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Old 10-11-2011, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default Dry vs. WL/Wyeast

Ok, so maybe a dumb question, but as I am getting ready to churn out my first all grain batch this weekend (belgian pale ale), I had a yeast question: is there really a noticeable difference in using liquid yeast versus dry yeast? I have only used dry yeast to this point, and have been pretty happy with the results, but obviously they have been only extract and partial mash beers. Do I really have to switch to liquid yeast now? Will it make the beer that much better? Do I have to create a started with a vial of liquid yeast, or can I just pour it in?

Thanks folks!

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Old 10-11-2011, 12:50 PM   #2
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If you are going to make a Belgian PA then yes you need liquid yeast and you will need to build a starter if the gravity is above 1.050.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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I don't know of any Belgian strains of dry yeast. I could be wrong though. If you want a Belgian flavor, you'll need Belgian yeast in liquid form. Some say a starter is necessary, I'm in the camp that anything under 1.065 is fine right from the vial for White Labs at least. Never had a problem pitching without a starter. My LHBS also advises no starter necessary until in the 1.065-1.070 range.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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It depends on the situation, or more precisely the beer style.

Here's my pat answer.

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If you're brewing a standard ale it's a waste of time and money to use liquid yeast. Dry yeast is fine for 99% of the brewing we do.

I have found that a lot of new brewers especially, THINK they HAVE to use liquid yeast for everything, 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....

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. Or certain certain specific English ale strains like Yorkshire or Burton

But 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.

Someone else wondered if there were any dry Belgian yeast, there is one Safbrew T-58

I've never used it, it's gotten mixed reviews. The thing with Belgians is where this is a generic belgian strain, and it may be very good for some things, there are still variations in Belgian beers, and Belgian yeast strains, and there still may be situations where you want to specific yeast for the beer.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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Great info Revvy, answered a lot of question I have no gotten around to asking yet.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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Good to know on the T-58.

To the OP, don't let the cost of $7 vials of yeast throw you off. Washing that yeast after fermentation is very, very easy. Wash it, put it in the fridge for later use and that $7 vial can be stretched out into 6, 7, 8 more batches bringing the cost down to below $1 per batch. I now wash all my expensive liquid strains that I use regularly. Belgians, Heffe and English Ale yeasts.

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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I use a lot of US-05 for brews like IPA's that require a clean yeast. It works great, is easy to use and is cheap.

I use liquid for brews that require a specific yeast profile for the brew, such as Belgians, saisons, ESB, etc.

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:02 PM   #8
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Thanks so much for all of the info. You guys cleared a lot of my concerns. As for washing and reusing yeast, i will be investigating deeper into this. How long can some of the washed yeast last? I'm assuming I'd need a starter for it whenever i wanted to use it, yes?

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:06 PM   #9
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Great sticky at the top of this folder on washing.

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:09 PM   #10
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I've used washed yeast that has been in a cold fridge for 4-5 months. You're not going to have great yeast viability going that long, but with a two step starter I've made some great brews. You absolutely need a starter if it's been in the fridge for more than a week or two.

Getting in the habit of making starters will allow you to pitch proper yeast cell counts too, so it has many benefits. It's not hard, but it does require a little planning.

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