Ever wonder what beer made with yeast from the 18th century would taste like? Australian scientists just conjured up a new beer brew made from yeast; 220-year-old yeast.
An old shipwreck from 1797, sitting at the bottom of the Bass Straight (close to Tasmania, Australia) for two entire centuries, held ancient beer that was recovered by divers in the 90’s. After trying to extract the yeast from the beer while praying it was still alive, scientists put the yeast into different nutrient broths. The yeast responded well to two different broth samples and started growing.
David Thurrowgood, a scientist from Queen Victoria Museum in Tasmania, teamed up with researchers from the Australian Wine Research Institute to create the perfect, ancient brew. Rather than tasting old and spoiled, a scientist said the 220-year-old brew “tasted very, very pleasant… very clean.” (We wish we tried some too.)
The ancient yeast, however, may not actually be as ancient as the beer itself is. The scientists pointed out that yeast from something else could have contaminated the beer during its time sitting at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to be tasted. But, the beer’s incredible taste seemed to confirm it was in fact from the ancient beer.
If the yeast was from the ancient beer, these scientists just sipped their way through history by using the most ancient yeast to brew a successful beer. Raise your glasses to honour these heroes of the boozy world!