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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
2,007 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,007
Ratings:
5,817
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
21.82%
 
 
Wants:
209
Gots:
1,153
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,007 | Ratings: 5,817
Photo of elgiacomo
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Attractive amber/orange color. Small head that diminishes to virtually no head quite quickly.

Aroma/Flavor: I'm not that talented at picking out a half dozen hints of flavors from beers, but orange peel is the one that jumps out at me with this one.

Overall: Quite good. An enjoyable beer. Crisp and refreshing.

 342 characters

Photo of lawman834
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Copper with a creamy head that's tall but goes away fast.

S-Kinda hoppy and grassy. Not very strong.

T-Not bad at all. Balanced to a little on the hoppy side. Has a little bit of a strange metallic taste.

M-Very bright and carbonated in the mouth. A little slick on the finish.

D-Pretty darn drinkable. It does however leave a little of that odd metallic aftertaste in my mouth and a bit of that slicknees on my tounge.

 425 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a lot different than what I remember from when I was in SF. For some reason I had the distinct memory of sour dough bread and not particularly liking it. But then again that was a few years ago and my tastes have changed since then. The beer poured out of the bottle with a finger-width head on top that dissappeared down to a thin film with a lace that clung to the sides of the glass. The color was a burnt, clear copper. The hops are not overly complex and roll over the tongue very smoothly. However, I did notice slight hints of lemon and sugar. But what gets me is how much smoother a beer it is now than what I remember.

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Photo of corby112
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with a two finger frothy, pillowy white head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap/ring. Chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with floral, piny hops, sweet malt and light fruit. Hints of caramel, toffee and nut.

Medium bodied with a slight creamy texture that adds fullness to the palate. Crisp floral hop presence up front that's only faintly dry and bitter. This is countered by the sweet malt and light fruit notes. Hints of caramel, biscuit, toffee, hazelnut and apricot. Well balanced and easy to drink. There is nothing outstanding about this beer but it's well crafted and sessionable.

 678 characters

Photo of JamesBerry
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber color, with a great head. Smells simultaneously fruity, tangy and malty. This possesses a bitter taste, though deep and malty, and with an aftertaste that is even more bitter. Not surprisingly, this was rather complex, and an impressive example of a truly unique style.

 280 characters

Photo of ArcTeryx
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber with an orange-ish hue. There is a thick, slightly creamy looking head present. After the beer settled a bit, there was a small amount of lacing. This beverage smelled of caramel, with a slight citrus aroma as well.

This beer has a certain maltiness throughout, with a very light citrus flavor. There is a small amount of hoppiness in the aftertaste.

This is a tasty beer, with a good flavor. For me though, it has a bit too much maltiness to really be viable for sessionability. However, as previously suggested by others, this is a great beer for summertime, so drink up!

 596 characters

Photo of TobiasGoth
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance
A clear and effervescent amber/light brown with traces of blood red in it. One finger off-white head. A fizzy but fast settling beer.

Smell
Loads of rich malt, then some light and elegant hops, followed by limey sensation. It’s a sweet and sour story really.

Taste
Sweet malts firstly, bitter and astringent secondly. There’s a note of orange seeds too.

Mouthfeel
A light to medium corpus, balanced and normal amount of carbon dioxide, very much a presence though. A buttery smooth liquid.

Known as a California Common, with it’s characteristic Norther Brewer hops, Anchor Steam Beer is Anchor Brewing Company’s flagship product.

I remember enjoying my very first bottle during the summer of 2002 at Fisherman’s Wharf, travelling through the state of California. There was a big old sea gull sitting next to me, watching as I drank the brew.

Many years and beers have passed ever since and although it’s never been a favorite of mine it’s a damn good lager that I enjoy occasionally.

 1,014 characters

Photo of BrownNut
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I seem to be the only one here who smelled straight up banana on the nose of this one. This was while the head was still foaming, but it was pretty prevalent. Otherwise I had trouble getting anything out of this beer. It's not really something I would want again, but I feel like I need to try again and parse out more flavors.

 327 characters

Photo of heavy216
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: small 12oz bottle, huge fist of head which would no die, good/average amount of lacing, amber/gold in color, medium carbonation

S: very fruity smell

T/M: good mouthfeel, refreshing....taste average nothing special slightly fruity like the smell

D: little to no alcohol flavor....very enjoyable on nice day

 312 characters

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Slightly hazy light amber. Fizzy white head that fades quickly. No lacing. Some carbonation is present.

S - Baked bread aroma with a mildly spicy citrusy hop overtone. Nice, but very mild.

T/M - This is where it loses me. Hops hit, but leave no flavor. Malts are mildly sweet, but not compelling. Mouthfeel is at least clean.

D - Fair drinkability. It's standard beer. Nothing special in my book.

 404 characters

Photo of musicman575
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam is very flavorful and effervescent light bodied beer. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

I am suprised by the pleasant nose. It's yeasty and spicy, almost belgian, with floral hoppiness.

It's a completely different beer than what the smell suggests. The malt is definitely the most salient flavor - semi-sweet and very bready, almost musty. The hops are also pretty prominent and intertwoven with the other flavors. They're present from start to end. Finishes dry with a grainy, slightly bitter aftertaste.

 523 characters

Photo of DrewSnyc667
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a 16 oz shaker pint

A - Deep copper color. Small head that is non existent very early into the beer. Very little activity

S - Robust malt up front, caramel, sugar, plum. Slight acidity in the back

T - Surprisingly light. The nose gets you ready for a heavy, malty brew but the hops are really prevalent and snap the beer to a nice clean finish

M - Could use some more bubbles, leaves enough of noticeable alcoholic finish that is less than desirable

O - Not a bad brew at all, very similar to an amber lager. With that being said not my first choice in the variety, but a craft classic and worth a a try.

 619 characters

Photo of kjyost
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a decent white head atop that diminishes quickly, leaving no cap, but a ring around the edge that doesn't lace. The aromas are muted with sweet malt and a light spicy hop aroma. The beer itself has a nice lightly sweet malt backbone with light bitterness and fruity esters, including apple. Strong carbonation couples well with the light drinking beer. A good beer to drink on a hot day after a bike ride and lawnmowing.

 445 characters

Photo of HochFliegen
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep carmel color with a thick white head.
The smell was fruity with a carmel like maltiness to it as well. There was also some hoppiness in the smell that was very mild.
The taste was very crisp and refershing. Malt flavors of carmel and hop flavor as well. Citrus like taste in the end. Really nice and refershing.

 328 characters

Photo of TackleDummy
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a copper color with a minimal off-white head. The head lasts for quite a while and leaves creamy white lacing on the glass.

The aroma is that of malt with a bit of citrus.

The flavor starts with a bit of a hop bite and a slight malt flavor, and finishes with a citrus taste with a decent amount of bitterness.

The mouth feel is pretty light and just a little creamy, and it goes down smoothly.

 412 characters

Photo of Waypoint
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A :Good light brown color nice carbonation.

S: Light malt aroma.

T: Mild flavor low amount of hops

M: Medium body smooth to swallow

O: A nice easy drinking beer refreshing but no wow factors. I liked the beer but I think that there are way too many other beers out there that are much more interesting.

 306 characters

Photo of Mazda3
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I wanted to try this as I have often heard it mentioned and thought it would be interesting to try a new style. I did have a bit of indecision as the store carried both this beer and their ale. In the end I got this as it is a rare example of a style not often seen.

The initial pour is good with some head development and a beautiful amber color. Unfortunately the head does not last long and sinks back forming a ring.

The initial taste is very bitter, and it is not a hoppy bitterness, perhaps metallic or vinegary? The mid taste is almost non existent, perhaps due to excessive carbonation.

I hate to say it, but this reminded me of a BMC light beer with more bitterness. The carbonation was on a par with a Michelob Light I tried recently. At least the light beer had no offensive flavors.

I might be being harsh - this beer (according to Wikipedia) is a style that was designed to be cheap and easy to produce and was the choice of those without any money back in pre-prohibition California. For this reason one shouldn't expect it to be the best tasting beer in the world.

This beer improved as it warmed a little, and it was interesting to try a new style. I looked it up here on BA and wanted to like it based on the favorable reviews, but in the end I think it is overrated and I don't think I will be buying this beer again.

[Edit] this beer improved a LOT when taken with some food, even some chips or something. The malt and sweet flavors came through and the bitterness reduced. I have changed my opinion of this beer (with food).

 1,550 characters

Photo of BethanyB
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear, dark gold. A thick cloud of an off-white head.

Smell: Sinus-clearing mint and citrusy hops on one end, and plenty of grainy malt on the other. As a whole, however, the aroma is light and clean.

Taste: Earthy bitterness and a tart character overpower the biscuity malt. Altogether, the taste is much less complex than I had expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light mouthfeel and high carbonation keep the brew crisp and clean.

Overall: More flavorful than a lager, yet more simple than a typical ale. It's a solid beer, but not one that sparks any real interest for me. I can't think of a specific season or situation where something different would be more appropriate or satisfying.

 702 characters

Photo of Doomcifer
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a fairly hazy amber color with a good head that retains nicely. Aroma is of grains, yeast, some fruitiness. Not too strong but pleasant. Taste is of more light graininess, yeast, light hop spice found in the finish. Mouthfeel is fair bodied, very crisp, and good carbonation. I could take a few of these down in succession but not an entire 6-pack.

 354 characters

Photo of nickydel
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a little perplexed by this one. Lots of praise to be said. Gorgeous beer in the glass and a pleasing smell. I was impressed by the body for this type of beer. However, the damn thing tasted like soap, and the after taste was extremely bitter. I'm a big fan of huge IPAs and other very bitter brews, but this seemed extremely out of place and was not pleasant. A bad bottle? I have had Steam Anchor before and remembered it fondly, but I could barely get through this one. And I'm far from picky about different styles of beer.

 530 characters

Photo of heebes
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle, 8 2012
Review from notes.

Pours a clear bubbly straw amber, good head leaves no lacing. The nose is sweet, citrusy, floral, grass. Taste is straw, grain, malt, a sort of bland alcohol taste but a fuller flavour than any BMC beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly chewy. Drinkability is high and this would be quite sessionable at 4.8%. Also comes in a cool unique stubby bottle.

 398 characters

Photo of LeafCutter
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour - A clear light amber. Nice thick head with good retention. minimal to no lacing on glass.

Smell - Smell a slightly sweet citrus with a noticeable yeast. Toward the bottom of the glass I began to smell hints of honey.

Taste - A quick bite of tangy fruit, and a moderately bitter finish with a mellow malt/yeast end note. Throughout the taste there is a dry sweetness that is enjoyable and not too overwhelming. Despite the lack of carbonation in looks, it has a very pleasant bubbly feel on the tongue, that again has a bit of a zang.

Overall- It was a good beer, not great, but good. The beer has a great balance. The sweetness is very consistent throughout the taste and provides a nice balance with that fruity "zing". Adding to the balance, the bitterness is more than I was expecting (in a good way). Because it has decent flavors, I may buy again if it went on sale. Otherwise nothing really stood out to write home about.

 937 characters

Photo of maddogruss
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Steam Beer/California Common...whatever you want to call it!

A: Pours an amber body with a small white head. There was decent retention, but eventually slowed to a nice lacing that held to the finish.

S: Not much of a smell. Smelled slightly malty and alcoholic.

T: Tastes like "beer." Reminded me a lot of a macro light lager but tasted a lot smoother. Also, tasted slightly salty, which was interesting.

M: A nice, light mouthfeel that was rather crisp.

D: Definitely a drinkable beer. Does not really taste like much, but it was pretty light and easy to drink. Definitely good for the summer or grilling.

 629 characters

Photo of guinnessfan
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased from Total Wine in McLean, VA.

A: Nice burnt copper/amber color with a slight 1 finger head and virtually no lacing.

S: Malty/bready sweet smell.

T: Slightly burnt-like malty goodness. Pilsner-like, but more roasted. Reminds me of fire-brewed Stroh's on steriods.

M: Crisp, clean and refreshing. Good carbonation tingle and balance.

D: Good beer, not over the top and easy to session.

 422 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: [3.50] Dark honey colored beer. The beer pours out with a nice full finger of white head. I can't find an ABV listing. The date is "5UP" (which magically translates to born on 6/15/15)

S: [3.50] Prominent "lager" type scents. Breadiness. Biscuit. Caramalized sugars.

T: [3.50] My first instinct was Belgian yeast (for the first several sips) but that was gone so fast that it almost didn't seem real. After that if follows the nose. Bready flavors with some malt backbone sweetness. I still get hints of some spiciness from the yeast.

M: [3.25] Tingly carbonation. Decent body to back it up.

O: [3.25] This is nothing to write home about. It is a solid beer. Tastes like a traditional lager with maybe a tiny curve ball with the yeast. It is drinkable and repeatable. But also forgettable.

 811 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,007 ratings.
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