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Mid-19th century beer found on wreck

A bottle of beer from a shipwreck that sank in the Aland Islands in 1840 has fallen into the hands of Finnish scientists. Thanks to detailed analysis and cooperation with a master brewer, scientists will try to recreate the taste of the golden drink that has rested in the depths for more than 170 years.
Published: May 19, 2012 - 14:08
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 05:40
Mid-19th century beer found on wreck

A bottle of beer from a shipwreck that sank in the Aland Islands in 1840 has fallen into the hands of Finnish scientists. Thanks to detailed analysis and cooperation with a master brewer, scientists will try to recreate the taste of the golden drink that has rested in the depths for more than 170 years.

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In the summer of 2010, a group of divers found several bottles of beer on a wreck near the Aland Islands. Today, scientists have managed to isolate four different types of bacteria used to produce the popular drink.

If this story makes you think of another, somewhat similar one, then… you are right. The beer bottles come from the same wreck on which the oldest drinkable champagne was found, and about which there was much talk, not only in the diving community. Unlike its noble companion on the voyage, the hoppy beverage has not stood the test of time so well and thus had no chance of ending up at any auction where it would fetch a dizzying price.

However, the beer retained a pale golden colour, and the traces the researchers found allow them to claim that the recipe included rose, almonds and cloves. The colour suggests that the beverage was brewed from unroasted malt.

In 1999, a similar story took place. From a wreck sunk in World War I, several bottles of beer were recovered that still contained live yeast! Subjected to a reclamation process, it was put into production by the Slottskällans bryggeri brewery under the name ‘Wreck Beer’. Unfortunately, while the yeast survived the test of time, the beer itself did not, and today it is no longer produced.

Those interested in the results of the study can download them in pdf format at this link.

Source: vtt.fi

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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