Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,076 Ratings
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Ratings: 6,076 |  Reviews: 2,075
Photo of Valmor88
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A bright golden appearance in the glass. Two to three fingers of white head that reduces quickly. Very nice lacing left over.

S: Bready-sweet malts are the first thing I notice, with some spices and fruity aromas as well. Hops are detectable, but don't run the show like the malts.

T: Big flavor, there is a lot going on here. The bready malts come in first again, leading way to some fruity essences. There is some roasted toffee flavor that hits right before the finish, which was nice and bitter.

M: Medium-light bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Definitely a good beer. There is a lot going on with it. This is one of the first beers to which I introduce my non-beer-loving friends.

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Photo of MaxBrews
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz uniquely shaped anchor bottle

Appearance: Nice 2 finger head which dissipates into a very soapy lacing. Color is amber. The beer is clear and the bubbles would suggest it is full of carbonation. Lacing clings to glass wonderfully.

Smell: Big malt character can be smelled from affair, when your nose zooms in you also get citrusy and floral hop that combined with the malt create a fresh and clean aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: A big malty character balanced a very floral and dark fruit taste. A bit of a citrus twang from the hops, that allows for a slightly but dry finnish. A tiny bit of bitterness from the hops but nothing overwhelming. A medium body and is a very filling beer.

Drinkability: a good clean all rounded lager. Very drinkable, its a very malty beer but avoids tasting cereal. Provides a good contrast with Dark fruit & citrus flavors and aromas. One of the most flavorful lagers I've had.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Superb appearance with a three finger off-white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Clear amber body. Attractive looking brew.

Smells a little like a pale ale to me with a little bit of hops, a little citrus, but some light yeast aroma as well. Inviting aroma.

Light hops in the flavor. A little citrus, a small touch of sweet malt, a little bready yeast. A slightly bitter finish works for me.

Very well put together. It's different and I like it.

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Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of guzzleacoldone
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of warnerry
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of aval89
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a dark orange/amber color into a pint glass. decent 2 finger powdery head...slowly goes down but looks nice..carbonation is visible..

smells close to an amber lager...sweet malt up front..light to medium hop presence..has kind of an ocean vibe to it to me..very earthy as well...lots going on here..salt water taffy??

so i dive in..after my first sip im hit with a big but not overpowering hop quickly mellows out for other flavors to come in...salt water, bubble gum, sweetness from the malt, lemon zest, almost minty, some sort of sugar sweetness i cant yet detect, a lot going on, very complex and unique.. leaves a hoppy feeling in your mouth but not offensive, it flows so great in your mouth...
mouthfeel has i'd say a medium carbonation but it feels right..semi dry finish...

this stuff is very drinkable and sessionable as well.. im glad i finally picked this stuff up... a great one in my book..

definitely gotta show this one to my buds back in cali haha


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Photo of kaplunk02
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark amber brown with a short white head.

S: Light hops and some serious pear aroma. Maybe some other sweet smells but the pear overpowers.

T: Much like the smell there's pear and hops but also a caramel malty flavor.

M: A fair bit of carbonation and a dry finish.

O: A tasty beer and much more flavor than I was expecting from this style.

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Photo of ghebel
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear, amber/copper color. Head is adequate, off-white, forms a creamy layer on the surface. It dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel malt, earthy hops, fruity.

T - Nice bitterness, caramel malt.

M - Moderate body with lingering bitterness. Smooth drinking with dry finish.

D - Very drinkable.

Overall - I like this style of lager, especially the bitter component combined with smooth drinking. Has lots of flavor as well.

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Photo of HabiMendes
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is light cooper, with a slight off-white, bubbly neck that retains well. The body is clear, and emanates caramel very strongly, as well as earthy and piney tones. The light body brings caramel/toast nodes, with apparent hops. You can notice a discrete fruitness in the background (mango, bananas). The finish is strong, exposing so well the hops... It's a good Lager, with a more malty profile, and a slight background fruitness. Great beer - I like it!

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass.

A- Dark amber color, thick white head that will not quit and leaves decent lacing. Bubbly carbonation and radiant color enhance the look.

S- Bready, yeasty, caramel malty, and some fruity hops.

T-Pale malt and caramel backbone with some tart California lemony hop flavor. Earthy and pungent.

M- Great body for a 4.9 abv beer, nice crisp carbonation, too. There's some teeth to it, bite but not overly bitter. Dry malt and yeast finish.

O- Unique as a lager/ale, truly craft. Enjoyable very time.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice red amberish, nice white head that stuck for about 3 minutes. decent lacing.

Smells are floral from hops with a small bit of sweet maltiness. it's not an incredible smell, but is very solid and well balanced.

Taste is hoppy with a malty backbone, very balanced. Hops win the fight, but there is a caramel sweetness to it. Some orange citris to the hops as well.

Mouthfeel is good. medium body. carbonation was a little lower than i remember, but that is probably from the tap.

Overall just a solid american beer. Can't go wrong with it. great balance. Mmmm good.

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Photo of GarrettMD
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear hazelnut brown hue with a lot of tiny bubbles rising. Thin layer of white frothy head that fades to a thinner layer of bubbles pretty quickly.

S - Sweet malts and fruity hops dominate the smell of this. Some nice spice as well. Some nice bready yeasts too.

T - Bready yeast/malts with some slight caramel flavoring and a nice kick of hops that I didn't quite expect. There's also a very nice nutty flavor as the beer warms. Fairly simple yet complex in a way I can't quite describe.

M - Thin to medium bodied, very crisp. Finish is that kick of bitter hops followed by a nice sweet aftertaste that stays around for quite a while.

O - I had never had a beer in this style before, and decided this was as good a beer as any to start on. I can see why it's been brewed for over 100 years.

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Photo of Pantalones
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last bottle from the six-pack I picked up semi-recently. Mysterious code on the back is "7A8," whatever that might indicate... I can only assume it's a coded bottled-on or best-by date, but I don't know how to decode it and I'm a little more concerned with drinking and reviewing the beer at the moment rather than looking up exactly how old it is!

Everything is really nice appearance-wise -- deep golden color, bordering on the lighter orange range, and very clear with streams of little bubbles rising from the bottom. Forms a decently-sized layer of slightly off-white foam when first poured, shrinking to a thin coating within a couple minutes but staying fairly solid even then (no holes forming in it or anything just yet.)

Every bottle of this beer so far has really struck me with how fresh-smelling it is, and this is no exception. It's mild, but what's there is just a really nice bready smell with a crispness/freshness to it that's unusually noticeable even when compared to other lighter-to-medium beers that you'd expect to have that sort of feature to them. There's a bit of a hoppy thing in the background but the bready malt is the most noticeable smell right away.

The taste is also nice and bready, with a bit of a yeastiness to it that pops in and reveals its identity as not quite your standard lager after all. Very crisp and refreshing, as you'd expect going by the smell. A bit of bitterness on the end, a bit of an almost European-ish but not quite hop flavor going on, but mostly what you taste is a nice bready malt and the yeastiness that I'm guessing comes from the use of a higher fermentation temperature. The yeastiness almost takes on a quality that's somewhere between doughy and banana-y after a while. It's not a super complex beer but it is a tasty one. I recall being reminded somewhat of celery seed when I first had this beer, but I'm not getting much of that this time around. It's still very nice either way.

The feel is light, crisp, noticeably carbonated, and quite dry. Goes down pretty easily but it's not a thin, watery "chug it!" sort of beer, more one that you can either take a sip or a gulp at a time depending on how thirsty you are at the moment. I imagine people back in the 1890s way out in California would lean toward big gulps -- I bet this would be one of those beers that would be really refreshing to have cold and drink fast right after coming in from being out in the summer heat for an hour or two.

Overall, a great beer and one that I'm glad I finally got a chance to try. Try it for the historical experience of a surviving beer from the California Gold Rush, for the novelty of getting to sample an oddball beer style that you don't see around often, because the label art is really neat, or even just because you want a beer -- but it's definitely one that you should try at some point, one way or the other.

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Photo of leefx
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of kingcrowing
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a very clear and light ruby/amber color with a lot of nice bubbles and a big fluffy white head. Nose is light and crisp with a light noble hop finish to it.

Taste is crisp and sharp, a bit metallic but not too bad. Very easy to drink. Theres some nice hops and malt to it but very understated.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draft in a very nice Las Vegas casino, and found it very pleasing. Had it on bottle the next day, and found the draft to be a step above.

Ruby red, with nice carbonation, and a decent head. The lacing was thick, and hung around 'til the very end.

Smells hoppy, but tastes malty. Very smooth, with what seems like a couple different malty flavors very nicely blended together.

Very smooth and a little creamy. Good stuff to drink, I could drink it on tap all day, but from the bottle it benefits from a bit of a chill.

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Photo of jman42
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A = Average white head with good lacing evident

S = Nice malty aroma - less on the hops

T = Nice taste. Again more of a malty taste than hoppy

M = Nice creamy texture, average carbonation

D = Nice drinking beer. I could put a few of these away watching football, working outside, etc

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Photo of Phatz
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours an Orange-ish brown color. Large carbonation bubbles lead to a nice head.

Smell: I got very little out of the aroma. but in the beers defense it was served to me at the bar way to cold. I let it warm as much as I could. I was also sitting in outdoor seating. Nonetheless, I only got a hint of sweetness and some carbonation in the nose.

Taste: I have never had a steam beer before and I enjoyed this. The flavor was not complex or amazing but i was extremely drinkable. I was eating a Kilbassa and this was a perfect accompaniment. It had the nice sweet amber attribute to it. The sweet malts. but then it had a bit of hops. Gentle, laid back hops but enough to keep it interesting. I think there was a certain amount of smokiness to the beer as well. There were no fire works with this beer is was simple and drinkable. mmm.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and active. lots of carbonation. Refreshing.

Drinkability: This beer is extremely sessionable. Low ABV, mild on the palate it is all around a 'Good' beer.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color with a medium dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt and a little bit of spice, fruit and hops.

T: The taste is fruity, spicy and malty, with flavors of caramel & citrus. A strong but complimentary hops presence comes in quickly and provides a very good balance without being over-powering. Once the hops flavor fades a bit, there’s a nice bready taste that remains with a mild sweetness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, this is good beer to stick with for an evening if you want something a lot of substance that isn’t going try to knock you over. I liked this beer and thought it was very good.

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Photo of AEArider
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear amber/copper with a tightly knit head that dissipates quickly and doesn't leave the inside of the glass a ton of love. Smell is very lager-esque, grainy but simultaneously complex and very much inviting. Taste is refreshingly hoppy but not overbearing, and of lightly toasted malt. Feel is refreshingly crisp, but overall comes off a bit thin; however, definitely something to enjoy in sequence. Overall a great brew. . . got into the whole "steam" scene while on a trip to the Bay area, and this certainly exemplifies it.

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Photo of hoppyhayashi
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is a beautiful, clear, light golden amber colour... the colour of liquid honey. It pours to create a 2 finger width off-white, foamy, fluffy head that dissipates slowly. Leaves a slight foamy lace.

S: slightly metallic, citrusy, hints of grapefruit.

T: Has an amazing taste... at first buttery, honey, fresh grapefruits and oranges, gingerbread. The best way to put it would be that this beer takes a taste intermission, because it takes a break before a mild hop flavour arrives at the end on the back palate.

M: Mouthfeel is really smooth, creamy, light bodied, with nice carbonation on the tip of the tongue. It dissipates evenly across the entire palate. Fills the whole mouth. Easy drinking beer.

O: Really pleasant, clean, quality beer. It's good for the summertime! Love the way it has two distinct taste intervals!

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Photo of vkv822
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle into pint glass.

Thus beer has a beautiful billowy off white head with great retention, and the body is a nice light amber.
The aroma is of biscuity malts, with some light hop bitterness. The flavor follows the aroma fairly well, with also quite a bit off caramel malt notes as well and some very light fruity hop notes towards the finish. The mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated,and nice medium bodied.
This is a very drinkable beer, and one of the better lagers I have had thus far. Definitely something I could go back to as a unique session beer.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a perfect all-around session beer, which isn't to say it lacks anything in the flavor arena, that's simply not the case. Pours a crystal clear amber in color, very nice to look at, with a two finger fizzy head that left a creamy crown after a couple of minutes. Nose is very lager-like, very 'grainy' but appealing. Taste is much like an ale, but still somehow clean like a lager, which makes sense after reading how it's made. Taste is fruity like an ale, but still quite crisp.

I really like this, I can forsee drinking a lot of this during the warmer months.


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Photo of Dkline39
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,076 ratings