In the summer of 2010, a sunken ship was found off the coast of Åland, in Finland. It carried the oldest drinkable champagne ever found (one bottle recently sold for $43,630) and some bottles of beer. Unfortunately, the beer ‘had not stood the test of time well’, according to the researchers, but still it may be possible to recreate the brewage after analyzing its compounds.
It is believed that the ship have sunk in the 1840s, which makes the beer around 170 years old. The VVT Technical Research Centre of Finland is already studying its composition, having found malt sugars, hops and possible hints of rose, almond and cloves.
Researchers have described the color of the beer as ‘bright pale gold’, which resembles a modern lager or ale. They believe it might have ‘smoky, bitter, clove-like aromas’, according to the high levels of phenolics. Also, they found high furfural, which may indicate ‘burnt, bready’ or ‘almond-like’ tastes.
Scientist Annika Whilelmson, from the VVT Technical Research Centre of Finland, thinks that ‘with help from a master brewer it would be possible to try to make beer that would resemble it as much as possible.’
It seems that the cargo found in the ship is a real treasure.
Photo: Antonin Halas