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

Poured into a pint glass from bottle.
Appearance - Bright orange-amber color with a nice creamy white head that
sticks around on the glass.
Smell - Can pick up hints of sweet malts with something else hiding in there but cannot tell.
Taste - Sweet malts, don't really pick up much hops as others say. Also some caramel infused to the taste. Thats the smell I could not pick up(caramel).
MF - Has perfect amount of carbonation goes down smooth.
Drinkability - This is what a "Beer" should taste like, could drink these in a session... matter of fact I think I will now ;)

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

A - 1" off-white creamy head. Bright orange/amber beer. The head has decent retention and leaves some light lacing.

S - Sweet rich malt. Clean. Hint of fruit. Clay?

T - Malt (caramel, toffee, butter). Some fruitiness. Pleasant bitter finish.

M - A little short of being medium bodied. Carbonation seems just right on this beer. Fairly dry, long finish. Fresh and well made.

D - The drinkability here is high -- this is a very quaffable brew.

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Photo of MSchae1017
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from the bottle.

This beer poured a golden amber with an ample white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin film the whole way down the glass. The smell is mostly pale malts. The taste is a very strong taste of pale malts but it is balanced nicely with some subtle hops. There is a good thickness and some strong carbonation that complements this beer nicely. Overall a highly drinkable and very good for a hot summer day.

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Photo of MrDark
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a rusty, gold color with small champagne-like bubbles drifting to the top

No nose to start with, may have been served too cold. Has a thick creamy head that dissipates quickly.

The first thing that hits the tongue is a subtle sweetness, like caramel that just jumps up to do a quick jig on your tastebuds and quickly runs away, revealing a nice hoppy finish that lasts possibly a bit too an in-law spending time at your house. you may like them, but there's a limit to how long you can stand them.

Mouthfeel is crisp, thin and biting and leaves a slightly dry feeling on your palate.

Special Note: do not drink this beer too cold. like many beers and wines, the flavors and aromas must be allowed to breathe. If you don't mind warm beer, this would probably be best at room temperature.

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

Nice amber-red colored brew with a small, tan head. Lots of fast moving carbonation bubbles are clearly visible. Lacing comes in sheets, but breaks up quickly.

The nose very strongly favors a sweet malt scent. There are some fruit and floral notes hiding in there too. Just a touch of caramel too. Actually smells pretty good.

Flavor starts with an interesting and delicious sweet, warm malt. It's reminscent of bread or cookies of some sort. I can't quite place exactly what kind. It's tasty though. There's a touch of a hoppy, citrus flavor on the finish that balances nicely against the malt flavor. Not too complex, but tasty.

Starts sweet, but has a nice, subtle bitter bite on the finish. The carbonation is fairly aggressive. Well-balanced, but nothing too outstanding about the mouthfeel.

I don't see why I couldn't have another one. Overall, it's a relatively unique taste, but a good one.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice red amberish, nice white head that stuck for about 3 minutes. decent lacing.

Smells are floral from hops with a small bit of sweet maltiness. it's not an incredible smell, but is very solid and well balanced.

Taste is hoppy with a malty backbone, very balanced. Hops win the fight, but there is a caramel sweetness to it. Some orange citris to the hops as well.

Mouthfeel is good. medium body. carbonation was a little lower than i remember, but that is probably from the tap.

Overall just a solid american beer. Can't go wrong with it. great balance. Mmmm good.

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Photo of andythejerk
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells good--nice carmally aroma that really is a good indication of what I'm about to taste. Pours a big, pillowy head and there's a good stiff lacing all the way to the bottom. The taste is really very good I think--it's got a carmally hoppiness, if that makes sense, and it just feels very full and substantial in my mouth and on my tastebuds. I really liked this--good balance and fleshed out.

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

You ever say to yourself, I just want something that tastes like beer? That is the place this beer has in my heart. It pours out with a tiny white head. The body is an amber color with a decent amount of carbonation. Nothing like the streams in a belgian, but nice, and well beer like. It has a very clean beer smell. A light melon like hop and a tiny bit of malt. This beer never ceases to amaze me with flavor. Delicious hint of fruit, but mostly a perfectly balanced beer. The hops have a couple of layers. The first flavor I taste is very fruity, but it opens into a peppery flavor as it goes down, and just after, the flavor comes out as a piney/citrusy flavor. Very fun to drink and easy to drink. This is the jack of all trades of could drink it as a lawnmower gusler or a sipping evening beer. Goes great with food too.

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

Foamy white head that slowly settles to a delicate sheet. A few spots of lacing that don't hold. Crisp copper in color with trails of carbonation.

Fragrantly light floral hops with just a touch of citrus. Rustic-tinged, semi-sweet caramel maltiness; earthen hops.

Moderate floral hop flavors balanced very well with the mildly sweetened caramel and toffee malt profile. A sweetened earthiness in the wheats and grains. Finishes crisp and dry with very little bitterness. A light citrus aftertaste.

A light medium bodied; earthy, grainy, and crisp on the palate.

A light, drinkable, and unobtrusive offering. Nothing that will blow you away in terms of flavor, but a version very indicative of the style.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out a nice orange red with some delicate lacing.

Smell is a bit metallic, rather plain, not much that carries to the nose.

Taste is pretty refreshing, clean, with little bitterness in the finish. Decent going down, fairly easy to drink. I'd order another. This is good beer.

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

Amber color, But wasn't poured into a good glass so not a whole lot else I can describe as far as appearance goes, I'm afraid. Nice looking bottle, though.

Tasted this with a cold, so I can't really comment on the smell, I haven't been able to smell much of anything the last few days...

Hops and molasses flavors come through strongest, but there's something else there that I haven't been able to place. It seems like every reviewer is calling it something different, but there's something interesting going on here...

Mouthfeel and drinkability are average, nothing particularly notable. Interesting beer, worth a tasting for sure.

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

this is quite a unique beer. lovely copper color with a nice head. aroma is rahter faint. taste is very difficult to describe - first thing noticed is bitterness of hops, not fruity or citrusy at all, next comes a toasty malt character. mouthfeel is very smooth and drinkability is extremely high, great session beer! this beer is so unique that i find the flavors very difficult to describe, i just know that i like it a lot! highly reccomended.

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

Between an illness and a long business trip, I've not had a chance to relax and enjoy and review a beer. This is a nice beer to return to.

Clear medium copper with a small bumpy head and many columns of carbonation. Nose is a powdery collection of malt with a hint of bitterness. Taste is smooth, well-balanced, with a very mild lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium, a firm body. Nothing off-putting at all in this highly sessionable brew. Get it. Enjoy it.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.29/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Slightly hazy copper to auburn with a medium head with no lacing.

S - Caramel malt with a touch of vanilla and some golden delicious apples.

T - Slight smokey sweetness with a hint of apple flavor followed by a very potent, and not so pleasant, hop bitterness that lingers long, far, far, far too long, after I sipped. The aftertaste ruins this beer.

M - Carbonation too high, viscous, slightly refreshing, but the oppressive aftertaste ruins the prospect of true refreshment.

D - Pretty bad. I passed off the second half of my bomber. It just wasn't an enjoyable brew. I don't know about food pairings, I think there might be something with which it would be sucessfully paired, but I cannot envision it (might be the barleywine that I just drank). Sessionable? No. Not at all. It is weak enough for sure, but the aftertaste destroys the prospect of sessioning this beer.

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

Colour was amber, little lacing and not very much carbonation
Smell: Molasses ans some malty notes, slight hoparoma.
Taste: caramel, bitter, very mild chocolate, smokey and sticky on the lipps. I could not notice any flavor coming from the yeast, so this must be a very clean one.
Although I liked the beer very much, the full body prevents me from drinking another one in the near future, the style is just in between a very drinkable beer like Koninck or Palm and a speciality brew like Westmalle dubble, from which one is enough. That is why I gave an average rating for drinkability.

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Photo of mortarit
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Steam Beer you say,
Actually I like this one very much since I've gone back more of it.
Honestly, I didn't get a lot of smell coming from this pour. I have been sick this past week so that may explain some of it.

The taste has a clean, crisp liking to it that stay awile before leaving the palate. I guess you can say the caramel tint is hidden in the flavor.

I think this beer is due a better rating than what I see. This is a good session beer to have on the menu.

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Photo of hanco005
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle pored into a pint glass.

A—deep amber, clear with about ¼ inch head, very nice lacing throughout

S— mild hoppy smell, not getting much else

T—very crisp and clean, having a hard time identifying the flavors other than the hops. great bitter finish, drier than I expected as well

M—smooth and nice, not much carbonation, but still enjoyable

D—A little disappointed in this one…I had in on tap in college and remember liking it much more than I did in this bottle. That being said, I will try to find it on tap (perhaps at Old Chicago) and re-review to be fair.

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

Lovely reddish-golden with a dense, small head.

Rich malt in the nose. Calm and slightly sweet. Very subdued and makes you wonder what is to come.

Incredibly smooth and luscious mouthfeel. So gentle and soothing, with carbonation hardly noticeable.

Alive and full of malt flavors. Slight hop bitterness in the finish. Like the smell, it contains a faint sweetness.

This beer gets a 5 not because it is the best beer I've ever had, or my favorite, but simply based on the style. This is the original, the very first steam/CA common beer, and it is the one that all imitations are based upon. A true classic.

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

12oz bottle poured into standard pint glass

Appearance: Pours crystal clear copper color with off-white head. Head persists well into drinking.

Aroma: Faint earthy hop aroma with slightly sweet undertones

Taste: Grainy malt, little to no hop presence. Very clean, crisp flavor, finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Light body fitting for style, with adequate carbonation.

Drinkability:Definitely a refreshing session brew. Prefect for summer afternoon's at the ballpark.

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

Crystal clear amber. Light, yet persistent carbonation. Greyish yellow foam cap. Yeasty bread dough and crisp astringent hop aromas. Angular maltiness with fruity-yeasty links to a citric bitter hop finish. Clean, crisp and juicy, and light in body. Out of this world drinkability, but I'm usually satisfied by just one. Props to the OG, Mr. Maytag.

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Photo of DuqTroops
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed January 19, 2006 in a pint glass from a bottle.

This is a great steam beer. One of the original of its kind. It is well worth every penny of it. In fact, while out in SF, try to go to the brewery there, this is surely a great beer and visit. A must have.

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

Serving temp: 45F Serving glass: Pint Glass

Aroma: Soft graniness, a light spicy hop aroma in there as well. Slight caramel/candyish sweetness as it warms.

Appearance: Clear amber with an aggressive pour yielding a large off white & rocky head. slight & attractive beading, little lace with such a large head.

Taste: Same soft graniness with a resttrained sweetness. A subdued bitterness which finishes with some astringency. Some odd fruity tastes detected similar to green apples, a very similar taste I get from their Liberty Ale.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, expected it to refresh but a "fluffly," airy texture makes it a bit difficult to quaff. Meh.

Drinkability: Like other Anchor brews, that unique airy mouthfeel dominated the experience for me, and I'm not very fond of it. It doesn't seem to blend well with the rest of this beer. An American classic to be sure, just not for me.

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Photo of danielocean03
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an exceptionally clear deep, reddish brown amber into a pint glass, thick foamy head lasted for a short while before falling to moderate cream colored lacing. This particular lager is exceptionally complex in both smell and flavor, scent is hoppy, citrusy and floral. Tastes caramelly sweet, hoppy and fruity, finished with some hop bitterness and a little dry. This is one of my newfound favorite beers, will seek out in the future, would consider a new favorite session beer almost. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, goes down very well, finshing clean with a light bitterness. Being my first California Common, I must say this is an excellent brew.

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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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