Flickr / James Lee / CC BY 2.0 

Scientists Uncover 5,000-Year-Old Chinese Beer Recipe

Archaeologists uncover an ancient brewery with ‘beer-making tool kits’ in underground rooms

Flickr / James Lee / CC BY 2.0 

Findings indicate that brewers utilized specialized tools and advanced beer-making techniques.

A group of archeologists have uncovered a 5,000-year-old brewery in China, the oldest to have been discovered in this country. Their discoveries suggest the use of specialized tools and advanced beer-making techniques, reports The Salt.

The brewery’s underground location demonstrates an understanding of the importance of temperature in making and storing beer. “Beer-making tool kits” comprised of funnels, pots, and specialized jugs might have been used for brewing, filtration, and storage.

Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, says, “All indications are that ancient peoples, [including those at this Chinese dig site], applied the same principles and techniques as brewers do today.”

As for the 5,000-year-old beer recipe, ion chromatography was used on residue from uncovered pots and funnels to determine the exact ingredients. The recipe, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, featured a mix of fermented grains and tubers to sweeten and flavor the beer.


 Jiajing Wang, an archaeologist from Stanford University and the lead researcher of this project, speculates that the beer “would taste a bit sour and a bit sweet.”