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posted by janrinok on Friday August 05, @08:13PM   Printer-friendly
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: 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.