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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: 5,849
Photo of SassyBootblack
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in San Fransisco, for what that's worth.

Appearance: A nice, clear amber color. A finger of white head.

Smell: Clean malt. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Taste: Malt, with some hops and a mineral water quality. Quite good and not over bearing. The hops aren't as "woody" as some imitators I've tasted and I mean that as a compliment.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean!

Overall: A delicious lager beer with enough character to be interesting.

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Photo of moistnugget
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an ale glass (yeah, yeah, yeah, it was sitting at my desk already,) developed a rich amber color, very clear, very small head. Nose is nice; rye, fruit, though hard to say what, maybe peach and lemon, a little fresh oregano, and yeast. Taste is fresh and bright, citrus notes (without the hop explosion that I've come to associate with it.) Finish is zesty, with lemon grass and fresh herbs riding it out. Mouthfeel is perfectly matched to the taste, light, spritzy, and bitter. The flavor and feel race across your tongue and disappear, enticing you to sip again. Overall, a well put together beer, and American styles are not usually my favorite territory. 4.25/5

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Photo of jahsausage
2.66/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I suspect that I have got myself a skunked bottle or something here, its had to come a long way you understand. On first pour the beer looked beautiful with a nice coppery colour and decent head and smelt mildly of malt & yeast (it reminded me of homebrew). The taste itself I found quite subdued, perhaps what would be expected in a kiwi/uk style mild ale but the aftertaste was not to my taste. I found it not only lingering but astringent and sourish like nothing I have tasted before bar homebrewing disasters. I think I am going to have to reserve my judgement on this one until I can try a (hopefully) fresher bottle.

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Photo of BVukelich
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the stubby 22 into glass. It created a light tan, 1-finger head. A little darker head and color than I remembered. It's been a long time since I've had this one. The creamy head lingers nicely and leaves very decent lace. I honestly didn't pick up much on the aroma, slight hops. The beer is very dry, skews malty but leaves a pronounced bitterness. Clean finish. It is busy in the mouth and appears very lively in the glass with its active carbonation.

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Photo of Mike_Moe
1.96/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Light amber brown color, small white head.
Aroma: Lightly toasted malt aroma.
Taste: Lightly roasted malt, somewhat smokey flavor. Very bitter harsh finish. Medium bodied, medium carbonation.
Overall: This beer is a major disappointment. It miss the mark on every level. The aroma and taste only gave hints of roasted malts. While trying to infuse a hoppy finish, this brew ended up being a “bitter” mess.

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Photo of mklmcgrew
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass.

L: Pours a clear golden/copper color, with minimal head and lacing. Good carbonation.

S: Not much aroma. A little bread and some malt.

T: Well balanced malt and grain flavors, with some sweet and some bitterness, but didn't notice much of a hop presence.

F: Feels light and crisp, and a little astringent at the end.

O: I really like this as a good alternative to more aggressive IPAs. It has a unique flavor, and goes down easy. At 4.9% ABV it makes for a good summer BBQ beer.

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Photo of LiquidBreadMan
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is Anchor Brewing's second-best offering, in my opinion -- and it's a top-ten among American made microbrews.

Anchor Steam pours a deep copper with an average life off-white head. Its aroma is fruity: meyer lemon and grapefruit, with an essence of roasted malts and hops. The taste is a similarly complex balance of flavors with a quick bite of hops, sweet malts and a citrus finish. Mouthfeel is a little dry, which is good in my book. This beer's drinkability is better than most I've tried, regardless of style.

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Photo of micmillon18
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. No born on date. Ah the legendary Anchor Steam beer. Truly an American classic. Love the bottle shape and art.

A - Pours a clear amber color with a large bubbly head. Lots of carbonation is apparent as tons of bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. Lots of lacing.

S - Hops, some yeast, and sweet malt. The hop smell is spicy.

T - Hops with a good balancing sweet malt presence. The bitterness is prevalent like that of a pilsner-esque hop spiciness, which is rather nice. Earthy flavors follow. Finishes with a lasting bitterness and some lemon flavors.

M - Crisp, light to medium body. Carbonation is in check with the style.

O - Very balanced and drinkable, I could and certainly have had a number of these in a sitting. A great session beer no matter the occasion.

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Photo of metallistout
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

People have always recommended this one and now I can finally get it. Good beer.
Pours a lovely amber color with a creamy white head. You can smell the hops from the moment the bottle opens and once poured it mixes with a sweet malty tone.
Hops a major flavor with a sweet caramel taste, also a fruity flavor and finishes a little dry. I like this beer. Now I know why people have recommended it over the years.

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Photo of lawman834
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Copper with a creamy head that's tall but goes away fast.

S-Kinda hoppy and grassy. Not very strong.

T-Not bad at all. Balanced to a little on the hoppy side. Has a little bit of a strange metallic taste.

M-Very bright and carbonated in the mouth. A little slick on the finish.

D-Pretty darn drinkable. It does however leave a little of that odd metallic aftertaste in my mouth and a bit of that slicknees on my tounge.

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Photo of johnwarne
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beer haiku for you:

"An old standby beer,
Easy to drink and to own.
Anchors away, friends!"

Many years ago--prior to being introduced to Belgians, Brooklyns, Dogfish, and multiple other offerings I had this beer at the top of my list. Having not had one in nearly a decade, my revisit brought back good memories but provided clarity about my changing tastes. Bottom line--very drinkable and enjoyable beer, without pretense, but not nearly as tasty as many of its peers in this $10/six pack price range.


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Photo of marcellaproust
2.83/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, fluffly head that eventually dissipates into an assertive cloud cover. Amber colored. Smells like basic beer: that Budweiser, Miller, Pabst scent. Starts with a malty (no roast) blank creaminess and ends with plenty of hops. A conversation-enabling beer: pleasant enough to go unnoticed.

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Photo of thinkbreakfast
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Somehow I have yet to try this beer. It seems to be pretty common around here.

App: Cloudy orange/brown/amber. Decent head retention with lacing that slides down the glass.

Smell: Fruity with a hint of metal. Sourness as well.

Taste: Fruity at first, then asprin-like hops kick in. Finish is burnt bitter. Aftertaste is buttery and burnt. Definately a different taste. Pretty good too.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thin. The buttery aftertaste is a plus though.

Drinkability: Very good. Good taste without numbing the pallate. Good summer beer.

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Photo of NilsFrisk
2.94/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured red, with a white head, seems to stick around for a while.
Smells of fruity yeast and a little metallic.
Creamy and well carbonated, full malt body with a nice amber malt taste and a slight hoppy bitterness.

Been wanting to try this one for quite a time now, and i recently got my hand on a bottle of it, I've tried "Oslo Mikrobryggeri's" steamer, and i don't really feel anchor steam beer reaches the same level, i was kind of disapointed.

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Photo of DeepBrew
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Clear copper-amber color with medium white foam. Foam recedes rather quickly and leaves spotty lacing behind. Large bubbles at the bottom of the glass break down into smaller ones with every sip.

S: Inviting smell of malts and yeast.

T: Malt sweetness and hops bitter hit at once, well balanced. Leaves behind some sticky bitterness, although not an overwhelming one.

M: Medium-low mouthfeel with some light chewiness.

O: Solid, easily drinkable beer.

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Photo of flowerysong
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy light copper with lots of bubbles.

Smell: Mild breadiness, earthy malt, and faint caramel notes.

Taste: Begins with a sharp citrus hop bitterness, which gradually falls away leaving an intensely malty finish. Some fruitiness in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Mildly drying finish, full body, lively carbonation.

Drinkability: Flavourful and full of character, nice crisp taste and very pleasant to drink.

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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!!

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Photo of heissebier
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first steamer, but I've heard good things.

Appearance- Buttery orange color with a nice, long lasting head that leaves good lacing.

Smell- Malty and hops, with a hint of fairly unusual spices.

Taste- Like steam, for real. Whoever named this beer is a genius! Tastes of hops, fruit, and sweetness (bubble gum?) bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation, very refreshing!

Drinkability- Excellent, low ABV and unique taste makes this a great session beer. Leaves me wanting more.

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Photo of Weli
4.84/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-1/2" white head subsiding to thin lacing. Brilliantly clear light amber to light copper color

S-Very woody and minty! Large nose of Northern Brewer hops. Some sweet and malty character as well

T-Really interesting, like crossing an APA with a helles lager. Citrus bitterness up front with a hefty toast malt character to balance. Minty floral finish.

M-Medium bodied, light carbonation. Medium dry and quite smooth.

O-Wow! This beer was a very pleasant surprise, had never thought this style sounded very appealing, but it was a wonderful session beer. Love the minty northern brewer hop character. Smooth, flavorful and balanced!

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Photo of JohannBock
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from a buddy, first beer we've had together, poured into a Yuengling pint glass. First experience with a steam beer.

A: Really nice amber color poured about 2.5 fingers of head that didn't stick around too long. No lacing at all.

S: Some citrus followed by some spiciness, the hops really dominate the late half of the nose.

T: Pretty darn good, follows the nose for the most part. Starts off with a bit of citrus that lingers until the back half. You also get some nice hop bite at the beginning that turns spicy towards the middle and finishes out the sip.

M: Pretty light mouthfeel but not thin at all. Crisp finish not dry though.

O: I really liked this beer and could definitely knock a few in one night. First time I've used this word in a review: quaffable.

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Photo of moocey
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

God Bless Fritz Maytag.

The commercial beer selection in Auburn, AL is dismal, if not abysmal compared to most anywhere else in America. (I say "commercial beer" because Auburn has a brewpub, of all things. And I homebrew.) Anyway, three quality microbrews make it to Auburn, and Anchor is one of them. Anchor steam can be found in just about every grocery store, amidst the pretend real beers such as Redhook and Flying Dog. If I'm out of my own stuff, and I want to have a good beer sitting at home after work - oftentimes it's Anchor Steam because Anchor Brewing and their 50 employess get beer from San Fran all the way to here.

Appearance - Just your average beautiful amber I'd expect from a beer like this. Good, but nothing special.

The smell is overwhemingly malty

As indicated by the smell, Big and malty up front. Is there something lemony/fruity there as well? Great dry grassy hop finish that balances out the malt perfectly. Mouthfeel is full and kinda creamy. This beer can be different from sip to sip. Lately when I have one of these the flavors all seem to run together rather, rather than having a beginning, middle, and end. Definately some lemony esters up front. One of my few fallbacks.

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Photo of sammy44
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. Love the shape of the bottle also.

Poured a really nice copper color that seemed to have a chill haze on it. The head poured up real nice and fell to about a 1/4 inch with a good creamy texture.

Smelled of citrus hops and some toasty malt. Taste was really good as you were hit up front with some hop bitterness and then you got some malty sweetness and finished up dry and puckery. Excellent flavor.

What I really loved was the mouthfeel. The head was creamy and the body of the beer was full and heavy. Very good for a lager style beer.

I could have several of these and they might have to become a go to beer for the summer.

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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 SnowGoon99
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours a dark straw or "dirty blonde" if you will. Nice thick head to start with but dissipates quickly. Aromas include a little sulfur with some earthiness and hints of caramel. Definitely more lager-like than ale-like which i guess is the point.

Flavors include the earthiness again from the hops and the slight caramel from the malt. A good balance here. It is carbonated a little more than your typical beer but right on for a lager beer. Was wishing for a little bit more body but the carbonation does help with the drinkability a lot. Very easy drinking.

Overall a nice beer. It is pretty much the quintessential California Common beer as it was pretty much the original. It is the style. But slowly forms of it are starting to emerge which is good. It's not an exceptional beer but it certainly is easy-drinking and when your looking for a couple lagers to drink one night or looking to get friends into craft beer, this may be the beer for you.

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Photo of Arno
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Bright orange. Lovely sugary broken white foam with great lacing.

smell: I get dark honey / nectar. Sweet grains and malts. Surprisingly i'm not getting much hop smell from it.

taste: It has a grainy dark honey sugary base flavor with some bittering hops through it to balance it out. The hops mellow out during the finish, leaving the lovely sweet malts and nectar like texture.

mouthfeel: Brilliant. Nectar like velvet. Syrupy. Very smooth and round. With some medium carbonation to freshen it up.

overall: It's not a very complex beer, but it does everything right. It's somehow quite sugary in texture, yet the hops gives it a nice light bitter kick. It's just a joy to drink and not one to over think ;)

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,849 ratings.
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