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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Dry yeasts really that good now?
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:47 PM   #1
jdc2
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Default Dry yeasts really that good now?

I haven't brewed for awhile, but when I was I found that I really
needed to make a starter of actively fermenting yeast to get
consistently good results. All the dry yeast beers I made
had off flavors. Before switching to liquid yeast, I first tried
a few batches with temperature control in a fridge (fermenting
ales around 62F), and that definitely improved things, but it
was temperature control plus using a starter that gave me
what I would call a "professional" brew. I never tried making
a starter with dry yeast but maybe that would work as well,
but I doubt it because of the contamination in the yeast
as well as the lag time causing other bugs to grow in the beer.
I don't see with the lag time (and it is significant even if you
hydrate) how pitching a dry yeast could give you a clean
tasting beer.
Jim

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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From what I have read most of the experts out there agree that the quality of dry yeast has increased significantly. They recommend using it just as often as liquid yeast but yes they do recommend that you rehydrate usually.

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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Yes they are, and we've beaten this horse to death.

You don't need to make a starter with dry yeast. And the idea of there being large numbers of contaminants in dry yeast is one of those myths that we have busted on here as well....pure conjecture and anti-dry yeast propaganda based on 30 year old anecdotal information back from the days when yeas tcame in cakes in hot cargo ships and was of dubious parentage.

There is a ton of threads discussing this in great detail.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/dry...ight=fermentis

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/dry-...ight=fermentis

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/i-lo...ight=fermentis

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/dry-...ight=fermentis

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/ther...ight=fermentis

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/drie...ight=fermentis

It's really not a -vs- They both make great beer.....they both have their place.

I have found that a lot of new brewers especially, THINK they HAVE to use liquid yeast, but in reality most ales can be made with Notty, Windsor, Us-05, Us-04 and many lagers with basic Saflager.....7-8 bucks a pop for liquid as opposed to $1.50-2.50 for dry, with more cell count, is imho just a waste of money for the majority of a brewer's recipe bank...most commercial ales us a limited range of strains, and those liquid strains are really the same strains that the afore mentioned dry strains cover, for example Us-05 is the famed "Chico strain", so if you are paying 7-8 bucks for Wyeast 1056 American/Chico Ale Yeast, and you STILL have to make a starter to have enough viable cells, then you are ripping yourself off, in terms of time and money....

If you are looking for a "clean" yeast profile, meaning about 90% of american ales, the 05, or nottingham is the way to go. Need "Bready" or yeasty for English ales, then 04 or windsor. Want a clean, low profile lager yeast- saflager usually does the trick.

Modern dry yeasts are just as good these days as liquids.

I use dry yeast for 99% of my beers, for basic ales I use safale 05, for more british styles I us safale 04 and for basic lagers I use saflager..

The only time I use liquid yeast is if I am making a beer where the yeast drives the style, where certain flavor characteristics are derived from the yeast, such as phenols.

Like Belgian beers, where you get spicy/peppery flavors from the yeast and higher temp fermentation. Or let's say a wheat beer (needing a lowly flocculant yest) or a Kholsch, where the style of the beer uses a specific yeast strain that is un available in dry form.

Even John Palmer talks about this...He doesn't bash dry yeast, just points out the differences.

Quote:
6.3 Yeast Forms

Yeast come in two main product forms, dry and liquid. (There is also another form, available as pure cultures on petri dishes or slants, but it is generally used as one would use liquid yeast.) Dry yeast are select, hardy strains that have been dehydrated for storability. There are a lot of yeast cells in a typical 7 gram packet. For best results, it needs to be re-hydrated before it is pitched. For the first-time brewer, a dry ale yeast is highly recommended.

Dry yeast is convenient for the beginning brewer because the packets provide a lot of viable yeast cells, they can be stored for extended periods of time and they can be prepared quickly on brewing day. It is common to use one or two packets (7 - 14 grams) of dried yeast for a typical five gallon batch. This amount of yeast, when properly re-hydrated, provides enough active yeast cells to ensure a strong fermentation. Dry yeast can be stored for extended periods (preferably in the refrigerator) but the packets do degrade with time. This is one of the pitfalls with brewing from the no-name yeast packets taped to the top of a can of malt extract. They are probably more than a year old and may not be very viable. It is better to buy another packet or three of a reputable brewer's yeast that has been kept in the refrigerator at the brewshop. Some leading and reliable brands of dry yeast are DCL Yeast, Yeast Labs (marketed by G.W. Kent, produced by Lallemand of Canada), Cooper's, DanStar (produced by Lallemand), Munton & Fison and Edme.

Dry yeasts are good but the rigor of the dehydration process limits the number of different ale strains that are available and in the case of dry lager yeast, eliminates them almost entirely. A few dry lager yeasts do exist, but popular opinion is that they behave more like ale yeasts than lager. DCL Yeast markets two strains of dry lager yeast, Saflager S-189 and S-23, though only S-23 is currently available in a homebrewing size. The recommended fermentation temperature is 48-59°F. I would advise you to use two packets per 5 gallon batch to be assured of a good pitching rate.

The only thing missing with dry yeast is real individuality, which is where liquid yeasts come in. Many more different strains of yeast are available in liquid form than in dry.
The only real "criticism" of dry yeast, is that, due to how they are made to be stable, that there are not many varieties available, that and the warning to avoid those "no-name" yeasts under the lids of extract can and to go with one of the "proven" strains.

But gone is all that BS about there being contaminants and mutations in dry yeast. It's a multi billion dollar industry and MANY commercial breweries use Dry yeast, the same dry yeast that we use....and I don't think They'd risk it if they bought into that garbage.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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I understand the love for dry yeast. I've used almost exclusively for two years. I am really looking forward to getting into liquid strains now though. It occurred to me after debating about the differences in halcyon and maris otter or cascade and centennial that I should think about yeast more. After all that debate on the details, I'd sprinkle some notty or US- 05 on the wort and without any regard to pitching rate. It's really stupid when you think about it.

If you are spending more money on Maris Otter or premium character malts or adjuncts, you should consider liquid strains because the difference should be more apparent.

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:49 PM   #5
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Great response Revvy

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Old 12-21-2009, 12:27 AM   #6
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Ok Revvy, thanks for posting that. Here's another point
of view.

From "Brewing" by Michael J. Lewis (Dept. of Food Science
and Technology, UCal) and Tom W. Young (School of
Biochemistry, University of Birmingham UK)pp149-150:

"To obtain the large amount of yeast needed for fermentation,
cultures on maintenance media or in their preserved
state are first grown up in the laboratory before transfer
to specialized equipment....This equipment is designed
to hygienically produce the large amount of yeast needed
for fermentation. This guarantees a regular supply of
high-quality, healthy yeast, free from other microbes
and, by reducing variation, assists in assuring both
consistent fermentation and beer quality. Recourse to
the laboratory stocks occurs at regular intervals
(perhaps twice yearly) but fresh yeast is drawn from
the propagator at much more frequent intervals. Typically
yeast will be replaced after five to ten successive
fermentations. Most fermentations are therefore
conducted with yeast drawn from a previous one and not
from a propagator. Brewers involved in small-scale
operations often use mixed cultures (more than one
strain) and have very limited (if any) laboratory
facilities. In case of problems with yeast, they
obtain slurry from other brewers or sometimes re-isolate
the strains from their mixture.
Increasingly, microbrewers are using dried
brewer's yeast as their primary source. This is highly
viable and supplied in larg (kg) amounts. The yeast
may be cultured by the producer under conditions far
removed from those found in a brewery and may contain
contaminating microbes (particularly lactic acid bacteria).
Both these factors may influence the quality of the first
and especially subsequent fermentations conducted with
the yeast."

(This is why making a starter with dried yeast is not
recommended. Because if the dried yeast is contaminated,
it will propagate with the yeast in your starter.)

A few pages later, they describe how a typical brewing
operation creates an actively fermenting culture that
is 1/10 the size of the batch of beer they are making.
When that batch is done, 1/10 is removed and used for
the next batch. They also describe how some brewers
take a yeast slurry from a batch and press it into
a cake that is about 25% by weight yeast, and use
it for the next batch, using 0.3kg per hectoliter.
By my calculation that would be 14 grams or about
half an ounce of dry yeast per 5 gallon batch.

The fact that some microbreweries save money by using
dried yeast doesn't mean that their beer wouldn't be
better if they used an actively fermenting culture.
So I think I'll stick to making starters because
even if the dried yeast isn't contaminated, the lag
time will still allow any microbes from the air/dust
to get a foothold.
Jim

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Old 12-21-2009, 04:57 PM   #7
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Dried yeast companies report a very low contamination rate. (Fermentis yeast, for example, reports less than 5 bacterial cells/mL of wort in adequately pitched wort.) Patterson, however, mentions that sometimes the level falls below what can be detected in the lab. And, the experience of many brewers shows that this level does not result in problematic beer.

http://www.byo.com/stories/recipes/a...st-on-the-rise


What are the odds of introducing contamination by making a starter from Liquid yeast at home? Probably higher than what Fermentis reports in the dry yeast packets.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
[I]Dried yeast companies report a very low contamination rate. ...
What are the odds of introducing contamination by making a starter from Liquid yeast at home? Probably higher than what Fermentis reports in the dry yeast packets.
Are you telling me that the companies that make the yeast claim that
there isn't much contamination in their product? I can hardly believe
that! Next you'll be telling me that Microsoft says its operating systems
have no bugs.

The second part doesn't make sense. Even if there were less contamination
in the packet, you still have to rehydrate, and how could you introduce more
contamination in the starter-making process than in the rehydrating process?
Seems to me you'd have an identical problem either way. In any case,
I don't see how the people who are claiming that would know for sure.
Jim
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:06 PM   #9
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I'm gonna pop my head into this quickly down-spiraling thread and put in a good word for Safbrew T-58 as a solid Belgian-style dry yeast. I got great characteristic flavor from using a packet of it on two brews I did recently, and I was totally surprised by the quality and the flavor. I felt I got well more than $2.50 worth of value for the one dry packet, versus the $13 I would've spent on two liquid cultures for these brews.

But, as it is, welcome anyhow, jdc2.

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Old 12-21-2009, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdc2 View Post
Are you telling me that the companies that make the yeast claim that
there isn't much contamination in their product? I can hardly believe
that! Next you'll be telling me that Microsoft says its operating systems
have no bugs.

The second part doesn't make sense. Even if there were less contamination
in the packet, you still have to rehydrate, and how could you introduce more
contamination in the starter-making process than in the rehydrating process?
Seems to me you'd have an identical problem either way. In any case,
I don't see how the people who are claiming that would know for sure.
Jim
You don't really have to rehydrate. I have brewed many times and did not bother with the rehydrate. If you do rehydrate it is a simpler shorter term process using cooled boiled water and 30 minutes waiting time.

A vial of Liquid yeast does not insure that you are going to get 100% non contaminated culture. Many things can transpire between White Labs/Wyeast and your home, such as bad handling en route, etc. Are you going to believe the Liquid yeast vendors anymore than the dry yeast vendors? Why? That's like taking your Microsoft analogy one step further and saying they are lying swine but that Apple makes a perfect OS and they state so in the advertising and I believe them.


I think there is a place for both products at this point! I use both but I just don't see any evidence of contamination problems with Fermentis yeast. They are French and I doubt they lie! LOL

Whatever you use I am sure you will have a great beer!
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