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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.
very good

4,913 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,913
Reviews: 1,865
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 132
Gots: 421 | 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: 4,913 | Reviews: 1,865 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Liquids
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally a chance to try this classic, in the bottle. Pours a middle of the road, muted amber with a full foamy off white head. Lots of visible, small-bubbled carbonation. Extra points for leaving a dolop at the bottom of the pint glass, mmm. Smells very american, with distinct lager aromas. Also seems as though some of the hops are 'noble' though. A small amount of alcohol detected as well.

Taste...here comes the heresy. This reminds me of Sam Adams Lager. No, really. Actually, I had this for the first time on tap at a restaurant about two months ago, and after sipping it, I was convinced is was the wrong pour--tastes a lot like Sam Adams--maybe it's the Dos Equis by accident or they hooked up the wrong keg? I asked for a side sample to make sure it was the right pour, the waitress was accomodating, but the flavors matched. Idiot. So I assumed I was crazy, or they hooked up the wrong tap... But now drinking this, sure of what I'm drinking, I taste the similarity, it's there. It's milder than Sam Adams, slightly less hops and slightly more american flavor, a bit less salty, but in the same league. Certainly a bit fruitier and a bit more ale like, but these are subtle variations. Hops resins remain on the tounge. The malts flavor is gentle. Finishes rather dry also. As for mouthfeel, it's medium and rather carbonated on the tounge.

This is a good beer and even more drinkable than Sam. I like the idea of lagers at ale temps, but it truly is subtle variant for a lager. This beer is a good pick, and I'd love to do a side-by side with the two beers.

Liquids, Jul 21, 2006
Photo of ArcTeryx
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber with an orange-ish hue. There is a thick, slightly creamy looking head present. After the beer settled a bit, there was a small amount of lacing. This beverage smelled of caramel, with a slight citrus aroma as well.

This beer has a certain maltiness throughout, with a very light citrus flavor. There is a small amount of hoppiness in the aftertaste.

This is a tasty beer, with a good flavor. For me though, it has a bit too much maltiness to really be viable for sessionability. However, as previously suggested by others, this is a great beer for summertime, so drink up!

ArcTeryx, Jul 19, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pale cloudy copper color, with a red hue. Small amount of head/lacing.

S - Earthy malts/alcohol.

T - Medium-bodied, light roasty malts, earthy tones, small citrus twang, and hop biterness which is pronounced from start to end. Leaves a clean perfectly bitter aftertaste.

M - Adequate carbonation and tasty on the palte.

Smooth drinking beer, and ultra unique. Definitely a solid brew for any occasion and one that I will be going back to in the near future. A must try.

HoustonTX, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of edmundfitzoil
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer poured from a plain, but distinctive brown glass bottle into a standard pint glass. There appeared to have a date marking of some sort on the back of the bottle, but it was ripped.

This beer poured a simple, light, clear amber with a finger of tan head that left a constant film of tiny bubbles. The nose was a direct malt tones. The flavor surprised. I've admittedly had this beer before multiple times, and enjoyed it each time, but I had not remembered such a well rounded, and deliciously (lightly) hopped brew. The beer is light - a good warm weather beer - and light on the pallette but still with a well balanced taste. More complexities hang in it than the average lager, and I wonder or personally guess that the warmer temps at which its fermented is the cause.

This is one pretty available, light and easily sessionable beer.

edmundfitzoil, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of frazbri
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam poured golden and bright topped by a creamy, white head. Aroma of citrus zest and honey. Flavors of honey and orange with clean bitterness. Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation.

Anchor Steam is classic refreshing beer. It's not incredibly complex, but it has distinctive charactor. We're blessed Anchor Steam has survived when so many other regional breweries have long since failed.

frazbri, Jul 09, 2006
Photo of jpkoch1962
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many years ago - about 20 - my father brought this now famous beer back from a trip to the West Coast. Like other people, I fell in love with Anchor Steam from the get go. The beer hasn't changed, but I have.

Served from a bottle at 40 Deg. The color is a deep amber. My pint glass overflowed with a highly carbonated head that left faint lacing.I could detect the Northern Brewer Hop aroma, along with some grainy malt. The front end was a bit rough as this highly hopped beer is dominated by floral citrusy hops. The mouth feel was warm and smooth, but the malts struggled to get through. The middle mellowed some, but the hops had the last say. The finish was dry, crisp and bitter.

Anchor's flagship beer is still good, but I suppose my tastes have changed. I also wonder, if Anchor increased the hop bill a bit since the mid 80s, as I don't remember this beer being quite so hoppy.

jpkoch1962, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of veech
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a standard pint glass
The beer pours a gorgeous copper color with a medium head and light lacing. The aroma is that of citrus and mild hops. It is very palatable with mild hoppiness and light citrus undertones. The mouthfeel is substantial and a little more than I expected. The taste is a bready yeast with the aforementioned nuances. As I try to partake of the local offerings when visiting a city, I reverted back to Anchor Steam when a particular SF restaurant had a more limited beer menu. It's superior drinkability paired well with food or multiple pints in a session. As an aside, it was also nice to see it in stores priced less than $10 a six pack, even if it had to be in it's hometown.

veech, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of EStreet20
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A - Pours out a nice fairly transparant but deep amber color with a foamy two finger head. Lots of bubbles rushing to the top of the beer. The head has nice staying power.

S - Some sweet aromas with a bit of fruitiness in there. A bit of a metallic aroma as well but not a whole lot.

T - A nice sweet smooth taste that finishes really clean. Overall a nice taste that doesn't overpower.

M - A nice easy drinker. Fairly light bodied.

D - Definitely a quaffable session lager type. Not my favorite style but nice to go down very cool on a hot day.

EStreet20, Jul 02, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber. Left a one finger head that receded to lasting surface skim, with little lacing. Body was an orange copper.

Smell - esters, diacetyl, toasty malt, and some lemony hops.

Taste - almost exactly like the smell, except far less diacetyl present in the taste. Toasty malt, lemon hops. Some tea (malt) with lemon (hops), also. Diacetyl also seems to dissappear as ale warms. Normally diacetyl ruins a beer for me, but it is tolerable, even a little enjoyable here.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, goes down well. Very sessionable.

ultralarry2006, Jul 02, 2006
Photo of bort11
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a 4th of July weekend cookout.
12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Chunky white head, about 2-3 fingers width. Head quickly recedes, but leaves a moderately sticky lace. Color is a clear amber. Smell is slightly sweet like honey and malt, and a slight hop tang. Taste is a very balanced between malt and hops, one not overpowering the other. Finishes just slightly bitter. Mouthfeel is light to medium body Moderate carbonation. This is very easy to drink, and I'm sure I'm going to finish the six pack this evening. Quite quaffable and refreshing

bort11, Jul 02, 2006
Photo of jettjon
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Highs: Mouth, flavor
Lows: None

Sometimes it pays attention to know the background of the beer your drinking. Usually, though I try to judge a beer on its own merits. Anchor Steam Beer, though, shines on both counts. At first, I didn’t really know what it was supposed to be. I was guessing a pale ale. As it turns out, it’s a great representation of the Steam Beer or California Common style. Either way, it’s a noteworthy brew.

Pours a clear amber color beneath a thick, creamy 2-finger head that fades away slowly leaving behind good lacing. Nose is mostly malt. Taste starts with semisweet malt but finishes dry on a bitter hopsy note. Presenting like an ale so far. Mouth is semi-creamy and smooth; quite good. Drinkability is very good. This is a substantial, tasty beer.

Overall: Never had a “Steam Beer?” This one presents like a great pale ale, with good flavor and a good mouthfeel. Very enjoyable. Recommended.

jettjon, Jul 01, 2006
Photo of RJLarse
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked up a couple of bottles of Anchor Steam beer at a grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a pale amber color and is clear. A thick creamy head forms and is quite resilient. The beer appears mildly carbonated.

The smell is sweet and fruity. There is a floral scent along with an aroma of grain.

The taste is generally unremarkable. A heavy cereal or biscuit flavor up front, followed by a mildly bitter hop taste.

The mouth feel is dry and perhaps a bit flat.

This is a drinkable beer. It’s a bit average in terms of taste, but a drinkable beer just the same.

RJLarse, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an amberish iced tea color with a frothy head. Looks like a bitter/pale to me. Some nice lacing present. Has aromas of a bready and malty body with a lightly hopped tinge along with hints of honey. Slight grain detected. Has a clean lager smell as well. Not much to say about the taste that I haven't said in the smell. Pretty much tastes like a solidly hopped pale ale but with a hint of grain and butter as well as a lager-like clean finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft. Drinkability is optimal as I just want to keep on taking sips of this.

This was the first steam beer I'd tried some years ago, and, to this day, it's really the only representation of the style I've ever had. I really have no complaints and, overall, this is a damn good beer.

goochpunch, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of TheSarge
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer pours quite nicely forming a light tan head, which stands for a considerable amount of time The body of this brew is a light amber color, and is highly filtered. A firm lace follows through till the last drop.

Anchor's beer is very fragrant. This is mostly from the toasty malts, and fine balance of hops. The flavor is malt dominated, but not overly sugary. It finishes with a hoppy ending... Okay, that was a bit cheesy, sorry.

This is a refreshing brew to have on a mild day between 65 to 70 degrees in the shade.

I like Anchor Steam quite a bit, because this company helped me to appreciate craft beer and American brewing altogether.


TheSarge, Jun 27, 2006
Photo of Brian700
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a clear amber color with a white head that settles to a thin layer and leaves some decent lacing.

The aroma is of sweet caramel malt with a mild citrus hop aroma.

The flavor is very nice. Good malt profile here. There is some caramel presence along with a clean hop flavor. Very well balanced.

The mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a great session brew, very drinkable. I remember liking this beer more than I did this one. I will update review this one again when I get a bottle that I know is fresh.

Brian700, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of cjgator3
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a thick fizzy white head. Aroma is earthy malt. Taste is sweet toasted malt with a slight hop bitterness. Overall, I think this is a pretty boring beer that is over-hyped in my opinion. I will probably not purchase this again.

cjgator3, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of mooner
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's tough to find a fresh pint of this in Boston, but when in San Fransico you'd be hard pressed to find a more drinkable beer. As far as adhearance to style its much like Duval, didn't they invent the style? A great ale-like lager, I'm sure the best selling craft in America (Sam) owes a great deal of its popularity to this predecesor.

mooner, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of akahn
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazed amber, with lively streaming carbonation anda bubbly head. Decent lace.

Faint but deep caramel malt aroma tinged by subtle hops.

Interesting, unique, almost confusing flavor. Mildly sweet toffee-biscuit sweet, very toasty, with dry grain flavors too. Gentle tingle of hops plays well with ample carbonation, giving a long, gradually fading finish. The grainy flavors hover over all along. Delightful.

Medium body lightened by crisp, brisk carbonation. Becomes very creamy as it warms up. I'm very impressed – and perplexed! This beer ain't famous for nothin'!

akahn, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of MiScusi
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The thing I love about Anchor Steam is that it is crisp, has a little bit hop pop to it, and has a nice mouthfeel. What you get is a somewhat lighter feeling beer that has a very good punch to it in flavor. You get a good dose of hops, on the level of a pale ale even. But there is a little malt caramel background that sets it apart from west coast pales. A very good refreshing choice if you are in the mood for this type.

MiScusi, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of mdagnew
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle bought from Grape Expectations, Ballyclare...

Poured a nice coppery amber colour... Slightly off white head pours quite small and faded quickly to light ring around the edge. No lacing...

Aroma - Light biscuity / caramel maltiness, honey notes, spicy / grassy hops, peppery, nutty notes, light fruitiness (oranges, dates, raisins)

Taste – Nice spicy floral hop bitterness, light toffee malts, nutty, some fruitiness, (grapefruits, oranges)...

Feel - Pretty smooth and dry... light body.... Very refreshing and very drinkable...

Overall - A pretty good beer....Nothing extraordinary, but very very drinkable... certainly worth a try...

mdagnew, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of jahsausage
2.63/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I suspect that I have got myself a skunked bottle or something here, its had to come a long way you understand. On first pour the beer looked beautiful with a nice coppery colour and decent head and smelt mildly of malt & yeast (it reminded me of homebrew). The taste itself I found quite subdued, perhaps what would be expected in a kiwi/uk style mild ale but the aftertaste was not to my taste. I found it not only lingering but astringent and sourish like nothing I have tasted before bar homebrewing disasters. I think I am going to have to reserve my judgement on this one until I can try a (hopefully) fresher bottle.

jahsausage, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of becktone
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Anchor Steam pours a rich orange color. It is crystal clear and has an off white billowy head. Carbonation is visible, therefore bringing a lifelike appearance to the beer. First began with a two finger head, now down to about a finger and a half, somewhat good retention. The beer exhibits farily good lacing characteristics.

The nose of this beer is of strong sweet malts. Reminds me somewhat of candy,(however, not belgian candi sugar). Don't detect any hops in the aroma of this beer. The sweet malt smell is too upfront and in the face, I can't take much of it before I have to move the glass away from my nose, I think that it could be toned down a bit.

When it first hits the tongue bitterness if very evident, whether it was from hops or roasted grain I couldn't tell on the first taste, but it is very evident, right up there in the front car on a big rollercoaster. This beer is a big malt beer. While it is in balance between bitter and sweet, the main flavor profile is composed of sweet malts. Not much hop flavor in this brew. A little bit might be nice. Big on a darker caramel flavor.

The carbonation of this beer is forefront. It is highly carbonated. The carbonation can be felt up to the point where one swallows the beer. I'm not a big fan of that, seems to be a little too much if you ask me. This is a beer that I'll drink again, but I don't know how soon I'll be in the mood to drink this beer again. It is something unique, however, there are many unique beers that I have had that I might prefer over this one. It just doesn't seem to hit the spot, or any spot like a good beer (in my opinion) should.

becktone, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of RedChrome
2.78/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour was a very nice almost orange color. Tons of carbonation help highlight the nice cream colored head. Almost no lacing.

Had a very hoppy aroma upon first sniff. Second whiff hints at fruity aromas that almost smell like a fruit salad. I noted hints of pineapple, lemon, apricot, and pears.

Not that impressed with the taste. This brew was to bitter even for my taste. The fruit wasn't in balance to the hops, which overpowered the whole flavor. Might taste fantastic with slighlty less hop.

Feels slighty watery but has a fair amount of carbonation that dances on the edges of my mouth.

If you don't mind the bitterness, this might be a good choice for you. It doesn'tfit my tastes, and unfortunatly, won't go onto my list of would drink again beers.

RedChrome, Jun 06, 2006
Photo of ernie
4.9/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Certainly the best American beer I ever had. An incomparable one. It came on a hot sunny afternoon and made my day - hazy and crisp, hoppy and smooth, all in one. Fantastic drink, I wish it would be exported more widely. Anchor Steam can easily beat dozens of European premium lagers. But if San Franciscan brewers decide not to expand production for quality reasons, I can understand. Miss this beer, really.

ernie, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of Phocion
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a pint glass with a very reddish copper color and three good fingers of foamy head, which dissolves into a thin lacing. Lots of bubbles floating up to the top.

Fruity smell, with a bit of a sweeter caramel and a little bit of hops coming through.

Very bitter at first, tastes almost like a weakened PA for the first couple swallows. Starts getting a little fruitier as you work your way down the glass, and finishes off dry. Fairly complex, and very unique flavor.

Light-medium bodied, lots of carbonation. Nothing special here.

This is a highly drinkable brew. Excellent all-around beer that would compliment most styles of food or stand out well on its own. Best "backyard" drink I've had, and I usually try to keep a couple in stock for those times I don't know what else to have.

Phocion, May 30, 2006
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,913 ratings.