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Backdated bubbles.

I read with interest your article on the possible re-creation of King Midas' funerary fu·ner·ar·y  
Of or suitable for a funeral or burial.

[Latin fner
 feast ("King Midas' modern mourners," SN: 11/4/00, p. 296), particularly the part about the beverage. As an anthropologist and home brewer, I have long been interested in the history and antiquity of alcoholic beverages

Main article: Alcoholic beverage
Fermented beverages
  • Beer
  • Ale
  • Barleywine
  • Bitter ale
. The article says the brewer of "King Midas Golden Elixer" targeted "an amount of carbonation" halfway between wine and beer.

I may be wrong, but I know of no ancient source that speaks of what we would properly call "carbonated" beer or "sparkling" wine. Modern bubbly beer and sparkling wine are produced either as real ale real ale

Chiefly Brit beer that has fermented in the barrel

real ale ncerveza elaborada tradicionalmente

real ale real n
, via the champaignoise method, by adding a bit of sugar right before bottling to reactivate re·ac·ti·vate
1. To make active again.

2. To restore the ability to function or the effectiveness of.

 the yeasts, or in the case of commercial pasteurized pas·teur·ize  
tr.v. pas·teur·ized, pas·teur·iz·ing, pas·teur·iz·es
To subject (a beverage or other food) to pasteurization.

 beers and certain unmentionable wines, by bubbling CO[sub]2 under pressure at bottling.

Neither of those methods was apparently available to the ancients. If there are ancient texts that refer to "bubbly beer," the only way that could have happened was that the beer was being drunk during the first few days of fermentation, when it was indeed foaming, and thus much before we moderns would consider it finished.

Thomas W. Kavanagh

Indiana University Indiana University, main campus at Bloomington; state supported; coeducational; chartered 1820 as a seminary, opened 1824. It became a college in 1828 and a university in 1838. The medical center (run jointly with Purdue Univ.  

Bloomington, Ind.

I really enjoyed the article on reproducing King Midas' funeral feast. The descriptions of the food sound delicious. Is it possible to get the recipes? Perhaps you could post them on your Web site.

Michael Bleiweiss

Methuen, Mass.

You can find chef Pamela Horowitz's recipes for the King Midas feast at
COPYRIGHT 2001 Science Service, Inc.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Gorman, J.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 20, 2001
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