In 1857 Louis Pasteur developed his ideas stating that: “I intend to establish that, just as there is an alcoholic ferment, the yeast of beer, which is found everywhere that sugar is decomposed into alcohol and carbonic acid, so also there is a particular ferment, a lactic yeast, always present when sugar becomes lactic acid.” -K.L. Manchester
Through his innovative “what makes beer spoil” research, rock start scientist, Louis Pasteur, learned that the presence of oxygen was not required for fermentation to happen; it was microorganisms that caused fermentation, not oxygen. And from this beer research, Pasteur was able to conclude that these tiny organisms were what caused beer, wine, and milk to spoil. He further suggested that these microorganisms caused diseases in animals and humans. This breakthrough science discovery led to other scientists like Lister (of Listerine. Yeah, he’s a science rock star too.) to demonstrate the importance of sterilization and keeping wounds clean*.
From one simple question, “Why does beer spoil?” the world got a fundamental understanding of the tiniest of living things, virus theory, the importance of sterilization, and better beer. Thanks science!
* You’d think folks always knew it was important to keep wounds clean. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.
Beauty of Beer image via AgencjaAIAC.