What Does 5,000-Year-Old Beer Taste Like? Stanford Students Found Out

What does a 5,000 year old beer taste like? Stanford Archeology Center students are about to find out. Modeling the beer after a multi-ingredient brew discovered at the site of Mijiaya, this group of archeology students are brewing up a fresh batch as part of their curriculum.

Rather than filing a lab filled with a mash tun and fermentors, the students are taking a more ancient approach. In true fashion to the recipe, brewing techniques that were used around the time of the Chinese beer are being practiced in order to achieve the closest result. However, with no written record and limited material, the team will do their best to imitate the ancient practices.

Busting out the pipettes and beakers, there are two ancient brewing methods the students used, according to Digital Trends. The first involves chewing the root, allowing the saliva to break it down. The other involves sprouting wheat and other grains. After the beer is left to ferment for two weeks, the students examined their results.

It seems that the final product is less appealing than the filtered beer we drink today. The thick, porridge like result, however, was not the ultimate reason for the project. Professor Li Liu had students take part in the experiment as a means to understand the importance of food to societies and maintain a better grasp on archeology through ancient human practices.

The group of Stanford students, however, are not the first to attempt this ancient brewing tradition. Dogfish Head Brewery did a one time Chicha beer that used the ancient practice of chewing. After what probably lead to many employees needing dental insurance, it may be safe to say the corn beer won’t be brewed that way again.

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And for those of you familiar with the Dogfish Head year-round release of Midas touch, you have tasted what a 2,700 year old ancient brew is like – brewed on a large scale modern day brewhouse of course. A mix between a beer, wine, and mead, the beer is named after King Midas, the tomb in which a vessel containing the dried ingredients were discovered.

While the Stanford beer won’t be for sale anytime soon like Midas Touch, maybe breweries may feel inspired to do a future collaboration.

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