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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

420 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 420
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: 420 | Reviews: 319 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of grover37
grover37

District of Columbia

2.53/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance (4): Very clear, light gold. A finger of head settles to a thick layer. Very good looking beer. Not much lacing though.

Smell (4): Very bready and biscuit malts. A light floral spicinesss accompanies this. Smells a bit like a hoppy Czech Pils.

Taste (1.5): Slight spicy hops up front. Somewhat unpleasant taste in the middle in finish like stale piney hops. Not a whole lot of character and very watery. Not surprising for just over 3%. It's beginning to grow on me a little bit but I can't get over that mineraly, unpleasant flavor.

Mouthfeel (2.5): Watery but smooth. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability (3): Easy to drink but I'm not sure I'd want another one.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 03:19:35 | More by grover37
Photo of bunnyhustle
bunnyhustle

Illinois

2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting beer. It looked good, nice two finger head with a clear golden color with decent lacing and retention. I actually didn't mind the smell. Had a very dry, bread-like grain smell with a little malt. Not too bad, reminded me of the smell of brewing beer. Taste was so-so. I didnt notice the bitterness too much. It was there but I didnt find it overwhelming. Some dry malt, lots of grain and very earthy. Mouthfeel was light and smooth, very dry aftertaste. Overall not bad, glad I tried it but dont know if I'd revisit it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 05:04:02 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of OttoBomb
OttoBomb

Illinois

3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass (April 17, 2010). No freshness date, though "9NW" is printed on the rear of the bottle, not sure what that means.

This is a "small beer" which by definition will be a weakened versions of another beer. I'm reviewing this as such rather than the listed "English Bitter" style.

Eyes: Pours an almost clear gold with an orange tint, an impressive snow-white rocky head forms and retains well.

Nose: Modest grains with a mild hop statement. The weakest area overall.

Tongue: Surprisingly bitter, very dry with a cracker-like character. The malt is understated and the hops overstated, but the balance is still there. I'm not sure this beer would have much of anything to offer without the extra hops since this is a second running of a mash.

Mouth: Spritzy carbonation with a clean, light body.

Libation: I can't say I really like small beers as there are other low alcohol options with plenty of flavor. This isn't a great beer, but for the style it has enough flavor to make this very, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 03:10:10 | More by OttoBomb
Photo of Fatehunter
Fatehunter

Oregon

2.7/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured from a bottle into a tall flute. Golden to orange color and transparent. A thick, 2 inch white head formed and held. The head reminds me of a good pilsner pour.

S - Light fruit, ripe pear. It really smells like a pils.

T - Well, as advertised; it tastes bitter. Bitter from beginning to end. Unfortunately that is all there is to it.

M - Lots of bubbles. Light bodied. It would be easier to drink without all the carbonation.

D - I applaud Anchor for trying this old technique of the "Small Beer" but maybe there is a reason that most breweries do not make the Small Beer anymore? So, I am torn. Does this beer taste like a Small Beer should or not? I do not know since this is the first one I have had. What is curious is that everything but the color says "pilsner", even though it is an ale. For that reason it is worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 18:22:27 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier

Pennsylvania

2.4/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a whole lot left over from Old Foghorn, eh? I was hoping somehow this would turn out to at least have some desirable quirky nuances. The size of the bottle is, dare I say, ironic, and hilarious - my favorite thing about this otherwise (but I suppose not surprisingly) ho-hum beer.

Its appearance is far and away its most attractive quality. Take some points off for what I figured would be a tad bit darker of an ale. But piss yellow (and fizzy)? Looked like a Coors Light aside from the pillowy, rocky, magnificently effervescent head. High and mighty - laced beautifully sticky. The aroma is quite weak, hops faint, yet it has a distinctly Anchor element to it - smells vaguely like a diluted Liberty or Humming Ale. Other notes I picked up in the nose were bolder in the flavor, but not by much. Yeah, it's bitter - in an herby fashion. Lemon tart, thin corn sweetness, and limp on the hops and malt. Not much going on here at all - a light-malt-flavored seltzer. Near swill, I'm afraid. At first, the foamy head lends a soft, cottony mouthfeel - not too shabby. But before you know it, it finishes ultra-thin, ultra-light, and cardboard dry - like you're sucking on cardboard. I tried letting this warm up for a good 15 min, but to no avail and no blossoming of any tasty nibs.

This must be similar to what happens to the macro lagers as far as flavor becoming all but leeched out by process. Regardless, it was an interesting try. Not something I would have again on its own, but maybe with some greasy fish and chips or other like junk food. Nothing desirable here, sorry.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 05:12:45 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of tchenery
tchenery

Virginia

2.95/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very bright and crisp looking with a nice one-finger bright white head and noticable carbonation.

Very subtle malt notes and a little bit of hops.

Taste is interesting. It tastes more like seltzer water than beer. That being said, I've never had a 'small beer' from second runnings before. I'm glad I tried it but I wouldn't go for another.

Very dry and crisp mouthfeel. Extremely spritzy.

Not all that drinkable which is surprising for the ABV level.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 20:07:59 | More by tchenery
Photo of mdcrouser
mdcrouser

Missouri

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

Popped the cap on the bomber bottle, and it ran completely over with carbonation, spilling onto the table.

Once poured, it heads up quickly, and then dies down just as quick, leaving vertical lines of lace as high as the head was tall. A golden carmel color is somewhat distinctive.

Smells much like an average American lager, but with a little deeper malts.

Uniquely big in the mouth, at least for what I thought it would be. Their Foghorn is subtley apparent, sitting mildly malty on the tongue, but with a slightly sharp hoppiness. No distinctive flavors though, preferring to be a muted version of its bretheren.

Highly carbonated, and dry on the tongue.

Drinkable, and a unique beer for a change.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 04:12:58 | More by mdcrouser
Photo of bobhits
bobhits

Kentucky

2.42/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Light and pale in color. A huge amount of carbonation almost explosive in how it bubbles up. This reminds me almost of Duvel.

S The nose of hops without much to balance them. A huge sour funky like hop nature that I am struggling to place.

T Thin....so so so thin. The malt isn't strong and sweet, it's nearly gone. A lot of citrus hops but no real flavors because there isn't anything mixing with this. This is a wonderful summer thirst quencher. The flavor is pretty damn lacking and the hops aren't going to win too many over. I still think it's better than fog horn and even in this bomber it's way cheaper.

D easy to drink, extremely light, and thirst quenching.

M Carbonated and really thin.

I'm not sure why this is sold in this bomber. It's interesting and certainly something new to me.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 08:57:28 | More by bobhits
Photo of juhl31
juhl31

California

2.23/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

-very cleat light gold. white head with big bubbles that kind of deteriorate crackylike (yup, i made that sentence)

-whoa malt liquor. kinda harsh. barely sweet with an apricot hint to it

-double malt liquor! a bit of a gnarly malt taste to it that has some bitter apricot taste to it...but not in a good way

-on the harsh end. not much body, which makes sense to how it was brewed

-they should have just said this was a malt liquor and sold it for 1.50 and it would be the best malt liquor ever. instead it's just disappointing that i spent 3.50 on it

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2010 05:54:30 | More by juhl31
Photo of thekoz
thekoz

California

2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Large head off white head on top of a orange/dark yellow beer. Really big bubbles in the head.

A bit of grainy aroma but no too strong. Apparently made from the second runnings of their barley wine.

Had the typical anchor skunk that is common in the bottles. Not sure if that is a yeast thing or what. Decent amount of bitterness, highly carbonated for a English bitter.

Decent beer, nothing special. The low alcohol would make it a decent session beer, though I would probably prefer something with a stronger malt backbone.

Would like to try this on tap in the city. Every experience I have had with Anchor is better when it is on tap in SF.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 06:34:12 | More by thekoz
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

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".

Serving type: bottle

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

Maryland

2.17/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

got a bomber of this stuff, to a pint glass

A - bright but darkish amber, great head that sticks

S - toasty malt accented by a wet watery smell that I can't quite place. initial smell is good, second and third smells make me feel like something isn't quite right

T - lightly toasted malt, then a very quick hop bitterness gives way to a nasty bitter watery taste, almost like warm Perrier mineral water. kind of gross and very very unbalanced

M - watery and carbonated

D - great appearance and decent smell betray this beer, I honestly don't know if I can get through an entire bomber of this. I think a glass of water and some Guinness Extra are in order right now. blech

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2010 20:06:10 | More by obrendano
Photo of klikger
klikger

Wisconsin

3.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in a standard pint glass

A - Medium-dark amber, good white head, and visible carbonation. Fine amount of lacing.

S - Sweet malt, some pleasant floral aromas.

T - Cabbage water with a brief hop cameo composes the first taste. The middle is a slightly watery malt mixture, with notes of corn and wheat. The end is decently bitter, but also metallic. Underwhelming as a whole.

M - Light bodied, good carbonation.

D - Easy to drink due to ABV, but why would you?

I love Anchor, but now I know why I've only seen this in one liquor store.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2010 19:29:29 | More by klikger
Photo of OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

2.48/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pretty, clear bright orange with a good off-white head. Nice clarity and bubbles rising.

I know this brew doesn't move on the shelves/cooler. I cracked it and got some skunk. I thought it was bad handling, but found that as the beer settled in the glass, there is a boiled grain, overcooked vegetable and sour edge to the smell that could lead to this aroma. So I was kinda wrong. Funny enough, it also smells bitter. As this warms, the scent changes. A dried grass aroma? Sour mash? Dried seaweed? I can't put my finger on it.

Why don't they market this as "a big bottle of bitter watery beer," because that is what it is. Bitter first, then some light, watered down boiled grain, slight tartness pushed aside by the bitter again, some light toasted malt, long bitter finish.

Lighter bodied, but something there just the same. I am shocked by how the texture of this beer kinda works.
Overall, WTF were these guys thinking? Recycle your bottles, not your mash. The true dog of all of the beers these guys produce. Not good with food. Not good on its own. But, because they put it in a big bottle (presumably to get rid of this shit), you get alot of it! What a value. It actually smells worse than it tastes. This is not viciously bad flavored garbage beer, but this is not something you would share with friends. I am highly disappointed that this brewer would put something out like this.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 23:08:53 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of JRed
JRed

New Jersey

3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear pale orange in body with white head. Pleasant aroma of citrus notes, hops, sweet malt. Grains, some wheat, slight earth, hops, some citrus notes toward the finish. Light in body and a session ale but there are some strange notes in the brew that don't sit well with me.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2010 01:42:14 | More by JRed
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Shouldn't a small beer be in a bottle less than 22 ounces ;-) On to the beer:

Shiny copper orange in color with carbonation bubbles running through it. The head on top is extremely airy and large, making the first impression great. The great thickish lacing it leaves adds to it. The aroma is very subtle; dry carmel, honey, phenols, and a stronger dose of graininess.

The taste has its ups and downs. Ups: subtle flavors of honey, dry bread/biscuit, hop leaf. Downs: major brewing salt flavor that gets in the way of the otehr flavors. I don't know if those were actually used, but it sure tastes like it. Middle: minerals. While the mouthfeel is as light as water, it doesn't "feel" as such. I'd call it airy and smooth. It's easy going down if you discount that one boo-boo of a flavor note.

I really wanted to like this beer. In the end, I kind of did, but kind of didn't. I've had one other small beer in my life (Baby Hercules from BeerWorks on cask), and that one was more enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2010 16:42:52 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of rootbeerman
rootbeerman

Virginia

2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

poured into pint glass

A: pours clear gold with a finger of white head that fell quick but laces well.
S: dry grain malt, dry earthy and grassy hops. odd memory came about from the smell, it reminds me of the hot malt/hop aroma coming from Williamsburg's AB brewery. a childhood memory
T: nothing like old foghorn, dry, no sweetness, lots of grainy barley malt, sort of peppery and grassy hops.
M: seem a little watery, carbonation is light to medium.
D: at least worth one try, but would recommend trying old foghorn first.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2010 04:20:11 | More by rootbeerman
Photo of Mdog
Mdog

Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear gold, good head.

Smell: Light bread, light tea aroma.

Taste: Starts with a little bread, then lots of tea-flavored bitterness.

Drinkability: If the price was lower, this would be a good alternative to BMC lawnmower beers.

For a pale ale this was not very good, but if you consider it a mild or a bitter it is pretty decent. I'm not a big fan of tea-like bitterness but it worked in this beer. Just don't go in thinking APA or you will be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 01:36:41 | More by Mdog
Photo of loving44
loving44

California

3.45/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from the standard 1pint 6oz bottle.

I have been wanting to try this beer for quite some time, and i have been drinking a lot of lower ABV beers as of late so i thought it would be a good time to give this one a try.

A: pours a light copper/amber with a think fluffy white head.

S: toasted grain, bread dough, bread yeast, slight citrus.

T: I'm trying to judge this by other bitters I have had, but in actuality it's a "small beer" brewed as an afterthought to Old Foghorn. It's completely dependent on the Old Foghorn recipe, and as such only so much "craft" can be put into a beer like this. Most of the sugars have been washed away for th barley wine so all that's left is a grainy, slightly astringent flavor, slightly sour with hints of citrus and citrus rind. the hop addition kills any residual sweetness left in the malt. It's not bad per se, just tastes like a really watered down barley wine as you might expect. Seeing as it's made from garbage... not too shabby,

M: light and dry with persistent carbonation.

D: very drinkable, it's light, dry, has a pleasant flavor that's reminiscent of sourdough. Hardly any alcohol in this, so if you're looking for an alternative to your regular non-alcoholic brew then this is a great choice.

Waste not, want not! Thanks for brewing this one Anchor. if it were in a different packaging I might consider buying it more often for bbq's and such. Worth a try folks!

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2010 00:24:37 | More by loving44
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

3.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into SN hop pint glass.

A: Pours a citrus golden color with an incredible, thick, chunky, rocky, billowing white head that took its sweet time to die down into a thick film that left chunks and sheets of sticky lacing down the side of the glass.
S: Very light notes of spicy hops, dry grain, light carmamely malt, and earthy tones.
T: Very light flavors. Earthy grains dominate with a slight sweetness from the underlying malt. Hops are mild and lend a touch of bitter/sour citrus feel. Aftertaste is a tad off-putting.
M: Light body with a dry grainy mouthfeel. A little on the watery side.
D: A very drinkable, sessionable beer. Nothing spectacular in the flavor department, and a very light pale ale, but I respect how they made it and I wouldn't mind drinking this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2010 21:19:29 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always wanted to try this beer from understanding the historical significance of the method (style)

Poured with a fluffy whipped egg white head. While the head was about a finger plus thick initially, it settled to a very thin cap over time. The beer was a light amber color with no visible carbonation. The glass was splattered with a decent amount of lacing.

Aroma was fresh with a combination of lightly toasted malt, bread dough and an ever so slightly floral hop aroma.

I have to say that I really enjoy this beer. My first thought on how to describe the taste was to put. "It tastes like Beer!" It does, just a classic beer flavor. Very bread like with a nice fruit background. The grain seems to shine through with a nice balance brought about by the bread tones and the light presence of hops. I think the level of bitterness is spot on for the flavor profile and mouth feel.

Beer has light carbonation and a fairly light body.

Immensely drinkable and obviously the definition of a session beer. I knew the scores were a bit low for this beer, but I still wanted to try it. I am so happy I did. I enjoyed this and it certainly has it's time and place.

I wonder how much of the scoring here is due to folks preconceived notions of a lower abv beer. We'll never know, but I think this is quite a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 11:44:12 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux

Texas

3.4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 13 Feb 2010.

Poured this in an Avery shaker pint. Large lacy white head. Well carbonated but flat on the tongue. Clear golden orange color. Light aroma, a bit of malt, caramel and earthy dry cider. Has a vegetal bitterness, dry to start. Finishes with just a touch of yeast and caramel. Medium body.

Decent but not on par with Anchor's other offerings.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 14:53:57 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of riored4v
riored4v

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

2.95/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the 500 ml (or so) bottle into a wine glass - not ideal glassware but best option in the hotel room.

Pours a brownish amber with thick head of white foam. Lots of lacing observed. Malty smell, but something a bit off. Its not skunked, but the breadiness borders on moldy. Taste is very light malt, backed by a stiff hop. The hop pushes its way around a bit too much for my palate and the residual taste is bitterness - which lingers long after.

An ok beer. Love the concept and the idea, just does not result in something memorable.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2010 19:50:59 | More by KTCamm
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

2.63/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a dark gold color with an inch frothy white head. Both head retention and lacing are good. Aroma is grassy hops and some bready malt. The aroma is very light overall. Taste is just like the aroma, but also has a lingering bitter finish. Unfortunately it's not a good type of bitter taste, there seems to be something a bit off about it. Mouthfeel/body is light, and it's also crisp and a bit dry. Drinkability isn't great, I can finish this bottle but I wouldn't want any more than that. Not impressed with this one, and I won't buy this again anytime soon. But it was still nice to try it anyway.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2010 23:31:21 | More by bluejacket74
Anchor Small Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.