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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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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: 5,850
Photo of DaverCS
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours Amber in color with 1/2 finger of quick dissipating head.

Nose smells like a classic lager but with a bit more malt and some roasty notes.

Taste is unique. Starts like a pilsner with a breadiness, hay, slight iron note, and lemony citrus. Then the malt kicks in with some sweetness and a slight earthiness. Additionally it has only a mild amount of carbonation, less than normal for a pilsner but slightly above or equal to an amber ale.

Overall slightly strange combination. It's like a light amber ale or malty pilsner, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I'm slightly puzzled about this beer. I see it pairing well with San Fran oysters with mignonette sauce. It gets a 74/100.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle purchased from City Swiggers and poured into a Spiegelau stemmed Pilsner glass. A legitimate B beer. Pretty refreshing and would probably pair well with most foods. Would not go out of my way for it, but would not avoid it either.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has always bee one of my favorites. Some people find it not so good. The aftertaste is like really good french bread. This used to be an option before Sam Adams. If you wanted any other "craft brew" you had to make it. Wish the ABV was a bit higher, I never even knew until today.

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Photo of furballkazoo
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam Beer is Anchor Brewing's flagship brew for a reason. The original California Common Beer (in short a lager brewed with ale techniques and temperatures), it set the standard for amber lagers.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Appearance : Epic head of Godzilla proportions. Solid four finger, leaving mountains and hills of cascading foam lace on the sides as it recedes at a pace that would make cold molasses blush. It finally settles at like, an off-kilter head, some places its two fingers, others its one. The body is dark amber, lemon tea colored, with about 80% opacity.

Aroma : Ginger! Orange slice. Roasted malts! A little white grape. And faint lavender, with light grassy hop. Bouquet is medium to strong.

Taste : Pale hops come out right away, with a rather sharp punch. But the ginger, orange, and roasted malts tend to balance that out a bit, however the hop wins the boxing match and it ends strong on piney hop and some orange muffin.

Feel : Buzzing, medium bodied, lightly creamy, ends crisp and sun-dried. Nothing substantial but appropriate.

Overall : This is a decent beer. Tastes more like an IPA with orange accents than anything. I'd have it again, but it's a bit hoppy for my tastes.

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Photo of ZBowden
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear copper with off white head, smells of bready crackery malts slight yeast and hops, tastes bitter and bready with more malt on he finish, mouthfeel is smooth with moderate carbonation lasting bitter finish

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Photo of RichOnCongress
4.87/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love the amber clear color and the light caramel taste that finishes very clean. One of my go to beers at home easily. Great back with a bourbon rocks too.

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Photo of Alexrdvz
2.58/5  rDev -33%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Too bitter for my taste. I had high hopes for this beer when I went to California, but after trying it I was disappointed. Might be good for people with a different taste. Not my cup of "beer"

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Photo of badgustav
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - clear, crisp, lightly red in color. Not a lot of head
Aroma - toasted malt, light on the nose.
Taste - sharp, malty, underlying copper note of hop bitterness. Fascinating without being too complex
Feel - rich, slightly coating
Overall- a very nice and unique lager

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Photo of sjccmd
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean lager-like yeast aroma but with some mild fruitiness, on the side of apricot. Woody/minty hops with caramel malt. Graham cracker and biscuits. Very balanced, flavors mingle quite well together.

Pours brilliantly clear. Amber/bronze with large off white, almost light tan head. Great lacing and head retention.

Caramel malts in the flavor with clean lager yeast profile again with some fruit character. Apricot and strawberry. Biscuit, toasty malt. Firm hop bitterness, woody and slightly fruity. Some nice spices too.

Medium light body with medium carbonation. Smooth on the palate. Lingering finish with hop bitterness. Very dry.

I hadn't had this beer in quite a while and kind of wrote it off as an acceptable standard. Having been enjoying German beers recently, this one hit me quite nicely. A lot of American beers seem to lack the balance and subtlety that German beers have. I think this beer gets passed over because it's not sour, overly hoppy, or high ABV. I like all of those things, but I do wish there were more American breweries trying something like this out.

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Photo of The-Beav
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Thoroughly enjoyed this beer , I picked up a little boozy aroma, also noted a peanut - like note in the taste , mild just adding to the other reviews, will defiantly purchase again.

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Photo of mzingie
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After reading the first few chapters of "The Audacity of Hope" I was very excited to try this beer. Overall I think it's a pretty average beer, a little too much carbonation for my tastes and I'm not the biggest fan of the pokey hop profile that seems a bit unfounded. Mouthfeel is about what youd expect. Not a bad beer for casual drinking but certainly not the best.

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

- darker than most lagers with light head
- smell is pretty faint if any very mellow
- taste is crisp and refreshing with a beer lingering after
- very smooth and refreshing light carbonation is nice
- overall one of the better beers i have had in the lager style great drink,

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Photo of vinicole
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber beer with a cream head.
Light malt - freshly made dough.
Malt backbone with lightly astringent hop flavour.
Medium carbonation and feel.
A nicely balanced brew.

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Photo of predikit
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a pale amber/copper color with a fizzy white 1 inch head with good retention.

Smell is malty, slight fruity notes.

Taste is very much an american beer, if Budweiser or the like actually kept some depth to their beer, it would taste like this. Sweet malt, minor bitters take the middle, aftertaste comes through as toasted grain and biscuit.

Light-medium bodied, very drinkable, is a good compromise between smooth and crisp.

A tasty, drinkable brew, not much complexity, but what it does it does right.

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Photo of jonb5
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml bottle, poured into tall tulip.

A: Didn’t look overly lively, golden, small head, poor retention, barely any lacing, slightly hazy.

S: Very malty, also had some Saaz style floral aroma.

T: Bitter Malts and charcoal.

M: Sticky texture, minimal carbonation, coarse edge from the bitterness.

O: A bit like a Franconian Kellerbier, not bad but not great either.

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Photo of Aurora83
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: copper colour with a slight tangerine head. Aroma: Fruity esters from the yeast, caramel sweetness from the malt as well as a earthiness from the hops. Flavour: Caramel, candy like sweetness,pleasant bitterness. Like this beer a lot

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.09/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A very lucid and clear amber with off-white bubbly head of medium retention. Aromatically it is caramel, bread, and esters. Grainy and sweet up front. Crisp, bready, lightly hopped finish. Light to medium bodied and watery with fairly moderate carbonation. Not as good of a beer as I had hoped. I would prefer a pilsner or a decent all-malt pale/premium to this, to be honest. But it's really not a bad beer.

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Photo of CtyLineBeerBlog
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L - average brown color with 2-finger foam head

S - Not very complex. It just smells like beer, not sure what else other than earthy, woodsy scent.

T - What else.....beer! It has a very clean, strong bite to it. Not sure what they did to the barley malt but it is pretty strong

F - Easy to drink feeling and sessionable, but complex in flavor.

O - This beer is mostly made of malts, but the intensity is very good for the stronger palates. Certainly a historic and delicious beer for any beer lover.

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Photo of MikeDL
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great beer, I tried this brew a couple years ago and just tried it again the other day and I almost forgot how good this brew actually is. This is one of those beers that you just have to try!

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Photo of WyethBednar
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Bright orangey-amber. Creamy tan head and good lacing throughout. Carbonation very visible. Overall, very inviting looking and very tasty looking.

Smell: Not much. Slight notes of malt and sweetbread

Taste: Strong grain notes, very bready. Malty backbone with a slight dry finish. Very easy to drink, but not that exciting.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Good carbonation and very quaffable.

Overall, this is a good beer for what it is. Very drinkable and also very sessionable. Not a very overpowering or interesting flavor palate, but I don't think that's what they were intending here. This is essentially a more finely crafted take on a standard American amber lager

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Photo of Bunman3
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a tremendous beer, in so many ways. It looks, smells, and tastes great. The combination of malt and hops is such that you have substantial flavor, a clean finish, and an incredibly drinkable beer. I picked this up to celebrate a special moment, and it absolutely fit the bill. This is truly a world class beer.

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Photo of donspublic
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into 12 oz shaker. Minimal cream color head, dissipates quickly, nice lacing. Light bisquit smell. Smooth drinking, nice caramel taste, not much sweetness, and not much hoppiness. Nice beer to have with food

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,850 ratings.
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