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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

4,083 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4083
Reviews: 1816
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.66%


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)
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Ratings: 4,083 | Reviews: 1,816 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a a light amber color with a relatively thick head that fairly quickly becomes a thin lace. There is quite a bit of carbonation at first. But that too disspipates after a brief time.
The smell is light. After smelling it, I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a hint of caramel flavor. Nothing special, but nothing offensive.
The taste is thick but without much of a distinct flavor, except a bit of refreshing sweetness. Tastes good but nothing special.
It does leave a refreshing feel in the mouth, as there is nothing offensive, while nothing special about it either.
Overall, it is a decent session beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 21:14:21 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown 355ml bottle, best before Oct 2008, drank Apr 2007.

Poured into a Corsendonk Tulip glass, dull copper, hazy more than cloudy. A good white head and carbonisation rising through the beer to replenish the head as it shrank away.

Aroma of malt biscuits and some caramel.

Unremarkable taste, barley malts and not a lot of anything.

A slight bitterness does linger in the aftertaste, but there is no great body to this beer, it isn't watery by any means, but there just isn't much too it either.

A little disappointed with this one really, was expecting more flavour and a better mouthfeel from a beer most beer lovers in the UK have at least heard of, if not tried.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2007 16:12:40 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh the classics. Tangy kind of tone to this one. It doesn't push it to an obnoxious level, but it's almost a bit too much for my preferences really. Flavor delivery is smooth and consistent. Feel is smooth. A pretty easy drinker, but a bit too tangy for me personally. Still a good one though (of course).

Side note: as this one warms, you can really get a sense of the grain in there.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2012 08:32:57 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can honestly say that I have never been too fond of this beer in the bottle, maybe it's the trip across country it has to make to get here but there is always a funky grassy taste going on that does nothing for me. However on draught this beer pours a nice amber with a creamy off white head. Leaving a decent lace around the rim of my mug. The aroma is a sweet caramelly malty aroma with a nice solid back bone of hop aroma. The taste of this beer is unique due to the fact that when they orginally brewed this beer they had lager yeast, but no refrigeration to ferment it as a true lager. So, they fermented this beer at ale temperature using the lager yeast creating the California common or "steam" beer style. This beer has a wonderful hop bitterness with sweet apple tones and a nice full malt profile wonderful beer. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated with a great smooth finish from this medium to light bodied beer. Incredilbly drinkable if obtained freshly.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2003 11:50:45 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color with a 1" head. Only a wisp of lace develops. The aroma was of bread and malt. The flavor was a well balanced and simple blend of caramel, bread, fruit, and mild bitterness. Definitely a bit on the sweeter side.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start with a crisp, slightly dry finish. Extremely drinkable, and a perfect brew to enjoy with a pizza.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2005 11:31:18 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and solidly amber. Moderate chaulky white head with good lasting power.

Good caramel notes in the nose. Light background hoppy aromas.

Much more bitter than the aroma suggests. It's not an IPA but the hop bite is quick to show and long to fade, even after the swallow. Still, I'd describe this as a well-balanced beer with lots of astringent malt background. Good body and slightly high carbonation.

If I were blindfolded, I'd presume this to be a typical APA. I imagine the uninitiated wouldn't realize that they were drinking the most original of American beers--the first of our own.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 21:00:07 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Dark amber orange with pretty thick white head.

S: Thick malt, with baking bread, sugar cookies, maybe a bit of barnyard feel, interesting.

T: Maltiness, with that fruity ale yeast ester flavor due to high fermentation temperatures, steamy. A bit of sulfur carries the load, with a midly astringent taste, it's a difficult taste to describe.

M: Smooth, that steam beer lager character is there.

D: Very drinkable, not the best beer in the world by any stretch, but a very good one.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2007 02:56:14 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The color is the classic dark amber in the mug with a modest head and a little fizz in the mouth. Slight grainy nose. Thin, dirty caramel is the main taste. Overall this is malty, tart, and somewhat murky. It's reminiscent of a Belgian minus the yeast. A touch of hops. Sort of earthy with bitter tones.

On tap at Comstock Saloon in North Beach. I've had it in the bottle in San Francisco as well and I just find this to be uninspired and not very drinkable, regardless of it's glorious history. It was more respected in the 70s when there were so few interesting beers to compare it to.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2013 19:55:47 | More by mactrail
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, light copper color with a nice tan head. Nose was moderately hoppy with some caramel in the background. Taste is malts and hops and sugary and bready too. Mouthfeel was lively though a bit thin. Drinkability was good but I dont see myself drinking to many of these at once. One and I am pretty much ready to move on.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2009 02:43:59 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

possibly my favorite easy drinking ale on the market. pours a deep copper color with a welcomed 2 inch white head. smell is primarily malt based, not heavy, with some bitter and citrus hop fragrances. smells like a beer the revolutionaries would have been drinking in boston back in the day, it just has that important timeless nobility in its nose. flavor is amazingly well balanced, with more hops in the finish than the nose gave away. mouthfeel is nice and smooth. its down easy, but not in a throwaway sense, it is very enjoyable and every sip can be a pleasurable experience. great carbonation and a medium body. im happy to drink this all day everyday. it goes well with a lot of food, is reasonably affordable, and is interesting enough to old my attention. i am always excited to see it on shelves back east. this has been one of my go to beers for years.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 19:37:41 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On par with a craft amber ale. I cant say I can pick out the difference aside from more hops. Looks amber with a nice white head. Smells very caramel and tastes it with a nicely balanced bitterness. A pleasure to drink and great with rich food. I get a hint of alcohol as it warms, but thats really the only bad thing I can say. Cheers to this classic.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 22:26:02 | More by tempest
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Salt House pub in Galway, Ireland. Poured into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

A: One finger head of fair cream and thickness. A hazy copper colour. Appealing, if not for the poor retention of the head.

Sm: Barley, LOTS of hops. Maybe an apple ester?

T: Apple is definitely there, along with other estery hops. Off-cream, apple finish. Very crisp and refreshing, whilst avoiding going into cider territory. I'm curious which sugar they used to accomplish this.

Mf: Crisp. Nice coarseness and near-perfect dryness.

Dr: Far too expensive in Ireland, but certainly worth a go.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 00:01:00 | More by kojevergas
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. I opened the beer at the start of the Sopranos (1 hour ago) and am getting to it now, so it has warmed considerably.

Appearance: The lager as an amber color, almost bordering on maraschino cherry red. It poured with a vigourous 2 finger head that left a small band of lace on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells like a cookie. The malts impart a sweet biscuitiness that are offset by a subdued hop nose.

Taste: The beer tastes like a rich, yeasty biscuit. The notes are subtle and sweet, leaving the faintest flavor in the mouth. The is a small hop presence that compliments the malt without detracting too significantly.

Mouthfeel: The lager is smooth with a dominating malty sweetness, very pleasing in the mouth.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Grab yourself a six pack enjoy the day.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 02:09:20 | More by akorsak
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Finnegan's Wake third floor bar, Philly, PA

A: Clear copper, with a light white head, some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean with some citrus notes.

T: Clean mixture of malts and semi-citrusy hops.

M: Light body with some carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, but not something I have too often.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 20:11:25 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

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

12 ouncer sampled. No freshness indication on the label. Pours a nice rich dark amber, with an off white creamy, dense head. Respectable lacing left behind. Sweet nose of caramel and brown sugar. Medium bodied, smooth malty base to this one, soft, creamy mouthfeel, very easy on the tongue. Smooth subtle hops in the finish, slightly dry very pleasant quafer/sessoner. Classic early/back in the day micro. thanks for the memories and for the fine suds for all these years!

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2004 05:15:52 | More by Billolick
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer pours a deep burnt orange with a crystal clear body and a big creamy off-white head. A strong carbonation keeps the head big and rocky.

S-The smell of pale malt with some notes of toasted malt and some noble bitter hops lurk in the background.

T- A very smooth soft pale malt taste with some soft bite of hop bitterness finish this beer. The finish is not real dry but has a bit of a long finish with some malt and hop flavor.

M-A medium mouthfeel with some fizziness but no astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This beer does have interesting qualities of both lagers and ales and is a very smooth beer. It doesn't have quite the complexity to hold my interest.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2005 01:09:37 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

4/5  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...

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 07:25:12 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 22:30:04 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 16oz brown "fatty" with the infamous anchor, hops and barley label. "Made in San Francisco since 1896" No freshness date.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a thick, off-white, rocky, bubbly, sticky, chunky head.

Smell: Earthy malt aromas with semi-caramel sweetness.

Taste: Immediately, the mouth is hit by a sharp bitterness, some salt and slight lemon from the hops. This is a beautiful thing, full of flavour and character. After, a mildly astringent, earthy, highly toasted malt guides you to a dry, grainy, residual citrus after-taste.

Notes: You don't find other beers like this, not even close in their mimics. This is truly a unique brew, and a classic; a legend in the hand-crafted/micro industry.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2002 10:33:07 | More by Jason
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear beer that is a deep bronze color.

Smell is mostly of hop perfume. There is also malt, grain and toffee smells here.

Taste is of malt balanced by hops, it is a little sweet but then the hops dry the flavor out without being bitter. Mild caramel and citrus are in here. Many ghostly flavors to this, you taste it and then it changes or hides. Succeeds in being flavorful without being harsh in any respect, an excellent brew to convert the Budweiser drinkers of the world.

Mouthfeel is solid.

Super drinkable, mild yet flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2004 03:01:48 | More by Zorro
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all time favorites. One of the first micro's I bought in CA. Pours a nice golden/amber color with a nice head, but does not last long, very light lacing if any at all. Nice malty scent with a great light taste. I really enjoy this beer, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 01:00:35 | More by Wasatch
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with a two finger frothy, pillowy white head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap/ring. Chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with floral, piny hops, sweet malt and light fruit. Hints of caramel, toffee and nut.

Medium bodied with a slight creamy texture that adds fullness to the palate. Crisp floral hop presence up front that's only faintly dry and bitter. This is countered by the sweet malt and light fruit notes. Hints of caramel, biscuit, toffee, hazelnut and apricot. Well balanced and easy to drink. There is nothing outstanding about this beer but it's well crafted and sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 02:47:07 | More by corby112
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Part five in the Unorganized Invitation brings us to Anchor Steam Beer. Time to try to out:

In color, the beer is amber in color with a soild, desne head. The flavor is dominated by toasty malts, and it's damn tasty. A little fruity underneath the toasty flavor, creamy, and thick. Yum. I've found another option for a session brew.

I had hopes for this beer, and boy it did it hit the spot. It just took the lead in the Unorganized Invitational from it's brother Anchor Bock. It'll have to hold off New Belgium's 1554 to secure the title.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2007 04:00:19 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of wl0307
wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BB July 2009, served lightly chilled in a pilsner glass.

A: pours an ultra-elegant bright blood-orangey tawny hue, on top of a fast dissipating white foam and lively (but not fierce) carbonation.
S: very malty and caramely upfront, with a sticky and raw-ish edge of plum jam as well as sugar-cane-like aroma. Not complex, a bit sweet on the balance.
T: the bitter-sweet caramalts and burned sugar-cane upfront are underlined by a touch of coconut-shaving, light prune-ish fruits and sweet herbs, leading fast towards an intensifying bitter aftertaste full of tea-leafy hops and chewy, powdery bitter elements. The finish is IMO the best moment of the tasting, that it's chewy, bitter, and yet free from any residual sugary mouthfeel.
M&D: compared with the draught version, the bottled one fares slightly lower due to the slightly more coarse fizziness and also a thinner body, but the trademark flavour profile stays intact. A bitter-sweet session beer designed to quaff!

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 16:56:37 | More by wl0307
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with 2-3 thick fingers of off-white head. This settles down into about a solid finger’s worth, leaving back a creamy latticework of foamy lacing. The aroma is thick in the nose, with a mix of fruit, caramel, and bread, which is then softened on the edges somewhat by notes of leafy earth and a light spicy feel.

The taste has a crisp bitter bite to it, which snaps across the tongue. This is well balanced by a strong backbone of caramel sweetness, which has some sturdy toasted edges to it. The finish is dry and lightly spicy, with some lingering notes of bitter fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lively and crisp feel that dances around in the mouth, before smoothing out into an easy creaminess across the back.

This is the beer that started the craft beer revolution in this country and it’s still going strong all of these years later. I hadn’t had this in a while and sitting down with a 22 oz helped me realize again how flavorful and just plain drinkable this can be when you sit down with it. 40 years later and still going strong, this beer is a winner.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2011 14:34:26 | More by Kegatron
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,083 ratings.