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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Brewers concoct ancient Egyptian ale
Tutankhamen's death mask
Did King Tut sup on the Old Kingdom recipe?
A Japanese beer maker has taken a 4,400-year-old recipe from Egyptian hieroglyphics and produced what it claims is a brew fit for the Pharaohs.

The Kirin Brewery Co. has called the concoction Old Kingdom Beer.

It has no froth, is the colour of dark tea and carries an alcohol content of 10% - about double most contemporary beers.

Sakuji Yoshimura, an Egyptologist at Waseda University in Tokyo, helped transcribe the recipe from Egyptian wall paintings.

Kirin spokesman Takaomi Ishii said: ''It has a taste very different from today's beer. It tastes a little like white wine.''

Research purposes

The beer is based on barley, but does not use hops, which give modern beer its bitter taste, Mr Ishii said.

Japanese beer drinker
Drinkers will have to stick to normal ales. Old Kingdom is not for sale

However, don't expect the brew to be drawn from a pump in your local.

Kirin has no plans to sell Old Kingdom commercially, and said it developed the beer for research purposes.

The 36 litres (eight gallons) brewed in the current batch will be presented at a conference of the Master Brewers Association of America in Texas in October.

Evidence of beer making in Egypt dates back to the 10th century BC.

In 1996, British beer maker Scottish and Newcastle sold a limited edition, 1,000-bottle batch of beer brewed according to an ancient Egyptian recipe.

A bottle of its Tutankhamen Ale sold for 50 ($78).

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01 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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