- posted 17 years ago
Well, they would use brewer's yeast, not baker's yeast. And that's not a smart-ass answer; like any organism, yeast evolve to survive in their common environments.
Yet, baker's yeast = brewer's yeast. It's the same species, only >different varieties.
Concepts like "species" have limited utility with microorganisms,
especially ones that have undergone centuries of selection for
specific human purposes. Brewer's yeast, baker's yeast, wine yeast,
and the yeast growing on that apple core you threw onto your compost
pile last week are all called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but they
may be as genetically distant from each other as you and your dog.
It's not fortified, and definitely not distilled. There are a variety of yeasts used, including wine and/or champagne yeasts that have higher alcohol tolerances.
That was my point. AFAIK, no natural wine or champaign has higher than 18% alcohol content - precisely because yeasts die. And that is wine yeast. Normal beer varieties die at ~ 8-10%. Getting from there to 26% sounded to me like a major, major jump.
It is extreme. Back when the record was in the 18-20% range, I'm
pretty sure it was just achieved by adaptive selection on existing
alcohol-tolerant yeast strains. I don't know if they just continued
to select for even higher alcohol tolerance, or if they've pulled
off some even sneakier trick. I don't think they could legally get away
with distillation or fortification, though.
There are all sorts of manipulations of the fermentation process
That can occur to "trick" the yeast into doing more, and I believe that's where the bulk of the process occurs.
I'd be curious to know what they are.