The steam beer, or California Common, is an American original first produced in California during the gold rush (late 19th century).
While the origins of the steam beer name aren’t fully known, one explanation is it may have come from the steaming sound the beer made during the heated fermentation process, another is the warm conditioning caused the highly carbonated beer to spray when opened.
Anchor Brewing Company claims the name came from the steam emanating from the roof of breweries because there wasn’t any way to cool the hot wort during the brewing process. Brewers pumped the wort up to the roof and let the cool San Francisco air chill the wort, thus steam was often seen rising from rooftops across San Francisco.
If you’re not from California, don’t let that discourage you. Dave Dixon from Bedford, TX, took home the Gold Medal at the 1999 National Homebrew Competition Final Round with his California Common beer “Dave’s Dreaded Sunday Steam Beer.” Check it out below and get steaming!
Dave’s Dreaded Sunday Steam Beer | California Common
- 12.0 lb (5.44 kg) pale malt
- 6.0 lb (2.72 kg) light Munich malt
- 2.0 lb (0.91 kg) Cara-Pils malt
- 1.5 lb (0.68 kg) 60° L crystal malt
- 1.0 lb (0.45 kg) 20° L crystal malt
- 2.0 oz (57 g) Northern Brewer hops, 9.2% a.a. (90 min)
- 1.5 oz (43 g) Northern Brewer hops, 9.2% a.a. (45 min)
- 2.0 oz (57 g) Liberty hops, 4.5% a.a. (2 min)
- Wyeast No. 2112 California lager yeast
- Original Gravity: 1.060
- Final Gravity: 1.017
- ABV: 5.64%
- SRM: 15
Mash grains at 156°F (69°C) for 60 minutes. Mash out at 168°F (76°C).
Primary fermentation for 20 days at 60°F (15°C) in stainless steel.
Secondary fermentation for 60 days at 40°F (5°C) in stainless steel.
Forced CO2 to carbonate.
Want to convert this all-grain recipe to extract or partial mash? Check out these 3 simple steps to convert homebrew recipes.