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Old 11-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default Opinions on dry vs. liquid yeast for my next batch?

To date I've only used dry yeast for my brews. It is just so easy and my results have been good. However, with the prices going up on dry yeast I wouldn't mind trying liquid yeast to see if it makes a better beer. I've tried to read up on it but not 100% sure if I would need more equipment to do a starter, how much time it takes, etc...So I wanted to get your thoughts. The kits I'm thinking about brewing are:

A German Altbier (never had one of these before):
German Alt Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains : Northern Brewer

The choice is between us-05 and Wyeast 1007 German Ale

A brown ale:
Caribou Slobber Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains : Northern Brewer

The choice is between Danstar Windsor and Wyeast 1332

I might also be persuaded into this English Pale Ale:
The Innkeeper Extract Kit : Northern Brewer

The choice is between Nottingham, Wyeast 1945 or Wyeast 1469.

Any thoughts?

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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It is always good to try new stuff when you brew. The liquid yeasts you list above are all good choices for those brews.

I use a lot of US-05 and always have a couple of packs in the fridge for spur of the moment brew days. It works great for brews that need a neutral yeast. It is very easy to use and always works.

I also use a lot of liquid for the different flavor profiles it gives. There are many brews that the best choice is liquid yeast. It will open up a lot more styles that you can brew.

If you do go with the liquid, learn how to make a starter. It is very easy and worth the time.

Give the liquid a try and enjoy your brew.

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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I use liquid yeast with starters but keep packets of various dry in the fridge in case of emergencies ( i.e. infected starter ).

You don't need much for a starter. A erhlenmeyer flask ( mine is 2 L ), some DME, and tin foil ( loosely cover the flask ). Additional items would be stirplate & stirbar, anti-foam ( to prevent boilovers when boiling the starter ), yeast nutrient.

It doesn't take much time either. I boil my starters for 10 minutes, cool, and pitch the yeast. I put it on a stirplate and try to pitch at high krausen ( usually 18-24 hours ). For larger starters, I will let it finish out, put it in the fridge, and then decant the beer on top and pitch the slurry.

Ale my beers so far have been ales. For lagers, starters take a little longer, especially if you need to step it up once or twice to get enough yeast.

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Old 11-16-2011, 02:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

Beergolf: you said "There are many brews that the best choice is liquid yeast. It will open up a lot more styles that you can brew." -- I think this is what I was mainly trying to get at. For the German Altbier it seems like it might be better to do a german yeast versus a clean dry yeast like Nottingham. Doesn't seem to me that it would make as much of a difference on the brown ale, but I could be wrong....if both yeasts are clean producing than I don't know how much it is worth it.

stevo: I'll read up more, but the only things you really need are a flask, DME, and tin foil? The "additional items" aren't required?

As for DME, does everyone just buy a bunch of DME and keep it around the house for when they need a starter?

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Old 11-16-2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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I have used both with great results. If you do use liquid I would suggest a starter for white labs but wyeast I have not had to create a starter. Seperate question, why are you buying from Northern Brewer when we have 2 great LHBS in Cincinnati?

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Old 11-16-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeahman99 View Post
I have used both with great results. If you do use liquid I would suggest a starter for white labs but wyeast I have not had to create a starter. Seperate question, why are you buying from Northern Brewer when we have 2 great LHBS in Cincinnati?
Are wyeast the "smack packs"? I noticed that in the instructions and meant to ask about that.

In the past I've ordered from AHS but thought I'd try NB this time around. I've bought some kits from Listermann's but IMO they weren't that great. Plus I've never liked their service....I really like Paradise Brewing but they don't make kits themselves and I don't trust ones that have been sitting on shelves. I'll go there when I have time and when I need to get equipment or some random ingredients....But really, the main reason I order online is convenience. With 2 kids and a pregnant wife, I just struggle find time to go out to the LHBS when it's easier to have the stuff shipped to my doorstep.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cincybrewer View Post
Thanks for the replies.

stevo: I'll read up more, but the only things you really need are a flask, DME, and tin foil? The "additional items" aren't required?
You don't even really need the flask—I've done several starters in a growler, and it's worked great. It just means you'll have to boil the wort in a pot first, rather than boiling it right in the flask.

Here's a nice tutorial on how to make a starter: How to Make a Yeast Starter
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'll read up more, but the only things you really need are a flask, DME, and tin foil? The "additional items" aren't required?

As for DME, does everyone just buy a bunch of DME and keep it around the house for when they need a starter?
You don't even really need a flask, but any container that you have will work. I did my first starters in a glass apple juice bottle. Just boil up some DME cool it down, and put it in the container you are using,add the yeast cover with sanitized foil and shake the container every time you walk by.

I now have flasks and a stir plate which is much easier.

I either buy some DME for just making starters or if I do mini mash recipes sometimes you do not use even pounds for the recipe and I just save the extra for starters.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cincybrewer View Post

As for DME, does everyone just buy a bunch of DME and keep it around the house for when they need a starter?
I make a few extra liters of wort and keep it in the freezer. It much cheaper (if doing all grain) and easier that way.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cincybrewer View Post
stevo: I'll read up more, but the only things you really need are a flask, DME, and tin foil? The "additional items" aren't required?

As for DME, does everyone just buy a bunch of DME and keep it around the house for when they need a starter?
The additional items are not needed but are helpful. A stirplate and bar will assist with yeast growth, but so can giving the flask a swirl everytime you walk by it.

As others have pointed out, you don't even need a flask. I like the flask so I can boil right on the stove and not need to sanitize anything for the transfer.

I keep DME around for starters and also for batches where I don't quite hit my numbers.
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