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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.

434 Ratings

(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:
Photo of riored4v


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Reviewed on 5/5/10

Poured into a pint glass. Clear amber, 2 finger, fluffy, off-white head with good lacing.

Smell was malty with sime slight hoppiness that was a bit fruity. Slight caramel.

Taste was very light and crisp with a mild maltiness backed by a mellow bitterness. Earthy and fruity flavors present from the hops. Had a weird metallic tinge in the finish that was a bit "off".

Mouthfeel was light body, high carbonation and crisp finish.

Drinkability overall was good, despite the metallic finish. Very mellow all around. Easy session beer.

Overall it was a good/decent beer and pretty much what I was expecting. Snice, small, mellow, sessionable beer.

05-16-2010 18:41:20 | More by riored4v
Photo of LeeG


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

04-25-2013 00:43:29 | More by LeeG
Photo of harsley


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

08-19-2013 14:14:46 | More by harsley
Photo of pjbfromkc


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

06-24-2014 20:48:01 | More by pjbfromkc
Photo of francisweizen


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

OK, let me begin to try and catch up on my serious lack of beer reviews recently! bomber bottle, picked up at half time just a few days ago. Dark orange/honey gold with a nice big white head of foam that leaves white, sticky lace. Nice. Aromas are subtles and somewhat subdued but they consist of herbal hops, and light honey-like biscuit malts. Taste is malty and sweet with a citric burst of hops near the finish. After-taste is slightly hoppy, but almost non-existant. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and good, for a low abv brew. Drinkability is good, and this is a good beer, although it is very reminiscent of my first home-brew, and not quite as good!

01-05-2005 22:36:59 | More by francisweizen
Photo of theempire


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

04-03-2012 01:01:02 | More by theempire
Photo of Budinetz


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

01-16-2013 20:10:34 | More by Budinetz
Photo of HRamz3


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

10-15-2013 18:26:12 | More by HRamz3
Photo of MathNut


3.75/5  rDev +20.6%

07-14-2012 05:53:24 | More by MathNut
Photo of merlin48


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 Seanibus


3.7/5  rDev +19%

Tasty but not deep.

Pours deep copper with a slight but sticky head. The aroma is malty and sharp. The flavor is very bitter, masking the thinness of the low ABV and general thinness of the beer. This is not a great beer in a general sense, but given the low abv, it is a great session beer.

06-06-2011 21:35:22 | More by Seanibus
Photo of RonaldTheriot


3.68/5  rDev +18.3%

Anchor Small Beer has a very thick, fluffy, off-white head and a cloudy, bubbly amber appearance, with minimal lacing. The aroma is faint, but one can, with deep inhalation, pick up barley malt, caramel, tea, and sweetness. Taste is of bitterness across the sip, and one detects tea, light malt, and even some light lemony aspects. Mouthfeel is pretty watery, and Anchor Small Beer finishes mellow and dry. Overall, this is an interesting one to try. It’s unlike anything I’ve had before.


07-11-2012 23:05:03 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of tjkurz


3.68/5  rDev +18.3%

Served from bottle - poured into imperial pint glass. Light burnt orange clear good head and lacing. Smell - not much fresh hop sensed. Taste okay with definite hop presence at end - kind of an aftertaste no alcohol flavor sensed - very good mouthfeel - was expecting less being a small beer. Very drinkable flavorful at 3.3 abv - was very impressed. More beer flavor per alcohol - I was very surprised - not a fan of anchor steam - like this more - will drink plenty of this due to low abv.

11-17-2008 18:11:39 | More by tjkurz
Photo of IntriqKen


3.65/5  rDev +17.4%

Pours clear golden yellow with a 2 finger white head that melts to a ring of lacing.
Aromas are biscuit grainy bread...nice...with light pale malt sweetness but mostly the biscuit yeast.
Thin mouthfeel but it is a very light beer and I think supposed to be.
Only slightly citrus hoppy in the flavor..just enough to dry your mouth as you swallow.
Pleasant and if cheaper would make a wonderful summer session brew.

12-01-2006 23:08:12 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of andjusticeforale


3.65/5  rDev +17.4%

This poured big and brown-amber, with an ample head. The smell was hoppy and euro-lager smelling. As you drink, you realize that the best thing about this is the mouthfeel; fullbodied but perfect and refreshing, without too much alcohol(3.30%).
Hence the term "get pissed" cause if you want to catch a buzz you will be doing some drinking. But, nonetheless, there is a nice bitterness here, one that would make this nice with chinese food or fried springrolls.

07-10-2006 22:25:58 | More by andjusticeforale
Photo of adowney523


3.65/5  rDev +17.4%

Aggresively poured into a shaker pint glass from a 22 oz brown bottle. Pours amber and clear with a thin off-white head that slowly fades.

Smells grainy with strong hints of lemon.

Tastes of raw malt with citrus fruit and floral tastes throughout. Slight earthy hops in the finish.

Rather light-bodied, finishes very dry. A refreshing beer for my 4th of July, recommended for sessions paired with BBQ.

07-04-2007 20:07:38 | More by adowney523
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


3.65/5  rDev +17.4%

Nose is fruity - grape, apple - with floral hop and soft herb, slight sourness. Smells good.

Pours clear gold with moderate head. Looks pretty good.

Impressively bitter with lots of toasty grain. Bright hops, herbal with lots of floral. Soft malt. Overall quite dry. Some honeysuckle in finish. Moderate carbonation. Tastes pretty good. Feel good. Pretty good drinkability.

Comes across as a stiff English Pale. Pretty good.

11-07-2009 20:52:04 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of Dansting


3.65/5  rDev +17.4%

Bottle. Clear golden color with a light white head. Slight lacing. Aroma is light and almost smells like toast. Definitely different. Easy-drinking mouthfeel. Flavor is small, like its name suggest, with a slightly hoppy and bitterness to it. I'm a fan of Anchor, and this is a decent beer. I'll buy it again.

06-21-2007 03:54:18 | More by Dansting
Photo of ADR


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 cokes


3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

Clear darkened gold with a fat, rocky off-white head and rushing jets of carbonation..
Nose of burnt pizza crust and grassy hops.
Begins with that same sense of burnt pizza....and with that cuisine, it is near perfect. Beyond that, it seems rather average. A subtle caramel maltiness develops, or nearly develops. Turns citric and bitter without any definative flavor. Grapefruit and, oddly, near white grapey tannic bitterness. Ends with an upturn of herbs and leaves.
Light bodied, and quaffable, though not so much as the lowered ABV would indicated.
It is, however, decent. I'd run through it again.

01-05-2005 05:19:44 | More by cokes
Photo of morimech


3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

Pours a light golden color with a large white head that had excellant retention. Not a whole lot of lacing after the initial ring on top. Has a mild citrus and grassy hop aroma and with sourdough thrown into the mix. The flavor is dry and cracker-like. The hops give a little spice and grass notes. Some mineral qualities as well as some vegetable notes in the finish. Bitterness is moderate. Light body with abundant carbonation. Not quite up to macro levels however. An interesting beer. Light body with a friendly low ABV. In the wrong style catagory.

10-15-2009 22:41:04 | More by morimech
Photo of Wildman


3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

Had to give this one a try just to see what was up with this concoction. It poured a nice copper amber color and formed a nice foamy white head that left lattice lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of hops, malt, bitters and a touch of caramel. The flavor was of malt and some hop elements. The finish was a sprite, yet a touch bitter. Although it is a low alcohol beer, it really isn't bad a made a good drink after a long walk on a nice sunny Sunday before the rain starts tomorrow.

04-10-2005 22:05:18 | More by Wildman
Photo of Andy


3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

Slightly orange hue. Easy upfront, butter in the finish. slight citrus flavor. heavy diacetyl levels. very buttery. pale malt base.

05-16-2002 20:15:33 | More by Andy
Photo of Hibernator


3.63/5  rDev +16.7%

I had this out of a 22 oz brown bottle. There is a bottled on date on the back label that reads 4 AT. I served this in an imperial pint glass.

Pours a clear light amber color with a very nice fluffy head. There is some really good sustain on the head with some rocky, sticky lacings.

The smell is neutral and nothing really sticks out. Smells like grains and wheat.

This is a fairly light bodied brew. A tad watery, yet the mouthfeel lends itself to a crisp, grainy profile. The malts have a light caramel sweetness. This is a very clean beer and that works for a good drinkability level.

Certainly not the best Anchor beer on the market, but still a quality beer worth trying. This beer would work very well on a hot summer day. Very thirst quenching. I had no problem downing this in minimal time.

02-17-2005 23:49:43 | More by Hibernator
Photo of flagmantho


3.6/5  rDev +15.8%

Poured from 22oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a touch of haze and a robust effervescence. Head poured a finger of frothy ivory foam, but this is dissipating somewhat rapidly. Still, a nice looking beer.

Smell: sweet malt with plenty of graininess. A little dose of bitey hops is also present. Not too bad.

Taste: light malt with a citrusy hop character. Bitterness at the end is quite moderate, although balanced considering the low alcohol and relatively low sweetness of this brew. There is a sense that this beer is watered-down, but for a 3.3% ABV second-runnings beer, it's not bad at all.

Mouthfeel: light bodied but the big carbonation makes up for some of this. Nicely, if ephemerally, creamy.

Overall: this may not be the greatest beer in the world, but it is quaffable and refreshing and I like its parti-gyle nature. I'd love to have this on draft sometime for a long session.

12-27-2012 20:40:13 | More by flagmantho
Anchor Small Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 434 ratings.