Want to make beer but don't have yeast? It's possible — here's how

Using both the flesh and skin of the fruit will give your pineapple beer more flavour.
Using both the flesh and skin of the fruit will give your pineapple beer more flavour.
Image: 123RF/Svitlana Tereshchenko

Anchor Yeast may have halted the production and sale of its 20g “Inkunzi malanga” yeast, which can be used to brew beer, but this doesn't mean home brewers have reached a dead end.

The product had become a firm favourite among many who used it to brew beer, since the sale of alcohol is temporarily banned for the duration of the lockdown.

Joanne Clarke, director of consumer relations at Anchor Yeast, said the product is deemed  a “non-essential item” and has been removed from the shelves.

“We have a number of products and are only temporarily stopping the supply of one. We are doing this to support the call by government to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections,” said Clarke in a statement on Tuesday.

You can still enjoy the most-loved pineapple beer from SJA de Villiers's book Cook & Enjoy It: South African Cookery Manual, which is already yeast-free, but if you must have the ingredient, Sunday Times food editor Hilary Biller says it's still possible to make your own yeast at home, which you can mix with the pineapple beer.

Here's how:

Soak 125ml of chopped raisins (including seeds) in water and pour it into the pineapple mixture.

Use a plastic container, not glass, to prevent explosions that may occur due to longer periods of fermentation.

“The longer the mixture is left the more alcoholic it becomes and if the mixture doesn't smell pleasant any longer, throw it out,” she cautions.

Makes: about 4 litres

What you'll need:

10 litre plastic container or bucket, well washed


Fine sieve, muslin cloth or a piece of netting

2 x 2-litre cooldrink bottles with lids, well washed


2 large ripe pineapples

4-5 litres freshly boiled water (the amount depends on the size of the pineapples)

4 cups (800g) sugar or more to taste

Ice and fresh pineapple slices (optional), to serve

How to brew it:

  1. Remove the green stalks from the pineapples and rinse and scrub the fruit well.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut the pineapple (skin included) into pieces.
  3. Place the pineapple in the bucket and pour over the boiling water. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  4. Cover with a clean dishcloth and leave in a warm place for 2-3 days. The longer you leave the mixture, the more it will ferment.
  5. Strain mixture through a fine sieve, a muslin cloth or a piece of netting. Pour into the cooldrink bottles. Don't seal the bottles too tightly.
  6. Chill and serve with lots of ice and a slice of pineapple if desired.