The Government of Åland issued the following press release 8th February 2011:
One of the world’s oldest preserved beers to be studied
Beer found in shipwreck to be reproduced
One of the oldest preserved beers will be analyzed and reconstructed. The beer was salvaged from an early 19th century shipwreck discovered last summer in the Åland archipelago. The beer will be analyzed with various methods in order to recreate the original recipe for modern industrial production. The analyses will be made by the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT.
Five bottles of beer were lifted from an old shipwreck, discovered in summer 2010 near Föglö in the Åland archipelago. The bottles, preserved on the seabed at a depth of 50 meters, presumably date from the first half of the 1800s. During the lifting process one of the bottles broke, due to a crack in the fragile glass, and the contents appeared to be foaming dark beer. What type of beer – the answer will hopefully be provided by the analyses.
- First of all, we are interested in the contents of the bottles. We are hoping to be able to reconstruct the original formula so that it could be used in reproducing the beer, says Rainer Juslin, Permanent Secretary at the Åland Government.
Despite its very old age, the beer seems to have kept well at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The low temperature and the darkness inside the wreck have provided optimal storage conditions, and the pressure inside the bottles has prevented the salt water from sipping in through the cork.
- We find it extremely interesting to study what kind of yeast was used in the beginning of the 1800s and what quality the beer of that time had. Was the beer perhaps very strong and bitter? In the beginning of the 19th century there was little knowledge of the role of the yeast in the beer-making process, says Annika Wilhelmson, Customer Manager of VTT.
The origin and the exact age of the wreck are still being investigated. The schooner seems to have sunk during the first half of the 19th century. The cargo also contained bottles of old champagne of various brands. All the finds belong to the Government of Åland.
The analyses by VTT are expected to be finished in May 2011.
Photo: Old beer bottle. Photographer: The Government of Åland/Augusto Mendes.
The Government of Åland
Rainer Juslin, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education and Culture
Tel. +358 18 25230 or +358 457 547 1338, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Government of Åland
Björn Häggblom, Head of Communications
Tel. +358 18 25143 or +258 50 547 0951, email@example.com
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Annika Wilhelmson, Customer Manager
Tel. +358 20 722 7113, firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems the recreation of the beer is one step closer to reality. But who will get to do the brewing? Locals has started a Facebook page advocating that the beer should be brewed locally, do you ‘Like’ it?.