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Old 01-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Are There Any Bad Wyeast Strains?

After my first batch with Danstar Nottingham, I decided I'd try Wyeast packs. The ease of the smack pack is well worth the extra three dollars, plus I can be sure it's viable before pitching without needing to make up a starter.

Have a keg of Caribou Slobber with 1332 that is fairly tasty. Have a Honey Weizen with 1010 that is good, even if a little on the boring side. Sitting in my fridge right now are three 1056's, one 1010, and one 1214.

Brew day is fast approaching. I'm worried my luck might run out sooner or later and don't want to learn the hard way with a off batch. Now's the time to learn!

Are there any Wyeast strains that are generally considered outright bad? How about sub-par compared to White Labs or Safale?

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:34 PM   #2
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Thet make good yeast, so no worries there.

However, the smak pack is not really a replacement for a starter. It just confirms that the yeast is viable. You really should make a starter for most brews.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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outright bad? no, as far as I have ever heard. that doesn't mean everyone is going to like every strain as much as another. if you don't like german wheat beer, you won't like Wyeast's german wheat strains. Other people love them however.
personally, I like White Labs San Fran lager better than Wyeast 2112 Cali Lager yeast, but I haven't used them both in the same recipe, so it could have been the recipe I used for the beer I did with 2112 instead of the yeast that made me not like the beer as much. more testing would be needed before I could say for certain.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Be selective of the strain (read it's full description from Wyeast's site before buying) and pick the correct one for the brew. But, DO make a starter (refer to yeastcalc.com for the size and such). Not making a starter with liquid yeast (from either lab) is one of the biggest reasons for people posting about issues with using liquid yeast. In other words, 100% operator error.

I've been using 1335 and 1882 for most of my brews. I've used 1318 for some, and 1728 for a couple. I tried out 1968 and it wasn't bad. I'll never use 1469 again though. Simply didn't like the flavors it gave the brew. Luckily, for me, I have a dozen frozen vials of 1882 on hand (it's currently not being offered). I might freeze some 1335 in the near future too.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Hogarthe View Post
outright bad? no, as far as I have ever heard. that doesn't mean everyone is going to like every strain as much as another. if you don't like german wheat beer, you won't like Wyeast's german wheat strains. Other people love them however.
personally, I like White Labs San Fran lager better than Wyeast 2112 Cali Lager yeast, but I haven't used them both in the same recipe, so it could have been the recipe I used for the beer I did with 2112 instead of the yeast that made me not like the beer as much. more testing would be needed before I could say for certain.
They're the same yeast - the source for both Wyeast 2112 and White Labs San Francisco Lager is the yeast used in Anchor Steam. Yeast labs are highly sterile environments which are designed from the ground up to prevent yeast mutation so it isn't particularly likely there's any real difference between them.

As for whether there are "bad yeasts," I suppose it depends on your taste. Lots of people hate the flavor of the Ringwood yeast due to high diacetyl production, but then a alot of breweries swear by it. YMMV with any yeast.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mooshimanx View Post
They're the same yeast - the source for both Wyeast 2112 and White Labs San Francisco Lager is the yeast used in Anchor Steam. Yeast labs are highly sterile environments which are designed from the ground up to prevent yeast mutation so it isn't particularly likely there's any real difference between them.

As for whether there are "bad yeasts," I suppose it depends on your taste. Lots of people hate the flavor of the Ringwood yeast due to high diacetyl production, but then a alot of breweries swear by it. YMMV with any yeast.
I didn't know they were the same yeast. I wrote White Labs and asked them if they were the same strain, and they replied that they couldn't say, but that the 2 were used for the same styles of beer.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:02 PM   #7
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I didn't know they were the same yeast. I wrote White Labs and asked them if they were the same strain, and they replied that they couldn't say, but that the 2 were used for the same styles of beer.
When its a style like California Common, saying they were used for the same style means its the exact same yeast from the exact same source.

I'd say yes there are wyeasts that are bad, as in bad for your setup. Find a few you like that work well in your setup and stick with them. You'll get to know the way it behaves, know whats normal and make better beer than if you jumped around to a bunch of different strains. I ferment in carboys, oxygenate by shaking and keg condition - I use wy1968 for most ales as it works well in that setup (low krausen rarely blows out, clears nicely and has a big malty taste). Its not the perfect yeast for all styles but I can make better beer with it because I know how it will behave. If I want a drier beer, i adjust the recipe. I really like 1318 but it always blows out and its not worth it to me. Any time I've used seasonals I've always been less than impressed (and often swore I'd never use another seasonal)...some were really nice like 1882 but it kept floccing out and needed repeated rousing. As for lagers, wy2124 bohemian works well with my sketchy temp control and I use nottingham for high gravity as its easy to pitch multiple packs and ferments out all the way.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Be selective of the strain (read it's full description from Wyeast's site before buying) and pick the correct one for the brew. But, DO make a starter (refer to yeastcalc.com for the size and such). Not making a starter with liquid yeast (from either lab) is one of the biggest reasons for people posting about issues with using liquid yeast. In other words, 100% operator error.
Beginners luck? So far my process has been to warm to room temperature, smack and let rise until nearly bursting, meanwhile nail to the OG to within 2 points, aerate like hell, then pitch at 70F. I've gotten good fermentation signs within 12 hours of so each time.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:43 AM   #9
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Beginners luck? So far my process has been to warm to room temperature, smack and let rise until nearly bursting, meanwhile nail to the OG to within 2 points, aerate like hell, then pitch at 70F. I've gotten good fermentation signs within 12 hours of so each time.
Fermenting too warm will give you completely different flavors and other characteristics than letting a batch ferment at a better temperature. With the yeast strains I use, cooler gives far better results. I normally target <65F for the fermenting beer temperature.

It's not just about getting fermentation sign fast, it's also about getting the best you can from the yeast. Going in blind WILL bite you in the privates.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:47 AM   #10
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Beginners luck? So far my process has been to warm to room temperature, smack and let rise until nearly bursting, meanwhile nail to the OG to within 2 points, aerate like hell, then pitch at 70F. I've gotten good fermentation signs within 12 hours of so each time.
Seriously, read up on proper pitching rates and how to make a starter. Pitching the right amount of yeast is the single largest leap in quality your homebrew will take.

It can take drinkable "yeah I made beer!" homebrew to commercial quality beer.
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