Everybody loves a good ale once in a while, and the reason behind this is dead simple – beer is a low alcohol beverage, smooth, and can complement just about any dish you could think of. We all know about Europe’s renowned beer masters, such the Trappist monks, who brew the concoction since the 17th century. However, the alcoholic beverage known as beer is much older than most of us realize.
Previous studies have shown that the magical beverage has been around for at least 7,000 years, the oldest known recipe being discovered in Iran. Last year, a team of archaeologists discovered a cave in Central China which later prove to be a veritable treasure. Inside the cave, the team found various pieces of pottery. Carbon dating proved that they were at least 5000-year-old.
Surprisingly enough, the team who examined the crumbling pottery discovered that they contained carvings on the inside. Upon translating them, the researchers realized that they were nothing less than step-by-step recipes of how to brew home-made beer.
Recently, some students from the Stanford University heard about the team’s discovery and decided to try out some of the recipes recovered from the pottery. Li Liu, an archaeology professor at Stanford University and the coordinator of the new beer-brewing study, said that this is a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn how life was in Ancient China.
So, is ancient Chinese beer different that the modern beverage? It’s a whole new world, as the project’s lead researcher would put it. While today’s beer is made with malted barley, hops, and yeast, the beer brewed in Ancient China called for an entirely different approach.
Liu said that the project returned various results. While some of the beers were rancid, others had more pleasant, cider-like aromas.
Now, in order to brew beer after the ancient Chinese recipe, the student had to start by putting unfiltered grain to malt in a large container. The grains would be covered with water, and left to sprout.
After the grains had sprouted, the students would gather them, crush the seeds, and threw them in another container filled with water. The seeds were left to simmer over medium heat for about an hour. The grains were then transferred to another container where they were left to ferment for about two weeks.
And this is where things become tricky – after leaving the concoction to ferment, the students had to chew a plant called manioc and spit it into the beer vat. After that, the beer would be allowed to boil and to ferment.
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