In Ecuador, a bioengineer found 400-year-old yeast and recreated ancient beer

Anna Kholodnova

Ecuadorian bioengineer, Javier Carvajal, found a 400-year-old sample of yeast, revived it and recreated what is believed to be the oldest beer in Latin America.

This is reported by France24.

"We have found not only a biological treasure, but a 400-year-old work of silent domestication of yeast that probably originated from chicha [a fermented corn drink brewed by Native Americans before Spanish colonization] and was collected in the local environment," noted Carvajal to journalists.

In 2008, he found a barrel from an old Franciscan brewery that was stored in a monastery in Quito. The monastery was built between 1537 and 1680, now it houses a museum.

Carvajal obtained a fragment of a barrel, with the help of a microscope found there a tiny sample of yeast, and after a long period of cultivation, revived the mushroom.

Then the scientist, who comes from a family of brewers, found an article in a trade journal that described the formula for the drink of the 16th century Franciscans.

"There were a huge number of gaps in the recipe, and my task was to fill them," noted the bioengineer.

It took Carvajal 10 years to brew the ancient beer.