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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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very good
2,014 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,014 | Ratings: 5,849
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of jibjib513
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type: Bottle in to Pint glass.

Appearance (3.5): Medium amber color, creamy healthy head.

Smell (3.0): Had to go average here because even with a vigorous poor there was not much of an aroma coming from the beer.

Taste (3.5): Somewhat bitter initial taste, with a nice malty after taste. Interesting.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Seemed light in the mouth, which to me kind of went with the "steam" idea.

Overall (3.5): It taste good, however it does seem to be lacking a bit. Will be interested in trying this again.

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

Amber color, But wasn't poured into a good glass so not a whole lot else I can describe as far as appearance goes, I'm afraid. Nice looking bottle, though.

Tasted this with a cold, so I can't really comment on the smell, I haven't been able to smell much of anything the last few days...

Hops and molasses flavors come through strongest, but there's something else there that I haven't been able to place. It seems like every reviewer is calling it something different, but there's something interesting going on here...

Mouthfeel and drinkability are average, nothing particularly notable. Interesting beer, worth a tasting for sure.

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

I had this beer on tap at Kimballs Pub in Williamsport PA. It poured a clear amber color with about a half inch head. It smelled slightly sweet and sour. The taste was slightly sweet like dried fruit but it was a little malty/bitter. The best thing about this beer is that it is very very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours incredibly deep copper color with a finger of head taht falls slightly to a healthy foam over top. The nose is lightly grainy, light caramel. Overall, it is not an overly aromatic brew. Flavor is prominently grainy, with a light caramel. A light hop bitter hangs on the finish. Nothing really grabs me and keeps my interest, though this would be a good transition brew for those just fining craft beer. Feel is moderate with a very active bubble on my tongue. The beer is smooth and very easy to drink. I'm not the biggest fan of the grainy nature of it. There is nothing flawed in it, but I don't think I would buy this one again. It just doesn't do it for me.

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

12oz bottle poured into standard pint glass

Appearance: Pours crystal clear copper color with off-white head. Head persists well into drinking.

Aroma: Faint earthy hop aroma with slightly sweet undertones

Taste: Grainy malt, little to no hop presence. Very clean, crisp flavor, finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Light body fitting for style, with adequate carbonation.

Drinkability:Definitely a refreshing session brew. Prefect for summer afternoon's at the ballpark.

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

Nice to give such an apparently seminal beer a go.

Pours a light orange with good head/lacing.

Smell is of nice clean malt. Zesty orange marmalade. A little green apple.

Taste is more of the same clean orangey marmalade malt characters. As it warms I get more of a hop bite.

Mouthfeel is fairly palate coating yet crisp and readily cleanses itself from the palate upon the swallow.

Solid beer, holds up well in spite of its "classic" (and potentially outdated) status.

 473 characters

Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First look is a amber color with a nice milky head after pour. Has a smell malt and sweet hops. Taste is very nice, you can taste the hops upon sipping but not a lot of bite, and a smooth finish overall. This is a very enjoyable beer to drink any time of year, it was full on flavor and very easy drinking, always a go to beer for sure.

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Photo of UnderPressure
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear, pale copper color with a one finger head that melts after a minute.

Pilsner malt aroma. Has the smell of a good quality pilsner.

Pilsner malt flavor up front. Quite lager-like at first. With a murky, muddy somewhat fruity finish. Not crisp like a pilsner.

Thinnish mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style.

I guess essentially I am drinking a lager/ale hybrid. Not bad. It's different. Just don't go into it expecting something it's not.

 446 characters

Photo of 10Crumra
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled on date of Nov 7, 2014.

Poured a dark golden color with a nice one finger white head. Lots of bubbles visible.

The aroma had some slight hoppiness but was overwhelmingly biscuity. I like to call that distinctive smell/flavor "corn flakes."

The taste has a strong helping of corn flakes upfront. The beer had some faint hop notes and had a nice malty aftertaste that lingered for a while.

The mouthfeel was slightly creamy yet fairly light-bodied like a typical lager. The beer was strongly carbonated as its appearance indicated.

Overall this beer was pleasant but I was expecting more. It was a decent tasting beer that I could definitely drink it again as a light, sessionable beer. I would like to try a slightly fresher bottle/draft just to see if four months is a bit past this beers prime.

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Photo of BayouBengal1537
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into Pint Glass

Poured a hazy copper color, head quickly dissipated but left some sticky lacing along the glass

Smell was toasted malts, grain, slight hop background

Taste is dry, some fruity lemon is definitely present, bitter hops in the front, dry finish. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, not much linger

Drinkability is pretty damn good, could def enjoy this on a summer day. I'm glad I finally tried this micro classic.

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Photo of velosuds
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Appears to be a code printed on the label. I'm lazy. I like bottled on dates foremost, and then best by dates. Codes are better than nothing, for I suppose they can be decoded. Single purchased at local health food store for $1.59.

A-Poured a medium amber hue with a 2+ finger head and modest lacing. Overall, a nice looking beer in the glass.

S-What smell? If I had been wearing a blindfold, I would have only recognized it as "beer." Non-descript.

T-I'm still waiting for this. Someone, please let me know the secret to discerning this beer's taste. But a 12 oz. bottle for nostalgia's sake is all I am willing to grant this offering. Very disappointing. Mostly earthy malts and bitterness. Can't quite tell if bitterness from hops or the modest alcohol. Not very well crafted.

M-Excellent mouthfeel. Exceedingly smooth and well balanced carbonation. This and the appearance are quite good. Too bad taste accounts for 40% of the rating.

D-This went down very easily, but I wouldn't readily reach for another. Taste just isn't there, and there are much more affordable alternatives available for getting a buzz, not that I was looking to this beer for, but presently I can't see much other use for this. Sad.

Not sure about what the California Common/Steam Beer style is all about. This beer makes me want to suggest a new style: enigma. This is a craft beer icon, but it has no taste. Thankfully, it is not yellow. I want to like this beer. It is probably one of the first craft beers I recall having at an excellent hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in Sausalito, CA while on my honeymoon 26 August's ago. Not even close to the caliber of Anchor Liberty or Anchor Porter. I am flummoxed, and disappointed.

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Photo of Swim424
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into hoegaargen mug from 12oz bottle.

A-Pours a nice clear caramel color. lots of bubbles flowing into a nice small creamy fluffy head.

S-smells crisp. A bit of yeast, sort of a malt scent. Maybe a tiny hint of hops. Nothing special here.

T-Very plain, malty flavor, a pleasant sweetness in the middle, with a touch of spicy hop on the finish. Seems very simple.

MF-medium body, A bit creamy, nicely carbonated.

O-This is a nice beer. Definitely a lager. Much better than any mass produced beer, Would love to sip on this on a hot day. Very refreshing, with a nice simple character to it.

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Photo of joeskirkie
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear rich amber, BIG creamy head, nice.

It has a faint leafy woodsy hop aroma. Tastes creamy and light and finishes with this sorta sour (in a good way) bite. It's pretty well balanced, not "in your face" by any means.

It's smooth and slightly dry and just oh so easy to drink. This is a great gateway beer for friends and a wonderful session beer to have on hand.

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Photo of gcarl
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours into a pint glass with a nice clear tan color and a white wispy head.

Smell is a muddled hop and malt aroma.

Taste is dry with a sweet hop bite in the aftertaste.

A moderate brew, nothing too challenging. May be a nice crossover to a drinker that always reaches for that BMC


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Photo of klewis
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 6MG

A: Pours a caramel color with a big bubbly head with good sustain.

S: Neutral hop aroma with a slight vegetal smell.

T: Sweet with buttery malt flavors and a touch of hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Light-bodied with plenty of carbonation.

D: Nice for a session beer, but in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty average.

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Photo of Vengeance526
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bronze amber color with a frothy white head that retains well and leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Aroma is a little sour but also malty and fruity.

Tastes strongly of caramel with some roasted malt, some citrus notes and a strange bite in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied and medium carbonation. An interesting beer to try but not as great as I was lead to believe. I'm not sure what it was but at times this tasted a little stale...it actually came in a plastic amber bottle so maybe that affected it in some way. I'll probably try this one again down the line to be sure.

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Photo of TJ_B
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am not a lager person in general and so It's not entirely fair for me to review this beer, but oh well. The beer has excellent dark amber color and has an excellent aroma. It is a somewhat thick lager so the mouth feel wasn't what I expected. I really don't like wheat beers and the taste, again it's a lager so maybe it's not ideal that I delve into this, was very wheat-like. The beer starts off decent, but through the heavy mouthfeel and thick grain taste I normally call it good after one. Most anyone else reviewing this beer raved about it so it's probably just me, but this isn't a "go to" beer for me, but I'll drink it if it's this or commercial beers available.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a thick fizzy white head. Aroma is earthy malt. Taste is sweet toasted malt with a slight hop bitterness. Overall, I think this is a pretty boring beer that is over-hyped in my opinion. I will probably not purchase this again.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,849 ratings.
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