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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

5,135 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,135
Reviews: 1,900
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 146
Gots: 586 | 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: 5,135 | Reviews: 1,900 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cookin420
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into chalice.

A pale- ruby colored brew with a little haze. A stiff head with a thin lacing and little retention.

Smell is of malt, a bready and slightly sour yeast aroma and faint earthy hop flowers.

Lager-like in flavor and moderately citric bittering and flavor hop additions make this a very tasty beer. The malt is subtle but not lacking. Very good.

Heavier than most pales and bitters but lighter than many reds, it could be lighter bodied and still be very good but a healthy carbonation kicks everything up a step instead, while maintaining great balance.

Great as a session or for a quick few after a thirstifying day of work. Real drinkable.

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with small initial head, creamy with ever so slight off-white tinge. Mostly diminishes, but has good lacing. Very aromatic when poured. Citrus jumped out of the glass at me, a little yeast and very slight malt. Had a scent of sweet apples or cider. Very clear amber appearance. By the looks of things, actively carbonated. Taste, or lack of it, is a dissapointment. Medium duration with a mildly bitter finish, just a really watery taste (much more so than I remember, maybe I have been drinking too many taste-filled ales recently). The mouth is a creamy feel, soft but yet lively carbonation. Lack of taste is the biggest let down for this brew.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a pint glass producing an abundant off-white head with good retention and above average lacing. Color is a clear amber.

S: Nice light smell of malt with faint hints of floral hops.

T: Medium bodied caramel malt flavoring is foremost, but is quickly balanced by light bittering. The slightest hint of sweetness lingers after the swallow.

M&D: Great medium body and abundant carbonation. Very satisfying.

I really liked the Anchor Steam beer. The maltiness & bitterness seemed perfectly matched and balanced with everything else about this beer. The body and carbonation made this both lightly filling and highly enjoyable.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a fairly hazy amber color with a good head that retains nicely. Aroma is of grains, yeast, some fruitiness. Not too strong but pleasant. Taste is of more light graininess, yeast, light hop spice found in the finish. Mouthfeel is fair bodied, very crisp, and good carbonation. I could take a few of these down in succession but not an entire 6-pack.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip pilsner glass.

Appearance is amber with an orange/red hue. Translucent. Two-finger head after a very hard pour halfway through. Head retains for about 3 or 4 minutes then has nice lacing.

Smell is quite nice. Wheat with light citrus tinge.

Taste is pretty much the same as the smell. Not an overly flavorful beer, but very nice. The tastes that are there are smooth. I taste wheat more than anything, almost like a weak hefeweissen, but not quite. A taste or orange on the back of my tongue on the way down.

A very good beer really. Great to have on hand as most people enjoy it.

Photo of Clydesdale
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy, amber/copper color. Bubbly head.

S: Somewhat earthy, slightly sweet.

T: Complex flavors. Some hop bitterness at first, then a creamy toasty malt flavor. Dry and somewhat citrusy at the finish.

M: Creamy, tight carbonation. A bit dry.

D: A nice balance of flavors, complicated without being overwhelming. Very tasty.

Photo of avalon07
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this one from a bottle to a pint glass. Had very little head that dissipated quickly. It had a light brown color that was slightly thin in consistency.

Had a malty smell with a hint of some citrus. Pleasant on the whole.

Had a tart taste, with hops and malt dominating the other elements. Didn't leave much of an aftertaste, which is always a plus.

Had a decent, but not overpowering amount of carbonation for a good mouthfeel.

Overall, this venerable old craft beer is a tasty drink. Not exactly the most complex taste I've ever experienced, but good nonetheless.

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

Poured out of one of their big bottles into a pilsner glass. Nice copper color. You can smell and taste the sweet malt. A lot of lagers look and smell nice but I think what sets Anchor Steam apart is its taste and finish. No after taste. Well done. Should have bought two.

Photo of Kendo
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. The body is light amber with a small off-white head. Some carbonation bubbles.

S: I get all malt in the nose -- slightly roasted malt, bread and grain.

T: Grainy malt/cereal grains with a bit of sweetness. Finishes with a hint of lemony bitterness.

M: Fairly light, as you'd expect for this style, but not thin.

D: Goes down pretty easily. Not a lot of heft to slow you down, and the taste is "clean" if that makes sense.

Photo of JDV
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drank this one in the dark in at the Almamo Drafthouse movie theatre, so I didn't see the color, but have had it on tap at Anchor's tour as well. Very nice and fragrant hoppiness, but not overly so. Taste is good, with a good bitter kick and hoppy floraly citrusy taste but with some definite maltiness in there too. I was expecting more hoppy bitterness from what I remember of the first time I had this beer, but was pleased at the amount it had, and the reasonable lasting hoppy aftertaste. I liked this beer, and especially the Anchor Porter these guys make, which is one of my favorites. I look forward to trying more from them.

Photo of cer40
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this beer from a 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. It pours out a reddish gold color with a moderate head and lots of co2 bubbles from the bottom.

The beer smells like light malts and subtle spicy hops. Tastes well balanced with decent hop bitterness and malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light-bodied. This is an easy drinking session style beer. One of my favorites for such a thing.

Photo of CamuMahubah
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have discovered a new session beer...

Beautiful amber...

Slight, ever so slight hoppy aroma, very clean...

Nice...I like the way the hop flavors express themselves after the clean, ever so smooth bubble gummy mildly malty taste!...Whatever hops were used are excellent and the recipe is divine! One can easily tell this is a session beer crafted with love!

Great medium bodied brew that goes down easy! So easy in fact this beer is now the offical "Pizza Beer" at my castle! Many many times macros have had to suffice at semi-fabulous pizzaria's across the kingdom. Not anymore, wifey's homemade canadian bacon and pineapple pizza and this beer now reign supreme! All hail the "Pizza King"!

Anytime is the right time for Anchor Steam! I love opening the fridge and seeing this beer! Went to the website just to see those big ol' copper kettles...reminiscent of the handcraftedness and integrity one observes when a pizza is baked in a real stone brick oven!

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

I had this one on tap at the Reel Club a new high end seafood restaurant in Oak Brook, IL

Served in a modified pilsner glass (very wide), the beer is a clear bronze with a thickish creamy head. Not a ton of lacing.

The aroma is of floral hops, some malts and a cracker smell. Nice, fresh and nonassertive.

The taste is similar, slightly sweet, a little fruity and floral. Hints of nuts in the background with a bit of pear emerging late. Nothing overpowers you, but it is well put together.

The mouth is light and bright. This is a easy drinking beer. Would be easy to session of your not in the mood for a pallet burner. This beer is easy to pair with food, just avoid anything to spicy.

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

Appearance - amber color, thick slightly cream colored head, head retention very well.

Smell - smell is a little earthy

Taste - right from the start bitter with a little carmal, great flavor bitterness stays with you from first to last drink.

Mouthfeel - full of many flavors, very enjoyable to to try and decide what exactly you taste.

Drinkability - a beer this good is always drinkable. this beer leaves you wanting more and more.

I really like this beer, incredibale. you don't find many like this.

Photo of Homerbag
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very clean transparent amber with foamy head.
Smell is a little weak compared to most craft beers, but for a low ABV session, its not so bad. Very clean, good water, some hop and malt balance. Taste clean and fresh. Hops are present as is the malt but overall, it is pretty watery. Feels refreshing and almost a soda type carbonation. A good beer for it's style, probably much better on a warm summer day.

Photo of littleshamrocks
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with the bottling code printed on the back of the label. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours a medium amber with a large, creamy, off-white head. It is mostly clear with adequate carbonation. The head hangs on for quite awhile and leaves plenty of lacing. The nose is of toasty, grainy malts and woody, herbal hoppiness. There are also underlying caramel notes as well. The flavor is as advertised by the aroma, the first half is dominated by the lightly toasted, grainy malts and the latter half brings in the herbal hops and a touch of fruitiness. The hoppiness lingers just a bit. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly dry texture and just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes pretty clean.

This is a very enjoyable session beer. It is the hallmark of the style and the standard by which all others in the style are measured. It is extremely easy drinking and the flavor is well balanced and substantially full. For sure, this is one of my favorite session beers.

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

Had this on tap and Cowboy Ciaos in Scottsdale, AZ. It was the only tap beer I saw in the establishment, as this is a wine bar. A very attractive beer. Nice amber color with a dense, pale 2 finger head and cascading carbonation. I couldn't distinguish this beer from a Sam Adam's Boston Lager on sight.

Smells of biscuity malt. Very slight floral hops aroma. Tastes of light malts with weak hops aftertaste that doesn't really linger.

Nice moderate carbonation. Light, effervescent, balanced, but kind of watery. Definitely a sessionable beer.

As this is among the first microbrews/craft beer, I have to think Sam Adam's was modeled after this beer, which the character of this beer reminds me of. A good sessionable beer that wouldn't be too offensive to a BMC drinker.

Just a solid beer. Nothing that really extreme, to impress me, but you really have to give this beer credit for starting the craftbeer/microbrew movement.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a: copper body with a big fluffy white head, great retention and lacing.

s: The first whiff detected an earthy, grainy aroma, but the more I smell it, the more I think of bubblegum.

t: Toasted malt, caramel sweetness, lemon, with earthy hops in the finish. A complex yet balanced taste.

m: Dry finish, very clean.

d: A one of a kind offering, an excellent session beer, and a pioneer of the US craft beer movement. Anchor Steam is the definition of a Steam Beer and a must try for beer enthusiasts. Nothing extravagant, just beer made the way it should be.

Photo of Tilley4
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally, I get to try the famous Anchor Steam!

Looks a really good copper color in the glass with a small head.

Hmmm.... smells sort of malty but lots of bread too.

Just an average tasting beer really. Sort of tastes like anything I could get down here at the local corner gas station. Malty, bready, with a biting carbonation at the end.

Little disappointing but still, I'm glad I got to try this.

Photo of NatetheGreat
2.73/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I feel bad that I am not able to give this beer a very good rating, since from all the data, its a very historic, landmark, and highly favored beer. But I just didn't enjoy it. I tried it on six seperate evenings, and while some were a bit better than others, I never really enjoyed it much.

A: nice copper color, sudsy head, not much retention in pint glass.

S: malty, some hops, not much complexity. very straightforward.

T: predominantly malty, with bitter hops in background. back and forth between the two. can't rate this higher because no layering of flavors detected. very bland (not in a macro-American-lager way - it's strong, but bland, almost a stale taste).

M: heavy, thick.

D: hard to get through even one for me, because the taste is so laboreous.

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

Pours an amber color, good carbonation, and moderate head; lacing too.

Toasty malt and sweet hoppy smell. A bit peppery, citrus zest, & other spices. A tad biscuity.

A very balanced offering. Can make out toasted malt and peppery hops; a nice sweet finish. Slick mouthfeel that is left a little dry.

A great beer and an American classic. Like I mentioned above it's a balanced brew that would make a great session beer.

Photo of sbe1
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great American beer and one of the granddaddies of the US craft beer scene.

Appearance: Gorgeous cloudy copper beer with thick beige foamy/sudsy head that dissipates to a thin lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Malt, sweet cream, caramel faint hop aroma.

Taste: Malt, caramel, a slight salt taste (?), light hop tickle, with a dry, clean, citrus finish.

Mouthfeel: Good body, refreshing, very faint carbonation, nice light hop action on the tongue.

Drinkability: Excellent. This is an absolutely wonderful session beer. A true American classic.

Photo of jmbranum
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The numerical score above is from my most recent tasting.

January 28, 2013: Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass as a very attractive clear copper color with a generous off-white rocky head.

Aroma is grain, dirt and hops.

Flavor is crisp and very dry. More hops than I remembered. Some wheat bread notes. A tiny bit of sweetness. Very well balanced.

Medium to full mouthfeel.

Review of 1-6-2008 : AP 4.0/ AR 4.5/ F 4.5 / MF 4/ OA 4.5
poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Lori's diner in ghiradelli's square in san francisco.

clear amber with fluffy head. nice malt rich aroma. flavor is extremely well-balanced bitter hops and malt. one of the most balanced beers of my recent recollection.

Photo of jar2574
2.5/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed with the appearance. A tiny amount of head formed, and then disappeared quickly. What remains is a flat looking, orangish beer.

Metallic fruity smell.

Not a good beer. Malty, musty taste with a sickly aftertaste than just hangs on your tongue.

Better than a macro-brew, because at least it has a distinctive taste. But not better by much.

Photo of JamesS
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My new favorite lager. Anchor steam poured into the pint glass a great amber color, with some nice head and decent lacing. Very light scent, a nice mix of malts and hops, but not much there. Very good flavor, each taste seemed to bring out a hidden quality of the beer, with different swirls of hops or malts. Easily one of the smoothest beers I've ever had. (Have had it from the bottle, too, and not quite as smooth.) An excellent beer.

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