The 'Secret Ingredient' To 5,000 Year Old Chinese Beer Uncovered

By Alexie Summer, Parent Herald May 25, 09:19 pm
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Archaeologists unearthed the oldest beer-making facility in China, which showed signs of advanced beer-making techniques. More so, barley may have been the secret ingredient to a 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe.


Advanced Beer Making Technology

Ancient "beer-making toolkits" were found in underground rooms built around 3400 and 2900 B.C in Central Plain of China via NPR. Surprisingly, the beer-making technology indicates that early brewers had developed specialized and advanced beer-making techniques. The beer-making tools discovered include funnels, pots and specialized jugs.

Scientists examined the ancient beer-making tools found at the Mijiay archaeological site in China's Shaanxi province, CBS News reported. The result of the examinations reveals traces of oxalate, a by-product of beer-making. Oxalate forms a scale called "beer stone" in the brewing tools and equipment. More so, the scientists also found residues of various ancient grains and plants, including broomcorn millets, tubers from plant roots, and barley.

"All indications are that ancient peoples, [including those at this Chinese dig site], applied the same principles and techniques as brewers do today," NPR quoted Patrick McGovern, who is known as the "Indiana Jones" of ancient fermented beverages. Although not involved in the research, he is a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia.

Barley Is The Secret Ingredient

Fox News reported that the presence of barley was particularly interesting. This could only mean that barley was already present in China 1,000 years earlier than previously thought according to a report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

More so, the grain residue found inside the ancient pots and jugs showed evidence that they had been damaged by malting and mashing. These are the main processes in beer-making. The recipe is a mix of fermented grains mentioned earlier: broomcorn millets, barley, Job's tears, tubers and a chewy Asian grain also known as Chinese pearl barley.

Now, how would all these taste like? According to Jiajing Wang, an archaeologist from Stanford University guessed it would be a little sour and sweet at the same time.

Do you find this discovery amazing? Hit us up with your comments below. Meanwhile, check out how the modern day makes beer in this video.

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