How Long Does it Take Bread Yeast to Ferment Alcohol?

How Long Does it Take Bread Yeast to Ferment Alcohol?

How much weight does your choice of yeast make in your final product? With all the choices of yeast available, many shiners are wondering, how long does it take bread yeast to make alcohol? 


Bread yeast, commonly known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a remarkable microorganism that has been a faithful companion to bakers for centuries. However, its talents extend beyond just helping dough rise and creating delicious bread. 

One of its lesser-known but equally fascinating abilities is the production of alcohol through fermentation.

Let’s delve into the intriguing world of bread yeast and explore how long it takes for it to transform sugars into alcohol, unlocking the magic of fermentation.

What is Fermentation?



Before we can understand how long it takes bread yeast to make alcohol, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of fermentation.

Fermentation is a natural metabolic process that occurs when yeast consumes sugars and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. 

In the case of bread yeast, this process primarily results in the carbon dioxide that makes your dough rise when baking.

However, when yeast is used for alcoholic fermentation, its primary objective is to create ethanol (alcohol) as its byproduct. This process is widely used in the production of alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and spirits.

What Determines Fermentation Time?



The time it takes for bread yeast to transform sugars into alcohol can vary significantly depending on several factors:

Sugar Source: 

The type of sugar being fermented is crucial. Yeast can ferment various sugars, but glucose and fructose are the most readily consumed. In brewing, maltose (from malted grains) is a common sugar source. The complexity of the sugar molecules can influence fermentation time.

Yeast Strain:

Not all yeast strains are created equal. Different strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae have varying fermentation rates and alcohol tolerance levels. Some strains are better suited for quick fermentation, while others are preferred for their unique flavor profiles in brewing.


Yeast is temperature-sensitive. Higher temperatures generally result in faster fermentation, but they can also produce undesirable off-flavors. Lower temperatures slow down the process but may yield a cleaner and more refined product.

Nutrient Availability: 

Yeast requires essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and vitamins, to thrive. Adequate nutrient levels can promote a healthier and faster fermentation process.

Oxygen Levels:

In the initial stages of fermentation, yeast needs oxygen for growth and reproduction. However, once fermentation begins, exposure to oxygen should be minimized, as it can lead to oxidation and off-flavors.


Other Types of Yeast for Moonshine


Bread yeast is an option when fermenting moonshine, but it is not your only option. 

At How to Moonshine we offer a few alternatives with very specific advantages. 

Distiller's Yeast



Our high-quality yeast is a pure culture whiskey strain of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. This strain is commonly used in commercial whiskey production and produces robust and authentic aromatics even in high-alcohol fermentations.

Our high-quality yeast is a pure culture whiskey strain of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, known for its consistency and reliability in commercial whiskey production.

Turbo Yeast




Turbo Distilling Yeast is an expert turbo yeast for creating high-quality alcohol with professional outcomes.  

This turbo yeast is meticulously crafted for producing superior alcohol with professional-grade results.


    What Does Fermentation Look Like?



    Now, let's explore a general timeline of the alcoholic fermentation process using bread yeast as the fermenting agent:

    Day 1: Inoculation

    • You mix the yeast with the sugar solution (wort in brewing or grape juice in winemaking). This is the inoculation phase where the yeast starts to wake up and multiply.

    Day 2-3: Lag Phase

    • During this phase, yeast is primarily focusing on reproduction. The rate of alcohol production is relatively slow, and the main observable change is an increase in yeast population.

    Day 3-5: Exponential Phase

    • As yeast cells multiply, they become more active in sugar consumption and alcohol production. You'll start to notice visible signs of fermentation, such as bubbles and the release of carbon dioxide. Alcohol levels are steadily rising.

    Day 5-7: Stationary Phase

    • Fermentation slows down as sugar levels decrease. Alcohol production continues, but at a reduced rate. The yeast begins to settle at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.

    Day 7-14: Maturation Phase

    • The yeast continues to clean up byproducts and impurities. This maturation phase is crucial for the development of the beverage's flavors. The intensity of fermentation decreases, and alcohol content stabilizes.


    How Long Does Bread Yeast Take to Ferment Alcohol? 

    via GIPHY


    Let's take a look at how long it typically takes for bread yeast to make alcohol in various alcoholic beverages:

    • Beer: For most beer styles, primary fermentation with bread yeast can last anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks, depending on factors like yeast strain and desired flavor profile. After primary fermentation, additional conditioning may take several weeks to several months.
    • Wine: The fermentation of wine often takes longer, spanning from 1 to 2 weeks for primary fermentation. However, the aging and maturation process in wine can extend for several months to several years, depending on the wine type and style.
    • Spirits: Distillation of spirits involves two stages: fermentation and distillation. Fermentation typically lasts 5-7 days, but the overall process can take several weeks or months due to the distillation and aging phases.

    Final Thoughts

    via GIPHY


    Bread yeast's ability to transform sugars into alcohol is a testament to the wonders of fermentation. 

    While the exact time it takes for bread yeast to make alcohol varies based on a multitude of factors, understanding the general timeline of alcoholic fermentation can help you appreciate the complexity of the process.

    Whether you're brewing beer, making wine, or distilling spirits, patience is key when working with bread yeast. The yeast needs time to work its magic and create the alcoholic beverages we enjoy.

     So, the next time you savor a glass of wine or sip on your favorite craft beer, remember the intricate dance of bread yeast that brought that delightful liquid to life.