Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
5,999 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: 5,999 |  Reviews: 2,053
Photo of csiewert
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear orange amber color with a finger of foamy white head that leaves a fair amount of lacing as you drink it. The aroma has hints of malty sweetness and a little bit of earthy hops. The taste is similar, with the beer starting with a sweet malty flavor and some honey, and finishing with some earthy hop bitterness. Could use some additional citrus hop flavor to make it a little more complex. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with a slight amount of overcarbonation. Overall a good amber hybrid.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear orange rust colored beer with a gloriously thick head the color of buttermilk. The head rises and falls quickly but a good quarter inch stays for the duration of the beer. Lovely bubbles make their way up from the bottom constantly feeding the head.

The nose is good but not great. Earthy hops and strong sweet grain but they are both slightly stale smelling. Deep in the nose is a touch of dried lemon peel.

Perfectly simple taste that isn't flashy with tons of conflicting flavors. The malts are light sweet and toasted on the lowest setting. The hops are earthy and muted but present in flavor and bitterness albeit light on both counts.

Mouthfeel Is vey smooth and lightly carbonated. A body very easy to deal with and very easy to drink. A nice offering in the steam beer category. Tasty and easy going down, I'll have another one.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pint at Cafe Japango in La Jolla, CA.

Dark golden, a touch of amber, perhaps? Great white head, good retention and good amount of lace. Aroma is underwhelming, grain and whiff of spiciness, but everything is very muted. Taste a bit heartier than an average lager. Refreshing front with a nice amount of carbonation, some unroasted malt in the middle with an understated amount of bitterness. Popcorn after then finish.

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

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: golden orange with 2 finger white head

smell: sweet malts, corn,

taste: caramel, with no aftertaste

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth, light body

Drinkability: Overall a very easy drinkable beer.



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Photo of dogfishandi
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a standard pint glass. bottling code 0NA indicates it was bottled on November 1,2010.

pours out a very nice clear copper/ amber color with a decent amount of carbonation bubbles. a nice one and a half fingers of soapy white foam that slowly faded to a retentive layer that lasted more or less the whole glass. left a lot of sticky lace.

not the most exciting aroma. you can definatly tell its a lager. minerals and hay like grains are the most apparent with just a touch of some lemony citrus and some cooked corn.

again lots of mineral like lager yeast with a nice tasting toasted grain. hops are there just enough to balance, maybe a slight lemon citrus and floral hop flavor. subtle bitterness in the finish.

medium to light in body, carbonation is a tad high. a slightly dry finish.

drinks very easily, an easy session beer with a very easily managable abv. this could be a pivotal beer in converting a BMC drinker to craft. i would come back to this, but IMHO, its only slightly better than say yuengling, but practically double the cost. however, i think every craft enthusiast should atleast try this once.

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Photo of BasementBer
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A great piece of American beer history. Particularly in that this label represents a regional history and a specific time period of industrial manufacturing. To their benefit, Anchor Brewing leaves the story a bit brief and general on the bottle adding to the allure of just how this beer got so cemented in the small-scale brewing milieu.

A: Thick, lasting head with tight bubbles. Consistent lacing around the glass. A light amber (though self described as being a 'deep amber') which doesn't wow me. After 15 minutes, "steam" bubbles still flowing at pace.

S: Initial smell reminds me of Budmilloors, with a slightly more hoppy-sweeter aroma. Smells like cheap beer.

T: Simple, less bitter than I would like, but a seemingly rustic beer cannot afford or be expected to change its recipe to fit modern hop-head cravings. So for this very reason, and the oft reason that this is the only true California Common that gets carried in my neck of the woods, it deserves positive reinforcement.

M: Again, simple. Nothing jumping out here, not even bitterness that speaks dry hopping or freshness. A pale lager taste that barely steps over that base light beer hurdle.

D: Heavy drink-ability in terms of putting back a true bitter beer than most where the hops stands tall and fast. However the staleness of the beer would be hard to go back to if not just looking for "beer" to drink.

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Photo of Portertime
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam Beer is a wonderful quaff poured a crystal clear amber color. Served well chilled out of the fridge in a pint glass. Aromas were of citrus and piney hops in the nose and some caramel malts. The taste gives way to soft citrus and pine hops with a hint of caramel and a biscuity malt quality. A finely complex brew for the price.

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Photo of whisperjet
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a nice clear amber out of the bottle. Well retained finger of foamy white head that leaves good lacing. Really clean looking and bright. Nose is really malty and sweet. Some notes of corn and cereal grain. Tastes corny and light. Kind of wet, like a slightly soggy bowl of cereal; pretty underwhelming I was expecting more. Otherwise goes down smooth. Overall pretty decent. Classic looks-better-than-it-tastes bber

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

Thin layer of white head with an yellow/orange color. Very bubbly around the glass.

Smells a lot of caramel toasted bread and sweet grass. Some earthy hops with a hint of lemon citrus.

A crisp malty citrus hops bite. Light caramel malt body with a well balanced citrus/grassy hops bite to finish. Doesn't finish too dry or bitter. Refreshing.

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

An earthy, simple, drinkable Lager with tiny hints of adjunct.

A: Slightly hazy copper orange body topped with a fairly persistent creamy two finger off white head. Slight clumping in the heat detracts from the score.

S: Dry biscuit malt, hint of diacetyl, spicy hops edge, earthy/musty, sweet apricot/peach, adn a touch of metal, which faded as time passed.

T: Simple buttered biscuit and dusty lager hops, kept light by high carbonation. A hint of adjunct taste was present, but not enough to cry about.

M: Highly carbonated, a bit grainy, and light.

D: The subtle adjunct tones detract from an otherwise simple and enjoyable experience.

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Photo of Homebrew35
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a small one finger white head. Golden copper body. A slight ring of lacing remains. Smells of some earthy hops, carmel, toffee, burnt sugar. Tastes earthy, carmel sweetness, some piney bitterness. There is something off flavored in here that I can oly describe as metalic/tangy. Some mineral water taste and piney lingering bitterness on the finish. Medium light bodied, light carbonation. I could drink two or three of these.

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

This is no longer a wow beer, as it might have been 25 years ago - the craft movement has passed it by in terms of creativity and innovation - but this remains, along with Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, a defining pillar in the craft movement and a wonderfully drinkable beer.

Pours a sunny copper with a huge fluffy white head. The aroma is sharp and tight and malty, with a little stink of herby hops. The flavor is malty, a little sweet and quite grainy - you can almost taste the spent grains from the mash - with a slight hop shimmer and a mild bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth, and the beer finishes grassy and grainy and crisp.

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Photo of obrike
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I've passed this beer up on dozens of occassions...finally broke down and bought a sixer at Sprouts in Round Rock, Texas for $8.50.

Very nice looking beer...amber, light orage...nice dense head on a hard pour with decent lacing.

The smell left me a bit bored...certainly not bad, but nothing really stands out. Clean, crisp, maybe a hint of sweetness, but not much beyond that.

It's funny, upon first sip, i was reminded of a general lager...maybe a PBR...with a bit more sweetness and less adjunct "corn" flavor. Again, not bad, but certainly noththing to write home about.

Nice carbonation, smooth...good, not great.

Drinkability is good, but I don't think I'll buy this again as i'm a bit bored with it, considering I can get a decent IPA at a cheaper price here in Texas. There's no way this should be priced more than any Sierra Nevada sixer.

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

A legend of the craft beer industry from the label to the smooth drinkability. Golden light orange pour leaves an appealing white lace on the glass. Well balanced with crisp hops, earthy tones, lemon, orange, and mild caramel notes and dry hoppy finish. Very pleasant and pure.


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Photo of sendsilk
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decent Beer. I'm not going to bother with the long review as it is a commodity beer available everywhere that I know of.

Decent head, Nice color, smell and taste.

I wanted to hate this beer but found it's citrus and earthy tones are quite acceptable. Tastes like an Orval but easier to drink.

Not bad, a solid B rating from me.

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Photo of zrab11
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- a hazzy orange amber color

S- not much of a smell but definitely get a hint of yeast and corn

T-not a ton of flavor but a slight citrus and goes down easy

M- light boddied with decent carbonation

D- very easy to drink... noting mind blowing but wouldn't mind drinking more for the price. Overall good for its style

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Photo of bventure
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Slightly hazy gold/amber. Tight white head, leves thin film on top to the end.

Not a lot to smell, some fruity grainy malt.

Taste is malt, grain & fruity hops, firm & crisp, some bittereness but not too much. Well balanced and refreshing.

Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation, just right for the taste.

I just tipped up the bottle & was disappointed to find it empty already. This was nice, I want another one. Nothing extreme (thankfully), but faultless. Looks like beer, smells like beer, tastes like beer, had no faults. What mmore can you ask? I'm off to buy some more right now.

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Photo of king75
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- a golden amber orange color with a head that is quickly dissipating.

S-Is pretty generic, can smell corn and grains, nit much else.

T- Is pretty generic as well, can taste the grains and a light trace of hops. Not bad, but not extremely memorable.

M-This one goes down very smooth, light on the palate and has a great crisp, refreshing finish. This one would be great on a hot day.

D- drinkability on this one is great. It is refreshing, light and not over powering. Could easily be used as a session beer.

Notes: This is a very delightful beer, very good example of the style. Would of given this one a better rating but the smell and taste are just not very memorable.

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Photo of ivanwatling
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber coloured, moderate head that reduces to a smooth creamy thin layer.

Smell: Malty, perhaps yeasty, definately a beer LOL

Taste: Subtle with a distinct bitter taste. Not very interesting, but certainly unoffensive.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation, not sure if its too much?

Drinkabilty: Taste light and refreshing, so quite drinkable. Certainly one I would choose if I saw it in a pub and I was in the mood for something light.

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Photo of Brunite
2.44/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice orange/amber color with a decent head.

S - Nothing noteworthy....a slight adjunct lager smell to it.

T - A rather distinct flavor. Not entirely pleasant. Sort of bitter and sour. Almost a bubblegum funkiness.

M - Decent carbonation....light.

D - Hard to get past the flavor. Perhaps this is the style...but I'm not much of a fan.

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

A benchmark brew for all true beer lovers. Rich, complex, balanced, and rewarding. You get it all with this beer: hoppiness, maltiness, slight citrus, strong robust grain, medium-thick mouthfeel, great carbonation, smooth finish, sublime aftertaste, 5% ABV. What more can you say? It's as damn near perfect as a beer can be, and the quality has been consistent since I had my first one 20 years ago. Fantastic.

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

Poured an amber reddish yellow that was good looking in conjunction with the white foamy head that stuck around forever.

Nose was of corn and grain, almost American adjunct lageresque.

Taste was nice and happy to my enormous relief, as the hops came in strong to differentiate this guy from the rest of the field. The same corn stuff was evident, but with the bitterness of the hops to balance, it was a good drink. Didn't get anything specific from the hops, just leafy goodness. Malt was corny (LOL) but nice on this case.

Mouthfeel and drinkability went hand in hand, as the smoothness and dry clean finish lent itself well to both. Need to have more beers in this uncommon style, but good marks for this one.

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Photo of AdamBear
2.09/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A-Amber and bubbly with a thick off white colored head. some lacing

S-has a distinct corn american adjunct lager smell to it. its a weak scent

T-comes in with a strong taste of rice and then transforms in to a really bitter and somehow boozy taste of plastic. The after-taste isn't so bad. It has that barley/corn taste to it. Overall, I am not a fan of this beer. I'm not sure if it is the style or not, but this isn't to my liking...the bitterness is just to odd and strong to be in this beer.

M-strong carbonation but has a light body that reminds me of a BMC drink with a resembling finish as well

D-I'll be honest, this is on the same level as many BMC beers...even the light ones. I don't think I'll ever have another one of these.

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Photo of Crossmd
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours beautifully. Crystal clear amber underneath of an ivory/offwhite head.

Smell- Not much in terms of smell, breads and malts are definitely there, but I really have to try to get it.

Taste is really more complex than I thought it would be, -starts off malty, turns into nutty, and dries down almost sour (in a good way).

Mouthfeel is slightly oily, which I'm not a huge fan of. The "feel" tends to linger longer than I want it to, and I wish that it were a little bit more dry after all was said and done.

Drinkability is not exactly there entirely. I would have to struggle through another of these, and just because I think there's a complexity of taste doesn't necessarily mean that I want another of it.

Overall, absolutely worth it..might have to be in the mood though.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

when tasting this and comparing it to all the mass produced pilsners, you can understand why this is so different. First, the color is a cloudy copper with a creamy white head. And there's actually some flavor to it! Maltiness with some bread notes and a hint of sour in the finish. Perhaps not a world-class beer, but it is certainly an American classic and gets bonus points for the history and revolution it helped to spawn.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 5,999 ratings
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