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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

5,194 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,194
Reviews: 1,914
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 156
Gots: 642 | 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: 5,194 | Reviews: 1,914 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AshevilleSippin
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short Version:
Interesting and complex beer. A bit dry and grainy/husky with an astringent, almost metallic, bitter tingle.

Wasn't sure what to think of this at first. My first impression was dry-bitter and mediocre. The more I sipped and the more it warmed though... I began to pick up nuances and got intrigued. Not my favorite style but I've found some respect for this one.

Poured a faintly cloudy amber orange color with a pillowy, rocky 1" white head.

Not picking up much on the nose but some malty sweetness. Faint smell.

First taste is dry and tingly. Almost like sitting an alkaseltzer on your tongue. There's an astringent bite to it that's bitter but not in the typical fashion. Interesting for sure and not one dimensional in this sense.

There's a grainy husk flavor to it and a miniscule amount of sweetness that helps offset that bitter dryness. Not by much though. Tangy-bitter is still dominant.

As it warms and the level drops I'm picking up more malt in the taste and some caramel in the smell. There's a solid medium body and I suspect there is an ample amount of malt in there. Balance gets better as it warms.

Finish is clean and bitter. Aftertaste lingers zippy and metallic for some time.

Drinkability isn't super high for me. I like bitter but not quite as much for this particular style. This is a dry metallic tangy bitter rather than an alum hoppy bitter that I prefer.

Photo of Squelch
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours brown with a large billowy off white head

Smell: Smells of malt mostly with a little bit of hop aroma

Taste: Mild aleish flavor. Bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation.

Drinkability: Not my favorite beer in the world but I wouldn't pass it up if offered.

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours with slight off-white head that subsides fairly fast, beer is a dark copperish color with slight carbonation.

Smell- Bitter yeasty smell, very much like bread.

Taste- Fairly medium bodied beer, some hints of lemon, salt, and theres a little bit of carbonated buzz on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- Good palate coverage, good lingering on the tongue.

Drinkability- A very unique brew with some interesting flavors I cant quite place, an interesting beer, worth a try but not somthing for me for every day.

Photo of NYfold
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Pilsner glass.

Good looking beer, although a bit clear. Burnt sienna in color with hints of orange. Off white head leaves minimal lacing. Attractive bottle design should be noted.

The smell is nice, but not strong. Hops, and traces of oatmeal.

I find the taste is crisp, refreshing, and enjoyable with an oatmeal after-kick reminiscent of wood. The Unique after taste is my favorite note.

Mouthfeel is nothing special.

Pleasant to drink, but that is expectable considering the 4.9%abv.

Photo of Alexmc2
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Beer appears a slightly hazy orange/amber with smallish head that fades quickly but leaves good lacing. Smell is sharp and clean, but doesn't stand out. Initial taste is a pleasant bitter with sweet caramel notes at the end, very balanced. This beer is smooth, and it goes down easily. It makes a great session beer (and, as I found out, part of a decent sauce for chicken). If it wasn't so expensive around where I live it would be in my fridge all the time.

Photo of Greggy
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice light copper color with a 2 finger head that recedes down into a nice lace. A great clinging lace clings to the glass, even long after drank.

Smell: Light caramel smell with a some light lager notes

Taste: A very light caramel taste that is pale, yet has a nice lingering bitter.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, bitter and zesty

Drinkability: A great refreshing brew that at 4.9% ABV, makes a great sessionable brew.

Photo of cbleary
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a bottle into a pint glass.

This is extraordinary beer. I think the bottle I had may have been just a little old, but it didn't matter. It poured with a lovely golden amber color with a generous head that left copious lacing in the glass. Gorgeous. The smell was a very nice mix of sweet malts and hops. The taste was a similar balance with the sweetness of the beer kept in check by the bitter hops. It was very drinkable, and I would definitely have this again.

Photo of WaveRebel51
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many years ago, I sampled this and didn't think much of it. But proving that your palate improves with age, I tried this again and came away very impressed. Seems to be a nice hybrid of an ale and a lager -- has that crisp clean finish you find in lagers, but the taste of esters you find in ales.

On tap, the sweet malt taste seemed to be more prevalent, and the hop bitterness more prevalent out of the bottle. Either way, this is a very
easy drinking session-type beer. Has that "liquid bread" quality to it and being that its from 'Frisco, I can't wait to try it with some good sourdough bread.

Photo of ballewblake
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this following a Pale Ale.

Smell was intense and vinergery, maybe sweetly yeasty, couldn't put my finger on the smell but it was almost off from what I remembered. Appearance was amber with a decent head. Taste was slightly hoppy and sweet, it really grew on me after a few sips. Easy to drink and not too strong.

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.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,194 ratings.