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.
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.
I personally love EC-1118 and use it for ale, mead and wine. It is a good yeast in my opinion for any beginner desiring a high ABV brew as it is very forgiving and will ferment out rather dry if you can wait long enough. I even experimented with increasingly larger additions of sugar before noticing any noticeable sweetness (2X over recipe). I have never had it get stuck like some yeast strains do and so far for me has tolerated fairly wide temperature ranges on my ferments. I tend to re-use it batch-to-batch and will admit I have never had the same flavor twice. Some might find this not to their liking but I enjoy the subtle taste variations. I must caution that EC-1118 is capable of producing rather high levels of alcohol and most of my brews have the potential to quickly horizontal a person if overdone - just ask my wife!