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I bought a pack of champagne yeast, but not sure why, just to try it :) What differences should I expect compared to a "normal" English ale yest?

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I've never used champagne yeast for beer, but I would guess that it will produce a very dry taste. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 15 '13 at 17:59
up vote 2 down vote accepted

My experience is that champagne yeast makes lousy beer. It ferments different sugars than ale/lager yeast and does not produce the flavors you expect from beer.

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A champagne yeast will most likely be different from an ale yeast in two ways:

  1. While an ale yeast may fermement down to 1.008 or so, a champagne yeast will ferment to something much much dryer, closet to 1.000

  2. Wine and champage yeasts do not typically produce the amount of krausen that an ale yeast will.

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I imagine that champagne yeast would be good if you wanted a high alcohol beer as it can tolerate higher amounts of alcohol, but they produce a very dry flavour, so if you wanted a sweeter strong beer, would they work for that as well? – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 16 '13 at 20:16
Use ale and lager yeasts for beer. For a sweeter, stronger beer, ensure that you simply pitch enough viable yeast to get the job done since your beer is high gravity. Try a champagne yeast on something like a cider for good results. – kenyabob May 16 '13 at 21:56
I guess I didnt address this as much as I should have. An ale yeast and a champagne yeast will produce different flavors, obviously. I wouldnt ferment wort with a champagne yeast and expect good results. – kenyabob May 16 '13 at 21:58

I have used champagne yeast to make an ale but never alone, I have added it to very strong high ABV brews to dry them out at the end of the fermentation. If you want an ale flavour then use a standard ale yeast for the first week or 2 then add in the champagne yeast.

Most of the yeast based flavours are made in the first 3-4 days of your brew, so the main flavour profile you want choose that yeast for the first days. But, be warned that some yeasts may clear up the flavour compounds created by others.

Also, where an ale yeast may slow down at 8-9% and die off at 10-11% the champagne will keep fermenting to 14-17% so if you want a potent and dry barley wine than it may be for you.

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