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Tobor_8thMan

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One of my all time favorite brews is an Anchor Steam. At least it used to be one of my favs. Planned to brew an Anchor Steam clone over the Christmas break with my daughter (she's a biology major in college). She visited over the weekend and I bought a 6 pack of Anchor Steam in cans from the local Total Wine. I pour us a sample, so she knows what we are attempting to brew in December, and I am disappointed. The Anchor Steam isn't as good as it was in the 1990's. Wasn't as tasty.

I ask my daughter for her impressions and I get "It's OK" after I went on and on about Anchor Steam.

Anyone else notice Anchor Steam isn't as good as it used to be?
 

Sammy86

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One of my all time favorite brews is an Anchor Steam. At least it used to be one of my favs. Planned to brew an Anchor Steam clone over the Christmas break with my daughter (she's a biology major in college). She visited over the weekend and I bought a 6 pack of Anchor Steam in cans from the local Total Wine. I pour us a sample, so she knows what we are attempting to brew in December, and I am disappointed. The Anchor Steam isn't as good as it was in the 1990's. Wasn't as tasty.

I ask my daughter for her impressions and I get "It's OK" after I went on and on about Anchor Steam.

Anyone else notice Anchor Steam isn't as good as it used to be?
Can't say for certain, but I don't think much has changed with that particular brew.

Maybe it was an older batch you got?
 

Genuine

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I wish I had tried it earlier than I did but I had my first one last March. The best way I would describe it, is that it's like California's Yuengling. Definitely a beer I could see having while watching the game in the fall/winter time. It's a great beer that you don't need to think much about. It's simple and it's enjoyable.
 

kmarkstevens

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I had my first Anchor Steam in 1980, and have drunk a fair amount of it ever since. For what it's worth, I don't think it's changed. Maybe your cans were not well cared for?

I'm not saying Anchor Steam is the best beer out there, but it and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are my two benchmarks having grown up in Northern California and drank a lot of beer (mainly Schmidt) in the early 80's when I went to UC Davis. Any beer that isn't at least as "good" as Anchor or SNPA, isn't worth paying for nor worth brewing. ;)
 

Franktalk

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Maybe your taste buds changed. These days there are so many hop forward beers, way more than there were in Anchor's heyday. There is a phenomenon, I can't remember the name of it, where your taste buds adapt to the hop taste, aroma, and bitterness in the beers nowadays, and make everything else seem bland. I've noticed it myself how beers that I used to drink (Harpoon IPA) seem bland now in comparison.
 

gunhaus

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I think there my be some QC issues. A couple weeks ago I bought some tall cans of Anchor, and they seemed to me to very in flavor from can to can. After I first read this post, I went and bought 6 more. Definitely a can to can difference to several of us. The first two were very much how i have always thought of Anchor. The third was BLAND. Four not much better and the last two were again like normal. These are the first two times I have had Anchor in cans. My favorite bottle shop carries 6 packs of bottles. But a local grocery store started carrying cans so we tried them. I wonder if there might be a purging/o2 problem on the can line? There were 4 of us - all long time Anchor fans - and we all noticed the flatness/blandness between cans. Pkg date was 02/26/2020 FWIW
 
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Tobor_8thMan

Tobor_8thMan

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Maybe your taste buds changed. These days there are so many hop forward beers, way more than there were in Anchor's heyday. There is a phenomenon, I can't remember the name of it, where your taste buds adapt to the hop taste, aroma, and bitterness in the beers nowadays, and make everything else seem bland. I've noticed it myself how beers that I used to drink (Harpoon IPA) seem bland now in comparison.
Valid point, but I don't like hoppy beers so I don't think the mega hopped beers influenced my taste. However, once again, valid point.
 
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Tobor_8thMan

Tobor_8thMan

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I think there my be some QC issues. A couple weeks ago I bought some tall cans of Anchor, and they seemed to me to very in flavor from can to can. After I first read this post, I went and bought 6 more. Definitely a can to can difference to several of us. The first two were very much how i have always thought of Anchor. The third was BLAND. Four not much better and the last two were again like normal. These are the first two times I have had Anchor in cans. My favorite bottle shop carries 6 packs of bottles. But a local grocery store started carrying cans so we tried them. I wonder if there might be a purging/o2 problem on the can line? There were 4 of us - all long time Anchor fans - and we all noticed the flatness/blandness between cans. Pkg date was 02/26/2020 FWIW
First time for me buying cans. However, in the past I did purchase bottles. First purchase from a local BIG grocery store and the beer wasn't very good. I purchased again from another local BIG grocery store and this time the beer is much better. I chalk it up to transportation.
 

a_gunslinger

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Also a big fan! And also "think" Ive noticed a difference. I also really love the regular Anchor Liberty!
 

InspectorJon

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In the mid 70's my friends and I started drinking "imported" beer because it had more flavor than Standard American Beer. I wondered why American brewers couldn't or wouldn't make beer that tasted good. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and one day discovered Anchor Steam beer. That became our regular beer and I served it at my wedding. I still have a soft spot in my heart for that beer. One day, I think in the early 1980s, one of my old buddies said you have to try this new beer from Chico, its better than Anchor. Hello SNPA . . . Beer flavors and the craft brewing industry have continued to change with bitterness peaking out a few years back. Now its into juicy hop flavors with less bitterness. I know that is an over simplification and different folks like many other styles. I don't think Anchor has changed so much as our perception of what we like/prefer. I think Anchor is still a solid beer but a bit plain compared to more flavorful beers available today. Maybe they are haveing some QC issues as noted above. I have not had any in a while. I still have and use some of their stubby bottles from the early 80s when I first started brewing. I'm not sure I can bring myself to buying it in cans after almost 50 years.
 

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Was it stored cold or on the floor at Total Wine? Where I live in Canada, all the beer is in a big walk in warehouse stored cold.
 

yeastseeker

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I live near the brewery and can get fresh anchor steam, and Ive been drinking it for a very long time, and I can say with great confidence it has changed for the worse over the past few years. Hop bitterness and aroma is muted, and theres less crystal malt character.
 

Franktalk

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I live near the brewery and can get fresh anchor steam, and Ive been drinking it for a very long time, and I can say with great confidence it has changed for the worse over the past few years. Hop bitterness and aroma is muted, and theres less crystal malt character.
That's a shame. Where is Fritz Maytag when you need him most. I don't know why businessmen buy these breweries that have a loyal following, and don't have sense enough to keep them. Beer drinkers are too smart to fool. Word gets around, and next thing you know they're kaput. Beer isn't beer; each one is a work of art, and these capitalists don't seem to get it.
 
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Tobor_8thMan

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Probably due to being owned by one of the BIG commercial brewing concerns: Sapporo Holdings Limited.

 

kmarkstevens

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SAPPORO PREMIUM BEER brewed outside of Sapporo Japan is a poor cousin to what you get in Japan. They did the same thing to the Yebisu brand in Japan, ie took it over then changed the recipe. I drank a LOT of Sapporo beer when I lived in Japan, but can't stand the swill they brew in Canada or the US.

I'm afearing that's what happened to Anchor Steam.

But, I think you'll be shocked to learn that in the past Fritz Maytag used yeast from other breweries in the Bay Area including Lucky Lager. o_O And also used Red Star yeast before it was dried. Here's a great podcast with Fritz that is definately worth a listen: Master Brewers Podcast - Fritz Maytag
 
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Tobor_8thMan

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Compared, side by side, a true Anchor Steam (in a can, purchased commercially) vs my own homebrewed Anchor Steam.

Immediately, without telling others, I detect oxygenation in the can of Anchor Steam. I can even smell the "cardboard, wet paper" when I sniff the true Anchor Steam in the glass.

Others, just about in unison, say when they tasted the true Anchor Steam "What is that weird taste?"

Overwhelmingly, without knowing, everyone picked my homebrewed Anchor Steam as their pick of best beer.

I will write, if the can was my very first Anchor Steam, I'd probably never have another one.

Interesting...
 

a_gunslinger

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I actually used to LOVE thier Liberty Ale just as much. Has it about 10 yrs ago in San Fran and it was freesh and so tasty. I might actually like ity a tad better than the steam. But its not quite the same anymore either.
 
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Tobor_8thMan

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And now I see where Anchor has changed their logo. IMO, I like the prior logo more than the new one.

According to the Anchor website, anyone of legal age living near SF is able to purchase a 6 pack of Anchor Steam for $1.25 as they celebrate 125 years.
 

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Maybe your taste buds changed. These days there are so many hop forward beers, way more than there were in Anchor's heyday. There is a phenomenon, I can't remember the name of it, where your taste buds adapt to the hop taste, aroma, and bitterness in the beers nowadays, and make everything else seem bland. I've noticed it myself how beers that I used to drink (Harpoon IPA) seem bland now in comparison.
Lupulin Shift is the term you're probably thinking of. It was an advertising slogan more than an "actual thing", but it is descriptive of how tastes can and do morph over time.

Brooo Brother
 

Brooothru

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Compared, side by side, a true Anchor Steam (in a can, purchased commercially) vs my own homebrewed Anchor Steam.

Immediately, without telling others, I detect oxygenation in the can of Anchor Steam. I can even smell the "cardboard, wet paper" when I sniff the true Anchor Steam in the glass.

Others, just about in unison, say when they tasted the true Anchor Steam "What is that weird taste?"

Overwhelmingly, without knowing, everyone picked my homebrewed Anchor Steam as their pick of best beer.

I will write, if the can was my very first Anchor Steam, I'd probably never have another one.

Interesting...
I credit (and alternatively blame) Anchor Steam for getting me into home brewing. I had my first 'Steam' in the early 80s while on a Navy transit stopover to WestPac. One of our crew had previously been stationed at NAS Moffett, and when we went to dinner he couldn't stop raving about this beer. It was that night that this BMC drinker (me) experienced nirvana and my beer drinking life was forever changed.

The timeframe of my epiphany coincided with the advent of craft and homebrewing, and since Anchor Steam was unavailable on the East Coast I had to make my own. I found a LHBS (still there BTW) and proceeded to learn the ropes. The shop owner warned against getting fancy too soon, so my first brews were an APA followed by an Irish Red Ale. Number #3 was a California Common, aka Anchor Clone.

I was fascinated by Fritz Maytag's story and the evolution of beer brewing dating back to the Mesopotamians, and even further back to the anthropological theory that mankind's shift from hunter-gatherer to crop cultivator can be traced to beer!

The rest is history as they say, both literally as well as figuratively. And to paraphrase Jerry Garcia, "What a long, strange trip it's been."

Brooo Brother
 

Brooothru

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No, the pic is some stock photo of the Blue Angels performing what appears to be a 4-plane barrel roll. I was a Naval Aviator and spent three years as a jet instructor pilot, but never was a 'Blue. I've done that maneuver before, but not nearly with the precision nor grace they do. The picture shows what the world looks like from the #4 slot position in a diamond formation, but the pilot isn't looking at the scenery. He's locked on visually to the lead aircraft. Lots of concentration and a whole lotta' fun.

Brooo Brother
 

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Thanks to all you homebrewtalkers for keeping me entertained and my interests piqued! This past year, I have been too busy to devote as much attention to this community as I would have liked. As for Anchor Steam, it has been a favorite of mine for many years. I too, think that it has changed. My taste has changed, and my tolerance for bitterness, and for IPA's has improved. But to me, the bitterness level of Anchor Steam has increased over the last few years. I also agree that the malt character seems to have diminished. Back in the 1980's or1990's, when I first tasted Anchor Steam, my palate would not have been so tolerant of the bitterness level of today's Anchor Steam. I'm thinking, "did they increase the bitterness to better appeal to the increasing number of IPA drinkers?
 

okiedog

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Very interesting! Maybe my memory is what has changed. I usually don't have a problem remembering, unless it was 5 minutes ago.
 
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