Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
5,948 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: 5,948 |  Reviews: 2,039
Photo of HopBomb515
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rusty orange with a khaki head and nice lacing rings on the glass. Notes of subtle toffee, sweet grain, pepper, and mild fruit. Creamy after a nice carbonation bite and slightly drying leaving a light lingering bitterness. Good beer here, nothing ground breaking but well done.

 280 characters

Photo of darkfruits
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber in color with a fingernail of eggshell white. I small light malt with a slight marzipan note. To taste light malt, marzipan, and faint citrus. The mouth is light, crisp, and lightly salty.

 197 characters

Photo of ADR
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'd like to say I like this beer more than I do because of its unique status as a hybrid. I do enjoy it on tap when I'm in the San Fran area. Maybe its too balanced in its presentation with hop and malt so equal that I can't form a strong opinion. Its also a little thin in mouthfeel and finish to me. Big fan of Anchor's Porter, though.

 340 characters

Photo of SamuelMiller
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Stableatbest
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of riversglow
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of PatrickJR
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear copper with large 2-3 finger head that lasted quite a while. Fell to decent white cap and had solid lacing.

S - Great nose on this one. Sweet, caramel/vanilla malt aroma with some fruit behind it, something like peach or golden apples. No hop presence which is surprising...

T - The semi-sweet malt starts off, but degenerates into a bland sourness. Earthy/floral hop character briefly kicks in late palate leading to a dry and mineral-like bitterness. Not a huge fan of the taste, but the malt works really well and I feel the hops ruin the taste.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The beer has a sort of silkiness.

D - I might have a few of these, but the only memorable aspect of this beer is it's aroma. The taste isn't all that interesting, and for the price I definitely wouldn't choose this as a session beer; it's not *that* good.

 910 characters

Photo of Jaypeajus
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BA is down so I don't have any predisposition from other reviews or abv, ibu etc..dark golden/Amber pour with a soapy head two finger. Smells like a Hefeweizen but not as sweet smelling. Strawberry, cherry, although I just washed my hands in my wife's fancy soap, so these whiffs may be from that..Taste is pretty malty, not bitter. Unique for sure. Stings the tongue the carbonation does. Overall I like it. If there weren't a million other beers to try I'd do this again.

 473 characters

Photo of MTMugs
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam was probably the first micro I had that sent me onto this path...So yesterday I picked one up at the Greenbush Beverage Center for old times sake. It wasn't quite as good as I remembered - still hoppy, nice color and lace. Went down well with the burgers & steak at a cookout though and that's what counts.

 320 characters

Photo of Allegue04
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MacMalt
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into pint glass. It pours a reddish-amber with a thin white head and lacing. It smells of malt and faint dark fruit. The taste begins with biscuit malt and a slight caramel but it finishes fairly dry and bitter. It is a reasonably complex beer. It's medium in body and carbonation and a good session beer at 4.9% ABV. Overall, it's quite good. I seem to recall that it had a somewhat mythic reputation when it was harder to find on the East Coast. While there are definitely better tasting craft beers available, Anchor Steam is enjoyable to drink from time to time.

 581 characters

Photo of barczar
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant golden copper with a dense light khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lines of lacing.

Toasted nutty malt and caramel are met with light fruity yeast esters. Earthy and floral hops are subtle. There's a metallic note present.

Flavor follows suit, with lightly fruity esters underlying a rich, nutty, toasted, slightly caramelly sweet backbone, which becomes bready and dry at the finish. There's a slight touch of earthy bitterness, with the metallic character lingering in the aftertaste.

Body is moderate to a touch light, with a moderate, prickly carbonation.

The metallic note is offputting, and I know the esters are a byproduct of fermenting lager yeast at ale temperatures, but it's still a weird combo. Great malt backbone, and fairly refreshing.

 789 characters

Photo of bozebus17
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber with a thick white head. It looked like it was going to hang around but didn't. It did leave a nice lacing.

Smells of caramel sweetness with some grassy notes.

The taste is sweet malt at the star. There is a bit of nice fresh grains. This is balanced by some bitterness but the malt seems to dominate this brew. It feels fairly light on the palate and has a nice crisp feel from the seemingly high carbonation. It goes down smooth and easy.

This is one beer that I like better from the bottle than on tap. It is light and damn refreshing. This beer is a true American classic and one I'd be glad to drink any time.

 647 characters

Photo of HopNelius
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a small snifter glass out of the bottle.
A-Amber color, small amount of carbonation.
Smell-Crisp, light malty smell, yeasty.
Taste-Crisp malty taste, leaves you wanting to take another sip, slight notes of the yeast come through.
Mouthfull-Creamy, drinkable, refreshing.
O-This was one of the first "good" beers I had every had way back in the day. I think I am likely not along in that. This beer style made "california common" a house hold name due to the fact that no one else is allowed to claim steam beer. Although not overly complex, I appreciate this beer for what it is an amazing drinkable beer, a timeless classic, a craft beer when no one knew what that meant. Someone had purchased this for me as a gift and I was happy to drink it for the first time in a very long time.

 797 characters

Photo of bastardface
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good Red Ale. Has a copper color to it which leaves streaks as you drink. Has a pleasant taste with it's ripe flavor. Fairly impressed by the taste. A little fruity but not bad. I would recomend it. It's not the best beer to drink over and over but still worthy of high marks. This is the first Anchor beer that I remember drinking and it wasn't bad. It is possible that had it before but probably not somber enough to remember what it actually tasted like.

 457 characters

Photo of 1mrbeer
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Really cool clarity and amber pour with great lace retention. Minimal fruity aroma, no discernable specific fruit type (its the yeast I know).

Taste, like they advertise, its what, a lager yeast made in an ale or vice versa. Light body, ample hopping for a flagship brew from back in the day. Just the right amount of sweetness. Mouthfeel allows one to pick up some of the complexities and what sets this beer apart from a standard APA. Great summer beer, sometimes a little cost prohibitive, and a well known folklore regarding the dickness of those affiliated with the brewery prevent many from enjoying the finished product more often.

 639 characters

Photo of JamesStreet
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dave128
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*reviewed from notes*
Poured from a 12 oz goofy looking bottle into an odd shaped pint glass at Sazerac restaurant in Seattle.

A - A light to moderate pour yields a 1 finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Darkish amber in color. Lacing is low to non-existent. It gets some bonus points for the bottling though. I love Anchor bottles.

S - Nothing special on the nose. Light grainy smell. Cant detect any hops.

T - Similar to the nose, but there is something distinctive about this beer that I can't really but my finger on. I definitely like it.

M - Lightly carbonated and deliciously crisp.

O - This beer is a very drinkable beer that has some interesting qualities.

 677 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a transparent golden brown color. One finger head with decent retention and lacing.

Smell: It's a bit malty with some toffee or caramel fragrances. I'm actually picking up peppery (spicy) smell. I'm picking up any type of hops really. All in all, not bad, but not flashy.

Taste: Primarily this has a strong biscuity or yeast-like taste. The caramel or toffee notes blend very nicely. It also has a nice malty taste to it. There are a bit of hops, but it's mostly a malty taste.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and leaves a dry taste in my mouth. But, it's very drinkable. Overall, this is a classic, very good beer. Definitely recommended.

 677 characters

Photo of beerluvr
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with an ivory colored head settling over clear deep amber liquid with ample carbonation. The nose is fresh sweet maltiness tempered with flowery hoppiness. Taste is crisp with sweet crystal malt-like notes, bready/biscuity flavors and a clean slightly minty hoppiness rounds out things. Finishes on a bitter and fruity note, very distinctive & very drinkable!

 365 characters

Photo of nickhiller
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear amber colored, low visible carbonation, a few bubbles here and there about the rim.

S: yeasty, earthy, malty.

T: bitter lemon and earth, it tastes a little bit like a cup of iced tea that has been steeped just a little too long.

M: light bodied, sharp on the tongue with a bone dry finish.

O: I'm a huge fan of this beer, it's one of the beers that prompted me to start exploring in my early days. It's kind of strange to come back to it, I think my palate has been irreversibly changed by the beers that I drank in the intervening years, but in many ways it's just as good as I remember.

 609 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer appeared a clear light amber color with a nice, light white head that was decently retained. Noticeable carbonation rising to the top of the glass. Some lacing. Perhaps slightly better than expected.

The aroma was light, with notes of biscuits and a little hops.

The taste was good, some hops upfront, but more malty as I drank the beer which gave it a light hint of sweetness. Nice aftertaste followed.

The beer was light, smooth and crisp. The beer had good carbonation and was easy to drink.

Overall, better than expected and a beer that I might pick up in the summer. Would go well with burgers and brats on the grill.

 638 characters

Photo of TYE
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear golden amber that produces 1-1.5 fingers of white foam head that dissipates quickly to just a covering with little to no lace.
S - Sweet fruit and grain. Well balanced, medium strength aroma. Smells of grapes, maybe?
T - Grain and hops. Strong flavor with a hoppy aftertaste kick in the mouth. Taste lingers.
M - Medium or slightly more carbonation, medium body, a strong hop bite, and a lingering finish.
D - Very hoppy strong taste. Overwhelmingly so. Nicely balanced fruit and grain underneath that take away some of the hop harshness. Not for the weak taste buds! I could only get through one per evening, but I would have another if in the mood for hop overload again!!

 693 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,948 ratings.
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