beer made from cloned yeast from 1861

Wreck ale is the name of a new historical beer made in collaboration between Mikkeller, the yeast- and fermentation producers White Labs and the Diving Team Ternen. The yeast for the beer is made from golden drops of beer found at the bottom of the sea in the shipwreck S/S Neva. The beer is released at an event at Baghaven on April 26th.

In 1861 the ship S/S NEVA was on her way to St. Petersburg, Russia, with very valuable cargo. Ale from more than 30 breweries being part of the shipment. Off the coast of the Danish island Laesoe she met the Danish S/S L.N. Hvidt in stormy weather. NEVA’s captain North misunderstood the signals from L.N. Hvidt and was hit hard by the Danish vessel. S/S NEVA went down in less than 10 minutes, all hands were saved by L.N. Hvidt.

More than 150 years later the Danish diving team Ternen, lead by the cultural explorer and treasure hunter Stig Thornsohn, found the golden drops of beer from Hull, England, brewed in 1861. The yeast had survived 70 meters at the bottom of the sea. When the team pulled up the first couple of bottles they popped open, but they managed to find a way to salvage the rest, so that the liquid stayed inside.

“The old wrecks have so many good salty stories to tell, and we thought it would be a unique opportunity to let people taste history,” says Stig Thornsohn, Dive Team Ternen Project director.

Re-creation of a historical beer

He then contacted the yeast- and fermentation producers White Labs, who analyzed the beer to re-create color, alcohol strength and determined which types of hops and malt had originally been used. They managed to isolate and keep the yeast alive to make it ready to produce beer again mirroring historical recipes and ingredients used in England at that time. The original recipe was then carefully adjusted by pioneer brewers at Mikkeller.

Mikkeller of course could not resist the opportunity to help recreate the historical beer.

“When Stig contacted us and told us about the project, we said yes immediately. It is deeply fascinating and a fun project to recreate such an old beer found at the bottom of the sea,” says Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, founder and CEO of Mikkeller.



Join us 26th April for the launch party at Mikkeller Baghaven


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