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 ocelot2500
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a tight white head that leaves rings of lacing.

Smells of toasted malts and earthy hops.

Tastes of earthy hops upfront followed by rich malts. Hops have an earthy and herbs. Bitterness is low. Malts add a bit of bread and fruit with a small amount of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, a beer that is the classic example of the style, but is not the end all.

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Photo of samie85
3.31/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes; originally 5/29/11.

A-Served in a pint glass with a robust, clear, amber color with a 1/2 finger head.

S-Fruity ale esters with caramel malt and light clean hops.

T-Crisp, fruity notes with a dry bitterness and caramel malt base.

M-Moderate carbonation with a medium body and a pretty dry feel.

D-Very drinkable and my introduction to the style; a light but complex beer.

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

Poured to a SA snifter glass.

Pours a dark reddish brown, chestnut, with a 1 finger head that laces around the glass quickly. Maple syrup on the smell, sweet malt, sugary much like a Bock. Sweet sugars on the tongue caramel, very grainy lager taste a tad bitter on the finish. The feel light and dry. Very enjoyable beer, has alot of good characteristics that are hybrid from other styles.

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Photo of bryehn
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found in Ottawa, Canada. Listed as 4.8% with a BB of March 2013.

Pours a pretty golden-amber colour with a moderate tan head that doesn't leave any lace, but sticks around as a long-lasting film.

Sort of a fishy freshwater tone to the aroma at first. Tried in three glasses rinsed with different water to be sure. Once that wears off, there is a sweet malty aroma with a very subtle fruit backing and a dry grassiness to it. More honey-like sweetness comes through after warming.

Mostly sweet malts, then a well-balanced bitterness. Some raspberry-like fruity notes as it warms. Pretty mild, very stock ale-ish

Crisp but creamy on the tongue, but light-bodied overall. Slightly malty on the aftertaste, also has a mineral sharpness that reminds me of tonic water.

Love the look, description on the bottle and would love to try it fresh. However it's a bit too mild for my regular tastes, especially at the price in Ontario.

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

pours a clean copper penny color, rocky carbonation and a thick white foam head with decent lacing.

Distinct malt characteristics along with earthy subtle grassy notes. Slightly floral and as I let the beer warm i can pick out some mild caramel characteristics.

Very unique its crisp like a lager but dry, with a very distinct west coast hop background like an IPA. Malty and bitter up front with a satisfying dryness at the end. very unique I must say.

In a class of its own I'm very pleased with this beer and I will recommend it to others

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a brilliant golden orange with a fluffy white head that leaves sticky lacing all over the glass walls. Carbonation is lively and head retention's excellent.

Smell is sweet with notes of honey and biscuit, along with some fruity esters and a floral hop edge. Flavor is bitter at first, with some citrus elements, leading to sweet, grainy, honeyed notes. Finish is bone dry, and quite refreshing.

Overall, this light to medium bodied beer is one of the great session brews to come out of the States. A classic all in it's own, this tasty brew is one for the ages.

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Photo of suspect
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

A: Crystal clear, pure orange, slightly light amber in color. Mildly aggressive pour leads to a huge fluffy 3 finger, super creamy head that disappears in under a minute. Lacing is spotty but present and sticks to the glass.

S: Citrus forward (lemony), the yeast is ultra present as well. Malt backend is present, yet subdued.

T: Unlike the smell, it's malt-forward as opposed to citrusy-hop forward. However, the hops are definitely present here. Lager-yeast is present on the backend.

M: Creamy, medium bodied, perfectly carbonated. Sticky mouthfeel.

O: What can I say? It's Anchor Steam. It's phenomenally unique. This is one of my go-to beers pretty much anytime.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint. Pale see-thru amber with a quickly reducing head, but a skim hangs on tenaciously.

Smells bready, metallic and a bit earthy. Flavor profile starts there, only more intense. Bitter to near astringency, which contributes to a bone dry finish. Raw and spicy. Ample carbonation fluffs it up to a fuller feel than anticipated. Mildly sweet, moderately toasty, exceedingly grainy. Nothing wrong with revisiting a classic now and then, nope.

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

Purchsed on visit to Laurel MS. Purchased at Corner Market.
Pours hazy orange with a full off white head with very good retention and side glass lacing.
Aroma: Earthy malts, with a tinge of yeasty breads. Some citrus / lemon hops.
Nothing dominates, well balanced.
Taste is a little sweet to start, then you get a dry bitter bite for an enjoyable finish.
Very drinkable, would like to do a full session with these.

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Photo of vrushing88
2.33/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer on tap last night.

It presented with a dark golden color, with a quickly dissipating head.

I could smell mostly yeast in this beer.

The taste was somewhere between an amber lager and an amber ale, which I suppose was fitting for what they wanted.

No real feel to this. It was extremely light, and airy, almost as if it were floating in my mouth.

Overall I am not a fan nor am I impressed. I am not saying this is a bad beer. It just is not something I care for. Being on the east coast, I suppose I'm judging harshly as this is my first steam beer. I do plan to revisit.

I recommend this beer to anyone who would like to try steam-beer.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Bright and clear amber orange with lots of bubbles. Big white head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Grains and yeast with caramel malts and some earthy hops. Hop scent is fairly subdued.

Taste: Lots of caramel malts and grains up front with hints of citrus. Finishes with a mild hop bitterness. Tastes like a spring bock that has a more full malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high carbonation. Rich, creamy, and very smooth.

Overall: A very tasty and rich brew.

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

Served from the bottle into a pilsner glass at the Nob Hill Cafe in San Francisco

A- Poured a clear amber brown color with a two finger fluffy head that left lots of lacing

S- Floral hops, earthy aroma, barley, and caramel

T- Tastes like it smells, floral and earthy notes, barley, and caramel. Has a nice hop bitterness to it.

M- Very smooth, medium body beer

O- A classic craft beer. I wish more craft breweries would make a California Common beer for me to compare this to, but a very smooth drinking lager.

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce stubby bottle poured into a 10 ounce glass. It's been years - perhaps a decade even - since I last had the famous Anchor Steam Beer. Pouring it again, for the first time, and I'm struck by the loads upon loads of carbonation in the brew. The bubbles just go on for days. Upon further inspection, this beer is brilliantly clear, as you can easily read the label from behind the glass. A big frothy head bursts to the top of the brew, but recedes just as quickly. Color is darker than gold but not quite amber, settling in at a rusty orange. Smells of a light grain, almost like a pilsner. First taste is sweet, almost fruity, with a very sweet malt finish. This - this is not like I remember at all! Moderate bitterness in the finish, but not overpowering at all. Slightly sticky and relatively thick mouth feel, though the heavy carbonation helps to scrub the taste off your tongue as you drink it. As you continue to taste the malt becomes more and more pronounced, and it works in context with the yeast profile to create almost a jam and bread flavor. An underrated gem.

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Photo of alenonbeeradv
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

At at bar with a lack of beer and kinda bored soooo..

A - amber, copper, rust, a little head that vanished after a couple minutes. It looks alright.

S - umm nothing? Maybe it's the glass but it just kinda smells like sweet and stale beer... probably the glass. A tiny bit piney and fruity but just ever so slightly.

T - malty, earthly, mildly bitter. Nothing serious which is why I can see this beer being so widley distributed. it's handleable if ur not looking for a mouthful of hops when in search of an ale or an ipa.

M - again pretty tame. medium carbonation level but a bit of a bite although still pretty light.

O - if there is no other game in town then go for it but I probably would been better off with just a water.

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

A: crystal clear amber colored, low visible carbonation, a few bubbles here and there about the rim.

S: yeasty, earthy, malty.

T: bitter lemon and earth, it tastes a little bit like a cup of iced tea that has been steeped just a little too long.

M: light bodied, sharp on the tongue with a bone dry finish.

O: I'm a huge fan of this beer, it's one of the beers that prompted me to start exploring in my early days. It's kind of strange to come back to it, I think my palate has been irreversibly changed by the beers that I drank in the intervening years, but in many ways it's just as good as I remember.

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

Pale copper colour, Light white head, no lacing to speak of here. Smell is malty, slight caramel and toffee, an earthy grainy note, slight hop bitterness in the nose. Taste is big malt, caramel, toffee, clean with a light bitter finish. Good mouthfeel, big carbonation but seems to not last on the palate, medium weight. Good overall brew, sessionable and nice for the season.

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

Pours with a big, foamy head. Tons of suds. The beer itself is tea-colored with yellow highlights. Crisp, grassy aroma with some citrus undertones. Fresh grain mixed with creamy berry and citrus flavors, yeasty, with some slight hop bitterness. This is one complex beer.

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Photo of SassyBootblack
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in San Fransisco, for what that's worth.

Appearance: A nice, clear amber color. A finger of white head.

Smell: Clean malt. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Taste: Malt, with some hops and a mineral water quality. Quite good and not over bearing. The hops aren't as "woody" as some imitators I've tasted and I mean that as a compliment.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean!

Overall: A delicious lager beer with enough character to be interesting.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber color from a stubby 12 oz bottle with a nice, foamy one finger head. Good head retention and carbonation.
Aroma is typical of a lager, with the malt dominating. The malt is evident in the taste too, with hints of hop bitterness in the finish.
Crisp, refreshing beer that is perfect for a hot, sunny day and is one of the perfect session beers around.
A fine beer from Anchor Brewing and is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rusty orange/brown color, white head starts huge and retains well at a finger leaving some lacing.

Starts out with American lager scent all the way, grainy/cereal-y, improves wholly with warmth with nice earthy and grassy hop notes and faint caramel malt.

Earthy and light fruit hop bitterness up-front with nice pale and toasty malts, a bit macro-y on the finish giving off a more grainy vibe, warm bread taste lingers afterwords. Light crisp mouthfeel, a bit overcarbonated.

A classic, a big stepping stone in the craft beer world. Definitely has more going for it than your average American lager but not something I'd feel the need to pick up often.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap. Pours a translucent mahogany color with a thin layer of head. Virtually no lacing. Aroma is of toasted malts, bread and slightly sweet. Taste is sweet toasted malts, and a slight hop bitterness. Has kind of a cereal taste to it. Thin and watery mouthfeel but its a crisp and refreshing easy drinking beer. Overall, this is one of the better warm weather beers and worth having often.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: light amber color with a fluffy white head that dies to a small ring of bubbles. clear allowing plenty of carbonation to be seen.

S: a light toasted grain. similar to cheerios. a woody presence as well from the hops.

T: a minty, sharp bitterness is first and foremost. the malt is brushed aside by this hoppy body, much opposite the nose.

M: a light body with medium/hard carbonation.

D: an american craft classic that is super drinkable and showcases an american hop that isn't dominated by citrus.

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

Pours a nice clear amber colour. Nice head lingers for a little while.

Malty notes with some slight citrus hop characteristic. very pleasant.

Bitter notes both hoppy and possible from any roasted malts...very nice finish...I remember trying this years ago and thinking it was a hop bomb...oh how the palate has changed.

solid for the 4.5 abv.

Overall a very nice beer and def one of the beers that got me into craft beer. I def have a soft spot for this one.

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

12oz bottle (bottled 12/16/10) poured into a pint glass

A: Regular pour leads to a 3-finger, off-white foamy head with lots of bubble action and is fairly quick to evaporate. Somewhat cloudy, gold copper color that almost like a really light rust (not in a bad way).

S: Lightly toasted malts, a little floral hop character, a little lemon citrus, toffee.

T: Right up front you get that nice floral hop character, almost seems a mix between english style and german style hops. Floral with a little lemon citrus; very clean, earthy, and a little bitterness. The malts come in right behind it, slightly toasted with a 'heaviness' and flavor that seems almost like a brown ale. Fairly long middle with the toasted grains, actually there's a good bit of depth too, almost like a somewhat dark multi-grain bread. There's some toffee-like sweetness, just enough to clean out the hops and grains, seems like the perfect balance. The citrus and floral hops come back again in the finish to give it just a tiny bite and slight bittering finish, though it's still clean and crisp.

M: Lots of lively carbonation that lasts a long time on the palate. Medium body, akin to a good brown ale. Crisp and refreshing.

O: A good, solid beer that is tasty, balanced, and refreshing. I feel like this will make a fantastic summer beer and a nice break from over-the-top IPAs.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with 2-3 thick fingers of off-white head. This settles down into about a solid finger’s worth, leaving back a creamy latticework of foamy lacing. The aroma is thick in the nose, with a mix of fruit, caramel, and bread, which is then softened on the edges somewhat by notes of leafy earth and a light spicy feel.

The taste has a crisp bitter bite to it, which snaps across the tongue. This is well balanced by a strong backbone of caramel sweetness, which has some sturdy toasted edges to it. The finish is dry and lightly spicy, with some lingering notes of bitter fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lively and crisp feel that dances around in the mouth, before smoothing out into an easy creaminess across the back.

This is the beer that started the craft beer revolution in this country and it’s still going strong all of these years later. I hadn’t had this in a while and sitting down with a 22 oz helped me realize again how flavorful and just plain drinkable this can be when you sit down with it. 40 years later and still going strong, this beer is a winner.

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