Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,028 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,028 | Ratings: 5,914
Photo of Sam-VW
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Anchor bottle into Ginger Grouse glass.

A - Clear amber with a white head, settles to a thick foam on top of the beer. Very nice looking beer in my opinion.

S - Citrus and other fruits, very sweet but also a strange subtle vinegar smell.

T - Caramel, Biscuit to start. It definitely begins with a sweet malt kick then goes to the bitter citrus and floral notes at the end. Great for a hot day.

M - I always think this beer is a little too carbonated, which lets it down. But it is still smooth and refreshing, just not as much as I would like!

All in all a great beer.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear golden amber color with a a pretty thin white head. A bit of foamy lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Lots of malty aromas, mixed with hints of baked bread and a little caramel. Pleasant, but nothing special or out of the ordinary.

T: Follows the nose pretty closely... lots of sweet malts, biscuit, and hints of caramel. An average "good beer" flavor.

M: Light bodied, but a little too watery for my liking.

D: Nothing jumps out at me when I drink this brew, but there isn't really much to complain about either. A drinkable brew that pairs well with lots of different foods. I could use a little more mouthfeel, but other than that it's a respectable quaff.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting brew. Nice old-penny copper colour, and a respectable light tan head.

Bready, malty smell, reminiscent of an English pale ale.

Taste is a bit more industrial. Yeast, malty flavour but a noticeable metallic tinge. Not quite sure of the source, but I've noticed this in English pale ales before, and some lagers.

Decent mouthfeel, but despite its shortcomings in the taste department this is an oddly drinkable beer.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What is it about steam beers? Use lager yeast but ferment at normal temperatures more consistent with ales.

Anchor Steam, considered the granddaddy of steam beers pours a slight clear amber to off yellow shade with good head retention, nice carbonation and a slight lace to the glass. Do you think that Gottlieb Brekle imagine what he starte in 1854? The smell is stronger malt but limited hop and fruity esters are present.

The taste is a good combination of lighter malts with a full body flavor. Creamy almost but with a hint of caramel flavoring and then at the end a spicy kick. A small amount of floral is noticeable but you have to look for it. Anchor Steam is a nice summer beer and has a fantastic history. If you have the time I suggest to peak around their web site and check the history.

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Photo of ilikebeer03
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. Pours a nice burnt orange. About a finger of head which has nice retention. Lacing is nothing special, but solid retention, like I said. Nice crist, clear appearance. Nose and mouth are very similary. very malty, earthy, biscuity, bready upfront. a slight hop presence. Very crisp. Pretty good mouth feel. the bready - biscuity taste lingers for awhile. Overall, pretty good. This was one of the very first craft beers that I ever had and I distinctly remember disliking it. That was at least 5 or 6 years ago. Anyway, suprised to find myself enjoying now the second time around.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber, decent head, good lacing.

Smell: Grains and yeast.

Taste: Mild. Malts and a hint of spice. Salty and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp, and dry. Slight salty aftertaste.

The Verdict: Not bad. I know it’s highly regarded by many, but it’s a bit too mild for my taste. I did enjoy it, but not enough to go looking for it.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber accented with gold. Clear body with little head. In fact that the clarity seems quite conspicuous, almost as if there is an absence of something as in a Kristalweizen.

S - Sweet malts, concentrated apple juice, a little fresh-lager hoppiness. Apricot jam and honey. The notes definitely develops as this beer sits and warms.

T - The taste is well-balanced; malt and hop play together nicely, but the experience is a little tame and I get none of the fruit from the nose.

M - Mouthfeel feels about right as well. Not overly or underly carbonated. Neither cloyingly thick nor feebly thin.

O - This is an okay beer, but I have no idea when I would drink this beer were I to have again. It is quite refreshing but there are certainly more refreshing beers around. It’s sessionable but I’d rather session a beer with stronger fruit, nut or malt profiles. It’s not particularly hoppy which is fine by me as I don’t enjoy the hops but if I did like hops I’d choose an IPA. It’s relatively inexpensive but if I really want to get after it there are cheaper beers with higher abv’s. It doesn’t taste bad, but if I want a tasty beer I’m going to have some variety of porter, stout, Belgian or sour. It is well-balanced which in this instance is somewhat of an inadmirable virtue as it renders a neutral beer which fails to offer a definitive characteristic required to compel purchase. There are various reasons why I buy beer, but there is not a situation I can think of where another beer would not better compliment that reason.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a beautiful dark brownish amber, while head is thin but fine. Aroma is weak but pleasant, decidedly malty. (However, my allergy was acting up some when I tried this.) Flavor is rich, malty and bitter with a snipped of fruit undertone. Jazzy, zingy, nice and rough, it is a pleasant and refreshing, if not spectacular, lager.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Stone glass.Smell is a very mild hops.Taste is really not that impressive.Mild hops not much else.Sad to say but it is a little like a bud or coors type of thing.I would not buy again.It`s not for me.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear burnt orange color with a foamy, off-white 2 finger head. Excellent retention.

Smell - Earthy, sweet, and mildly spicy.

Taste - Starts mildly sweet, apple and caramel, then kicks over into a floral, grassy hop. Unfortunately, that's when my enjoyment ends. There's a sawdust like bitterness that creeps in near the aftertaste that I dislike greatly.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Carbonation lends to a nice, crisp bite.

Overall - This is a quality beer, but the flavor profile just ain't my thing.

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Photo of uberabr
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great color, a glowing reddish amber. Well carbonated. Head forms and dies pretty fast, but good lace.

Not getting a whole lot in the small department. Grassy with a zesty lemon-peel hoppyness. A nice, simple, aromatic smell.

A tad bitter. Hops are there but not overpowering. There's a real simple but charming quality to this beer. It could be a lot more malty but doesn't have much alcohol, a good call in my opinion.

Not a whole lot of complexity but I like it. Feels bubbly and refreshing in the mouth. The excellent drinkability and relatively low AbV make this a great session beer.

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Photo of generalnotsew
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Huge 3 finger off white head. Color is mahogany. Head actually sticks to the side with the lacing.

S: Smell is spicy with a lot of Lager/Pilsner characteristics. A bit hoppy, dry with a bit of tart sweetness.

T: Kind of bland with a lot of tartness. Quite a bit of malt character with it. Hard to describe this one. Never had anything that tastes like this before. I kind of like it even if it is a bit shallow.

M: Would say overly carbonated but it seems to fit the style they are going for here. Same as the taste. Not good but having a hard time not liking it.

D: Refreshing tasting beer to say the least. Think this why I keep wanting to like it. May not be tasty but it does feel like it would quench your thirst on a hot summer day.

Yet another beer I gave less than stellar scores but would buy it again. This would be my next top pick to take to a hot July BBQ. Seems like it would go great with that kind of food. Possibly it will grow on me.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this beer up in a mix and match six pack at the local Hy Vee, having never heard of it or read anything about it. Basically I liked the label, so I grabbed it!

Appearance - As unusual as this sounds, I'd say it came out a sort of cross between gold and amber in color. Good transparency, and even though I botched the pour a little because the kids were acting up, it had a nice thick, creamy, probably two finger head on it with moderate lacing.

Smell - Not real overwhelming, although I could certainly pull the yeast out of the nose. Very light smell overall. Not bad, just light.

Taste - All that being said, the brew was suprisingly refreshing and tasted great! Maybe a slight hint of caramel, malty, just a tad bitter. I thought it was an excellent tasting beer.

Mouthfeel - Very crisp and smooth, went down real easy. With all the taste this beer has, it goes down so smooth, kinda makes you want to drink another!

Overall - Having known nothing about this beer before I bought it, I'd say it was a pretty good beer. The California Common/Steam Beer genre may not necessarily be my cup o' tea, but this is a tasty and refreshing beer nonetheless, one that I would certainly recommend for both an experienced craft brew drinker or a relative newcomer alike.

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Photo of selecter70
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite West Coast beers, maybe because it does not push the hop envelope, but rather seeks a nice balance for a great drinkable lager. A nice clean bright pour settles to a darker copper with decent white head, some lace & good biting carbonation. The aroma hints at more floral hops than malt, whereas the flavor mates some clean bright hops with roasted malt in a good earthy way. Just a simply great all around refreshing beer.

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Photo of KoG
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a nice rich gold color with a good amount of creamy head.

Smell was malty with hoppy esters. Couldn't pick out the remaining aromas.

Taste was similar to taht of a good lager. Fresh and crisp with a good malt pallet and light hoppy bite. Not so bad.

Mouth was smooth and lite with a good amount of carbonation.

Being the only steam beer I've had, this isn't that bad. It would probably be better during the summer rather than the winter.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. Imported to Europe by . ABV is 4.8%. The beer starts gushing out of the bottle when opening. Deep golden to amber colour, decent head. Nice aroma of fruity hops, malt and raisins, hints of bakery and oak. Low carbonation in the glass, soft mouthfeel. The flavour is malty sweet with caramel and some crisp hops. Decent hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Uncomplicated, but okay.

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Photo of aracauna
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a big lager fan, but after reading about how this beer was made to gain some ale qualities, I was impressed enough to give it a try. Much more complexity than a typical lager. Less hop character than I would have expected from a west coast brewery but some nice maltiness.

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Photo of texascarl
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance = dark amber, thick off-white head. Good carbonation, nice lacing. Nice looking beer.

Nose = pleasant aroma, malt, light hops

Taste = bitter, but not 'hoppy' tasting. semi-creamy mouthfeel and a long finish

First time I've had this, not quite sure what I think of it yet. It's good but maybe not my cuppa. I'll wait & give it another try soon.

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Photo of GregoryShmegory
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a very tasty beer. After drinking a mix 6 pack of Anchor Brewing Company, this is probably my favorite. Pours a beautiful color- golden orange. Smells sweet and fruity. Tastes balanced and plentiful. Would be a good session beer. I'd buy again if it wasn't for the price.

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Photo of SethB2
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Black Butte pint glass.

Beer pours a transparent ligh amber color with a nice two finger snow white head. Head disipates and leave a small amount of lacing. Smell is a tad on the sweet side and a little malty. Not a whole lot going on in the nose for me. Taste is good. Toasted malts followed by a better than expected hoppiness, providing a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is OK, but a bit thin and watery. Drinkabilty is good. This would be an easy drinker in session bender.

Overall, I like this beer, but I didn't have anything to compare it to. Not sure I've ever had another steam beer. So my ratings pretty much only reflect how I feel about the beer. In conclusion, for a lager that is fairly light in color, I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of Hendy011
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice head of foam lasts 5 minutes, leaves lacing on the glass.

S - Straight hops smell, barley, little bit of roasted smell.

T - Comparable to Lionshead, but much more full. Tastes like pancakes. Bitter aftertaste with taste of alcohol.

F - Feel is great, very little carbonation.

O - Pretty good. Similar to a light lager, ale. Nothing too notable about this beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I started homebrewing, a lot of those first pale ales carried this same twangy yeast flavor that I chalked up to that "homebrew" taste. Mixed with the medium caramel flavor and fruity esters, I taste many of those same flavors in this classy ale.

Light copper and with orange highlights, this hybrid beer carries the appearance of creaminess, bright clarity, and decorative lace. Good retention and residual pockets of foam are fueled by steady streams of carbonation throughout.

Thin caramel, medium barley grains, bread crust, slight English-like fruitiness, and hop elements of woods and grasses give a richer sweet tea herbal scent to the appetizing nose. The aromas are not as pronounced as an American Pale Ale, but it's easy to draw come comparisons.

Caramel, light toast, softly kilned grains, and bread crust also show in a medium sweet flavor, and again with the added complexity of light yeasty fruits of apples and oranges. Earthy hop flavors of bark and leaf frame the balancing flavors at mid palate, while ushering in a clean and somewhat minty bitter taste in finish.

Creamy sweetness allows the early mouthfeel to be more pronounced due to an abundance of expansive carbonation to start. As the carbonation subsides, so does the sweetness. A mid palate of developing grassy, bitter, and resiny dryness starts to take hold and leads to a crisp and grainy-dry finish that is mostly clean even with the earthy hop elements and slight astringency of grain husks.

I keep finding flavors here that remind me of both Pale Ales and German-style Vienna lagers or richer Oktoberfestbiers. Very drinkable, enjoyable, and effortless in its session-ability. The rustic charm of grassy hops, strained yeast, and somewhat clumbsy brewing practices are also what gives this hybrid beer its charm.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Code 2YU, which I think means bottled 21 May 2012. Tasted 7 August 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a clear medium orange amber, bright and glossy-colored. Two fingers of yellowish head, dense and pillowy. It forms pocks and craters, gradually relaxing to a thick layer of foam. Nice lacing, too.

Smells like a malty lager, alright, with very buttery, lightly toasted malts. Biscuits with butter, that's what I smell.

Taste is, hmm, dully refreshing. There's just not much to it. Those biscuity malts are present here, but less rich, and emptier in a way. Drifts into a mildly bitter finish that's only tolerable for me. Meh.

Mouthfeel is fine. Light-medium body, plenty of carbonation, and a long-lasting, fairly dry finish.

My first foray into the style, so I'm not sure if I'm undervaluing it. But I'm not particularly impressed. It's not especially tasty, or refreshing, or anything, really.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- The appearance is a red/amber color with a 1 finger head that disappears pretty quickly. Fairly good amount of lacing too.
S-A pretty low-key scent. Kinda smells like bread.
T- The taste is similar, reminiscent of bread crust. It tastes really good, but it left a bit of an odd aftertaste, especially when it got a bit warmer.
M- Mouthfeel is what should be expected. Fairly strong carbonation, but not overly aggressive. Overall it is light weight.
O-Overall, I actually liked this beer quite a bit. Maybe didn't live up to a lot of the hype I heard, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of necoadam
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Color was copper with a nice amount of carbonation. Smell was quite clean but some of the malts really showed up in the aromas. They were a little bit more rich than the bottle verison. Taste was a little bit of a let down. It focused more on the earthy tones than anything. I was expecting more of a hop/malt combination just like the bottle verison, but it was mostly earth tones. Not bad by any means, but I would of liked to see some more flavors in there.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,914 ratings.
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