Students Brew Ancient Beer From 5000-Year-Old Chinese Recipe

Posted: Feb 9 2017, 6:12am CST | by , Updated: Feb 9 2017, 6:59am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Students Brew Ancient Beer From 5000 Years Old Chinese Recipe
For a hands-on view into the ancient world, students brewed beer from a 5,000-year-old recipe as part of an archaeology course with Professor Li Liu. (Image credit: Kurt Hickman)
  • Students brew Beer from Five Millennia Old Chinese Method

Pupils at Stanford University have brewed beer from a Chinese method that happens to be five millennia old.

A tiny group of students at Stanford University gathered around a table recently and tried to make beer from a 5000 year old Chinese recipe. There were glass vessels and bottles containing liquids that were laid out before them on the table.

The bottles contained a yellow liquid with a foamy texture. The topmost portion of the liquid had a moldy layer of scum on it. As the students opened the bottles and vessels, they scrunched their noses at the foul odor and vile taste of some of the solutions.

This beer was the last project the students were participating in. It was basically home-brewed beer and the most ancient of techniques of making this beer were used by these students.

One of the forays into the age-old art of beer-making that was made used a method that was 5000 years old.

One of the Stanford students reiterated the fact that archaeology was not just about collecting ancient artifacts and putting them up for display in a museum. By mimicry of ancient methods, the people of today can get a better feel of what went on so long ago.

This 5000 year old recipe for beer-making was discovered after reading the writing on the inner portions of pottery from that time period in history. This pottery was unearthed from a site in China.

The beer was brewed with the help of millet and barley. Also Job’s tears, which is a type of grass that is normally grown in Asia, was used in the making of the beer.

Besides this, yam and lily root were a part of the heady mixture. It was a surprise to find barley being cultivated in China such a long time ago.

Barley was probably used to make alcoholic drinks rather eaten as a cereal crop in China in those times. The Chinese beer had the consistency of porridge and tasted more sugary and fruity than the translucent and bitter brands found today.

The elements that made for fermentation were not taken out of the mixture and it was probably sipped through a straw. The students at Stanford University tried to make this ancient beer using wheat, millet and barley seeds.

The procedure was not so complicated. One of the gross acts that had to be done during the making of the beer was chewing and spitting manioc into the liquid mixture.

It was strange and surreal for many of the participating students. This experiment allowed the students to catch a slice of life from that era in ancient history.

The research, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provided the earliest evidence of beer production in China so far.

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