1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

5,135 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,135
Reviews: 1,900
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 148
Gots: 587 | 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.
View: Beers (23) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,135 | Reviews: 1,900 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IronCitySteve
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pouts a clear amber color. Provides a two finger foam head with some good lasting lacing.

S: Lots of malt character, mostly caramel, bread, toast. A decent amount of floral and citrus hops to hit the nose.

T: A well balanced mix between the sweet caramel and bready malt and the floral hops.

M: Leaves a slightly creamy taste on the palate.

D: Easy to drink and low ABV. Very tasty and a San Francisco legend.

Photo of SkunkWorks
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Not much head formation. Its a nice amber color with a little reddishness to it and a bit of cloudiness. The aroma is a nice, malty aroma with some woodiness (similar to a Scottish Ale). The taste is a little bitter up front and finishes very sweetly with a taste similar to the smell. Its pretty light in body and very drinkable and refreshing and would make a good session beer. Cheers.

Photo of billez62
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorites and one of the first micros .
No wonder Fritz bought the company .
You can't go wrong with this beer .It is very drinkable with a full flavor not as much depth to to taste for some but it's classic .I have never had it on draft but I imagine it must make it even better.

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

Gift single from my girlfriend. Anchor Steam Beer is something I have often seen but never purchased. I should have tried this one sooner.
Poured into a frozen pint glass.

A: Amber brown color, awesome head with retention throughout the consumption. Nice lace around the head.

S: Very light wheaty, grassy, fragrant goodness with a little hint of hops in there.

T: Nothing too complex here. The hops is excellent, not too bitter. Getting something green in the finish and the aftertaste is awesome.

Drinkability: A solid, smooth drinking beer. Definitely get a sixer.

Value: You can buy a six of draff for about three bucks less, or ante up the extra few bucks for some excellent beer and get Anchor Steam. I know what I'd choose...

Photo of batty
4.88/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

classic of classics.. can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. bought and drank in Cambridge, MA, December 2009.

The ratings pretty much tell all - California Common is generally not a style I would frequent, but it fills an excellent gap in times of need. and this, well.. i'm not sure I could ask for more.

pours a crystal clear golden-amber, bubbles continue to rise and thick foam STAYS very well throughout my drinking experience. great lace.

smell is difficult to describe - very unique and strong, not too deep, but a bit of a musty caramel-toffee.

all the crispness of a summer lager, while maintaining a great snap of light fruits and a nice little hop bite. not getting much of citrus on the hops, but a nice earthy and green flavor, very well balanced, awesome.

In terms of mouthfeel I couldn't ask for more - thick and smooth, yet just thin enough to go down perfect and refreshing,

crisp at the end but not overly biting, aftertaste lingers for just a bit, inviting another taste, and at 4.9%, this is a session if ever there was one.

again, not necessarily my favorite style, but when it comes down to it.. I don't think there's much that could improve this beer. excellent work.

Photo of kpoole25
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle to glass. Pours a light amber, pretty dark for a lager. Smells like typical lager / Bud smell. On taste, really like the balance...full flavored, a bit like a Marzen or Oktoberfest. Carbonation was moderate, where I like it. Overall a really good, drinkable beer. All the Anchor's I've had I really enjoyed.

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

Clear amber with a nice, bubbly, off-white head and decent head retention. Good lace.

Fragrant, sweet caramel malt, some crackery aromas and a light hop-bitterness to balance.

Flavors are also of a crackery malt character with some biscuit followed by a dry crispness and nice balance of citrusy hops. Finish is dry and maybe a bit astringent.

Mouthfeel is light-medium with lots of carbonation.

I hadn't had one of these since before I really started to appreciate craft beer. I knew I'd liked it, but now I'm pretty it's an excellent session beer, and one I'll come back to as a stand-by from now on.

Photo of Josievan
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is your average copper tint. Head is substantial. What is impressive is the amount of lacing on this sucker. It's like fizzy octopus tentacles climbing up the mug to greet me.

Smell: Malt is prominent, with hops in the background.

Taste: Malty like a good lager. It's bitter while in the mouth, but a sweetness comes through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Decent body. Well-carbonated.

Drinkability: Definitely a session candidate. Unoffensive, yet flavorful, with a low ABV.

Notes: This was my first steam beer. I guess this makes sense since this is apparently the original steam beer. I know this style combines elements of lagers and ales, but this beer definitely seemed like a hearty lager to me. In particular it seemed similar to an Octoberfest lager, which is not a bad thing at all. The next time I want a malty lagerish beer when its not October, I'll think of this.

Photo of GJ40
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass. Purchased from Lowes Foods in Apex, NC. Brewed on date is "9OU" (Oct 21, 2009?).

Copper with great clarity and a moderate tan head. Aroma is spicy, bready and crisp with a touch of black pepper. It's very close to a Pilsner. The flavor is dry with toasted malt and a mild bitterness. I haven't had this in a while and I can definitely get the lager characteristics despite warmer fermentation. The consistency is moderate and the carbonation is a bit on the high side.

This is a fun, drinkable session beer. I prefer it on tap close to the brewery but it's still good in the bottle.

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

Poured into Sam Adams boston lager glass

A: pours amber orange with a frothy white 2 finger head that is falling slowly as i type.
S: malty, with a light almost banana, with a citrus background.
T: toasted malt, light hop bitterness, slightly sweet aftertaste.
M: medium carbonation, kind of chewy.
D: very, would be great pizza beer, just need some pizza. glad i bought in a six pack and not a single.

Photo of alkemy
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Frothy white head with quite a bit of staying power atop a golden orange/copper colored brew. This was one of my early forays into craft beer, and I still have a soft spot for it. Malt and earthy, floral hop scents. Taste is much of the same. It's a really nice balance between that initial crisp bite of hops and the not too sweet malt on the back end. Low ABV makes this very sessionable as well.

Photo of craftaholic
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a chubby little 12 oz into a perfect pint. The hue was a crystal clear tangerine with strands of carbonation throughout like a zesty soda. The head was a thick 2 inch frothy soap scum of a head.

Smell: The aroma is filled with grains and bready malts as well as just touches of hop. There is a surprisingly undertone of fresh apple and raisins as well.

Taste: This brew screams grains and earthy tones like grass and floral chrysanthemum. There is some peppery spice and zest in this one but nothing overpowers the grain.

Mouthfeel: It was quite light bodied but yet very fluffy. The aftertaste was very dry and had a crisp hop character.

Drinkability: Looking for a tasty and non extreme, good ol american craft then this one fits the bill at a "session brew" standard.

Overall: I wasn't really sure what to expect with this one but it is definitely quenching. There isnt a distinct and unique flavor but rather a melody of grain that is traditional and non offensive.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Cool, old school fatty bottle with a blue cap that offsets the label nicely. Poured into a pilsner glass, this beer achieves 2-finger high pillow of froth. The retention is maintained by tons of effervescence seen through a clear goldenrod colored lager. As a result there is thick lacing all the way down.

S- Not much in the nose. No hop presence. Just some grain. Your typical beer smell...

T- Smooth, crisp and grainy with a touch of tea. Nothing amazing but very well composed.

M- Sharp, crisp and highly carbonated.

D- Highly drinkable. This is a great alternative to all the macros out there.

This beer vindicates the reputation light lagers have.

Photo of sevenredrabbits
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This would make a great session beer if it wasn't so expensive. Not incredibly intoxicating and I could easily drink this all night long without being overwhelmed.

Poured into Pint glass. Head was two fingers for about 30-45 seconds.

Appearance : Amber. Exactly what you would call amber.

Smell : Scent was not overpowering. Nothing citrus or floral.
Grainy if anything.

Taste : Cereal. tea.

Mouthfeel : Not too bitter. Not overly carbonated. Really a pleasant experience.

Drinkability : see first paragraph.

$10.79 for a 6 @ local package store.

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

Pours a hazy copper color with a full frothy off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Smell is of fresh whole gain bread with a earthy and floral hop presence. Taste brings what the scent dictated with the multigrain bread and earthy and floral hops up front but with a presence of carmel and fruit in the background. The only knock is the presence of a faint metallic and sulfry taste on the finnish. Medium bodied, fully carbonated. Very unique beer, hard pressed to find a beer with this flavor profile.

Photo of californiakulak
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into my Anchor Steam pint glass. The bottle for this beer in very cool. Maybe the coolest bottle that I have seen, for whatever thats worth.

A. Poured into the pint glass and a beautiful, thick, firm head of about 1.5 inches formed. It lasted for a good amount of time. The color of the beer was a brilliant amber color.

S. It smells of sweet, caramel malt. Some bready scents as well. The aroma is balanced out with some nice hop scents.

T. It is a good beer. Hard to describe. A very good combination of malt flavors and hop bite. It has a bready flavor but isn't too sweet. I like it.

M. This beer had a crisp finish. Very high carbonation and just enough bitterness. A pretty dry finish.

D. This beer is extremely drinkable. It goes down easy. Low alcohol makes this a very sessionable beer. I hope to get a keg of this into my kegerator in the near future.

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

Appearance: It had a brownish color that wasn't too dark. It was semi-transparent with a fair head.

Smell: Has a sweet malt smell with just a hint of hops to balance it out. To me, it kind of smelled like a standard beer.

Taste: Interesting. It has almost a slightly roasted taste that has hints of fruit hidden in the background. Smooth.

Mouthfeel: This was a little thinner than expected, but it has a fair body.

Drinkability: It's pretty good. Certainly something I could get again.

Photo of fakedelight
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a light amber with a three-finger white fluffy head that lasted about half way. Tons of bubbles race to the top of the glass.

Smells of hops and sweet malt.

Tastes slightly grainy, slightly sweet with a touch of hop flavor and a little bitterness. The finish is a little more bitter. Extremely balanced.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick, but not syrupy. Very full, which is complimented by the high carbonation.

This is possibly the most balanced beer I have ever had. It is a great session beer, but is also satisfying enough to have just one.

Photo of jgasparine
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- An aggressive pour yielded a 1/2" cream colored head, which slowly dissipated to reveal some little bits of edge lacing. The body is a bright orange-amber with some picturesque lazy bubble trains observed from the sides of the glass.

S- Crackerlike malt, ripe fruit (yellow raisin, banana, and gala apples), and some vinous notes appear on the nose... yet no detectable hop aroma...

T- Clean and crisp with moderate crackerlike malt flavor and some restrained fruitiness. The hops just *barely* emerge in the finish as a mild bitterness.

M- Medium body. Well attenuated, yet with a little viscocity to it. The carbonation is so soft it is almost impereceptible.

D- OH YEAH. Super drinkable... and as expected the "clean crispness" of a lager with the fruitiness of an ale. Just amazing... and it is also great to put an ultra classic like Anchor Steam to the lips... it's like drinking history!

Photo of weeare138
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I've never reviewed this. This is the one that started the craft brew craze many, many years ago...
On tap at Maggiano's KOP.
Appears a copper toned gold with a small, fizzy white head that slowly fades into a gentle floating cap.
Smell is of caramel, floral citrus, with a touch of biscuit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a balanced flavor of caramel and light hops the meld together nicely.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly carbonated, balanced, a tiny bit sweet, and very drinkable.

Photo of zoso493
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a nice honey amber with just exactly the right amount of head to fill my pint glass. Actually, there's some honey sitting right next to the glass, and the colors are almost indistinguishable. The head fizzles and pops a bit as it makes its way down the glass, leaving some lacing on its way. Looks a touch too translucent for me, though.

Smell: Pretty nondescript scent. There are some faint traces of sweet malts and even fainter traces of grassy hops. I'm also picking up some grains and maybe even some hay somewhere in the background. You really have to strain to get much out of the nose.

Taste: Tastes of light, earthy hops with a stronger (stronger than the hops I mean) malt backbone. The finish is quite drawn out on the malts, I think. I can see now that this beer may be more popular because of the uniqueness of its style than the taste, which is fine by me.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side of things with a medium amount of carbonation. The aftertaste may last a bit too long, as well.

Drinkabillty: Drinkability is pretty high. Really light beer with a low ABV that you could definitely make a session of, if need be.

Overall, a solid and unique beer. As I'm in Scotland at the moment, I have my reservations about the freshness of this beer, so I hope I can try it again stateside. Still, it's a beer everyone should try and I would gladly drink it again.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a perfect amount of head that fades very slowly, the head looks rather creamy and maintains a nice cap. Would have been a perfect 5 had it not been for some large chucks of what appears to be sediment, since I'm under the impression this isn't bottle conditioned.

Smell is mostly sweet malt, not much else and seems rather one noted.

Taste is also controlled by the sweet malt but has a slight floral bitterness in the aftertaste, the mouthfeel is quite creamy which is rather surprising but pleasant.

I don't have too much experience with steam beers, but I know this is the most popular of the style with good reason.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A-Pristine amber beer. Tan head, 2-finger off the pour, receded at a medium pace to a thin layer, which soon dissipated.

S-Herbal and spicy with a bit of sweet toasty malt underneath.

T-Starts with a slight hint of herbal hop with a bit of black pepper spice, which goes quickly to a full-blown earthy, spicy hoppiness, accompanied by an assertive bitterness. Malt presence is crisp and relatively dry, with a biscuity, bready aspect. Finishes bitter and dry.

M-Medium-light body, spurned on by the hop bitterness. Carbonation is moderate-level, almost moderate-high, but it goes pretty nicely with this brews character.

D-Pretty drinkable, though I have found it is almost a bit too herbal/bitter for a longer session.

One bottle of a mixed sixer I received from my parents for my 26th birthday.

Photo of Brabander
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Traded this beer in the Craked Kettle shop in Amsterdam.

This is my first american beer for years. The beer has a rather pleasant smell after opening the bottle and pouring the beer in a (Bavaria) glass.

The beer has a copper color and the head sticks on the glass. First taste is a bit caramel or hop.

Enjoyed the beer really even when this is not my type of beer.

At the end the head began to taste a bit chemical. I have this same problem with Heineken.

Overall a nice and drinkable beer.

Photo of Rayek
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,135 ratings.