There are economic and other advantages if the fermentable sugar concentration in industrial brewery fermentations can be increased from that of currently used high-gravity (ca. 14 to 17°P [degrees Plato]) worts into the very-high-gravity (VHG; 18 to 25°P) range. Many industrial strains of brewer's yeast perform poorly in VHG worts, exhibiting decreased growth, slow and incomplete fermentations, and low viability of the yeast cropped for recycling into subsequent fermentations. A new and efficient method for selecting variant cells with improved performance in VHG worts is described. In this new method, mutagenized industrial yeast was put through a VHG wort fermentation and then incubated anaerobically in the resulting beer while maintaining the α-glucoside concentration at about 10 to 20 g·liter−1 by slowly feeding the yeast maltose or maltotriose until most of the cells had died. When survival rates fell to 1 to 10 cells per 106 original cells, a high proportion (up to 30%) of survivors fermented VHG worts 10 to 30% faster and more completely (residual sugars lower by 2 to 8 g·liter−1) than the parent strains, but the sedimentation behavior and profiles of yeast-derived flavor compounds of the survivors were similar to those of the parent strains.