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Old 09-27-2013, 11:40 AM   #1
HumanBeing25
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Default "Converting" Baker's Yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) to Brewer's Yeast

Hi, new member here. Got some newbie questions relating to the biology of the yeast and how adaptation works in different environments, etc.

I'm in the middle of brewing some stuff that I don't know whether it'll turn into church-wine (very low alcohol), beer, or "real" wine--or something completely different.

I am using baker's yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae - comes in an active "cube" form), as the title suggests, and already after a week of brewing in my 1.5L container, it smells alcoholic - in fact, it smells like the kind of wine you'd get in a Catholic church at the alter - if anyone happen to have tried that.

Although my "wine"--whatever it is--tastes good enough already after this week, the consistency is like milk, and my product is very cloudy.
I tried using a coffee filter, even socks and other clothing, to get the yeast and other stuff out - but it didn't seem to be very effective.

As my yeast is still alive in the brewing containers, is it possible to make a beer-like yeast out of this baker's yeast, by taking the old yeast that hasn't died out, and then re-using it for a new batch, and a new batch, and so on, until the yeast has "adapted" to the alcohol to some degree?

How would one go about enforcing certain qualities in the yeast that already are not at all or sufficiently present?

I don't have any special lab equipment, though I know of people who've managed to get 20% alcohol content out of baker's yeast by slowly adding more and more sugar each day.

Any reply is not wasted. This is a serious question. Thanks for reading.

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #2
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Well, for one, you can select for the more flocculant yeast by pouring off the top/yeasty liquid. Then you might scrape off the top of the layer of yeast on the bottom, discard that, and then scrape the middle layer of yeast off and use it in a starter for a beer. This is, of course, assuming you're using sanitary practices.

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Old 09-27-2013, 02:31 PM   #3
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typically in the modern world this is done from a culture program so that single colonies can be propagated and their properties identified before they are propagated to pitching quantities. Yeast populations do tend to become more alcohol tolerant after multiple re-pitches, but it's also possible to pick up infections, get off flavor producing mutations, or other undesirable effects.

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Old 09-27-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
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Bakers yeast will ferment up to about 14% with no problem. As you have seen it does not floc well and the flavour will be different.

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Old 09-27-2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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Somehow the long reply I wrote is not showing up..

According to Wikipedia, DaleHair, Baker's Yeast (the yeast used by prisoners) will only produce, normally, 2% alcohol content. That may be inaccurate, but that's what I've read. Though, the one I got going tastes more like 10 or 15%.

I'll try adding my old yeast to new containers and that way "cultivate" it, though I don't use any anti-bacterial to clean my equipment, other than the chlorinated water from my tap.

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Old 09-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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JAOM (Joe's ancient orange mead), a mead recipe many people start with, uses bread yeast (aka baker's yeast) and gets to the area of 12% abv. I think that 2% number is wrong. I know that in my teens I used bread yeast to make apple "wine". Definitely more than 2% alcohol...

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Old 09-27-2013, 07:54 PM   #7
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The 2% myth has gone around for several years but moonshiners used bread yeast for years and I know from experience it will go above 14%.

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleHair View Post
The 2% myth has gone around for several years but moonshiners used bread yeast for years and I know from experience it will go above 14%.
Thanks Michael, I am looking into it on Youtube.

Dale, have you ever gotten it to 20% alcohol content without distillation or adding alcohol? And have you successfully "de-milked" it, or make its consistency a little less milky, and gotten rid of the yeast, etc., so it was enjoyable to drink?
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:17 PM   #9
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Once fermentation is done the yeast will eventually settle out. You can speed up the process by chilling the beer (the colder the better as long as you keep it above freezing). Which leads me to: As far as raising the alcohol level goes look into what makes an eisbock an eisbock.

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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I never tried to push the yeast too far, <8% makes a better product. I did get it to about 15% once, but was not happy with the result. For it to clear, I would refrigerate for several days, more like a week. I've made a banana wine with ripe bananas, sugar, yeast nutrient and bread yeast, that turned out good.

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