Can I use wine yeast to ferment a beer? What sort of problems might I encounter that are unique to wine yeast trying to ferment malt sugars? What sort of flavor differences might I encounter?
1I don't know enough to give an actual answer, but I know people use champagne yeast to dry out a beer...– hookedonwinterJan 27, 2011 at 16:37
1Does champagne yeast actually dry out a beer? See Denny's answer about maltotriose etc. I am not convinced that statement is true as is. I think there is a mis-concpetion there about what champagne yeast can do.– brewchezJan 28, 2011 at 15:42
I and at least one other I know have used champagne yeast on big beers to bring the gravity from mid 20s to 10s or lower. Having said that, wine yeast and champagne yeast are not the same thing; neither is using a different yeast after your ale yeast has done all it's going to do.– WyrmwoodJul 8, 2014 at 23:29
I use it in every brew. Leaves a very clean finish.– user11875Feb 20, 2015 at 3:17
You can use any kind of yeast to ferment a beer, but the problem lies in the results. Wine/champagne yeast fermentents different sugars. In particular, wine yeast doesn't ferment maltotriose, one of the main sugars in beer wort. The result is that you're left with beer that doesn't quite taste like beer. In addition, you may end up with a higher FG.
I've found the opposite to be true after fermenting a dark ale with Montrachet Wine yeast, it ended with a lower gravity than most beer yeasts would: 1.009– MattressOct 11, 2011 at 20:57
Apparently, yes. (I've been reading and listening to various things over the last couple of days)
To elaborate on Denny's answer:
- Wine yeasts will not consume maltotriose, so steps must be taken to minimize or break down that particular sugar. You could do that enzymatically, by increasing the ratio of simple to more complex sugars, by splitting your batch and then blending once all fermentation is finished, or by doing a multi-strain pitch. Or you could just live with a sweeter end result.
- Many Wine yeast strains have a Kill Factor. They produce a protein that kills other yeast and bacteria that are in the same must/wort with them. Be sure to check on that if you are doing a multi strain pitch, or planning to bottle condition with a beer yeast.
- Wine yeasts will produce different esters, and you will want to keep that in mind. Pick one that will produce flavors that will work well with the beer that you are brewing.
"Many Wine yeast strains have a Kill Factor. They produce a protein that kills other yeast and bacteria" Thats intersting to know. Mar 16, 2014 at 15:38
This beer is made with champagne yeast, and it's really, really tasty.
You might want to include the details (name, brewer) of the beer at the end of that link here; BeerAdvocate links are not necessarily stable or long-lived.– jsledMar 7, 2014 at 15:01
@jsled - I can't even remember what that beer tastes like at this point, but good call, I've updated the link text.– PMVMar 7, 2014 at 15:08
My recycled beer with wine yeast is doing me just fine, so far. After 4 weeks I decanted 4 litres but replaced the water and added more sugar. Just done the same again and still tastes good with a kick. Any similar experiences?
I've replaced the yeast that came with a beer kit with wine yeast doubled the recommended sugar level and even though it took a month to do its thing the results were dramatic . I love Carlsberg Special Brew and my own brew wipes the floor with it when it comes to alcohol content , taste is o.k. and its a wee bit cloudy but it's very drinkable and leaves one very , very drunk after only 2 or 3 pints