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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,019 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: 6,019 |  Reviews: 2,057
Photo of shawnsmith1
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden amber into a tulip glass. 1/2" ivory head disappears quickly.

S: Estery. Up front pear, followed by candied orange peel. Pleasing and promising.

T: Rich bready malts on a backbone of hop bitterness which lingers well into the finish. Well balanced.

M: Medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Finishes long with a satisfying hop bitterness.

O: Well balanced and refreshing--an easy session beer.

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Photo of dansmcd
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky amber topped by a creamy one finger of white head. Curls of lacing follow.

S - Wheat, berries, honey.

T - Nice balance of barley malt at the front with the hop bitterness at the back end. Smooth and very tasty.

M - Smooth, medium body and just the right carbonation.

O - Yep, it's a classic. Rich in flavour, handsome, sessionable, affordable. Great beer.

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

Poured from two 12oz bottles into my Moonlight shaped pint glass.

Brilliantly clear safety orange liquid is capped by a half finger of active seashell foam, fed by a fury of rising micro-bubbles. Decent lacing and retention.

Faintly sweet caramel notes in the nose along with lightly toasted pale malt. Herbal notes hint at sage and wet wood.

Malty palate entry with a grassy hop note for contrast. Grainy/tangy finish vaguely suggesting triticale, oats, with hints of bitter melon. Clean and medium-dry overall. Lager-ish...

Light-bodied, well carbonated, and just slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Defines the style, so rating to style is almost redundant. Uniquely crafted session-able ale that immediately brings to mind foggy Summer mornings in The City. Not often craved, but when I'm in the mood for it, little else will do.

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

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into my Cheers drinking mug. Let's watch some baseball.

A) A nice looking amber, maybe more of a light amber. There was about a quarter inch of off white head, which settled into spotty coverage, with some patchy lacing.

S) Malt, light hops, a bit grassy/leafy.

T) Malt, some Ritz cracker, hops, some grass. A slightly bitter dry finish. Very nice....

M) This is crisp and clean. The body is medium/light, with decent carbonation. This is smooth and has a good finish.

O) Haven't had this in a while, and I have to say, this is a highly enjoyable brew, that is plenty easy to drink. I can see why this is an old reliable for many a craft beer drinker.

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

A: Pours a clear tawny with a finger of off-white head.

S: Roasted malt and light hops. A hint of fruitiness.

T: Light malt, fruity esters and mild hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Heavier side of medium body with good carbonation.

O: Not my favorite style of beer, but a well done beer.

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

Reviewed from notes - hadn't had one in a while.

A - Bright copper color with golden undertones, thick creamy off white head settles slowly leaving moderate lacing

S - Subtle malt aromas suggest bread and caramel, but not too sweet

T - Initially clean and light malty flavors with a slight sweetness. Moving into a bitter to dry middle and finish with quinine notes

M - bright and clean, medium feel from the steady carbonation

O - Very drinkable old standby

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

I hadn't had this beer in over ten years. Recently I was watching Michael Jackson's show "The Beer Hunter" and in an episode he goes to Anchor's brewery and meets the former owner. After hearing him speak about the beer I had to give it another try.

It's better than I remember. There's a nice malt taste and light hop flavor, though not overly bitter.

This beer is often priced in the $13.50 range for a six pack in the NY area but if you do some looking you can find it for $11.99 some places. Kind of a lot but it's a more special beer than I remember.

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Photo of montecristo2
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A very drinkable offering from Anchor Steam-their signature beer that got them all started!

Pours a clear light amber color. Decent head, two fingers of thick bubbles. Head dissipates pretty fast leaving nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is faint- I get some malt/bread. Light citrus.

Taste is a nice blend of malt and hops-maltiness is a bit more pronounced, but the hop bite is there in the finish.

A great session beer-an awesome choice for a drinkable, solid beer that you can drink often or save for your own stash!


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

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a bright, crisp golden copper with a thick, frothy and creamy white head.

Nose is gentle but nice, slightly citric and fruity hops on top of a light grainy malt base. A little earthy, almost cocoa powder character underneath. Sweet on the whole.

Suprising on the palate, with chocolate-covered oranges and an earthy, somewhat tannic dark fruit character. Fruit blend flavor includes a muddled earthy-but-tart raspberry note, and subtle lime. Finishes with a dry yeasty twang.

Fullish in body, quite well carbonated, somewhat scrubbing. It's been perhaps four years since I first had Anchor Steam, and I had no real memory of this beer. A bit muddled on the whole. Certainly not bad, but I'm not a huge fan.

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

I think this is an overall good beer. The color, head and taste are higher than average. Not only that, the bottle itself is unique. The bottle is cute. This beer tastes a little sweet first, then a little straightly bitter taste late.

Color is darker than more pale amber which looks great. The bottle is dark brown. I think serious beer makers all use brown bottle.

Good head, though not really last long.

Good amount of carbonation; you really can taste it.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip. Foggy orange pour with a quarter inch foam cover that settles to a steady thin surface film. Lacing is minimal.

Smell is faint spice, must, and yeast.

Skinned fleshy apples with a moderate and pleasant hop bite and sweet floral kiss on the finish. Not overly complex, but really clean and rounded.

Medium bodies and very lush and creamy. The highlight of this beer for sure. A real pleasure to drink.

This beer just hit all the right buttons for me tonight. Having previously enjoyed this on many occasions, I have tended to overlook this as it's readily available in a world of the elusive hunt and desire to seek out more limited or exciting beers. Not really overly complicated or vivid, but really well executed.

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Photo of pBRale
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

Appearance: Crystal clear deep amber color. Big frothy beige head that settled quickly, leaving a light, delicate lacing. A beauty.

Smell:Maltiness with faint caramelly notes and a hint of alcohol on the nose. I also pick up a light whiff of hops, perhaps herbal.

Taste:Caramel up front (just a hint of sweetness, not overpowering), followed by well balanced hops that lead to a nice crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, perfectly carbonated, crisp (yet not drying) finish on the mouth. A genuine pleasure to drink.

Overall: An excellent drinking beer with wonderful mouthfeel, although I was expecting more flavor. On the whole, a good beer.

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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 TheBrewo
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew was served to us from draught at The Distillery in Victor, NY. It arrived in a pint glass and shone a pale golden nut brown color. It held a one finger creamy white head that retained decently, to leave bits of lacing around the glass. There was minimal haze, with no sediment, and a light carbonation noted. The aroma was of sweeter grain. This hid a mild fruitiness, and a rather pronounced licorice note. This sweetness was enhanced by faint esters. Finally, on the back, there was a tomato acidity, acetylaldehyde, and a white wine vinegar to cut the original dextrins. As we sipped, we began with grains and a licorice flavoring, as was present in the nose. This was sickly sweet for a start. The middle exhibited a huge grainy quality, with much of it coming across as cheap-beery adjuncts. Here, too, there was cooling vanilla, and mild phenolic esters. This helped smooth the transition to a bitter end, given by grain and black pepper burns of alcohol. The aftertaste breathed of the malt bill, bitter booze, light bananas, and a spice of booze. The body was medium and the carbonation was medium. The feel was quite hollow, with a steely dryness to it. With each sip came a stickiness, but again, this faded into a drying coininess. The abv was appropriate and the beer drank as more of a sipper, due to the contrast between bitter and sickly sweet throughout the tasting.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the look. The coloring was deep, rich, and dark, with a nice frame of a head. Where we lost points was in the adjuncty grain through the middle, which became harsh at times. Despite this, the licorice vibe as a primary source of sweetness was something that kept the drinker interested, and coming back for more.

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Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle review dated 5/13/2009.

I am not the biggest fan of California Commons, but this is reasonable stuff if not too exciting. The beer that started it all.

Copper-brown color with a small off-white head. Malty aroma, very bready and somewhat earthy.Very smooth and malty with muted hops. I do not know how some people pick out 10 different flavors in this beer - I do not find it that complex. Very drinkable though.

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

A: Pours a clear copper color with a very foamy three finger head upon pouring. Great retention, slowly reducing to one finger for the majority of the time drinking, leaving behind thick lacing down the sides. Lots of bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Very biscuity. There is a strong malt sweetness and a light amount of hops and bit of spice. Upon warming a bit of grainy malt begins to come forward.

T: The taste is similar to the aroma, rather biscuity mixed with some sweetness. There is some light fruit and a little bit of spice and a slightly bittersweet finish.

M: Very smooth, medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Goes down very easy.

O: An extremely drinkable beer, the classic in its style. I don't drink it often, but when I want it, its always there.

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

I had this in a water glass. This hampered the head I could get from the beer. So when I say the head was minimal, it may have been due to the glass.

The beer is a hazy, orange color. I don't see any particulates, but the coloration would indicate the presence of some matter for the hazyness.

This Steam smells like apricots and floral. It is very light.

It tastes good as well. The flavors were pretty light. It worked well for a warm summer afternoon.

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Photo of bpw28
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Finger white head, orange/amber color (about a 18 SRM), good lacing, steady carb can be seen.

Smell: Malty, bright floral, fruit undertones, slight pine.

Taste: Malty forward, very nice floral finish, yeasty punch on the tail. Good hop presence, just enough bite to let you know its there. Some fruity, but it might be a mix of the floral with the yeast that is making me think that. Good mouth, good carb.

Final Thoughts: Good.

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

Bottle into pint glass
A – 2 finger cream colored head on top of a moderate to well carbonated clear brownish amber, good retention with a ¼” layer of foam still left on top with lacing nearly all around 4
S – Caramel malts & mild grasses with a note of musty 3.5
T – Semi-sweet malts, bitterness that I will call herbal & slightly lemon zest. A well balanced beer. Crisp and clean finish. 4
M – Lighter medium body with (more than?) ample carbonation 3.5
O – Have not had an AS for years, what a fun rediscovery for me. Very good drinkability, and a very well rounded malt & hop profile brought a smile & memories my San Fran apt. A quality beer. 4

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

Pours a clear orange with small white head that dissipates quickly.

Smells of sweet malt, honey, that lager yeast strain, which is slightly fruity.

Initial taste is sweet, clean, crisp, slightly roasty and fruity. The yeast strain really defines this beer.

Medium bodied with higher carbonation.

Similar to a blonde ale, this beer is sweeter, crystal malt combined with lager yeast, making is crisp and clean without any real hop profile beyond aroma.

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Photo of LeafCutter
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour - A clear light amber. Nice thick head with good retention. minimal to no lacing on glass.

Smell - Smell a slightly sweet citrus with a noticeable yeast. Toward the bottom of the glass I began to smell hints of honey.

Taste - A quick bite of tangy fruit, and a moderately bitter finish with a mellow malt/yeast end note. Throughout the taste there is a dry sweetness that is enjoyable and not too overwhelming. Despite the lack of carbonation in looks, it has a very pleasant bubbly feel on the tongue, that again has a bit of a zang.

Overall- It was a good beer, not great, but good. The beer has a great balance. The sweetness is very consistent throughout the taste and provides a nice balance with that fruity "zing". Adding to the balance, the bitterness is more than I was expecting (in a good way). Because it has decent flavors, I may buy again if it went on sale. Otherwise nothing really stood out to write home about.

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

Tangy and effervescent. A little cloudy in color and very refreshing with a little bitterness too boot. Used to see it regularly but not so much in my neck of the wood anymore. Gotta look for it. Makes the big houses taste like water by comparison. They make a great porter too!

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours with much fizzing and crackling thanks to the healthy amount of carbonation in the beer. The head grows with a heavy tumbling of bubbles under the surface and the stiff head grows to three fingers.

The head falls to about one finger of egg - white foam, still very thick, leaving behind a sticky lace. It’s a bright amber color with golden highlights. Healthy pillars of carbonation escaping to the top. Great!

Smell: The mild fruitiness is definitely there, stewed dark berries with wheat. The hop bitterness of the beer is also present in the sniffs taken. The wheat barley provides the hearty back bone. Everything so far has been a great build up to the drink.

Taste: The flavor profile is very robust. The malt is balanced well with the hops in the beer. In fact, the malt is at the forefront of the sip and provides a wheat and slightly fruity flavor, black berries and raspberries. But as soon as it’s there the hop bitterness finishes the drink and provides a second shot of the barley wheat in the finish.

The flavors do not stick around long; have to take a quick second drink to keep the taste profile going. I wish that the malt and fruity flavors from the nose stuck around to the finish, and didn’t give way to the wheat flavor.

There’s an unbecoming cereal, wheat flavor that shows in the finish when the beer warms. That bit of the beer, at least, was disappointing.

Mouth feel: The malt and hops are balanced on a tight rope, making for a refreshing and rewarding finish. It is a fine crafted beer, and thus, a mouth feel like one would imagine: medium bodied, and smooth.

Overall: The beer looks and smells great. Once you taste it, some of that luster is taken away, but it is still a solid beer. It’s very refreshing, and what I think a good beer with this barley wheat back bone should taste like.

Make sure you drink this thing at a lower temperature, warming really doesn’t do it any favors.

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Photo of stjaernstoft
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam Beer, ABV: 4.8%.
355 ml bottle, 18.50 SEK at Systembolaget.

A: The liquid is bright amber in colour. The head is slightly off-white, and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: A nice, balanced aroma of burnt malt and fruity hops, mixed with rye bread, toffee and even some bananas.

T: Heavenly smoked, bitter flavours with a fair share of both malt and hops. I also get bread and hints of oranges, toffee and wood. This is nothing but a well-balanced pleasure.

M: The body is medium to large, the bitterness is large (but not aggressive), and a warming feeling spreads during the whole experience - minutes later it really tastes like candy in my mouth.

O: This is a very enjoyable and balanced beer, with an extra smokey twist. I'll drink this as it is, or perhaps with smokey sausages. I want more!

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Photo of dbaker61
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber color with about a finger of white dense head. Generous lacing.

Smell: Slight citrus, sweetness.

Taste: Malt sweetness is a bit more up front than the hops flavors, but it is well balanced. Bitterness is smooth, not harsh.

Mouthfeel: Great balance of carbonation and lingering flavors. Slightly dry finish.

Overall: Very drinkable. It has been too long since I had this beer. Defines the Steam Beer style.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,019 ratings
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