Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,028 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: 2,028 | Ratings: 5,914
Photo of acrawf6
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice red amberish, nice white head that stuck for about 3 minutes. decent lacing.

Smells are floral from hops with a small bit of sweet maltiness. it's not an incredible smell, but is very solid and well balanced.

Taste is hoppy with a malty backbone, very balanced. Hops win the fight, but there is a caramel sweetness to it. Some orange citris to the hops as well.

Mouthfeel is good. medium body. carbonation was a little lower than i remember, but that is probably from the tap.

Overall just a solid american beer. Can't go wrong with it. great balance. Mmmm good.

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Photo of andythejerk
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells good--nice carmally aroma that really is a good indication of what I'm about to taste. Pours a big, pillowy head and there's a good stiff lacing all the way to the bottom. The taste is really very good I think--it's got a carmally hoppiness, if that makes sense, and it just feels very full and substantial in my mouth and on my tastebuds. I really liked this--good balance and fleshed out.

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Photo of cracgor
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You ever say to yourself, I just want something that tastes like beer? That is the place this beer has in my heart. It pours out with a tiny white head. The body is an amber color with a decent amount of carbonation. Nothing like the streams in a belgian, but nice, and well beer like. It has a very clean beer smell. A light melon like hop and a tiny bit of malt. This beer never ceases to amaze me with flavor. Delicious hint of fruit, but mostly a perfectly balanced beer. The hops have a couple of layers. The first flavor I taste is very fruity, but it opens into a peppery flavor as it goes down, and just after, the flavor comes out as a piney/citrusy flavor. Very fun to drink and easy to drink. This is the jack of all trades of could drink it as a lawnmower gusler or a sipping evening beer. Goes great with food too.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Foamy white head that slowly settles to a delicate sheet. A few spots of lacing that don't hold. Crisp copper in color with trails of carbonation.

Fragrantly light floral hops with just a touch of citrus. Rustic-tinged, semi-sweet caramel maltiness; earthen hops.

Moderate floral hop flavors balanced very well with the mildly sweetened caramel and toffee malt profile. A sweetened earthiness in the wheats and grains. Finishes crisp and dry with very little bitterness. A light citrus aftertaste.

A light medium bodied; earthy, grainy, and crisp on the palate.

A light, drinkable, and unobtrusive offering. Nothing that will blow you away in terms of flavor, but a version very indicative of the style.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out a nice orange red with some delicate lacing.

Smell is a bit metallic, rather plain, not much that carries to the nose.

Taste is pretty refreshing, clean, with little bitterness in the finish. Decent going down, fairly easy to drink. I'd order another. This is good beer.

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Photo of Fugazme
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Deep amber and brown. Copper. 1/4" white head with great lacing. I've always loved the look of this beer. Maybe it's memories of sessions with Anchor Steam or it just looks good... doesn't really matter, I love the look of it.

Aroma is malty/grainy/slightly hopped. Some hints of caramel and brown sugar... wheat.

Slightly bitter on the swallow. Smooth mouthfeel. Definite malt characters.

Easily a session beer of great weight. I'll drink it again for sure.

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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 evanackerman
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is quite a unique beer. lovely copper color with a nice head. aroma is rahter faint. taste is very difficult to describe - first thing noticed is bitterness of hops, not fruity or citrusy at all, next comes a toasty malt character. mouthfeel is very smooth and drinkability is extremely high, great session beer! this beer is so unique that i find the flavors very difficult to describe, i just know that i like it a lot! highly reccomended.

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Photo of pentathlete
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Between an illness and a long business trip, I've not had a chance to relax and enjoy and review a beer. This is a nice beer to return to.

Clear medium copper with a small bumpy head and many columns of carbonation. Nose is a powdery collection of malt with a hint of bitterness. Taste is smooth, well-balanced, with a very mild lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium, a firm body. Nothing off-putting at all in this highly sessionable brew. Get it. Enjoy it.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.29/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Slightly hazy copper to auburn with a medium head with no lacing.

S - Caramel malt with a touch of vanilla and some golden delicious apples.

T - Slight smokey sweetness with a hint of apple flavor followed by a very potent, and not so pleasant, hop bitterness that lingers long, far, far, far too long, after I sipped. The aftertaste ruins this beer.

M - Carbonation too high, viscous, slightly refreshing, but the oppressive aftertaste ruins the prospect of true refreshment.

D - Pretty bad. I passed off the second half of my bomber. It just wasn't an enjoyable brew. I don't know about food pairings, I think there might be something with which it would be sucessfully paired, but I cannot envision it (might be the barleywine that I just drank). Sessionable? No. Not at all. It is weak enough for sure, but the aftertaste destroys the prospect of sessioning this beer.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Colour was amber, little lacing and not very much carbonation
Smell: Molasses ans some malty notes, slight hoparoma.
Taste: caramel, bitter, very mild chocolate, smokey and sticky on the lipps. I could not notice any flavor coming from the yeast, so this must be a very clean one.
Although I liked the beer very much, the full body prevents me from drinking another one in the near future, the style is just in between a very drinkable beer like Koninck or Palm and a speciality brew like Westmalle dubble, from which one is enough. That is why I gave an average rating for drinkability.

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Photo of mortarit
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Steam Beer you say,
Actually I like this one very much since I've gone back more of it.
Honestly, I didn't get a lot of smell coming from this pour. I have been sick this past week so that may explain some of it.

The taste has a clean, crisp liking to it that stay awile before leaving the palate. I guess you can say the caramel tint is hidden in the flavor.

I think this beer is due a better rating than what I see. This is a good session beer to have on the menu.

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Photo of hanco005
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle pored into a pint glass.

A—deep amber, clear with about ¼ inch head, very nice lacing throughout

S— mild hoppy smell, not getting much else

T—very crisp and clean, having a hard time identifying the flavors other than the hops. great bitter finish, drier than I expected as well

M—smooth and nice, not much carbonation, but still enjoyable

D—A little disappointed in this one…I had in on tap in college and remember liking it much more than I did in this bottle. That being said, I will try to find it on tap (perhaps at Old Chicago) and re-review to be fair.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lovely reddish-golden with a dense, small head.

Rich malt in the nose. Calm and slightly sweet. Very subdued and makes you wonder what is to come.

Incredibly smooth and luscious mouthfeel. So gentle and soothing, with carbonation hardly noticeable.

Alive and full of malt flavors. Slight hop bitterness in the finish. Like the smell, it contains a faint sweetness.

This beer gets a 5 not because it is the best beer I've ever had, or my favorite, but simply based on the style. This is the original, the very first steam/CA common beer, and it is the one that all imitations are based upon. A true classic.

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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 orfeu
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Crystal clear amber. Light, yet persistent carbonation. Greyish yellow foam cap. Yeasty bread dough and crisp astringent hop aromas. Angular maltiness with fruity-yeasty links to a citric bitter hop finish. Clean, crisp and juicy, and light in body. Out of this world drinkability, but I'm usually satisfied by just one. Props to the OG, Mr. Maytag.

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Photo of DuqTroops
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed January 19, 2006 in a pint glass from a bottle.

This is a great steam beer. One of the original of its kind. It is well worth every penny of it. In fact, while out in SF, try to go to the brewery there, this is surely a great beer and visit. A must have.

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Photo of SurgeonGeneral
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving temp: 45F Serving glass: Pint Glass

Aroma: Soft graniness, a light spicy hop aroma in there as well. Slight caramel/candyish sweetness as it warms.

Appearance: Clear amber with an aggressive pour yielding a large off white & rocky head. slight & attractive beading, little lace with such a large head.

Taste: Same soft graniness with a resttrained sweetness. A subdued bitterness which finishes with some astringency. Some odd fruity tastes detected similar to green apples, a very similar taste I get from their Liberty Ale.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, expected it to refresh but a "fluffly," airy texture makes it a bit difficult to quaff. Meh.

Drinkability: Like other Anchor brews, that unique airy mouthfeel dominated the experience for me, and I'm not very fond of it. It doesn't seem to blend well with the rest of this beer. An American classic to be sure, just not for me.

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Photo of danielocean03
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an exceptionally clear deep, reddish brown amber into a pint glass, thick foamy head lasted for a short while before falling to moderate cream colored lacing. This particular lager is exceptionally complex in both smell and flavor, scent is hoppy, citrusy and floral. Tastes caramelly sweet, hoppy and fruity, finished with some hop bitterness and a little dry. This is one of my newfound favorite beers, will seek out in the future, would consider a new favorite session beer almost. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, goes down very well, finshing clean with a light bitterness. Being my first California Common, I must say this is an excellent brew.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always wanted to try Steam Beer but never got around to it due to my prejudice against 6-packs (prefer something different with every beer I grab) until I found a store selling the larger bottles.

Pours out looking like an ale... This is a lager? Well, yes it is, but not like other lagers. It pours a near crystal-clear orange-brown with a frothy yellowish head that builds higher than I expected and hangs out in a fat layer a lot longer than I expected. It also leaves really great lacing for a lager. Very nice looking, simply pouring this puts me in a great mood and sets me up to experience Steam.

The smell is thin, there is a little bit of honey and lemon zest. Kind of hard to make anything out beyond that.

Mmmmm, yum. Way more interesting than most lagers. It is indeed crisp, clean, and smooth, but is pretty flavorful. There's a lot of lemony zest and malty flavors, with just the tiniest hint of hops that are metallic in a light aluminum way.

Watery and crisp like a lager should be; Carbonation's about right. A little bit of tartness, and finishes quite clean. It's very, very easy and nice to drink.

Overall, this is a great beer and I'm glad the opportunity popped up to give it a shot. I respect the makers of this beer and its bretheren going way back to the 1800s.

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Photo of dawg
4.79/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer.

Home brewed a california common once in honor of Anchor Steam. Need to brew another.

The appearance is typical of a california common. Transparent amber with a balsa white head. Having one now poured from a bottle into a champagne flute. Poured with a four finger head which lasted for a few minutes. The head reduced releasing the pleasant aroma of this steam.

Tastes like it always does. Malty and lightly hopped. When I need old faithful, I go for Anchor Steam.

Feels like heaven.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours light brown/deep orange color with a smallish head. Head dissipates quickly, leaving a bit of foam cover. Small bubbles rise continuously. Could use a bit more head retention.

Lots of aroma. Light hops and strong maltiness comes through. Some medicinal smells and breadiness I think it's called. :P

Taste reminds me of a solid APA, sweet up front with hops in the back. Good balance here. Understated carbonation is light on the tongue, and balances well with a slick, syrupy feel.

This is a beautiful session beer, IMO, which is good because I get it here in big 650ml bottles.

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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 kennyo
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

At one time this was probably one of the better beers available to beer drinkers. For what its worth, it really is a good drinking beer, goes good with food or not. I would choose this over pilsners/exports/canadians and of course, the BMC conglomerates. This is a very expensive session beer.

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Photo of goschool
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I wanted to review this beer on Monday. I put a bottle in the freezer to chill it quickly, but I forgot about it and the beer froze. By that time, the rest of the six-pack had gotten down to the serving temperature in the refrigerator, so I grabbed another bottle. Immediately after pouring the second beer, I knocked over my pokal and spilled almost all of it on the rug. I cleaned it, Fabreezed the beer smell out and gave up for the night. This review is from beer number three. It went straight from the fridge into my glass and down my throat without passing 'Go' or collecting $200.

Pours a clear amber, with average-sized white head that leaves modest lace. The aroma is mild, but toasty malts fallowed by earthy hops. The taste is somewhere between a lager and an ESB. Hop bitterness overtakes the caramel malts, but nothing is terribly assertive. This is one of the beers, if not the beer, that started the craft beer revolution in America so it deserves its props and it's one hell of a session brew to boot.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,914 ratings.
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