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Old 11-12-2009, 07:10 AM   #1
mummasan
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Default How much does liquid yeast influence the taste of finished beer?

For the last year I have been brewing with dry yeast almost exclusively - using Safale 05 and Nottingham the most. My finished beer tasted good (some were better than others). But my last two brews I used liquid yeast and noticed a big difference in the taste of my finished beer. In particular, for my last batch I made a standard pale ale that I have done multiple times with Safale 05 but this time I used the Cali IV liquid yeast. The extra depth, fullness and character of the beer made a big difference to me.

I wonder if other homebrewers have noticed the same thing. If you make a beer with dry yeast, then redo that beer but with liquid yeast, how big of a difference does it make? Can you taste a difference at all? In general, does liquid yeast have a noticeable impact on the taste of your finished beer?

Procedural notes - my fermentation takes place in a small refrigerator with a temp control set at 65 degrees. For the dry yeasts I'll sometimes activate in a cup of water or sometimes I'll just pitch onto the wort. For liquid yeast I always make a starter on my stir plate.

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Old 11-12-2009, 07:16 AM   #2
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I could never tell much of a difference to be able to point to it being yeast dependent. Ruination clones were the one beer where I have done both Liquid and S04 dried. Convenience, timing and cost all conspired to make me a mostly dry yeaster.

The only good way for me to test, is to split a batch and try the two yeasts side by side and do a blind tasting. Which of course is way too much work.

If I am going to do a Steam beer I will go to liquid otherwise dry for me.

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Old 11-12-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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From your post, I can't tall if you are truly comparing apples to apples, mummasan. There is no Cali IV, but there are Cali I and Cali V strains. The Safeale 05 and Cali I are the same strain, but the Safale 05 and California V are different strains that produce different beers from the same wort.

I'm also a huge fan of the Cali V, myself. It's my favorite yeast for American-style ales.


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Old 11-12-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
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It depends on what you are talking about. If you are using dry strains that are the same strain as the liquid...Like US-05 and the Chico strain, then there is no difference in flavor. They are the same strain, and they are meant to be neutral and contribute very little flavor.

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.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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You really should look through the various descriptions of the liquid yeasts on their websites to look into the specific flavor characteristics of those non-neutral (glad you got over your bias ) yeasts.

Most of them will give you specific flavor info...

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain.cfm

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebr...html#ALE_YEAST

For example;

Quote:
WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
This famous German yeast is a strain used in the production of traditional, authentic wheat beers. It produces the banana and clove nose traditionally associated with German wheat beers and leaves the desired cloudy look of traditional German wheat beers.
Or

Quote:
WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale Yeast
From East Flanders, versatile yeast that can produce light Belgian ales to high gravity Belgian beers (12% ABV). A combination of fruitiness and phenolic characteristics dominate the flavor profile. Some sulfur is produced during fermentation, which will dissipate following the end of fermentation.
Wyeast as well.

Quote:
YEAST STRAIN: 3724 | Belgian Saison™


Classic farmhouse ale yeast. Spicy and complex aromatics including bubble gum. Very tart and dry on palate with mild fruit. Finishes crisp and mildly acidic. Benefits from elevated fermentation temperatures. This strain is notorious for a rapid and vigorous start to fermentation, only to stick around 1.035 sg. Fermentation will eventually finish, given time and warm temperatures.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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All the cool kids use liquid yeast, therefore, I use liquid yeast.

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Old 11-12-2009, 02:31 PM   #7
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I'm with Revvy. I've used the liquid and dry equivalents (1056/US-05) on the same recipes more than once and couldn't tell the difference. Of course, one would have to do a split batch to do a true side-by-side, but I'm just not interested in doing that. It's dry for me unless I need a specialty yeast.

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Old 11-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #8
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I got confused with the name - for my last batch I used Cali V. I didn't know that it is the same strain of yeast as the US-05. Thanks for the info Revvy.

Teacher, I'm not at all interested in doing a side-by-side comparison, but since I have used only dry yeast for the past year, when I did use a liquid yeast it made a difference in the taste of the finished beer (for my taste buds at least). The other liquid yeast I used recently was the Trappist and that tasted great! The flavors were awesome and it made me realize how much flavor and complexity that yeast bring to the finished beer.

Revvy, I will look at the white labs website and pay more attention to the descriptions. But based on my experience, I won't only use liquid yeast when yeast drives the style (like Saison, Belgian Golden or Hefe). I'll be willing to do the extra work for a neutral liquid yeast.

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Old 11-12-2009, 08:09 PM   #9
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Mummasan,

Again, Cal V is not S-05. S-05 is WLP001 (California Ale) is Wyeast 1056 (American Ale). All three are (allegedly) cultured from the Chico strain used at Sierra Nevada Brewing. Cal V (WLP051) is a different strain, recognizably different from WLP001.

As an aside, I agree with TexLaw in that I prefer Cal V to 1056. It throws more esters, but still less than classic English strains.

There really is no difference when comparing the 1056 strains. Using liquid yeast instead of a packet of S-05 when you want a neutral profile is wasted money and effort. Though if you like spending more and tinkering with starters, be my guest! It's your beer, after all.

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