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Still Waters

19th-century lead-spiked beer bottles found

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Still Waters

In late 19th-century Leeds, the drinks were plentiful and strong—and, unfortunately, spiked with quite a bit of lead.

Archaeological Services WYAS’ ongoing excavation of a series of Georgian and Victorian period cellars has revealed an unexpected cache of centuries-old beer bottles some 600 strong, reports Andrew Hutchinson for the Yorkshire Evening Post. Originally thought to be some sort of ginger beer, the liquid that remains within actually appears to be spiked with both alcohol and contaminants, perhaps left by lead pipes feeding into the water brewers used to concoct their boozy batch.

The researchers made the discovery earlier this year at the site of the former Scarborough Castle Inn in the northern English city. Stacked in neat piles beneath the remnants of the 19th-century building’s stairs were several hundred bottles, some still corked and full of sloshing fluid.


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...and here we are, a hundred odd years later worried about some microbe... 


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Spiked, suggest lead was intentionally added, Bottle diggers would consider these to be ginger beer bottles, the single brown necked bottle shape in the pile would often be printed 'porter' (beer) but also had ginger beer in, ginger beer was incredibly popular in the Victorian period and up until the 1930s, Birmingham alone had about 130 different companies producing ginger beer in stone bottles, i can't see any corks in these bottles, another thing of note is the ginger beer was fermented.

Edited by hetrodoxly

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