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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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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: 5,852
Photo of vabchbrewer
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First time trying this one. Pours a nice, clear amber. Medium head, slight lacing. Nice flavor wave as the earthy toasty malt flavor rolls across the front of your tongue, then tweaks the side and finally a slight hop burst at the back. Balanced, satisfying beer.

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Photo of jrsqc7
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

like big cheeseburgers and good french fries this is a great staple summer winter fall spring, good for fishing good for kungfu shaw brother enter the 36th chambers marathon pretty stellar mouthiness on this it's the best thing about the beer allows you to really dig your shovel into those dirty malt flavors while that sun shiny hops burns your neck red

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Photo of THSdrummer
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, but dark amber. Medium-sized beige foamy head, with fair retention and lacing left behind. Round biscuit malts, with a bit of dark fruits form a smooth, malty opening. Taste follows suite with smooth, biscuit malt notes, dark fruits, and a twinge of pine hop bitterness. Pine hop notes really sit on the tongue after the finish of the beer. Mouth feel is smooth, and medium-thin. Overall, a good beer, but it seems more like a brown ale with a hoppy after taste.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of BeerBobber
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a copper color with a creamy/soapy off white head and not a lot of carbonation.

Smells of white bread and malts. More of just a clean beer smell with no adjuncts.

Taste was a touch of caramel sweet malts and just a touch of hops toward the back.

Mouth feel was a refreshing drink of cold beer with a nice crisp finish.

Glad I tried this one! It is a good beer and I can tell that some work went into the crafting of this one. It does seem a bit expensive for just a beer type of beer but it really was worth the try.

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Photo of Grindelvasdrum
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into glass stein.
A-Gorgeous translucent amber with 2 finger head which dissipated quick, little lacing.
S-Mildly roasted malt, slight floral & sweet fruit, as it warmed a distinct banana note appeared.
T-Slightly sweet mildly roasted malt with a hint of charcoal but not in a bad way, almost like
toasted marshmallow. At once followed by a big wonderful hop bitter that endures. Some banana notes
appear as it warms. It's quite complex!
M-Big creamy body that really surprised me. Nicely carbonated.
O-I'd never even heard of this beer before but I intend to have it again, very good! I was expecting
it to be like a lager but it's more like an awesome pale ale with super mouthfeel.

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Photo of Spikester
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with two fingers of slightly off white head. Moderate lace noted as the level drops.
Smell is toasted bread malt with a bit of herbal hops.
Taste is toasted bread malt with a good herbal or grassy hop to balanced.
Mouthfeel is close to medium with ample carbonation. Finish is lightly dry with a touch of lingering bitterness.
Overall a well balanced pleasant beer that is so readily available that I think it taken for granted. The date code indicates this is right at two months old which is quite fresh. There is now a timeline mini history lesson under the bottle cap.

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Photo of plumberman63
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Nice color, good smell, bitter taste, acrid feel on tongue. just not my style of beer. A lot seem to like bitter beer, so this my be for you.
Wouldn't get again

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Photo of HoppyBastard
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, there is no "best by" date that I can find.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear amber color with less than one-finger off-white head that quickly dissipated until a thin, broken layer of small bubbles remained, there is some lacing on the glass, medium carbonation.

SMELL: sweet caramel and toasted bread.

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, initially sweet caramel and toasted bread then an earthy hop profile, this is a malt forward beer, very much like an amber.

PALATE: medium body and carbonation.

OVERALL: this is a good beer, nothing special but solid, I prefer more hops and less malt but this is a good malt forward beer, I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the style but personally would not seek this one out again.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drops substantial clarity into a light amber liquid, forms a nice 1/2" head, uniform lace, after deft retention. Aroma was kicking that cool lager/ale hybrid yeast fruitiness.

More of that yeast driven flavor, its light, there is a mild carbonation and hop kick to it. Sweetness dialed in. Always enjoyable when on tap at Pizza Barn in Fallon, NV.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a 7 oz Libbey Gibraltar glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright copper with a lively head of off white bubbles. Chunky lace and a bubbly froth crown the glass.

Smell: Tightly balanced toasty grains, lightly fruity esters, and earthy hops.

Taste: Restrained biscuit and toasty malt, hints of caramel, slight fruit and citrus; earth, tea leaves and grassy hops. A piercing, almost astringent bitterness keeps everything in check without dominating. Closes dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very creamy feel and refreshing carbonation.

Overall: Balanced and refreshing while full of flavor and character; a longstanding standard.

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Photo of JakeScully
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one the first time in San Francisco a while ago and bought it in Europe a couple times afterwards, not easy to find here. A solid head, golden color and complex flavors leaving a dry finish. A very good brew.

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Photo of MaxHops
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Michael Jackson the beer hunter got it right when he rated this 4 out of 4 stars (World Classic) decades ago. Absolutely a classic and a unique beer. Defines "session" beer. Perfect at 4.9% for a long night. Beautiful bronze amber color, plenty of hops, though not an IPA, the Northern Brewers really feature well in this beer. A great intermediate transition beer for someone coming through the ranks of craft beer drinking in terms of hop hit. I remember my wife drinking these quite a bit after moving on from low hopped bears like Newcastle and then finally liking IPAs after these. Nutty, bready, some fruit with some of the dryness, sweetness of some lagers, some of the tartness of an ale it truly stands on it's own in style. 5s across for a world classic like this.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A much more solid beer than I expected. I was ready for a dated and boring beer but it was surprisingly complex and enjoyable. Looks very nice, a transparent orange-ish amber with a bright white head about two fingers. The head lingers and leaves good lacing throughout the glass. Smells sweet, like lagers often do. A pretty subtle scent to it, but there's hints of caramely malts and some faint hop aroma. Taste is actually pretty layered. Starts out sweet and malty, with caramel breadiness and hints of things like licorice and raisins. As the beer travels across the palate, some floral hop flavors and subtle bitterness develops, finishing with a crisp and somewhat dry feel. Flavors are clean and bright. Feel is smooth and creamy. This is a great beer to dissect the subtleties of or to just drink casually.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought from Don Quiojte
Amber golden color
Medium carbonation
Medium mouth feel
Smooth, malt crisp taste
Overall a great beer. Wish it was cheaper, but I will still drink more of it.

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Photo of gandres
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured to wine glass (no bottled on nor drink byn5D3 marking on bottle
Appearance: Amber with medium off white head, minimal lacing
Aroma: Malty
Taste: Bitter, very good follow through
Mouthfeel: creamy, a bit over carbonated
Overall: Very good beer
Drank: March 8, 2016

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had at the SF Airport on tap. I have been drinking for 6 straight days so I wanted something a little less potent before I board the plane. Any ways, I always struggle with this style. I want to like it more due to the history of this beer, but I always find the malty aftertaste a bit unsatisfying. Fortunately for the Brewer I always forget this and will likely order this again. Hate to leave California ....beers out here are second to none

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Photo of Hodgson
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, you need to get it very fresh. My bottle has a Jan. 2018 expiry date, and probably was brewed in the last couple of months or so. It does remind me of the draft in California, so no complaints there.

It has decent, sweetish malt and good, flowery hops. My one issue is the lager yeast leaves a slight stink, it is IMO what other reviewers call grassy or "skunky". It's not skunky, just as many Euro lagers called skunky on the board aren't - look at many Heineken reviews - it's from the yeast, IMO.

It is at a fairly low level of detection, but still, I think it holds it back from being a great beer.

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Photo of Nin10dude64
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank at heroes bar in Claremont, served to me in a shaker pint glass (sadly)

A: bronze amber, head dissipates fast, but leaves residue
S: sweet fructose, with notes of apple primarily
T: medium bitterness at first, dry hopiness, you can just feel the rich, red malt. Apple aftertaste
M: creamy, slight dryness
Overall: a gorgeous beer, made me very jolly and with its low ABV I'd repeat this for a couple more pints

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Photo of Beginner2
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This may have been my first craft beer... in the 1970s when I moved to the Bay Area.
No matter what else I've tried, I return to Anchor Steam.
It is unique in flavor and the history of beverage.
Anchor Steam spawned a revolution in taste that still grows splendidly.
The world is a better place for this.
Anchor Steam is deservedly listed in the "1001".
MJ's 1999 edition gave it 4 stars of 4.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
Always remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours nice and dark, with a hue that can range from amber to golden depending on how the light hits it. Not much in the way of head or active carbonation, but there is the thinnest of caps that sticks around, like a light dusting of snow. Smell is hoppy, but not in a sharp or aggressive way; plenty of malt on the nose, too. Taste is unique. Light hops, and a clear taste of dark fruit (raisins?) Mouthfeel is substantial without being heavy. Good, interesting cousin of the amber, and worth having, though not a favorite of mine.

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Photo of dee4maine
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic craft beer that cannot be missed by any true beer lover. perfection in looks. easy to overlook in the current day of "hazy tropical hop bombs". but easily worthwhile visiting regularly

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Photo of Arthuros
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very clear, golden orange color, with white medium foam.

Nose has notes of caramel, and anise. Flavor is sweet and dry, with caramel, dried fruit, little bitterness.

Not too fizzy.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice amber beer with a white head that leaves minimal lacing. The aroma is sweet malt, flowery hops and a hint of caramel. The taste is exactly like the smell except that the caramel flavor is big. The flowery hops and bitterness come in at the finish. Nice medium body and moderate carbonation. This has always been a good drinking beer.

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Photo of MACrist
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For the style.
APPEARANCE: Golden amber with a creamy, eggshell 2"+ head that lingers all the way down the glass. Lots of small bubbles rising in the glass. Leaves a thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Sweet caramel malt. Some dried lighter fruit, apricot. Some grassiness and earthy qualities to the beer, as well.
TASTE: Lots of sweet caramel and a nice but mild earthy bitterness in the mix. Lightly toasted quality to the beer. Pleasant, mild bitterness on the finish.
FEEL: Very smooth, a little slick. Doesn't finish particularly dry, but is refreshing. Nice bit of carbonation, but not overdone.
OVERALL: Great easy drinking lager with a nice sweet/bitter ratio. Reminds me of some popular Vienna lagers.

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Photo of SFNC
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer is an iconic beer, but to be honest more a historical one. It looks great in the glass with a deep golden color with tight white one finger head. The smell is grain and malts with a light flowery hop presence. The taste is crisp, with the grains and hops present from the smell. Lightly bitter with a strong carbonation, it's crisp and refreshing, not a WOW beer, but a consistent pleasant pour.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,852 ratings.
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