Two bottles of beer from an about 170 year old shipwreck near the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea were analysed. Hop components and their degradation compounds showed that the bottles contained two different beers, one more strongly hopped than the other. The hops used contained higher levels of β-acids than modern varieties and were added before boiling the worts, converting α-acids to iso-α-acids and β-acids to hulupones. High levels of organic acids, carbonyl compounds and glucose indicated extensive bacterial and enzyme activity during aging. However, concentrations of yeast-derived flavor compounds were similar to those of modern beers, except that 3-methylbutyl acetate was unusually low in both beers and 2-phenylethanol and possibly 2-phenylethyl acetate were unusually high in one beer. Concentrations of phenolic compounds were similar to those in modern lagers and ales.
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Londesborough J., Dresel M., Gibson B., Juvonen R., Holopainen U., Mikkelson A., Seppänen-Laakso T., Viljanen K., Virtanen H., Wilpola A., Hofmann T., Wilhelmson A. “Analysis of beers from an 1840s’ shipwreck.”, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, in press.
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