Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
2,015 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,015
Ratings:
5,845
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
21.82%
 
 
Wants:
215
Gots:
1,172
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,015 | Ratings: 5,845
Photo of psinderson
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into glass.

Appearance: This beer pours a deep amber color, like caramel, with a rich, creamy-looking 1 finger head. Some lacing that's more or less even around the glass. Clear and bubbly.

Smell: Very little hop aroma, almost non-existent to me. The prevailing aroma to me is malt or cream.

Taste: Hmmm...a very slight roasted, malty flavor with minimal hoppiness (or is that "happiness"??) up front. It finishes with a pleasant fading bitterness, nicely balanced against the malt.

Mouthfeel: Nice, creamy, full-bodied feel.

Drinkability: This beer tastes very balanced which, to me, means I can drink this with no problem. The full-bodied feel will probably limit the drinkability for some.

I've heard so much about this beer, I had to try it. No complaints. The creaminess definitely puts it in a category by itself.

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Photo of Applesauce1
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the Anchor Steam into my pint glass and got about a 1/2" head.

Looked OK, not great as the head slowly faded away.
Smell: very pronounced; some hops, cinnamon?, something else kinda spicy
Taste: bitter, but not a hoppy bitterness, hints of some fruitiness, unique flavor however, not like anything else i've tasted before (except my previous encounters with this beer)
*This beer tastes better as it gets warmer and you get into it more.
Mouthfeel: like a pale ale, good carbonation
Drinkability: could drink more than one in a night, but don't wanna go back to back

This beer doesn't give you anything spectacular, but the taste is really unique, and it's one you can drink frequently and not get sick of it.

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Photo of skizziks
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a nonic. One inch cream colored head, coarse, falls quickly with minimal lacing. The beer is a very clear light amber.

Aroma is malty sweet with some spicy hops, a suggestion of cinnamon and toffee.

Flavor is grainy with a little caramel. Very well balanced, not very sweet, not very bitter. Hops are understated. Finish is dry with cleansing carbonation.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, a little sticky.

Overall a nice refreshing and flavorful beer. Clean and well balanced. Not my favorite of Anchor's offerings, but a fine beer anyway.

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

As the standard for California steam beer, it should get all 5's. But then any crappy beer would rate all 5's if it's unique enough to be a new class. So I factored in my tastes...

The liquid was copper orange, very clear. Thin head on top which lasted pretty long. Smelled and tasted malty, not any bitterness at all.

Pretty good, a perfect session beer.

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Photo of ChuckD
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chalice. Dirty white, chunky lacing atop a cloudy, shiny golden orange body.

To the nose, sweet malts and grassy undertones. No real floral character at all.

In the mouth, citrus bang right up front. The malts follow and create a nicely balanced combination of sweetness and bitter lemony goodness.

The feel is full and substantial for a highly drinkable beer. The body covers your mouth with flavors. It finishes dry, clean and very organic.

Musings: One of my favorites. The accustomed taste is like a train wreck to get thru at first - but then becomes one of your best friends. Highly refreshing and interesting.

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Photo of gbarron
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, Va. Shared a pitcher.

A - light golden, clear. Head is off-white to white, leaving a little bit of lacing, but not much. Head retention is excellent.

S - grains, very bready. Biscuit, yeast. Some fruity/floral notes here, more than I would normally expect from a steam beer yeast. Plums. Light earthy hop aroma in the background.

T - very malty with bitter, dry aftertaste. Sweetness up front. Biscuity, toasty. Hops make a comeback at the end and balance this out pretty well, but overall a sweeter brew with some fruity esters like peaches, pears, plums.

M - thin bodied, carbonation is average. Dry. Smooth.

D - very tasty session beer, not overly hopped, easy to go down.

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Photo of bruachan
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

yep...it's a lizard tour beer

well carbonated and therefore a big head at pour time. it dropped, leaving respectable lace. below the lace is a clear copper-amber color. musky hop aroma

clean, slightly sweet taste. there's an essence of sulphur (i guess it's in the aroma), but it's slight. a slight fruity flavor pops in late as well—apple, pear. hop flavors are very crucial

it's not a character of aroma or taste i can really identify. not that it's all that mystical, but it is a bridge style. i like it, but i don't

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Photo of akorsak
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. I opened the beer at the start of the Sopranos (1 hour ago) and am getting to it now, so it has warmed considerably.

Appearance: The lager as an amber color, almost bordering on maraschino cherry red. It poured with a vigourous 2 finger head that left a small band of lace on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells like a cookie. The malts impart a sweet biscuitiness that are offset by a subdued hop nose.

Taste: The beer tastes like a rich, yeasty biscuit. The notes are subtle and sweet, leaving the faintest flavor in the mouth. The is a small hop presence that compliments the malt without detracting too significantly.

Mouthfeel: The lager is smooth with a dominating malty sweetness, very pleasing in the mouth.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Grab yourself a six pack enjoy the day.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thirst quenching like a lager, fruity like an ale ...
lovely caramel bronce color, with a firm head
malty and nutty aromas in the nose
taste is lightly sour with more malt and light fruit in the mouth finally a long finish in which the hops slowly dominate
This is a very interesting brew, not comparable to any standard beer ... guess this is hardly a love at first sight, but once you start liking it ...

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

Poured into a pint, color is a deep clear amber , with an inch of creamy , off white foam that dissipates to quarter inch; well sustained by a constant rising carbonation. A fair amount of lacing left on the glass. Taken to the nose ,aromas are of grain , earthy , some fruity notes and slightly bready qualities. Raw , grainy flavors come first ( and quickly) , then some bitter earthiness and a slighty citric and bitter hop finish. Interesting floral flavor here and there. This is a very unique and neat beer. An in yo face , grainy-raw ride , full of character and intrigue. Just a great beer.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a perfect all-around session beer, which isn't to say it lacks anything in the flavor arena, that's simply not the case. Pours a crystal clear amber in color, very nice to look at, with a two finger fizzy head that left a creamy crown after a couple of minutes. Nose is very lager-like, very 'grainy' but appealing. Taste is much like an ale, but still somehow clean like a lager, which makes sense after reading how it's made. Taste is fruity like an ale, but still quite crisp.

I really like this, I can forsee drinking a lot of this during the warmer months.

Slàinte!

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Photo of Rezzin
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber copper color with a 1" foamy head in my pint glass.

S - Not much nose to speak of but I've been drinking too many IPA's as of late so I think it's about right for this style. A bit malty and slightly sweet in the aroma with a faint alcohol aroma.

T - Not too bitter.. not too sweet.. but definitely on the more malty side. There is some hop bitterness but it's more of an earthy /fruity bitterness to me. Pretty much a 'down the middle' tasting beer - but it's not bad. This would be the perfect intro beer for BMC friends.

M - Clean tasting. For lack of a better term I'd say nice and smooth in the front and somewhat crisp in the back. That clean taste is something I enjoy with this style.

D - Definetly a sessionable beer and something I always have on hand for friends. I have no idea why I didn't review this earlier - I've had this sitting in my fridge for quite a while now. A good beer.

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Photo of scoobybrew
2.79/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer has a light amber color and when I poured it, there was a decent head retention. There is almost no aroma to speak of, mostly malt with a hint of alcohol and no hop aroma. The taste was a bit "earthy" with the malt dominating and slight hop bitterness, but then again, this might be the lager yeast (fermented at ale temperatures). The finish was clean, with a slight hop bitterness lingering. The consistency was fairly common.

Overall, a decent example of a uniquely American style. It was okay to share this with an Austrian friend who had never had this style before, but I don't think I'd be purchasing this on a regular basis (I would rather have Anchor's Liberty Ale, as my tastes lean towards the American Pale style...also, too much good homebrew to drink!).

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Photo of DouggiePhresh
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass with a 1 finger head lasting 5 seconds. I love the color of this brew, it looks exceptional. At first sip, it tasted somewhat like an ale, but later it subsided to a malty taste. I think this would be an excellent session beer (I will find out tonight.) Not too much in the aftertaste, but quite refreshing

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Photo of TrickKnee
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is a little hard to describe this beer but i will take my best shot. There was almost no head at all, could have been the way the bartender poured it. Taste was decent but I dont think I could sit down and drink a lot of them. If you are going out to dinner I would definetly suggest it if they have it on tap.

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Photo of mghotbi
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear amber-red with short-lasting two finger head and moderate lacing with prominent carbonation.

Caramel malt nose with traces of vanilla and banana - very pleasant

Smooth on the palate. Carbonation is perfect.

Hop bitterness hits the tastebuds first, followed by wisps of banana, dates and trace of vanilla, then a more definite malt sweetness and emergence of crisp hop and citrus notes with a long spicy hop finish. This is a unique beer - a delicate blend of contrasting flavors in perfect balance.

This is the beer that changed my attitude about beer. Very drinkable, makes an excellent and refreshing session beer, but it's can be an acquired taste for some folks. Serving this beer too cold can make for a bitter experience.

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

From the funky shaped 22oz. brown bottle pours a deep, honey-amber, slightly hazy brew with a foamy inch+ of off-white head. After a couple minutes the head subsides leaving some nice lace on the glass.

Nice barley malt nose, kinda earthy and toast like with notes of yeast, wheat, faint tobacco and hops. The hops smell a bit grassy.

The taste is much like the smell with some black tea, more tobacco and a matallic twang in the finish. Pretty tasty stuff, not too sweet at all, very well balanced with a crisp, clean finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Medium body, good carbonation give a nice smooth, cream like mouthfeel, then a bitter dry ending as it disappears.

Very drinkable, worth a try.

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

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear copper color with a white head that thins. Spotty lacing on the glass.

Aroma is fairly crisp and malty with just a slight suggestion of hops.

Taste is rather crisp and malty with just a slight fruitiness from the warm fermentation temps. Has a nicely balanced hop bitterness but the only trace of hop flavor is a mild suggestion in the afteraste. Finishes quite dry.

Meduim body, plenty of carbonation.

I can always drink one (or six) of these. This is the standard for the style, as they created it.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear golden amber with a light head of froth. Some lacing on the sides of the glass. Grainy nose, lightly toasted. Moderately malty start with a fair hop bitterness. Hops are a bit floral, perhaps a tad citrusy. Clean finish. Neutral, crisp texture, medium mouthfeel.

I've never found the "California common" style very interesting, which I guess is why I never got around to reviewing it to now. A drinkable beer, but not much that makes it stand out. Other interpretations that are good tend to rely on good malt character or interesting hops. The character of lager-at-ale-temp yeast just doesn't produce interesting flavors, in my opinion.

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

Popped two bottles and poured into a .5L Pilsner Urquell glass. Got a finger-thick creamy, spongy head that halved in a few minutes. Clean amber color with constant bubbles running up to the head. Small dottings of lace.

Smell is a well-balanced but super-subtle combo of malt and hops, with an even milder fruitiness and a brown sugar/caramel sweetness way back. It reflects what you get in the taste: all the above, with the hops slightly dominant, and better than the somewhat muted aroma. Feels tingly in the mouth yet there's a creaminess balancing it out, and that creaminess is more pronounced as it warms.

A simple, uncomplicated beer with no real negative traits. A sensible session beer choice, favored over many equally low ABV beers that can only claim a fraction of the quality.

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Photo of shamus
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had great expectations for this beer and it's legendary status which perhaps is why it turned out to be a disappointement. It's not a bad beer and is far better than a pale tasteless macro beer, but compared to what I expected it was bland. I wanted more perfume, more scent, more magic. What I got was fine.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap served in a pint glass. Copper hue, slim head of white foam, good carbonation present. The aroma was quite faint with a light maltiness. The taste is nice, not particularly sweet, but somewhat nutty and semi-bitter. Alcohol does not appear strong. Crisp mouthfeel and finish, light bodied, but not watery, it goes down easy. This has always been a very reliable session beer, especially when there isn't much else to choose from. A classic...

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

Very dark amber, with an off-white head which is made of various seized bubbles and has some retention. Malty aroma that with herbs, almost medicinal. Dark chocolate, and coffee – nice dry finish that balances the flavor profile nicely. Very chewy and round, wonderfully soft.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a a light amber color with a relatively thick head that fairly quickly becomes a thin lace. There is quite a bit of carbonation at first. But that too disspipates after a brief time.
The smell is light. After smelling it, I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a hint of caramel flavor. Nothing special, but nothing offensive.
The taste is thick but without much of a distinct flavor, except a bit of refreshing sweetness. Tastes good but nothing special.
It does leave a refreshing feel in the mouth, as there is nothing offensive, while nothing special about it either.
Overall, it is a decent session beer.

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Photo of Phatz
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours an Orange-ish brown color. Large carbonation bubbles lead to a nice head.

Smell: I got very little out of the aroma. but in the beers defense it was served to me at the bar way to cold. I let it warm as much as I could. I was also sitting in outdoor seating. Nonetheless, I only got a hint of sweetness and some carbonation in the nose.

Taste: I have never had a steam beer before and I enjoyed this. The flavor was not complex or amazing but i was extremely drinkable. I was eating a Kilbassa and this was a perfect accompaniment. It had the nice sweet amber attribute to it. The sweet malts. but then it had a bit of hops. Gentle, laid back hops but enough to keep it interesting. I think there was a certain amount of smokiness to the beer as well. There were no fire works with this beer is was simple and drinkable. mmm.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and active. lots of carbonation. Refreshing.

Drinkability: This beer is extremely sessionable. Low ABV, mild on the palate it is all around a 'Good' beer.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,845 ratings.
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