Originally Posted by Austin_
I know Anchorage Brewing uses a wine yeast in their Love Buzz saison for bottle conditioning. I think his process is typical saison strain for primary, secondary in wine barrels with a brett strain, and then bottle with wine yeast. It is a very interesting beer.
I think using a wine yeast for any primary fermentation would not work out well. I could see using a combination of 3724 for primary and a wine strain for secondary to dry it out. Taking it that low with wine yeast would require you hop very conservatively.
Unless your fermentation stalled, wine yeast won't dry a beer out. It's incapable of fermenting maltotriose, generally. 3724 will ferment far more sugars than a wine yeast (again, unless it's stalled). You can use wine yeast when bottling as it will eat the sugars you added, but it's not going to eat more malt sugars than the beer yeast already has.
BTW, Love Buzz is awesome. Anchorage Brewing was at Copenhagen Beer Celebration, which I attended, and they had a lot of really, really nice beers. Lots of tasty Brett.
Dannypo listed a very good episode of the Session to listen to. The guy on that show is enthusiastic and full of great information.
After listening to that episode, I decided to go ahead and try a wine yeast. I brewed a Belgian IPA yesterday and pitched WLP550 and Lalvin 71B. Curious to see what kind of fruit flavors the wine yeast adds. 71B is the only yeast he lists on that show that he says is non competitive with beer yeast. From what I remember from listening to it, there are 2 things to look for in wine yeast. First, "phenol off flavor". If the yeast tests negative for phenol off flavor then it can produce flavors that might be good in a beer. He lists a number of yeasts that are negative for phenol off flavor. Then, there's the competitive factor. All of the yeasts he lists except 71B are "killer" yeasts. He says that killer yeasts produce a protein that will kill beer yeast, stop it dead in its tracks within 12 hours.
So, of the yeasts he mentions, 71B is the only one that go straight into the fermenter in conjunction with a beer yeast without killing the beer yeast.
For the other yeasts, he recommends blending. He recommends pulling 1/3 of your wort when you chill and put that into a separate fermenter with the wine yeast, then blend the beers after primary, say at bottling. It will add more malt sugars back into the beer, more mouthfeel and sweetness, so you need to plan your recipe accordingly.
He also said some German commercial brewers have been experimenting with using 1/3 71B with 2/3 weissbier yeast for wheat beers.
I was reading somewhere else that some brewers were using ONLY K1-V1116 for some beer fermentations. If I can find the link I will post it.
This also got me thinking about how to get some character from the wine yeast. I thought about fermenting primary with the beer yeast, then adding honey into secondary along with the wine yeast. Don't know if that would get enough character from the wine yeast, though.
Anyway, it's worth considering some of this stuff. I recommend listening to that episode of the Session.
Here's a quick breakdown of the yeasts he listed and their character. Like I said "killer" means it will kill off the beer yeast. Sorry if I messed any names up. You'll just have to listen to the episode yourselves! "susceptible" with the 71B means it doesn't produce that killer protein and can play well with other yeasts. I think it's the same as "active", "neutral" and "sensitive" for competitive factor on this chart I'm linking, but this chart doesn't list if a beer is negative for phenol off flavors.
Here's what the guy said in the interview:
71B susceptible fruit salad, all sorts of crazy fruitiness.
EC1118 killer neutral winey character. maybe with belgians.
K1V1116 killer stone fruit, peach
GRE killer fresh berry
BM45 killer cherry tremendous mouthfeel
L2226 killer berry