Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,049 Ratings
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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Ratings: 6,049 |  Reviews: 2,066
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Pours huge pale yellow seafoam head with low stick and good retention. Slightly hazy copper body.

Smell - Banana. Corn meal. Mild muskiness.

Taste - Corn and alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Light, fluffy. Almost creamy but the alcoholic astringency washes prevents it from showing much. Somewhat sticky.

Overall Drinkability - This is the grandaddy of Steam Beers, so it almost can't get a bad grade here since I'm rating by style. It's somewhat enjoyable but despite even my infatuation with the city of San Francisco, I cannot convince myself to say this is a particularly good beer. Good in style, perhaps, but overall I don't find it all that special. Except for the fact that I first had this beer on my honeymoon in SF. But even nostalgia can't sway me here.

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Photo of JustinAniello
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber with a two finger light and foamy head. Dissipates to a nice cap and lacing that clings to the sides.

S - Malt with a spiced fruit, almost like an apple cider. A mild citrus in the background.

T - Sweet caramel at first, followed by a lightly sour apple, decent breadiness as well. Slight bitterness from the hops as well.

M - Medium body with decent carbonation, nice and crisp.

O - A pretty decent beer, which one would expect from a signature beer like this. My only dislike is a sourness that seems to stick through the aftertaste. Still, a nice flavor that flows with the feel well.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark clear amber with a bit of white head.

Smell is heavy on the malt side with a touch of fruitiness. Grains and cereal come through with a little sweetness.

Taste follows the nose with layers of malt fading into a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard and well carbonated.

Overall this is a decent flagship beer from Anchor. I'm anxious to see what else they have.

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

A: The beer is a medium amber color with a one finger head that dissipates quickly.

S: The smell is good and maltly but is not that strong. If there was more to it with more hoppy character then it would be fantastic.

T: The taste is great. This is one of the first great beers that I had so I will always like this beer. There is significant hop, citrus, malt, and caramel flavors present in this beer and the do a good job at balancing each other out.

M: The mouthfeel is good. There is average viscosity but the carbonation bumps up the rating on the mouthfeel of this beer.

O: This is a very good beer and if you have the opportunity to buy this beer (preferably on tap) then do so.

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Photo of ericj551
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam pours a bright copper with a nice but small white head. The aroma is light and slightly caramel malt, with a slight, fruity tinge. The flavor is nicely malty without being too sweet. There is a nice, bready, buscuity malt character. More caramel, and some slightly dark, raisiny fruitiness are balanced by a mild hop bitterness. Some mild herbal hops pop through in the finish. There is an odd, slightly sour, estery flavor in the finish.

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

The flagship beer from an iconic brewery. This pours a autumn-straw burnt toast color with a generous amount of foam. Great nose, with a muted maltiness. I pick up a light malty sweetness with a bit of a dark biscuit on the taste. The effervescence keeps it light, with a crisp, dry finish. An old favorite and a classic standby.

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Photo of MEsoJD
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[poured into Lagunitas mason jar]

B: [12 fl oz] Attractive bottle with a vintage feel. Labels contain a lot of info except abv seems to be missing, and nice paper smooth paper texture that retains quality. Contains one the most impressive caps I've ever come across with blue for the majority and gold for the logo and lettering.

A: An amber/copper body with a somewhat fluffy head(fast dissipation), and adequate lacing.

S: Not much to the smell. Piney/bready malt dominates, with faint caramel/fruit.

T: Fruity lemon citrus presence much more apparent with faint caramel sweet malt, ending with light bitter hops. Also that bready/toasty sense starts to come out with a few more sips.

M: Crisp and dry finish, hardly no alcohol presence, medium bodied, and medium carbonation.

O: Quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this beer. I usually prefer dark/heavy beers, but this was satisfying. It has a very good flavor profile for a light beer. I happen to pick only one bottle, but I wish I got a 6-pack. I would recommend this to any beer drinker. I also see this appropriate for almost any drinking occasion. Cheers!!!

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

A: Pours a bright coppery orange with visible carbonation and a big, pillowy, cream-coloured head of dense meringue-like foam. Good retention, gradually settling to a cap of creamy foam and leaving loads of frothy lacing.

S: Sweet and bready caramel malts with fresh, slightly spicy fruitiness - a touch of clove, banana, and citrus, orange-like. Leafy, floral hops round things out.

T: Light, bready malts with a fresh grain undertone and a burst of fresh, lightly sweet fruitiness. Spicy and citric hops mingle with biscuity malts towards the swallow. Mild, rather ale-like yeastiness throughout.

M: Medium-to-light-bodied; it's tricky to judge due to the high, lively, yet smooth carbonation. Either way, it never feels gassy and drinks like a dream, the enduring citric bitterness of the finish constantly nudging you towards another sip.

D: Beautifully balanced, flavourful, and very sessionable; it isn't hard to see why this one has such a fine reputation.

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Photo of MsRif
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the first craft brew that I ever had, so it'll always hold a special place in my liver.

Poured from a bottle. Copper color with a white head that mostly dissipates. Minimal lacing. Aroma was that of earthy notes and citrus. Tasted of funky wheat, malts and citrus. Light to light-medium in body with moderate carbonation. Drinkable, but I wouldn't have more than one once in awhile. Still a good beer!

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Photo of barleyroad
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark gold in appearance, slight cloud to this beer. The smell has a nice hop to it that is very close to the overall taste. Very clean mouthfeel, hits the mouth and leaves nicely. Will remind you of a Pale ale. The taste is nicely hopped and sits nice in the mouth. Overall we like this beer and find it very drinkable and one to have in the fridge. Will go with any type of bar food, we think some good wings.

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Photo of cmq103
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a freshly tapped 1/6th keg into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This had a nice light, hazy golden color with a decent 1/2" head that didn't mind sticking around. Lacing was spot-on, literally...

Smell: An initial caramel, malty, fruity nose. I know it's not a Hefeweizen, but I clearly picked up banana in the aroma. This is a good thing for me since I enjoy the Hefeweizen style. I just wasn't expecting banana in this "steam" beer. No booziness at all. I can tell already this is going to be a good session beer.

Taste: Again, light caramel, malt and mild citrus hops. Not bittering at all, with a hint of sweetness to it, making it an easy drinking beer with great flavor.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was a perfect match to the nice, clean finish.

Overall: I would recommend this for anyone looking for a session beer that doesn't take a backseat in the flavor department. This will make my kegerator again in the future for sure.

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Photo of Valmor88
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A bright golden appearance in the glass. Two to three fingers of white head that reduces quickly. Very nice lacing left over.

S: Bready-sweet malts are the first thing I notice, with some spices and fruity aromas as well. Hops are detectable, but don't run the show like the malts.

T: Big flavor, there is a lot going on here. The bready malts come in first again, leading way to some fruity essences. There is some roasted toffee flavor that hits right before the finish, which was nice and bitter.

M: Medium-light bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Definitely a good beer. There is a lot going on with it. This is one of the first beers to which I introduce my non-beer-loving friends.

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Photo of ricke49
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the most satisfying (in terms of taste) under 5% ABV that I can recall drinking.

It is a great 'go-to' when your seeking interesting, complex opposed to gettin' a buzz.

Predominate malt profile, but with enough hop finish to let you know you're consuming something special.

A great beer to sip on a warm Fall afternoon.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- This brew has a very nice golden color, that is ever so slightly chill hazed. The head is impressive at first, taking up a good third of my beer glass, but I have to note that it really settles does finally settle down to a thick film over the brew. Lacing appears to be excellent, as there is a great deal of small patchy foam clinging to my glass. Carbonation appears to be mild and fine looking...a very decent looking beer!

S- There is a medley of aromas going on here...I detect a good strong malt presence, along with some Earthy spice, some floral notes as well as some fruit...almost a blend of banana and citrus zest. The finish is of fresh hop bitterness. Very nice smelling!

T- Following the aromas quite closely, this is a very flavorful beer. The malt beginnings give way to some banana fruit, especially after it warms a bit, as well as some caramel/toffee notes. The finish is pleasantly fresh and shows some great bittering hop presence! A very nicely balanced beer from start to finish!

M- While this is still a light bodied beer in my opinion, it leans towards medium. The carbonation, while plentiful, is finely tuned and doesn't take away from anything. This is a very refreshing, flavorful brew overall!

O- I can't recall ever having Anchor Steam prior to this review, which surprised me, but regardless, this is a very enjoyable beer, which I will be sure to pick up again in the future. It's very well rounded beer and probably one of the tastiest lagers a person will find. It has shades of an English Ale, which is what I think is drawing me to it so well. Highly recommended!

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Photo of pmsawyer
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in 22 ounce bottle.

A - Medium amber clear. Good off white head that lasted well.

F - Moderate malt with a strong hop bitterness. Moderately high hop flavor Finish was dry and crisp, lingering hop bitterness and had a solid malt flavor.

T - Medium bodied higher than average carbonation.

Excellent refreshing brew.

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Photo of tony223366
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From my beer journal. Reviewed on June 21, 2011

A: Copperish red color that's mostly clear. Really nice white head that unfortunately didn't last forever. But it still looked good.

S: I'm getting some spice and a nice malty breadiness

T: Tastes a lot like the smell. Lightly spiced flavor up front with a really nice maltiness backbone. The fruits and caramel add a lot to the beginning and there's actually some bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, light to medium body

O: This beer had fantastic balance and I could see myself drinking this at any bbq anytime ever. Tasty!

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Photo of Holland
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear orangish amber color with a one finger head. Full of fizz, this keeps its head for a while, but the bubbles are gigantic and leave a froth.

S: smells of malt, alcohol, slight fruity or sourness. I'm put off a bit by the alcohol, especially at less than 5% ABV.

T: tastes of malt, fruity/sourness, some bitterness. Interesting and more complex than I had figured.

M: smoother than the carbonation level indicates, but it does have a crisp feeling for a while. Nice feeling, great summer beer.

O: cool style, I've never had it before. I love a complex lager, and the yeast gives some itneresting flavor. This is available all over and fairly delicious - recommended as a gateway beer at the very least.

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

straight from fridge, poured into a pint glass.

A- Deep amber with no haze. White foamy head that eventually dissipates but lacing persists.

S- caramel malts and hops. Toasty. Mild bread smell.

T- Sweet malts are upfront and the bittering hops come through at the end. Notes of bread crust is detectable.

M- Medium to high carbonation, full bodied but still makes for an easy session beer.

Overall a really great flavorful beer. Don't have too much experience with a California Common style beer but this seems to really fit the bill.

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Anchor... 3/3 in my book. Being a huge fan of their porter and Humming Ale, I was very excited to try the Stream right where it's made: San Francisco.

Pours a bright, sunny orange with a nice foamy head. Smell is malts and citrus. Well-balanced, very easy drinking beer which is perfect for the warmer months.

Def a good choice.

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Photo of Dmbhawker
4.88/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Apperance-copper/amberish very clear and clean. Creamy head that lasts
Aroma-malty, raisins, sweet.
Taste-malty, sweet, toasty, caramelly, hop bitterness comes through after you swallow,
Mouthfeel-smooth mild carbonation
Overall- first tasting of this style, will definitely drink some more!


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Photo of homebrew311
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a medium amber with a dense creamy 1 finger head, great head retention, very clear

S: rich caramel, bread, grain, a touch of honey come through. Very malty on the nose, smells nice.

T: taste starts out somewhat sweet, notes of raisin and caramel to start, this works up to a slight hop bitterness on the finish. Nice and full flavored.

MF: high carbonation, refreshing

O: this is a highly drinkable brew that I often overlook. It is full over flavor and has a nice refreshing balance.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright…I’m not quite sure what a California Common is, but I know that Anchor Steam is the model for the style. The label says “deep amber color, thick creamy head, and rich flavor,” so I feel like this is something I’d enjoy – I like all of those things!

A: Awesome shine; deep amber is right. And the head really is thick and creamy – there’s sticky white lacing everywhere. So far, their assessment of the beer is accurate. Let’s check out this nose…

S: It’s bright, that’s for sure; mostly in a light macro-wheat taste. Sort of skunky, with just a hint of natural fruitiness. There’s some creamy malts there, too, coming off in a sugary amber way; banana, baked breads, and a bit of cinnamon-sugar. Pretty mild; pretty average.

T: Upon first taste, it comes off as yet another macro-lager: lacklust wheats and yeast. It’s definitely growing on me after a few sips in, though. The hops start to come out, thankfully, with a lemony tang – not as big as a pale ale, but good and bitter. Malts and yeast are like the nose: banana bread and the slightest hint of dark sugars. Aftertaste is bready, showing some slight smoked bitters. A balanced, decently interesting palate.

M: Very light – the body’s gone as soon as you let it sit for a second. Smooth, and just a tad bubbly.

O: A unique American lager. I’m really glad to see our country representing in the lager game, especially with a style all our own. Lager doesn’t mean “boring beer;” in fact, some of my absolute favorite beers are lagers (mostly German, though). Nice going, Anchor Steam – gotta love good beer with good history.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass:

A - Pours a tawny/burnt orange color with a creamy 3 finger head. Retention is solid and there's a fair amount of lacing.

S - Citrus hops balanced by a sweet, clean malty aroma. Quite mild.

T - Rather muddy. Tangy citrus notes and subtle bread notes. Disappointing, really.

M - Dry and highly carbonated. Doesn't do any flavors justice either.

D - As the prototype common/steam beer, I was pretty disappointed. Not a bad beer, but not what I was expecting.

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Photo of hmf05
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear deep gold color with a three finger pillowy head. There are tons and tons of tiny bubbles rising to the top. Looks very nice in the glass. Smells of caramel, toasted malt, and grassy hops. Nothing wildly complex, but it smells good. The taste is mostly toasty and caramel malts. It finishes with pleasant grassy hops. Mouthfeel is light to medium and the carbonation is pretty high. This is one hell of a drinkable beer. Overall, incredible for the style. Light and refreshing, yet still maintains a rich flavor throughout. Highly recommended.

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

This is what first brought my attention to American craft beer and my first purchase of said, I'm always on the look out for Anchor beer now :D

The bottle is a real beauty and pours out a crisp looking beer of golden hue with a lovely head.

The taste is near perfect with a hoppy bite and malty finish
it the kind of taste that you probably would put into a taste dictionary under beer, does that make sense lol.

Effortlessly drinkable yet hugely tasty and always welcome

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,049 ratings