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Anchor Small Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Small BeerAnchor Small Beer

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

421 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 421
Reviews: 319
rAvg: 3.11
pDev: 18.01%


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)
View: Beers (21) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 421 | Reviews: 319 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of draheim
draheim

Washington

3.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a crystal clear honey color w/ a nice white head, some good lacing. Looks nice.

Aroma is lightly malty and floral. Crackery pale crystal malt and a mild hop presence.

Taste is fruity and light, lots of toasted grain hits the palate. Some good hoppy bitterness on the finish but the focus here is on the barley. Floral and semi-sweet.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light with a prickly bite. A little thin, to be expected from a 3.3% beer.

Overall an OK session beer. Not one I'd crave very often but a nice change of pace.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 02:04:03 | More by draheim
Photo of FPWolff
FPWolff

Kansas

3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It tastes okay. It's like West Coast homebrew. Kind of like Bitterwater. Not great. I'm just talking to use up space now. It wouldn't let me submit my review without posting a comment. I need to get 250 characters. I probably wouldn't pick to have this beer again, but I think people are little too harsh on it.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2013 02:50:46 | More by FPWolff
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

I had to get rid of the last bottle on the shelf, so I might as well buy it myself. This stuff pours a clear tawny-amber topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises faint old sourdough and what may or may not be a hint grass, depending on whether or not I'm actually just smelling the air outside somehow. The taste pretty much echoes the smell, though now it's just generic barley and generic white bread yeast combining to form the most milquetoast of all possible flavors. I'd knock it, but it's not offensive, just insanely boring and undistinguished. The body is pretty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda crisp finish. Overall, this may be one of the blandest beers outside of the BMC arena. It's not bad, per se, just something I'd likely easily forget that I'd imbibed on any given day, especially if anything else happened that day, beer- or otherwise.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2013 19:06:50 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of JGam115
JGam115

New York

2.91/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From my Untappd history.

A: Poured a tanned-straw color with a fluffy white head. Good start.

S: Didn't get much from this beer, and I thought it was served a bit too cold which made picking up the aromas harder. I could piece out some bready malts which was expected. It wasn't overwhelming though.

T: Your standard run-of-the-mill Bitter without any memorable properties. Again, I blame this on the temp in which it was served. I tried warming it up with my own hands, but that didn't improve the qualities that much.

M: Didn't coat as much as I would have expected. The malt was there, but not as much as I would have liked for a Bitter.

O: Not too memorable. I'd still encourage people to try it to form their own opinions, but I'm a BIG fan of malt characteristics in my beer. This one was off the mark in that department even though it is a Bitter.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2013 13:38:40 | More by JGam115
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

2.81/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A - clear pale golden with a respectable off white head that dissipated down to a half finger
S - grainy with a fairly strong astringent metallic aroma
T - very astringent and strong metallic to its detriment, some pale grainy malt, but overall it definitley tastes like this was an afterthought of sorts
M - very light, medium to mild carbonation, with a somewhat off putting chemical like bitterness
O - not something I would buy again, interesting to consider the 'second run' idea but in the end I feel like this was a just an easy/cheap way to put something out that beer geeks would buy once

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2013 04:11:49 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

3.8/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 or 22oz bottle poured into a large mug

Pours pretty, slightly hazy golden with a big head and lots of carbonation. Smell is smell is adjunct lager. Smells like a hefty Budweiser. Sour and tangy.

Taste is sweet up front, but surprisingly bitter afterward. I'm surprised to find I kind of like this. It tastes very lagery to me, and I don't spend a lot of time drinking lagers. I have trouble identifying exactly what I like about it.

Mouthfeel is light and dry. Overall, I think it's pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2013 03:41:01 | More by snaotheus
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a bright, crystal clear copper-orange coloring with a thin, white ring of film on the surface. Aromas of roast, toffee, and a subtle, tangy hops presence. Flavors are heavily roasted, with a very bitter, astringent hops character. Very sharp on the initial tongue. The malt backbone literally gets buried amongst the bitter and astringent characteristics. Tangy, roasty aftertaste, with a dry, bitter finish. Very interesting idea behind the beer, but the flavors just don't seem to meld or balance well.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 03:22:53 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.6/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 20:40:13 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Spikester
Spikester

Oregon

3.45/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear pale copper with one finger of white head that drops to a ring about one third of the way down. Dense tight bubble lacing lasts about the same distance.
Smell is mostly fruity hops with a trace of malts.
Taste is bitter hops, earthy, some citrus.
Mouthfeel is alright for something this light. Good carbonation with a semi dry bitter finish.
Not enough malt for the English Bitter grouping but for a watered down Foghorn and in view of the very low abv. this is quite good.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 03:03:38 | More by Spikester
Photo of bensbeers
bensbeers

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Love that this is a sort of "second generation" beer. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Has a light fluffy 1.5 finger head. Color is a pale amber.

Surprisingly complex scent - lots of toasty malts, bitterness of coffee grinds, and roasted nuts. Slight fruitiness comes through when tasting - bitter citrus peels.

Taste is certainly bitter - but not the same sought-after bitterness that hop heads enjoy. More a stale bitterness. Reminds me a lot of my Budweiser-drinking days but definitely more enjoyable. Good sessionable beer.

Mouthfeel was really great. Light on the tongue, quenches your thirst. Extremely effervescent.

Great session beer. Don't dive into this looking for a complex game-changer, but it'll do the trick if you want something to enjoy during the game or after working hard. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 18:29:59 | More by bensbeers
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone gargoyle pint. Pours a light copper amber with a nice two finger yellowish white head with good retention and lacing. Light aroma of sweet malt with slight toastiness, lightly spicy. Flavor is light malt, slightly nutty, finishing malty and dry with bittering hops, slightly astringent. It does give the impression of a more flavorful malty beer that has been watered down, but it is being presented as a remake of the traditional small beers that were widely drunk and made from spent malt. From that point of view, the flavor is very pleasant for the very low ABV and second malt run. It was enjoyable trying this classic style and I'm glad Anchor makes it. It probably would be a good idea to make a category for this style, since it is traditional and was widely drunk at one time. I'm rating it as a small beer, not an English bitter (although it doesn't miss that mark by much).

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2012 22:54:36 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

2.28/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle code: 2LI

Pours a nice light amber with a solid sheet of loose whites. Smells of peanuts, light grain, sweet toffee (faintly), some hints of grass. Flavor is bitter up front, some of the peanut flavor comes through, a good dose of cardboard (candy box style) some bits of metals. Medium bodied with much too much carbonation and a wettish finish. Not very impressive, but I can see how on a sunny summer day, with sweat dripping down my face this would satisfy. Maybe if this wasn't listed as a bitter.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 05:59:11 | More by harrymel
Photo of Jsteez
Jsteez

China

3.45/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a pint 6 oz. brown bottle into a dimpled mug.

A-Not too special: a translucent golden-yellow with a touch of light orange and visible lager-esque carbonation. It poured a nice white head that dissipated after 20 seconds. The head pretty much disappeared and left little traces of lace on the glass and around the sides.

S-Toasty malt and grainy. A little skunky right after pour. I sensed some sweet malt and maybe some bread.

T-Wet, dry, and a bitter aftertaste. It is similar to an English Bitter. However, I think it reminded me of an Australian Bitter. Toasty malt and bitter hops were the prevailing tastes overall.

M-Bitter and dry. Quite wet and carbonated.

Overall-It is an okay beer if you don't want to drink a heavier beer and you don't want to drink a Bud. I would buy it again when in the mood, but I wouldn't seek it out. I have had better bitter beers. Overall, for a lighter beer it is good to drink any time of year when in the mood.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 03:49:35 | More by Jsteez
Photo of BeerKangaroo
BeerKangaroo

Alaska

3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From the bomber and into a pint glass:

A: very light golden colored body yielding a one finger white foamy head that dies to a film after thirty seconds and then lasts for an extra minute. Despite the very light body, no carbonation is seen rising. Some light spider web lacing is seen speckling the sides of the glass.

S: sour graininess, nothing else is really noticed.

T: roasty/toasty, very dry and bitter

M: very light; dry, bland aftertaste. With the ABV where it is, this is an extremely sessionable beer.

O: despite the bittering being a bit more present than other English bitters and barely any malt present, I'd say this is a decent beer. For the style, its about right there. For me, I'm not sure if I would seek this out again, depends...but the price is definitely there.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 00:01:02 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.45/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There's a place in the world for beer's that don't overwhelm the palate, that remain flavorful without weight, that are satisfying at low alcohol. Anchor shows a breadth of taste that can be achieved in lighter, session ales.

With its bright copper body and lively carbonation, the beer's first glance won't deviate from the common appearances of pale ales. But its understated head character starts to fall apart rather soon and results in a still appearance midway through the session. But with light carbonation and head character, the beer seems to lace with rings and specks nicely.

Fruity-sweet aromas cross the nose with moderate intensity and delivers grain sweetness of sorghum and thin molasses with dates, prunes, and fig fruit support. Herbal hops contribute tea-like and tobacco aromas particularly as the beer warms.

Grainy sweetness starts the flavor profile with the same sorghum and toffeeish notes found in the aroma. Weaving into the fruit esters of dried and pitted fruits, the combined effect gives a richer taste to start. Earthy hop flavors rise with a quick middle palate and take form of muddled tea leaves and freshly cut tobacco. Hops develop from the fruit and herb taste and toward a broad and earthen bitterness, similar to damp soil and tree bark.

Medium-light bodied early, but as the carbonation recedes, it takes with it the slim malty sweetness and leaves a mild grain-derived astringency to accompany hop bitterness. The beer seems to skip right to the finish to avoid a thin and watery mid palate.

The remnants from Old Foghorn leaves a shadow taste of its big brother but sheds its almost oily viscosity and alcohol complexities for refreshment and drinkability. The beer that emerges retains glimpses into the fruity esters and malt firmness that we've come to love about that barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2012 18:04:19 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter glass.

A very lager like appearance, crystal clear and clean with a very pale amber gold, simple white collar presented with some pretty good lacing also.

Nose is toasty but also quite a bit grainy, nearly sour. However, it's arid and dry quality seems to make up for it.

Taste is quite toasty, with a huge toasty finish particularly on the palate. A real nice lingering hop bitterness too on the drink and dry matching a light and very crisp body.

Excellent session brew. Small beer with big taste indeed, can see myself enjoying many of these at a time if needed.

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2012 00:27:09 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Nerudamann
Nerudamann

Oregon

3.55/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a stein glass.

Look – light amber color, a little hazy, with about half a finger’s worth of slightly frothy off-white colored foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell – not too strong of a smell. It has a general ale type of smell, but with a twisted type of grain..or at least what smells like one. It smells like there might be an alternative being used. Not sorghum, but something close to that.

Taste – very interesting taste. It still tastes like the smell, in that it tastes like there’s an alternative being used for the grain. It almost has an effervescent type of quality. Pretty bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel – pretty well-balanced, but leans a little more toward the creamy side.

Overall – probably not going to be a favorite of mine, but interesting enough in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2012 05:52:51 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot

Louisiana

3.68/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

RJT

Serving type: bottle

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

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pint 6 oz. pretty clear gold pour. Finger of white head. Not much lacing to speak of but retained ok.

Aroma, some musty tea and herbal hops, miniscule malt note. A tad light here.

Taste, a tad light here as well, mostly herbal hop tea. Reminds. E very much of a German macro.

Light bodied, nice tingly carbonation. The ultimate session beer I suppose, good flavor for being such a "small" beer.

Calling this an English bitter probably isn't a fair categorization. Doubt I would bother with again, but I applaud the unique effort.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 02:19:27 | More by Bung
Photo of TenHornsProud
TenHornsProud

Colorado

2.6/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear copper with a fine white head the lingers.

Smells of slightly toasted malt with a hint of roasted character and some earthy/herbal hop.

Up front astringent and thin character gives way into just the slightest malt/bread backbone before ending on a more astringent note. Surprisingly unpleasant flavor given the appearance and aroma.

Thin body and low carbonation works OK.

What an astringent beer! Not particularly pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 23:47:33 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of czfreeman
czfreeman

Michigan

3.03/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Anchor small.
From reading previous reviews I can understand the low reviews due to subdued flavor, however after having several conversations with the brewer at Social kitchen, where I am an assistant, he really has helped me to understand the versatility of English bitter.
Pours a light honey-amber tone, light lacing. Head dissipated quickly, medium carbonation.
Distinct grassy hops on the nose, nice maltiness in the back. Lemon, pepper, musty character as well.
Flavor light, biting and subdued.
Mouthfeel is light, spritz y and refreshing. A nice beer to begin the evening with or simply enjoy on a warm day.I have to say the local Magnolia brewery executes a much finer bitter, but this is a decent offering, and also a much better way to use the mash from Old Foghorn.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 20:28:37 | More by czfreeman
Photo of blakelive784
blakelive784

Colorado

2.65/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a pilsner glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a nearly transparent orange/copper color with three fingers of surprisingly thick off-white head. Retention is solid, and the head leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S - Light cereal grains, sweet malts, and mild citric hops notes. Simple and mild, though somewhat appealing.

T - Simple malts and unrefined cereal grains lightly countered by bland hops. The hops are noticeably indistinct. Bland and boring. I understand this one's note supposed to be complex or a flavor powerhouse, but there really is nothing going on.

M - Thick, smooth,and wet. Not very supportive of the flavors. It's ok.

D - A definite disappointment from Anchor. I applaud the attempt at a "small" beer, though the final result is a failure.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 02:12:00 | More by blakelive784
Photo of jimmah120
jimmah120

Minnesota

2.5/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle w/ no date

A: Translucent dark gold color with a great pillowy head, and spotty lacing. Lots of carbonation bubbles.

S: Not a lot to report here: a slight 'barnyard' smell and a tiny bit of hop presence. Smells like flavored water.

T/M: Tastes like water up front, definitely not a plus. It's like a watered down steam beer. A little malt, lemon zest, and grass. Delivers in the bitter category. Not full flavored, but not undrinkable. Mouthfeel is very watery, carbonation OK.

O: Not something I would seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2012 01:52:47 | More by jimmah120
Photo of taylocd
taylocd

Alabama

2.13/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured from 22 ounce bottle into tulip.

A - pale clear gold with continuous bubbling and great head retention from carbonation; very little lacing, though

S - aroma similar to that of soft rubber baby bottle nipples

T - odd plastic/resin flavor

M - nice zip from carbonation, medium 'feel' or body

O - the aroma and flavor are too much to overcome to make this worth a repeat try.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 03:33:12 | More by taylocd
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a mason jar in low altitude Palo Alto, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given its rating on the site. Served refrigerator cold and unpaired with food.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair thickness and cream, and abysmal retention. Colour is a clear light copper. Generally appealing.

Sm: Clean malt and barley is all me broken nose detects. All apologies, lads. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Clean malts with some light nuts on the climax. Simple and boring. Imbalanced.

Mf: Lumpy, sharp (overcarbonation?), smooth, and wet.

Dr: A boring sloppy seconds beer that is neither interesting nor worthwhile, this is best left on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 03:51:15 | More by kojevergas
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Anchor Small Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 421 ratings.