At 220 years old, the world's oldest beer is being revived (and sold in June)

08 May, 2018

Australian brewers are working to revive a 220-year old beer, made from the yeast found in a shipwreck discovered more than two decades ago. The porter-style beer will be aptly named The Wreck - Preservation Ale, and is being produced by brewing company James Squire for a limited release in June.

The 220 year old beer being saved by a diver

The yeast was found on a merchant ship called Sydney Cove, which was travelling from India to the then British colony of Port Jackson until it became shipwrecked at Preservation Island near Tasmania in 1797. Tea, rice and tobacco were carried on the ship, as well as 40,000 litres of alcohol. Those bottles of beer remained sealed, and the yeast remained preserved in the ice cold waters of Bass Strait.

These were excavated and donated to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston, Tasmania, where researchers worked with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) to isolate the yeast.

"I thought we might be able to culture yeast and recreate a beer that hasn’t been on the planet for 220 years," museum conservator and chemist David Thurrowgood said in a post.

According to the James Squire website. "The Wreck Preservation Ale is steeped in history. This unique brew is made from Old World yeast but very much crafted for today, brought together by passionate brewers and historians. The name is a nod to the island where the ship was discovered and the preservation of the yeast itself. The style is inspired by the beers that were being transported on the Sydney Cove; porters, small ales and IPAs. The result is a smooth porter-style brew that’s dark, malty, spicy and stormy. The Wreck is truly a once in a lifetime taste."

A portion of the beer's sales will be used to further QVMAG's research into the Sydney Cove collection.

DME Cheese - wondering if this porter was found on the starboard or port side? eh, eh? no, okay, our bad!