Lifestyle & Belief

World's oldest beer could be replicated, Finnish study finds


Several bottles of well-preserved beer, along with dozens of bottles of champagne, were found onboard the 1840s shipwreck off the coast of Aaland. It has been declared "the world's oldest drinkable beer".


John Moore

Researchers in Finland say they have identified hardy bacterial species in 170-year old beer that could have important implications for the food and beverage industry.

The team at the VTT technical research center was given two bottles salvaged from a boat that sank in the 1840s off the coast of the autonomous Aaland archipelago. 

They were found with dozens of bottles of champagne, and were said to be the "world's oldest drinkable beer", AFP wrote the time.

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"The constant temperature and light levels have provided optimal conditions for storage, and the pressure in the bottles has prevented any seawater from seeping in through the corks," a spokesman for the Aaland government had reportedly said.

Now, the spokeswoman for the VTT team has told Reuters that they may be able to use their research to recreate the beer.

"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," Wilhelmson is quoted as saying.

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The chemical analysis showed that the beer could originally have featured hints of rose, almond and cloves, while the pale golden color suggests that the beers were made from unroasted malt and were probably made from either barley or wheat or a combination of the two.

VTT says the bacteria found is stress resistant and could be used to prolong the longevity of food and drink.

The Government of Aaland, which owns the bottles and commissioned the research, says it is planning to establish a charitable foundation which would handle any future requests to replicate the beer.