Scientists Brewing 200-Year-Old Shipwreck Beer

Being a professional beer-taster probably sounds like a pretty good job, until you are asked to taste samples of 200-year-old beer found in a Baltic Sea shipwreck. The tasters who were asked to do so recently, on behalf of researchers in the Åland Islands (an autonomous region of Finland), said that the beer, found in a shipwreck dating back to the early part of the 19th century, "did taste very old... with some burnt notes," not to mention "quite acidic."

Even so, they're going to try and brew it again. The beer, which was discovered alongside 145 bottles of what seems to be the oldest champagne in existence, is the oldest drinkable beer yet found (assuming a loose definition of "drinkable"), and scientists are working on a chemical analysis. With luck, they'll find live microbes or yeast (they say they've seen bacteria and yeast under the microscope but don't know if its alive), but even if nothing turns up the brewing team can examine the DNA for similarities to modern yeasts.

The hops, unfortunately, will be more difficult to place, meaning that a fair amount of "interpretation" will take place. Which is fine! Because "quite acidic" with "burnt notes" doesn't sound so appealing, frankly.

[BBC; image via Shutterstock]