Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,024 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: 2,024 | Ratings: 5,900
Photo of ken3c
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very bright copper. Lumpy head recedes to a thin lumpy layer. Lacing is spotty but evident. The head really makes this beer look great.

Slightly malt smell but mostly resiny hops.

Slightly sweet and then turns bitter. A hint of carmel in the aftertaste. Very clean taste.

Bubbly feel. Light-medium body.

For me, this is an example of the sum of the parts doesn't quite add up to the whole. I can appreciate this beer in each area but I just don't love it or even like it a lot. I just like it a little.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a cloudy brown color and a thin tan head that does not last long. The aroma is minimal with nothiong impressive besides the malty smell. Flavor consists of light roasted malts, breadiness, and a touch of non-distinct hops. It also ends with a bit of sourness. Overall this beer has nothing too distinct about it. It beats macro swill, but not by much.

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Photo of skybluewater
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a perfect amber color, rocky eggwhite head, no lacing. Very nice, perky, fruity smell. Has a sweet malty flavor, but it's not at all cloying. Very full mouthfeel for a sub-5% abv brew.

I haven't been drinking craft beer very long, and I came back to this one (after drinking "bigger, better" beer all summer long) not expecting much. I'm shocked to find that it tastes even better than I remembered. This is a truly great brew.

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Photo of baiser
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an golden orange colour, with a creamy, off white head. This beer is very carbonated. It's clean and crisp like a lager, and fruity like an ale. Kind of 'woody', with a clean malt character. It's got a bitter aftertaste. Dry finish. A good session beer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with an adequate light beige colored head. Malty, earthy and grassy in the aroma, a slight bit diacetyl and further mineral-like qualities in in the water content. Slightly malty sweet, yet astringent from the malt and backed with a further dulled astringency from the hops. A bit fruity in the whole hop/malt balance, but if you know the brewing history behind a "Steam" (trademarked) or California Common beer, you'll understand why this beer had pushed the envelope at one time when it came to small-batch brewing. It since had become a U.S. classic, and rightly so. It is very crisp and enjoyable.

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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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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer has a really cool bottle design, I like the colorful turn of the (last) century style a lot.

It pours a copper color with a big tight bubbled head and just a little bit of lace. The aroma is sweet and biscuity, with floral notes. The taste is very interesting. It starts out with a hit of hop bitterness that quickly leads into a sweet, biscuity almost honeyish feel. There isnt much of a finish other than lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is a little watery. Its not superlative, but still a very interesting, quaffable beer.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

355ml bottle, served at the kings head belfast

Pours with a dirty amber body, fizzy tan head forms

Smell, aromatic and hoppy, floral, not disimilar to the liberty ale but less powerful

Taste, nice mix of malt and hops, pretty well rounded. Hop bitterness. Perhaps slightly too carbonated

A good little beer, not on par with the liberty ale but none the less, might have been served a little too cold in the bar i had it in

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good strong amber, distinctive in color and smooth on the pour.

Malt, hints of spice and possibly vanilla.

Smooth hops and malt cascade well together. A tiny flavor of the vanilla with some lemon and maybe a washington cherry.

Very smooth to drink, classic in style and flavor. A very likable and drinkable American ale.

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

What a pour! Appetizing huge pillowy, cake like antique white head that settled into a 1/2" pour over a clear copper teeny bead carbonation. Cryptic freshness date in the label: 4FB.

Spicey nose of cardamon and carrot cake. Mmmm...

Blends of nutmeg and a suggestion of root beer. An A+ for creativity. This is another offering that reminds me of those candies that has the gooey caramel outside and the white sugary middle.

Solid foamy feel. Crisp even after sitting. Goes back like me gullet is pried open.

An easy summer swiggable brew. Awfully drinkable.

Last swigs: This is an historical brew. A truely American style. Blend of lager and ale. Hmmm... interesting. Steam derives from the "steam" carbonation that used to sizzle out from these beers when tapped.

Beer is good. Happy historical beering.

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

I have tried this one several times and keep going back to it as it is a good session beer. Pours a medium to dark amber color with a creamy off white head about two fingers wide. The head leaves beautiful, sticky lace all over the glass. There is a great deal of carbonation as witnessed by the numerous bubbles rising to the surface.

The aroma is kind of nutty with a sweet smell in there. The taste is nutty and slightly malty, but only a trace of a hop prescence. Mouthfeel is good and smooth, almost too smooth, though. Overall, a good beer to enjoy anytime.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had to try Anchor Steam since it is one of the few American classics. Appearance is a dark copper with medium-sized, creamy head. Smell is clean, slightly hoppy, with a note of sweetness. Taste is nicely balanced. Mild malts and hops combine for a fairly complex taste. Slight citrus taste is noted on the edges of the sip. Thankfully, Anchor Steam is a full-flavored brew that doesn't feel too heavy for high drinkability. Overall, I really liked this beer, but didn't find it to be the most exciting style around. Anchor Steam is a must-try though, it's not often you find the originator of a style of beer.

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Photo of Ricochet
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this a long time ago and it wasn't a taste I wanted to re-visit compared to the awesome Anchor Porter. I was able to mix-and-match a 6 from my local beverage store so I got a couple and I was pleasantly suprised.

Appearence: Dark amber, little head.

Smell: Slight fruity scent but an unusual note like no other beer making this unique.

Mouthfeel: Foamy and rich

Taste: It starts out a little lighter, almost like a champagne. A slight "Trappist Monk Ale" note assuming that comes from how this beer is hopped. Strong alchololic taste and strong hoppy flavor with no fruity flavors. Towards the end, just a slight lager flavor.

This Anchor is a very unique and respectable beer. I'll have it again as a change up or sampler but I prefer the porter/liberty ale.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ Whiskey's in Boston, MA.

Amber/brown color with a creamy head. Left some nice lacing on thw glass as it went down, and it went down FAST. Very smooth tasting. Very well-balanced hops and malts. Sweet and bitter tasting, yet is not rough on the palate. A truly unique beer that goes down way too easy. A must try!

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Photo of ybnorml
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a clean amber ale with afizzy white heat that disappears quickly. The beer has a light sweet malty aroma. The malt flavor promised in the aroma gives way to an assertive hop bitterness before giving a crisp clean finish. A tasty drink for when you're having more than one.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle served in a pint glass.

The appearance is a nice copper bronze with a thick 1 inch head. Creamy and sticky head. Some lacings, but they didn't sustain like some beers.

The smell is malty and distinctive, classic Anchor.

The taste is sweet and full. Grainy and complete sips. It's hard to compare this beverage to anything else, it's totally original. The carbonation is so nice too, providing a very soft mouthfeel. The soft quality only adds to the drinkability.

All I can say is that this is one quality beer. A standard in the craft beer market and always welcomed by me when I see it on tap at a bar. It might be a tad overpriced for a 6 pack. I think a 6 pack goes for around $8.39 or usually higher, but this is a solid product and a true session beer.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer is clear, dark amber with a big, yellow-tan, foamy, active head that collapses crustily. It leaves soap-film runny lacing. Fruit and crackers in the nose. A fruity, bitter front. A light, fruity middle showing some caramel. A nutty, fresh, bitter finish. A little tea. Hoppy aftertaste. This is a nice, fresh, hoppy, light beer. A good dinner beer.

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

Pours a dark amber with a 2 finger, thick head which stuck around for quite a while. I recognized immediate sweet malt smells with just a touch of hops. The taste is nice and balanced - malty, even nutty maybe followed by a bit of bitterness from the hops; it's a smooth, easy drinking beer. It seems to be a little overly carbonated and maybe that adds an interesting, individual characteristic to it; I'm not sure. At times, I felt like I couldn't find my way through the bubbles to get a good grip on some other lesser tastes though. It's still very drinkable, tastes pretty good and obviously, very popular as a result.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle. No date.
It pours a pale gold/copper color with a pure white fizzy head.
A light malt aroma rises up then fades quickly. A faint smell of floral hops is noticed.
A light biscuity malt flavor is somewhat lost in the seltzery effervescence.
The light metallic hop bite is also diminished within the Champagne-like spritziness. It's well made but too un-beer-like.
Much different and better on draught!

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Photo of misterscooter
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a classic. I don't run across it all too often even though it is a local beer but it represents the area well. I came across it again tonight at a reception and when it is available, I always have at least one. Strangely, I usually don't want more than one but it is easy to twist my arm.

Out of the bottle, it has a small, albeit sharp bite. Fairly dry but smooth in your mouth, easy to swallow. The aftertaste lingers but doesn't bother you and seems to invite you to take another pull. I don't recall any specific flavors coming out, which makes me think it is benign but I know there is a lot to it. Perhaps it is the maltiness slightly surrounding the other nuances in it. It is a beer worth taking the time to savor. I should have done that more tonight.

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Photo of tjd25
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is dense and regular and faded quickly; the body is of a red amber color. The smell is very malty and reminded me mostly of sweet watery caramel. Almost porto like. A bit yeasty, showing also a fruity character, maybe sweet strawberries. Also a chestnut aspect and a very dry floral note of straw. Interesting. The taste shows caramel but mostly a sweet winy/porto-like fruitiness, oaked and viscuous. Some sweet citrus too. A thick and dry hoppiness reveals a mint and chocolate character. The mouthfeel is quite pronounced, but maybe the accent on the hops is a bit over the top. Maybe a bit too thick to be highly drinkable.

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Photo of jayb
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a nice orangish reddish color with a puffy off-white head. head was chunky in parts and left a fair amount of lacing on the glass. i didnt get much of a smell from this beer, a slight flowery scent with a bit of bitterness maybe. Taste was well balanced. A nice bitter hop bite at the beginning, but got sweeter as it warmed up. finished dry and tasty. A nice brew that is very smooth drinking. this would be a nice beer to have any time of the day. clean, refreshing, and different. Jay enjoyed this one.

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Photo of malthead
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good appearance, dark amber color and big head. No single, overwhelming smell... mostly just clean, dry, a little malt, maybe a little hops. Taste is rather nondescript as well, maybe just a little grain, except for a strange, slightly bitter aftertaste. I like a good bitter, but this is either too bitter or not bitter enough, it just doesn't seem to work for me. However, this is my first of the style, so take that into consideration. Good drinkability, it goes down smoothly, but I just can't say I'd want to buy another one.

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

Appearance: Reddish Brown. Very clear beer. The head is diminishing and off-white, but there is nice lacing on the glass after each sip.

Aroma: Sweet malt. The smells a slightly bready. There are hints of brown sugar sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Sweet caramel builds to a dry finish. Their is a bit a fruit in the flavors, maybe raisin. The dark sugary flavors from the caramel and the malt help with the mouthfeel.

Notes: This is a solid beer. It doesn't have bold flavors, and it's not high in alcohol so it would be a good style to consume a few of. The mouthfeel is nice and the beer is pleasant to drink.

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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 5,900 ratings.
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