A 100 cm x 5.7 cm internal diameter tower fermentor was fabricated and operated continuously for 11 months using the floc-forming yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (American Type Culture Collection 4097). Steady state operation of the system was characterized at 32/sup 0/C and pH 4.0 for glucose concentrations ranging from 105 to 215 g l/sup -1/. The height of the yeast bed in the tower was maintained at 80 cm. The high yeast density, ethanol concentration and low pH prevented bacterial contamination in the reactor. The concentration profiles of glucose and ethanol within the bed were described by a dispersion model. Modeling parameters were determined for the yeast by batch kinetics and tracer experiments. The kinetic model included ethanol inhibition and substrate limitation. A tracer study with step input of D-xylose (a non-metabolizable sugar for S. cerevisiae) determined the dispersion number (D/uL=0.16) and liquid voidage (epsilonsub(L)=0.25). Measurements taken after 6 months of continuous operation indicated that there was no significant change in fermentor performance.