Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
5,982 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: 5,982 |  Reviews: 2,048
Photo of DoctorDog
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a mug.

A- Slightly hazy copper. ~2 finger of tan head, which sinks slowly to a solid cap. Excellent retention, and lacing to boot.

S- Bready malty odors dominate. A touch of light fruitiness.

T- Nice caramel maltiness. Bready/biscuit flavors. Bitterness moderate/low. Subtle fruity notes abound.

M- Moderate carbonation. Good body, with almost a creamy smoothness. Quite enjoyable.

D- Quit high. Would be an excellent session brew.

Future outlook: Very solid on all counts, and one that I'd be glad to welcome back.

 554 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A legend in the craft beer industry, I'm enjoying this refreshing brew on a rainy autumn afternoon.

A: Sunburst orange to golden in color, this beer has a massive, thick head like a cumulus cloud floating on a golden river. As the head recedes, it leaves a noticeable residue on around the circumference of the glass.

S: Malt, lager scents. Rather simple and inviting.

T: A really refreshing beer with a clean and easy taste, I find this to be rather enjoyable. There is a nice maltiness throughout, with a subtle hop bitterness near the back. There are delicate hints of fruit in there, as well. Overall, a very solid brew.

M: Medium bodied, and thicker than your average >5% beer. Again, a very pleasant beer to drink.

D: Very sessionable and enjoyable. Absolutely worth a try.

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Photo of digitalflood
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Josievan
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is your average copper tint. Head is substantial. What is impressive is the amount of lacing on this sucker. It's like fizzy octopus tentacles climbing up the mug to greet me.

Smell: Malt is prominent, with hops in the background.

Taste: Malty like a good lager. It's bitter while in the mouth, but a sweetness comes through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Decent body. Well-carbonated.

Drinkability: Definitely a session candidate. Unoffensive, yet flavorful, with a low ABV.

Notes: This was my first steam beer. I guess this makes sense since this is apparently the original steam beer. I know this style combines elements of lagers and ales, but this beer definitely seemed like a hearty lager to me. In particular it seemed similar to an Octoberfest lager, which is not a bad thing at all. The next time I want a malty lagerish beer when its not October, I'll think of this.

 895 characters

Photo of Kartoffeln
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright coppery orange with visible carbonation and a big, pillowy, cream-coloured head of dense meringue-like foam. Good retention, gradually settling to a cap of creamy foam and leaving loads of frothy lacing.

S: Sweet and bready caramel malts with fresh, slightly spicy fruitiness - a touch of clove, banana, and citrus, orange-like. Leafy, floral hops round things out.

T: Light, bready malts with a fresh grain undertone and a burst of fresh, lightly sweet fruitiness. Spicy and citric hops mingle with biscuity malts towards the swallow. Mild, rather ale-like yeastiness throughout.

M: Medium-to-light-bodied; it's tricky to judge due to the high, lively, yet smooth carbonation. Either way, it never feels gassy and drinks like a dream, the enduring citric bitterness of the finish constantly nudging you towards another sip.

D: Beautifully balanced, flavourful, and very sessionable; it isn't hard to see why this one has such a fine reputation.

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Photo of gingerbread
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sullysbeer
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma: Sweet caramel malt, gentle minty hop nose, Light on the esters and has hints of toffee.

Appearance: Very clear golden copper hue, slight off white head that has a creamy bubble.

Flavor: Malty sweetness, minty and woody hop flavor followed by an assertive woody and minty hop bitterness that lingers a bit and seems to finish dry and crisp. Has a complex fermentation flavor of prunes, maybe? Toasty and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, perfect CO2 that's not too prickly on the tongue at all. Slight hop astringency that coats the teeth.

Overall Impression: A lightly fruity beer with a firm grainy maltiness, toasty and caramel flavors with a lingering hop bitterness. Steam beer is beer fermented with a lager yeast strain at warmer temperatures around 60F. Hense the name steam beer. Also known as California Common style beer.

 852 characters

Photo of BeerAndFilm
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle review dated 5/13/2009.

I am not the biggest fan of California Commons, but this is reasonable stuff if not too exciting. The beer that started it all.

Copper-brown color with a small off-white head. Malty aroma, very bready and somewhat earthy.Very smooth and malty with muted hops. I do not know how some people pick out 10 different flavors in this beer - I do not find it that complex. Very drinkable though.

 421 characters

Photo of BierFan
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice sized light tan head. Amber/coppery body.

Smell: It smells a bit like a German oktoberfest.

Taste: More complex than I was expecting. Some caramel, sulfur/minerals, medium bitterness.

 253 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep amber color with a white and highly fomaed head. Aroma is fairly heavily hopped with whiffs of caramel malt in the background head. Taste is sticky caramel followed by a rush of medium hop bitterness. For some reason this beer is much better wih food for me. It seems to compliment so many beers and only conclusion I have is that s some very complex tastes that just aren't picked up until you add food to the mix.

 426 characters

Photo of Brian_Pheiffer
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: clear amber body under a few fingers of tan foam; soft fluffy cap persisted throughout

S: something fruity, malty bread notes, suggestions of spice and maybe soft brown bread

T: fuller tasting than I expected, bringing breads with caramel and spice, dark fruits and toasted breads; just enough hop and bitterness to keep it lean

F: medium-light weight, ample carbonation, smooth, like shellac; light toasty aftertaste

O: delicious beer, very satisfying - a must try.

 473 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange amber with nice carbonation, a small white head and lacing. Nice aroma of sweet wheat, lemon and earthy malt. Taste is sweet malt with a dry hoppy bitterness; finish is dry and hoppy. Light flavor, not all that complex. Skirts on the edge of tasting like adjunct ingredients, but overall nicely made if a bit simple. Carbonation and flavors combine pleasantly.

 381 characters

Photo of the42ndtourist
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650mL bottle. has a nice amber/copper colour, with a decent head that fades to a thin lace. I liked this beer, it had a pleasantly bitter taste, along with a dryish finish. It's definitely something that can be considered a session beer, which is something I've been trying to find lately.

 293 characters

Photo of KPatterson95
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of pweis909
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review based on three bottles consumed over 3-day period.

This bottles served up an amber beer with a thin foam.

Both malt and some fruity aromas were noted. These aromas were not strong, but pleasant.

The malt in the taste reminded me of some Euro pilsner malts, and the hoppy bitterness was strong.

The beer satisifingly coated my mouth.

The malt and the smooth mouth, makes this a pleasure to drink. The bitter finish is just a little harsh at first, not my favorite hops, but the malt is so good.

 517 characters

Photo of robgutie
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of utopiajane
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear copper color amber with plenty of foam and good retention. Bubbles rising from the bottom. Beige head that left soapy wet lace and a layer on top. Very pretty beer. Nose is simple. A touch of sour yeast, some caramel malt and a bit of fruit. Malt is a touch toasted and grainy. First taste is some light citrus that washes over the palate like a gushing stream, then some hop bitter settles in on the mid palate. The malt is smooth toasted grain. There's a light sweetness and lager yeast. The malt is woody and earthy. The body of the beer is medium/ light and smooth. To look at it you would think it's very sweet but it isn't. It drinks so easily that you never notice how fat the malt is. Finish is dry and grainy.

This beer has a classic and clean taste that is enjoyable to say the least. The hops are soft yet bitter and drinks like a lazy afternoon. Friendly and approachable. Would pair well with black bean burgers and would compliment a variety of vegetarian dishes. Would also go well with spicy foods like chili or sweetly smoky foods like barbecue. It's versatile.

 1,103 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh the classics. Tangy kind of tone to this one. It doesn't push it to an obnoxious level, but it's almost a bit too much for my preferences really. Flavor delivery is smooth and consistent. Feel is smooth. A pretty easy drinker, but a bit too tangy for me personally. Still a good one though (of course).

Side note: as this one warms, you can really get a sense of the grain in there.

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Photo of Pauly2X
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep clear golden color, one finger head.

S- Spicy hop aroma with hints of light caramel malts.

T- Grainy leading to roasted malt in the middle with light notes of fruityness and a pleasant dry hop finish.

M- Smooth, decent carbonation.

D- Not quite as drinkable as most "light" beers, but enjoyable nevertheless.

You just gotta give it up for the true American beer!

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Photo of Porterac
3.9/5  rDev +1%

Photo of FBarber
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear crisp amber color. Thin spotty white head disappears rather quickly. Lack of almost any head is disappointing.

Smell is nutty and bready. Fresh baked dark bread aromas come through. Simple, but very nice.

Taste has flavors of bread, nuts, slight hoppy bitterness on the finish, but ever so mild. Mild sweetness throughout reminiscent of maple syrup. Very nice flavor profile, simple yet very well done.

Feel has medium carbonation, light, and drinkable.

Overall I am really impressed with this beer. Its just a simple lager, but its very drinkable and tasty. Nice example of the California Common a style that Anchor pioneered.

 647 characters

Photo of thatsmyspot
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of TychoNDC
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 5,982 ratings.
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