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posted by janrinok on Friday August 05, @08:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the one-that-is-missing-from-FatPhil's-collection dept.

400-year-old Ecuadoran beer resurrected from yeast:

Inside an old oak barrel, Ecuadoran bioengineer Javier Carvajal found the fungus of fortune: a 400-year-old yeast specimen that he has since managed to resurrect and use to reproduce what is believed to be Latin America's oldest beer.

That single-cell microorganism, taken from just a splinter of wood, was the key to recovering the formula for an elixir first brewed in Quito in 1566 by friar Jodoco Ricke, a Franciscan of Flemish origin who historians believe introduced wheat and barley to what is now the Ecuadoran capital.

"Not only have we recovered a biological treasure but also the 400-year-old work of silent domestication of a yeast that probably came from a chicha and that had been collected from the local environment," Carvajal told AFP.

Chicha is a fermented corn drink brewed by the Indigenous people of the Americas before Spanish colonization.

Carvajal, who already had experience recovering other yeasts, found out about the ancient Franciscan brewery in Quito while reading specialist beer magazines.

It took him a year to do so, but he finally managed to find a barrel from the old brewery in 2008.

It was stored in Quito's San Francisco Convent, an imposing three-hectare complex built between 1537 and 1680, which is now a museum.

After extracting a splinter, Carvajal used a microscope to find a tiny yeast specimen, which after a long period of cultivation he was able to resurrect.

[...] For Carvajal, resurrecting the yeast and the age-old methods used to make the ancient recipe was simply a labor of love for "the value of the intangible."


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday August 05, @09:42PM (18 children)

    by looorg (578) on Friday August 05, @09:42PM (#1265179)

    So it's a corn beer flavored with cinnamon, fig, clove and sugarcane. Not sure if that will be a big hit with beer drinkers today.

    • (Score: 1) by zatoichi on Friday August 05, @10:21PM (6 children)

      by zatoichi (17905) on Friday August 05, @10:21PM (#1265185)

      The yeast probably came from chicha, but since the Friar was Belgian, and introduced barley and wheat, the beer was probably a normal Belgian Ale. Belgians are known to use wild yeast, as well.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday August 05, @11:41PM (2 children)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @11:41PM (#1265193) Homepage Journal

        Yes. They have fermentation rooms with louvered ceiings that can be opened to expose the fermentation to whatever yeasts blow in. Some entire areas are homes of particular yeasts. So far the scientists analyzing this have found many, many different species of yeasts, and they're not done yet.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FatPhil on Sunday August 07, @09:27AM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday August 07, @09:27AM (#1265409) Homepage
          That's the image they'd like you to believe. However, in order to keep a house taste, they keep their own culture, and innoculate with that. They aren't lying when they say "it lives in the wooden beams, and it falls down naturally onto the koelschip", but that's because they innoculate the beams with their house culture. Nothing wrong with that - having a more reliable reproduceable quality is a good thing. If half of my Cantillons tasted like Hanssens, I'd drink a hell of a lot less Cantillon.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday August 07, @07:09PM

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 07, @07:09PM (#1265455)

          Cider production (at least the homebrew variety) works on this principle: it uses the yeasts in the skin of the unwashed apples, and the sugars from the juice. No need to do anything else to it: just bottle it up with an airlock and leave for a few months. My local variety of yeast seems to do an okay job.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @01:21AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @01:21AM (#1265205)

        We were on safari in Sudan, hunting wild yeasts. Our guide warned us that we would have to be fast: when the wild yeast attacks, it goes straight for your face!

        • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @03:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @03:20AM (#1265210)

          When the wild yeast attacks
          it goes straight for your crotch

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @05:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @05:19PM (#1265443)

        {janrinok+zatoichi1}+{at}+{protonmail.com}

        Well, hai there ari! Subtlety was never your strong suit, any more that math is your strong suit. Do you even have a strong suit?

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 06, @03:34PM (6 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 06, @03:34PM (#1265269) Homepage Journal

      Depends on the country. Guinness is fairly sweet, especially compared to "American" beer (foreigners bought all of the big American beer companies, so Busch is no longer really an American beer). Most American beers were from German recipes. When I worked at Disney World I loved going around Epcot and trying different beers from around the world.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday August 07, @09:41AM (5 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday August 07, @09:41AM (#1265411) Homepage
        One of my most common complaints about American beers is that they're too damn sweet. They underattenuate, they add lactose (which doesn't ferment), and they add sweet adjuncts which are more appropriate in cakes or desserts. The mass market may have been pushed towards lower-carb "Lite" beers, but the majority of beers by count are not the majority of beers by volume.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday August 07, @06:55PM (2 children)

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 07, @06:55PM (#1265452)

          I'm not a beer drinker (hard cider is my preference), but I'm surprised to hear that lactose is added to beers in North America, given that it has intolerance issues. None of the ciders, beers and ales I have in (for guests) mention lactose on their labels, whereas they do note other allergens, such as barley and sulphites. I know tastes differ, but it seems that manufacturing processes differ wildly too.

          I write this having been pressing apples from my garden and pouring the juice into airlocked containers to make this year's cider. It'll sit there until the yeast runs out of sugar, then I'll get around to bottling it. That's my taste in alcohol (and complication too).

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 08, @10:46AM (1 child)

            by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 08, @10:46AM (#1265522) Homepage
            The lactose tradition goes back a long way, you may have heard of "milk stouts" - they're kinda known as a pre-war English thing, but apparently we picked up the idea from our colonies: https://zythophile.co.uk/2019/07/05/the-land-where-working-class-men-drink-milk-stout-from-quart-bottles-and-the-curious-case-of-mackeson-porter/

            It's added not just for sweetness (lactose isn't that sweet, so it's not a great adjunct for that goal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetness#Examples_of_sweet_substances ), but for a fuller smoother body. Personally, I think it makes beer slimy - in particular when used in the quantities that will permit you to notice its sweetness. And if anything less friendly than saccharomyces cerevisiae is alive in your mix, holy jeebus will the lactose produce some horrible off flavours ("dirty dish rag" is a very common descriptor of one of the things you can end up with).

            Its popularity has crept up in the last decade or so, it used to be a secret ingredient, but everyone knows about it now, and feel the neet to show off that they know about it - some even seem to feel the need to completely overdo the lactose use in comically bad ways. You might encounter some making "milkshake IPAs", for example. Expect vanilla and fruit too, because apparently beer should be yoghurt.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
            • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Monday August 08, @12:42PM

              by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 08, @12:42PM (#1265537)

              Well aside from my general aversion to beers (as mentioned in another post), a milkshake-style beer would be well off my tasting list. Thanks for the explanation.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday August 08, @05:41PM (1 child)

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday August 08, @05:41PM (#1265576) Homepage Journal

          You must be referring to true American beer. A little googling says it's mainly for stouts.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday August 09, @04:13AM

            by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday August 09, @04:13AM (#1265662) Homepage
            Now google "pastry sour", or "milkshake ipa"...

            Like cancer, it's spread.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday August 07, @09:16AM (3 children)

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday August 07, @09:16AM (#1265406) Homepage
      In that case, you know very little about the beer drinkers today. The less it sounds, looks, and tastes like beer, the more popular it is nowadays.

      Last night, I had one which was flavoured with banana and chocolate, for example, and another that tasted of pissy nutsacks. But the latter was because they had a brett infection, not by design.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kazzie on Sunday August 07, @07:06PM (2 children)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 07, @07:06PM (#1265454)

        The same thing is common in UK (hard) ciders too. There seems to be three main classes of cider here:

        1. The well-known, mass-produced ciders with lots of sugar and bubbles, but no taste* (Strongbow, Magners, etc)

        2. Ciders made with other sundry fruits or other ingredients, so it tastes of something else instead (Rekordelig, Old Mout)

        3. The smaller cider makers that know what they're doing, and make some proper stuff (Weston's, Thatchers, Rosie's)

        I stick exclusively to the third category.

        *There used to be a subset of this, which was cider fermented cheaply to higher strengths (White Lightning) but that's largely gone the way of the dodo., because cider was taxed less than beer

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 08, @10:53AM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 08, @10:53AM (#1265523) Homepage
          I'm a huge fan of traditional English scrumpy - I remember when Old Rosie used to taste like pickled onions half of the time, but there was only one pub in town where you could get it, so you went there, and you got it in whatever state it was in - beggars can't be choosers. Since then they've adopted the bag idea that came from wine decades earlier, and that pretty much cured the freshness issue overnight. I'm lucky to have 2 pretty decent English ciders hand pulled from a bag at my local pub here - both Sheppy's. Not chewy and gnarly enough for my tastes, but that doesn't matter, any proper cider's better than the local macro fizzy nonsense. The cider scene in Latvia's probably the best in the region, we quite often mail order ciders from there.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 08, @11:08AM

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 08, @11:08AM (#1265525) Homepage
          > White Lightning

          I don't know if you've seen Louis Theroux /Drinking to Oblivion/, it's as jolly as it sounds (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5561592/) The next time we went to the UK after seeing that, we made sure to hunt out Gaymer's K cider, which featured in the segment about an unfortunate French lass called Aurelie. It went down a treat at the Tallinn Crap Beer Festival - proper crap - but as we drank it my g/f & I dedicated the moment to Aurelie. https://www.ratebeer.com/beer/gaymers-k-cider-uk-version/107810/
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @05:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, @05:11AM (#1265221)

    I bet it's flat.

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