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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

1,947 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,947
Hads: 5,576
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 190
Gots: 957 | FT: 2
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 (28) | 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: 1,947 | Hads: 5,576
Photo of Noxious26
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in pint glass.

Clear, copper coloured. Thin off-white head.

Aroma is sweet and malty with touches of fruit and hops.

The words that come immediately to mind are: Bright, crisp, dry. Taste is bitter hop with undertones of fruity malt. The aftertaste is dry and hoppy and lingers for awhile, but not too long.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, but very fizzy. Too much carbonation in my mind.

An interesting blend of hops and malt, but the hoppy-bitter bite is a little harsh for my liking. The first time I had this was at a fish and chips joint in Crescent City, CA and went really well with my meal, but I've had it a few times since and can't say I'd consider it much more than an average session beer.

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out of a squat little bottle with a big tan head that lingers for a good while. Very fluffy. Copper/redish in color, light carbonation and very clear.

Smell is mostly of sweet grain. Nothing special.

Taste is outstanding. Big bold, creamy flavor. Nice hop bitterness balanced with some subtle fruit flavors and grain.

Feels nice -- goes down smooth, highly drinkable.

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Photo of riversider76
2.43/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I know I'm in the minorty,but I just did not like this beer. For me, it was way to creamy tasting. I thought the head was never going to go away. There has been a lot of hype about this beer,and I guess is was expecting more. It was average at best.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes, with all the beers a BA tries, some just get lost in the shuffle. This one reminded me of how much I liked it the first time around. Pours a amber with gold streaks, the head is creamy and 2 inches thick. The aroma is of summer fruit and light barley, hints of floral lace the nose. The taste is classic session, the floral aroma blends well with the creamy buttered malt, this is the ultimate summer beverage.

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Photo of troutmask96
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice session brew here. Pours a light amber with very light head. Taste is of currants and hops. You gotta love the tradition of this beer, being one of the first craft brews in the U.S. Rich in tradition and smooth taste, and possibly the best label of any beer, this one's a definite keeper...

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

one finger head grabs the side of the glass and hangs on respectably well. copper color. crisp fruity smell and taste. highly bittered dry finish. good stuff. i have tried with this one just sitting down with a beer and with several different types of food and this beer is much better with food.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't had this beer in probably 4 years and I forgot how refreshing it really can be. The first thing that became apparent is that the beer is a cross between an ale and a lager. The rounded fruity ale notes are complemented by the clean finish of the lager profiles. An American classic that is perfect for Summer.

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

Pours an apple juice color with an amber and copper hue, some carbonation, and an OK off white head.

Has a toasted caramel smell with a herbal spruce and citrus hops aroma.

Kind of a slight nutty toasted malt taste with a slight herbal orange and grapefruit hops flavor.

Medium bodied, sweet texture, soft carbonation, with the finish.

A very drinkable style.

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

Cool, stubby little bottle.

Deep orangey oxidized copper hue. A finely carbonated bright white head. Nice suds, nice lace, clingy.

The nose is piney hops and sweet malt. Not complex, but pleasing.

The first sip hits big with strong bitter piney hops over a round and toasty malt center. I taste bitter orange peel. A dense bitter ending yields to a gently herbal aftertaste.

It's creamy smooth, seems medium-bodied and has a fine mouthfilling carbonation. Robust and refreshing. Absolute assertive excellence.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
2.29/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass yielding a small 1/2 finger white head atop a light copper colored beer. The head quickly faded to nothing and no lacing during the sample.

It was hard to detect (or at least come up with a good comparison) to describe the smell. Rather bland with slight malt, but nothing distinquishig it at all.

Taste was bland as well. Slightly bitter and hoppy with some fruitiness as well coming through. Not much to talk about, it lacked any really great taste.

Light to moderate on the palate with ample carbonation.

This beer didn't seem to do it for me. I know Anchor pioneered the style and name "steam beer" which led me to believe this is the ultimate of the style; if so, then this style is not for me. I was left unimpressed, and don't think I'll try it again soon.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color, with a creamy white head that dissapates slowly and leaves crazy lacing down the glass, a nice looking beer to be sure. Smell is dominated by malt with a grainy smell backed up by a fruity esters aroma, not really complex or inviting. Taste is a nice blend of malt and hops, this really is a unique beer and theres not really any other beer you could compare it to. The flavor is bready malt flavor with a light caramel sweetness and a lightly bitter floral hops finish. This beer has a full body and mouthfeel even though its a lager (kind of), and there is a lot of carbonation which makes the beer more refreshing. A unique american brew, not very complex but quite refreshing and a one of a kind brew.

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Photo of OatherS
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shortish and wider bottle (not quite Belgian short and stout, more slimer).

Appearance: One finger head that dissipates lace like. Nice amber color, somewhat light.

Smell: Hoppy and fruity aroma, although mild.

Taste: The first drink is very hoppy, but subsiquant drinks are much milder. Fruitiness is also mild. This beer has a rather complex flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nice dry finish.

Drinkability: This would make a great beer to bring to a party where there would be people who drink something besides macros but may not be that knowledgable to open their perspectives to the world of good beer.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Bottle Inspection: Date code on back “40Y” Made from all barley malt.

Aroma: Slightly sweet malt base and a good yeast nose. Some of the “woody” characteristics the BJCP tells me to look for, but I wouldn’t have caught it on my own.

Appearance: Amber glass capped with a light tan creamy head that laced. Clarity good.

Flavor: Hops really pop in the taste. I’d say pale ale, but the woody taste really makes a difference. It is slightly minty. There is a firm malt base that accents the hops nicely.

Mouthfeel: Body is light medium, carbonation level is fairly high, has a nice smooth texture and a lingering tingle.

Overall Impression: A good summer beer. Easy to drink, a little filling for a session, but I could see this being a crowd pleaser. Give it a try!

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Photo of sid
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An all around excellent beer for any time of the day

Poured a red tannish colour with little head. Lots of carbonation. Smells fruity with a little caramel mixed in. Taste begins quite hoppy, maltness joins in the middle and finishes on a bitter hoppy end. Can feel the the hoppiness on the back of the tongue long after taking a nice sip.

Drinkability is excellent, very crisp and flavorful, a nice replacement to your usual lager...you will not be disappointed!!! The end flavour on your tongue is quite bitter but if you like a hoppy beer you will fall in love like I did. A usual session beer for me when I have the money.

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Photo of ColForbin
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.07/5  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.

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Photo of blackie
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
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

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Photo of danielharper
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of RedLion
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.49/5  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.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,947 ratings.