James Squire is releasing a porter using 220 year old yeast discovered in a shipwreck

James Squire will release what is being said to be their more rare and special beer to date, giving new life to one of the world’s oldest surviving recipes using 220 years old yeast discovered in the depths of Australia’s oldest merchant shipwreck – Sydney Cove – which ran aground in the waters surrounding Tasmania’s Preservation Island in 1797. They’re unsurprisingly calling it The Wreck – Preservation Ale, and it has been brewed in collaboration with the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery of Launceston and the Australian Wine Research Institute in Adelaide.

The yeasts modern journey kicks back to 2016, where it was discovered by QVMAG chemist-turned-conservator David Thurrowgood from beer bottles that had been salvaged form the wreck years earlier. The wine scientists at AWRI then came onboard using skills honed working with wine yearst, isolating and growing it from the ber bottles and revealing its genetic make-up, which was revealed to be a rare hybrid strain which differs from modern ale strains.

Malt Shovel Brewery’s Head Brewer Haydon Morgan led a team to use the yeast in a new beer, using modern-day techniques while also carefully working to maintain its integrity. “This particular yeast was very temperamental and had a thirst for life so it took a lot of trial and error to find the right balance”, explained Morgan. “After creating a lot of different recipes, we decided that it was perfect for creating a porter style.

Hence, ‘The Wreck – Preservation Ale’ is said to bring in chocolate and pale malts paired with brambling cross and porter hops, featuring hints of blackcurrant and spices to work up a rich profile and smooth palate.

The beer will be launched in very limited supply at the forthcoming GABS Craft Beer Festival in Melbourne (18th to 20th May) and Sydney (2nd June) and will also be on tap at the new James Squire flagship Brewhouse in Circular Quay, Sydney. For more info head to www.jamessquire.com.au.