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Century-Old Beer Tastes Like Rotten Eggs, Among Other Things

It also tasted like tree fruit and cherry.

Alexander Keith's/Facebook

Remember that ancient Alexander Keith's beer found at sea off the coast of Nova Scotia? Turns out, it was roughly 120 years old, and it actually held up pretty well over the decades. That's what a nearby bar owner told CBC News, claiming it tasted of tree fruit, cherry, and rotten eggs.

"It tasted, actually, just how it smelled, which I was surprised by," Stillwell Bar co-owner Chris Reynolds told CBC. "We got like a little tree fruit note, a cherry note in there somehow — certainly a lot of sulphur, kind of rotten egg stuff going on."

Rotten egg isn't a flavor most drinkers would want out of a beer, but Reynolds and his brewing pals apparently aren't most people. He said the beer tasted "pretty good." Diver Jon Crouse, who discovered the brew at the bottom of the ocean, didn't partake in the tasting. He did, however, proclaim on Facebook, "It smelled like smoked hickory ham, beer, and sulphur." Remove the sulphur, and that does sound pretty good.

To make sure the beer was safe to drink, and that it was actually beer, Reynolds and crew tested the liquid in a lab at Dalhousie University. According to the markings on the bottle, the beer is estimated to have been brewed sometime between 1872 and 1890. That it was still relatively drinkable — rotten eggs aside — isn't a huge surprise: The Drinks Business notes the cool temperatures at the bottom of large bodies of water offer ideal conditions for aging beverages.

Crouse said Discovery Channel's Daily Planet team was on hand to film the testing and tasting, so look for the alcoholic artifact on television sometime soon.

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