Recreation of ancient Sumerian beer. An extraordinary experimental beer, in extremely limited supply.
Brewed at the request of Harvard Design School Prof. Robert France, in conjunction with the international conference “Mesopotamian Marshes and Modern Development,” whose focus was practical approaches for sustaining restored ecological and cultural landscapes.
Production of this beer involved research into Sumerian beers made from barley bread, called “bappir.” A 30 pound batch of this bread was replicated at CBC with barley flour, pale malt, and honey, baked twice, then crumbled and mixed with hot water to form a mash. The sweet, unboiled wort was then run off into open fermenters, where we added chopped fresh dates and coriander, and pitched a wild sourdough yeast culture, purportedly over 1,000 years old, from an Egyptian bread bakery. After one week of this wild fermentation, the beer was cooled and kegged for presentation at Harvard University, and here at CBC. The resulting unhopped beer is cloudy, lightly carbonated, and has interesting notes of grain, dates, and wild yeast, with a pervasive wine-like character and significant tartness.
We hope you appreciate this glimpse deep into humanity’s past, at the dawn of both civilization and beer. Hail, Ninkasi!
ClarkVV (4084) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 11, 2004
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
2004 draught @ the brewery. This is the most drab grey beer I’ve ever seen. In fact, I dont think I’ve ever seen a grayish beer before. No head, transluscent. Aroma of dry plums?sweet herbs? Rye in there too, maybe, something like that anyways. Has a peculiar sweet grainy, very fibrous smell akin to only what I can call, warm bran muffins. . . . Moving on. Flavor is lightly sweet, a touch of honey and molasses flavors with the faintest bit of figs, dates, or light prunes. Slightly dry, almost tobacco-like finish. Medium body, but a good deal of water in the flavor too. Light, tingly carbonation, no bitterness (probably because there are no hops). VERY UNIQUE. I love what Will is doing with all of these traditional ales. It’s very enjoyable to try something unlike anything you’ve tried.
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