steam beer

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Nov 10 23:00:51 UTC 2001

    Here's more on steam beer, and the origin of the term is still
uncertain. The response below comes from a professor of Chemistry at
the University of Missouri-Rolla, who has worked on wine; he has an
extensive knowledge on a variety of topics, and I was hoping that
steam beer might be one of them.

---Gerald Cohen

>   I am only familiar with the Anchor label Steam Beer.  Here's what
>I found in a quick search on the Net:
>>From Michael Jackson at   under styles
>                      Steam Beer
>      A name trademarked by the Anchor Steam Beer brewery of San Francisco.
>This brewery's principal product is made by a distinctive method of
>bottom-fermentation at high temperatures and in unusually wide, shallow
>vessels. This technique, producing a beer with elements of both lager and
>ale in its character (though also distinctive in its own right), is said to
>have been common in California when, in the absence of supplies of ice,
>early brewers tried to make  bottom-fermenting beers. The very lively beer
>was said to "steam" when the casks were tapped.
>and from
>      Steam beer, or California Common, is one of the few indiginous North
>American beer styles. It evolved during the gold rush in California, when
>there was a demand for the light, refreshing lagers but no refrigeration to
>allow the cold conditioning. In a reversal of the Cream Ale style (one of
>the other native beers), lager yeasts are used to ferment the beer at
>warmer ale-type temperatures in shallow open vats. The name "Steam Beer"
>may have come from the cooling wort steaming in the fermenters, or some
>postulate it derived from the gush of vapour when the kegs were tapped.

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