The Essence of Steam Beer
According a noted brewing text of the late 19th century, steam beer wort is boiled as soon as the bottom of the kettle is covered, and after the kettle is filled. Boiling is continued for one to two hours. The wort is then pumped to the surface cooler, and then over the Baudelot cooler (a beer waterfall over stainless steel) and cooled to about 60 to 62 degrees F.
Fermentation: The wort is run into tubs of the starting tub style and size, where it is pitched with a special type of bottom-fermenting yeast and well aerated. In about 14 hours, a thick, heavy kraeusen head appears, from which the beer to be racked off is kraeusened. The temperature of the beer is now almost 2 to 3 degrees F higher, or about 62 to 63 degrees F, if pitched at 60 degrees F.
After kraeusen has been taken, it is run into long, wide, shallow vats, called clarifiers, which are made of wood, about 12 inches high. The wort then ferments in the clarifiers for two to four days. Precautions are taken against exposure to sunlight, and the fermentation should not rise too high. The matter that rises to the top is skimmed off continually.
This is the time to take kraeusen and rack to closed fermenters. The beer should be about 5 to 10 days old before leaving the brewery, when it has attained the necessary pressure.
Source: Robert Wahl and Max Henius, Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades, Vol. 2, Chicago, 1908: Wahl Henius Institute, pp. 1235-6, chapter on Special American Beers.