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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

435 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 435
Reviews: 322
rAvg: 3.11
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 17
Gots: 11 | 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: 435 | Reviews: 322 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.3/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I've got to applaud the very existence of Anchor Small for several reasons, that they dare to still produce something in so uncommercial a fashion, that they are still experimenting with ancient traditions. This, according to the neck label, is the lighter, weaker second running from the mash of Old Foghorn. Hmm! Would they have similarities? Should they? What are we talking about? Hey, I've got an idea! Just drink it!
Appearance: clear, bright amber color, large fluffy white head, that takes it's time in settling down. Aroma: mostly dry and clean, but many interesting minor notes make their presence known, hints of citrus, bread, sour dough. It's more complex and intersting a melange the more I comsider it.
Taste: nice and hoppy, right upfront, and swift to mellow thereafter, though the complex citrusy flavor remains on the palate and begs one to consider it further. A coppery, citric tang rings throughout the finish, though it is short. Light body, little malt, or hops, texture hasn't too much to say. Taste is too unique to neglect, though. Do I like it, though? I think not...exactly.
If it wasn't only in these poorly distributed 220z bottles, and perhaps had a catchier name, and maybe a touch of sweetness, or a little extra flavor, they'd have a decent, popular ESB or something.
But perhaps that is not the Anchor way...so be it.

feloniousmonk, May 24, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.3/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear, deep-gold body is capped by a short and lightly creamy white head that drops readily to a thin surface covering. It leaves minor spotty lace aroud the glass at the start of the pint, but very little else after that. The nose offers little more than a lightly husky malt. The body is light; but a very fine-bubbled and gently effervescent carbonation leaves it nicely crisp in the mouth. The flavor offers the same husky malt that the nose promotes; although it's not astringent, and a firm bitterness balances it nicely. Some low-level citrusy hop flavor is present, but not distinct in character. An average beer - there are many better beers in this range available in England. I would like to try this from a cask-conditioned Firkin, however. Additionally, with its low-level alcohol it could make a nice alternative to non-alcohol beers or soft drinks when you have to drive. One, or even two, over a period of an hour or so should be fine. And although it doesn't seem to have enough character to keep it interesting throughout an entire session, it might be a good beer to switch to as the evening winds down and you need to head home.

NeroFiddled, Apr 20, 2003
Photo of mzwolinski
3.03/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice looking classy, curvy bottle. The beer itself is also attractive -- crystal clear copper in color with a medium-sized foamy white head, soon dissipates into a lacy top. Aroma is grainy, hoppy, a bit raw and wort-like. Body of the beer is lightly malty and finishes with a fairly strong earthy, grassy hop flavor. Aftertaste is lightly sweet with a hint of citrus. Very dry in aftertaste. A bit watery in body. Not bad, but not terrific either. Overall taste is a bit rough on the mouth for such a purportedly "mild" beer. Can't think of many occassions where this would be appropriate, though perhaps it would do well next to a pizza or some other flavorful food.

mzwolinski, Apr 11, 2003
Photo of AudioGilz
3.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear light amber with a fairly large head that sticks around for a good time, then becomes a coating. The aroma is all hops and so is the taste. I don't think it's a biting type of bitterness; it's kind of reserved with a crisp finish. The entire flavor is pretty mellow and not complex. That, along with the low alcohol content makes this a great session ale. There are many other ales out there that would be easier on the palate as far as a good session ale. The bitterness of this one becomes kind of bothersome after a while.

AudioGilz, Feb 14, 2003
Photo of Gusler
3.33/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been almost 3 years since I had one of the "Bad Boys", guess its about time. Clear deep gold in color, generous white head, and oodles of lace. Nose is mostly malt, clean and citrus crisp. Front is malt and lightly sweet, top skimpy in feel. Finish is perkily hopped, meaningful carbonation, dry as a bone aftertaste.
With the crack down and rightfully so on drunk driving and drivers, would it not be a great time to offer “Small Beers”. Not the light swill macro stuff, but bodacious ones like Anchors at 2.3% ABV, a great session beer that satisfies the thirst and the need for a great beer.

Gusler, Jan 07, 2003
Photo of ADR
3.63/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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...

ADR, May 21, 2002
Photo of Andy
3.63/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Andy, May 16, 2002
Photo of Jason
2.9/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Jason, May 06, 2002
Photo of mattmaples
3.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Frankly I think that my expectations got in the way of this beer. Being a small beer made from Old Foghorn I expected a little more going on in the malt department. It is a bit thin, not a lot happening on the malt side but it dones have a nice hop bitterness to it. If I remember right the brewer said he was shooting for an authentic english bitter. Like I said maybe I was expecting too much out of it. Maybe someone will chime in with a un-cluttered review.

mattmaples, Sep 18, 2001
Photo of Todd
3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Todd, Nov 11, 2000
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Anchor Small Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 435 ratings.