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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

5,237 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,237
Reviews: 1,922
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 161
Gots: 683 | 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 (25) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,237 | Reviews: 1,922
Photo of Kyle987
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic golden brown/amber color, and a good head that stuck around. Slightly hoppy, maybe with a hint of toast or nut. Also a pleasant dry bite with very slight bitterness. Aroma is very fresh and pleasant, reminds me a little of an ESB. Mouthfeel is slightly dry and full, but not heavy.

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

Thanks to my girlfriend for bringing this back from the States for me.

Nice dark orange, tending-to-amber body with a tightly packed head of off-white foam. Lots of streaming carbonation. Excellent lacing. Nice looking beer.

Odd toffee characters on the nose, hints of grain bread and molasses. Even an odd tang reminiscent of sea-water. Or am I imagining that from the Anchor imagery?

On the palate, it's quite unlike anything I've tried. The taste profile's just warped. Light, frothy kind of bitterness first up, then a subtle, smooth, vaguely sweet honey character, and finally, a grassy fresh fragrant flavour. Finish is quite dry and with a residual pleasant bitterness. Really even a vague seafood character lurking at the back, which I swear I'm not making up, like fresh mussels or pipis. It's quite unlike anything I've had before, but it's the sort of beer I can imagine starting to crave after a while, just because it's so unique.

Really pleasant, very drinkable beer. It's the sort of beer that makes its way by pure quality, not by being something extreme. Next time I myself am in San Francisco I'll be picking up a couple more of these for sure...

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.

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

From a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a very clear amber with a nice white frothy head.

Smell is a hint of caramel malt and just a tad bitter.

Taste is unique. This style has the hoppiness of a big pale ale along with a nice malt balance. Very lager like in cripness but still fruity like an ale.

Easily drinkable on a hot summer day or anytime.

Overall, this is a very tasty beer. Takes the best of a lager and adds some of the goodness of an ale.

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

Great color of gold and amber, rich creamy head. Aroma is bursting of sweet caramel malts--its almost like what a malt liquor should smell like but good. Anchor steam has that sweet toasty caramel maltiness all through each sip, somewhere in the middle is a hint of fruit (berry?) a whiff of mustiness, and a bitter hop bite at the end (a little earth and pine to the hops). Mouthfeel is moderately dry, and not a heavy beer at all. Fairly easy drinking.

Something is strangely likeable about this beer that I can't quite articulate. I crave it when making pizza. Makes for nice summer drinking as well.

Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pale clear amber with a sticky, frothy white head that retains nicely.

Smell: Biscuit-like malt, toast and a hint of earth. Fresh citrusy/herbal hops.

Taste: Dry and bready, malty sweetness is present but subtle. Light-bodied. Crisp biscuit-like flavors lead into a dry, mildly bitter and metallic finish.

Notes: A classic west coast session beer. Great stuff.

Photo of Hoagie1973
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A unique beer that's hard to compare with anything else I've had. Gold/amber in color with a nice uneven head. Smells of crystal/caramel malts with a slight flowery-sweetness. Overall first impression is malty, but there is a mild hop bitterness that maintains an almost perfect balance. An underlying fruity character fades in and out. Very smooth and drinkable. Nothing in particular jumps out and grabs you; just an overall solid and pleasant beer.

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

Ah Anchor Steam, one of the pioneering beers of The American Craft movement.

I've just recently been able to come across this beer again, after it disappeared from my area for a period and boy am I glad that it's back.

Just a solid beer in all respects. Super drinkable and easy to get down.

A nice balance between the malts and hops and not overpowering in any one respect, but simply well made.

The low ABV makes for a great session beer as well.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the yankee pier restaurant at san franscisco int'l airport.

served in tall pilsner glass with some hourglass curves.

clear gem-like amber, good head that lasts throughout. thin but constant lacing

biscuity malt aroma with grassy notes of slightly herbal hops. some estery fruitiness, almost like dried apricots.

flavor is malty and caramelized, with a bold but smooth hop bitterness which glides into finish.

still slightly thinner than i'd hoped, but manages to have some texture. lively carbonation.

great on tap. had this with oysters.

Photo of Natural510
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle pours a golden-orange amber with good amount of head which dissipates into a thin layer of lacing.
Aroma of light hops and biscuit malts, with a slighty sweet fruitiness.
Biscuit maltiness blends with a mild hop bitterness; moderately sweet with apple & orange. Slight pepper note at the end.
Hops leave a smooth and not harsh bitterness in the mouth. Stays well-carbonated and light on the palate.
Smooth, easy-drinking session beer. Not too light, not too heavy. This is the quintessential go-to West Coast beer, even more than post-runners such as Sierra Nevada and Stone.

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

Presentation: 12 oz short fat bottle, batch number (8FW) but not dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a deep golden amber color, head formed about 1/2 inch and faded quickly into some lacing.

Aroma: Faint, sweet malts was all I got.

Taste: Unlike any other beer I've ever tasted. Bitter up front with some citrus hops, not too strong though. Toasted malts come through in the middle, and fade quickly. The finish is more citrus hops, lemony, bitter with a slight sweetness, and lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, crisp and refreshing, but a little watery. The carbonation balanced well.

Overall: One of my all time favorites, this could be the best beer made in America.

Photo of philbe311
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Rich bronze color w/ redish highlights... Head quickly diminishes... Little or no lacing... Very still...

S - Fruit and malts... Hops... Sugar...

T - Biscuit... Tart fruit... Hops... Nutty flavor...

M - Dry... Light carbonation... Thick and heavy...

D - Not bad, but not my cup of tea (or bottle of beer)... My first steam beer... I'm happy I tried, but definately a one and done...

Photo of beerthulhu
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a ruby-orange with a sticky white head that left a very good lacing.

S: some fresh bread, grains, and sweet caramel with a nice hoppiness.

T: The initial flavor was light sweet toasted malt, light dried citrus with a good floral hop bitterness. A little hop bite in the finish, with some light citrus notes.

M: a little thin but had a good flavor with a light smooth texture.

D: Overall some smooth toasted caramel malting but more of a tweener. Good for one or two but fails to satisfy in numbers.

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

A-Pours an orange amber color, with moderate head.

S-The smell is of caramel malt, with just the slightest hint of hop. The smell has a certain airiness about it?

T- The taste starts off a bit hoppier than the smell lets on, but then mixes nicely with the caramel malt taste. Bit sweet, with slight hints of fruit in there as well.

M- A very smooth beverage, that goes down easy, as the light carbonation does not detract from the drinking of it.

D- A highly drinkable beer that is smooth and refreshing, much like the rest of the Anchor lineup.

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

Moderate pour from bottle as shown yields a nice white two-finger head over a clear orange-amber body. Ample lacing in drink lines. One of the prettiest lagers I've seen.

I'm usually not crazy about lagers, but this one has a wonderful maltiness right away in the aroma. Strong biscuit malt, bread dough aromas. Floral hops. Raisin bread. Mmmm. Smells very good. Is that a note of smoke.

Taste is similar to the aroma, though the hops are more up front and the malt is more long-lasting. Pine-hops bitterness in the finish. And that hint of smoke?

Mouthfeel is nice a creamy, unexpectedly so for a lager style.

Very drinkable -- more flavor than one would expect for 4.9%.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Pours a clear orange amber color with a half inch head. This dissipates quickly but the carbonation yields a light steady froth on the surface of the beer.

Nice orange hop smell with a tinge of alcohol and some yeasty malts. Very nice on the nose though I'm unable to pinpoint exactly what draws me back, some citrus variant.

Taste is clean and crisp, hoppy up front and finishing with well balance light malts. As the beer warms the finish becomes more complex and bready, yet not overpowering. Feel is good, better than initially expected given the perceived high carbonation. Finish and drinkability are solid. Just realizing that the turn towards a bready finish may be related to the reduced carbonation as well as the warming temperature. I guess further study is indicated.

Photo of Chugmonkey
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amazing how some beers can differentiate themselves from the pack. This is one of them. Lovely off white head on top of copper color, nice strong carbonation to zing that hop aroma up at you.

Has a great hop aroma. This is key component to a really good craft beer IMO. A really unique rustic flavor that I can't describe but makes this beer unforgettable. Oh yeah, it has a certain rough crispness in the finish that's hard to explain also.

Just a great stlye of beer and this is the flagship brew for the style. Amazing how it continues to set itself apart from the massive pantheon of craft beers these days. A classic.

Photo of animal69
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i hadn't had one of these in years, pours a clear med. copper color w/ a thin white head which dissipated quickly leaving little lacing in my chalice ; not a strong smell, steely malts, some hints of caramel, a bit of floral hops and vinous, fruity alcohol present as well ; a crisp, malty flavor, cereal grains and toasty caramel well balanced w/ hop bitterness, some nuts, dark fruits and metal/mineral in the mix ; a rather rich feeling light-med body for such a small beer, coupled w/ the decent amount of co2 makes for a creamy texture ; a very tasty and drinkable beer here, i'm surprised the style is not more popular...

Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Snagged a few of these as I love Anchor's Porter and wanted to see what else they had to offer.

Poured a clear, crisp, orangy amber with about a finger of cream head. Head minimized to a thin layer along the top after a minute or so.

Smells pretty malty with a faint scent of something very sweet and a bit of hop.

Taste is complex. The first taste I get is crisp, with a mild presence of malt and the smooth refreshing taste of clean water. After a second the flavor morphs into a mildly bitter hop with some saltiness and finishes with a citrus sweetness.

This beer has a very nice balance between weight and flavor. Aftertaste can leave your mouth feeling a bit syrupy but the mouthfeel here is just about perfect.

In my opinion, this is an amazing beer, but drinkability for me is dependent on season. I would drink this all summer long, and although Anchor has a summer beer, this is much better, and should be considered highly. I'll be buying alot more.

Photo of phantomwyse
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting beer that morphs complexity while warming.

A: Darkish amber hue, brown honey. Lots of carbonation rising rapidly from the bottom of the glass. Off-white, 2 finger, tightly packed head that seems relentless. Great lacing.

S: Sweet malts, biscuity. Vaguely astringent. Very, very slight hops detected.

T: Bitter malt, like rye bread without the rye (work with me here). As the beer warms, caramel notes appear. Hops appear near the middle of the palate, but act more as a garnish. As the beer gets warm, the hop presence becomes a bit more pronounced and allows the beer to remain crisp while warming.

M: Medium/light body. Prickly on the tongue due to the carbonation and hop bite combination.

D: Very drinkable.

Quickly becoming one of my standard go-to beers for consistent enjoyment, particularly in these warmer months. California Common beers are very unique to each brewer, enjoy tasting the differentiating qualities and nuances from one variant to the next. This beer also happens to be #7 on the list of most preppy beers according to Tipsy in Madras: The Essential Guide to 80's Preppy Drinking.

Photo of drinkininthewood
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 355ml brown bottle into a pint glass. BB2010Apr.

A- Clear nice copper/orange color with decent off white head and great lacing as well.

S- Sweet malt, caramel, some grains, and some nice grassy hops are very noticeable in the nose as well.

T- Some great tasty caramel malt up front. Some nice cookie dough/bread flavors. The hops balance the nice malt sweetness so perfectly, they're neither citrus nor floral but give a nice grassy bitterness in the end. Crisp clean tasting beer with some mineral water characteristics noticed, almost that of a pilsner.

M- smooth and creamy yet very light in body with nice carbonation.

D- Quite possibly the most sessionable brew I have had.

Overall what a brew. Wickedly drinkable, and totally worth checking out. Recommended for sure.

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

A - Poured a light amber color with a white head that leaves lacing

S - Is of sweet malt with some hop backing

T - Is the opposite of the smell the hops come out first followed by the sweet malt

M - This beer has a light body with a lot of carbonation to it

D - This is a very good beer that I could session it has a good taste thats pretty light worth trying

Photo of mikesgroove
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I actually had not had one of these in at least five years, so when I was in the store the other day, I just had to pick one up and give it a try. I had always had fond memories of it, and this was going to be no exception. I poured the twelve ounce bottle out into a pint glass and served it right out of the fridge.

Appearance - The pour was very nice with a rich golden amber. Very clear with a shimmering light passing through it. A good amount of carbonation could be seen streaking up toward the surface. A very nice three inch high head of white foam then came over the top and settled down gracefully leaving behind copious side glass lace.

Smell - The aroma was very earthy with a good amount of hoppiness to it. Some nice hints of caramel and grass, with touches of wet hay and a nice bit of grain. Very nice and airy aroma, mixed nicely in with a touch of orange and tangerine.

Taste - The flavor was outstanding on this one. Started out with a nice light caramel malt. Not overly sweet, but rather very nicely balanced with a light grain base and a touch of some nice little bit of herbs in there. A light and balanced floral hoppiness then came over it. Really well placed with some nice orange notes. The finish was crisp and clean. Drying out very quickly and leaving you looking for another sip rather quickly.

Mouthfeel - A very nice medium bodied feel, it was a bit fuller then I thought it would be to be honest. I really enjoyed how well it was put together, with a light and airy feel to it. A good carbonation profile then followed and kept the whole thing together really quite well.

Drinkability - This had everything going for it. Low ABV, nice carbonation, good body to it. A nice light, and flavorful profile that really had a good pop to it. What more could you ask for.

Overall I thought this was outstanding. Really a great session beer and the epitome of the style. You really cannot get better then this, it really has a world of good coming out of that bottle, and there is really just no way you can go wrong wit this one in any way!

Photo of nighthawk
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep orange colour with some fluffy, sticky head off-white in colour. Smells of sweet caramel, earth, grains, with some light citrus odours. Taste is creamy caramel mixing into bitter citrus, grains, grass. Slightly drying finish. Carbonation fizzes in the mouth, with some bitter tingling to finish. Nice feel in the mouth, medium bodied. Tasty, refreshing, and I definitely want another.

Photo of markaberrant
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - crystal clear, deep amber with a red hue, creamy thick off white head. Sheets of lace down the glass.

S - herbal hops, gentle malt sweetness with a hint of breadiness

T - get a lot more of the woody/rustic hop notes in the flavour, nicely matched by the bready malt. Sweetness is low, and virtually no fruity character. Finish is dry and bitter, with lingering woody hops.

M - light bodied, refreshing. Medium carbonation. Very smooth. Extremely easy to drink.

D - damn tasty and refreshing. very unique session beer.

My first venture into Steam Beer (I don't count the Sleemans Steam I tried 10 years ago). The aroma reminds me somewhat of pilsener, but the taste itself is unique and comes across as rustic. The overall effect is somewhere between a pilsener and an english bitter. I'm gonna have to get off my butt and brew one of these.

Thanks to Mattt for the bottle!

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,237 ratings.