Ancient Celtic Beer Recipe Resurrected

by David Lauterbach
2011 January 19
Ancient Barley, Credit: H.-P. Stika

Ancient Barley, Credit: H.-P. Stika

Early Celtic rulers of a community in what’s now southwestern Germany liked to get their drink on with beer according to an article in Science News. Let’s party like it’s 500 B.C.!

Evidence suggests they built a brewery capable of turning out large quantities of a beer with a dark, smoky, slightly sour taste.

Six specially constructed ditches previously excavated at Eberdingen-Hochdorf a 2,550-year-old Celtic settlement, were used to make high-quality barley malt, a key beer ingredient says archaeobotanist (real title) Hans-Peter Stika of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart in a paper published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (also real).

Stika compared the resemblance of the ancient grains to barley malt that he made using methods the Celts would have used and figured out how they must have affected beer taste. His conclusion was that their beer had a completely different taste than what we’re used to today.

That’s not really surprising… 2,500 years ago they didn’t have the resources to make bland, watered down, over-carbonated beers like large brewing companies do today. Although medieval additives made the beer more intoxicating, beer buffs today would regard Celtic beer as a strange brew not only for its flavor but because it would have been cloudy, contained yeasty sediment and been imbibed at room temperature.

Science News via Wired.

Pardon us please, while we pay for beer...

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I’m amazed at what scientists can dig up (pun intended) about things that happened so long ago. Do they know what the name of the beer was? You know, like Celtic Ice or Ancient Blue Ribbon?

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