5,000 Year Old Beer Recipe Found by Archaeologists

beer recipe

Archaeologists at Stanford University have uncovered a 5,000 year old beer recipe in China which is not only the earliest beer recipe ever found, but also shows the earliest use of barley in China. Researchers uncovered this new find when they were digging alongside Wei River. There, they located a complete set of brewing equipment which contained residue from the last drink it made.

beer funnel
5,000 year old beer-making funnel was unearthed at a dig site in the Wei River banks
(Image credits: Jiajing Wang/PNAS)

Archaeologists discovered ancient beer-making tools in underground rooms, that were built somewhere between 3400 and 2900 B.C. The discovery was made at a dig site in the Central Plain of China and contained  pots, funnels and specially designed jugs. Objects suggest they were probably used for brewing, filtration and storage of beer.

Researchers analyzed the liquid and found it to be the leftover beer of a drink that was made thousands of years ago. The beer recipe was found to contain broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears and tubers. The exciting finding was published in PNAS journal.

This is the oldest beer-making “factory” ever discovered in China, suggesting that these initial brewers were already using specially designed beer-making tools and advanced techniques for the creation of “liquid gold” (beer).

mijaya funnel
Mijaya funnel
(Image credits: Fulai Xing/Shaanxi Institute of Archaeology)

This says a lot about what it was like in China 5,000 year ago. For one, researchers now know that years before barley was used in food in China, it was being used in drinks. This tells us that brewing beer did not come about because people had an excess of crops and were looking for new and creative ways to use every last bit. This explains that beer was a very important aspect to ancient everyday life. Beer was so important, in fact, that crops were being planted in order to accommodate the growing demand.