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Bakers yeast alcohol tolerance

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Stephen Cook

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Could not have put it better myself . Would you see a baker cooking with cider yeast
Yes, you would. I occasionally use Youngs all purpose 12% ABV tolerant wine yeast if I have run out of baker's yeast to bake my bread. It works absolutely fine. Though, it needs a tad more of the wine yeast as compared to the bakers yeast to produce the necessary rise in the loaf.

I have also done it the other way around and can report the following:

Bakers yeast generally is okay up to around 8% ABV. Though, I have managed to push it beyond that. But, have found it to be not worth the hassle much above 6%.

As for it's taste at 6%. I have found it to be fine. It does alter the taste a bit from what one might ordinarily expect. But, speaking only from a position of personal preference, I don't mind those small differences. Others may feel differently of course and they are entitled to. But, in short, in my view, it's fine for things like beer or cider.

If I brew a wine with bakers yeast, which happens occasionally, I have a little trick I use to get the ABV up to around 10% to 11%.

I make up the initial wine mix at its normal projected, say, 11% ABV strength. Then I add enough water to it to dilute the projected ABV to around 6%. Then I ferment it with the baker's yeast.

When it has fully fermented out, I stick it in some plastic 2 litre PET bottles and put it in the freezer for a few days. Then, bring the bottles out and melt 50% of their contents out (otherwise known as "freeze fractionation"). This brings the final brew to just under double the ABV of the original. If only at around 11% final ABV, it needs to be drunk pretty quickly and/or kept in the fridge because of so much exposure to air during the melting out phase. So, it needs to be a wine that does not need aging. Generally, I do this method with something like tea wine.

On the other hand, it can be run through the freezer again and the second melt would take it to the late teens or even early twenties in terms of ABV. At which point it becomes rock solid stable in terms of shelf life. Also, this means it can be aged so there is more scope for using more wine bases such as fruits etc.
 
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johncrobinson

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Re Stephen Cook, In the UK that's illegal as is ANY process that separates alcohol from water eg.distillation,chemical drying,freeze-fractionation etc.
 

Drunkula

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Re Stephen Cook, In the UK that's illegal as is ANY process that separates alcohol from water eg.distillation,chemical drying,freeze-fractionation etc.
Nope. Fractional freezing is perfectly legal. It's how brewdog made that one stupidly mad crazy expensive beer that had a squirrel around it.

Aaaaaaaaaaand wait for it - freeze distilling can't make you go blind from methanol poisoning unless the thing you were distilling will also make you blind. You can't go blind from freeze distilled wine, beer, cider - and absolutely not sugar wash.
 
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Chippy_Tea

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Why would you risk spoiling a fermentation using yeast not designed for the job even if it does save you a few pence?

This subject of freeze distilling has been discussed many times its not illegal and that is why the post wasn't deleted.
 

johncrobinson

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I grant you that the law is an ass.
But my reading is separation of alcohol from water is illegal.
From a technical viewpoint distillation is much to be preferred from a health point of view.As opposed to freeze fractionation. which can cause concentration of higher alcohols and fusel oils.
As most of the "nasties" can be eliminated with a" properly" conducted distillation
I am not against folk who want to do these things, for example if i lived in new Zealand i could do these things perfectly legal .
Brew-dog are a large company that can afford the red tape. And push everything to the limit.
If i were in a position to produce thousands of gallons per year HMRC be would most accommodating.
It is a tax issue rather than health a safety issue.
OR we could have full and frank discussion of distillation on this forum.Your choice Gentlemen.
 
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johncrobinson

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As the law stands i believe it is illegal,In many countries it is specifically illegal,esp those nations that have severe winters.
The key words in the UK legislation are "Separation of alcohol from water by ANY means"
Please don't get me wrong,I think we should be free to produce our own beverages howsoever we see fit.
Its a tax issue rather than heath and safety.

Freeze fractionation is far more "unhealthy" than distillation.As the "nasties" that are removed by proper distillation remain in a freeze fractionated beverage . ie the well known apple palsy,Caused by applejack.

We (uk) live in a country where its fine to smoke yourself to death as long as the tobacco is "UK duty paid"
or become alcoholics as long as we drink "minimum price alcohol".

It stinks to high heaven .
 

Drunkula

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As the law stands i believe it is illegal
Not in Britian it isn't.

Freeze fractionation is far more "unhealthy" than distillation.As the "nasties" that are removed by proper distillation remain in a freeze fractionated beverage
Stlll doesn't make it illegal, and the nasties to their antidote are still in the same ratio as the original drink. You freeze distill beer, cider, wine then the amount of ethanol in there, the antidote to methanol poisoning, stays at the same ratio. It is not going to kill you, it is not going to make you blind (which is a LOT harder than you think and that I'm not allowed to discuss). If people want to make apple jack, and they do, that's their choice.

Unrelated - you can get methanol headaches from apple juice in the exact same way as from apple jack. Cloudy apple juice especially. You have to drink a lot, but it happens, mostly by children. And there's no inbuilt antidote with the apple juice.
 

johncrobinson

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As always Drunkula you make some good points.

My point is not that i condemn the practice of freeze fractionation on health grounds.

What i am saying is i think it is a HMRC matter.
I suppose if any members are legal beagles and read this thread and post then i would bow to their superior legal knowledge.
 

Chippy_Tea

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We are going round in circles, I will point out again the subject has been discussed many times and no one that has ever claimed its illegal (as in this thread) has ever posted evidence to back their claim up so until someone posts evidence to show freeze distilling is illegal members should not post that it is!
 
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JonathanMSE

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The key words in the UK legislation are "Separation of alcohol from water by ANY means"
Well, this clearly isn't the case, granted its not for drinking, but literally every science/chemistry teacher has demonstrated how to separate alcohol from water to kids aged 11 onwards. Now you might claim that these teachers are ignorant of the law, but I'd wager the Royal Society of Chemicals who publish instructions for teachers as well as the variety of other text book publishers are not ignorant of this.
 

An Ankoù

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The key words in the UK legislation are "Separation of alcohol from water by ANY means"
Could you point us towards the piece of UK legislation which contains these words. Not that I give a fiddler's toss about UK legislation as it's perfectly clear since Cummings et al that it's only meant to apply to the plebs.
 

Horners

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I am not a lawyer but if you trace back through the legislation then looking at it I think it might turn on the definition of "spirit" which is derived from EU law. See Article 2 of this :

Concentrating by freezing would not seem to be covered - ie however strong you can get the drink it is not considered a spirit and therefore is not covered by any of the prohibitions on making spirits.
 

GerritT

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I understand that the Finnish Sahti brewers insist on using the local bakers yeast.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Finnish bakers' yeast was a brewer's yeast to begin with.
 

GerritT

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Nope. Fractional freezing is perfectly legal. It's how brewdog made that one stupidly mad crazy expensive beer that had a squirrel around it.

Aaaaaaaaaaand wait for it - freeze distilling can't make you go blind from methanol poisoning unless the thing you were distilling will also make you blind. You can't go blind from freeze distilled wine, beer, cider - and absolutely not sugar wash.
Aaaand methanol poisoning can be treated with ethanol.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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Regarding arguments about what is and is not illegal and whether something will or will not blind or kill you, may I respectfully suggest that anyone who has a strong opinion either way contact HMRC or a solicitor and/or a learned body such the BMC or a teaching hospital and request information in an easy to digest format for all those interested, rather than getting bogged down in a war of attrition on the subjects?

That way those who say yes, it is legal and no it won't kill/blind you can bask in the the knowledge they were right or those who say otherwise can point and laugh at those putting their liberty/bank account and health at risk.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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With regard to baker's yeast, why would you use it for making beer or wine unless you were wanting a particular flavour profile? There's a reason millions of pounds a year is spent on the breeding of new strains and maintaining yeast banks by commercial breweries.

The OP's 'little trick' for increasing the level of alcohol seems like an awful lot of work when you could just buy the correct yeast and pitch it in a matter of seconds. Not exactly what young people and clickbaiters call a 'hack', is it?
 

Stephen Cook

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My initial post was, ostensibly, about using yeast. The comment I made about fractional freezing was just a bit of an addendum. But, since it has been leapt upon on by some, as a matter of legal fact, it is not illegal in the UK.

Having said that, I think we can be reasonably confident if mass manufacturers started using freeze fractionation to produce alcoholic drinks on a large scale, then the law would be changed in double quick order. Not due to any health and safety issues. But, rather, due to tax revenue ones. Which is the reason why ordinary distilling is banned for home use. However, since mass manufacturers are not doing freeze fractionation on a large scale and since the law, as it stands in the UK, has nothing to say about freeze fractionation, it is not, as things stand in this country, illegal.

One can have any view on its technical efficacy as a means of strengthening ABV or, indeed, on whether it is something that should be legislated against. But, one cannot maintain, with any validity, that it is illegal in this country. Because it is not.

Putting aside the legalities or technical efficacy, we are just left with the issue of safety. On this, It can be said that, by volume, the level of nasties (depending on the type of fruit or other base used) in alcohol that has been fortified by freeze fractionation will be higher. But, so too will the ethanol content be higher in lockstep. That being the case, if it takes, say, several bottles of wine to poison oneself with the nasties contained therein, one would also be dangerously p****d by that point. By the same token, if that several bottles of wine had been reduced 50% in volume by freeze fractionation, the nasties would have doubled by volume. But so too would have the ethanol. So, in order to poison oneself, one would have to be precisely the same level of dangerously p****d in both scenarios. In other words, it is not the level of nasties per se that is the issue. It is the ratio of nasties to ethanol. The ratio of nasties to ethanol with freeze fractionation remains entirely unchanged pre and post fractionation.

So, the upshot of all of the above is, if you don't want to poison yourself with the nasties in alcoholic drinks, don't get seriously p****d and that is identically true irrespective of whether or not it has been fortified with freeze fractionation. Also, bear in mind, freeze fractionation, in a normal domestic freezer is not capable of taking the ABV much above the mid twenties anyway. Or, at least, there is a way of squeezing it higher but not without incurring an unsustainable degree of loss of original product.

And so back to the main thrust of my initial post. I stated, I think pretty clearly, that my view about the taste of alcohol made with baker's yeast is an entirely personal one and views may differ. So, if you don't like the taste don't make it or, better still, explain why, precisely, you so dislike the taste. But, to simply parrot the line that goes something like "but why would you use baker's yeast?", is not very a very insightful contribution to debate is it. It's just telling others you don't understand why someone might use it. But, literally nothing else. I mean, by all means feel free to make such a comment. But, I can't see what value it has.

My initial post simply pointed out that it is possible to use wine yeast to bake bread, because I have done it and it is possible to brew wine with bakers yeast because I have done it. These are just facts.

For me, in both instances, the final product turned out perfectly acceptably.

Others may not have the same taste as me.

All of which is fine.
 
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