Hundreds Of 19th Century Beer Bottles Found Buried At The Bottom Of The Sea: “The Yeast Is Still Alive”

Have you ever thought about the foods our ancestors put on the table every day? There was certainly a certain difference from the present. In a highly industrialized age where it is increasingly difficult to eat healthy, balanced foods, the tastes we enjoy are certainly not the same as they were a century or two ago.

Take beer, for example. Known and appreciated since Antiquity, this drink has gone through centuries and centuries of different recipes and traditions, and therefore of different flavors. If you’re curious about what it might taste like in the 19th century, you may have an answer with a sensational discovery by a scuba diver in Scotland. The man, while diving, came across a whole pile of 19th-century beers, which were in a sunken boat. Irrecoverable? Not really, since it looks like they could be very useful.


image credit: Steve Hickman – BBC

The wreck in question is that of Wallachia, a ship that sank in 1895 after a collision with another ship. The ship had left Glasgow loaded with general cargo, including hundreds and hundreds of glass bottles containing the precious and ancient nectar.

Deep in the North Sea, the containers spent more than 120 years before Steve Hickman, accompanied by a team of professional divers, picked them up off the coast of Scotland. Once the discovery was made, the bottles were handed over to researchers at the University of Sunderland who, in collaboration with Brewlab, are studying them in depth.

And what’s amazing is that, from what has emerged, there is still something recoverable about them. ” The yeast is still alive – scientists let us know – and it could even improve production today.” Being able to recover this substance to create a drink with the taste of the 19th century is a real gamble. However, the tests carried out are encouraging.


image credit: Steve Hickman – BBC

The yeast contained in the bottles would be suitable for the modern production of red, red, and dark beers with an alcohol content of around 7.5%. It wouldn’t be the first time that researchers have managed to achieve a similar feat: in 2018, precisely following another discovery, old yeast was reused in the present.

“These are treasures that should be treated with extreme caution,” said Mr. Hickman – also commenting on his previous findings on other ancient drinks, like gin and whiskey – the bottles can explode during the ascent, and we cannot take that risk ”.

The flavor of these 19th-century beers could be ” strong and earthy “, and their components certainly have a lot to teach contemporary brewers. Incredible, isn’t it? Would you taste this beer that comes straight from a past that is more alive than ever?

source used: BBC

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