Anchor Steam Clone

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In the late 19th century, Anchor Brewing Company began brewing their still-famous “steam beer.” Utilizing local ingredients and forgoing the lagering techniques that were popular during the time, Anchor Steam was highly affordable compared to other commercial lagers, which made it a favorite among the working class in San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

Today, Anchor continues to brew their steam beer for the masses, while other commercial and homebrewers make their own version of the uniquely-American style now known as California common.

This recipe was originally featured in the July/August 2003 issue of Zymurgy and created by Marc Sedam.

Anchor Steam Clone | California Common


  • For 5 gallons (19 L)
    • 9.0 lb (4.1 kg) | German Pils malt
    • 1.0 lb (0.45 kg) | 40°L Crystal malt
    • 0.5 lb (227 g) | Special Roast
    • 1.0 oz (28 g) | Northern Brewer hops, 7.4% a.a. (first wort)
    • 0.75 oz (21 g) | Northern Brewer hops, 7.4% a.a. (20 min)
    • 1.0 oz (28 g) | Northern Brewer hops, 7.4% a.a. (knockout)
    • 1 Whirfloc tablet or 1 tsp (5 ml) Irish moss (20 min)
    • White Labs WLP810 San Francisco or Wyeast 2112 California lager yeast


    • Original Gravity: 1.050
    • Final Gravity: 1.014
    • ABV: 4.7%
    • IBU: ~35
    • SRM: 9
    • Boil Time: 60 minutes
    • Efficiency: 70%


    Note: This recipe is intended to yield 5.5 gallons at the end of the boil, with 5 gallons racked into primary.

    Mash grains at 148°F (64°C) for 60 minutes. Sparge at 175°F (79°C) to collect 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) of wort before the boil.

    At the end of the boil, chill to 60°F (16°C), aerate and pitch. Ferment at 60°F (16°C) for 7-10 days, then transfer to secondary. When fully attenuated, package, condition and enjoy!

    Extract Option

    Substitute 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) light dry malt extract or 7 lb (3.18 kg) pale liquid malt extract for pils malt.

    Put crushed specialty malts in a grain bag and then place into a pot with cold water. Heat pot, stirring every few minutes.

    Just as the pot  begins to simmer, remove the grain bag and let drain into the pot. Add the malt extract and stir until dissolved.

    Follow the directions above for boil and post-boil instructions.