Scientists look to brew the world’s oldest beer

The beer was found on a shipwreck

The beer was found on a shipwreck

Scientists have taken samples of the world’s oldest beer, in a bid to determine its recipe so they can brew it again.

A Baltic Sea shipwreck, which was believed to have sunk between 1800 and 1830 was found to contain bottles of the oldest drinkable beer.

It had originally been thought the find was the oldest champagne on record.

The beer has already been sampled by four beer tasters, and has been passed as drinkable.

Annika Wilhelmson of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) said, “They said that it did taste very old, which is no surprise, with some burnt notes. But it was quite acidic – which could mean there’s been some fermenting going on in the bottle and with time it’s become acid,”

The VVT have now been hired to find out how to brew the beer again.

“We’re going to try to see if we can find any living yeast or other microbial cells, because that would be very interesting with respect to reproducing the beer,” continued Dr Wilhelmson.

“So far we have seen under microscopes that there are yeast and bacterial cells, but we don’t know if they’re dead or alive yet. If we can’t find living microbes, we will look at the DNA and try to compare it to brewing yeasts that we know today, to see how similar or different the yeasts are.”

She did add that working out which hops were used would be difficult, but that they were hopeful.

“Whatever we analyse, we’re going to have to do a lot of interpreting,” she said. “We need to analyse what it is today and start thinking about what it was like when it was made – when it was fresh, because it clearly isn’t fresh now.”

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