Difference between Brewer’s Yeast and Nutritional Yeast

A number of differences exist between nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast. Apart from the different nutritional values that people deem to be the same, the two yeast classes are close but not exactly the same.


Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a pure strain of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is in the same family as edible mushrooms. Nutritional yeast is artificially obtained from a mixture of beet molasses and sugar cane or some other similar medium, and is grown for a certain period, usually one week. B-vitamins are added to the yeast to provide the nutrients it needs to grow.

Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is also a variety of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae fungus that is a living organism. The living organism thrives in the sugars of the grains most often used in the manufacture of alcohol and helps in the fermentation process, producing C02 and ethyl alcohol. Brewer’s yeast occurs as a by-product of the beer making process as more of the fungus is added to the ingredients during alcohol production. Most manufacturers nowadays tend to grow brewer’s yeast by replicating the conditions under which it occurs naturally, thereby making some of the available brewer’s yeast not necessarily a by-product of the breweries.

Comparison chart

Brewer’s yeast Nutritional yeast
Rich in nucleic acid, chromium and selenium, trace minerals and an array of B-vitamins except for B-12 Rich in folic acids, niacin, thiamine and vitamin B-12, available because it is added in the production process.
A by-product of the breweries Grown artificially but is not genetically modified.
Bitter tasting Has a creamy or cheesy flavor.

Nutritional vs Brewer’s Yeast

What is the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast?

Let us compare the two on the grounds of their production methods, nutritional value and taste.

  • Brewer’s yeast is primarily available as a by-product of the alcohol making process. On the other hand, nutritional yeast is artificially made by providing suitable conditions for its growth, supplemented by the addition of B-vitamins. Although it is possible to produce brewer’s yeast by providing the same conditions under which it occurs in the beer making process, the naturally occurring by-product of the beer making process is preferred.
  • Nutritional yeast is rich in folic acids, niacin, thiamine and vitamin B-12 that are added during production to facilitate growth. Nutritional yeast is preferred by vegetarians as it also has a number of essential amino acids that are building blocks of proteins. Brewer’s yeast lacks the B-12 vitamin but is rich in other B-vitamins and selenium, a trace mineral important to the human body, aiding in the production of enzymes that control free radical damage to fatty tissues. Brewer’s yeast is also rich in nucleic acid and trace mineral chromium.
  • Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast have a somewhat similar appearance but differ in taste. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, creamy flavor while brewer’s yeast has a bitter taste.