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Old 07-15-2009, 02:39 AM   #1
sgould550
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Default Dry Yeast or Liquid?

I have only brewed with liquid yeast and in the quest for cutting some of the cost down for my brew I was wondering about using dry yeast instead of liquid.
I was wondering if someone could give me some good advice on this subject. The next recipe that I want to brew is a brown ale that calls for an American Ale II (Wyeast Labs 1272) yeast. Should I stick with the Wyeast or should I try a dry yeast and if I do try a dry yeast which one should I use.

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Old 07-15-2009, 02:59 AM   #2
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I haven't used that particular Wyeast strain, but for a good no nonsense versatile dry yeast....Safale US-05 is pretty good. The main thing is I think it would give a cleaner yeast profile then what I see of that Wyeast strain. But hey, the only way to see what's best is to try for yourself! FWIW, from a performance/ floculation standpoint, I think dry yeast is as good as liquid. The main thing liquid provides over dry is varity of different strains: but dry is just as good for a clean/ flocculant yeast.

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Old 07-15-2009, 03:02 AM   #3
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I have heard that dry is more reliable. but can slightly vary from batch to batch.

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Old 07-15-2009, 04:33 AM   #4
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I've done one dry yeast batch, and one liquid yeast batch. I'll say two things for dry yeast. It's easier (quick rehydrate right before pitching, or maybe just sprinkling on the wort), and it's less nerve-wracking (liquid has longer lag-time, which makes you a little more paranoid when you don't see results ASAP).

Besides that, if you plan on crafting your own recipes, I'd recommend getting comfortable with liquid yeasts, they offer more flexibility.

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Old 07-15-2009, 04:58 AM   #5
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to answer the question: Dry or liquid yeast? Yes. Dry or wet.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. I use dry yeast (usually S-05 or Notty) for beer that I want to be relatively clean, with little yeast profile. I use wet yeasts for beers that require a specific yeast profile that's not available in dry form (like WLP400, for example), or for when I want a yeast that's not available dry (Pacman or Cry Havoc).

The only real difference, to me, is the amount of work involved. Wet yeasts take a bit more work, in the form of making starters, but there's a greater variety available.

Older homebrewing texts, and some of the hive mind, recommend wet yeast simply for the fact that in times past, there were very few yeast strains available in dry form that worked well, and dry yeasts got the same stigma that Mr. Beer and kit-and-kilo beers got. It's not true anymore. Nottingham, S-04, and S-05 are perfectly servicable yeast, in the right conditions.

It's a tool, like any other. I use wet yeast when called for, the same way i use bulk aging or dry hopping. It's all part of the brewer's art. Try both -- see which you like best.

For example, I have ten gallons (well, less now that I've tapped the first keg) of pale ale in the basement that I split. Half got S-05, and half got pacman. So far, I prefer the batch with pacman, but I haven't taken the time for a side-by-side comparison. It's probably time for one.

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Old 07-15-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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I have been using strictly dry for a year or more and am quit happy. Although there is not as much variety S04 and S05 have been good for me. I brewed 3 batches yesterday and my fermentation start time was anywhere between 4 and 9 hours.

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Old 07-15-2009, 05:25 PM   #7
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Safale US-05 FTW. I make a lot of american style pales, ambers, browns, porters and IPAs with it and have been very happy with the results. I will use liquid yeast when the style depends on it, like a hefeweizen or scottish ale but for most of what I make the dry does just as well.

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Old 07-15-2009, 05:50 PM   #8
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Yep, it's all about what you're going after. From a cost and ease of use standpoint, I use dry yeast as a default, usually US-05, but I've dabbled with Notty and -04. I do that for basically every beer I don't want a big yeast profile for, which is most of the beers that I tend to gravitate to. If, on the other hand, you're looking to do something with a complex yeast profile, like a belgian, or wheat, or even some of the scottish/english styles, then a liquid yeast is the way to go to get those sorts of flavor variations.

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Old 07-15-2009, 06:26 PM   #9
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I'll second Craven's comments about using liquid for the more complex yeasts and dry for the ones with minimal yeast profile. As to the lag - I haven't seen a big lag with liquid if I make a good starter but I do have a longer one if I just pitch the liquid.

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Old 07-15-2009, 07:04 PM   #10
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I have used three Fermentis dry yeasts S-04, S-05, and WB-06 and have had good luck with all. I rehydrate them in a cup of water for about half an hour before pitching. I have also tossed the powder right on top of the wort and both methods have worked, but I like the idea of gently waking the yeast in water before making them go to work.

S-04: I always keep a couple packs for when I feel like doing something a bit different. It works fast and furious so I would be careful with a fruit beer or the krausen may take over your house but it would be a good choice if you want to push a beer through quickly. It floculates quickly and quite thoroughly but not enough to cause trouble with bottle carbing. It smells sweet when fermenting and some have said it can give a bubblegum flavor. I ferment at 67-68 and have not noticed bubblegum especially after a couple weeks conditioning.

S-05: Everyone needs to keep a pack or two on hand for emergencies in case your liquid fails. I use S-05 for about 70% of my ales and it is my "go to" yeast. It ferments more slowly than S-04 so there is less chance of an eruption. You could prbably bottle as early as 10 days but I usually wait 14 days. A nice, well rounded "ale" flavor and a good generic yeast for almost anything.

WB-06: I've only used twice but has made a nice wheat beer each time. Flocculation is low and some yeast stays in suspension so don't use it if you want clear beer.

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If cutting costs you could propogate (grow your own) your favorite yeasts.

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