Tags: 5000-year-old | chinese | beer | recipe

5,000-Year-Old Chinese Beer Recipe Makes a Grainy Brew

Image: 5,000-Year-Old Chinese Beer Recipe Makes a Grainy Brew

A bartender fills a beer pitcher in Qingdao, hometown of China's most famous beer, Tsingtao. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 May 2016 10:52 AM

A 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe discovered in an underground brewery by archaeologists could be the earliest direct evidence of beer brewing in ancient China, said researchers toasting their find in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Beer-making pottery dating back from 3,400 to 2,900 BC was discovered at an archaeological site in northern China and it contained a mixture of barley, broom corn, millet, and other starchy plants, said their study.

"Beer was probably an important part of ritual feasting in ancient China," study author Jiajing Wang of Stanford University said in a PNAS blog. "So it's possible that this finding of beer is associated with increased social complexity and changing events of the time."

Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, told NPR that the ancient brewery being underground was probably important for storing the beer and controlling the temperature.

A pottery stove found at the location could have allowed the ancient brewers to heat and break down carbohydrates to sugar. 

"All indications are that ancient peoples, (including those at this Chinese dig site), applied the same principles and techniques as brewers do today," McGovern told NPR.

The grain found in the pottery showed evidence that it had been damaged by malting and mashing, two important steps to making beer, said NPR. Uncovered pots and funnels were tested with ion chromatography to see what the ancient beer was made out of.

Wang said on the PNAS blog that the discovery of the China's ancient beer gives researchers a clue to when crops by barley could have been come to the area.

"Barley was one of the main ingredient[s] for beer brewing in other parts of the world, such as ancient Egypt," said Wang. "It is possible that when barley was introduced from Western Eurasia into the Central Plain of China, it came with the knowledge that the crop was a good ingredient for beer brewing. So it was not only the introduction of a new crop, but also the movement of knowledge associated with the crop."

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A 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe discovered in an underground brewery by archaeologists could be the earliest direct evidence of beer brewing in ancient China.
5000-year-old, chinese, beer, recipe
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2016-52-24
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 10:52 AM
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