Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
5,946 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: 5,946 |  Reviews: 2,039
Photo of BeerdedEric
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

White silky head that stays around for a while. Golden color in the body. The body isn't impressive but the head is. Lace clings to the glass.

A grainy smell but nothing really else going on here.

Malty burnt caramel taste up front. Slight citrus bitterness in the background. I like the taste a lot. The flavors mix quite nicely.

Smooth body, light carbonation hits the tongue. Feels really nice.

I could have a few of these no problem. Smooth light body beer goes down quite nicely.

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

12 oz into a snifter. Pale ale color with a decent head. Wow, what a wonderful nose, just fantastic. It has that lager funk but the maltiness and hop balance of a pale ale. This beer is just so clean, it drinks well, preserving the lager yeast on the tongue but the pale ale qualities on the roof of the mouth, not as crisp as a lager, more gentle. Really a wonderful brew, the "California Common". My friend and I like to brew a similar brew to this in the fall, a pale ale with lager yeast, fermented at room temperature, and this was the beer that inspired us to take matters into our own hands (and to save some money). Great brew from Anchor, cheers.

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Photo of in780
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First go-round with Anchor, feel like this is long overdue. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Here we go:

A - Deep golden yellow, with an extremely thick bright white head

S - Sweet malts, some citrus...really nice

T - Caramel, bread, toffee, all pretty light but represented. Some citrus fruit bite as well.

M - Really light without being watered down.

D - I could drink a few of these before tiring, and would be a good nightcap.

Always curious based on the high reviews, well deserved.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Just an exceptionally well balanced and easy to drink tasty beer.

A- Clear copper tone with thin white head and creamy lacing.

S- Sweet malts, toast, caramel characteristics and floral tones of hops. Fresh hints of fruit. Honeysuckle

T- Toasted bread, faint hint of lemon, earthy tones and floral hop finish.

M- Refreshing, very well balanced, crisp with creamy finish.

D- Very, very drinkable. Light and crisp but not watery. Very well balanced. Toasty, bready front with a crisp floral hoppy finish, but it goes back to a sweet malt aftertaste.

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

First had: bottle at Finnegan's Wake third floor bar, Philly, PA

A: Clear copper, with a light white head, some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean with some citrus notes.

T: Clean mixture of malts and semi-citrusy hops.

M: Light body with some carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, but not something I have too often.

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Photo of MVotter
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a crystal-clear amber into a chalice; thin cream colored head ... bubbles rising like a champagne pour.

S - Oh man, wonderful, rich, sweet malt and caramel aromas!

T - Delicious bready malt flavors abound; smooth, faint sweetish malt finish. I was expecting a sweeter malt taste, to follow the caramel nose. But, this was a combination of some bitter and sweet notes; more roasted malt flavor.

M - Creamy effervescence.

D - This may be the perfect session brew; a terrific blend of malt flavors ... some dry, some sweet. Superbly crafted brew.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Amber hue with a small, short lived head. Aroma is sweet malt, ripe fruit with some nice hops presence. Medium body with piny hops fill the mouth with nice balance of fruit and biscuit malt. Long, dry, hoppy finish. Very interesting brew

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Photo of bagpiper2005
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Very Boston Lager-like appearance: clear light red-amber color with two fingers of fluffy slightly off-white head with decent retention and minimal lacing.

Smell: Light caramel malty aroma with light floral hoppy notes.

Taste: Bready and caramel front end and middle. The back end finishes up with some piney hops and a little bit of orange twang. Interesting flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light, clean, and crisp. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Sessionable and refreshing. Not too filling.

Final Notes: One of the best session beers you could have. Low in alcohol, very drinkable, and tastes great.

 609 characters

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

this is a perfect session beer. or great just having only one.

amber color with decent head and lacing.
fresh balance of aromas between hops and malt.
tastes great and keeps you coming back for more.
love the bottle. love the story behind the beer and its eccentric ceo fritz maytag from the washing machine empire.

this beer speaks volumes before even trying it and then lives up to the expectations. yummy drinkable beer

 424 characters

Photo of herman77
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Medium orange/amber with a nice off white head with good retention. Decent lacing.

S: Light toasted carmel malt, light whiffs of earthy floral hops. A bit of lager yeast.

T: Nice and malty at first. Light toasted carmel malt. Next comes some mildly bitter hops that are slightly spicy and a bit of citrus lemon zest. Finishes a bit malty and a bit hoppy. Clean.

M: Lighter body, a bit thin. Higher carbonation that is pretty active.

D: Good drinkability. Lower ABV, good flavor and balance.

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Photo of jman42
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A = Average white head with good lacing evident

S = Nice malty aroma - less on the hops

T = Nice taste. Again more of a malty taste than hoppy

M = Nice creamy texture, average carbonation

D = Nice drinking beer. I could put a few of these away watching football, working outside, etc

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

Served on tap into a pint glass:

A: Inviting Amber/golden color with a small eggshell white head. The head vanished rather quickly and left behind a small amount of lacing

S: Had the aroma of sweet, bready malts with a small kick of floral hops.

T: A tiny amount of floral hops leapt out initially upon drinking. These were quickly followed by sweet, creamy malts and a lightly pronounced taste of crisp champagne towards the finish. Very unique upon the palate.

M: Lightly carbonated with a light mouth-feel which surprisingly retained a smooth and crisp finish. The finish alone kept beckoning me to drink more and more.

D: All around a very solid beer. Unique yet familiar, Anchor Steam possess a nicely balanced kick of floral hops of sweet malts which don't overpower the palate. I could easily knock down a couple of these back to back during a night with friends. Solid, not stellar, but definitely recommended as a uniquely drinkable American classic.

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Photo of WCBCFrank
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor steam is a ol' standby, right up there with Sierra Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, HopDevil, etc... Like all Anchor beers, it is carefully brewed with great balance. Nice lacing in the glass, good use of pale malts and mild hop flavor. My default beer at Phils games.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

appearance; deep brownish yellow and clear with a quality, stiff, yellow-white head, dissipates slowly leaving lots of chunky lace.

smell; sweet malts and herbal hop spice

taste; mildly sweet at first, changing to a very herbal hop bitterness. Finishes strongly with grainy malt sweetness. The bitterness keeps the sweetness from being to intense, similar to raw bread dough.

mouthfeel; watery with poor carbonation. The finish is dry and crisp.

drinkability; easy enough to drink but it sits uncomfortable in my stomach and I don't feel like having another.

 562 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Town Hall Tap. Poured into a pint glass a clear copper color with a slight 1 finger head of white. Very clean aroma with minimal notes of malt and grain. Slight cereal notes. Very clean flavor as well. Very easy drinking. Slight sweet start that last throughout. Minimal bitterness.

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Photo of rjplumer
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A nice deep amber color That starts with a nice foamy head about one fingers worth. Has a little or no aroma that I could detect. It does have bitter beginning but then finishes smooth. Judging from Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale, which I really like a lot, I was a bit let down by this one. It's still pretty good and I would never turn one away.

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Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours golden / bronze. Nice lasting offwhite head. Aroma is sweet malt, caramel, hops. Taste is hops. sweet malty caramel. Palate is medium body, smooth and creamy, nice carbonation. Finishes sweet malt and caramel balanced by slightly bitter hops. Goes down smooth and easy. A very good and tasty brew.

 303 characters

Photo of masey222
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a Amber orange with a very thick orangey off white head and a really nice lace....
Kind of a roasted fruity rich smell with some grassy hop...
The taste initially is fresh crisp and fruity then goes into a very floral hop that wasn't bitter really but was strong and floral and dry ...

...Over all a good sipping beer but defiantly not something I would pick first, but there really wasn't much wrong with it, just not my personal favorite.

 448 characters

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

Deep yellow with a reddish hue and perfect clarity. Poured with a thick foamy head with great retention. Pale malt and fruity aromas, apple and pear, with hints of hops and grass. Medium bodied and smooth with refreshing carbonation. Also has a dry feel that starts early and lasts through the finish. Sweet malty flavors combined with ripe apple and pear flavors and a lightly bitter dry finish.

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

Appearance -- Pours a brassy amber with high clarity and two fingers of stiff beige had. Looks inviting.

Smell -- Pale malt, hint of sliced plum, grassy and earthy hops.

Taste -- Clean malt, bready with a dab of sweetness. Grassy and earthy hops in balance. Mild hop bitterness. Finish is slightly bitter, grassy, and drying.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with ample carbonation.

Drinkability -- Overall, quite pleasant. Clean, balanced, immensely drinkable. While not a true session beer, this one can This is the kind of beer that everybody can appreciate, craft lover or no.

 585 characters

Photo of arboristfish
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a copper color with fizzy frothy white head. The smell is of hops and malt. It smells like a lager with some ale characteristics. The taste is sweet, almost grassy like, with hints of caramel. The mouthfeel is light, and I would consider this a very drinkable beer.

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

Beer received from liamt07 in september 2010. Cheers!

Color is copper, clear. Slightly effervescent. Nice foamy head on top. Looks creamy. Aroma is malty with a light touch of hops in the background. First sip, I get my first impression which is smooth. Light fruits with some malts in there too. The bitterness is light, however it lingers in the mouth even though it is not very strong.

Medium body. A nice session beer. Well balanced and easy to drink.

 457 characters

Photo of Derranged
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Nice pretty amber color.

S- Not too much of a smell, but a little grainy, slight metalic, a little bit of red wine.

T- Complex flavor. Above all, malt dominated, along with some hops, bitterness, some apples, slight citrus. It tasted kind of like a combination of an Amber ale and English Pale Ale.

M- Thick and carbonated.

D- Easy to drink.

Not sure what all the fuss about this beer is.

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Photo of Vito
1.92/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Anchor Steam. I thought I'd give it a try, because I overheard a few people talking about it during a recent visit to San Francisco. Here goes:

Appearance: It has a unique look. It pours a burnt-orange color that glows like the fluid in a lava lamp. Thin head that looks like the foam on a glass of iced tea.

Smell: I really couldn't smell anything at all.

Taste: I don't like the taste. Bitter, sour, acidic.

Mouthfeel: Average. Low carbonation, but still sort of crisp.

Drinkability: Nope.

For me, Anchor Steam is custom-made for the kind of beer drinker who orders one beer, takes a few sips, and talks about how great it is instead of actually finishing the bottle and ordering another. I can't understand why this beer gets such high ratings. I guess it's one of those "Emperor's New Clothes" things.

Tastes bad, overpriced, no big f***in' deal.

 859 characters

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

picked up on my first trip to a york six pack store
poured from the bottle into a pint glass
appearance copper colored with a nice head
smell a bit of sweet smell of apples
taste bitter hops and a bit of citrus
mouth feel smooth with lite carbination

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,946 ratings.
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