In 2010, we posted about a shipwreck in the Baltic, off the Åland Islands of Sweden, in which 30 bottles of champagne and 5 bottles of beer were found intact in the wreckage. In 2011, two bottles of the champagne were sold at auction for 54,000 euros ($78,400.) Now, a Swedish micro-brewer, Stallhagen, has recreated the beer based on an analysis conducted by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) of the original beer in the shipwreck. Wild yeast from the original brew was been used the in the new beer which is dubbed Stallhagen Historic Beer 1842. Don’t look for it in your local stores. It is being produced in a limited run and will be for sale only on Viking Line cruise ships.
“It’s a Belgian wild-yeast beer. The micro-organisms in the beer found in the wreck have been used in the production,” says Mats Ekholm, the master brewer at Stallhagen.
The historic beer has been produced at the beer laboratory of the University of Leuven in Belgium because wild yeasts must be processed in a strictly controlled environment due to their propensity to spread. No modern cultivated yeasts were available at the time of the production of the original brew.
The beer tastes fresh and fruity, says Ekholm, and lacks the hoppy notes of contemporary beers almost entirely. “It’s similar to wine,” he describes.
A limited edition of 2,000 numbered bottles of Stallhagen Historic Beer 1842 will be made available aboard Viking Line cruise ships this week for a price of 113.50 euros per bottle. “The beer has been bottled in hand-blown glass bottles resembling the bottles retrieved from the wreck,” says Kristiina Kurki-Suonio, the director of marketing at Stallhagen.
Thanks to Irwin Bryan for contributing to this post.
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