Discovery of an ancient pottery site revealed a 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe as described in a new study.
The materials that were found show that people during that time had already developed proficient knowledge and skills in brewing beer. Such technique involves elements from both the East and the West.
The pottery funnels and pots were found to have yellowish residue, which was actually made of broomcorn millet, barley, a chewy grain known as Job's tears, and tubers all fermented together.
Focus On Barley
Lead author Jiajing Wang from Stanford University says finding barley was a surprise, adding that it is the first time for any archeological object in China to have traces of such material.
The discovery then indicates that barley was already present in ancient China 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.
Through the study, the authors suggest that maybe barley was part of beer-making even before it has become prominent in the agricultural sector.
Ancient Beer-Making Practice
In one of the sites called Mijiaya, which is located in northern China, there lie two pits that date back to about 3400 to 2900 B.C.
The location contains materials that were actually made for brewing, filtering and storing beer underground. The researchers also found stoves that might have been used for grain heating and mashing.
Despite discovering all those things, the researchers say it is impossible to determine the exact taste of the beer during that period because they do not know the proportions used. Wang, however, guessed that it may be a little sour due to the fermented grains and a little sweet due to the tubers.
The discovery also speaks of some social implications during that time. For one, the barley residue found suggests social motivation in the first phase of crop translocation.
"Like other alcoholic beverages, beer is one of the most widely used and versatile drugs in the world, and it has been used for negotiating different kinds of social relationships," the authors wrote.
The coincidence of beer-making with other materials signifies the active rise of competitive feasting.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 23.