I want to make a bread with a stout in it for extra flavor. The stout will replace most of the liquid content of the bread and I am worried whether it will kill the yeast due to the alcohol (4% volume) content of the stout.

  • 1
    I have a fantastic beer bread recipe that uses no yeast at all; the leavening agent of choice is baking powder. If you're just looking for a good (and really easy!) recipe, I'd be happy to share it.
    – Matt Ball
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 20:20
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    Isn't there yeast in your beer of choice?
    – Mien
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 23:46
  • @Mien There was but the yeast that produced the alcohol in the beer were killed off themselves by their own waste product (the alcohol) although it was probably pasteurized anyway Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 8:29
  • @MattBall Is that like a kind of soda bread recipe then? I'm going to use sourdough but I'd be interested to see it anyway Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 8:33
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    Keep in mind you're diluting the alcohol volume with the flour as well. so you're looking at 2.6% or so. No issue.
    – MandoMando
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 15:35

6 Answers 6


Yeast, depending on the strain, can typically sustain in alcohol in concentrations of up to 14-18%. Some strains can actually go higher. (I personally keep a champagne yeast on hand for homemade root beer and ginger ale that goes to about 18%). Typical bottled beer runs to about 6%.

Once started the fermentation process, at room temperature, is only slowed or stopped by CO2 build up or starvation, until the alcohol reaches toxic levels. Given the portion of beer to the overall volume in beer bread recipes, the abundance of food for the yeast and the relatively short period allowed for rising none of these factors should inhibit the yeast.

In short, the environment in your dough will reach nowhere near 'toxic' levels during the rise.


Even after reading a bunch of peer reviewed articles, I was unable to find a definitive answer to this question. The closest thing to a direct answer I found that in this Serious Eats article focused on pizza dough additional ingredients, dbcurrie says:

[Beer] Creates a supple dough. Depending on the recipe, beer can be substituted for just some—or all—of the liquid in a bread recipe.

There was a cached google reference to Shirley O. Corriher in Fine Cooking saying that "eventually" the alcohol produced by yeast as a byproduct of its metabolism would inhibit further activity. However, no level or percentage was given.

Historically, we know that bread yeasts were a byproduct of the beer brewing industry, so they must be able to tolerate at least up to beer levels of alcohol. While it may possibly be in the range where their activity is retarded, they obviously were not killed as the brewer's yeast could then be reused in the next batch, and given to bakers.

Given that the ingredients in a single loaf of bread cost very little, and that one beer is not a huge investment, I would encourage you to try it and see.

  • Thanks, I'm making the bread today; if it works I'll post up a picture and the results! Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 8:32
  • I have made stout bread many times, and can confirm that the yeast was just fine (if not a bit livelier than usual).
    – SourDoh
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 21:20
  • Historically beer was a lot weaker then what we have these days.
    – Ian
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 17:35

According to the always-accurate Wikipedia, baker's yeast is the same Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain used by us beer brewers.

One of the most common beer yeasts used is California Ale yeast, an example of which is Wyeast's 1056. They call it American Ale, but it's the same strain as White Lab's WLP001 California Ale.

Wyeast lists alcohol tolerance at 11%. So I would have no worries about a normal strength beer causing problems.


I have been experimenting with yeasted (not baking soda) beer breads for weeks now. The flavour of a long fermented, yeasted beer bread blows anything you do with baking powder totally off the table. I'm experimenting with 30-50% of my hydro content beer and with fermetantion times between 4 and 12 hours. And no, the yeast is just fine.

All produce different tastes. At the cost of salt, a beer and flour & yeast for a loaf, you can experiment too until you find your best taste.

PS: Different Lagers & Pilsners I've tried thus far all produce similar flavours. The only thing that tasted radically different was a Craft IPA. But then THAT is to be expected!

Have fun!


I use Guinness Extra Stout in my Beer-Cheese-Jalapeno Bread, substituting beer for water one-to-one. Comes out terrific. I use a bread machine. Latest loaf made this morning.

  • Welcome! that doesn't really answer the question. Check the help center on how to write good answers.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 14:05
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    Maybe you can edit your response in a way that shares your experience, but also speaks specifically to the question about yeast. How much yeast is used? Do you notice a difference in the rise between your beer bread recipe and breads made without beer?
    – moscafj
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 16:32
  • I am willing to see this as a partial answer (so no deletion needed) because it does address the worry that "stout will kill the yeast". But it can really be improved, as moscafj suggested.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:22

I bake bread in a bread machine and have found that Budweiser and Heiniken do alright. That are roughly 5% abv. However, Steel Reserve with an abv. of 8.1% did not allow the mix to become sticky and hold together, nor did the bread rise. I tasted it and it was gooey and seemed undercooked. About half of the flour wasn't even mixed into the final loaf.

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