Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
5,983 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: 5,983 |  Reviews: 2,048
Photo of Dougal
2.77/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was a bit of a was good beer with not much of the frills of many of the other beers that i would categorize it with. It was like a pale ale light, the lingering malt/hoppiness dance does not stay with you long and the beer tends to flatten out a bit towards the end of a sip.

It reminds me of a brown ale that is trying to be a pale ale but without the gusto....I'd like to try the liberty and hummer for comparison. Does the lower abv equate with a flatter taste?

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Photo of coalcracker
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a mildy cloudy golden color with a good deal of carbonation.
Smell: Rather floral aroma with a lighter malty base. Aroma transitions more to the malty side as the beer warms.
Taste: A little bitter but pleasant sensation at the onset. This leads to a little more hop flavor in the form of citrus, notably lemon. Toasted malts appear towards the middle and lingers through the end.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied feel that feels a little dry in the finish.
Drinkability: Very drinkable in terms of both ABV and taste.

Overall: Very interesting beer in terms of how the taste profiles transition and mesh together. Will definitely have again.

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Photo of swede96
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First thing about this beer is its beautiful appearance in a glass. I love the amber color, and the off white color of the head is very nice, I just wish the head had stayed around a little longer. Nice malty smell not over powering. Tastes very smoothe, with a slight citus or hoppy finish. Very drinkable and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of aasher
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a burnt orange in color with a billowing and soapy off white head. It's pretty translucent and is light bodied. The smell is lightly malty with little else, other than some slight sweetness to it. The taste is pretty solid. It's very malty and has some light caramel accent to it. It drinks pretty smoothly and is pretty light and well carbonated. The bubbling stayed active the entire time. It's pretty drinkable but I can't compare it to anything else from the style. I liked it for being a lighter beer but wouldn't necessarily go back.

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Photo of drpimento
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having this one at my bud Ralph's house out here in San Diego. Poured with a giant foamy, frothy, sudsy, cream colored head, that lasts a while, good lacing, and lots of big bubble trails. Color is a clear orange amber. Aroma is burnt sugar, caramel, malt, minerals, and hop with a bit of fruit. Flavor's the same way. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and of medium length. First started drinking this in the early 80s and it doesn't seem to have changed a bit. Great beer! Session.

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Photo of greenmonstah
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A - Pours a light amber color with a small, fine head that is gone in seconds.

S - Sweet and slightly citrusy. Inoffensive but very boring.

T - Fairly sweet and with a good malt character. Biscuit is present.

F - Light body and nice carbonation. Finishes fairly dry.

D - Very easy and enjoyable to drink. Would be excellent to session.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 2" head which dissipated quickly. Slightly orange-yellow in color. Fairly mild and generic to me, pretty much a standard American. A hint of caramel, some bitterness.

I had fond memories of this from about 20 years ago when I first set out from home. But the truth is afte comparison to the many other choices out there this beer just isn't special to me anymore. Sorry, just telling the truth.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours a burnt orange with a two finger creamy off-white head that slowly fades to a lingering mess of lacing all over the glass.

S. Lots of malty sweetness with bread and some caramel.

T. Loads of sweet malt with some crusty bread.

M. Medium body with medium creamy carbonation.

D. A fairly low alcohol brew with some good body and nice malty aroma and flavor. This is a solid brew that I came back to every couple of months.

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Photo of shand
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an amber color with about a finger's worth of head.

Smell: Malty and wheaty, it's just barely sweet enough.

Taste: This is a sweet and light beer with hints of citrus. The sweet malts are very well done and the citrus does a great job at keeping the malts from getting out of hand. Drink it quick or the sweetness all seems to settle to the dregs.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable.

Great session beer right here, Anchor Steam is an un-pretentious brew that tastes great.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is truly a classic brew, from a brewery who has truly mastered this style.
Pours a deep brown color with orange highlights and a thick yellowish colored head and great lacing. Smells of orange peel and vanilla, and some barley. Tastes of wonderful barley, orange peel, vanilla, and sweet malts. Mouthfeel is medium and very smooth. Drinkability is exceptional.

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Photo of Ranchito
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. it was one of the best beers back in the 70's and is still one of the best. Kudos to Anchor for keeping the same great taste. It pours well, a nice clear amber with a nice creamy head. The aroma is sweet and hoppy. with a light to medium body. very crisp dry flavor. This beer never disappoints.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my trusty Troegs pint glass.

Pours a pretty dark apricot color that's pretty clear. Lines of bubbles rise up from the bottom towards the off-white head that's about two inches thick before lowering down to a thin cap. Substantial amount of lacing. A very clean looking brew. Smell is full of malt and wheat, almost like a sweeter smelling lager. Just a bit of citrus at the end.

Malty sweetness kicks things off, with hints of fruits and a little bit of caramel. Towards the back end there's some mild hop bittering and astringency that lingers a few moments before disappearing.. Not too much of an aftertaste and it finishes clean and dry. An even balance between malts and hops throughout the flavor profile make for a simple, yet wholly pleasing tasting. Mouthfeel is good for a lager beer, with a good bit of carbonation and a medium body.

This brew is very easy to quaff and is probably the best new lager style I've tried in a long time. The taste crisp, clean and well done and coupled with a solid mouthfeel, come together to create a pleasing beer. I don't know if all California Commons are like this, but Anchor Steam Beer has definitely set the bar high.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a historic style of beer of American beer and one can only hope it has similar taste to what it did back in the day.

Its almost an amber color, has lots of bubbles and leaves pretty nice lacing.

It has a pretty simple taste with mostly biscuity flavors in the forefront. Its taste is over-all pretty light which isnt always a bad thing, as this beer is the example.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into my favorite beer drinking glass.

Poured a nice orange golden hue - one finger head and nice lace that seemed to linger.

Smell was decent - nice clean with hints pf citrus .

Taste was very good hints of citrus -

A very drinkable brew - I would buy it again -

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Pours a nice clear orange amber color with a finger of moderately evaporating ecru head. The aroma is of lime citrus as well as more of a corn syrupy smell along side of the general malty properties that are seen. The taste is both nice and rich in malt character. It is however quite abrasive in regards to the flavor. There is a lemon rind citrus flavor that provides both bitter and astringent properties to the flavor that I don't much care for. The mouthfeel is good as well as the beer is fairly good to drink once you are able to get past the astringent citrus. It's an interesting style. Not probably one of my favorites, but you can't argue with the inventors of the style so it's not all that bad.

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Photo of mjmbeer
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Coming from the grandfather of all craft beer this beer lives up to its rep
beautiful light coppery color with a nice very small bubbles head with a creamy smooth texture. A breadiness comes out in the taste. This is an easy drinking beer and well worth getting any time you can.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heard a lot of good things about this brew, but never actually got to try it. 12oz bottle...

A: Super clear ruby red / copper mix with a thick 1+ inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: Smells of sweet banan upfront with some nice sugary malts. Hints of breadiness in the middle. Good.

T: Very nice breadiness with a very clean malt finish. Hints of banana and barley blended in. Good.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation feel. Very good.

D: This one goes down super easy. Very good.

All in all, this is a very good standard brew. Use this one as a standard for steam beers. This is very well balance. Worth trying at least once, despite availability.

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Photo of beorn7676
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

What else can be said about this beer that hasnt been said.

Pours a nice light amber orange with a large white head that fades fairly quickly.

Biscuity aroma wrapped in Northern Brewer hops.

Tastes of biscuit and bread with some caramel. Fairly strong hop bitterness.

Good body with a pleasing dry finish.

Pretty much the standard for the style. A classic.

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Photo of kagent777
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: A nice clear orange with a thin off white head.

Smell: I smell the "almost honey" smell that I get from lite lagers. This one is not quite the same. Once it warms up, the honey intensifies. Some light herbal hops also.

Taste: Nice clean almost zippy taste. Kind of an oddity to have honey in the smell but little if any sweetness in the taste. Solid toasty malt taste with a little bittering hops to back it. Could easily appeal to the BMC drinker you know.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation and body are middle of the road. The aftertaste is very dry and short.

Drinkability: At 4.9 ABV and no palate stressing flavors, this a very drinkable beer!

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Photo of Soonami
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam is a classic American beer that I am ashamed for not having reviewed sooner. Tonight, while dining with a friend at Bobby's Burger Palace, I decided I'd have the Anchor and drink it carefully. This steam beer has a nice woody, minty hop flavor and aroma. The finish is a little sweet with a light fruitiness.

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Photo of chumba526
2.96/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appears an orange color with a small white head.

It smells slightly citrusy, a little grainy, and a little sweet. There is not much going on in the smell.

the taste is comprised of a tad bit citrus flavor a mild malty sweetness and a nice mild bitterness to round the flavors together. There is a nice grassy flavor as well. The flavor is not too impressive though.

The carbonation is moderate high.

This is pretty drinkable I could drink a few of these easy.

Overall an average beer I know anchor steam did a lot to start the craft beer movement but now this beer pales compared to many of the "new" craft breweries. A decent beer that I would drink again but it is just average.

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Photo of LacquerHead
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a white head that clung to the sides of the glass

There is not much to the aroma - it had a faint hop smell. It had a good balance of hops and malt. The hops provided a good level of dryness and a slight bitter pine flavor. The malts lent a good caramel flavor, but were not too sweet. It had carbonation level was more on the softer side. I've had this beer a few times before, but I didn't think much of it other than thinking it was good. Overall this was a good beer and while I might not purchase a six pack I would defiantly have this at a bar.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a medium gold in the glass with a half-finger head that dissipates in time and no lacing to speak of. On the nose, it's very withdrawn and weak, maybe a slight dried fruit presence, but it's very weak. On the tongue it's an explosion of flavor compared to the nose, dates at the front, a deep sweetness followed by a lighter citrus on the back of the tongue, lingering for a long while. Truly one of the better tastes I've experienced, and a total shock after the weak nose. In the mouth it's a wide and shallow feel, quite carbonated and fuzzy on the extremities. It's almost too distinctive to drink one after another, but it would be decent for a few.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich, thick, foamy head of just slightly off white. Two minutes it is calming down to a island in the middle of the field and a thick clinging lacing on the side of my glass. The rich color of amber, rating a 18 on the SRM Beer Color Chart. Piercing aroma of barley sweet malt and roasted wheat. Sharp and direct taste of lemon, chili, wheat, and green hops. Clean feeling on my tongue and a lingering finish of lime in by soft palate. Creamy and sharp needles of fluid on my gums, hard palate, tongue, soft palate and glottis. I have come to the conclusion that there are good beers and those that just try to make it in the world of beer drinkers. Most have little resources to buy good beer and accept the taste of mass produced mediocre beer as long as it gives them a buzz that helps them forget life's hardships. This beer is on a higher level, that delivers great flavor for a reasonable price. I will make every effort to introduce this fine beer to my friends at my next gathering.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a clear amber colour with a massive frothy and soapy off white head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing, and there is some amazing lacing sticking all over the inside of the glass. The head stuck around for a few minutes before it dissipated.

Smell - sweet caramel and hops, and lots of toasted malts.

Taste & Mouth - The beer actually has a fair amount of carbonation on the tongue, which is surprising due to its appearance. It comes across as slightly watery, but not my much. AT first I can taste light hops, followed by a big burst of roasted malts and some toffee/caramel. It finishes with a nice roasted and sweet aftertaste. I can even pick up on a slight smokiness.

Drink - This is an excellent beer that is highly sessionable. Worth a try if you see it at the store/bar.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 5,983 ratings.
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