Originally Posted by jprice
I hate to complicate your question further, but what do you consider better? I would say the best thing would be to identify what exactly you are looking for in a beer. Would you prefer your beer to be more or less hoppy, drier, sweeter, darker,or lighter?
I would infer from the question that the O.P. would like to minimize things like off flavors or undesired flavors. That was always a challenge for me at the beginning.
My three suggestions for things that could make a big impact:
- Figure out a way to control fermentation temperature for the first few days. (Along with this, be sure not to pitch yeast when the wort is too warm.)
- If using liquid yeasts, prepare a starter. Or just use good dry yeasts, rehydrated. Strains like Safale's S-04 and US-05 are fantastic for many recipes and have enough cells where you shouldn't risk underpitching on most recipes.
- Give the beer enough time to ferment. It will depend on the recipe, conditions, etc., but a good general rule is 3 weeks in primary before bottling. Not always appropriate but it's not a bad frame of mind to start from at the beginning.