‘World’s Oldest Beer’ Brewed With Yeast from 18th Century Shipwreck

Photo credit: Queens
Photo credit: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

A team of scientists in Tasmania are claiming to have brewed the world’s oldest beer using yeast salvaged from an 18th century shipwreck.

Led by Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Conservator David Thurrowgood, the research team was able to extract live yeast from a bottle pulled from the wreck of the Sydney Cove, which sank in 1797 on Preservation Island off Tasmania. The team then used the yeast to brew beer using recipes and techniques from the same period – calling the brew Preservation Ale.

“The yeast is unique to science, and has genetic links to European brewing, baking and wine yeast used before modern specialised strains were developed,” said Thurrowgood.

“The beer has a distinctly light and fresh flavour, giving a taste that has not been sipped for 220 years.”

The team has also since baked a loaf of sourdough bread from the same yeast.

According to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the team is now working on how they can use the yeast to make more beer to share with the world.