttery quality to the malt. I do get some hops, but this is a subtle piney aroma deep in there somewhere.

Taste: The flavor also has that sweet caramel buttery malt thing going on. The hops are more pronounced in the flavor as compared to the aroma. The malt coexists with a noticeable metallic note...all the while this metallic has a slightly chalky undertone to it. The finish is pretty balanced with the malt being pretty much in charge, but it is challenged by the bittering hops and the water profile. Late in the finish, there is a defined fruity note taking over to linger. There is no alcohol noticeable.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer, and the beer that defines this style. How can I take points off of it, because it is the style? Hmmm. Well, I will grade it based more on my interpretation of the melding of the flavors rather than how it fits the category. I like it, but wish that the whole water hop balance made it easier to drink. To my recollection, this beer tastes a lot better in San Francisco, so I would like to try it again there.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2006 21:46:36 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of neenerzig


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

This is definetely the type of beer that is good on a warm summer night, like tonight. Very refreshing indeed. Pours a medium golden/orange color with a nice head an inch thick. The head starts to disappear rather quickly, leaving some nice lacing. Aromas of malt and hops are dominant. Some hints of citrus and other fruits may also be present. Tastewise there is a sweet malty taste upfront followed by a bit of hop bitterness and some definite hints of citrus. This beer has a nice smooth and crisp, refreshing mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This beer was indeed refreshing on this hot night that I drank it. This beer is quite easy to drink indeed.


Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 03:46:03 | More by neenerzig
Photo of xzqrut


4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice orangish gold color, with decent head, decent retention, good lacing. Smell was light, with classic malt, seemed like some sweet tones as well. Mouthfeel was creamy, light, and crisp. The Steam Beer had a great crisp taste, light and refreshing, with its sweet and bitter flavors in excellent balance. Very drinkable, very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 00:25:45 | More by xzqrut
Photo of haz77


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Pours a hazy orangey-amber with an inch of tight creamy head. Patches of lacing are left behind as this falls.

S – Grassy hops, honey, caramel, light fruit in the background.

T – Initial sweetness gives way to a gentle bitterness with some background citrus notes. Finish and aftertaste is long, bitter and dry.

M – Medium body and carbonation.

D – Good, easy-drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2006 14:27:03 | More by haz77
Photo of mithrascruor


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle in a glass at a restaurant.

Pours a slightly hazy amber color -- not too dark, and with a fair amount of visible carbonation. Smells of malts, grains, and some hops. Taste is similar, but with a bit of added florals. Mildly bitter aftertaste. Feels fairly smooth, but there's way too much carbonation. Overall, a decent, better-than-average beer with a nice taste, but it's nothing special. I'd probably get it at a restaurant again, but it seems a bit expensive for what it is in the store.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2006 00:53:22 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of Georgiabeer


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

Pours a dark amber with a tan head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is mostly of malt- fairly light, and pleasing.

The taste is balanced, a little spicy, followed by some hop bitterness, followed by a lager aftertaste and some malt on the finish. Very bready tasting.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and fairly highly carbonated.

Quite drinkable- has enough interesting flavors to hold your interest, but also is crisp and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 01:22:18 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of MusicmanSD


4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Along with the Franziskaner, one of the bests readily available beers you can buy. Anchor Steam pours a very nice red amber color along with a off white head that sticks around till you finish your pint. That ante's up the respect right there! The smell is floral and has an awesomely balanced complexion of hoppy bitterness and malt. Reminds me a lot of a Sam Adams Boston Lager, but with more flavor and craft. The taste is orgasmic in words. Has a carmel-like initial flavor and then heeds way to the malt, which is quite sweet. The mouthfeel is nice and heavy, makes you think twice about it being a lager! Drinkability is that of a hefe in my opinion, very smooth and balanced. The steaming process leaves it wickedly smooth, and I love it! Anchor pretty much re-invented this style of beers from the grave, and it’s added quite a unique beer to the styles of beer from around the world. It has the character of a hefeweizen and Vienna lager, which is a good mix to go with! Very tasty indeed.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2006 04:21:28 | More by MusicmanSD
Photo of tempest


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

On par with a craft amber ale. I cant say I can pick out the difference aside from more hops. Looks amber with a nice white head. Smells very caramel and tastes it with a nicely balanced bitterness. A pleasure to drink and great with rich food. I get a hint of alcohol as it warms, but thats really the only bad thing I can say. Cheers to this classic.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 22:26:02 | More by tempest
Photo of jamie2dope


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't really know why, but I just find it pretty awesome that this brewery developed their own beer, which eventually became a style all its own. Anyway, enough blabbing...Anchor Steam pours an attractive clear copper, with a smooth, thin white lace heading. Smell was somehwhat weak, but not bad at all. I picked up on some malty biscuit smells, along with a light touch of honey and carmel. Taste was very bitter, with the dark carmel and honey flavors showing up somewhere in the middle. Not too carbonated or big on the hops, but the malt bitterness makes up for it. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied and very easy to drink. I see this beer as being somewhat of an acquired taste. This is my second sampling of the beer, and I have to say that I like it a whole lot more then my first time around. Its one that seems to keep growing on you.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 20:32:29 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of plaztikjezuz


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

bought a 12 oz bottle at world market in lansing michigan. ($1.49)
pours a deep copper with a off white head that was about a finger thick.
the aroma is malt, hint of hops, hint of peaches.
the flavor is malty, hopsack, grassy, mineraly, clean, finishes with a lingering hop flavor.
anchor steam is a great beer, easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 03:34:39 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of edskirk3


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

Served in a pint glass at The Druid's Keep in Philadelphia.

Brown-amber with a creamy off-white head; aroma of caramel, toasted malt, and hops.

Unique and complex. Starts off with almost astringent bitterness from either hops or toasted/roasted malts. Seems to lean more towards the hop end. After this the sweetness of caramel malts comes through. Then there's another round of bitterness, different from before. Almost like citrus. It all ends with more hop character. This beer has everything, it seems. It's not too light, not too heavy. Appears to be a sessionable brew as well.

I'd buy it again if the opportunity arose.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2006 21:15:41 | More by edskirk3
Photo of msubulldog25


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

poured from bottle into goblet, Concordia Ale House

A: A warm reddish amber with a very frothy, 2-finger white head. Well carbonated - a beauty!
S: Lots of malt sweetness but with some overlaying citrus hop. Not really so bitter smelling -maybe sour (lemons?). I
T: Sharp dry bitterness with big tasty roasted malt to follow. It's a difficult flavor combination to describe - it's creamy, yet a bit acidic. It's bitter, yet it's malty sweet. A unique flavor - it's been years since I've had an Anchor Steam, nice to be reintroduced.
M: With the higher carbonation, this is a mildly prickly beer in terms of mouthfeel. There is a nice fullness of flavor and a good bitter hoppiness in the finish.
D: Excellent flavor from a solid beer that's stood the test of time.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2006 00:20:03 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Liquids


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally a chance to try this classic, in the bottle. Pours a middle of the road, muted amber with a full foamy off white head. Lots of visible, small-bubbled carbonation. Extra points for leaving a dolop at the bottom of the pint glass, mmm. Smells very american, with distinct lager aromas. Also seems as though some of the hops are 'noble' though. A small amount of alcohol detected as well.

Taste...here comes the heresy. This reminds me of Sam Adams Lager. No, really. Actually, I had this for the first time on tap at a restaurant about two months ago, and after sipping it, I was convinced is was the wrong pour--tastes a lot like Sam Adams--maybe it's the Dos Equis by accident or they hooked up the wrong keg? I asked for a side sample to make sure it was the right pour, the waitress was accomodating, but the flavors matched. Idiot. So I assumed I was crazy, or they hooked up the wrong tap... But now drinking this, sure of what I'm drinking, I taste the similarity, it's there. It's milder than Sam Adams, slightly less hops and slightly more american flavor, a bit less salty, but in the same league. Certainly a bit fruitier and a bit more ale like, but these are subtle variations. Hops resins remain on the tounge. The malts flavor is gentle. Finishes rather dry also. As for mouthfeel, it's medium and rather carbonated on the tounge.

This is a good beer and even more drinkable than Sam. I like the idea of lagers at ale temps, but it truly is subtle variant for a lager. This beer is a good pick, and I'd love to do a side-by side with the two beers.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 15:01:34 | More by Liquids
Photo of ArcTeryx


3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber with an orange-ish hue. There is a thick, slightly creamy looking head present. After the beer settled a bit, there was a small amount of lacing. This beverage smelled of caramel, with a slight citrus aroma as well.

This beer has a certain maltiness throughout, with a very light citrus flavor. There is a small amount of hoppiness in the aftertaste.

This is a tasty beer, with a good flavor. For me though, it has a bit too much maltiness to really be viable for sessionability. However, as previously suggested by others, this is a great beer for summertime, so drink up!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2006 01:49:05 | More by ArcTeryx
Photo of HoustonTX


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pale cloudy copper color, with a red hue. Small amount of head/lacing.

S - Earthy malts/alcohol.

T - Medium-bodied, light roasty malts, earthy tones, small citrus twang, and hop biterness which is pronounced from start to end. Leaves a clean perfectly bitter aftertaste.

M - Adequate carbonation and tasty on the palte.

Smooth drinking beer, and ultra unique. Definitely a solid brew for any occasion and one that I will be going back to in the near future. A must try.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2006 01:32:11 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of edmundfitzoil


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer poured from a plain, but distinctive brown glass bottle into a standard pint glass. There appeared to have a date marking of some sort on the back of the bottle, but it was ripped.

This beer poured a simple, light, clear amber with a finger of tan head that left a constant film of tiny bubbles. The nose was a direct malt tones. The flavor surprised. I've admittedly had this beer before multiple times, and enjoyed it each time, but I had not remembered such a well rounded, and deliciously (lightly) hopped brew. The beer is light - a good warm weather beer - and light on the pallette but still with a well balanced taste. More complexities hang in it than the average lager, and I wonder or personally guess that the warmer temps at which its fermented is the cause.

This is one pretty available, light and easily sessionable beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2006 01:12:30 | More by edmundfitzoil
Photo of frazbri


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam poured golden and bright topped by a creamy, white head. Aroma of citrus zest and honey. Flavors of honey and orange with clean bitterness. Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation.

Anchor Steam is classic refreshing beer. It's not incredibly complex, but it has distinctive charactor. We're blessed Anchor Steam has survived when so many other regional breweries have long since failed.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2006 22:44:32 | More by frazbri
Photo of jpkoch1962


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many years ago - about 20 - my father brought this now famous beer back from a trip to the West Coast. Like other people, I fell in love with Anchor Steam from the get go. The beer hasn't changed, but I have.

Served from a bottle at 40 Deg. The color is a deep amber. My pint glass overflowed with a highly carbonated head that left faint lacing.I could detect the Northern Brewer Hop aroma, along with some grainy malt. The front end was a bit rough as this highly hopped beer is dominated by floral citrusy hops. The mouth feel was warm and smooth, but the malts struggled to get through. The middle mellowed some, but the hops had the last say. The finish was dry, crisp and bitter.

Anchor's flagship beer is still good, but I suppose my tastes have changed. I also wonder, if Anchor increased the hop bill a bit since the mid 80s, as I don't remember this beer being quite so hoppy.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2006 17:43:22 | More by jpkoch1962
Photo of veech


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

Served in a standard pint glass
The beer pours a gorgeous copper color with a medium head and light lacing. The aroma is that of citrus and mild hops. It is very palatable with mild hoppiness and light citrus undertones. The mouthfeel is substantial and a little more than I expected. The taste is a bready yeast with the aforementioned nuances. As I try to partake of the local offerings when visiting a city, I reverted back to Anchor Steam when a particular SF restaurant had a more limited beer menu. It's superior drinkability paired well with food or multiple pints in a session. As an aside, it was also nice to see it in stores priced less than $10 a six pack, even if it had to be in it's hometown.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2006 00:56:54 | More by veech
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A - Pours out a nice fairly transparant but deep amber color with a foamy two finger head. Lots of bubbles rushing to the top of the beer. The head has nice staying power.

S - Some sweet aromas with a bit of fruitiness in there. A bit of a metallic aroma as well but not a whole lot.

T - A nice sweet smooth taste that finishes really clean. Overall a nice taste that doesn't overpower.

M - A nice easy drinker. Fairly light bodied.

D - Definitely a quaffable session lager type. Not my favorite style but nice to go down very cool on a hot day.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2006 22:23:01 | More by EStreet20
Photo of ultralarry2006


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

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber. Left a one finger head that receded to lasting surface skim, with little lacing. Body was an orange copper.

Smell - esters, diacetyl, toasty malt, and some lemony hops.

Taste - almost exactly like the smell, except far less diacetyl present in the taste. Toasty malt, lemon hops. Some tea (malt) with lemon (hops), also. Diacetyl also seems to dissappear as ale warms. Normally diacetyl ruins a beer for me, but it is tolerable, even a little enjoyable here.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, goes down well. Very sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2006 18:05:11 | More by ultralarry2006
Photo of bort11


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a 4th of July weekend cookout.
12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Chunky white head, about 2-3 fingers width. Head quickly recedes, but leaves a moderately sticky lace. Color is a clear amber. Smell is slightly sweet like honey and malt, and a slight hop tang. Taste is a very balanced between malt and hops, one not overpowering the other. Finishes just slightly bitter. Mouthfeel is light to medium body Moderate carbonation. This is very easy to drink, and I'm sure I'm going to finish the six pack this evening. Quite quaffable and refreshing

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2006 01:27:41 | More by bort11
Photo of jettjon


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Highs: Mouth, flavor
Lows: None

Sometimes it pays attention to know the background of the beer your drinking. Usually, though I try to judge a beer on its own merits. Anchor Steam Beer, though, shines on both counts. At first, I didn’t really know what it was supposed to be. I was guessing a pale ale. As it turns out, it’s a great representation of the Steam Beer or California Common style. Either way, it’s a noteworthy brew.

Pours a clear amber color beneath a thick, creamy 2-finger head that fades away slowly leaving behind good lacing. Nose is mostly malt. Taste starts with semisweet malt but finishes dry on a bitter hopsy note. Presenting like an ale so far. Mouth is semi-creamy and smooth; quite good. Drinkability is very good. This is a substantial, tasty beer.

Overall: Never had a “Steam Beer?” This one presents like a great pale ale, with good flavor and a good mouthfeel. Very enjoyable. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2006 22:06:40 | More by jettjon
Photo of RJLarse


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

I picked up a couple of bottles of Anchor Steam beer at a grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a pale amber color and is clear. A thick creamy head forms and is quite resilient. The beer appears mildly carbonated.

The smell is sweet and fruity. There is a floral scent along with an aroma of grain.

The taste is generally unremarkable. A heavy cereal or biscuit flavor up front, followed by a mildly bitter hop taste.

The mouth feel is dry and perhaps a bit flat.

This is a drinkable beer. It’s a bit average in terms of taste, but a drinkable beer just the same.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2006 00:35:10 | More by RJLarse
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,526 ratings.