Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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very good
2,015 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: 2,015 | Ratings: 5,845
Photo of DPMomutant
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours with a medium-sized creamy head. Pretty good retention there. Some lacing here. The body is a very nice copper color.

The smell is pretty simple to my nose. It's a nice, medium-toasty malty smell. I'm having a tought time getting anything else from it but I like it just the same.

The taste at the beginning is actually a tiny bit sweet. In the middle the malt comes out and I catch some wheat in there too. The end brings some balancing bitterness. A very unique taste, indeed.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick in the body, thicker than you might expect from looking at it. The carbonation is lively but balanced. Smooth finish.

This is easily a good beer for sessions, whether hanging around outside or inside watching the game.

Overall this is a very solid beer and the availability is a very good thing if you're stuck somewhere you can't get much else.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Cactus in Newport News, VA. Came to me in a glass with a nice amber color, but not much head in sight due to its pouring is my guess. A nice clean aroma with malt sweetness and notes of citrus detectable. A light toasted malt flavor is accompanied by a sweet taste and a slight bitterness. Definatly a lot of lager charecteristics to this beer. A little too thin in the mouthfeel and a very smooth drink. It has a slightly unusal flavor the is complex enough to keep you interested and makes for a good summer brew.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hmm, good beer in the Congo. Anchor Steam poured an amber colour, with a big three finger head. After a few minutes, the head went away, just leaving a small amount of foam. Lacing coats the glass like a curtain. Very pleasant. Sweet smell of malt(vienna?), banana, citrus, hop, and more malt. Sweet tasting, with enough of a bite to be satisfying. Little overcarbonated mouthfeel, but that's forgivable. Highly drinkable. A good session beer, and my first beer of this style.

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

Anchor Steam Beer was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a clear and vibrant orange amber and was topped by an ample white head that left thick sheets of lacing. The nose was crisp yet bready sweet with notes of banana, complemented by a nice resiny/citrus hop bouquet. The taste opened with smooth bready-citrus malts, followed by a spicy-zippy grapefruity bitter transition to a citrus zesty banana-tinged spicy, moderately bittered finish. The body was a little too thin for the flavors and character of the beer, but otherwise was appropriate. Anchor steam was a satisfying and tasty beer, with some uniqueness to add to the interest.

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

I’ve had this one several times, but I am finally getting around to review it. It pours light copper in color with an off-white head. The aroma is malty with a light hop fruitiness, and a bit of spiciness. The flavor is light in malt and fruit. It is very smooth and easy drinking. It is a really enjoyable, clear beer. This is a beer I would come back to again and again.

Sampled 2/1/04

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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 jsolack
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazey copper color... nice fluffy off white head that sticks around while you drink the beer. Overall very nice.

Carmel and grains with light floral accents. Citrus is in there as well. It's a pretty complex smell. Very intriguing.

Very interesting flavor. Slightly bitter and sharp initially but once it leaves the tounge it becomes sweeter and milder. Tasty finish, mildly bitter. Very complex and very good.

Great mouthfeel... coats tounge well and carbonation level is about perfect. Fits the flavor of the beer perfectly.

This is a great beer. It's unusual flavor sets it apart from other beer. Very easy to drink... Overall it's great.

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Photo of jvajda
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Yellow and clearer than I expected. I could mistake this for any number of macros just based on it's appearance.
Smell: Subtle bitterness.
Taste: Very bitter in an unpleasant way. Tastes like it is way past it's prime. I did not like the taste of this beer. Maybe it was from and old keg, but I don't think this is likely based on previous reviews.
Mouthfeel: Pretty standard mouthfeel. Right amount of carbonation.
Drinkabilty: No thanks. This is worth sampling, but the old bitterness make it bad in my book. I will sample this again to make sure I didn't get a skunked one, but I maintain that this beer has a low drinkability.

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

I picked this beer up as part of a mixed-single arrangement from Riverside Beverage in Chattanooga. I’ve been wanting to try it a long time but the six-pack price in my area is intimidating if it’s something I’m not sure whether I’ll like it or not.

It pours out a slightly dark shade of translucent amber-orange. A meager head appears less than a fingers breadth after the pour. Small carbonation bubbles abound.

The smell is slightly fruity, and that dense sweet “lagerish” presence is there. A background smell of alcohol is present as well.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy yet slick and quaffable, which is the first thing I notice. The flavors interweave across my tongue. The malt flavor leads off, sweet and tangily bready. Sweet fruits flirt with my tastebuds as well, ripe plums, etc. A dry after taste is left and my mouth waters for more.

This beer is unique and it has a beautiful character. I definitely enjoy this brew a lot, the price is pretty steep in my area though. I will definitely have to have a craving for this beer in particular to shell out the $11 for a six pack when compared to many other brews that I enjoy as much. I definitely owe a lot of respect to the history of this beer for helping to kick off the craft beer movement in the U.S. I will definitely drink again.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden with a 3/4" light tan head, which fades fairly quickly but leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass. Not much of an aroma at all, but what is there smells "like beer"...slightly hoppy and slightly malty. It smells like what you remember beer smelling like as a child. As the beer hits your tongue, there is a slight hop bitterness. As you begin the swallow, the bitterness changes to a malt presence that is not sweet. The bitterness reappears for the aftertaste. This is a rather strange blend. It is not my favorit beer, but it is very satisfying in warm weather and also when served with just about any meal. It is very drinkable.

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Photo of Crotor
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a legend for a reason. Truly unique, Anchor Steam Beer monopolizes the California common beer style.

Crystal clear, rich amber, with a moderate head, Anchor Steam presents a fist class appearance.

The drinker is met by a big aroma of toasty (*toasty,* not sweet) malt. This toasty malt character is also very substantial in the taste. This beer screams malt. Delightful, toasty, dry malt. No sweetness needed here. The moderate hopping is in perfect balance. The highly aggressive ale-like taste profile diffeers slightly from that of an ale because of the lager yeast. This manifest somewhat in a slight tartness and the "shape" of the taste.

Anchor Steam is fully deserving of its reverence.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.
I must admit, this is not the first time I've tried this beer. The first taste I had was when I first started getting into better beer, I personally didn't like it at all whatsoever. It had a very strange aftertaste. This time is different.
Poured a nice deep honey color with a small thick white head.
Smells of grains and slight caramel notes. There is some hops in the nose, but nothing overpowering.
Taste is sweet, caramel, but not overwhelming. The graininess and hops balanace out this brew nicely. This brew is bitter, but not at all overwhelming. The malt character is astounding and I could not ask for a better balance between the two.
This is like no other beer I have tried. An excelent brew.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler, this honey amber brew grew a bubbly white head. The grain aroma, with it's subtle yeast accent, was inviting. The rolling malt flavors started grainy but became sweet and syrupy, only to lead to a crisp finish. The hop spicing provides some interesting counter point, and makes the brew an excellent pair with a bowl of chilli. The mouth feel is fair, at times a little too syrupy, but otherwise this is a drinkable beer that will likely return to my fridge.

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

Appearance: A nice honey amber with an excellent rocky white head; nice retention to boot. Some lacing, and active, but short-lived carbonation.

Smell: Sweet syrupy malt comes through, with apple yeast and a bit of hop spice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Uniquely steam. Very malty body with a strong, bready yeast flavor on top. Hops blend to create a somewhat perfumed fruitcake taste--you'll know it's Anchor Steam. Anchor's mouthfeel is, not surprisingly, a bit syrupy and creamy, though medium bodied. The finish is slightly bitter and drying. The carbonation is big and rough, but it settles quickly.

Drinkability: It's a good beer, but I'd prefer something a bit more focused and crisp. Still, it's easy to drink and quite tasty.

This is an American classic. The somewhat unusual, non-genre specific flavor might not appeal to all, but it's a well-made, enjoyable brew.

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Photo of palma
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber body with a creamy long lasting tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, brown sugar, and floral with an enticing hoppiness. Taste is caramel malt and some spiced hops. Earthy flavor comes through strong but it's not overpowering. Nice lingering grainy aftertaste. Carbonation a little high. This brew went down surprisingly easy. I would love to try this one on tap. This is a step above their Liberty Ale in my opinion.

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

Had this on draft in a very nice Las Vegas casino, and found it very pleasing. Had it on bottle the next day, and found the draft to be a step above.

Ruby red, with nice carbonation, and a decent head. The lacing was thick, and hung around 'til the very end.

Smells hoppy, but tastes malty. Very smooth, with what seems like a couple different malty flavors very nicely blended together.

Very smooth and a little creamy. Good stuff to drink, I could drink it on tap all day, but from the bottle it benefits from a bit of a chill.

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

This is a staple in Northern California, and a beer I can remember people drinking around me since my early years. Pours a gorgeous copper/amber color with an average, fizzy off-white head and some solid, sticky lacing. The aroma is strong and sweet with some green hops tang underneath and a note that reminds me of banana...though this is not nearly as bizarre as it sounds, and in fact imparts yet another distinctive aspect to an already unique brew. The taste is likewise singular. I get a big maltiness in the beginning that is masterfully balanced with a healthy dose of grassy hops that keeps the brew on the bitter side. The finish is citrusy and slightly minerally, with a hint of the same exotic banana note that is hinted at in the nose. The mouthfeel is good and chewy but refreshing as well. Drinkability is practically unparalleled. This is a must try and a true American icon of a brew.

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

Pours with small white head and amber/bronze body. Very nice color.
Slight malt and hop in smell.
Flavor is satisfying with some slightly roasted malt and smooth but crisp, sharp hop bitterness, and lingering bitter aftertaste. Average mouthfeel for a non-macro, not thick. Good drinkability due to the smooth malt and sharp hop character.

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Photo of RasputinsRevenge
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had forgotten how much I liked this beer before I picked some up at the store this weekend. Appearance was a shade of copper, with a respectable head. The aroma has a pleasant fruity smell to it, along with a slightly burnt malty smell. The taste, mouthfeel and drinkability, are good to very good. This is by no means a "heavy" beer nor a "light" beer, to me, it has an almost perfect balance that makes it not only tastey, but very drinkable - something that I think is not easily achievable in the brewing world. This is one of the breweries and beers that revitalized the craft-brewing industry in America, and it's still making a statement some 30+ years later. If you haven't tried this beer, this humble reviewer highly recommends it!

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

Golden color, nice bubbly head.

Grainy aroma, slight lemon citrus and a touch of sweetness.

Medium body, light sweet and lemon citrus. Hints of toasted malts and caramel flavors. Finishes with a grainy dryness.

A very fine beer, I have converted a couple people to good beer with this and still enjoy it myself.

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Photo of CrescentFresh
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. A very tasty beer. Malt sweetness and mild hop bitterness are present. All flavors blend in well to make this a unique brew. Worth the 7 bones for a sixer. Hard to find in this small town so I have to grab it whenever I see it.

Earns at least 4 out of 5 swills in my opinion.

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

Presents a thick, stable tan head- nicely knit. An appealing rich copper color.

Pleasant to the nose, I found fruity and floral notes and a slight malty sweetness evident.

Great rich initial hit of flavor but it breaks quickly.

I found this bottle true to my distant memory of drinking Anchor Steam some 15 years ago at the brewery in SF. I don't think that they have messed with it or softened it much. (Perhaps as other reviewers have suggested so many more flavor packed brews have hit the streets since these guys blazed a trail).

For me, I'd put this in a 12 pack of classic American beers.
It is drinkable and true.

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Photo of soper2000
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While Anchor is a flagship of American brewing this brew does not do much for me but I love Anchor for doing it as it has provided a stepping stone into the craft brewing world. I cut my teeth on this beer so to speak and still revisit it from time to time. The beer pours a light amber color with a clear head. The smell is nothing spectacular but then again, it's not offensive either. Its taste is initially interesting as the hops struggle to let presence be known. As the bottle is finished it leaves you with just an average feeling. This beer is tons better than BMC but again, it does not do much for me. I must salute Anchor for being a pioneer though and this beer definately has its place in my fridge for the occasional BBQ or for my as of yet to be BA friends

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Photo of jimdkc
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, dark gold color with a white medium-sized head. Very nice looking. Nose was carmel malt with a hint of hops. Taste was more carmel malt at first followed by earthy hops with a touch of subdued grapefruit. I'd say this is more balanced than the Anchor Liberty Ale I reviewed recently. Mouthfeel was OK... pretty high carbonation. High drinkability, goes down easy and nothing offensive about it.

I'd easily choose this over a Bud or Miller, but I don't think I'd seek this out. I do, however, see how this gained popularity back when an American microbrew was a novelty. This would probably be a great gateway beer to lure someone away from macroswill to quality beers!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured clear golden amber. The head was white and did not hang around long, but laced the glass.

The aroma was woodsy Northern Brewer hops and some slight caramel.

The flavor was bitter NBrewer hops with caramel but no sweetness.

The finish was dry and woodsy bitter into the aftertaste. The body was medium.

12 ounce bottle.

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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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