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Anchor Small Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Small BeerAnchor Small Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
72
okay

434 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 434
Reviews: 321
rAvg: 3.11
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 16
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  3.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
"We believe you will find Anchor Small Beer delicious--similar to what modern brewers call a "bitter"--and we hope you will also enjoy the idea of reviving an ancient brewing tradition, which is something of great importance. "

"We make our Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale from the rich first runnings of an all-malt mash, and Anchor Small Beer is our attempt to duplicate the "small beers" of old by sparging that same mash: sprinkling warm water over the Old Foghorn mash after the first wort has run off, thereby creating a second, lighter brew from the resulting thinner wort. "

(Beer added by: UnionMade on 11-11-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 434 | Reviews: 321 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by alleykatking:
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

2.75/5  rDev -11.6%

When my roommate first wanted to get into micros I kinda laughed. He was working for a Miller distributer at the time and was all about the High Life. I handed him this beer and he fell in love with it. Now he thinks he is King Shit.

A- Poured into pint glass. Big head thast still stayed around for the entire beer. Big lacing that stuck to the rim of the glass. Just a slight bit darker than the macros that my roommate was so into.

S- To me it just smells like another macro that I have when the bars have crap on special and I'm short on cash.

T- It has this everyday run of the mill macro taste. I might even dare to say Budweiser. I am not really impressed with this one at all.

M- Very malty bitterness that I don't really care for. Not a very good mouthfeel to me. Kind of makes me pucker and grind my teeth and not in a good way.

D- After half my glass was gone I saw my roommate was about to crack open a Alpha King. I yelled at him and handed him the rest of his new favorite beer to drink instead.

Overall I expected more from Anchor since everyhing else I had from them was good. I will make sure to point this out to the people who come into my store and want to try something like what they expect from their BMC.

04-06-2009 04:08:55 | More by alleykatking
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev +7.1%

The first beer I had today during the travesty that happened in Columbus,poured a dull slight hazed golden with a well formed one finger white head that stuck around for quite awhile.Very unpleasant aromas like that of rotting fruit almost just overtook the toasted grain notes cant put my finger on it I just know I didnt like it.The flavors were a bit better bbut still pretty basic toasty lighty sweet biscuity malt a touch of earthy hop but nothing really stands out.Hmm pretty basic the aroma was bad but the flavors were pretty good,a decent quaffer but I wouldnt look to buy it again.

11-19-2006 00:35:00 | More by oberon
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4/5  rDev +28.6%

Appearance - The orange body is almost florescent. The head looked pretty good and laced the glass on the way down.

Smell - The malt aromas are secondary to the citrusy hops. Everything is kind of light at the nose.

Taste - An interesting mix of straight malt and citrus hops. There's no sweetness to this one. The finish is hoppy and dry.

Mouthfeel - Small carbonation and a refreshing mouthfeel help this one down.

Drinkability - This beer is sharp and undulating. It went down well with my very spicy Mexican dish.

Update - It has been almost five years since I first reviewed this beer so thought I'd give it another whirl in 2008. I thought the aroma was more pronounced as was the carbonation. It really does have a nice bitter kick at the end. I raised my overall rating from 3.8 to 4.0.

09-26-2003 02:51:00 | More by RoyalT
Photo of brownbeer
brownbeer

Missouri

3.38/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a very transparent, light amber color.

The aroma is of faint English hops. It's earthy with a hint of lemon and subtle graininess.

The taste is gone before it hits. Soft grains and tea in the flavor. Clean and inoffensive, it finishes on a nicely crisp, bitter note.Let it warm up and a little more flavor is coaxed out.

I'm on board with low abv beers, like this one, that are priced right. But even in the world of English Bitters, which is where I would catagorize this taste-wise, it still doesn't stand out a whole lot. That being said, it's a worthy beer.

05-07-2010 04:04:37 | More by brownbeer
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
JudgeRoughneck

Louisiana

3.38/5  rDev +8.7%

I'll start off by saying I have no freakin clue why this is listed as an APA and not a "Archaic/ Historical" or whatever. Anyway, I'll not be reviewing or rating it as a pale ale. It is small beer. Which, aparently is a beer that is like exactly the color of those tacky amber/yellow glasses your grandma has kept since the 70's. If your grandma is dead or has good taste, I'm very sorry. A visit to any Goodwill should yeild the glasses in question. Anyway, it looks amazing, with good carbonation and nice, tight, shave-cake of head that just squats on top of the beer and goes nowhere.

The aromas are alcohol, spicy hops, and a more robust version of the malt aroma most lagers have. The tase is interesting but simple. This is a very dry and strongly bittered beer. It has a few "off-flavors", including vegetal and soapy, but they are all very subtle and combine with a salty character to give this brew a loveable funkiness. Midwieght mouthfeel is light and grippy and helps things along nicely.

11-04-2006 18:31:33 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of skybluewater
skybluewater

Minnesota

2.4/5  rDev -22.8%

Pours a very pale gold color. Smells odd, with a harsh hoppiness that isn't very pleasent. Taste as well isn't all that great. It has a rather harsh quality to it that disappates somewhat as the beer warms. Towards the end, I can almost taste a great beer in there somewhere...

Hmm, reading previous reviews of this, I'm thinking I got a bum bottle or something. Then again, it IS fresh, as per the bottle code I just spent 45 minutes decrypting. As such, I'm going to have to say that I just don't care for this beer.

01-17-2005 07:08:53 | More by skybluewater
Photo of EastBay_Nick
EastBay_Nick

California

2/5  rDev -35.7%

07-13-2013 21:23:10 | More by EastBay_Nick
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

3.43/5  rDev +10.3%

A bomber poured into a pint glass. The beer was a golden color with a medium white head that was a bit on the sticky side. Not much aroma, just a little malt and flowers. It had a piney hops taste that was perhaps more bitter than I wanted it to be. I think the degree of bitterness would keep it from being a good session beer.

04-25-2009 19:49:38 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

3.13/5  rDev +0.6%

Presentation: 1 pint, 6oz bowling pin style brown bottle. No freshness date, bottled on 09/15/2000.

Appearance: Light, clear amber/golden. Large bubbled frothy white lace

Smell: Smells of watery hops and malts. Has a bit of an earthy, grain husk aroma.

Taste: Light bodied with a fairly consistent mouthfeel. Malt flavour and sweetness is thin. There's a crisp dryness that is augmented by a good dose of carbonation, grain husk flavours (tannin-like) and bold hops that dominate with a sharp, salty, citrus bite. About 3/4 of the way through you can pick up on yeast characteristics, like some light nuttiness and bready flavours. Palate finishes dry with more grain husk flavours (powdery mouthfeel).

Notes: This is a decent beer, a good session beer. Anchor applied some "waste not, want not," as it's made by rinsing warm water (secondary runnings) over the mash of Old Foghorn, Anchor's seasonal barley-style wine. Very rare style these days.

11-11-2000 00:00:01 | More by Todd
Photo of generallee
generallee

New York

3.15/5  rDev +1.3%

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt. 6oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. The neck label has a short description of the beer but there is no freshness date or abv%.

Appearance: The body has a light amber to orange amber color with good clarity and some visible carbonation. From the pour I got an average size head (about two fingers) with a just off white color. This head fades slowly and makes some nice lacing on the glass as I drink.

Smell: It light overall and has a light pale biscuit like maltiness with some mild grassy/herbal hops. (This was not what I was expecting at all.)

Taste/Palate: The flavor closely matches the smell. It starts with a thin pale malt with light bready and biscuity notes. This is then quickly over run by a slightly citrusy, almost astringent, grassy hop character. It finishes with this acidic bitterness hanging on to the tongue. The body has a light and fairly thin feel with plenty of scrubbing carbonation.

Notes: For a beer based off the second running of there Barleywine this was not what I was expecting and not a beer that I would seek out again.

04-27-2011 18:34:20 | More by generallee
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

2.9/5  rDev -6.8%

Bright orange amber colour. The head retention if this ale is unreal; big and dense, frothy and rocky … seems to leave a nice trail of lace also. An ale pulled from the second running typically does not have this kind of head, but as I see the malt runs thin and they seemed to over hop. Bitterness is to the point of being the only flavour upfront which really kills the chances of the flavour being any good. Bit of a citric hop twang from middle to end. Graininess with some mild astringency is typical of a small beer of second runnings but this is pushing it to the point of being a chore to put down. Not a beer I would go back to unless it was on cask or at least only a few week old on tap.

05-06-2002 20:39:46 | More by Jason
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.73/5  rDev +19.9%

Surprised to see a bottle of this in nearby Evansville, Indiana. Large bottle pours a clear honey amber body with a small and tightknit white head. Retention is good with some patchy lacing left on the glass.

Aroma is discreet. Some toasty and biscuity malt and some mildly spicy hops. Not much to mention.

Lovely mouthfeel boasts a soft carbonation that is caressing. Body is light and crisp.

Taste is subdued but pleasant. Slightly sweet biscuity malt melds with an understated spicy hops presence. Nice balance. Taste is clean and airy, goes down quite easy.

Label says this is the second runnings of their excellent Old Foghorn barleywine. Interesting concept of an oldtime style. I could drink this stuff all day but would probably get bored.

06-09-2007 23:35:05 | More by merlin48
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.15/5  rDev +1.3%

This one pours a very light shade of amber, crystal clear, alot of carbonation early, leads to a puffy white head, with long lasting retentive powers, leaves a mess of thick lacing, nice. Faint malty nose. taste is the problem here, its a tad metallic, sharp, watery and thin. The mouthfeel is also prickly, even as it warms up a bit. There is far better beer out there, this a noble and well intentioned try from the good folks @ A.S., but it misses the mark. Needs to be softened out, could use some more malt to ease it across the tongue

01-21-2005 03:48:07 | More by Billolick
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

3.5/5  rDev +12.5%

The beer pours a very clear yellow with a white head. The aroma is corn and wheat. Very macro like. The aroma is corn with some very light hops, wheat and possibly some light skunking. Thin mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Anchor makes some great beers but this is not one of them.

03-19-2010 22:47:18 | More by Mora2000
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

2.2/5  rDev -29.3%

Bottle. Clear yellow pour with moderate white head. Aroma is a blatant false advertising of malts and saaz hops. Taste is watery, very watery. There's malt and hops to be had, in very small quantities. It tastes like a Fullers after I'm done with it. I know this is a low-alcohol, but you should really avoid it.

12-04-2008 22:51:26 | More by magictrokini
Photo of Tabni
Tabni

Florida

3/5  rDev -3.5%

12-14-2011 15:14:37 | More by Tabni
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

3.23/5  rDev +3.9%

Anchor's Small Beer is made from the same mash as their Old Foghorn barleywine-style ale: after the first runnings have been drained off for Old Foghorn, the mash is soaked again, and the second run is used for Small Beer. The result is a beer that is intentionally lighter and weaker (only 3.3% ABV). Small Beer still has some of the barleywine aromas--apricot, brown sugar, vanilla, orange, lemon--but they are less pronounced.

On the tongue, the beer is light, but refreshing, tasting somewhat like a cross between a non-skunky Corona and a light IPA. Citrus flavors dominate--oranges, lemons, apricots--but the beer also bears a strong bitterness, akin to grapefruit rind, and a peppery spiciness. Mouthfeel is light, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, Small Beer is a good beer, and for a second-run brew, is still far better than anything Anheuser-Busch puts out. I do find the bitterness somewhat out of balance with the sugars, but still think the result is quite palatable, and refreshing--this is a brew I'd like to take to the beach on a hot day.

08-03-2011 03:35:41 | More by jondeelee
Photo of mrw1zard
mrw1zard

Alabama

3/5  rDev -3.5%

05-13-2013 13:06:24 | More by mrw1zard
Photo of Osiris9588
Osiris9588

Ohio

2.63/5  rDev -15.4%

22oz bomber. Pours a pale rusty gold color. The frothy white head shows good retention.

The aroma is quite weak--a faint scent of orange and yeast. The flavor is rather weak as well. It progresses from a yeasty, watery flavor straight to very metallic, astringent hoppiness.

The mouth is light and shows almost no complexity, finishing on an unpleasant tinny note. It would be drinkable, yet the lack of flavor discourages repeat rounds. I'll pass on this.

04-09-2007 21:35:06 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Good looking pour for a beer that is reused wort, amber, very sticky head. Aroma is pretty nil.

Taste, very easy drinking, slightly bitter and very slight hopping. Super sessiony. Gotta appreciate the relative uniqueness of this beer. Waste not want not. Extremely light mouthfeel, but that's pretty much by design.

Pretty unique, I'd keep one around for when you want to drink an Old Foghorn, and your old lady/sissy friend wants to drink to, but you don't wanna hear about how your barleywine is "nasty".

11-03-2010 23:51:34 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

I love that they do this beer, reminds me of beers that workers carried in pails for lunch in the old days...

Darker than I expected, nice sub-amber with a very thin head at the top. Smell of mostly hop with just a little sweetness. Bitter but pretty pleasant initial taste and a little bitter at the back, there wasn't a lot of maltiness in the brew. "Sparged from a Barleywine wort", the Barleywine was obviously very hopped. Pretty mouth challenging for a low alcohol brew. Pretty OK flavor and another unique brew from a company that saved micros in the US...

05-21-2002 08:04:00 | More by ADR
Photo of mglaser37
mglaser37

California

3.48/5  rDev +11.9%

Head: Had little hold but was white and a bit fluffy at first.

Aroma: This beer has a hoppy/grassy smell to it.

Color: This is a light pale ale…has a light golden color.

Flavor: Was bitter/hoppy & nutty…bitter finish.

Mouth-feel: This was very watery…easy to drink. Body had a decent amount of carbonation but not to the tongue.

02-01-2012 22:04:16 | More by mglaser37
Photo of bahana
bahana

California

4.13/5  rDev +32.8%

I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer. Very light and drinkable. It would be a good alternative to having a light lager outside on a hot day. I love the mouthfeel how it tingles the tongue. Seems like it would go well with a light fish. Smell isn't much, but the crisp taste makes up for it.

02-27-2011 02:14:28 | More by bahana
Photo of watermelonman
watermelonman

California

3.28/5  rDev +5.5%

This poured to a very nice pale and copper color, with a great looking small head.

The smell isn't very appealing to me, but the taste is pretty decent. All things considered, the hops are potent. They're a little floral in the taste, but not at all in the smell.

This may not be spectacular, but it goes down well, and it's definitely unique.

03-15-2004 00:48:12 | More by watermelonman
Photo of koganator
koganator

Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +23.2%

Yay! my first review.
Okay, essentially this is Anchors version of a glorified light beer, their site and description goes on about the tradition of small beer and making beer of the seconds runnings, but when it comes down to it, it's a low alcohol light beer.

Appearance: Nice foamy head, that dissepates at a moderate pace! Light copper Color of a typical ale. You can't fault an Anchor beer on apperance since this is sort of their specialty. Nice and solid.
Smell: Mild aroma of hops, typical beery smell a bit weak, but there. nothing jumps out in this catogory.
Taste: Very soft. You take a drink and you first taste, water then bitterness and a mild peppery taste. This is not a complicated beer in any aspect of the word. You could give this stuff to kids if they don't mind the bitterness, which in other beers I tend to dislike, but either i'm getting used to hops or this beer isn't very hoppy, because here the hops were pretty unoffensive, unlike in some other Anchor beers i've tried. Basically if you feel thirsty and find water and soda unappealing this is the beer for you, perfect in the summer.
Mouthfeel: Er... It feels like lightly carbonated water.
Drinkabilty: Perfect. One of the easiest beers to drink ever created. Very thirst quenching and very difficult to get drunk of off.
Overall: I'd get it if you want something very mild. I like this beer, and would get it more if my only avaliable source wasn't in chicago. (That I know of, I don't visit Liquor stores). If I could change one thing about this beer is I would add a touch more malt, that would make it tastier :)

02-07-2007 04:42:45 | More by koganator
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Anchor Small Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 434 ratings.