Worlds Oldest Beer Found in Shipwreck

Salvage divers exploring the Baltic Sea waters near the Aland Islands have made a second astonishing discovery. The group located what they believe to be the world’s oldest drinkable beer. The beer, found as part of a shipwreck being investigated, is estimated to have been transported sometime in the early 19th century, approximately between 1800 and 1830.

Back in July the expedition discovered another alcoholic beverage, champagne, which was declared to be the world’s oldest drinkable bottles of the wine, as the champagne was placed as being made somewhere between 1772 and 1785. The bottles´ shape indicate a late 18th century production date. The champagne was tasted by a few of the divers and they described the beverage to be sweet and tinged with a taste of oak with a strong tobacco scent.

At the time the divers were not sure what other cargo treasures lie beneath the sea, and continued to look. The beer was the next artifact to be found. As the bottles were in the process of being hauled to the surface, one of the glass containers exploded and dark fluid seeped out, and the liquid was identified to be beer.

Experts are looking to determine the ingredients; it is not known whether or not the carbonation has gone flat. Rainer Juslin, permanent secretary of Aland’s ministry of education, science and culture told CNN  “At the moment, we believe that these are by far the world’s oldest bottles of beer. It seems that we have not only salvaged the oldest champagne in the world, but also the oldest still drinkable beer. The culture in the beer is still living.”

If you think about it, this is pretty amazing. Over 200 years and still not only is the beer intact, but remarkably still possessing properties of active ingredients. Experts say that the cold sea in that region provides an ideal environment to store alcohol due to the chilly and dark conditions.

While the estimated time frame of the wreck seems to be a certainty, an exact time, and any other identifying information about the ship, has not yet been able to be derived from the wreck. Experts believe it was perhaps en route from Copenhagen, Denmark to St. Petersburg, Russia at the time it sank.

Other artifacts are still lying at the bottom of the sea and it will take divers some time to be able to lift them to see daylight.  One can’t help but wonder what exquisite discoveries will be found next. Not only do these kinds of findings amaze, but also can shed some light on past historical events, people or simply help us learn more about past centuries and how people lived.  

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/03/baltic.sea.beer/?hpt=T2

http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-shipwreck-champagne,0,7173681.story