Alcohols and spirits such as beer, whiskey, vodka, and wine, among many others require specific yeasts for sugar fermentation, and various types of beer are fermented with saccharomyces yeast. Different types of yeast from the saccharomyces family are used to ferment different variants of beer such as lager.
The production of beer involves mixing the raw materials together before roasting, boiling and fermenting them to get the desired quality, strength, and color. The main ingredients could range from starch-rich cereal grains including barley or wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, agave, cassava, or rice, among several other choices. These ingredients are firstly mixed with water. The resultant mixture is then allowed to dry before the milling process is initiated to activate the action of enzymes that convert starch present in the ingredients into sugar.
Other processes such as mashing, boiling, and cooling also help in converting all possible starch into fermentable sugar such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. This mixture or wort is now ready to be infused with the saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast or ale yeast or brewer’s yeast in case beer needs to be produced or with the saccharomyces pastorianus yeast or Lager yeast in case lager needs to be produced. Both these yeasts are brewing yeasts that can produce alcohols with mild strength.
The results of the yeast fermentation process too differ depending on the type of saccharomyces yeast used in the sugar fermentation process. While the s. cerevisiae yeast can ferment beer in the 15 to 25 degree Celsius temperature range, the saccharomyces pastorianus yeast can ferment lager in the 5 to 10 degree Celsius range. The beer fermentation process to produce beer is known as warm fermenting and the yeast causes the formation of foam at the top of the mixture. On the other hand, lager yeast ferments beer in a process known as cold fermenting and ends up at the bottom of the mixture.
A keen eye needs to be kept on the temperature and alcohol tolerance levels while these yeasts are engaged in alcohol fermentation since both variants of saccharomyces have very low alcohol tolerance levels. Producers of stronger alcohols and spirits such as wine and vodka thus need to use wine yeast or vodka yeast that have higher tolerance levels. Another form of yeast that is extremely tolerant to alcohol strength and temperature, and contains additional complex nutrients to provide high quality alcohols is turbo yeast.
This type of yeast provides a higher yield of alcohol as compared to ordinary yeasts and also encourages weak mixtures to provide stronger alcohol. The efficiency of alcohol production be it in a professional plant or in a hobbyist’s home can certainly benefit by adding turbo yeast to the mixture or wort. Irrespective of the yeast used for fermentation, the resultant fermented alcohol might also require secondary fermentation to remove any haze and improve the taste and color of the final beer or lager.
Delicious beer can only be produced with the right type of yeast from the saccharomyces family. These yeasts can survive in mild alcohols and convert all fermentable sugars into alcohol with the desired strength. Other processes can fine-tune the beer or lager to get the required taste and color too. Various types of beer are fermented with saccharomyces yeast and happily end up in foaming bottles, cans and glasses in pubs, bars and homes.