Anchor Steam Beer
Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
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California Common / Steam Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #16,546
3.87 | pDev: 12.66%
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Notes: Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.
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Reviews: 2,144 | Ratings: 6,286 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Hooded
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Notes from 5/20/2020.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Rastal nucleated Teku glass.
The body is clear amber with 2 fingers of white head. Retention is somewhat above average leaving a nice cap.
The intensity of aroma is medium-low. There are notes of caramel, and sweet malt.
The intensity of taste is slightly below medium-high. Wow! That tastes great. The caramel and sweet malt flavors gradually sink below the tide of the bitterness which appears mid palate and is somewhat below medium-high. I finished the glass before finishing the review. I'll just open another bottle.
The thickness is just above medium. It's fairly creamy, and has a medium level of astringency. I love the feel of the medium level of carbonation. It must be the natural carbonation the beer write up mentions because it's somehow unlike any carbonation in beer that I recall.
Overall, it's a unique and remarkable world class beer. I like the bitterness of big IPAs and usually hate lagers with a lot of bitterness. I'm surprised I think so highly of this beer. This might become one of my absolute favorite beers.

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Photo of DanO1066
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

64oz growler filled at The Brass Tap here in Baltimore. This was my go to when I reached 21 living/studying in the San Francisco Bay Area. Unfortunately, its the only steam beer I've ever had, so nothing to compare it to.

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Photo of just1cho
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

*Poured into a Teku glass at around 55F from a 12oz bottle for review. Drank the rest in a nonic pint glass*

Poured a clear amber with about a finger thick cream colored head. Had a medium amount of retention but a nice diversity of rocky and micro bubbles.

Upfront on the aroma, I got a pleasant fruity aroma of apples, some of the sweet malt, and a bit of cinnamon and cloves.

On the palate, it had a more malt forward character than what I got on the nose. Despite this, there was a nice balance between the sweetness of the malts and the bitterness of the hops in the middle, while here was a fruity apple aftertaste towards the end with a bit of bitterness from the hops. But nothing too crazy, nothing really stood out for me.

Was medium bodied and smooth. Had a nice crisp finish to it with light carbonation but had a slightly watery feel to it. Other than that, I felt like this went down super easy and had absolutely no alcoholic taste to it, making this super drinkable.

I liked this beer, but nothing about it really stood out to me. It reminded me a lot of American Pale Ales, but a little more watered down.

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Photo of Hills1967
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Light Amber color. Aromas of rich dark currants, nectarine skins, gushing blackberry, but lots of fragrant tobacco, rich soil, white flowers, smashed minerals and metal. Medium-bodied and saucy but racy acidity stabilizes the lager nicely with the robust tannins. Deep red currants and ripe cherries, laden with mocha, loamy hops, charred malt, pencil shavings, roasted hazelnut. Dense like characters that make it perfect for watching football hanging out the with zizs'es. It is drinkable straight from the bottle once you expose it to the earth’s atmosphere. This is a magical lager.

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Photo of TooManyGlasses
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A timeless classic. Under rated.
Pours a clear bronze to amber colour with creamy white head.
Aromas of caramel malt, fresh bread, a bit of citrus, and delicately hops - pine, orange, some floral notes.
Taste follows - malt sweetness - caramel, bready, a bit yeasty, with citrus and piney hops, lightly bitter.
Smooth medium mouthfeel on gentle carbonation - totally crushable and refreshing.
This beer will never grow old.

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Photo of ForetSaison
4.95/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I guess this beer is called steam because of the brewing process. The smell and taste are similar to a lager pilsner of the highest quality. I have never tried any other steam beer, so this one will always be a staple of California common/steam beer style for me. I think it is the best to judge a beer within its style, but, if I had to compare Anchor Steam with any other beer of any style, I would still give it 10 out of 10. Classic brew. It's perfect.

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Photo of Mugman8
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours reddish amber with ample head. Aroma of malt and bread. Tastes like it smells with hoppy dry finish. From a classic craft brewer and this is a good one!

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Photo of chitoryu12
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Clear amber. One finger of fizzy white head with decent retention.

Smell: Caramel malt, a little yeast, tiny pine hop note.

Taste: Toasted malt with a slight metallic bitter undercurrent. Mildly sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin, high carbonation.

Overall: Despite its storied reputation, this is a pretty average beer.

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Photo of matuto
4.61/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355 ml bottle, exp. 02/2020. Very great! Nice combination of bitterness and malts. Clear amber at first pour, it became all cloudy with the swirls before the last pour, and got some nice and subtle grassy notes on nose.

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Photo of CaptainHate
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a nice reddish amber with a small pale head. Smells bready and malty. Tastes like it smells with a small hop bite and a dry finish with some saison like wine hints. A well made long term craft staple.

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Photo of KilleenTx
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Anchor steam is best very cold but still ok when at room temperature. Nice barley beer that goes well with grilled foods and slow cooked BBQ.
God looking in a tall glass, smells bready at first pour. Good in the mouth and easy on stomach.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle at Angelo's in Washington PA. Sweet Friday night date with DW while Micah is helping with a lock in.

Deeper color than I expected. Have wanted to try this for awhile. I am not a lager fan, but this is probably the one I would go to.

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Photo of Sheppard
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber hue. Lots of caramel and banana candy on the nose. There's a little banana up front but this Common is mostly dry. It's got a little bit of hop character on the finish that isn't the best tasting.

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Photo of hophead723
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed a stovepipe of this liquid gold to enjoy with my red miso short rib, truffle mac n cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes I had delivered from Lemonade. Brewed early November, poured into a pint glass.

Look: Deep copper with a resilient white head. Frothy foam rests atop a glowing deep amber beer with rich copper edges. Tiny bubbles of carbonation rise through the perfectly clear liquid.

Smell: Gentle aroma of toasted grain, with inflections of slight buttery yeast and mildl grassy hops. Delicate lemony aroma, especially when ice cold but the head does its job and carries the scent of the grainy and delicious brew.

Taste: Refreshing lemony salinity upfront. Then light cracker and buttered biscuit malts. Subtle caramel hues adorn each gulp. Finishes dry and refreshing.

Overall: I love this unique, timeless, drinkable, and superb beer. I was first introduced to it 8 years ago after reading about favorite beers of James May, he was ranting about how good it is. It is liquid gold. Truly a world-class beer.

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Photo of mikeinportc
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 09/26/19 Let warm to 45F +/-.
Clear orangey-amber, with moderate white head, that leaves a 1/8" ring , and a little lacing .

Smell is caramel, bready , some fruitiness that's not quite citrus, floral hops, with brief flashes of faint pine solvent.

Taste is fresh white bread crust of the thick & chewy (not dry/flaky) variety, light caramel, with a light mix of floral/pine/citrus rind hop flavor in the latter half of the taste. Those hop flavors are masked somewhat by some moderate pleasant bitterness that comes in at the same time, and lingers awhile.

Feel is light-medium, smooth, with a drying very fine carbonation tingle . A tad light on the carbonation, but only slightly so. If I wasn't reviewing it, I might not notice.

Overall, an easy-drinking, enjoyable, classic , that I'd highly recommend trying at least once. The whole is better than the parts.

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Photo of biiru_ojisan
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear amber with a super creamy looking off-white head.

This bottle appears to have gotten a touch skunky, but I'm going to try to ignore it. I'm getting some floral hop notes and some bready and biscuity malt aromas.

The skunkiness doesn't seem to have made it into the flavor too strongly. Nice herbal flavors with the hops. Nice, light malt notes with the bread and biscuit making a comeback. Nice bitterness on the back-end rounds out any malt sweetness. A pretty pleasant drinker.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with maybe slightly less than moderate carbonation. Alcohol warmth is a little more present than you might expect from a beer at this strength.

Overall, this is a pretty refreshing sweater beer. It's little expensive in my neck of the woods, and hard to get a hold of (especially fresh), but I can put this on my list of beers to have again.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours Dark orange with a thin, white head and good carbonation.
Lots of carmel malt and breadiness and toast on the nose.
Wonderful breadinness, toasted caramel and malt. Some hoppiness on the end. Banana bread like on the end makes this a great taste.
Medium mouthfeel.
Been wanting to try this for a long time! Uderrated.

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Photo of marcablanc96
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a nice, casual drinking beer for those who want to watch an early afternoon football game without getting a buzz but don't want to spend money on Budweiser. As the copy claims, the unique brewing method of this beer results in a singular—and satisfying—taste. It's like it mixes a stronger lager taste with a milder pale ale taste to create the perfect medium. Highly malty and carmel-colored like an amber lager but with a floral hint like an IPA. I'm very pleased to find a lower-alcohol beer that is as flavorful as this one.
What I dislike about it is that the feel is rather sticky and the head doesn't last; no lacing. The carbonation is slight.
The label, packaging, and bottle are delightful. I almost prefer drinking this one out of the bottle because its shape evokes the early twentieth century.

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Photo of teromous
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle I have has a label of the San Francisco Bridge. The back of the bottle has: "PKG062519"

Appearance: The body is a dark amber to medium bronze. It has good clarity. The head is large, white, and very dense with a rippled surface. It looks perfect.

Aroma: There is a noble hop aroma that is spicy. It has a bit of a candy-like scent which is a bit of a mix of how rock candy smells and a touch of toffee. The hops smell lovely.

Taste: There is a bit of sweet caramel mixed with a light herbal hop flavor. It is slightly floral like a hibiscus. It is very pleasant to drink.

Mouthfeel: It's very smooth with a light bitterness. It has a medium-light body and a wash of carbonation.

Overall: It is simply an enjoyable beer that is also loaded with flavor, aroma, and character. I would recommend giving it a try. I enjoyed it and I would certainly drink it again. The high-point for this beer is how it has a lovely flavor that is a bit sweet and a bit herbal that lingers on the tongue. It's a memorable beer.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From old, undated notes. Poured from the bottle.

Light orange color; murky but slightly see through.

Nice off-white head; decent lacing. Slight smoke in the nose; fresh bread as well. Inviting.

Thin mouthfeel.

Taste is predominately of corn, with a smack of hops. Low quality lager comes to mind.

Disappointing after a great nose. Not likely to grab another.

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Photo of joeagain
4.78/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

To the uninitiated, Anchor Steam beer might be mistaken for an ale. With its copper color, hoppy and fruity nose, and somewhat yeasty character, it's easy enough to see why some might think it an ale. But it is indeed a lager.

Pours a nice copper color, with a beige head that lasts and lasts. Aroma is full of character, citrus and a slight bit of mint lead the way, with hints of caramel peeping through.

The body, as of late, has thinned out a bit, and it seems more carbonated than it once was many years ago. Still, its got a fair amount of oomph to it!

The taste is a cornucopia of flavors; earthy, citrus and minty hops lead the way, followed by malty flavors of caramel, raisin and old time brown bread. One tiny complaint is that the body seems thinner than it was only a few years back, but it'still a pretty darned good beer!

Fritz Maytag certainly knew what he was doing when he saved this beer and brewery from extinction!

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Photo of RyanK252
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Mountain Rambler Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours copper amber with a frothy tan head that settles to a light layer and laces nicely.

S: Herbal, grassy, slightly woody, piney, toasty bready malt, and a hint of toffee sweetness.

T: Piney, herbal, grassy, slightly woody, faintly nutty, toasty bready malt, and a hint of toffee.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: A craft beer icon that has survived the years for good reason. Not overly complex, but really well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of Stutchie
4.9/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

One person's meat is another one's poison. That said, after having spent two and a half years in Germany I find this the best American beer to date. But I am still exploring. With all the available microbrews it is hard to find a beer that actually tastes like beer.

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Photo of DeuilEtoiles
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I never had any Steam Beer before this. I was intrigued by the suggestion that, while a lager by definition, some of the brewing process is like an ale. Also wanted to check out what Brace Belden does other than fighting ISIS and hunting pedophiles.
L: Nice copper lager appearance. Didn’t get the nice head mentioned in other reviews from the first pour into a mug, but subsequent pours into a 40 cl Stella glass yielded a solid inch of white.
S: Not fantastic. Not awful. Maybe French bread? A hint of hops.
T: Unexpected. Surprised at the complexity here. Like brown bread with some molasses. Again, a hint of pine but definitely subtle. I prefer hops to be suppressed like capitalists during the Cultural Revolution.
F: Bold, I would say. I wasn’t looking for a lot of weight though it isn’t light. Crisp. Good carbonation.
Overall I dig this beer. I doubt I would seek it out again but only because it is not my preferred style, to the extent this is a distinct style. If you enjoy lagers this is highly recommended.

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Photo of bobv
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

19.2 oz. can.
Moderate to vigorous pour yields a 1.5 inch white head over a copper body with some lacing. Very subdued nose of cracker, hay, and slight pine. Taste is very nice and refreshing even though a tad sweet. Sweetness gives way to a bit of hops and a very pleasant, near dry finish. Nice feel and overall, I've had this many times in the late '70's into the '80's and never rated it until now with a proper review. I will be bringing these big cans to the occasional get together in the very near future. Cheers to the Anchor team for this great example of the style!

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 6286 ratings