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Scientists could help brew Åland shipwreck beer

An Åland shipwreck may yield an approximation of 170-year-old beer, following chemical analysis of the contents of a haul of bottles found onboard.

Hylkyolutpullo tutkijan kädessä.
Image: Antonin Halas / VTT

The beer bottles were found alongside some of the world’s oldest champagne, which has been sold at auction for astronomical prices. Analysis found living bacteria in the bottles, which should be enough to give an idea of what the original beer would have tasted like.

Divers recovered five bottles of beer from the wreck.

Unlike the champagne found at the same time, two bottles of which which went to a Russian restaurateur in Singapore for 54,000 euros, researchers say the beer which had ’not stood the test of time well’.

It did however retain a pale golden colour and could originally have had hints of rose, almond and cloves.

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

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