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

This beer pours what I would consider to be the definition of copper colored. Off white rocky head that remaines sticky but does dissapate after a few sips. Aroma is quite unique several things going on citrus and earthy notes from the hops, caramel and some grainy notes, the yeast gives interesting esters as well as a sulfer character. The initial sip is impacted by a sharp crisp bitterness and carbonation that relinquishes to more caramel and ceral flavors from the malt. To me the malt, hops, and esters from the yeast are in very nice balance. Mouthfeel is dry and crisp a very sessionable beer.

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Photo of tosshin
4.83/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: crystal clear. amber. perfect fluffy white head
s: barley, slight citrus, earthy. makes me want to drink more of them! slight hint of caramel?
t: well balanced. caramelly malt and the perfect amount of hoppy bitterness at the end. I barely tasted the alcohol
m: medium body, slightly carbonated. really not much to say here
d: I have no idea what the ABV on this beer is, but I know that this is a beer that I wish was commonly on tap at my local bars!

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Photo of jkbusman
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - beautiful copper color with a short head that quickly dissipates

S - crisp, hoppy aroma with hints of citrus

T - all the crisp hoppiness of a pale ale, with the malty sweetness and round body of a lager

M - medium bodied with an initially smooth mouthfeel; finishes crisp with a slight hoppy bitterness

D - absolutely one of my favorite session beers; unlike anything else on the market and worth every penny

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

Appearance: Amber coloured, moderate head that reduces to a smooth creamy thin layer.

Smell: Malty, perhaps yeasty, definately a beer LOL

Taste: Subtle with a distinct bitter taste. Not very interesting, but certainly unoffensive.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation, not sure if its too much?

Drinkabilty: Taste light and refreshing, so quite drinkable. Certainly one I would choose if I saw it in a pub and I was in the mood for something light.

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Photo of AlFromBayShore
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Big off white head after an aggressive pour. Couldn't pour the entire bottle, had to wait for the head to settle before emptying the rest of the bottle. Deep amber in colour.

S - Malty aroma that is, at first, hard to detect. Beyond that some very light notes of honey, apple, and apricot.

T & M - This opens smooth and malty with a very slight hint of honey followed by a hoppy bitterness in the finish that lingers briefly. This is not a rich tasting beer but the flavor is not thin either. Medium bodied with a persistent carbonation that bristles against the tongue.

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Photo of e11iott
3.1/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: 12oz, must have poured this wrong, fist full of head, medium lacing, light amber color.

S: Faint smell of fruit and citrus.

T/M: Over all smooth beer, very easy to drink, surpirsed not a light beer. Carbonation was average but in a good way.

D: Enjoyable as it got warmer, cant taste the alcohol at all.

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Photo of GNWBC
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

honestly i felt that while this beer was good it lacked any defining characteristics. the nose is kind of flat but the malt and hop balance is spot on, not to bitter not to malty or sweet. This is a good session beer because it does not leave any lingering taste but at the same time i feel that its constitution is fairly week. not bad but not great. pretty middle of the road.

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Photo of ritwingr
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper pour with a Mideast head that leaves substantial pretty lacing.

Smell is malt dominant. Taste is a very clean malty one with hops only very slightly discernible in the finish. Very nice. Subtle. Below average carbonation. Nothing overpowers but the pleasant malt dominance makes for an enjoyable quaff.

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Photo of awillick
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam is a great go-to when your other options are bad or unknown. It has a classic, clean taste with no frills and a simple finish. You really can't go wrong.

Also, I know it's kind of superficial, but the bottle shape and label design are pretty unique and aesthetically well-conceived.

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Photo of gcarl
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours into a pint glass with a nice clear tan color and a white wispy head.

Smell is a muddled hop and malt aroma.

Taste is dry with a sweet hop bite in the aftertaste.

A moderate brew, nothing too challenging. May be a nice crossover to a drinker that always reaches for that BMC


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Photo of DEdesings57
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 30 days ago(Pretty damn fresh as far as NJ goes)

L: Poured out much more full bodied, heavier and darker than I imaged. I was expecting a yellow fisy lager or a pilsner like looking beer. I was presently surprised at its darkness. Looks like a Vienna Lager! Poured a large frothy white head, completely filtered. 5/5.

S: Wow, I smell citrsy hops, sweet beady malt, toasted brown bread, grains. Combine all those together and you have a light but very fruity aroma going on from the malts and hop(not hops - its singled hopped with Northern Brewer). Its almost smells like an American Pale Ale.

T: This is a lager? damn fine one. Taste like an American Pale ale with a well defined malt body. Champagne like carbonation, sweet beady malts in the background. The hops make this one finish dry and clean. I figured the IBUs on this one gotta be real close to SN Pale, and guess what they are 35 and SN Pale is 37. Like I said kinda taste like a pale ale. Really surprised me on the taste.

Feel: Its a little light on the body but then again its only 4.9%.

Overall: Amazing beer! classic brew! I cant believe that I have been drinking Craft beer for 10 years now and am just having this now.

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Photo of Hendy011
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice head of foam lasts 5 minutes, leaves lacing on the glass.

S - Straight hops smell, barley, little bit of roasted smell.

T - Comparable to Lionshead, but much more full. Tastes like pancakes. Bitter aftertaste with taste of alcohol.

F - Feel is great, very little carbonation.

O - Pretty good. Similar to a light lager, ale. Nothing too notable about this beer.

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Photo of BrewChatKen
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

A classic! Pours deep amber with a white head. Aroma is big time caramel and sweet. Light bodied, well carbed and easy drinking. That sweet caramel carries through very well to the palate with a bit of earthy hop character and a clean finish. Could be a great session beer, I don't think there's ever a bad time to crack one of these. This is a very well made beer.

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Photo of demon
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L - The color of honey. Poured with a tall thin head which dissipated to essentially nothing in seconds.

S - Smells light and a little hoppy.

T - Delighted with very strong toast, caramel, and yeast-imparted flavors. The hops provide a bitter tease in the aftertaste that contrasts very well with bread yeast dominant flavors. It's really good!

F - Crisp. Lightly carbonated.

O - I was quite blown away by this beer. It is really good! I had been putting off trying this one for a while because a coworker said she wasn't a fan of it, so I assumed it wasn't good. As a matter of fact, this is a very enjoyable beer. If you are into bread-dominant flavors, this one will sing to you. Couldn't see myself drinking this one frequently, but I'm sure it'd pair well with a plate of fish and chips, or crab cioppino. It probably would be an excellent choice for cooking with.

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Photo of codekiln
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful, large head, ruby color, clear, decent lace

Metallic, slightly sweet, a little sour (like a midwestern silo)

Balanced, not too hoppy; berry notes, gentle, deliciously bitter finish

Bubbly and smooth


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

Deep amber color, with a great head. Smells simultaneously fruity, tangy and malty. This possesses a bitter taste, though deep and malty, and with an aftertaste that is even more bitter. Not surprisingly, this was rather complex, and an impressive example of a truly unique style.

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Photo of birdyone
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

looks good when poured. Not much head, not much fizz, but a beautiful color. It's kinda like that stereotypical ale color. very clear. nice amber color.

mild smell. very normal, and typical to the breed. nothing special.

taste is good, but more on the average side. again nothing too special.

good mouthfeel. smooth. crisp. refreshing.

great drinkability. its strength come from it averageness. it doesn't overpower you. you can sip it or you can throw some back with friends. it's fairly common in stores, the price isn't really out of reach for most people. it's better than the macro brews, but not snobbish. you could give it to connoisseur and noob alike and both would be pleased.

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Photo of ssam
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- very nice, rich amber. very frothy 2in head. left rings as i drank it.

S- a smooth, comforting aroma. you can smell the sweet hints of malt

T- taste is pleasant and unobtrusive. little caramel flavor. some citrus aftertaste.

M- excellent mouthfeel. near perfect carbonation and texture.

D- very good drinkability

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

A- Deep amber/orange, egg-shell colored head, very bubbly.

S- Strong malty lager yeast hits first followed by some citrus aromas. Smells like a very robust pilsner with a hint of Pacific ocean fog rolling into the bay.

T- Complex malt composition, you can really taste the lager and ale tastes fighting it out. Yeasty with a subtle sweetness. Notes of spices, cloves and maybe coriander. Supportive hops hold it all together. Alcohol and yeast give the aftertaste a bit of a kick.

MF- Rich and thick, just as bubbly as it looks. Really fills the mouth.

D- Lighter than it should be given everything that's going on, but still quite a body. A real beer drinker's experience. Nicely balanced, very unique.

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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 colingaiser
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

L: A hazy amber verging on orange with a creamy, three-finger head leaving delicate lacing. Good start.

S: A little metallic (like a rusty anchor), with notes of honey and perfume, and an uninviting macro lager musk.

T: Fortunately it tastes much better than it smells. It's fruity like a tart and refreshing Granny Smith, with some underlying floral (perhaps lavender) notes, while the malt is reminiscent of honey and biscuit. There's a nice mouth-coating bitterness, but the finish is light on taste and high on tannins.

F: The mouthfeel is like a flat soda -- a medium body that leaves me craving more carbonation. It goes easily enough, but the feel doesn't do the beer's fruity notes any favors.

O: Anchor Steam is pleasant enough, but if this is the prime example of a California Common, there's nothing about it that makes me want to explore this style any further.

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Photo of wsouloa
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer and perhaps my rating is a bit lower than it would have been if I hadn't heard so many good things about this beer. I tried this beer for the first time in Northern California. It pours a very nice orangish-red type of color. The smell isn't very overpowering. The taste initially is very good but then it gives a bit of a dry aftertaste to which I wasn't a fan of. Its a better beer than most of the things you will find in most local bars. I would try this again but not anywhere where they have a good selection of beers.

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Photo of avaulteriam
2.48/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Certainly not my style at all. Smells of some sweetness and soap? Very malty with weird lager-esque taste predominant. Similar to Kolsch styles. Contrary to some, I didn't think immediately of an ale. Definitely not the smoothest or most likable in my opinion

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Photo of Banger530
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a transparent burnt orange. A nice white head on top.

There was a nice malty aroma. Smells like bread, but more complex than that.

Taste like a sweet malt. A faint citrus flavor at the end.

A nice and light body with ample carbonation.

All considered, I would say its an above average beer. Quite drinkable. Would be nice to sip sitting on the porch on a warm day.

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Photo of Holderness
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L -- amber with a thick, tan head. Moderate lacing
S -- mild. Fruity lager
T -- caramel, brown butter, hops, slightly metallic finish (likely due to fermentation in copper vats)
F -- full bodied with a light mouthfeel, especially given the intense flavors
O -- it really *feels* like you're drinking America's oldest craft beer

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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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