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Old 10-15-2012, 04:41 AM   #1
highgravitybacon
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Default What's the deal with wine yeast?

You look at wine yeast. There's not many varieties, it's ultra cheap for the most part. I don't get it. Lalvin and Red Star are less than 1USD for a 5g packet.

They have a wider temperature range recommended (usually 50F-86F) and a high alcohol tolerance.

Beer yeast seems like a such a high maintenance puss in this respect.

If you look at Wyeast's offering, the price per Activator pack is the same as beer, around $6-$7, but you get half the number of cells.

So my question:
1. Why is wine yeast so cheap?
2. Why do you get half the number of cells? (5 g vs 11.5g for dry)?
3. Does wine not depend on the yeast as much for the product character or what?

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Old 10-15-2012, 05:06 AM   #2
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#1. It's not any cheaper then a dry beer yeast that has not been vacuum packed, or at least up until recently.

#2. Dry wine Vs dry beer number of cells, good question. I don't know. When it comes to dry Vs wet, a live culture is much more viable. The drying process is not really good for yeast, how would you like it if you got freeze dried? There are more healthy cells in a live cultural.

#3 Nope the character comes more from the grape then the yeast, and then there's also the barrel. It plays a part but not like it does with beer.

If you want to use wine yeast in beer do it on a high gravity beer. I've done it on some beers that have scored high in some stiff competitions.

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Old 10-15-2012, 08:20 PM   #3
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My guess is that freeze-drying yeast is only economically viable on a large scale. So your choices are limited to bread yeast and about a half-dozen each for beer and wine. It would be great if Lallemand and Fermentis offered 50+ varieties of beer yeast for around $4 a pack, but alas, they do not. You get fewer cells because you need fewer. Wine is a big vat of simple sugars.

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Old 10-16-2012, 12:27 AM   #4
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As others have mentioned, dry yeast all the way around is cheap. The more salient question is why only certain strains are dried. I have no idea whether it is expensive to purchase and operate a freeze-dried yeast production system but that could certainly be a factor. I would imagine some of it has to do with the viability of different strains to survive the drying process and produce the same beer or wine as the un-dried cells. If you look at the wine and beer strains dried, they are extremely hardy and extremely consistent strains.

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Old 10-16-2012, 04:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highgravitybacon View Post
You look at wine yeast. There's not many varieties, it's ultra cheap for the most part. I don't get it. Lalvin and Red Star are less than 1USD for a 5g packet.

They have a wider temperature range recommended (usually 50F-86F) and a high alcohol tolerance.

Beer yeast seems like a such a high maintenance puss in this respect.

If you look at Wyeast's offering, the price per Activator pack is the same as beer, around $6-$7, but you get half the number of cells.

So my question:
1. Why is wine yeast so cheap?
2. Why do you get half the number of cells? (5 g vs 11.5g for dry)?
3. Does wine not depend on the yeast as much for the product character or what?
1. Not sure wine dry yeast is any cheaper than beer dry yeast.
2. For wine you use 1g of yeast per gallon of must, so 5g for the average 5 gallon pail/carboy
3. Wine does depend on the yeast for character. There are a LOT of different wine yeasts and they make a huge difference in the overall end product. Many wine makers split batches using different yeast strains then blend before bottling to get the flavors they want.
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