Stan Schubridge

The seas were rough one morning in the 1840 s near the land Islands. So treacherous, that a ship off the coast of Finland sailed to heaven. Left on board, a couple of bottles of beer and 145 bottles of champagne bearing labels like Veuve Clicquot, Juglar and Heidsieck.

Piecing together the circumstances that led to the shipwreck, not much is known except that the cargo was supposedly on its way to St, Petersburg, Russia, and the Tsar\’s court.

The two bottles were full of rich-looking pale golden liquids. The way researchers figured out it was beer was because they found that the contents had a presence of hops, malt sugars and aromatic compounds.

The bad news is that brew had turned to swill. The good news: Scientists were able to isolate some bacteria from what was left. Researchers explained that the suds had not stood the test of time well. Further they found that there were almonds, rose and cloves in what remained.


Scientists pulled-out four different species of live lactic acid bacteria. That finding means the lactic acid bacteria could be important to the food and beverage industry. This 170-year old beer culture is really stable and stress resistant. Such a discovery could lead to modifying the original bacteria and might usher in a new era in understanding and long-term survival of non-spore-forming bacteria.

Annika Wilhelmson with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland reports that, 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 (the shipwrecked beer) as much as possible.

So, has anyone tried to create a vat of the old ale? Not yet, but the recipe is up-for-grabs.

The Government of land has set-up a foundation for charitable purposes so that the research results of the beer and any profits will be put into the foundation. That means that requests for finding a formula in order to replicate the beer will be handled by the foundation.

Are you in? Let s contact the folks at Dogfish Head and see if they could give brewing it a shot!

Incidentally, if you were interested in getting any bottles of the vintage Champaign, you re up a creek. They were snatched-up in an auction a couple of years back. Even if there were any left, you couldn t afford it. One bottle of Veuve Clicquot sold for $43,630.

Along with the vintage bubbly and brew, there was also fruit, spices and coffee.

I ll bet that would make a damned harsh cup o joe.

Stan Schubridge is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Stan writes mostly for which is an eCommerce company out of New York that sells all the

Beer Taps

one could need.

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