Illustration for article titled British archaeologists dig up a stash of rare Victorian-era Lead Ale
Photo: Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

I don’t know if anyone was actually wondering this, but let me assure you that 140-year-old bottles of beer do not explode. They are not, however, drinkable.

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Diggers from the West Yorkshire Archaeological Services found the stash of 600 bottles back in February in the cellar of what used to be the Scarborough Castle Inn on the site of the former Tetley’s Brewery near Leeds, The Drinks Business reports. The bottles, all from around 1880, came from a number of different breweries. Initially the archeologists suspected they contained ginger beer, but lab tests revealed that they were real, grown-up beer, 3% ABV, to be precise, about the same as a mild English Session Ale.

The beer, alas, was found to contain 0.13 mg/l of lead, so no one will be able to find out what it tastes like. (The WHO-recommended safe amount is 0.01 mg/l.) Once the analysis is complete, Vastint, the developer who commissioned the archeological dig, plans to incorporate the bottles into a historical display about 19th-century Leeds.

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Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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