Scientists may resurrect beer from 1840s shipwreck

Researchers: Beer had hints of rose, almond, cloves

Published On: May 11 2012 08:51:30 AM PDT   Updated On: Jan 30 2015 03:16:55 AM PST
1840's beer bottle

If you've ever wondered what beer from the mid-1800s might taste like a group of researchers in Finland may soon be answering your prayers.

Scientists from the VTT Technical Research Centre said they analyzed two bottles of beer discovered in 2010 that came from a ship believed to have sunk in the 1840s off the Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea, Reuters reported.

The researchers said they found living bacteria in the bottles that helped them retain a pale golden color and could originally have had hints of rose, almond and cloves. They said it's possible that a smoky flavor in beer was appreciated at the time.

Scientists said the discovery is the key to recreating the beer.

"Based on the chemical analysis we made of the beer and with the help from a master brewer, it would be possible to try to make beer that would resemble it as much as possible," researcher Annika Wilhelmson told Reuters.

The beer bottles were found in the same wreck that contained the world's oldest champagne -- still considered drinkable -- which has since been auctioned off.

According to VTT, what caused the ship to sink is not known, but based on marine archaeological studies the ship had been renovated shortly before she sunk.

Apart from bottles of beer and champagne, the cargo also consisted of coffee, fruit and spices.

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