They Tried to Age Beer on a Sunken Ship. The Barrels Vanished

A 'deep-water beermaking' experiment gone wrong off the coast of Argentina
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2021 9:20 AM CST
They Tried to Age Beer on a Sunken Ship. The Barrels Vanished
Disappointment for brewers who tried to age beer underwater.   (Getty Images/zmurciuk_k)

Craft beer is getting ... weird. And the weirder the better, it seems, after thieves made off with or otherwise liberated nearly 200 gallons of ale being aged in a sunken ship off Argentina. The theft took place near Mar del Plata, where three local breweries and a diving school had teamed up for an experiment in "deep-water beermaking," per the New York Times. The idea for this unusual brewing process emerged in 2018, when Carlos Brelles, who runs the diving school in Mar del Plata, got wind of beer aged underwater elsewhere and threw the idea out to a friend, a local brewer. Others soon warmed to the concept, but the group wanted to go beyond the shallow-depth aging done previously, instead opting to carry out the process under greater pressure, in deeper waters. So, on Nov. 22, the brewers lowered seven barrels of high-ABV dark beer 65 feet down—specifically, into the Kronomether, a Soviet-era ship on the ocean floor three miles off the coast, per La Capital, via the Drinks Business.

"Never before had it been ... so deep," brewery owner Juan Pablo Vincent says. The Times notes the beer seemed fine when Brelles dove in to do a spot-check in mid-January, but when he returned on Feb. 23, the day before they were set to bring the barrels back up, the barrels were gone. The team that had worked so hard to age the beer is devastated. "I started crying," Brelles says. "Three or four people without morals destroyed the work of so many people who put in so much effort." Brelles thinks that vandals simply cut the barrels loose—"malice for malice's sake"—but Vincent adds that if someone had actually pilfered it to drink, they're going to be disappointed. "They're going to have to throw it away," he says, noting that the underwater-aged ale was meant to be ultimately mixed with another beer. "It was a lukewarm, gasless liquor that would be very difficult to drink." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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