Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
2,009 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:
2,009
Ratings:
5,825
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
12.73%
 
 
Wants:
213
Gots:
1,161
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 2,009 | Ratings: 5,825
Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; best before Sept 2017. Listed at 4.8% and served barely chilled.

Pours a gorgeous, clear copper-amber colour, throwing up nearly an inch of fluffy, bone white-coloured head that displays superb retention. It gradually dissipates into a thick, creamy cap, leaving behind a curtain of lacing as it crawls downward over the next ten minutes or so. Very visually impressive, but the aroma keeps things in perspective for me. It smells clean, but straightforward - some bready, doughy malt sweetness, with a touch of caramelized sugar, earthy silage and fruit skins - I'm leaning toward apple and white grape, but the fruity facets of the nose are fairly ambiguous in stripe.

The flavour profile follows in the footsteps of the aroma - it is nowhere near complex, but you can tell that quality ingredients went into its making. Clean, bready barley malt sweetness is the name of the game for the first half of the sip, followed by a hint of caramel/honey sweetness and some additional ambiguous orchard fruit esters. It gets earthier toward the back end as the hops begin to strut their stuff, including wet hay mixed in with some floral notes. Bittersweet in the aftertaste; emphasis leaning towards the bitter, but still quite well-balanced overall. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation that offers up a restrained bite. Super-quaffable; rarely have I classified something as a "session beer" with more enthusiasm.

Final Grade: 4.22, an A-. Anchor Steam is a solid little brew, and one which the bulk of beer drinkers should find to be highly approachable. Indeed, it's not difficult to understand how this time-tested recipe has remained popular over the years - it is downright tasty and perfectly balanced. While there is certainly no shortage of more exciting styles to explore these days, well-brewed classics such as this will always manage to retain the business of consumers who appreciate a quality session beer. The quintessential steam beer, and totally a must-try.

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Photo of vabchbrewer
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First time trying this one. Pours a nice, clear amber. Medium head, slight lacing. Nice flavor wave as the earthy toasty malt flavor rolls across the front of your tongue, then tweaks the side and finally a slight hop burst at the back. Balanced, satisfying beer.

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Photo of mightymoksha
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in pint glass.

Pours a translucent, dark amber, with a rich, off-white head. Mild retention and lacing.

Clean, earthy aroma, with hints of toffee and raw pecans.

First up is a soft hop bitterness, followed by a clean, mild malty sweetness and notes of lemon and very faint caramel. The latter become more prominent in the dry, prickly aftertaste.

Full-bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation make this beer very pleasant on the palate.

Very drinkable. When suggesting new beers for friends unfamiliar with craft brews, this guy is one of the first on the list.

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Photo of DaveUK
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - clear amber brown, small head of large bubbles which fades to lacing.

Aroma - Toasted and fresh malts, some hop bitterness present.

Taste - Fresh and juicy malt with notes of butter and bitter coffee. The finish is bitter with citrusy hops in the background.

Mouthfeel - well balanced with carbonation, medium to heavy presence. Surprising for such a crisp beer.

Drinkability - Definately good, I could drink this beer all night. A superb choice for a session.

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Photo of palma
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber body with a creamy long lasting tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, brown sugar, and floral with an enticing hoppiness. Taste is caramel malt and some spiced hops. Earthy flavor comes through strong but it's not overpowering. Nice lingering grainy aftertaste. Carbonation a little high. This brew went down surprisingly easy. I would love to try this one on tap. This is a step above their Liberty Ale in my opinion.

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Photo of Toddv29424
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a classic beer. There is an homage to this beer at the Magic Hat brewery in Burlington Vermont, and it is clear why. The taste is light but still full, with a crisp malt to it. Drinking it is really easy, especially if you are used to seeking out the more extreme varieties of beer, its a welcomed change. The smell has hints of wheat in it, but the carmalized notes peek through as well.

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Photo of RocketWidget
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one is quite pleasing. Pours a dark copper color, could use a little more head. Despite this, I love this beer. The hops here have a perfect balance to the malt, and this beer has a crisp, refreshing aftertaste. Exceptionally drinkable. Like a pilsner, this would go with nearly any meal, yet it is more hearty and full bodied than that style.

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Photo of LyonsHead
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in a glass

A: Deep amber. Not what I expected. I've never had steam beer before (i guess the name lends itself to a watery sounding lite beer). Very creamy head

S: citrusy notes

T: Well-carbonated beer gives it a sharper taste. very fruity with almost plum like notes. not a very hoppy beer.

M: medium-body, very smooth

D: this goes down real smooth and finishes well
Over all its Nothing like what I expected it to be. I am very glad I didn't judge the beer by the "steam beer" cover. steam beer so far is great! I definately recommend this beer!

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

appearance is a medium golden amber body paired with a soft, oak white head thick and full. Steam beer smells fruity, like citrus aroma. Smell is bright and full of life. Very pleasurable to take in.
Scent is a foreshawdow of the flavor, much alike. Light and citrusy at first yet ultimately bold and strong steam beer taste. Bitter afternote.
Mouthfeel is semi strong but far from watery budweiser.
Overall I give a 4 and a half. One of my favorite ales!

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Photo of cuttsjp
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber color with nice clarity and beautiful, visible bubbles sparkling through. Small but persistent white head. Some lacing. Overall very pretty. Not all that different from a nice IPA.

Aroma: Sweetness in the aroma, with the fruitiness of raisins up front. A little bit tropical pineapple as well. Very west coast. A little grassiness from the hops but overall lots of malt character.

Flavor: A nice toasty malt background with some cereal graininess and a little hint of sweetness. Definite detectable Germanic lager character. Great west coast hop flavor, nice and floral but also a bit spicy and citrusy...definitely Northern Brewer hops. This beer is at once totally California and totally Germany, if that makes any sense. Completely balanced and totally satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. Crisp like an IPA but with a lager finish.

Overall: Drinking this beer is always a pleasure. It is very balanced and very drinkable, with enough complexity to stand out over other "drinkable" beers. The fact that it is a lager but is fermented at ale temps and aged/conditioned in interesting ways definitely adds to the complexity. This is one of the few American styles of beer that doesn't just shove a mouthful of hops down your throat. That can be enjoyable, and there is a time and a place for it, but Anchor Steam is a very balanced beer that could stand up to any type of food and be enjoyed any time of year.

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Photo of burtonbe
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - Wonderful deep amber in color. Crystal clear. Two-finger head, but dissipates rather quickly. Leaves a good lacing.

S - A solid malt aroma with general lager characteristics. Some hoppyness, but it is much less pronounced, very subtle.

T - What a tasty beer. I'm getting a fruity and malty profile. The hop bitterness and flavor is there, but the balance is towards the malt on this one. Some DMS is present, but it seems to really work in this beer.

M - Solid mouth-feel for this style. Carbonation is medium and it is smooth.

D - The drinkability is where this beer really shines. It is so flavorful, yet so very drinkable. I could drink this all day. Very Nice.

Overall, this is an awesome beer of an awesome style. Highly recommended.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- with a hard pour, 1in rocky bubbly off white foam formed atop a slightly hazy orange copper amber brew settling to 1/4in soapy disk that left lots of sticky lace and a few rising bubbles.

S- caramel malt, ripe fruit like citrus and berries and melon along with earthy woody maple and oak notes.

T- hops came out right away with some mineral water and burnt toast and biscuit. a very beer taste. not lager, definitely not ale, just BEER. good old beer. yeasty with roasted malt, all the while that musky hop bitterness weaves its way in and out toward an earthy piney dry hop aftertaste.

MF- dry crisp and refreshing with mid to high carbonation leaves the mouth feeling rather clean

D- the reason anchor steam beer and anchor liberty ale are the brewery's top national sellers is that they are extremely drinkable beers. smashin a sixer of each is no problem at all.

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Photo of ozzyCobblepot
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beige, bubbly head, great carbonation. Deep pale honey body
S: Caramel malt nose, touch of slightly bitter hops
T: Barley malt dominates, citrus, dark plum, toasted & dry finish
M: Medium bodied, soft carbonation
D: A favorite of mine, tastes like no other beer I know, but still very drinkable, complex but not obscure

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Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004. Purchased at the local Safeway. Pours with a deep copper/amber color. I very nice head, which some was still remaining after it was gone. Very little lace, but not expected either. Smells of hops, malt, maybe a bit of citrus. A very unique beer in my opinion. Has that lager taste, but also has that IPA taste to it. Even has a bit of citrus taste in the mix. It goes down very smooth. A very easy beer to go through a six pack and still want more. Possibly my favorite session beer, or at least for a nice hot day after working or playing hard. This was the first beer I was introduced to while growing up. I remember swimming in Eagle Lake (Northern California) and doing a little snorkling and finding a bottle cap from an Anchor Steam bottle. I must have smelled it for days. It was such a facsinating smell to me. This was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Ahhhh, good old memories. Too bad it took me almost 20 years from then to try my first.

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Photo of steveh
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another old stand by, a good choice from the early days of the craft beer revolution that I turn back to now and again.

A -- Clear, amber with a thick, off-white head that holds up very well and leaves some good lacing as it settles.

S -- Bitter hops up front with some biscuit to nutty malts fighting to balance. Vague citrus esters blending with both hops and malts for that warm-fermented character.

T -- The fruit esters hit first followed by a mix of the biscuit malts and citrus hop character. Finishes with the bitter hops at the back of the mouth and lingering breadiness on the tongue. Even some slight diacetyl with warmth.

M -- Medium body with a mouthfeel that starts soft and finishes crisp.

D -- There's a reason this beer has been around as long as it has, it has a great, complex character, but doesn't overwhelm with too much -- it goes down nicely and leaves you wanting to try more.

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Photo of TonyVic
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is classic. When poured it was clear, dark gold with a thick head. The head was really nice. It lasted all the way through the beer giving a nice refreshing aroma with every sip.

The body is full and creamy, giving a mouthfeel almost like clarified butter.

Aroma is hoppy and lightly floral but gives way to faint grassy scents. The taste is malty sweet and pretty well balanced.

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Photo of match1112
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy copper body with two fingers of rocky white head that displays great staying power. smell is sweet malts lead by caramel. flavor is caramel with a great balance of hops for that perfect bite on the end. mouthfeel is medium body with a crisp dry finish. overall this is a great beer and one of the few lagers i could go for time and time again.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thirst quenching like a lager, fruity like an ale ...
lovely caramel bronce color, with a firm head
malty and nutty aromas in the nose
taste is lightly sour with more malt and light fruit in the mouth finally a long finish in which the hops slowly dominate
This is a very interesting brew, not comparable to any standard beer ... guess this is hardly a love at first sight, but once you start liking it ...

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wait, what, huh, I've never said anything ever about this?
No time like the right time for this.
Every time, I've ever had it, always the pint glass.
The appearance was a blissfully yellow transparency. Carbonation always feeds the head at a moderate pace. The head dissipates within/about less than a minute. Lacing speckles and slides into the beer.
The smell is crisp sweet grains, light sweet corn, and sweet biscuits.
The taste is basically the same. There's a sweet bready aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is light bodied and speckles my tongue with sweetness from the corn and bread.
Overall, hey, what's not to love! Its pure baseball park beer that has nothing obscure about it. To all of the bullshitters who say, its bland because it doesn't have the "complexities" of Alesmith's Speedway Stout or something else of that nature, ask yourselves this, why in the hell are we comparing apples to oranges. Praise to Fritz Maytag for creating a style that hasn't gone the way of the buffalo and when I wanna drink light, this is what I go for. There's nothing off in this one, its in your heads.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

#74. Somewhat keen on discovering how this beer differs from a traditional lager. It can be found in better beer selection supermarkets, which is where I found this in a mix-your-own-six variety pack.

Poured from a 12 oz. stubby bottle to a pint glass at room temp.

(Appearance) Whoops. I poured this beer pretty aggressively! Beer yields at least a 4 finger depth, thick dense fluffy foamy creamy head that retains like a champ, trickling downward at a very slow pace and slowing from depreciating more once at a modest 1.5 depth. Some light lacing is present as the head recedes, but it has no staying power and is gone by the end of the drink. Color is amongst the purest of deep oranges with deep amber shades included. Looks almost like a late sunset. Clarity is absolute with this beer. Carbonation is a sporadic arrangement of tiny active bubbles. Acts and looks promising. 4

(Smell) An earthy hop and faintly breaded caramel malt blend are subtle and the beer smells very fair and balanced. The caramel tones round out the aroma to balance the beer's bitter and sweet notes. Very light and fair on the nose, but the balance is spot on. Aroma better emphasizes the beer's sweet side. It could be far more potent but its appealing in smell nonetheless. 4

(Taste) First impressions gather a wonderful exchange of sweet and bitter tastes, with sweet dominating the first half and a bitter finish rounding out the end product. Some clean caramel malts are easiest to pick out through the entire experience, but the subtlety is outstanding, avoiding masking the equally impressive bitter characteristics of the earthy, faintly citrus-like hopped finale. Simply easy to drink for a variety of reasons; there's nothing here that slows down the pace. Really a good choice for people entering the beer craft world from both macros and common micros. Reminds me of some of good Samuel Adams lager brews. 4

(Mouthfeel) Incredibly smooth and creamy texture. Beyond the first moments the rest of the beer is thin and glides past the palate without any resistance or extra texture. On the thin side of things but without being watery or bland. This beer has a light-medium body and a decent dose of sweet character up front and a bitter profile in back. Dry, but wonderfully dry. 4

(Drinkability) Outstandingly drinkable. This beer has an amazing balance of favorable flavors without omitting a single necessity for a damn tasty beer. Drinks smooth, tastes balanced and enjoyable, and no flavors wear down on the drinker. For a very simple beer, this hits all the right chords. One six pack to myself would be a fantastic choice. 5

Verdict: If you've ever thought about trying a "steam" beer, this one is a definite good starter choice. Very drinkable and delicious, two of the most important characteristics of the perfect beer. If you find it, you should get it. A- (4.2)

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Translucent amber with generous white head. Nose is hop citrus (lemon), and very metallic. Overall, a malt focus on the palate, with caramel, very smooth body, and the hops have a dry, grass/earth character that is what reminds me of this beer every time. Finish is dry, crisp, refreshing. Drinkability is over the top!

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Photo of riboflavin88
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottom line, this is a unique beer. It pours a nice amber color with a nice ivory head consisting of large bubbles and good carbonation. Its smell was malty and spicy with back notes of citrus. The beers' taste is smooth at first, primarily malt and smokey bread flavors. It finishes dry and the aftertaste is more malt, very bold. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkable, crisp and easy to drink more than one. Definitely try this one!

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Photo of maedhros09
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Clear Amber-Gold with nice foamy white head that leaves some lacing
Smell: Light caramel and grassy aromas
Taste: I like the complexity and subtlety of the steam beer. It has some of the fruity and floral aspects I like about ales but it has a cleanness and dryness that I like about lagers. it has that characteristic floral aroma of Anchor beers and a mild herbal grassy hoppiness.
Feel: Smooth with perfect carbonation, light to medium body.

Overall: Steam Beer is a great session beer. Despite the overall lightness and low ABV there is subtlety to its flavor. A characteristic Anchor fruity and floral aroma serves as a backdrop for the otherwise fairly clean and dry balance between malt and light herbal/grassy hops. I still prefer the Liberty Ale but the Steam Beer is a great standby.

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Photo of bradford
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bought a sixpack at Cost Plus for $6.99.
Poured a hazy dark blonde with a solid whit head
Smelled very good. Lots of something I can't put my finger on. Not spicy or yeasty, but pleasant and crisp.
Tasted very nice. Crisp, clean, refreshing, hoppy, delicious.
Mouthfeel was pretty good, a bit bitter from the hops, but nice.
Drinkability is absolutely perfect. This is THE example of the style. If Steam Beer isn't named after this, it should be. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Badger6
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, did not see the bottle, poured in a restaurant.

A: Copper, with a slight haze int he body; thick, off-white, creamy chunky head. Good retention, and lots of lace.

S: Earthy malts, with semi-caramel sweetness. Hints of hops.

T: Begins bitter, slight citrusy notes, gives way quickly to a toasted earthy malt sweetness, that finishes cleanly with a mild citrusy aftertaste.

M: Medium body with light carbonation. Feels very smooth, dry on the palate.

O: With each aspect of the brew, it just got better and better to behold... It takes me back to one of the first craft/micro-brews I enjoyed as I reformed my pale American adjunct grain lager ways. After all of those years, I have come to realize just how unique, and special this brew is. A truly classic micro-brew, and one of the originals as free Americans rose up in protest to the swill the big breweries fooled us into drinking.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,009 ratings.
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