The question is, does steam beer have a connection to Steam Breweries? Here is one part of the answer.

Steam beer is brewed in some of the western states, especially on the Pacific coast, and is only of local interest. The characteristic properties of this beer are: very much life and a prickly slightly acid taste. Malt only, but is some cases malt adjuncts is used in the preparation of this beer. The beer is brewed with a gravity of about 13-14% Balling, and in the kettle about 1 lb. of hops is added per barrel. This is a bottom fermenting beer, but the fermentation is conducted at high temperatures. The temperature of pitching is from 56-62° F. (generally 58-60°), and ½ lb of lager beer yeast is used for every barrel of wort; 24 to 32 hours after pitching when the beer is in the state of high kraeusen, it is pumped over on the so-called clarifiers, where it remains from three to five days until the main fermentation is finished. These clarifiers are flat wooden tubs which resemble the surface coolers. Before the beer is pumped over on the clarifiers, the covers are removed and this is repeated once or twice while the beer is on the clarifiers. After the main fermentation is finished, the beer is racked immediately into the shipping packages; from 1-6 gallons of kraeusen are added per barrel and sometimes the beer is slightly fined before it is bunged. At the consumers the beer must lie for several days before it is ready for consumption. It spoils very easily and for this reason some powerful preservative should be added.

[Source: Nelson’s Encyclopaedia, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1906, Vol. II., p. 282.]


Anchor Steam Beer is produced by the only brewing method invented in the United States. It is said that steam beer (a.k.a. “California Common”) was developed in California during the Gold Rush. The Anchor Brewing Company was formed in 1896 and continues to this day.


Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth Last updated: December 27, 2007