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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

5,201 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,201
Reviews: 1,918
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 160
Gots: 646 | 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: 5,201 | Reviews: 1,918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GodOfBeer
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice semi-dark orange/apricot with a thin white head, leaves some lacing.

Smells of citrus/spicy hops, doughy, yeasty, pretty sweet smelling.

Pretty tasty, sweet bready malts, a citrusy hop bitterness, some hints of apple and steam...

Nice crisp and refreshing mouthfeel, exceptionally good!

Photo of Tone
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden/orange color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast cleanliness, some hops, and some slight euro malt. Fits the style of a California Common / Steam Beer. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of some pale malt up front, then yeast cleanliness, a very slight hop background, and a hint of a light citrus flavor. Overall, a decent example of a Steam Beer from my previous examples, but still nothing to go out of your way for.

Photo of Andreji
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Revisiting Anchor steam as my first in this easter's american beer tour has been an absolute joy for me.

Staying at my dad's appt, when he mentioned 'i've got a beer in the back of the fridge' i hardly imagined it was this, which has been lying around for a year or so.

But in perfect shape.

Pour was amber with a nice glow to it and a crescent light tan head with lots of lacing and carbonation (Even after the lenght of storage).

Smell a balanced sweet hoppy feel with a soft grass-citrus feel, not too strong or overpowered by any of the elements.

Taste was quite unlike what it once was for me. this is not a robust overhopped beer but much rather a fabulous balance malty experience with a well rounded hoppy feel much more subtle than i remembered. mouthfeel is quite refreshing, well carbonated and the bitter finish dissipates fairly quickly.

alcohol is well hidden and doesn't really kill you after a couple.

overall a very commendable beer. i can find myself drinking this often.

Photo of Spiri7
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - I can certainly appreciate its appearance. Although, it did not hold the thick, foamy head I would have liked to see. There little lacing on the glass. It does have a nice pale, copper color. A nice crisp-looking brew...

S - light floral, wheaty notes, with pleasant hints of caramel and honey

T - Crisp...a nice dry finish, light hoppy flavors are delicately delivered on the palate

M - Medium-bodied

D - Overall...I like this beer a lot...it is refreshing...I can see drinking this one during the spring and summer months...

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

Anchor Steam was the first craft beer I ever drank, many years ago. It had been a while since I'd had my last one, but I decided to pick some up yesterday and revisit an old friend.

Nice looking dark gold with a white one finger head which left moderate lacing.

Smelled of malt, maybe a bit of caramel and mild hops.

Tasted like the smell. Nicely balanced and refreshing.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel with good tingle. Very nice.

This one's been around a long time and it's still one of the better session beers out there. No tricked up hops or other gimmicks, just a good solid beer which is enjoyable to drink.

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

Purchased in Japan, best before 2009年6月.

Deep amber to pinkish-red in colour with a rocky off-white head and thick, crystalline lacing. Lacing is unusually intact, must have a high protein content. Carbonation uniform with fine-medium bubbles.

Aromas of rusty iron, autumny ale hops and dried stone fruit. Enticing, perhaps served even a little cold, it would open up more at higher temperatures.

Bitter on the roof of the mouth but a satisfying sweetness lingers in spite of this. Sweetness is not overpowering though, and the acidity of the carbonation is also noticeable. Stone fruit on the palate, peach and plum, as well as a rusty hop fruitiness. Satisfying but appropriately balanced - this is still a beer for a hot day, in spite of its flavoursome, slightly astringent hops.

Mouthfeel is dry but not unpleasant, however this sample has a slight skunkiness - not overpowering at all, just a lingering sense of not-quite-fresh that is noticeable. Probably just the sample, it would be undoubtedly better enjoyed in California.

In spite of this, I wish I had bought more than one bottle of this. A good beer for all seasons, except perhaps the depths of winter (although it would be a good session beer following some heavier, meatier brews).

Overall, better than I remember, even though I remember it being good. I'll seek out this one again (not least considering its history and importance) and hope to try their other creations someday.

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

Poured a golden color with thick head and good lacing down the glass. The scent was of sweet malts. Flavor was of creamy malt and bitter hop. Not too much carbonation, sort of coats the tongue. One of the most balanced beers I've had, the malt and hop are perfect together. It was a little bit on the bitter side but not overwhelmingly bitter. Very drinkable

Photo of jkbusman
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - beautiful copper color with a short head that quickly dissipates

S - crisp, hoppy aroma with hints of citrus

T - all the crisp hoppiness of a pale ale, with the malty sweetness and round body of a lager

M - medium bodied with an initially smooth mouthfeel; finishes crisp with a slight hoppy bitterness

D - absolutely one of my favorite session beers; unlike anything else on the market and worth every penny

Photo of jdhilt
3.19/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a five finger white head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is more hops than malt but has some sweetness. Smooth. Light bitter finish. $2.15 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

It has been awhile since I have had this beer. I forgot how good it really is.

A: A nice copper color with a wonderful white head. Good lacing on the glass.

S: I little hop aroma that blends nicely with the malt aroma.

T: Restrained bitter hops and sweet pale malts. Great balance between the two. Kinda salty. It's like and IPA and a lager at the same time.

M: Very creamy in mouthfeel, more than you would expect given the color. Quite smooth, to boot.

D: A session beer that could satisfy a hophead, a maltoid, and a new convert to good beer. It has something for the first two to like, and won't scare the newbie.

Photo of Rainne
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A classic. I use to have this on tap with a meal or with a meal from a bottle. Someone's usually carrying this in the more upscale places. I'm gonna have to say my review's the same for tap and the bottle. I only got a tiny difference in a cleaner nose on tap.
A- A nice deep hazy amber gold color. The head is pretty nice and leaves good lacing.
S- Clean on the nose with earthy smells. Malt and a light hops presence and lightly sweet.
T- Very similar to the smell with hops and grains more up front. Maybe a little more yeast and more malt in the finish than expected. I actually got slightly more hops in the finish from the tap.
M- Good body and smooth with a dry grainy finish. Nice.
D- I take a few of these at a time.

Photo of ATPete
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a burnt orange brown color with a small white head that leaves some soapy stickage on the glass. Unique nose, definitely balanced. Balance is a key word when describing Anchor Steam Beer, crackery malt character, good sweetness and a superb hop bitterness on the finish that begs for another sip. A bit astringent, a bit acidic with some notes of lemon skin on the aftertaste. Mild carbonation and excellent drinkability. Classic and always a winner.

Photo of mempath
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into 0.41 Warsteiner pilsner...deep copper with huge head that laces like san fran sourdough holes...cerealy/malty nose...a little yeastiness/sourness is unveiled...

i haven't had one of these in well over a decade.

whoa. after going through another obsessive hop phase, this is different. hops hit subliminally as an after-image...not complaining at all, but i feel like i am drinking a fresh Yuengling Lager...actually like some odd Ideal version of the Y lager and lager light (again, not a complaint or criticism!)...a third swallow doesn't change a thing. very good! almost sweet, almost sour!

quite crisp, fresh, doughy notes revealed as i inhale.

very refreshing, damn drinkable, a great flavor but compared to neoCraft flavor profiles all over the place, sure, this is truly mellow, but SOLID. jeez, this is still SO similar to a Yuengling...is it me? anyways, truly recommended to all who have not had it or have not had it in years, decades...

edit: revisited this 11 months later....just as good...no, it's better.

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice clear copper amber hue with a creamy two-finger head that has fair retention and leaves fairly decent lacing down the glass.

smells of grain, maltiness, floral hops, a bit of straw, and grassiness dance cleanly across the surface with hints of vanilla and honey. Subtle and subdued, but clean and definitely appealing.

Taste is clean and equally pleasing but in a different direction. Malty and sweet up front, with some caramel and honey notes quickly giving way to a pleasant neutral green bitterness that stays through the finish. Bitterness is almost a bit much at times for the flavor profiles.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, nicely carbonated and all around a solid feel.

Definitely a good go-to beer. Nothing astounding, but always solid with a great flavor profile and it looks like a solid brew. Can't really knock it. An all-around a-ok beer.

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

Ordered a bottle this past weekend while eating at an Afghan restaurant in Cambridge. Poured into a pilsener glass. Burnt orange color, thin head, and plenty of carbonation. Smelled ever so slightly of hops. Taste of the beer was great. Nice combo of all ingredients made for a thirst quenching beer. Very smooth, low in abv, and extremely easy to drink. Pairs well with all types of cuisine, or could be a nice session brew. A true original.

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

Anchor Steam poured a dark gold color almost no head. The smell was a bit light with hints of citrusy hops, and malt sweetness. The taste was of bitter hops. Very crisp, hints of citrus. Not overly bitter. Drinkability was good as was the mouthfeel. This was an interesting beer, that was very crisp. Could be quite refreshing. I would probably buy this again.

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

Copper tinted gold with the a very toasty complexion. Despite a deep set haze the beer is transparent, dotted only with steady paced streams of ascending carbonation. Its topping is thick and creamy, persistent and adhering. Its markings appear like some ancient scripture.

Steam beer (or 'California Common' as other examples must legally be referred as) is slightly more distinctive than other styles of standard ales. It smells no more exciting but it's an aroma specific to the style. It's a very earthy, pungently hoppy smell with an unexpected lack of caramel given the deep hue in its colour.

The flavour also makes explicit that you aren't drinking a typical ale. It's distinctive without anything obviously distinct about it. The flavour is quite toasty. I taste a bit of toffee and light apple. The character is quite grainy and dry. The hops again have a pronounced character and linger along with the crisp malty flavor.

This method of fermentation uses a significant strain of lager yeast, one that developed over the years in the cool, ambient temperatures of the San Francisco Bay area. It's a lager yeast fermented at typically ale temperatures - no wonder the beer is so distinctive!

The most common explanation for where Anchor Steam took its name is said to come from the steam that would rise from the large, shallow open 'coolships' that were traditionally used in the American West before the introduction of refrigeration.

San Fransisco is an amazing place. It's home to a founding brewery of the American craft beer movement as well as one of the world's most reputable and highly revered beer bars. If you do visit the city (which you should) and wish to visit the Anchor brewery (which you should) than I recommend that you make reservations way ahead of time; it's a popular spot.

I'm not sure if Americans cherish Anchor Brewing as much as I do. I am certain, however, that I can't be speaking solely for myself when I say that finding Anchor beer on the shelves was one of the pivotal turning points in my beer drinking life.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- a tangerine orange copper color with a minimal head. a very nice color with carbonation shooting up to the top.

S- vinegar malts, citrus and vanilla bean hops. quite sweet and somewhat sugary earthy and bread malts smell.

T- a distinctive bitter citrus hop flavor. a grainy earthy malt tone as well. A strong nut flavor comes out strong in the beginning as well.

M- a grainy and nutty type of feel. Bitter hops and sweet malts.

D- not bad on the drinkability side. It takes a few sips to acquire the taste for it but it is actually quite good. It shoots down the throat.

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

This one was on tap so I thought I should review again for a second opionion. The appearance, as good as you get from a bottle, was even better on tap, but that's about the only difference.

The color is a hazy dark amber/near-copper. The head is nice...thick, creamy, foamy with pretty nice retention.
The smell is both earthy and sweet with a malty tone. Citrus and hops detectable.
Taste is true to smell with perhaps a slightly stronger malt. Hops bitterness is present but the balance makes it work as with all good brews. A pretty complex mix of flavors and feel. Slight astringency doesn't take much away.
The finish is crisp and clean with a sharp hops tone left on the back of the tongue. It's clean, and the mouthfeel is nice; well-carbonated with a dry, slick finish.
This is a good one. Try it.

Photo of Oatsoda
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A light red/amber color. It has a thick head with big bubbles that disperse after a few short minutes into a thin white film.

Some fruity scents-- sometimes citrus, sometimes grape. One more aroma I can't put my finger on-- vanilla, maybe?

Initially more malty, with a not-too-bitter hop finish

Feels substantial, partly due to carbonation, partly to flavors.

Very nice, easy to drink beer. Not overwhelmingly strong, but it has plenty of flavor to keep you interested. I could drink this one often and seem to like it better from the bottle than from the tap.

Photo of JesseP09
2.75/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

It is a decent beer. Nothing spectacular. The flavor and aftertaste are total putoffs though. At first it doesn't taste too bad but once you swallow it the taste is really off. I'm not a big fan of some beer that is "beer snob approved" and this is one of those.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Never thought too much as to buy this beer, until recently seeing a little TV documentary on the Anchor Steam brewery and the rise of craft brews in America. Thought I'd give it a try.

Pours a very rich amber color with a nice tight creamy head that fades slowly. Very deep complex for a relatively easy drinking beer. The aroma is wonderful, sweet malts and fruity hops. Very crisp smelling. I get a small amount of citrus as well. The taste is also exceptional. Mild carbonation tingles the back of the tongue while the hops dance on the front. A nice malty backbone provides a nice platform for all of this. The mouthfeel is creamy yet thin and the flavors hang around for a while on the palate. A very drinkable brew, and with a low ABV, it makes for quite a flavorful session beer! Give it a whirl.

Photo of nasty15108
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Poured an orange/amber color with a fluffy head of white foam. Good carbonation and lacing.

S - Malty with slightly floral with hints of butterscotch.

T - Malty and buttery with a slightly bitter hop finish.

MF&D - Medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthful. Excellent seession beer.

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

A- a deep, gold amber. a great looking brew. my roommate even commented "beers have the best appearance of any drink". I agree.

S- not a whole lot going on here. little bit of hops.

T- a lightly flavored amber ale. I have certainly had better.

M- Great, natural carbonation. sometimes I feel that it overpowers the flavor, but I think that's just the lack of flavor.

D- you can certainly knock a few of these back. a pleasurable brew for sure.

overall- decent. I think its a mild-mannered beer that suffers from not being exciting or daring enough. this might have been a great beer 20 years ago, but with the myriad of beers to choose from, especially amber ales, its hard to choose this over others; particularly at $10 a six pack.

Photo of ibbjamin
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Paid $3.29 for a bomber from BevMo in San Jose, CA. Poured into a pilsner glass.

The glass helps showcase a large two and a half inch frothy, off-white head after a standard pour. Head retains very well. Mostly transparent gold color. Pretty good amount of carbonation visually present. Good lacing.

Smells similar to a pilsner/lager, but just much stronger on the nose and seemingly much cleaner. Quality ingredients. Some mild grassy hops, mild yeast and gently sweet malts balance quite well.

Still very well balanced and clean tasting ingredients. The only shift I noticed from what I detected in the nose was toward the earthy hop spectrum.

Good carbonation, light to medium body and quite drinkable.

A good beer, but to me it seems relatively run of the mill. If I was wanting a "beer beer," this wouldn't be my first choice.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,201 ratings.