Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,086 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: 6,086 |  Reviews: 2,080
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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Photo of Rutager
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a very nice, nearly clear, rich amber-gold with over a finger of frothy white head that leaves some bands of lace.

Smell. Toasted caramel malts with a little grassy hops and yeast.

Taste. Caramel, nice hop bite, but not especially bitter, good toasty grains. Not too shabby!

Mouthfeel. Lighter than medium body with pretty smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. Nice. Tastes like what I would think adjunct brewers are going for. Too bad they're so cheap and don't make mainstream beer taste good like this.

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Photo of Rschis16
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear light orange beer with lots of visible carbonation and a nice and sticky, white sea foam head with great retention. Very aromatic, with smells of crisp lemon and light wheat malts coming up to the nose. Maybe a touch of orange. Very pleasant.

The taste is unique in its blend of bitterness and maltiness. The bitterness is quick and clean, but gritty in the end. The wheat malts come in and fill in the cracks, making the taste very full. The bitterness is sharp and poignent, leaving a very dry finish and a slightly bitter aftertaste. There is a lemon rind zest that brings the flavor full-circle and gives the beer its character. All the flavors are right on, but somehow the mouthfeel seems slightly too carbonated, making it fizzy in the mouth. The other aspects of the mouthfeel are dead on though, perfectly dry and crisp.

This is one of those beers that other beers of this style get compared too. I really enjoy this one and will always take one if offered, and will still buy on occasion.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a copper color, w/ an off white head. Average carbonation and lacing.

S- Malt, grain, slight fruit... Fairly weak, I'd like the nose to be a little stronger, even for the style.

T- Same general profile as the smell. Not bad for the style, but not exactly great either, thus the score. Some yeast in the taste as well.

M- Fairly malty w/ a bitter tinge to it. Full bodied for the style.

O- Not crazy about this one, but it's better than BMC products. Not recommended at this time.

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

Poured a beautiful light amber color. Smell is incredibly sweet; malts, caramel and strong honey. Taste is extremely light, smooth and sweet with some balancing hop citrus zest and bitterness. An incredibly unique beer, as well as incredibly refreshing. There's a good reason why it's been such an influential, pioneering brew.

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Photo of DrewSnyc667
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a 16 oz shaker pint

A - Deep copper color. Small head that is non existent very early into the beer. Very little activity

S - Robust malt up front, caramel, sugar, plum. Slight acidity in the back

T - Surprisingly light. The nose gets you ready for a heavy, malty brew but the hops are really prevalent and snap the beer to a nice clean finish

M - Could use some more bubbles, leaves enough of noticeable alcoholic finish that is less than desirable

O - Not a bad brew at all, very similar to an amber lager. With that being said not my first choice in the variety, but a craft classic and worth a a try.

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

How on earth have I avoided reviewing this beer for so long? 22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Color is fantastic, clearish honey and maple, but the head retention leaves something to be desired and this glass ain't dirty.

Aroma is muted, a bit nutty, kind of an English Pale Ale thing going on. Hop bitterness is really only apparent in the finish, flavors really don't exist in the traditional sense of the word, just more of an overall sort of feeling.

A true classic, a proto-craft beer if you will and really something worth revisiting after a long absence or a couple of times a week for sipping, either way you are in good company with this beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Review from notes:

Pours an amber color with a large off white head which has great retention. Smell is of bready / bisquity malts with a little hops. Feel is medium to light. The taste is pretty good, you get the wave of bisquit / bready matls up front with some hop bitterness at the end, its followed by a weird lingering after taste which is hard to describe, perhaps metallic. Overall this is a pretty tasty beer and one I'll get again.

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

A: Pours well. Nice light amber, good sign of great malts
S: Not as malty as I'd like, but still a solid nose with light notes of biscuit, bread, and very light florals
T: Very light, with some roasted malt/biscuit flavors. Hopped just enough to round the finish on the palette.
M: Solid mouthfeel: well carbonated, thick but light, and very well rounded with a nice pairing between the roasted malt and hops
O: Just a great all around beer. It's one of the standard "go to" brews in our fridge. A solid example of the quality that comes from Anchor. Love this beer

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,086 ratings