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Oldest Bottle of Beer in the World Recovered from Shipwreck Inspires Recreation of Historic Brew

Thursday, November 10, 2016 18:01
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Detail of the painting ‘The Ale-House Door’ (c. 1790) by Henry Singleton.

A 220-year-old bottle of beer recovered from the Sydney Cove shipwreck that sank near Tasmania in Australia has inspired creativity amongst a team of researchers. They have used yeast found within the bottle to recreate a historic brew and plan to use the funds from selling it to aid conservation efforts at a local museum and key archaeological sites.

Live Science reports that the team of scientists who recreated the old beer came from Australia, France, Germany, and Belgium. They used the over 200-year-old yeast found within an unopened beer bottle and a traditional recipe from the era to brew a “mild-tasting beer.”

Bottles of the newly recreated beer. (David Thurrowgood)

Together, the scientists managed to revive five distinct species of yeast microbes from the old beer bottle. “The yeast is an unusual three-way hybrid with links to bakers, brewers and wine yeast,” project leader David Thurrowgood, a conservator and chemist at the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery (QVMAG) at Launceston in Tasmania, explained to the Daily Mail, “It is genetically different to hundreds of the yeast species it has been compared to from Australia and around the world. Traditionally beer was brewed in open vats, this yeast is consistent with historic brewing practices.” – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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