Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,043 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: 6,043 |  Reviews: 2,061
Photo of maddmaxstar
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam Beer

A - Orange-Amber, 1 1/2 fingers of bubbly head, goes away quick. No lacing to speak of.

S - Hops, sweet fruity smell, hints of cherries.

T - Smell carries into taste, full of hop bitterness, which lingers to the back of the throat. Cherry-Fruit taste apparent in aftertaste. Taste seems to mellow out and get better as you drink it, possibly due to warming up.

M - Watery, little carbonation.

D - This is a good beer for a Lager. I'm not a huge Lager fan, but after seeing a raving review on Youtube, decided to pick it up on my last trip to Nova Scotia. It's not my cup of tea (or beer) but it's much better than most Macro-swill lagers on the market.

Rating - 3.5/5 - (B+)
Missravenblue: 4/5 (A)

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

A - Pours a translucent amber, with a thin head that doesn't linger too long. Not much lacing as it goes down.

S - strong malt sweetness, not much else going on. Straight forward, no nonsense. I like that.

T - again, strong on malt, but some fruit and hops on the back end. A very easy going, straightforward beer. Taste improves and more elements come out as the beer warms.

M - medium body with not too much carbonation. A nice balanced approach that doesn't get in the way of the flavor.

D - overall, very enjoyable. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was great and a beer that I would love to drink a few of. Overall, a very balanced, tasty beer that I will be going back to.

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

Pours with medium-low body. Copper, golden amber with great clarity. Ample, robust, slightly off-white head that retains well. Some lacing. Long lasting top foam.

A- malt sweetness is the first thing in the nose followed by a touch of low hops. Warming and inviting aroma.

T- some malt sweetness initially that isn't entirely smooth. Slight corn. No hop taste to speak of but the bitterness supports the body well.

M- has some sharpness but it may be a little too cold. Bitters in the after are not overwhelming. Pleasant.

This is the CA common flagship. It is a good beer that is lagery in quality but has the esters of an ale that really give it character.

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Photo of output01x
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (no date) into a pint glass.

A slow pour yields a 2-finger cream-colored head. It recedes after a few minutes to a good covering. The body is a clear golden orange with a good number or rising carbonation bubbles. Decent lacing lines the sides of the glass nicely.

Dark fruits and sugary sweet malt aromas combine with floral and citrus hops.

A bready, earthy maltiness starts each sip. Grapefruit and spicy hops finish. There is a great balance between the malt and the hops as neither seems to dominate especially, though it does have a dry finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is easily drinkable but not watery.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish-orange with a small white head, reducing to a small ring and moderate lace through most of the brew.

Nose is a delightful mix of candied oranges, brown sugar and cinnamon-dusted, raisin-filled toasted dark bread. The hops add notes of bitter flowers and bright melon.

Palate is a touch bitter and faintly smoky, with a light body and an oily, nutty addition to the nose's bready character. It seems to have lost the nose's brown sugar lushness, making it seem a tad thinner. The notes of molasses and lemon on the nice finish make up for it though.

Overall, very nice sessionable brew. The nose and the finish are brilliant, making up for the slightly weak mid-palate.

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Photo of Fenris244
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anchor steam beer

Clear amber in color and an aggressive pour lead to a towering 2 finger almost rocky head with great retention 

Sugary sweetness, subdued hops, and malty goodness

Slightly floral, with clean malt flavor coming through and some hops near the finish, the flavors aren't overly strong but have a good balance.

Smooth and crisp, light carbonation is nice and the beer is very refreshing

Overall a good refreshing tasty beer. Always a stand by in my fridge.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red copper with a 1/4 inch tan head. Medium carbonation. Head consistency varies from bubbly to flat. Good retention

Smell: Incredible malt profile. I smell wood, earth and spice. There are caramel malts and hints of toffee and fruit. A light hop profile gives the beer a good bite. Good balance. One of a kind.

Taste: Carbonated chewy maltiness gives way to a slight bittering blast of carbonated hoppiness. The beer finishes quite spicy. It's heavy in tannins with mouth clinging malts. Earthiness. Some citrus and grain. Cocoa aftertaste. A good solid recipe with a lot of character.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium. Good grainy texture. The ingredients are tightly blended together and the finish is clean. Classic.

Overall: I am a resident of the San Francisco bay area and am fascinated by this breweries long standing ability to brew unique session beers. I will definitely start adding anchor steam into my regular rotations.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer appeared a clear light amber color with a nice, light white head that was decently retained. Noticeable carbonation rising to the top of the glass. Some lacing. Perhaps slightly better than expected.

The aroma was light, with notes of biscuits and a little hops.

The taste was good, some hops upfront, but more malty as I drank the beer which gave it a light hint of sweetness. Nice aftertaste followed.

The beer was light, smooth and crisp. The beer had good carbonation and was easy to drink.

Overall, better than expected and a beer that I might pick up in the summer. Would go well with burgers and brats on the grill.

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Photo of micmillon18
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. No born on date. Ah the legendary Anchor Steam beer. Truly an American classic. Love the bottle shape and art.

A - Pours a clear amber color with a large bubbly head. Lots of carbonation is apparent as tons of bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. Lots of lacing.

S - Hops, some yeast, and sweet malt. The hop smell is spicy.

T - Hops with a good balancing sweet malt presence. The bitterness is prevalent like that of a pilsner-esque hop spiciness, which is rather nice. Earthy flavors follow. Finishes with a lasting bitterness and some lemon flavors.

M - Crisp, light to medium body. Carbonation is in check with the style.

O - Very balanced and drinkable, I could and certainly have had a number of these in a sitting. A great session beer no matter the occasion.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
2.51/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper color with an overabundance of white foam. The aroma is kinda hoppy but bland. The taste has a tartness that I don't find appealing, like it's meant to be acidic instead of build character. The finish is tart leaving a somewhat nasty aftertaste. No me gusta. Drain pour.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This California Common beer is a nice dark amber color and it produces a thick creamy head. Head retention is good and it leaves nice lacing in the glass. The aroma is very nice, showcasing malt and hops. The beer has a nice medium body, malty backbone, and light amounts of citrus. This is the standard bearer for California Common or Steam Beer. This is one of the beers that saved beer in America. Anchor Steam is everything a craft beer should be!

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Photo of secondtooth
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Attractive and golden, with exceptional white head of foam. Heavy 2-finger lace. Quite attractive presentation!

Aroma is biscuity, yeasty, and a little hoppy. Solid.

Flavor is a crisp and fresh citrusy, balancing out the maltiness and grainy character. A very delicious lager, with a smooth and complex flavor profile.

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

Poured in to small pint glass.

A - Translucent light amber colour with a yellow glow and a very small amount of bubbly off-white head.

S - Crisp hops and bready malts in a seemingly good balance. Clean and crisp.

T - Bitter crisp hop bite up front, followed by bready malts and then the crisp hop flavour returns in the finish. A slight sweetness is present throughout, which compliments the hops nicely.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

D - A very drinkable beer that would be as well suited for a hot summer day as it would a cool fall evening.

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

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip pint glass.

A = A very nice, clear orange amber color, with a small off white head consisting of mostly small bubbles and interspersed with medium bubbles. Head is not huge and does not remain overly long but a think covering of bubbles remains well into the glass. As head recedes there is a small amount of lacing but that is not a prominent artifact on the glass by the of it.

S = Clean scents of a hay field, very light traces of pines, turf, fresh turned soil, some evanescent smells of fresh soap not as in an antiseptic, but more of a clean refreshing type of smell.

T = The tastes closely track the smells but with perhaps a bit more floral qualities. The basic bready, grain tastes are there, along with some amount of twang reminiscent of citrus (orange and lemon) but not quite, good long dry finish.

M = Light to medium-light body, good mouthcoating, sparkling carbonation feel.

O = This is a really good standard beer type of beer. A great tasting, easy drinking beer appropriate for just about any occasion.

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Photo of Naugros
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes, I've had quite a few of these in the past and just got around to reviewing one. Hey, I don't have that style reviewed yet, so here goes.

This beer has been consistent from the '70s and is one of the forerunners of all craft brews in the US. It deserves your respect, but I'll try not to let that sway my judgment.

Amber/orange in color, crystal clear with a cream-colored head that stands proud at about an inch with really good structure and pretty decent retention. Pretty beer.

Refreshing floral smell, rich with noble hops against a malt presence reminiscent of honey oat bread. Very perfumy and not in a bad way.

Noble hops again balance well with the honey/oat bread malts. Same as you smell and very crisp. Again, the consistency of this beer over the decades is amazing. The beer you tasted in '80s (I wasn't of drinking age in the '70s) is the same as you taste now. Remarkable!

Again, crisp...and clean. Not a lot of aftertaste and what IS there is that perfume you get in the nose that is thrown off from the noble hops. One of the easiest drinking craft brews in the US, this is a classic and, at the risk of repeating myself, deserves respect for what it meant to the craft brew movement in this country. Fritz Westinghouse...I know you sold it, but you saved it. I love you man! Psst, that's not just the beer talking.

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Photo of Snamnoum
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - honey peach color. Produced two fingers of beige head with good retention and average lacing.

Smell - plenty of fruit and yeast akin to a belgian beer even though its a lager. Tiniest hint of hops and a big malt backbone.

Taste - bitterness upfront and through out. Fresh doughy yeast contrasts well with the hops and biscuity malt. Excellent drinking beer.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, moderately carbonated and chewy feel.

Drinkability - very drinkable this is an great alternative to an IPA or a Pale Ale for a thirst quenching, hot day beer.

*Plus my girl friend, not a beer geek, but a girl who none-the-less enjoys a good beer really likes this one.

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Photo of afogg0855
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I usually skip over this beer when I'm at the liquor store due to the vast over-usage of nautical terms to try and sell beer. (SeaDog, Shipyard, Harpoon, etc.) It's nothing against the beer itself, just parody in general.

It pours a huge creamy head you could float a golf ball on. Very light smell of sweet malts, sorta like corn pops lol.

Theres more alcohol taste than you would expect with a sub 5% abv. A slight bitterness to balance the sweet taste of apple and wheat makes this beer great. I'll definitely buy it again!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Salt House pub in Galway, Ireland. Poured into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

A: One finger head of fair cream and thickness. A hazy copper colour. Appealing apart from the poor retention of the head.

Sm: Barley, floral hops. Maybe an apple ester?

T: Apple is definitely there, along with other esters - odd given lager yeast was used, but hey - it's a steam beer. Cream. Apple finish. Very crisp and refreshing, whilst avoiding going into cider territory.

Mf: Crisp. Nice coarseness and near-perfect dryness.

Dr: Far too expensive in Ireland, but certainly worth a go.

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Photo of nickthetick
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a perfectly clear copper into an american shaker with a finger of khaki head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: a smooth malt and caramel come across but not much else.

T: you get a little more of the malt caramel and toffee and even some bitter hops.

MF: full body and moderate carbonation. Smooth flavors and a bit heavy.

D: its everywhere, affordable and americana, of course I'll be getting it again. However those are not the only reasons as its a prety decent beer.

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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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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,043 ratings