As in many early societes, brewers of the Norse lacked an understanding of the role of yeast in fermentation. malted grains and water would be made up in the beer pot, and prayers would be offered so that the brewing spirit could begin fermentation and prevent the batch from going bad. In tribute to this brewing spirit they would place a special brewing stick in the pot. When christians discouraged this practice, brewers found that their beer would go bad more often and fermentation sometimes took longer to begin. This was because the brewing stick would have been used on countless batches previously, and contained dormant yeast of the same strain as the last batch. Without the brewing stick, the brewers relied on wild yeast turning up and doing the work before some other bacteria found these ideal breeding conditions and ruined the beer.