400-year-old Ecuadorian beer revived from yeast remains

Ecuadorian bioengineer Javier Carvajal has brought Latin America’s oldest known beer back to life by finding a 400-year-old brewer’s yeast at the bottom of an old oak barrel.

The single-celled microorganism collected from a piece of wood played a key role in reaching the formula of the beer produced by Jodoco Ricke, a Dutch monk, in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, in 1566.

“We not only uncovered a biological treasure, we also witnessed the quiet localization of a 400-year-old yeast,” Carvajal told AFP.

Carvajal, who had found other historical yeasts before, came across information about the old Franciscan brewery in Quito in special beer magazines.

After a year of effort, Carvajal succeeded in obtaining one of the oak barrels used in this historic workshop in 2008. He found the barrel in a monastery that was built between 1537 and 1680 and is now used as a museum.

Taking a piece out of the vat, Carvajal was able to find tiny yeast samples with the aid of a microscope. Reviving this yeast after a long effort, Carvajal reproduced the sample in laboratory tubes.

Coming from a family of brewers, Carvajal slowly reconstructed the brewing formula using cinnamon, figs, cloves, and cane sugar after reading an article that roughly described the 16th-century formula used by the Franciscans.

After 10 years of research and trials, Carvajal started producing the beer at home in 2018, but commercial production was delayed due to the pandemic.

Carvajal likens his work to “intensive care at the molecular level” on beer, which is uncertain when mass production will begin.

Latin America’s oldest beer

Historian Javier Gomezjurado also points out that the San Francisco Convent is the oldest brewery in Latin America.

Emphasizing that it started its activities in 1566, Gomezjurado states that there were only 8 monks at that time and the production was at a very low level.

While the old formulas were lost with the industrialization of the sector, the brewery was closed in 1970.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

mersin escort antalya escort bursa escort antalya escort istanbul evden eve nakliyat fethiye escort escort bayan