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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

1,943 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,943
Hads: 5,562
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 21.82%
Wants: 192
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: 1,943 | Hads: 5,562
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.12/5  rDev -19%

Bottle dated 4UZ at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma very faint hoppyness
Head average (4 cm), off white, creamy, slowly diminishing
Lacing OK – broken rings and a few small islands of tiny bubbles
Body medium amber, clear
Flavor begins bitter, quickly becomes slightly malty: no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Not to my taste but pretty much meets the style guidelines.
Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.25. Overall: 3.12

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle picked up from the singles bin at the LCBO for $2.40 CDN. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - clear amber color with a plethora of bubbles and topped by a finger of dense white frothy head. Tons of visible bubbles. The head has a good retention time.

Smell - big malty presence with loads of bread aromatics. A light fruitiness permeates as well.

Taste - significant malty with some grainy sweetness topped off by a bitter finish that turns sweet in the aftertaste. Very different and unique. Almost a coffee like finish on the palate too.

Mouthfeel - well carbonated and light bodied with a tongue tingling finish.

Overall - definitely a unique beer, kind of reminiscent of an amber, but realistically not that close, as there's a lot more in terms of different flavours going on and a great sweet finish. Definitely worth repeating.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich, crystal-clear dark bronze to copper. Head is creamy, white, and lathery in texture. Good retention.

S: Aromatics are malty, but rounded. Grains are present and full of character. What should "beer" smell like? It should smell like this!

T: The taste is clean. Malts are lip-smackin' good, rounded out by grain. I taste barely. Like actual barley. I get bready, and cracker notes. But not overly sweet. There's enough mild bitterness to keep this brew nicely balanced. This is delicious. It's not a mind blowing brew, but here simple is good.

M: Medium bodied and lingers on the pallet. The creamy head adds great texture and contrast. This is one smooth brew..

Overall, I really like this brew. Will definitely try again. This isn't the kind of beer that will inspire a revelation or challenge your convictions--although, it might be a revelation in that to me this is what a basic, simple beer could and should be and it might challenge your convictions if you've been succumbing to pretension and fad brews, thinking that only an esoteric style or brewing method or exotic ingredients can result in a glass full of joy. This beer is... zen like for me!

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an IPA glass.

Look: Slightly hazy amber body. Cream colored head. Film of retention. Light lines if lacing.

Aroma: Malty, spicy, fruity.

Taste: More of a woody, spicy opening. Good malt body. Dried fruit finish.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp, carbonated.

Overall: Really tasty! Mouthfeel was the weakest link, but this is a great session beer.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO as a single. Served at 5deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens ok. Pours a good 1" head that stays for a bit

S- Malt and yeast. Pretty smooth on the nose. Hint of grapefruit

T- Malty good. Not too roasted at all but lots of it. Touch of hops that are overpowered by the aforementioned malt!

M- Dry and crisp

- Ok. Nothing special and will not buy again. Don't get me wrong it's not bad, just nothing special that's all

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with... Hamburgers. I don't use a lot of toppings so for me it's meat and bun off the BBQ


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Photo of TheVenerableMead
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz into a conical pint.
A - Orangey- gold with a hint of chill haze. Not much head, but a decent short-lived lace.

S - BLAND. Not much muchness. But not terrible. A hint of something resembling a respectable beer.

T - Very fruity with wildflowers.

M - Dry fruit and some... thing.

O - Begging forgiveness. Not at all familiar with California Steam beer. This just wasn't bad at all. It's like my opinion of Belgian beers: they just have their own little thing going on. My first impression? Honestly? "So this is what happens when you ale a lager!" Give me another try next summer.

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Photo of JLaw55
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beer icon of sorts. Sort of like an Amber, but different. Amber color and clear with bubbles rising throughout. A nice half inch of head that dissipates moderately quickly, but leaves just a touch of lacing on the edges. Bread and malt flavors dominate. It is shockingly light for what you see in the glass. Has a nice crisp finish and is easily something you could throw back a few of. It has an almost refreshing characteristic about it.

Not going to beat you over the head with an assault of flavors, but it is different and pleasant.

Worth revisiting.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer: one of the original steam beers. What's a steam beer? There's a fascinating story behind this style: Back in the late 1800's in California Lager was a fast growing style, however it was difficult to brew in the warm climate (Lager yeast works best between 9 to 14 °C and Ale yeast works best between 13 to 24 °C) so the brewers "trained" a Lager yeast to work at Ale yeast temperatures and BAM! Steam beer was born. Steam beer has the characteristics of an Ale but is technically a Lager.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy copper bodied with a cream coloured lush half centimetre head, bit darker than the other steam beers I've tried, however Anchor owns the trademark so this is considered THE classic steam beer.

S: Sweet caramel malts mingle with earthy and herbaceous hops providing a decent Ale aroma. There are also notes of peach and lemon lingering in the background giving the hops a touch of fruitiness as well.

T: Flavour is well balanced, but favours the sweet caramel malts a little more than the fruity/earthy hops. There is some lemon rind bitterness asserting itself in the finish and after taste. It also has this moreish quality that keeps you coming back for another sip, which is the sign of a well-crafted brew.

M: The mouthfeel of this beer is awesome - medium bodied with a creamy dense carbonation, not unlike a top shelf Hefeweizen.

D: This beer is modest in its entirety - it screams nothing, it just goes down easy and has the right balance and an interesting enough flavour to keep it unique - a class act all the way. The hard part is deciding which of the two Anchor brews I've tried that I like more, the Liberty Ale is also top-notch, hmmm... I am more of an Ale than a Lager man and the Liberty does tickle my taste bones, yeah I'm gonna go with the Liberty Ale FTW.

Food match: This is such a well-crafted and balanced beer that it would match with almost anything - Beef, pork, poultry, and fish they would all work with this, you decide.

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Photo of WanderlustNJ
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I may be sentimental but this beer holds a special place in my heart. Long before the craft beer revolution this was the one that started it for me. That said, given the style I still think it's an awesome beer. It's not going to blow you away but then again that is not its intention. Just a great drinking beer of a unique style. I always come back to this beer.

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Photo of Enrico_il_octovo
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good beer. The Quintessential California Beer. A tan to amber color with a good foamy head. Lots and lots of aroma and the taste is equally strong and fruity with caramel and coffee undertones. had it on tap and out of the bottle. It's a great beer. I first drank this beer in 1987 and it's still a great beer. If you're an Ale fan you'll like this gem from the city by the Bay.

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Photo of Stevo614
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Unique in its combination of appearance/taste/mouth feel combination.

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Photo of thomda11
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I haven't tried this beer until just now. I have to say, I wasn't expecting anything great, but I was quite impressed. Not a complex beer by any stretch of the imagination; yet, what it does, it does well. The most noticeable characteristic is the bold toasted malt. The hop bitterness is subtle, but does a nice job of balancing out the malt. Overall, a beer that I'd go for again. I really did myself a disservice by not trying this before.

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Photo of BREWS4LA
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug..Nice color great smell. Nose.. .some citrus and good roasted malty and caramel scents,

I was surprised by taste more malty than hoppy and just a little bitter on the finish but very nice. Good balance and very drinkable. I would dare to say maybe an entry level into an IPA style. Would be a great starter/move up beer for someone used to the macro lagers. I will definitely be getting more next visit to trader joes.

I guess when you make a product for more than 100 years you do it right.


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Photo of mrjez
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: pours a nice amber-copper with a finger of off-white head that stays thin all the way down. Looks like a Vienna lager.
S: aroma is quite simple, malty cereal, a hint of citrus and caramel sweetness.
T: taste is similar, a sweetness that ends dry, good malty flavour.
F: nicely carbonated and a lager bitterness, medium-bodied.
O: I wasn't impressed at first, but it ends up being a decent old-school malty beer.

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Photo of Leiermann
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer by any means. I just wish there were a better balance between the malt backbone and the hop flavor. Just seems to me the flavor is dominated by the roastyness and has no counterpart to balance the beer overall. I would drink this again, but I would chose other beers first.

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Photo of Midwestbrew18
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured and Amber/Copper color with around a finger of head, give or take a couple millimeters.

Aroma - Very rich malt smell, deep biscuit characteristics, ending with a slight trace of citrus fruits, maybe lemon or orange. A floral scent can be detected as well, coupled with the citrus.

Taste - Caramel notes coupled with traces of citrus initially. Towards the middle of taste the biscuit/malt tones come in gradually and eventually dominate at the end on the palate. The hops used balance well with the malt, not a hoppy beer, but that was not the intent behind it. Delicious and simple flavors that are perfect for a hot day; very session able.

Mouthfeel - Medium to High carbonation and smooth throughout. Incredibly easy to drink, while bringing out enough flavor to keep things interesting. Easy to down many of these if you would want to. An absolutely refreshing beer.

Overall - Would definitely consider this for a hot day, tailgate, session, you get the picture kind of beer. Easy to drink, doesn't taste like hell after it warms up; in fact maybe tastier after it gets a little warmer depending on your palate. A simple beer, balanced well that provides you with maximum enjoyment and drinkability. Will definitely have to buy this again sometime. Very affordable by the way.

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Photo of avwrite
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice caramel look. A bit fizzy but also crisp.

S - Sweet smell. Smells are a mixture of molasses and honey.

T - Nice sweet. Surprisingly flavorful given. No bitterness detected.

M - Perfect for summer. Light feel.

O - A local favorite and the perfect beer for a hot day.

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Photo of Ale_Dog
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smell: rich malt character comes through
Appearance: deep amber color, nice head, good carbonation
Taste: beautiful caramel malt character balanced by nice light hop bitterness cutting through.
Overall: Perfection! Perfect balance of sweet malt with nice hop bitterness undertones. Anchor does an amazing job of delivering balanced beers. This is a must try.

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Photo of Sam-VW
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Anchor bottle into Ginger Grouse glass.

A - Clear amber with a white head, settles to a thick foam on top of the beer. Very nice looking beer in my opinion.

S - Citrus and other fruits, very sweet but also a strange subtle vinegar smell.

T - Caramel, Biscuit to start. It definitely begins with a sweet malt kick then goes to the bitter citrus and floral notes at the end. Great for a hot day.

M - I always think this beer is a little too carbonated, which lets it down. But it is still smooth and refreshing, just not as much as I would like!

All in all a great beer.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: a stumpy brown 355mL bottle with a decent old-school label. Not sure about some of the corporate shtick though, like "virtually hand-made". Let's see.

Appearance: pours a very clear amber colour with a strong orange against the light. A one-finger off-white head hangs about for a short time before settling to a thick cap. Vibrant carbonation, with a limited lacing.

Aroma: summer fragrances - sweet biscuit malts, some floral, with citrus and orchard fruits. Refreshing.

Taste: much more driven by the sweet biscuit malts than the hops. There are some citrus and floral hops in there, which is nice, but the malts dominate. A buttery caramel hanging around the back as well.

Aftertaste: some more of the hop bitterness comes through on the finish. Still quite sweet, however. A lovely and refreshing beer.

Mouth feel: quite heavy in body with more carbonation than I was expecting. Brings the flavours through fantastically well. Well done.

Overall: I was quite stunned by this beer. A very refreshing combination of sweet malts and refreshing hops. Goes well with itself or particularly with a nice dinner. What surprised me the most was the price. I expected the usual premium U.S. ale price of AU$150+ for a case of 24 x 330mL, but at only half that, this beer is not only a gem, but a bargain. Well worth it - a great food beer.

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Photo of bassboneman
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This particular beer is an all around fantastic, anytime of year, "go to"!
I have had the pleasure of drinking this for many years and most of the batches I have had are outstanding. There was one poor representation - but it was summer and I don't know if this particular shipment had seen less than optimal environmental situations.
Love it!

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

appearance is a medium golden amber body paired with a soft, oak white head thick and full. Steam beer smells fruity, like citrus aroma. Smell is bright and full of life. Very pleasurable to take in.
Scent is a foreshawdow of the flavor, much alike. Light and citrusy at first yet ultimately bold and strong steam beer taste. Bitter afternote.
Mouthfeel is semi strong but far from watery budweiser.
Overall I give a 4 and a half. One of my favorite ales!

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Photo of awillick
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam is a great go-to when your other options are bad or unknown. It has a classic, clean taste with no frills and a simple finish. You really can't go wrong.

Also, I know it's kind of superficial, but the bottle shape and label design are pretty unique and aesthetically well-conceived.

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Photo of Foyle
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a 3/4" off white sudsy head which slowly recedes with moderate lacing. Mostly clear copper color with abundant streaming carbonation.
Aroma: aroma is dominated by yeast and sweet malts. Some floral hop aroma as well.
Mouthfeel: light and fluffy, much like a light English style ale. Finish is fairly dry.
Flavor: yeasty bread is dominant, but also pick up some butterscotch and toffee flavor, some bittering earthy hops in the finish.
Overall: first time I have had this beer in a while. It is just as delicious as I remember.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.84/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a bottle with a Braille like code 3MN, twelve ounces.

Has a Brady malt aroma. Pours deep amber with a nice beige head. The head lasts about a minute with moderate spotty lacing on the glass. The taste is Brady, slightly fruity. It is crisp not overly carbonated. Very nice, should be even better on a hot summers day!

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,943 ratings.