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tion is the same kind of fermentation which has been employed from time immemorial for the raising of bread. Leaven has come down from the most remote ages; it is simply dough which has been kept for several days and in which the yeast spores caught from the atmosphere have been developed into yeast. When this is added to a furnished quantity of flour and water and later kneaded together, the yeast develops over night and inflates the dough with carbonic acid gas; at the same time, as in the case of beer, a corresponding quantity of alcohol is produced. In more modern days yeast has been substituted for leaven, but the causes and the results are the same. Some years ago when the temperance movement was running high in London, it occurred to a baker to attach a condensing coil to his oven and obtain a little condensed alcohol from the vapor given off by bread in baking. He made a great display of this and advertised temperance bread and had quite a run of trade for a few days, until his neighbor baker displayed a sign saying that he left all the gin in his bread, and turned customers his way.
This subject of fermentation has always greatly interested chemists, and for many, many years they sought in vain to explain it. A careful study of the details showed that the sugar disappeared. From 100 parts of sugar (glucose) there should be obtained, if the products were simply alcohol and carbonic acid gas, 51.11 per cent. alcohol and 48.89 per cent. carbonic acid gas, but careful experiments showed that these quantities were never obtained. There was always a small per cent. of sugar unaccounted for. It was then discovered that a certain amount of glycerine and a certain amount of succinic acid was obtained, together with small quantities of higher alcohols and compound ethers, showing that the process was much more complicated than was originally supposed.
At least one-half dozen different theories were advanced explaining fermentation, none of which were satisfactory. First we had the acid theory, which Pliny mentions. Then we had the contest or catalytic theory. This was advanced by Berzelius. Then we had the influence or contagion theory advanced by Stahl, and subsequently taken up by Liebig. This is the theory that prevailed during my student days about 1853 and as Liebig was a representative chemist in Germany, this theory held sway during many years. His idea was that as fermentation was brought about by decomposing organic matter, such as albumen, casein, glutin, etc., it must be that the molecules of these substances were so complicated that they readily fell to pieces, resulting in their decomposition. The sugar molecule was very small and very stable under ordinary circumstances, but if it came in contact with the decomposing proteid it was shaken to pieces. It was a case of "evil companions corrupt good manners.” Then, of course, we had the galvanic theory and finally came the germ or vital theory. No one then thought of attributing alcoholic fermentation to yeast as a living organism. Numerous investigators took up this germ theory and it was finally established by indubitable proof. Pasteur said: "Albuminous bodies are never the ferment but the aliment of the ferment. The true ferments are living organisms.” This germ theory assumed that the yeast fed upon the sugar and broke it up into carbonic acid and alcohol and some other products. This, of course, brought yeast to the front.
Yeast was really discovered in 1680 by Anthony van Leeuwenhoeck with his new microscope. He describes yeast as "little globules collected into groups of three and four." It attracted at that time, of course, very little attention, and it was only at the beginning of the last century that it was taken up and the investigation was made, which showed that it was a living organism, and that fermentation was the result of its vital action. The subject attracted great attention and study spread in various directions. Some scientists carried on a warfare of words as to the possibility of the spontaneous generation of organisms. Others took up the study of disease. Other researches have led to the germ theory of diseases and the discovery of toxins, anti-toxins and immunity. It was discovered that while the greatest variety of chemical changes could be accounted for by the action of living organisms, there was fermentation which took place in the absence of a living organism. Recent investigations have disclosed that all fermentations are produced by enzymes, that the yeast produces the enzymes and that the enzymes do the work. The following is the last information that has been obtained with regard to alcoholic fermentation. After the starch has been converted by malting into maltose, the next change takes place when the yeast is added. The yeast furnishes the enzyme maltase, which converts maltose into dextro-glucose. Then another yeast enzyme, zymase, goes to the front to attack the dextro-glucose and convert it into alcohol and carbonic acid gas, but the zymase cannot accomplish this splitting alone; it requires another enzyme which is furnished by the yeast, called co-enzyme, and even the two together cannot accomplish the result, and there is further required a phosphate. This phosphate unites with the sugar, forming the substance hexose-phosphate, and this yields to the zymase and co-enzyme, and the result is alcohol and carbonic acid. Pasteur made the most interesting investigation on the diseases of wine in 1864. He proved that the spoiling of wine, which then occurred, was due to the microbes. He further found that by exposing the bottled wine to a temperature between 122 degrees and 140 degrees F., these microbes lost their vitality and the spoiling of the wine was prevented. This process is called pasteurizing. In 1872 he made a similar investigation in regard to beer with a like result. Pasteurizing of beer increases its keeping qualities and the same process is now applied to milk. Ta summarize, I would say that beer is a beverage in the prepa
a ration of which malted barley, rarely malted wheat, rice and corn or its products are used. The malt is extracted with hot water, an addition of hops is made, it is boiled and the solution constitutes the wort. The wort is cooled, the yeast is added, and the whole fermented to a finish. The sugar is split into alcohol and carbonic acid gas, a little free acid, glycerine and aromatic bodies in small quantities result. The product is beer.
The beer is then placed in vats that it may properly age and undergo slow after-fermentation and ripening. Finally it is filtered, placed in barrels or bottles. Bottled beer is generally pasteurized for the reason I have already stated. American beer usually contains from 5 to 6 per cent. of extract, that means soluble food products. It contains from 3 to 4 per cent. of alcohol.
One of the most interesting constituents that has been found in beer lately is a peculiar substance called lecithin. It had long been known that the phosphates were always present in beer, and the last discovery shows that they are absolutely essential to the process of fermentation. But the discovery of lecithin is especially interesting because lecithin is a substance which was found some time ago as a constituent of the brain. It is a very interesting compound, and when its presence in the brain was first discovered it attracted a great deal of attention. It was thought, even, that it might be the source of mental action, and some suggested the proper name for it would be "Denkstoff" or thinking stuff. They tell a good story about phosphorus. When they first discovered phosphorus in the brain, somebody discovered there was phosphorus in fish, and they started the story that fish would be a good food for the brain. And so a young student wrote to Oliver Wendell Holmes, and wanted to know if the story was true, and if so, what would be the proper dose. So Dr. Holmes wrote him back: “My son, it is quite true that the brain contains phosphorus; it is equally true that fish contains phosphorus, and after carefully persuing your letter, I would say that the proper dose for you would be a whale on toast.”
When we come to consider the relation of beer to food, we are struck by the analogy between beer and bread. Bread is made from cereals; so is beer. The bread with little water is solid, the beer with more water is liquid. The yeast is employed in both. It produces alcoholic fermentation in both. It converts both into palatable and readily digested food. Both contain alcohol and carbon dioxide. Beer contains only from three to four per cent. of alcohol and is not intoxicating when taken in ordinary quantities. Beer also has bitter and aromatic bodies derived from hops, which give it an acceptable flavor and produce tonic effect.
Further, beer is one of the foods free from bacteria. You miglit be afraid of water, of milk, but the method of making beer, drying, heating, pasteurizing and filtering it completely frees beer from bacteria. Beer is a food and wholesome; it contains carbohydrates and albuminoids and mineral materials required by our system; it is .appetizing; it aids digestion, has enzymes.
I myself have been familiar with the use of beer as an article of food from my childhood. I remember the barrel of ale in my father's cellar. When I was seventeen I went to Germany to study and I learned to use beer as an article of food at the University of Göttingen. My first experience really came soon after I reached Göttingen when I made a walking tour through the Harz Mountains with three other Americans, and I remember to this day with satisfaction how I enjoyed the most perfect health, able to do a hard day's work every day, and as I was born in 1836 I think I am a pretty good specimen of the food value of beer.
You know we read in the papers a great deal about adulterations. Of course most of it is nonsense. I have had occasion to investigate the question, and I find that adulteration in beer is gross exaggeration. There may be misbranding, but there is no adulteration.
Beer does not make drunkards. The effect of prohibition would be to drive beer out of the household; it would deprive a large percentage of our population of a perfectly honest, wholesome, nutritious article of food. There is drunkenness, there is intemperance, but it does not come from beer. If we are to have laws, let those laws be intelligent laws, laws that will discriminate between what does harm and what does not do harm. I think I have given you reasons enough why beer has become the national beverage in this country.