Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,033 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: 2,033 | Ratings: 5,920
Photo of Tupperwolf
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always wanted to try Steam Beer but never got around to it due to my prejudice against 6-packs (prefer something different with every beer I grab) until I found a store selling the larger bottles.

Pours out looking like an ale... This is a lager? Well, yes it is, but not like other lagers. It pours a near crystal-clear orange-brown with a frothy yellowish head that builds higher than I expected and hangs out in a fat layer a lot longer than I expected. It also leaves really great lacing for a lager. Very nice looking, simply pouring this puts me in a great mood and sets me up to experience Steam.

The smell is thin, there is a little bit of honey and lemon zest. Kind of hard to make anything out beyond that.

Mmmmm, yum. Way more interesting than most lagers. It is indeed crisp, clean, and smooth, but is pretty flavorful. There's a lot of lemony zest and malty flavors, with just the tiniest hint of hops that are metallic in a light aluminum way.

Watery and crisp like a lager should be; Carbonation's about right. A little bit of tartness, and finishes quite clean. It's very, very easy and nice to drink.

Overall, this is a great beer and I'm glad the opportunity popped up to give it a shot. I respect the makers of this beer and its bretheren going way back to the 1800s.

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Photo of dawg
4.79/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer.

Home brewed a california common once in honor of Anchor Steam. Need to brew another.

The appearance is typical of a california common. Transparent amber with a balsa white head. Having one now poured from a bottle into a champagne flute. Poured with a four finger head which lasted for a few minutes. The head reduced releasing the pleasant aroma of this steam.

Tastes like it always does. Malty and lightly hopped. When I need old faithful, I go for Anchor Steam.

Feels like heaven.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours light brown/deep orange color with a smallish head. Head dissipates quickly, leaving a bit of foam cover. Small bubbles rise continuously. Could use a bit more head retention.

Lots of aroma. Light hops and strong maltiness comes through. Some medicinal smells and breadiness I think it's called. :P

Taste reminds me of a solid APA, sweet up front with hops in the back. Good balance here. Understated carbonation is light on the tongue, and balances well with a slick, syrupy feel.

This is a beautiful session beer, IMO, which is good because I get it here in big 650ml bottles.

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Photo of Toddv29424
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a classic beer. There is an homage to this beer at the Magic Hat brewery in Burlington Vermont, and it is clear why. The taste is light but still full, with a crisp malt to it. Drinking it is really easy, especially if you are used to seeking out the more extreme varieties of beer, its a welcomed change. The smell has hints of wheat in it, but the carmalized notes peek through as well.

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Photo of kennyo
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

At one time this was probably one of the better beers available to beer drinkers. For what its worth, it really is a good drinking beer, goes good with food or not. I would choose this over pilsners/exports/canadians and of course, the BMC conglomerates. This is a very expensive session beer.

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

I wanted to review this beer on Monday. I put a bottle in the freezer to chill it quickly, but I forgot about it and the beer froze. By that time, the rest of the six-pack had gotten down to the serving temperature in the refrigerator, so I grabbed another bottle. Immediately after pouring the second beer, I knocked over my pokal and spilled almost all of it on the rug. I cleaned it, Fabreezed the beer smell out and gave up for the night. This review is from beer number three. It went straight from the fridge into my glass and down my throat without passing 'Go' or collecting $200.

Pours a clear amber, with average-sized white head that leaves modest lace. The aroma is mild, but toasty malts fallowed by earthy hops. The taste is somewhere between a lager and an ESB. Hop bitterness overtakes the caramel malts, but nothing is terribly assertive. This is one of the beers, if not the beer, that started the craft beer revolution in America so it deserves its props and it's one hell of a session brew to boot.

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Photo of pbr85
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 ounce stubby bottle into a small glass

Appearance: Pours a golden brown color with a finger thick head that quickly diminishes.

Smell: Very weak smell. I smelled subtle corn and even weaker citrusy fruits.

Taste: Moderate hop backbone that gives way to a burnt toast aftertaste that lingers for a few seconds (couldn't come up with a better description). Citrus comes into the aftertaste as the beer warms up. Its a pretty good taste, nothing dominates, but nothing special stands out about it either.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is good. The beer feels a little thin as it is going down, but as I have not had other examples of this style I am not sure if that is normal.

Drinkability: Though I would probably not consider this a session beer or anything close to that, it is an interesting beer with interesting qualities. I would have this beer again if it was available, but it is not going to be my new fall back beer.

Notes: I have never had a California Common/Steam Beer before, but this example is pretty good. I would recommend at least trying it, as it is a historic brew and a solid beer of its style (apparently).

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Photo of Kookiekwan
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear deep amber has a one finger light tan head with excellent retention and a nice coating of lace on the glass afterwards. The aroma is of sweet malt and caramel. The flavor is low in hops at first, earthy roasted malt with a slightly bitter hop finish. This beer seems to be their standard bearer but i'll take their much hoppier Liberty ale over this any day.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Way back in my college days, this was one of my favorite beers. It had been many years since I have had it, so when it was on tap at a pizza joint I was visiting, I figured I'd give it a go.

Poured a copper color with orange-yellow tones. A nice fluffy, creamy head. Good lacing.

Aroma was malty, but not very strong. Taste was quite flavorful with some hops bitterness. I found this surprisingly very dry and crips. Very consistent flavor throughout.

Mouthfeel was cleansing with medium carbonation. Overall, it was quite different than I remember [it has been over a decade since I last had this brew]. Not nearly as exciting, but this may have to do with the vast amount of other beers I have since tasted. For those who have not expanded their beer horizons, this would be a good introduction of a good American beer.

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Photo of Muddybuddy
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Honey colored beer with a good two finger head. Very clean and appealing to the eye. Head forms "islands" over a period of time but remains througout.

Aroma: Very floral and mild hops bitterness.

Taste: Brisk without being too hoppy, but definitely more than I expected. Mildly malty with a good balance to the hops. There is just a touch of biscuit to it as well. Overall it is a pleasing brew to me.

Mouthfeel: Kind of light on the tongue and slightly thin, but this is according to style and is actually quite quenching when paired with the lighter flavor of this beer.

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

Pale, clear light coppery color with a medium sized cap of off-white dense smooth foam. Settles down slowly to a healthy slim skim and collaring. Drippy lace with some globs sticking.

Aroma is softly clean and grainy with a slight toastyness; creamy, earthy tones keep underneath with a great fresh breadiness displayed on the nose the whole time.

Great fresh flavors, lightly malty with a nudging sweetness always peeking through with what tends to be an always present, fine bready toastyness. Creamy and lightly earthy with a tender texture and easy going malt base. The grain flavors are nicely handled with an eager mildness that lasts a long time. Finishes earthy with a slight grassy edged hoppyness floating along the end of the bready stuff. A great Steam beer by the innovators of the style, Anchor.

Sessionable by the gallons!

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark orange/amber with a short-lived, light tan head that leaves a thin lace. Bready maltiness in the aroma and flavor, though the palate is a bit more complex: grain, caramel, a very mild roastiness, and some faint piney hops as well. The mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy with moderately active carbonation.

Not merely one of the best examples of the style, but arguably one of the best American beers on the market. I’ve said it before in various forum posts and I’ll say it again: this well-balanced, infinitely drinkable brew is THE perfect session beer. No one can claim to be a serious craft beer lover and never have tried this one! Highly, highly recommended!

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Photo of outdoorbrewer
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This old classic creates an aroma blend of toasted malts and springy hops to set you up for a slide down the tunnel of love.
San Francisco sent the dough and reminded me that soap can linger on the stach.
But hey full clarity under a diminishing head sure pulls the glass up
Flavor started off in the middle of bittersweet and ran down the stretch to finish on the longshot
She got a body that licks creamy and is no way flat

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Photo of bjohnson
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark amber/copper color with a half finger white head that leaves minimal lace as it makes its way to the bottom.

S: Aromas of bready malt and grassy hops. Slight nuttiness in the malt flavor. Fresh and light.

T: Biscuit malt flavors are light but hold nicely as the grassy hop flavors finish off the beer. Very nicely balanced with a hint of citrus fruit in the hops of malt and caramel finishing a mild hoppy taste.

M & D: Mouthfeel is nice, not too bitter--has excellent balance. Drinkability is exceptionally good. I could have a bunch of these in a session as they are easy drinking and very tasty.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, from an assorted selection of brews in dad's fridge

appearance:pours a watery caramel-copper color with a foamy beige head and moderate lacing

smell: sweet maltiness, some fruity hop action, lots of spicy aromas, some caramel, slightly nutty, earthy

taste: sweet malts are dominant, caramel in nature with some dry spice flavors, hops are bitter and lemony, grassy and earthy flavors are a major factor in the taste

mouthfeel: some hop bitterness, smooth bodied, spicy and dry finish

drinkability: pretty drinkable

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Photo of crwills
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer of this style, although I'm still not clear what the 'steam' in 'steam beer' adds to it. Not bad, though.

Poured from a big, fat 650 mL bottle into a standard pint glass (had to refill, since it didn't all fit). A nice clear orangy amber colour.

Smell is hoppy, with pepper, flowers, and citrus fairly evident. Flavour is somewhat bitter with some earthiness. Hints of citrus, particularly lemons, and apples as well. Very light and smooth on the palate, with a slight bitter or acidic aftertaste and moderate carbonation.

Overall OK, but nothing special, and not worth the price charged at the LCBO. If you can get it locally though, go for it.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There are times when Anchor Steam just seems like the right brew to purchase among a sea of other choices. This was one of the first craft brews we used to drink in the swill days to mix it up. An American classic that everyone should try, and everyone should return to now and again.
Appearance: light orange color and huge head as it pours into my mug. The head is very long lasting. This color seems rare in's not amber but not yellow...doesn't really look like a PA either. But it looks good
Smell: Smells like American beer! (been drinking a lot of European beers lately). Nice grains and malts. Smells like a classic beer.
taste: connects right with the smell. Has a real smooth, clean taste. Again the malts, but this time there is a mild bitterness to back them up. Perfectly balanced.
mouthfeel: a mix of lager and ales. Why more brewers haven't attempted this style is beyond me....perhaps it's hard to get done right as it is a delicate style. It drinks like a lager but feels like an ale. Hard to explain.
Drinkability: Really high. I spend a long time on this one and not get tired. All I have is a 22 oz. bottle at the moment. This is made to be an easy drinker. If I had a sixer right now, I would probably drink a whole bottle in one or two sips. But it still feels like it has some body too's not a lager.
This beer went very well with Mexican Food, and I suspect it would go well with almost anything.
It's easy to forget about this one, but I make sure to get some every few months or so. My dad says he used to get this in the 70's (he still does.) Things weren't so bad in 70's for beer if this was around. A good beer to chose if you had to pick one to be stuck on a deserted Island.

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Photo of Gritsak
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- bright copper with an off white head. with an aggressive pour you will get a nice head that retains well. if you easy the pour you will get nothing.

S- sweet malty aroma.

T- nice clean taste with malt dominating. aftertaste has a bit of hop presence with honey sweetness mixed in.

M- medium body. mild carbonation. very smooth

D- extremely easy to drink.

overall- kinda reminds me of an oktoberfest with the malty backbone. pretty nice beer overall. Not a favorite but a really nice clean taste.

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Photo of davidchollar
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i haven't reviewed them yet, but the anchor porter and liberty ale have really impressed me. this is a good beer that i never noticed at the store when i was in seattle, but for some reason is available here at the local grocery store as the only american beer other than bud !!!
looks a dark bronze, almost brown but kind of red. the head is thick and not white, damn near gray, anyway it only sticks around for a minute.
smells a little better than average, not bad but not great. not very hoppy, kind of sweet. actually, unfortunately it smells like a japanese beer, really reminds me of asahi super dry ... scary
tastes much better. this is obviously a well-made brew. a little more bitter than i expected. quite drinkable, i could have a few of these.

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Photo of metallistout
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

People have always recommended this one and now I can finally get it. Good beer.
Pours a lovely amber color with a creamy white head. You can smell the hops from the moment the bottle opens and once poured it mixes with a sweet malty tone.
Hops a major flavor with a sweet caramel taste, also a fruity flavor and finishes a little dry. I like this beer. Now I know why people have recommended it over the years.

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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 ski271
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, medium copper with a small, off-white, foamy head that has very good retention. Some sparse, spotty lacing. The smell is of perfumy fruit and grain. The taste is rather mild and a bit sweet up front with a good balance and a pleasant fruity, lemony, light bitter finish. It has a thin-medium body, lightly dry texture, and moderate carbonation. There was a slight sourness in there that I didn’t care that much for, but otherwise this is a highly sessionable brew that I enjoyed.

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Photo of radshoesbro
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this is the classic anchor beer. i've had it many times in the past, but i've never actually rated it.

a - pours a clear copper with a good head and fantastic lacing!

s - reminds me of a pilsner. has bits of yeast and no real noticable hops.

t - this is a very unique tasting brew. the taste has bits of caramel with mild hops that give a nice bitterness. at points this brings to mind a belgian trippel.

m - nice medium body that is slightly tannic.

d - i couldn't drink as many steam beers as i could drink their liberty ale, but i could definately go through a few of these and be quite happy that i did!

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours incredibly deep copper color with a finger of head taht falls slightly to a healthy foam over top. The nose is lightly grainy, light caramel. Overall, it is not an overly aromatic brew. Flavor is prominently grainy, with a light caramel. A light hop bitter hangs on the finish. Nothing really grabs me and keeps my interest, though this would be a good transition brew for those just fining craft beer. Feel is moderate with a very active bubble on my tongue. The beer is smooth and very easy to drink. I'm not the biggest fan of the grainy nature of it. There is nothing flawed in it, but I don't think I would buy this one again. It just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of whynot44
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Medium bodied, nice bronze color with an off white head.

Aroma is primarily grain, caramelized malt with just a bit of citrus and hops.

Taste is caramelly malt, citrus, pear, slightly sweet and earthy, with a nice citrus/hops finish.

Very smooth and drinkable. This would be an excellent "session" beer and should go well with almost any kind of food.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,920 ratings.
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