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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

4,889 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,889
Reviews: 1,863
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 132
Gots: 413 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,889 | Reviews: 1,863 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerTruth
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear light copper hue with a one finger big bubbled head that quickly dies down to a small, thin layer. Stickiness is very minimal and weak. Smell is a nice fresh floral aroma with a sweet light caramel malt. Some light citric fruit is present in the nose as well. Taste is a bit metallic at first but the caramel malt becomes present. Caramel and a hint of light milk chocolate is then followed by a grassy floral taste on the tongue. Aftertaste is a bit bland with a cardboard like flavor. Mouthfeel is slick and light bodied with a good full carbonation. Nice crisp session brew that can be enjoyable at all times of the year.

BeerTruth, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of BravoTwo
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Good amber coloration, with a good thick head and pleasing overall apperance.

S - Average smell, with a little maltiness and sweetness.

T - Good malty taste, very clean flavors. A little hops bite came in the finish, but only enought to be interestin without being overpowering.

M - Clean mouthfeel, with solid carbonation. Not too much as to be sharp, but started out in the mouth very crisply.

D - Very fine drinkability here, easily sessionable and all-around tasty. I could easily drink a few of these and feel good about it.

BravoTwo, Oct 20, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours copper/amber with a half inch white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like caramel, bread/grain, toasted malt and some citrusy hops. Taste is same as the aroma, but it starts out hoppy, then comes the malty sweetness, and finally it leaves a bitter hoppy aftertaste. Pretty nice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it has a good amount of carbonation and is crisp. Drinkability is good, it goes down smooth and it's easy to drink. I think it's a good overall beer, a pretty decent choice as a session beer.

bluejacket74, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of number1bum
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours out a light amber, slightly orangeish color, with a an off-white inch of head. Retains a nice thin lace, especially around the rim.

Smells of lightly toasted malt and light caramel sweetness, with some light citrus and floral hop aromas. The smell is pleasant and balanced, but light (have I said that enough?)

Tastes a lot like the smell, with toasted malt and a mild sweetness dominating along with just a bit of hop bitterness and citrusy hop flavor. Very well balanced and very refreshing. Crisp carbonation and a nice medium body, yet light on the palate. I could drink this beer all night, a great session beer.

number1bum, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of flowerysong
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy light copper with lots of bubbles.

Smell: Mild breadiness, earthy malt, and faint caramel notes.

Taste: Begins with a sharp citrus hop bitterness, which gradually falls away leaving an intensely malty finish. Some fruitiness in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Mildly drying finish, full body, lively carbonation.

Drinkability: Flavourful and full of character, nice crisp taste and very pleasant to drink.

flowerysong, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of Umbra
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Burnt amber brew with a thick two fingered head. Decent retention and lacing. Aroma of bread and slight hops.
Flavor changes and is more complex than I remember. Initially hoppy in an English bitter sort of way. That changes towards the middle and end of the brew, where it becomes more caramel with a chalky, dry finish. Mouthfeel is medium and more hearty than expected. However, it's dryness and complexity would lead one to call this an excellent session.

Umbra, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of ryalmighty1
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer actually reminded me of a mild English Bitter almost. Had it at a local Ted's with a Bison Steak. Very good choice. On tap in an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Nice copper/caramel color to it. Small head that faded quickly. No lacing, but bubbly from good carbonation.

Smell: Earthy malts and wood notes, caramel. A little citrus, very fruity though.

Taste: Malty, but mostly a bitter, slighty citrus taste. Definitely could taste grapes in there for some reason.

Mouthfeel: Not really creamy, but smooth. High carbonation, very crisp. Good alternative to a macro brew.

Drinkability: Smooth enough to be enjoyable back to back, bitter enough to keep it from being a session beer for my tastes. I will definitely have this one again.

ryalmighty1, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of Overlord
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grew spoiled on this beer while living in the Bay Area. Far more expensive and rare down here in So-Cal (at least, on tap).

Pours a beautiful burnt caramel color, nice white head. Taste is delicious malt with a great bitter aftertaste. Hint of hops, fantastic mouthfeel, very drinkable.


Overlord, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of TexIndy
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a unique dating system into a pint glass. It had a solid copper color. It had just under a finger of white foam that slowly settled into a partial film. No lacing but good carb. The aroma was earthy malts and caramel. The taste was pretty good. Malty with a crisp bitter from start to finish. It has a really bitter aftertaste that sticks around just a little too long for me to really enjoy. I like the strong bitter on the ADIPA's I've been having lately so not a problem with bitter perse but something about this one. The carb makes for a nice mouthfeel. Overall, it's a good beer and worth trying. Not sure I'd buy a 6 pack of it but maybe once in awhile if I saw as a single or if on tap somewhere as a changeup. (3.5, RB, T, O)

TexIndy, Sep 28, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- with a hard pour, 1in rocky bubbly off white foam formed atop a slightly hazy orange copper amber brew settling to 1/4in soapy disk that left lots of sticky lace and a few rising bubbles.

S- caramel malt, ripe fruit like citrus and berries and melon along with earthy woody maple and oak notes.

T- hops came out right away with some mineral water and burnt toast and biscuit. a very beer taste. not lager, definitely not ale, just BEER. good old beer. yeasty with roasted malt, all the while that musky hop bitterness weaves its way in and out toward an earthy piney dry hop aftertaste.

MF- dry crisp and refreshing with mid to high carbonation leaves the mouth feeling rather clean

D- the reason anchor steam beer and anchor liberty ale are the brewery's top national sellers is that they are extremely drinkable beers. smashin a sixer of each is no problem at all.

hustlesworth, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of shadow1961
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam Beer pours a big stiff head over a clear deep amber brew.
Carbonation is extremely active, and the nose is rich, slightly fruity malt
and a bit of herbal hop as well. The flavor is also interesting- stuck between
lager malt crispness and ale fruitiness. The finish is dry with a little bit of herbal
and grassy malt. For a simple brew it's got a lot of depth to it- it's earned it's
following honestly. Good stuff.

shadow1961, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of longarm
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear amber beer capped with off-white and thin head. Still it's decently carbonated.

Softly sweet malt aroma evenly layers with light hops. It's not a smack in the face, but delicate, complex, subtle and certainly enjoyable.

Lightly toasted malt with some hop flavor...exceptional balance. Mildly astringent/briefly alcoholic finish is the only detracting feature.

Upfront bitterness followed with moderate chewiness and a quick, clean finish. More please.

I find it baffling that Anchor Steam only gets an 85 on B.A., since it's THE definitive example of the California Common style and one of the catapults for the craft beer renaissance 20 years ago as much as today. IMHO, if this ISN'T one of the most drinkable beers, then craft beer is dead.

longarm, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of Strix
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell is malt with a hint of hops. Taste starts out somewhat dark and malty, but the hops kick in towards the end. The hoppy taste is almost a bit smoky, or like black pepper. It's an interesting taste, and grew on me as I drank it. Above average, but not amazing.

Strix, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint from Yard House in Newport Beach

Pour was a light brown color with a small silky white head

Smell was pretty strong and full of spice

Taste was a little too hoppy for what kind of beer it was, but smooth otherwise

Could drink a lot of these because of the low ABV and the lightness

Floydster, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of ablaze
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice frothy head and beautiful lacing on this brownish-orange liquid. Nice clarity with some everlasting carbonation bubbles. Looks delicious and classic, but nothing extraordinary.

Scent is light and slightly fruity.

Bananas, sea salt, slight alcohol with well balanced malt and hops throughout. Light spiciness. Unique, simple, and very tasty.

Smooth with a mild body.

Easy drinking and juicy. Can't complain, and could enjoy any time. Well-buttered french bread with light ham goes great, and I would like to try this with seafood and a salad. Nice luncheon beer.

ablaze, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of maddogruss
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Steam Beer/California Common...whatever you want to call it!

A: Pours an amber body with a small white head. There was decent retention, but eventually slowed to a nice lacing that held to the finish.

S: Not much of a smell. Smelled slightly malty and alcoholic.

T: Tastes like "beer." Reminded me a lot of a macro light lager but tasted a lot smoother. Also, tasted slightly salty, which was interesting.

M: A nice, light mouthfeel that was rather crisp.

D: Definitely a drinkable beer. Does not really taste like much, but it was pretty light and easy to drink. Definitely good for the summer or grilling.

maddogruss, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours into a very deep, orange body with a very good amount of head. Color is very distinctive.

Nose is mostly citrus like, with a lemon note being somewhat dominant.

Upon the first sip or two, this beer has a distinctive salty flavor too it that actually takes a little getting used too. However, it's by no means excessive, and it actually integrates well into the distinctive taste of this beer. Some caramel and hint of molasses are in there as well, and towards the end, a nice crisp lemon note hits the back of the tongue and rounds things out very well. Low to medium bitterness, just right to round things up. The residual salt taste just slightly stays on the palate, and leaves you wanting another sip.

The number one thing that comes to my mind about this beer is "distinctive". Think about it, it's a beer brewed with bottom fermenting lager-yeast, but fermented at an ale temperature. I guess you could say, you kind of get the best of both worlds in this beer. Indeed, this beer more less possesses the flavors of an ale with the smooth crispness of a lager. Only drawback is it's a little pricey, but in my opinion, it's well worth a little extra cash.

AustinBeerLvr, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from 1 pt. 6 oz. bottle. Pours clear amber-copper color with slightly off-white head. Thick head at first that takes some time to settle but once it does it leaves a nice residue for the remainder of the beer. Medium carbonation and lots of bubbles. Smell is mainly of malt and sweetness but there seems to be a small, very small touch of bitterness. Flavor is nearly identical, mostly malt, some caramel with a toasted feel to it but there is a taste of bitter hops in there, a very nice balance. Leaves a slightly dry feeling in the mouth that I wasnt too fond of but wasnt terrible either. Overall a great beer, easy drinker with a great taste to it.

bunnyhustle, Sep 06, 2007
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into my Pig's Eye Pub glass.

A: Pours a clear, light copper-orange with a very small head that quickly turns to lace. Carbonation is fairly decent.

S: Smells, ironically, a bit like steam. A little fruity hop on the nose.

T: Taste is well balanced between fruity hops and a little sweet roasted malt. There is a lingering malt flavor that satisfies, while the hop leaves a resin in it's wake.

M: Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, not too heavy, and a little sharp on the tongue.

D: Because of lower ABV and crisp, refreshing mouthfeel and flavor, this is a very drinkable beer. There's an element, maybe its lingering sweetness, that would make me choose a different session beer, but I'd sit through 2-3 of these easily.

Anchor seems to have cornered the market on steam beer, but readers beware, Flying Dog puts out a very nice California Common called "Old Scratch" that gives this brew a run for its money, if not surpassing it in taste.

Gambrinus1184, Sep 03, 2007
Photo of lawman834
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Copper with a creamy head that's tall but goes away fast.

S-Kinda hoppy and grassy. Not very strong.

T-Not bad at all. Balanced to a little on the hoppy side. Has a little bit of a strange metallic taste.

M-Very bright and carbonated in the mouth. A little slick on the finish.

D-Pretty darn drinkable. It does however leave a little of that odd metallic aftertaste in my mouth and a bit of that slicknees on my tounge.

lawman834, Sep 01, 2007
Photo of bradford
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bought a sixpack at Cost Plus for $6.99.
Poured a hazy dark blonde with a solid whit head
Smelled very good. Lots of something I can't put my finger on. Not spicy or yeasty, but pleasant and crisp.
Tasted very nice. Crisp, clean, refreshing, hoppy, delicious.
Mouthfeel was pretty good, a bit bitter from the hops, but nice.
Drinkability is absolutely perfect. This is THE example of the style. If Steam Beer isn't named after this, it should be. Highly recommended.

bradford, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of willjschmidt
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle marked 7LC (July 3, 2007) into a pint glass.

A: Pours a copper color with a nice thick off-white head.

S: Mostly malt aromas in the form of some caramel and grains.

T: A completely unique taste. Lots of toasted malts, grains, some astringent tastes, with the slightly bitter and slick hops coming through in the end.

M: Medium bodied, nice level of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, a craft beer classic. I'm very lucky to live in the Bay Area where this stuff can be found damn near everywhere on tap.

willjschmidt, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of YonderWanderer
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear copper with a thin layer of head. Dissipates pretty quick and leaves little lacing.

S: Not much of an aroma. A slight hint of malt, but not much.

T: Decent - the malt hits you up front with a bit of sweetness. A slight hit of hops comes through near the end to leave a decent aftertaste. Well-balanced, but not anything spectacular.

M: A little thin, but not too bad overall. Decent carbonation.

D: This is definitely a session beer. Tastes good enough and low enough ABV that you could throw back a few of them. Not bad, but not great.

YonderWanderer, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of skineg
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Meduim, clear (not cloudy) amber color with 1/4 head that doesn't stick around long, but never completely goes away.

Smell:Sweet and lightly toasted malts with the smell of floral and herbal hops. I can definitely smell of hops in this brew, but not too strong.

Taste: This is just a very good beer. Well rounded and smooth with little aftertaste. Tastes a bit like a lager but is more smooth and has a hint of floral.

Mouthfeel: Very light on the palate, not Miller Lite, but very light nonetheless. Good, but not great in this department

Drinkability: Very drinkable and easy to put back a few because it doesn't fill you up

skineg, Aug 20, 2007
Photo of Rainintheface
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taking notes while trying out the new local bistro.
12oz bottle poured into shaker pint

A: beautiful dark amber, medium carbonation with foamy tan head. o.k. head retention, nice lacing

S: not much happening on the nose slightly malty, caramel. not much aroma at all

T: malty, a little bitter some fruit flavor

M: creamy medium body and med carbonation and a nice dry finish

D: I had to order a couple more with dinner. Great session beer

Besides aroma this beer is pleasingly good on all levels.

Rainintheface, Aug 16, 2007
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,889 ratings.