Beer Yeast Vs Wine Yeast

beer and wine

Most manufacturing industries have been using yeast in various food processes. For a long time, manufacturers have used yeast to make beer, wine, beverages, and bread. Despite using yeast in manufacturing beer and wine yeast, the yeast in this food varies. Many have been wondering what the difference between beer and wine yeast is.

What is Yeast?

It’s a common microorganism (single-celled fungi) that requires energy to grow and multiply. This microorganism digests various foods, like flour, grains, starch, sugar, or flour, to obtain more energy. After obtaining the energy, the microorganism later converts the energy to alcohol and carbon dioxide gases. This mechanism of action plays is useful in manufacturing or producing beer, wine, bread, and numerous types of alcohol.

Comparison between Beer and Wine Yeast

Despite manufacturers using the yeast in the production of wine and beer, there is a slight difference or diversity in the yeast constituent, formulation, or usage. So, what’s the difference between beer yeast and wine yeast? Below is a comprehensive comparison between wine yeast and beer yeast:


Brewers cultivate different yeast strains to fit the needs of beer or wine production. Manufacturers use different strains when producing or manufacturing beer or wine. University of Leuven’s research reveals that beer yeast gradually specializes over the years, making it hard for them to survive. However, wine yeast has more complications, where manufacturers use specific strains to ferment for wine production.


Despite the wine and beer yeast coming from the same yeast species, they’ve got different historical development and cultivation. Individuals or manufacturers use this yeast at different genetic or cultivation stages. Earlier individuals broke grape skins and allowed the wild yeast to ferment to prepare wine. The brewers used yeast or grape fermentation at any time of the year, making delicious beers.

Yeast to pitch

Experts reveal that pitching yeast in wine and beer has various similarities. Manufacturers can rehydrate the yeast before adding it as a starter or pitching. However, when using it for manufacturing beer and wine, it’ll be vital to consider the appropriate temperatures. Beer and beer require cooler wort temperatures to avoid killing the yeast, while wines and ales require warmer temperatures for the yeast to function appropriately.

Thus, manufacturers use online calculators to get the right and effective beer and wine yeast pitching. Wines are wilder, requiring less yeast for brewing than beer. For instance, experts recommend approximately 5 grams of wine yeast for five grape gallons. In contrast, beer will require between 7 to 14 grams of yeast for five wort gallons. The figure may vary depending on the style.

Alcohol Tolerance

Brewers use wine yeast to produce wine coming at 11-18% alcohol, whereas beer yeasts usually have a high alcohol tolerance. The variations result from the different strains of wine and beer years. Experts reveal that most wine yeasts have more tolerance for alcohol content than some beer yeast.

So, does beer have more yeast than wine? Experts reveal that beer and wine have the same yeast amount. The only difference is the alcohol tolerance rate, where wine yeasts have a higher tolerance for alcohol, while beer comes with a moderate to low alcohol tolerance rate.

Nevertheless, you can use various modifications to alter or increase the tolerance for beer yeast. For example, you can add sugar or fruits to give yeasts more sugars for conversion, increasing the alcohol content tolerance.

In contrast, you can add more sugar through a unique process known as chaptalization to create more wine alcohol tolerance. Remember that adding fruits to beer will change its flavor character and profile, while adding sugar to wine improves the sub-par wine, making it more alcoholic.


Fermentables are also another major distinguishing factor for beer yeast and wine yeast. Beer yeast ferments maltose, unlike wine yeasts that ferment glucose and fructose. When brewing beer, manufacturers use maltose present in dried cereal grain or malt to ferment. In comparison, fruits contain glucose and fructose that ferments to manufacture fine.


Flocculating is another difference between wine and beer yeasts. It’s the yeast cells clumping together after converting all sugars into alcohol. Brewers dispose of beer yeast strains genetically, making it easy to remove the dead yeast, but they don’t remove them for wine.

The process makes yeasts float on the wort’s top to create Krausen or sink in the carboy’s bottom. Sometimes brewers refrigerate beers to make the yeast cells get off the suspension. Nevertheless, yeast cells are usually less predictable, as they can remain in the suspension or fall to the vessel’s bottom.

Fermentation time

Beer ferments faster than wine. Experts reveal that the fermentation time for beer may vary depending on the strains, and other factors, like yeast-to-sugar ratio, aeration, and temperature. Despite the same factors affecting the fermentation time for wine, it may take longer to complete the fermentation. Beer may take 3 to 6 weeks to ferment fully, while wines may take up to one year to ferment. Beer yeast ferments faster due to the high sugar levels that convert yeast to alcohol.

Which Alcohol Has the Most Yeast?

The difference in the beer yeast and wine years shows a huge yeast variation in the different alcohol. Some alcohol has high yeast, while some have lower yeast levels. So, which alcohol has the most yeast? Hefeweizen is the alcohol having the highest yeast content.

Manufacturers create this alcohol from wheat and ferment it with yeast. Brewers ferment this beer or alcohol with a particular yeast strain with unique characteristics allowing it to ferment at higher temperatures. These properties allow the manufacturers to have more characteristic flavors for the drink.

Bottom Line

Yeast is an essential component in the manufacture of beers and wines. Manufacturers use this component to create or manufacture and add flavors to various species of wine and beers. Despite the numerous similarities, beer yeasts and wine yeasts have differences, like historical cultivations, formulation, alcohol content, etc. Above is a comprehensive comparison of beer yeast vs wine yeast.


Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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