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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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very good
2,014 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: 2,014 | Ratings: 5,850
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 www.bierenco.nl . 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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Photo of Naes
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is dark copper in color with a three inch white head which provides adequate lacing and retention.
The aroma has a caramel malt base, yet remains hopier than I expected.
The flavor is also of caramel malt with a hop presence near the finish. There is also a citrus rind characteristic within this brew.
Mouth feel is light to medium in body and has active carbonation.

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Photo of BillH200174
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper/amber color and formed a nice off-white head, that left some nice lace. The aroma was of malt and some hops. The flavor was of malt and hops with a slight citrus aspect. The finish was a touch astrigent, giving it a slight bitter aftertaste.

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


Deep amber and brown. Copper. 1/4" white head with great lacing. I've always loved the look of this beer. Maybe it's memories of sessions with Anchor Steam or it just looks good... doesn't really matter, I love the look of it.

Aroma is malty/grainy/slightly hopped. Some hints of caramel and brown sugar... wheat.

Slightly bitter on the swallow. Smooth mouthfeel. Definite malt characters.

Easily a session beer of great weight. I'll drink it again for sure.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark gold body with some decent head and lacings. A rather simple smell, dry and hoppy with some airiness to it. A smooth, medium bodied brew with a hop kick to it, but also some roasted malts and sweetness to it. The malts and sweetness (caramel/honey?) dominate the tongue and the hops hit for a dryer, but not overpowering backbite. Simplistic, maybe, but still a nice beer to relax with while sitting at a bar on the beach.

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

Appearance: Clear amber, huge head.

Smell: Sweet grain, a little grassy note.

Taste: Some grassiness, caramel, and light tea-like bitterness.

Drinkability: Could probably have a few if it was the best beer available.

Was a little disappointed in this, I was hoping for a little more grassy or citrus hop flavors but got mostly tea-like bitterness instead. Not a bad beer, but not to my tastes.

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

Time to review a classic (and no, I won't going off on a tangent about how the new grading system sucks, either...that's for the forums, brah) Poured into a Kostritzer pilsener glass.

A: Pours a murky copper color, with a large, sexy four-finger off-white head that fades away at a moderate pace.

S: Mostly earthy aromatic hops, but also features a small bready scent, as well.

T: The opening is malty, biscuity, and almost sweet, while it finishes with a decent hit of grassy, floral hops. Flavorful and refreshing, but I imagine it would be better suited to the summer months.

M: Finishes very wet, and has moderately high carbonation overall. Nice smoothness, too.

O: This is pretty damn good, and like many of the well-known craft beers (SN Pale Ale, SA Boston Lager), has a good degree of versatility, as well. On the other hand, it's not my favorite, and truth be told, I think I prefer Flying Dog Old Scratch (if we're staying in the not-too-well represented style of the California Common) overall.

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

12 oz. bottle purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an orangey-amber body with an inch of frothy, white head.

Smell: Mild caramel, bready malts with a savory spicy, peppery note and teensy weensy hint of berry fruitiness.

Taste: Lightly bready, lightly caramel-coated maltiness. Not much sweetness. Tiniest bit of fruit -- watch out or you'll miss it. Tiny touch of acidity. Spicy, peppery hops, maybe a small pinch of lemon zest, too. Medium-low bitterness. Finishes dry and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Paired quite well with the film Karate Kid playing in the background. A fine, drinkable brew all around that appeals to my session beer sensibilities.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this 12 ounze (?) bottle from the Fox and Hound in King of Prussia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: I poured about 2 fingers of head that didn't feel like staying for very long. THe lacing was thin and sparace, but still there. The body of the beer was a dark, but transparent brown. The head produced a bit of an off white color.
Smell: There was many nuances with both the smell and the taste, but the over all impression I got was that the IBUs were not that high.
Taste: This brew, played games with my taste buds and certainly demonstrated that different parts of you tounge taste different things. I won't spoil the suprises, but it is worth looking it just to see this.
Mouthfeel: The first couple sips were kind of ridge, but as I settled in, they became much smoother.
Drinkability: I would say this is certainly a drinkabile beer.
Don't drink and review.

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

I had this in a water glass. This hampered the head I could get from the beer. So when I say the head was minimal, it may have been due to the glass.

The beer is a hazy, orange color. I don't see any particulates, but the coloration would indicate the presence of some matter for the hazyness.

This Steam smells like apricots and floral. It is very light.

It tastes good as well. The flavors were pretty light. It worked well for a warm summer afternoon.

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Photo of grynder33
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a light amberish gold,virtually no head to speak of,had a little bit of a feed bin grain aroma, but thats it.It had a pleasant enough sweet and hop taste, nice but somewhat thin malt hop balance and goes out with a distinct hop aftertaste. Smoother and sweeter than the macros, about the best I can say for it.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apparently the definitive Steam Beer. 4.80% abv, 355mL bottle. From a sixpack from a London, ON LCBO. Poured into a 'shiraz' Riedel wine tumbler.

Perfect amber/orange/red body. But no head! Barely a cloud. Quickly to nothing, just this richly coloured syrup. If I shake it I can get a small offwhite head but there is little to no retention.

Weird aromas. Candy corn, noble hop spice, sweet citrus notes, yeast. Very malty though, and rather sweetish.

Palate is too sweet for my taste. Thankfully it is malty sweetness, not artificial in any sense.Tons of residual sugar here. Feel is nice and full too, which is a bit of an intense combination for a lager. Moderate carbonation. Finish is remarkably astringent, earthy notes and a bit of citrus hops clean it up. Chalky, bready. A bit salty too. Overall not bad, but not great.

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Photo of alexskovan
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Let me say right up front: I don't LIKE this beer. I never have, and I've tasted it many times and tried to like it. So this is a bit of a tough review for me to do because -- despite the fact that I don't care for the taste -- I recognise a complexity in it that speaks well of the craftmanship of the brewer.

Pours a cloudy amber with an off-white head. Smell is very rich and full of fruity esters. I like the aroma a lot more than the taste. The taste. . . a lot going on, and the effect has always felt unbalanced to me. It jangles me rather than soothes me. But there are grapefruit hops, fruity esters, and a malty sweetness. But to me it feels like they are all fighting each other.

Strange brew. I don't like it, but I'm sure that's my palate and not the beer. I recommend you try it and see what you think.

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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 WyethBednar
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Bright orangey-amber. Creamy tan head and good lacing throughout. Carbonation very visible. Overall, very inviting looking and very tasty looking.

Smell: Not much. Slight notes of malt and sweetbread

Taste: Strong grain notes, very bready. Malty backbone with a slight dry finish. Very easy to drink, but not that exciting.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Good carbonation and very quaffable.

Overall, this is a good beer for what it is. Very drinkable and also very sessionable. Not a very overpowering or interesting flavor palate, but I don't think that's what they were intending here. This is essentially a more finely crafted take on a standard American amber lager

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,850 ratings.
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