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

5,133 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,133
Reviews: 1,899
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 146
Gots: 584 | 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: 5,133 | Reviews: 1,899 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Umbra
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
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.

Photo of ryalmighty1
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of Overlord
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
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.


Photo of TexIndy
3.58/5  rDev -7%
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)

Photo of hustlesworth
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of shadow1961
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of longarm
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of Strix
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of Floydster
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
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

Photo of ablaze
3.81/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of maddogruss
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.35/5  rDev +13%
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.

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of lawman834
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of bradford
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of willjschmidt
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of YonderWanderer
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Photo of skineg
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
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

Photo of Rainintheface
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of udubdawg
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

pours a gorgeous amber/copper color, very bright and excellent clarity. The sizeable head fades fast (although I drank it nearly as fast) and leaves decent lacing, but this is one time I'm not looking for retention - this is all about quenching thirst.

Aroma is pleasant but can only be called light. toasted grain and mild sweetness. Meh...let's talk about taste!

There's a great light bitterness here, light fruity flavor, plenty of caramel malt, and a drying finish. (though I admittedly have mere seconds to experience the drying effect before filling my mouth with another "sip") I think there's a bit of salt flavor, as whenever I have this I'm reminded of deep sea fishing trips as a young man, sipping a beverage with a fine salt spray hitting my nose and on my lips.

Goes down smooth, with a body on the light side and appropriate carbonation. A fantastic thirst quencher, and extremely drinkable. Coming home from a quick trip to the grocery store in a scorching hot car on a 100+ degree day, I couldn't wait to crack this open, and it did the job. I'd drink a few more, but tomorrow will be hot again...

Photo of Derek
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Copper-bronze, off-white head, good retention, some lace.

S: Earthy-mineral & floral hops with a slight caramel aroma.

T: Earthy-mineral, caramel, orange zest, slight hint of fruity esters. There's a slight nutshell-like bitterness that I'm not fond of.

M: Moderate body, slightly higher than moderate carbonation, dry finish.

D: Personally I'm not fond of that nutshell flavour.

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

Bottle into a pint glass

A- Nice copper color with thick head that slowly faded. Active carbonation.

S- Strong malty nose with a fresh bread smell.

T- Sweet malt with a slight hop taste,but just enough to keep it from being a malt explosion on sipping.

M- Medium feel with an easy finish.

D- Another winner for me from this great brewery. It is easy to see why this company has been so strong for so long. Light enough to have several, but complex enough to keep you enjoy every sip.

Photo of BigRedN
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is amber/copery in color, clear, with a fluffy white head about an inch and a half in height. The head lingers half way through before it finally fades to a thin cover. Leaves good lacing.

Smell: Aromas of bready malt. Some light floral hops are present as well.

Taste: The beer has a strong malty presence on the outset, followed by a slightly bitter hoppy finish. Overall though, the beer is well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, well carbonated. A touch dry with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: A very interesting beer, somewhat rare and unique. This beer has great taste, an ABV less than 5%, and I don't get bored or filled up drinking it. Just a perfect session beer. However, it is unfortunately somewhat expensive for me (I purchased some Anchor 6 packs on sale for $6.99, they are regularly $7.99). If this were less than $6 a six pack, it would be a regular in my fridge.

Photo of biggmike
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber in color with thick creamy head. Very drinkable beer and like the other Anchor entries that I’ve tried(Porter and Liberty Ale) very tasty and satisfying. The head was not that long lasting and the lacing was mediocre. Still, an excellent beer that I would recommend. Flavor grows on you.

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,133 ratings.