Wreck beer recreated

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Wreck beer recreated

December 04, 2014 - 20:16
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In the summer 2010 divers salvaged beer and champagne bottles from the 1840s in an old shipwreck in the Åland archipelago. Based on extensive scientific analysis Stallhagen has succeeded in recreating the historical recipe and produced a fresh version of the 170 year old beer.

A Finnish brewery has recreated a Belgian beer from bottles that sank 170 years ago on a merchant ship in the Baltic Sea

Stallhagen 1843 is a spontaneously fermented beer using a unique composition of malt, wheat and micro-organisms not normally found in beers today. Today’s pure cultured yeast stocks didn’t exist at that time. Beer was produced using local wild yeast strains, each of which became specific to the brewers in the area. The beer is golden yellow and has almost none of the typical bitterness or hops aroma. The role of hops in breweries in the 1800s was not as important as it is in modern beer production.

1843 has champagne like soft bubbles and the beer’s taste profile is closer to wine than to beer; it has a distinct freshness and fruitiness together with a subtle spiciness. Mouth feel is light yet its structure clearly defined. Aroma is fresh and acidic with flowery notes of fruit. The crown is white and lacey.

The brew was reproduced thanks to elaborate research by Finnish and Belgian scientists who teamed up after the wreckage was discovered off Finland's Aaland Islands in 2010.

Divers exploring 40 feet down found only five bottles of beer next to 145 champagne bottles -- confirmed as the world's oldest drinkable bubbly -- in the long-lost wreck. The Government of the
autonomous Åland Islands is the owner of the findings and had the beers analyzed at VTT Technical Research Center in Finland.

Different types

The research results showed that the old bottles contained two different types of beers. Experts from the Belgian university KU Leuven have participated in the demanding work in reconstructing the beer. The fermentation method has been both innovative and unique.

The Finnish brewery has produced 120,000 bottles of what it has aptly named Stallhagen 1843, which CEO Wennstroem described as "refined and subtle".

The firm has also created a high-priced "special edition" in finely crafted bottles, initially producing 1,000. The first one went for 850 euros ($1,000) at an auction in September.

Wennstroem told AFP that some of the proceeds will go towards continued research of the wreck, still on the sea bottom, as "there will surely be other treasures in addition to those that we have already found."

Other funds will go towards public projects.

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