Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
2,024 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,024
Ratings:
5,900
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
12.99%
 
 
Wants:
223
Gots:
1,222
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,024 | Ratings: 5,900
Photo of bitzbach
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tangy and effervescent. A little cloudy in color and very refreshing with a little bitterness too boot. Used to see it regularly but not so much in my neck of the wood anymore. Gotta look for it. Makes the big houses taste like water by comparison. They make a great porter too!

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Photo of Hops4Pops
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber Bottle. I had to try this because it was this beer that was the inspiration to Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing, for going into the beer brewing business. I have changed my rating to a higher level based on several things: 1. There was no refrigeration when this style was created and when this brewer went into business. 2. They actually created this style, Steam Beer, and were very creative at the time in making a lager work. 3. I have respect for elders and this company is one of the eldest. Forgive me Bros for having to go through the second act and letting it warm to room temperature to get the essence of this style and this beer.
A: Aggressive pour. Giant, slightly off-white head slowly receding into a cloud like formation and then slowly settling to a foam across the surface. Sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Reddish amber color.
S: Smells kind of fruity but not sure which fruit. Some hops. Some malt.
T: About the same.
M: The carbonation gives it a little bite and the rest is pretty smooth. Easy on the mouth.
O: I guess I am seeing the Bros rate it so highly due to the respect it deserves for longevity in the brewing industry and the true to style characteristics based on the fact that Anchor Brewing actually created the style. Its a very drinkable beer but not my favorite style in general. If you like this style, this beer pretty much defines it. While I tend to gravitate to stronger, more robust, modern styles, I can see however where 150 years ago, brewing this kind of beer was a most awesome achievement! Go Anchor!!!

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Photo of jmbranum
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The numerical score above is from my most recent tasting.

January 28, 2013: Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass as a very attractive clear copper color with a generous off-white rocky head.

Aroma is grain, dirt and hops.

Flavor is crisp and very dry. More hops than I remembered. Some wheat bread notes. A tiny bit of sweetness. Very well balanced.

Medium to full mouthfeel.

Review of 1-6-2008 : AP 4.0/ AR 4.5/ F 4.5 / MF 4/ OA 4.5
poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Lori's diner in ghiradelli's square in san francisco.

clear amber with fluffy head. nice malt rich aroma. flavor is extremely well-balanced bitter hops and malt. one of the most balanced beers of my recent recollection.

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

A- Deep amber/orange, egg-shell colored head, very bubbly.

S- Strong malty lager yeast hits first followed by some citrus aromas. Smells like a very robust pilsner with a hint of Pacific ocean fog rolling into the bay.

T- Complex malt composition, you can really taste the lager and ale tastes fighting it out. Yeasty with a subtle sweetness. Notes of spices, cloves and maybe coriander. Supportive hops hold it all together. Alcohol and yeast give the aftertaste a bit of a kick.

MF- Rich and thick, just as bubbly as it looks. Really fills the mouth.

D- Lighter than it should be given everything that's going on, but still quite a body. A real beer drinker's experience. Nicely balanced, very unique.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Medium amber color with a 4-finger frothy, rocky, cream-colored head. Really nice retention and some awesome lacing. Clear with only a few bubbles.

S – Caramel and toasted malts with earthy, woody hops. Plain and simple.

T – Starts off sweet with caramel malt and somewhat of a brown sugar taste. Toasted malt comes in next followed closely by a bitter blast of very earthy, oaky, and maple-y hops.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a crisp, creamy, and slightly sticky mouthfeel, and a slightly bitter and very dry finish. Bitter and dry woody hop flavors linger for a bit.

O – This is a nice, tasty, drinkable, and refreshing beer. It’s the example that all other members of this style are based on. Nothing more needs to be said.

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Photo of mnrider
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Pint glass, freshness date on back label.

A: Nice medium amber color, Two finger fluffy white head. Head does not last long but sticks to glass.

S: Basic Aroma, hopy. I want to drink this brew.

T/M: Can't explain but excellent. Very Rich. A lot of taste going on. Easy and smooth with good after taste. Slight bitterness.

D: This is a classic brew from Cali and it never fails. Good for any occasion and season. so good.

Cheers!!!

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Photo of Lewarcher1949
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an English Pub-style pint glass.

Look: Dark caramel. Little head. Fair amount of of carbonation.

Smell: Slight malt with fruity overtones. Not a lot of alcohol.

Taste: THIS is what a lager should taste like. Balanced and mild, but not watered down. Yummy. And for someone who is not a fan of lagers in general, that's saying a lot.

Feel: Fairly substantial for the style, but not overwhelming.

Overall: Near perfect. This stuff is my jam! My go-to beer. Whatever else I may get, I will always get a six pack of Anchor Steam.

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Photo of Enrico_il_octovo
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good beer. The Quintessential California Beer. A tan to amber color with a good foamy head. Lots and lots of aroma and the taste is equally strong and fruity with caramel and coffee undertones. had it on tap and out of the bottle. It's a great beer. I first drank this beer in 1987 and it's still a great beer. If you're an Ale fan you'll like this gem from the city by the Bay.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the most accessible beers around, I absolutely love it. Everytime someone comes over, it's served. I had to remember to hide a few, so that I could actually review it before having to satisfy grandpa's never ending thirst.

The color first off starts as a very deep ruby hue, but it reaches a nice clear bourbon once it touches light. Like little sea monkeys racing towards the surface, the carbonation never stops. A pasty head, & a twingle in my nose. Smells like stepping outside into a bushy backyard garden. Add in some granny smith apples, & maybe even some candied ginger with a bunch of extra crusty sugar.

The carbonation holds your tongue in place while everything works around. Pumpernickel is just everywhere. Spread along the top is some sweet butter. More of the fresh butter taste, & not the slick greasy feel, as this beer is nice & sharp. A little puckering sensation at the end. Nothing too intense or alienating. Very unique. Lovely.

:D

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Photo of JimBird
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't reviewed in a while; this is a good one to get back into it with:

Poured a pale amber color, with a decent head. Bright, hoppy aroma hit my nostrils as soon as I had poured it, with a hint of sweetness.
The taste is amazingly caramel-like. It doesn't taste as hoppy as it smells, but the flavor is there. Very good balance.
Slightly fizzy mouthfeel that adds a little prick to the character; best served ice cold.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer suprisingly more than I thought I would. Thumbs up!

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Photo of jack11c
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours great!! beautiful light amber grain color. tiny bubbles

smells maltey. caramel. sweet and a lil pungent

tastes great. hops, grain, and a lil iron on the back of the tongue

drinks great. like a true American Original microbrewery

reminds me of summer :)

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Photo of semihobo
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice head over a light brown body. Classic good looks, only head retention could be better.

Smells of peppery hops and a mix of grains. Very clean.

Taste is a rich medley of grains, from start to finish, complemented by peppery hops. The finish is pleasantly crisp with a goodbye kiss from the hops that fades to a lingering starchiness. A rich nuttiness persists throughout.

Vigorous, peppy carbonation is suitable for the flavor. Brisk but not distracting or overpowering.

I've had Anchor Steam before and didn't find it that impressive... now I'm not sure how I missed it. Sit down with a pint and look closely. A gem. Incidentally, reminds me of several Saranac beers -- if you like those, check this out. Now to find another steam beer to compare...

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Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all time favorites. One of the first micro's I bought in CA. Pours a nice golden/amber color with a nice head, but does not last long, very light lacing if any at all. Nice malty scent with a great light taste. I really enjoy this beer, very drinkable.

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Photo of MusicmanSD
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Along with the Franziskaner, one of the bests readily available beers you can buy. Anchor Steam pours a very nice red amber color along with a off white head that sticks around till you finish your pint. That ante's up the respect right there! The smell is floral and has an awesomely balanced complexion of hoppy bitterness and malt. Reminds me a lot of a Sam Adams Boston Lager, but with more flavor and craft. The taste is orgasmic in words. Has a carmel-like initial flavor and then heeds way to the malt, which is quite sweet. The mouthfeel is nice and heavy, makes you think twice about it being a lager! Drinkability is that of a hefe in my opinion, very smooth and balanced. The steaming process leaves it wickedly smooth, and I love it! Anchor pretty much re-invented this style of beers from the grave, and it’s added quite a unique beer to the styles of beer from around the world. It has the character of a hefeweizen and Vienna lager, which is a good mix to go with! Very tasty indeed.

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Photo of drpimento
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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 ThreeWiseMen
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Clear orangish amber body with tight, foamy-creamy (because it's kinda both), off-white head. Good retention. Carbonation looks pretty lively. Lookin forward to this one.

Smell: Mint, leafy hops, sweet wood (hickory?), and spice. Sweet malts throughout, but some nice, spicy, leafy hops level things out.

Taste: This is a new found love for me. I've had Anchor Steam many times in the past and never remeber it being this good. The same aromas detected in the nose come to life in the taste; mint leaves, grain, and spicy hops steal the show. Citrus can also be found, expecially toward the end. Delicious, balanced, and totally unique. This is a must try.

Mouthfeel: Genrously carbonated (as are most of Anchor's beers), very creamy, and uber smooth. A sturdy malt backbonve gives the imbiber something to chew on. Finishes crisp with some light bitterness.

Drinkability: I'll be buying this again, and again, and again. I feel like this deserves an even better grade than A, but I'll change it in the future if need be. This is a classic and a must try.

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Photo of airforbes1
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out a deep orange red and gives off a grassy aroma. The taste starts crisp, builds a slight apple-y taste, and finishes with some piney hops which linger on the tongue and strengthen as the beer warms. Even though the head quickly disappears, there's enough carbonation that leave me burping for a while. While this is not a particularly strong brew, it's more complex than one might suspect.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There is no beer in the world like Anchor Steam, and any attempt at making another steam beer has fallen well short of the high mark Anchor has set with this one. The California Common style is not one that will have any sort of worldwide presence, and you see on the style page how big of a gap there is in total reviews between Anchor Steam and whatever the #2 is. Anchor Steam is so unique and so good, that the style is basically named after it.

It's got a nice grainy smell. A powerful hop bitterness up front that mellows out with excellent malts and a mild fruitiness. That's the simplest way of explaining it, but really you won't have any idea what to expect. It's a beer in a league of its own. Maybe it's not for everyone, but everyone needs to try it.

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Photo of Arno
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Bright orange. Lovely sugary broken white foam with great lacing.

smell: I get dark honey / nectar. Sweet grains and malts. Surprisingly i'm not getting much hop smell from it.

taste: It has a grainy dark honey sugary base flavor with some bittering hops through it to balance it out. The hops mellow out during the finish, leaving the lovely sweet malts and nectar like texture.

mouthfeel: Brilliant. Nectar like velvet. Syrupy. Very smooth and round. With some medium carbonation to freshen it up.

overall: It's not a very complex beer, but it does everything right. It's somehow quite sugary in texture, yet the hops gives it a nice light bitter kick. It's just a joy to drink and not one to over think ;)

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Photo of HardcoreKeith
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my birthday presents was a six pack of Anchor Steam. Awesome present. Take note.

12 oz adorable stubby bottle into Sam Adams glass.

I don't really feel like talking about the individual qualities of this beer. It's a delicious beer of an authentic original American style. It's hoppy and satisfying, yet light and thirst quenching. Spicy and a little fruity, yet also clean and crisp. A classic, and something I can drink almost all the time. If you're reading this and haven't tried it yet, do it!

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Some light biscuit malts a very small tad of grain and a slight herbal/floral hop. Sweet bready/biscuit malts with an herbal/floral hop. It definitely seems like an old fashioned beer for lack of a better way to put it because it does have a bit of that grainy malt flavor but the richness of the malt and hop character definitely put it above your average macro. As the beer warms the biscuit sweet malt comes out and reminds me of a samuel adams lager. Very drinkable and a full body for only a 4.9 percent. Definitely an artfully crafted beer.

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Photo of elniko
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Rich amber coloring with nice head creamy head. High carbonation apparent. Good looking brew.

S: Malty with some floral tones that I pick up, I really enjoyed the nose on this beer.

T & M: This is one fine brew, one of my faves that I haven't gotten around to reviewing. Taste is wonderfully balanced, malt up front with nice finish of slight bitterness and floral tones. Mouthfeel is quite creamy.

D: Highly drinkable and sessionable. One of my faves, only complaint is high cost of six pack here in Texas.

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Photo of jamiejohnson
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I genuinely love this beer. Super session craft brew that's smooth and super tasty. But to be honest I'm rating it so high because of the pioneer factor. I'm 55 yrs old and to anyone else who endured the fizzy 70's and 80's, especially in a rural area like where I grew up - you know what I mean. Fritz and Homebrew Charlie P saved the day and instigated the craft beer gold rush. Nowadays there's literally thousands of excellent brews out there. Thank you so much Anchor Brewing

Way back then
I drank pee
Anchor Steam
Set me free

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Photo of T100Mark
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - The classic 12 ounce brown bottle in a shaker pint glass (the bottle looks so cool).

Appearance - A perfect copper color. I wish the beer left a little more lace around the inside of the glass however.

Smell - Good.

Taste - Flavorful. The beer has a slight botanical flavor. The balance between malt and hops is ideal. Very drinkable!

Mouth - Tart yet clean.

Overall - This is the first micro brew I remember being aware of (as a young boy, I watched my father drink one at Fisherman's Wharf). Yes, I'm a little biased. I love this beer.

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Photo of Dmann
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A truly excelent and enjoyable brew. This beer poured a good looking amber color with a nice white head that clung to the glass and left slight lace till the end. The smell was good with a nice earthy malt character. The taste was superb with a nice citrus bite in the beginning, a carmel like maltiness as it washes over your mouth and a great dry citric aftertaste. A unique beer indeed and a great session brew as well.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,900 ratings.
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