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Old 12-23-2011, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Wyeast vs. White labs vs. dry

Which one produces the best tasting beer and why? For the past 8 months or so I've been using White labs with pretty good results, but I'm curious as to what everyone thinks about the different manufacturers and styles.

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Old 12-23-2011, 01:50 AM   #2
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you'll likely get very different answers to this question. some think that the drying process impacts the yeast negatively and therefore advocate using liquid yeast. certainly, there are a lot of yeast strains that you just can't get dry, which is an advantage for liquid yeast. On the other hand, dry yeast is very easy and convenient, and i personally have had very good results for the beers i've used dry yeast for.

My personal summary is that I've used both with good results. I typically use liquid yeast, but don't have a strong argument for using liquid over dry except if a yeast strain is only available in liquid.

EDIT: Oh, and I've noticed no difference between quality in white labs and wyeast. they're both very good companies with very good yeast if you ask me.

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Old 12-23-2011, 01:55 AM   #3
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Other than dry yeast having limited options, they're all the same to me.

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Old 12-23-2011, 02:03 AM   #4
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I like wyeast because of it's packaging no light gets in and the smack pack in allows you to see how viable the yeast is.

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Old 12-23-2011, 02:18 AM   #5
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They all can make great beer or ****ty beer depending on the brewer, NOT on the type of yeast. It's not a competition, it's not an argument, they all serve their purposes, one is NOT better than other....

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.

The idea of dry yeast is "bad" is really a holdover from the bad old days of homebrew prohibition (prior to 1978 in america) when yeast came over in hot ship cargo holds, was of indeterminant pedigree and may have sat on the shelves under those cans of blue ribbon malt extract in the grocery store for god knows how long. That is simply not the case in the 21st century- all yeasts, liquid or dry ave excellent and can be used, EVEN the stuff that comes with kits.

Palmer doesn't bash dry yeasts...

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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.

Liquid yeast used to come in 50 ml foil pouches, and did not contain as many yeast cells as in the dry packets. The yeast in these packages needed to be grown in a starter wort to bring the cell counts up to a more useful level. In the past few years, larger 175 ml pouches (Wyeast Labs) and ready-to-pitch tubes (White Labs) have become the most popular forms of liquid yeast packaging and contain enough viable cells to ferment a five gallon batch.
The Yeast like Notty, Us-05, u-04, and many others, made my Danstar, and fermentis are some of the best yeast around, they are just as good as the liquid strains, in fact, many are the exact same strains as those by whitelabs, and wyyeast, just in dry forms.

Good quality dry yeast has been used by commercial breweries for decades if not longer, and it was only since Homebrewing was legalized was the stuff we know available to homebrewers.

That's why every dry yeast house has industrial divisions.

Danstars website even alludes to this...

Quote:
The use of active dried professional yeasts for amateur brewing is a relatively new phenomenon introduced by Lallemand. Now, choose your active dried yeast for brewing with confidence. Ask for Danstar superior quality yeasts at your local retailer.
And this from Fermentis....Beer Industrial Brewing Why use Fermentis Yeast

Bottom line, use what you want, but realize that is only a preference. Both liquid and dry are excellent these days. They both have the potential to make great or crappy beer.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitcold
i like wyeast because of it's packaging no light gets in and the smack pack in allows you to see how viable the yeast is.
+1
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:24 AM   #7
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Dry yeast is a cheaper alternative for when the yeast strain is "pretty much" the same. For example, as already stated, WLP001, 1056, and US-05 are all, supposedly, the "Chico" (Sierra Nevada) strain. Pitched at the same temperature, pitch rate, and nutrient environment, they are pretty close to identical, although there "may" be slight variations.

I make mostly American Pale Ales and IPAs, so it's US-05 for me most often, like Revvy. Why spend the money for liquid when dry (easier) is available for the strain. OTOH, there is not a wide variety of yeast strains available in dry. So, there are times you gotta go liquid. In those cases, I still think there is not much difference in flavor between Wyeast and White Labs equivalents. Buy Wyeast if you like the Smack Packs, or White Labs if you like the compact form factor.

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:58 AM   #8
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So it's all about how much yeast you pitch. The little vial of white labs should be propagated up for at least 3 or 4 days in a starter or run for about 2 days under a stir plate. The wyeast stuff with a smack pack is still good about self propagating and you get a lot of yeast, but it should still be propagated in a starter. Dry yeast you get 10 to 100 times as much yeast and doesn't need a starter. It also can be the exact strain only in dry form. This is true for the saflager 23 which is the bock strain for both white labs and wyeast. I love dry yeast for lagers because I get 2 or 3 packets and don't have to worry about a giant stater. I like liquid ale yeasts for variety and get excellent results for them when I use a starter.

Always make a good starter for liquid yeasts, your beer will be much better.

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Old 12-23-2011, 12:00 PM   #9
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Us-05 might have originally been the Chico strain but the drying process changed it. It doesn't make it bad, just different. Personally I prefer the liquid version in lighter flavored beers. But in an IPA or a big stout I always use US-05.

Also, White Labs and Wyeast have the same amount of cells in their products. The smack pack does not cause any reproduction. It simply proofs the yeast.

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Old 12-23-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBenn View Post
For example, as already stated, WLP001, 1056, and US-05 are all, supposedly, the "Chico" (Sierra Nevada) strain. Pitched at the same temperature, pitch rate, and nutrient environment.
Based on my experience, US-05 produces more fruity esters (particularly peach and apricot) and doesn't flocculate as well as WLP 001. It's still one of the better dry yeasts out there in my opinion, but I generally go with liquid these days.
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