Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,962 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,962
Hads: 5,652
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 195
Gots: 1,018 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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 (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,962 | Hads: 5,652
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I hadn't had this beer in 10 years, and a lots happened to me and the world of beer since then. It is a substantial lager, lightly sweet and heavily malted. Not bad, but hardly an assault on the senses. I'd give it a weak recommendation.

The beer is a pleasing golden amber with decent had that rapidly dissipates. Aroma is lightly sweet and just a bit hoppy. There is very little hoppiness in the flavor, which is rather malty and very sweet which was OK. Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, smooth, and pleasant.

 514 characters

Photo of Rsobotka
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Gold to Dark Brown with a thin foamy head
S: Lots of Malt flavor with a little floral of violet
T: Tasted like a rich malt follwed by a ravish of spicy hop bitterness
M: This, tasty and fun to drink...

D: I could easily drink a 6er of this beer and I hear they open ferment on top of the roofs in SF.

 304 characters

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.

 305 characters

Photo of drmeto
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

-strong hop bitterniss
-strong caramel note
Finish is sweet,toasty with watery consistency.
Certainly not very complex, but miles better than your average Lager

 160 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a golden orange with off-white head that dissipates quickly, with okay lacing. Aroma, while not bad, was nothing real noticeable. Flavor was okay, and this had a decent palate. I did not care for this as much as other Anchor Beers (Old Foghorn and Liberty), but I may have just gotten a bad bottle and may very well try again. This one just didn’t do much for me.

 374 characters

Photo of aubuc1
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a pint glass.

It is a carbonated amber with little head (could have been the half ass bar tender's pour).

Smells of light hop and malt.

Has a hoppy taste, but not aeromatic hops.

Carbonated mouthfeel and easy to drink.

Very boring beer from a great brewery.

 296 characters

Photo of Dubbercody
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It's a good beer, yeah, time to review the stuff that usually gets passed over because it's good, solid brew, but not one that I would not normally pick up a sixer of, but you know it's on tap at my favorite BBQ restaurant.

Copper, white head,sightly tart first taste that pops out into a great malty. Easy to drink, tasty and like I said, a solid great brew.

 363 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.17/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

 534 characters

Photo of samtrillo
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Light translucent amber with a pretty white head that dissipates.

S - Bready malt with some fruitiness.

T - Dry bread malt followed by earthy tones with some hops, could use more IMO.

M - Medium body with crisp hitting carbonation but not overly carbonated. Dry feeling.

O - I'm a local and have been drinking and enjoying this since before I was a beer snob, however, older and with a more refined palate, this beer is only slightly above average for me. Not saying I wont enjoy more in the future, but Anchor Steam I'm sad to say is mediocre. Anchors other beers are great, though!

 591 characters

Photo of aquatonex
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

 433 characters

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

Comes out of the tap impressively smooth and creamy. Transluscent orange color. Body is lighter than I would like, medium to light. The head is so creamy, and the mouthfeel and finish are silky smooth.
Smell is light and clean and understated. Nutty malt. I taste it and it really strikes me as bland; no hops to speak of. It is a very pleasant texture but boring flavor.

 373 characters

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

12 oz brown bottle. No date.
It pours a pale gold/copper color with a pure white fizzy head.
A light malt aroma rises up then fades quickly. A faint smell of floral hops is noticed.
A light biscuity malt flavor is somewhat lost in the seltzery effervescence.
The light metallic hop bite is also diminished within the Champagne-like spritziness. It's well made but too un-beer-like.
Much different and better on draught!

 425 characters

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

 290 characters

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.

 403 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I only wrote a few lines on a napkin for this one since I was at a wine bar in Galena IL, and didn't want to get all beer-geeky since I was with my girlfriend for a romantic evening out.

A - Red amber in color with a nice solid one finger tan head. Lots of lacing on the glass.

S - Unique and sweet. Caramel and sugar cookies. A bit of hops in the background.

T - Sweet and tasty chewy caramel candy. Thin hop profile is thankfully unintrusive. A very malt-forward caramel brew with some pale ale like qualities.

M - Medium bodied. Slightly dry finish. Very fine carbonation feels smooth on the tongue.

D - Pretty decent. I could drink these all night.

 657 characters

Photo of colingaiser
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

L: A hazy amber verging on orange with a creamy, three-finger head leaving delicate lacing. Good start.

S: A little metallic (like a rusty anchor), with notes of honey and perfume, and an uninviting macro lager musk.

T: Fortunately it tastes much better than it smells. It's fruity like a tart and refreshing Granny Smith, with some underlying floral (perhaps lavender) notes, while the malt is reminiscent of honey and biscuit. There's a nice mouth-coating bitterness, but the finish is light on taste and high on tannins.

F: The mouthfeel is like a flat soda -- a medium body that leaves me craving more carbonation. It goes easily enough, but the feel doesn't do the beer's fruity notes any favors.

O: Anchor Steam is pleasant enough, but if this is the prime example of a California Common, there's nothing about it that makes me want to explore this style any further.

 920 characters

Photo of foobeer
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance was a clean copper color with a 1in thin, white head. The head slowly dissipated leaving a nice thin lacing throughout. The taste has a good level of carbonation and a malt flavor with some apple fruity flavors. I was not a huge fan of the lingering aftertaste which made it become a little tedious to drink towards the end.

I have no other experiences with Steam / California Common style beers, so my preferences may just be not geared towards the style rather than the Anchor Steam itself.

 537 characters

Photo of Jamey61
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Served in a bottle poured into pint glass.

App- light caramel in color with a small head which dis not hang around long.

Smell- maybe it was because I am stuffy right now but I did not get much in the way of aroma on this one. Gonna try a few other beers tonight so I will know if I can or can't smell later.

Taste/mouthfeel- I was a little disappointed after first taste. However after sitting here sipping I am beginning to be able to taste it a little better. Again maybe to to stuffy head. Slightly bitter with a little sour mixed in. Enjoying the malty finish with a taste/feel of a cream ale.

I don't think I would go out and pick up a case of this but would be ok with downing a few from time to time.

 722 characters

Photo of fitzy84
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer settled with a murky amber appearance and a generally thin, but creamy head. I sensed a slice spice ingredient to the beer but generally had fruity and hoppy characteristics. Taste had a mostly bitter punch to it with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Not enough to call it a balanced bitter-sweetness. I enjoyed the carbonation the most as the mouthfeel made this really refreshing and light. Overall, a decent beer.

 421 characters

Photo of blakelive784
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass:

A - Pours a tawny/burnt orange color with a creamy 3 finger head. Retention is solid and there's a fair amount of lacing.

S - Citrus hops balanced by a sweet, clean malty aroma. Quite mild.

T - Rather muddy. Tangy citrus notes and subtle bread notes. Disappointing, really.

M - Dry and highly carbonated. Doesn't do any flavors justice either.

D - As the prototype common/steam beer, I was pretty disappointed. Not a bad beer, but not what I was expecting.

 505 characters

Photo of soupyman10
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this after hearing so many rave reviews on BA and from friends. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a fairly reddish copper color, almost amber but not quite. A little bit of lacing after one finger head faded. Smell was mostly malty, bready. Taste was a lot of bread and grain. Slight sweet maltiness, and even slighter hop aftertate. Overall, though ,the grainer texture and taste dominates, with a more standard lager flavor following up. Feel is fairly thin bodied, with that grainy texture and medium carbonation. Um...I dunno. I feel like I'm supposed to like this beer - it's unique and...fairly acclaimed - but I didn't. It's definitely better than your standard macro-lagers, or even most lagers overall. I guess it'd be sessionable if I was forced to drink lagers, but it's just not great.

 806 characters

Photo of brewmudgeon
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3.5 A love the bottle shape. light ruddy brown brew.
3 S not much, but that faint bitterness is pleasant enough
3 T bitter, not much to note. clean and simple. but too clean.
3 M fairly watery, carbonation can lend creaminess if swished across tongue
3.5 D simple and weak, bitterness a bit unbalanced, but maybe good for tossing back quickly.
had another one this year and body was a bit thicker than recalled, taste a little sweeter.

2016 update: well it's been a long time since revisiting this one. following notes are without reviewing the old ones first. ruddy amber, finely bubbled, smells of rich caramel malts and mineral hops, flavor rich as well and quite heavy on the toasted caramel with the finish suggesting almost burned caramel, but really the lingering bitterness on the palate seems to be coming mostly from hops. the body is crisper and cleaner than an amber ale (at least a typical one), but this is still no easy drinker. getting a lot of citrus rind now in the finish, mostly grapefruit and lemon. this beer has been getting lots of love from the in crowd since even before i wandered into the scene in the 90s, but i never became a big fan of the malt profile or the way Maytag appropriated the evocative term "steam beer" while basically admitting it meant nothing--the label still says the methods used to make the actual steam beers "are a mystery," but hey, Anchor has been using "the quaint name" for what it characterizes as "many decades" so that's apparently worth something. plus they trademarked the bitch, so that what they make appear a categorical style of beer ("steam beer") is really intended to be the ONLY example of its "kind" and if you figure out how historical steam beers were actually produced and make them, you will have to call them something because an impostor claims exclusive rights to the descriptor.

yet in all these "many decades" of posing, the company has failed to put a readily intelligible born on or sell by date on the beer, insisting on baffling us (at least those of us who have not familiarized ourselves with its products or have a $100/month data plan smartphone to bring to the grocery store) with a raised dot matrix code of some sort. mine says "5NK"--and i made my purchase merely hoping that 5NK signified a reasonably fresh product. fine, guess i'll look up the little annie decodor and see what it might mean. oh, the second character is the month, with Y of course being May, U would be June, and L signifying July--it's all perfectly obvious. apparently, my beer was bottled around Nov 11, 2015 (or 2005, or 1995 ...?), about 2.5 months ago, so not bad.

 2,647 characters

Photo of BrewMaster
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a cloudy brown color and a thin tan head that does not last long. The aroma is minimal with nothiong impressive besides the malty smell. Flavor consists of light roasted malts, breadiness, and a touch of non-distinct hops. It also ends with a bit of sourness. Overall this beer has nothing too distinct about it. It beats macro swill, but not by much.

 372 characters

Photo of iSip
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam Beer: A dark honey color beer with a good head. Lots of malt throughout, and tempered by some bitterness in the finish. Wet and dry at the same time. The finish is definitely unique. Worth a try if you have never sampled a steam beer. Better than most beers you find on tap at your average well. Still, I was not wowed enough to make it part of my standard favorite rotation beers.

 394 characters

Photo of Shaler_Tate
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is a very "meh" beer. It was a little funky, and drank like a cheap pilsner. I might be a little too harsh because that is a style I am not fond of, but either way this was not enjoyable for me.

 199 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,962 ratings.