Anchor Steam Beer
Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
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California Common / Steam Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #20,168
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: 2,179 | Ratings: 6,373 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HarlotBronte
HarlotBronte from District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours a clear copper with a 2 finger off white foamy head. A beautiful looking beer.
S: Malt
T: Caramel malt upfront, light bitterness on the finish
F: Crisp, medium bodied, drying finish
O: This is the only California Common/ Steam Beer I’ve tried so I can’t compare it to anything. As a beer in general, it’s very good. It has the flavor of a beer in the 5.5-6% range. I will be buying again and again!

Aug 30, 2021
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SoCalNative from California

4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

The Steam Beer is my second favorite next to Anchor's California Lager.

Pours a nice golden amber/brown. Almost as dark as the bottle. Not too much of a head, may be the velvet-like smoothness of my pouring technique (*fingerguns*).


Kind of an even malt/fruity hop aroma. Not much visible carbonation at all.

Taste is un-f***ing-paralleled.

This is truly a work of art, just like their Cali Lager.

It's not bitter. It's not sweet.

It's just refreshing.

If you get a chance to try this beer, understand that it's of West Coast origin. You'll probably like this brew!

I love this brew and would recommend this AND the California Lager. (Real similar, but still apples and oranges when comparing them both.)

Jul 08, 2021
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Scotchboy from Idaho

3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fantastic summer beer here, had on-tap and enjoyed thoroughly; can't believe I've never reviewed this one before. Wonderful malty, mildly nutty and somewhat caramelly lead-in with a light, snappy grassy and earthy hop component that all blend beautifully into a clean and crisp body and finish that doesn't carry a trace of lager-y skunk. Recommended.

Jun 30, 2021
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realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Trying the original 'steam' beer. SRM 17? Large white head, nice lacing. Everything sort of works with this one, so this is probably why Fritz Maytag kept investing into the brand - if you don't know your beer history, and enjoy that sort of thing, take a look at the story of the man who Forbes declared 1 of 26 most fascinating entrepreneurs.

Caramel malt body, lightly hopped scent that also transition identically to the tasting notes. Notes of brown bread mainly stick out. There is a great hoppiness to the overall presentation, alongside it a bit of a semi-dry finish that is mildly fruity overall and in your face. Having tried both canned and bottle conditions, I prefer canned. What I can say, however is this is a good beer to revisit from time to time.

Jun 19, 2021
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I find it difficult to write a normal review about appearance, aroma, etc, when it is about such a classic such as Anchor Steam. In how many reviews are words like amber or malty repeated that they become numb to the reader? Does it taste as good today as it did 40 years ago? Hell, I don't know, Perceptions can change from day-to-day let alone decade-to-decade. But it's still enjoyable.

Just let me say it is still unique, still a legacy, still delicious and I still respect it immensely after so many years of imbibing.

May 31, 2021
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Bierwolf from Missouri

3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice amber color, with ½ to 1 finger off white frothy foam. Reduces to basically nothing in a few minutes.
Clear. Very nice carbonation.
Aroma: Get a nice nose of malt and some yeast. Bites at your nose a little bit.
Taste: Piney hops and a little grassy flavor.
Mouth Feel: I was getting a light medium feel for this. Very nice carbonation.
Over All: This was a nice refreshing beer.

May 23, 2021
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Balashi963 from Virginia

4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had my first Anchor Steam in 1986, in San Francisco, when that was the only place you could get it. Probably my favorite beer. Exceptional when on tap. Sipping on one tonight, out of a can in a tulip glass, I got from Doyle's Pub. Deep Amber Color, great taste.

May 05, 2021
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Wattie83 from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on tap in 16 oz shaker pint. Looks bronze colored with a white head that fell to a cap. Clear beer with carbonation rising throughout. Smell is a bit subdued with strong malt presence and a generic fruitiness from the hops or maybe the yeast? Taste is sweet and malty up front with a fruit/earthiness in the middle. Sweetness subsides and you get a little bitterness to even things out. Finish is clean with little aftertaste. Feel is crisp, medium bodied, solid carbonation. Overall, it's been a long time since I've had this beer. I don't remember liking it as much as I did this time around. It was easy drinking, refreshing, and really flavorful. I will try bottled/canned versions, but I doubt they'll live up to the draft version.

May 02, 2021
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BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Copper color with a creamy off white head. The first whiff I get is of malts, like nice roasted nutty malts with bits of brown sugar. A slight hint of fruity esters from the hops. Taste is on the malty side with just a slight fruity hoppiness. The mouthfeel is great for the style, not think or thick; just right. This is sort of somewhere between a proper lager and a light pale ale. A really unique style and a beer I would suggest to someone just beginning to get into craft beer.

May 01, 2021
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Neco62622 from Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For the past couple of decades Anchor Steam has been my favorite beer. The last couple of months, I have been only able to purchase in cans and have developed some question as to the quality. It tastes a bit bland and I have been buying my go to alternative which is a local Pale Ale that provides the kind of malt forward taste and crispness I appreciate so much in Anchor Steam. I just purchased two six packs of Anchor Steam bottles in the new bright yellow and blue logo, but it seems the bland taste is not because of the cans. Has anyone else noticed a change in quality and taste in their Anchor Steam?

Apr 09, 2021
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DefenCorps from Oregon

3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Can from Whole Foods

A clear deep amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose is solid. Clean, fresh hops, rather English in character with a spicy, earthy, mildly nutty note along with a toffee, caramel and light butterscotch note. An awesome, delicate fruity character is present. The palate opens bitter and earthy, with a dusty, fruity, mildly sweet flavor combination. Earthy hops, mildly leafy and floral, along with a dry, brown sugar, toffee and butterscotch malt flavor. Fruity yeast on the mid-palate, pairing nicely with the caramel and especially the hops. Drying, creamy, lush on the finish despite the high carbonation. Medium-light in body, the mouthfeel is excellent. This is really good stuff.

Apr 05, 2021
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AccipiterofBeer from New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a dimpled mug.

L: 4. Bronzy amber. Medium head. Nice carbonation.
S: 4. Sweet Caramel. Very enticing.
T: 3.5. Malty, sweet.
F: 3.75. Medium bodied. Ticklish carbonation. Goes down easily.
O: 4. Living on the east coast, this is not a mainstay. It's very good. I can see why it's an iconic drink on the other side of the country.

Mar 25, 2021
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IPAs_for_days_13 from Texas

3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a beautiful clear copper color with a bitchin beige head.
S: Smells rich of sweet-grain malts, caramel, straw, subtle amount of earthy hops.
T: Taste very much follows the nose, its surprisingly more hop forward than malts, the hops gives it a bitter finish.
F: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation, bitter finish, crisp.
O: It's not a bad beer by any means, I was just expecting something more malt forward rather than bitter. Anchor porter is still the way to go.

Mar 20, 2021
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UristMcBrewer from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer is a rather pleasant amber color with a beige head. The head isn't spectacular but it is there. I'm a big fan of the color. The smell really stands out with fruity esters and spiciness. There are notes of coconut, banana bread, and cloves. The taste is more malt forward at first with the fruit esters taking over towards the end. The malt is bread like and shortcake like. The aftertaste is apple centric with coconut and banana bread from earlier dialed down. The feel is surprisingly thick. The water used is harder than most beers and the carbonation is on point. The feel is well balanced. Overall, it is a good beer. It smells great and has a good mouthfeel.

Jan 26, 2021
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ANIMOUL from Vermont

4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bias alert: this was my first venture into craft beer and trying something outside the major mega brews. Pours thick foamy head with decent retention. Slight hops and malt with subtle water taste (if that makes any sense). Solid beer and will always be a personal favorite.

Dec 29, 2020
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flgimp from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am not familiar with this style but I like this one. A pretty pour, nice amber color, frosty head and light lacing.
Taste is a grainy bread with toasted malt overtones and subtle hops. I would have this again. Could be a good session choice

Dec 15, 2020
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SimplySinister from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Normal pour into pint glass producing an amber colored brew sporting a 1" finger off-white head. Minimal head retention. Moderate carbonation. Minimal lacing.

S - Hops, malt, bread, barley.

T - Hops, malt, bread, barley. What you smell is more or less what you get. No real surprises or complexities. Slightly bitter.

M - Slightly bitter, slightly lingering.

D - Overall, it's okay. Decent beer. To be honest, I absolutely love Anchor Porter. I expected the same level of awesomeness from this brew. I didn't find it.

Dec 09, 2020
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snaotheus from Washington

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can served in a tulip. Date on the can is 040120. I don't remember where I bought this. I've had this before, but it has been many years.

Pours a deep clear amber with a medium sized head. Smell is rich and grainy, honey and bready yeast.

Taste is also rich and grainy with a lot of honey and bready yeast. But, there's also a bit of a bitter bite -- not too much, so maybe more like a nibble, just enough to let you there are teeth here.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly full, though also surprisingly low on carbonation. Overall, this is a much richer and more interesting beer than it was in my memory. I'm glad I decided to revisit it.

Nov 29, 2020
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ABrewOrTwo from Massachusetts

4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Just one of my favorite beers of all time. Every time I taste it I remember why.
Very malty, moderately sweet but with a decent hop kick to balance it out. Medium-light carbonation and medium-heavy mouthfeel. Somehow perfect for every season and occasion: delicious with food, tasty on its own -- refreshing in the summer, pleasant in the winter -- but best of all on a slightly chilly, foggy, fall or spring day, preferably somewhere near the sea. That brings out the spirit of its San Francisco origin.
A timeless beer that I hope will remain the same as long as I'm around!

Nov 16, 2020
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Nice medium to deep amber color with dense off-white creamy foam layered on top. Carbonation is moderate.

S - Nice toasted caramel aroma with a subtle earthy earthiness.

T - Toasted caramel malt from start to finish and a mild earthy citrus on the very back side. Ends slightly on the malty side but has an extremely pleasing finish with a little bit of lingering earthy citrus.

M - Big medium body with very gentle carbonation and a wet finish.

O - This is an enjoyable classic that never gets old, rock solid. Thank you, Fritz Maytag!

Nov 12, 2020
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle to spiegelau glass. Amber liquid with a collar of eggshell foam. Aromas of fruit and dark bread, and earthy hops. Fruity, chewy toasted brown bread flavor with herbal/earthy hops.

Oct 20, 2020
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barneyrubble from Colorado

3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a tulip glass a 3F light tan head with large loose bubbles forms. It settles to a 1F head with spotty lace. Color is a transparent light copper.

The nose detects some roasted grain and malt and not much else.

Taste starts with a light bitterness down the middle and some malt sweetness to the sides, The malty flavor has notes of toasted grain and the hop tang is light pine to me. The light bitterness is persistent and a bit surprising.

Mouthfeel is medium with a creamy slickness through the finish. The bitterness does not cause the finish to be astringent just a bit thick or cloying.

I was anticipating a pleasant amber ale type beer. I got some of that but with more bitterness and less fuller roasted malt sweetness. All said a nice beer, but not one for me to put into normal rotation.

Oct 01, 2020
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TheBricenator from Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Clear amber-red and my sloppy pour leads to a huge off-white head that quickly settles, leaving good lacing behind
Aroma: Bready malts, earthy notes, hints of toffee, slight floral notes, and some fruity esters present as well
Taste: Bread, earthiness and floral notes up front while toffee and fruity esters come and go in the mix. Clean, lager-like maltiness comes into play in the middle before the earthy notes and fruitiness close things out
Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp throughout, medium-high carbonation, and a very crisp and clean finish with zero accompanying dryness
Overall: Tasty stuff here. A solid classic and a beer that introduced me to the California Common/Steam Beer style years ago. Great flavors and aromas, killer balance, and a true hybrid as this beer continually shows aspects of both ales (fruity esters) and lagers (clean & crisp) on each and every sip. An awesome classic and recommended

Sep 30, 2020
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Rug from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/3/20

Another day, another style I haven't tried yet. I've heard this one talked about for a long time as a classic, let's see if it lives up to the hype

Pours a mostly clear orange with 3 fingers of soapy beige head that slowly fades to a cap and leaves decent lacing

The nose here is sweet but balanced. I get lots of honey, lager yeast, mild lemon, doughy malts, and grassy hops

Starting off the flavor, I pick up on present but subtle grassy hops, cut with some general citrus. It trends sweeter when the sip is held in, and especially on the swallow, where the malt comes in with sweet honey and cereal grain, all the while carrying citrus to cut through the sweetness

This has a medium body (heavier than I was expecting for the abv) and light tingly carbonation, leading to a smooth beer, but it feels a tad too heavy. Finishes sticky and wet

This was pretty good, but definitely past freshness for a lager. I'm sure it's better fresh, but I'm not sure by how much. At the very least, it's an easy drinking, affordable lager

Sep 28, 2020
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VicCooper from Ireland

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

I’ve had this beer several times before, when I can’t decide if a lager or an IPA would be perfect for the evening, I usually pick this one.

Top: it forms an off white/light cream 1.5” head which fades into some lacing in a minute or two.

Colour: clear copper (dark amber), beautiful to look at. I wish the head would stay longer.

Smell: without decanting, the typical lager smell. Leave it for 5 minutes and it becomes a fruity, sweet malt scent, biscuity with some light fig and dried plum notes. Delightful. Reminds me Guinness’ Citra IPA (the look too).

Taste: American Pale Ale meets Pilsen lager. Moderated, yet distinctive czech style bitterness, good IPA-like fruitiness, some caramel malts, exceptionally balanced. Feels stronger than its alcohol content would suggest (ABV: 4.9%), but without the boozy tones.

Smooth mouthfeel, semi-dry finish, medium carbonation. Dried plum aftertaste, very pleasant.

Summary: a true gem. Try it, if you haven’t before, it really is a pleasant experience.

Sep 24, 2020
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 6373 ratings