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Ancient beer recipe found in China

A recipe found in China is one of the world's oldest for beer, coming in at around 5,000 years.


Two pints of bitter ale.

Getty Images

Some things never change, and it seems the human taste for beer is one of those things. A recipe recently discovered in China is one of the oldest in the world, falling somewhere between an estimated 4,900 and 5,400 years old.

According to Discover Magazine, the beer was found at the Mijiaya archaeological site in northern China, where dwellings were found to contain all the tools necessary to create beer. They also found vessels coated with a yellow substance. Analysis of this substance revealed the steps in the beer-making process -- steeping, mashing and fermentation.

As for what the beer's made of, it probably wouldn't be recognisable by today's standards. It contained broomcorn millet, barley, Job's tears and tubers. The team tested the recipe, and sure enough they ended up with grains cracked and folded by the process, similar to grains found at the site. (Sadly, they made no comment on the beer's flavour.)

The world has quite a way to go to beat the record-holder for the world's oldest beer recipe. That honour belongs to a 9,000-year-old brew, also from northern China, made of rice, honey and fruit.