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Has anyone ever used wine yeast for a batch of beer or a beer yeast for a batch of wine? I brew beer and my neighbor makes wine and we have been toying with the idea of trying to make a batch of our respected libations with the others yeast. Thoughts? I doubt it will turn out to be my best ever. But as we all know beer making is like a big chemistry experiment and what's more fun than trying new variables?

I've got some Wyeast 3787 that a fellow brewer gave to me and so I thought that might be a decent strain for my buddy. Not sure what he was thinking of giving to me though. I think he said something about Wyeast 4783 but he has a whole mix of yeast so there's no telling.

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related: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/3279/… –  baka May 10 '12 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

I can tell you from experience that wine yeast makes bad beer. It ferments different sugars and just doesn't taste right.

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But beer yeast makes good cider. –  Tobias Patton May 10 '12 at 15:54
    
So does wine yeast. I've found that yeast doesn't matter a lot for cider. –  Denny Conn May 10 '12 at 16:01
    
I think I may go forward with the experiment just for the fun factor. Some pale,pilsin,and munich will probably round out the grain bill. I'll probably rack onto some fruit extract for even more grins. This sounds like a 3 gallon batch job though. –  BeerMe May 10 '12 at 18:24
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I fermented a dark beer with montrachet wine yeast and it turned out well. I had a bunch of pressed cherries from a cherry wine I had made and I added the cherries (which were loaded with yeast) to my wort and just let it ferment. I was quite pleased with the result. I also fermented a sort of wit by adding grape pomace to the fermentor (also loaded with montrachet and that didn't turn out quite as well, but still decent. –  Mattress May 11 '12 at 15:43

I've heard of people doing this, most commonly with champagne yeast (EC-1118 for example). It seems to work well since they are clean, neutral yeasts. People seem to do this because they want a drier, higher ABV brew than they would get with ale yeast. However my opinion is that you may end up with paradoxically sweeter beer because--unlike ale yeast--wine yeast strains are not good at fermenting maltose/maltotriose which may leave some residual sweetness depending upon grain bill.

The other issue is that certain yeasts emit so-called 'kill factors' which competitively prevent other yeasts from living in the wort/must. So once you pitch wine yeast you are stuck with it; you won't be able to pitch any ale yeasts later on.

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I use champagne yeast for my annual batch of Christmas apfelwein and it's never let me down. I'll cross my fingers and hope that's what he gives me. At least I'll have some experience with that yeast. –  BeerMe May 10 '12 at 18:56

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