Scientists may recreate beer from 1840’s shipwreck

A bottle of beer found in an 1840s shipwreck near Finland is seen in a handout photo. Finnish researchers say they may be able to recreate beer from the 1840s after finding living bacteria in beer from a shipwreck near Aland islands. REUTERS/VTT/Handout

It seems that a bottle of beer was found in a shipwreck in the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea off Finland that contained living bacteria.  The capture of these bacteria could lead to the creation of a beer that is very close to what was found in this 170 year old beer.

The 2010 discovery of the ship, believed to have sunk in the 1840s, also included the world’s oldest champagne considered drinkable which has since been auctioned off.


Researchers analyzed two bottles of beer, which they admitted “had not stood the test of time well” but retained a pale golden color and could originally have had hints of rose, almond and cloves.


“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,” Annika Wilhelmson from VTT technical research centre of Finland told Reuters.

You have to wonder what the beer would taste like.  Is it really that close in flavor to anything that could be purchased today, or is there a long lost flavor or style just waiting to be rediscovered?  I certainly would be willing to give it a try.


There are 2 comments left

  1. Ed /

    I really wonder how good beer from the ship sailing time really was? I think it would be pretty harsh to be honest. It would certainly be interesting to taste it if they stayed true to the brewing techniques of the period.

    1. Scott
      Scott / Post Author

      And if they could use ingredients that were local to where they think the brew would have been made. Could be cool.

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