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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

4,987 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,987
Reviews: 1,870
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 139
Gots: 457 | 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: 4,987 | Reviews: 1,870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ColForbin
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam is the beer that defines the California Common style, but that doesn't mean I have to rate it perfect, does it? It pours a deep gold with a slight tinge of red and a light tan head that provides some nice lacing on the glass. My allergy hampered nose detects some piney, spicy hops. Taste is quite crisp and bitter, with a firm maltiness in the background. I guess the hallmark of this style is ale aroma with lager crispness, and this beer has that in spades. Very drinkable.

One day I would like to try this closer to or at the brewery, because I imagine that when fresh the hops are that much more assertive and the beer tastes that much more crisp.

ColForbin, May 20, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Poured out to a dark orange / gold color with decent carbonation and a slighly pumpkin colored head that had some staying power. Odor was mostly hops, with a hint of lager like qualities, and a touch of corn. Flavor was solid, medium bodied, with a very nice complexity. Most noted taste was that of hops and barely, with a smooth maltiness detected. Finished slighly sweet, and a touch dry. A helluva good beer. Recommended.

Frozensoul327, May 14, 2005
Photo of DrJay
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy deep amber colour topped by an off-white head. The rocky foam thinned to a decent lace after a few minutes, which stayed supported by moderate carbonation. Yeasty aroma is prominent to start, but becomes quite mild after breathing for a short while. Moderate maltiness supports a minty, earthy hop aroma and a light fruitiness. Nicely balanced flavour with malts and minty/lemony hop flavour to start leading into some drying bitterness towards the finish. Medium body and not as carbonated as I expected based on the appearance. Overall, the slight mintiness was a delightful surprise.

650 mL brown bottle with freshness code stamped on the rear label.

DrJay, May 12, 2005
Photo of blackie
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thin cream colored head quickly dissipates. Medium orange amber in color. Aroma is earthy and woodlike, hop aromas light. If I think really hard, I can almost smell the SLIGHTEST hint of amaretto. Carbonation level is right on. Plenty of bittering hops in the flavor, but not much as far as flavor goes. Not to say there is a lack of flavor, only somewhat as far as the hops go. Nice and clean and well balanced, with a nice lingering bitterness left behind. Good beer for hot summer nights.

blackie, May 11, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a decent head and a little bit of lacing

Smell: Nice waft of caramel malt

Taste: Starts out just like it smells, with a nice malty profile; soon, that is overtaken by the bitter, citric hops (lemon bitterness); in the finish the malt reasserts itself along with the hops for a well-balanced taste treat

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: With so many beers to choose from, you forget to pay occasional homage to the craft brew that started it all - and this is a good one to set that standard

brentk56, May 10, 2005
Photo of danielharper
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

After reviewing the Flying Dog Old Scratch, I figured I might as well take the last of my current sixer of Anchor Steam and write up a review. I believe this was the first of the commerically-available American microbrews, and thus deserves a shot from the craft beer drinker just for historical interest.

Appearance is quite nice. A kind of "squat" brown bottle with a simply-designed but pleasant Anchor label on it. The label is unlaminated, without the glossy finish that most beers have -- gives the bottle an old-fashioned feel to it. Beer pours into a lager glass with a light amber color, and a large head that slowly dissipates. I've had this beer in a pilsener glass before, and the head seemed to stick around forever in that instance.

Smell is nice, if uncomplicated. Kinda hoppy, kinda spicy. I've been sniffing at this for a while, but have yet to get any noticeable fruit aroma from the glass.

Tasting the beer, ah, now there's the fruit I was missing. It tastes a lot like it smells, with the hoppy/spicy combination that works pretty well for this beer, but after washing away the dominant bitterness, some of the liquid flavors appear underneath. I like to wash my tongue through this to get all the flavors out of it.

Mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is fairly high but not extreme, although the beer could use a bit more body. Works well as a lager to wash down food, although the spiciness in the brew might tend to overpower dishes that aren't strong enough to hold up to it.

For me, the drinkability is fairly low just because while I like the individual parts of the beer, and can respect it for what it is, I don't find myself wishing for another afterwards. Perhaps the bitterness and the spiciness just don't add together for a refreshing experience, but I find myself wanting something a bit smoother after finishing this beer. I usually have this beer first in the evening, while preparing food or eating it, and finish off the meal with a Hefe-Weiss or a Milk Stout.

Overall, a nice beer -- I'd recommend it to friends looking for a change of pace from a macro lager, but nothing that I'd put on my favorites list. I will certainly buy this again (and I'd love to try it on-tap), but I won't be pining for it in the meantime.

danielharper, May 09, 2005
Photo of beerceller99
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a big off white head.
Spicy sweet , grainy yeasty smell, like a nice german Lagar.
Light-medium bodied with light carbonation.
Nice malty grain flavor with spicy yeast.
Finishes with a medium bitter taste on the tongue.

One of the first micros I quaffed back at the start of the micro revolution.
Still pretty tasty today.

beerceller99, May 06, 2005
Photo of RedLion
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very rich, beautiful amber color. Tight, bubbly head. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Malty, and little salty. Very pleasant.

Taste: Good taste, but I don't detect much up front. Most of the citrusy hop taste comes at the end of the swallow. I wish there was more flavor in the front.

Mouthfeel: This beer has one of the better mouthfeels around. Very full and comfortable.

Drinkability: I wish it had more flavor, but it's definately easy to put down a few. I'd like to try this on draught sometime. Maybe that will open it up some.

RedLion, May 03, 2005
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper with a thin and quickly dissipating head. Some fine ivory lacing. Smells crisp and lightly bitter. Hints of fruity yeast.

Taste is crisp malt and nice bittering hops. Nothing inhgerently "hoppy" about this brew, that is just what comes out first. Lightly fruity malt in the middle somewhere and way back there just hints of banana. Crisp mouth and nice dry finish. Well crafted and balanced. Lots of subtle complexities. An old favorite that is always nicely drinkable. Love it.

ViveLaChouffe, Apr 23, 2005
Photo of MrSeth
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm very partial to Anchor Steam, but I'll try to be as objective as possible here.

Dark copper color with a 1 1/2" tan head. Good retention. The smell while it is cold is just a waft of a little malt and citrus aroma. But as it warms up a bit the malt aroma sweetens to almost an candyish degree. Either way the taste is clean with a short-medium finish. There is a mellow caramel apple flavor to it. The drinkability is exceptional and it would pair well with a wide range of foods.

MrSeth, Apr 21, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz with no dates into a pint.

Medium amber with an off-white head of one finger that has decent retention with some lacing.

Smells of dry hops with a touch of salt. There's some malt underneath.

Tastes of dry hops with a slight maltiness. Dry, clean finish. Very tasty.

The mouthfeel is medium-light with some carbonation tingles. Good session brew and/or dinner drink.

ypsifly, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of HoboAGoGo
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clean, orangish color, with a pretty white head, not very thick, but it was there there, and still beautiful. Smelled of light malt and predominately of hops. There was a nice spice to the hops, but nothing as harsh as the IPA's I generally tend to drink. Disappeared very quickly, wasn't much of a session beer, I just drank it quickly, very quickly. I used to hate lagers, but this beer is teaching me not to be so judgemental towards the lager.

HoboAGoGo, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of maek228
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reminds me of the NOFX lyric...."Giggin' alone at the bottom of the hill - Our protaganist named Bill - Sets his sights...on an ANCHOR STEAM PINT"

Appearance: Amber red with a with a sweet one finger head. Foam consistently held on to the glass all the way down

Smell: Light malts, sea salt

Taste: Sweet malts are at the front line, with some very faint caramel notes...followed by a quick splash of lemon tea/lemon rind which is then finsihed off by a nice hop kick. Beer has a salt taste to it...would be a great beer to drink ont he beach.

Mouthfeel: Rather sweet with a slight malt backbone.

Drinkability: Goes down like water down the drain. Easy to drink/pound/whack. Could easily drink 12-15 of these.

maek228, Apr 13, 2005
Photo of BCMan
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured up a deep copper color that was lighter around the edges. A big fluffy head was generated and faded slowly while lacing the glass. The aroma is very subtle. Flavor is crisp with nice hop character. Finish is dry and clean. Leaves your mouth watering until the next sip. It's no secret why Anchor is a strong player in the market they virtually created. It makes for a great session beer. Perfect for a hot summer day.

BCMan, Apr 09, 2005
Photo of 3Vandoo
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ruby amberish beer in color, with some teints of orange. Smell of fruit, a tiny bit malty and hoppy but very very shy.

Taste is very smooth, some note of fruit, with a well balance malt and small hops, nothing very strong, just well balanced and smooth. Very good drinkability, nice beer going down very well.

3Vandoo, Apr 08, 2005
Photo of uncleozzy
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice, medium amber-colored beer with a short-lived 1/2" head that stuck to the glass here and there. The light aroma of hops and malt turned into a moderately powerful bitterness on first sip that was nicely balanced by the bready, and even slightly fruity, malt flavors. As the beer warmed up, the fruitiness became more pronounced, but the hop bitterness still dominated. Finished crisp and clean, without a lingering aftertaste. Eminently drinkable, and a great beer with dinner.

uncleozzy, Apr 07, 2005
Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color with a 1" head. Only a wisp of lace develops. The aroma was of bread and malt. The flavor was a well balanced and simple blend of caramel, bread, fruit, and mild bitterness. Definitely a bit on the sweeter side.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start with a crisp, slightly dry finish. Extremely drinkable, and a perfect brew to enjoy with a pizza.

Gavage, Apr 07, 2005
Photo of aquatonex
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours medium dark amber-brown with a short creamy head that quickly dissipates. Not much lacing, moderate to high carbonation. Not a lot in the nose, mostly barley, hops, and a hint of fruit. Taste starts off very empty, but flavors come out through the sip, ending with a rather sharp bitterness. Although the mouthfeel is smooth, the bitterness stands out and there is no counterbalance of other flavors. I'd like to try it on tap.

aquatonex, Apr 03, 2005
Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours golden in color with minimal head retention. It smells nice, very fruity and citrusy, a lot of oranges, also some noticeable hops. Smooth and flavorful, there are some fruity notes matched by a bitter, almost sour taste. The bitterness really sticks around for a while creating a powerful aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good, not too light and not overly heavy either.

This might not be the most drinkable beer I've ever had. It tastes good, but the bitter aftertaste has kept me from drinking more than one of these at a time.

jasonpeckins32, Mar 30, 2005
Photo of studentofbeer
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear orange/copper with a slight dirty white head. Some big bubbles, and it fades pretty fast.

clean, bready malt, sweet and kind of sea-breezy. hints of fruit and earth, with slight astringency.

dry, sweet and crisp bready malt, with a tickle of bitterness at the end. very clean tasting and a bit spritzy. again a hint of fruit sweetness comes through but isn't very present. almost a bit of mustiness in the malt-- i think it's that earthy flavor, maybe the hops? great balance between bready malt and hop aftertaste. Super drinkable.

studentofbeer, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of slyke
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring a deep amber with an inch of thick off-white foam, Anchor Steam has slightly hoppy aroma. This beer has a sweet-malty taste and practically dances on the tongue. Anchor Steam has a good hearty mouthfeel without being too heavy. It is an extremely drinkable beer that I think would be an exceptionally good one to drink on a warm afternoon. Dare I say a "steamy" afternoon?

slyke, Mar 10, 2005
Photo of rousee
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All 4's here. Orangey-amber-good carbonation action-small head that holds well. Malty buttery apples and hops. Some caramel taste too. Taste is dry and not as bitingly bitter as I remember-there is a nicely balanced malt/hops blend. Some slight fruitiness. Dry mouthfeel --quite smooth and drinkable.

rousee, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of Luigi
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out perfect amber, clear with moderate carbonation bubbles racing towards the top. The head is a fluffy two finger to three fingers high (depending of glass size.) that retains great. Sticks all around the glass. Off white is color.

The aroma is a balance between the clean toasted malt and the mild spice from the hop.

The taste is well crafted. A perfect toasted caramel malt flavor blended with a slightly bitter citrus hop.

Easy to drink medium body with some mild carbonation.

This is hands down one of the best crafted lager on the market, well worth the extra dollar. I can enjoy this brew any time.

Luigi, Mar 04, 2005
Photo of BamaScholar
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a topaz/amber color with a good mother-of-pearl head (not sure what's up with the gemstone descriptions).

Has a pleasant floral aroma and a grassy earthiness. Malty and solid taste , fuller than I expected given the color. The graniness and slight bitterness are well-balanced with the floral overtones.

This is very enjoyable...accomplishes balance of flavors well, like Thai food (there even seems to be some saltiness. I would reach for another!

BamaScholar, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of charlatan
2.8/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought this on tap at Madame Butterfly Restaurant in Portland.

The straw to amber colour was lighter than the beers I tend to prefer. A creamy head added to the feel, particularly early on.

The nose was of a rather dim, bitter type of creaminess, reminding me of Boddington's Bitter which I have never been particularly fond of.

I haven't sampled a beer like this in a good while. It struck me as rather diluted (I prefer a much fuller flavour), yet at the same time dry.

The hops delivered a decent degree of bitterness, but were rather one dimensional, and didn't mix well with the creamy malt. This is a combination which makes little sense to my palate.

charlatan, Feb 21, 2005
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,987 ratings.