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Old 07-23-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
maltoftheearth
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This may be a very beginners type question but ... why use liquid yeast if dried yeast is just as good? I have only used liquid yeast and made starters for every batch. Now I am looking to simplify my brewing process and am looking at dry yeast.

The only differences I can tell between the two are:

* greater variety of liquid yeast varieties
* no need for a starter with the dried yeast

Anything I am missing here?


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Old 07-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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This old answer from one of the hundreds of other times this question has been asked should give you some insight.

Quote:
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, 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.

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.

If the kit is fresh, then the yeast that comes with it will be fine.

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.

Even John Palmer, who's book How to brew, I really think you need to read BEFORE you try to tackle kai (consider it the Grey's anatomy of brewing books) doesn't bash dry yeast.

Palmer doesn't bash dry yeasts...

Quote:
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 48-59F. 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 07-23-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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That's about it, very little variety of dry available, but it's easier to use.

Edit: or what Revvy said
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maltoftheearth View Post
This may be a very beginners type question but ... why use liquid yeast if dried yeast is just as good? I have only used liquid yeast and made starters for every batch. Now I am looking to simplify my brewing process and am looking at dry yeast.

The only differences I can tell between the two are:

* greater variety of liquid yeast varieties
* no need for a starter with the dried yeast

Anything I am missing here?
You're pretty much right. If you want a basic American Ale, English Ale, or basic Lager, you can use dry pretty exclusively. If you want to branch out and experience the subtle differences that different strains can give you (pretty amazing the different beers you get even within something basic like the English Ale type strain category), or you want to brew Belgians, or Sours, or whatever...you should go with liquid.

 
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strat_thru_marshall View Post
You're pretty much right. If you want a basic American Ale, English Ale, or basic Lager, you can use dry pretty exclusively. If you want to branch out and experience the subtle differences that different strains can give you (pretty amazing the different beers you get even within something basic like the English Ale type strain category), or you want to brew Belgians, or Sours, or whatever...you should go with liquid.
Exactly. There are simply more varieties of yeast strains in the liquid form. It has to do with the drying process, I guess.

If you're a cook, you might be very happy with just salt, pepper, and oregano. But if you're making paella, you'd really be missing the saffron if you didn't have it! The same with certain beer styles. You just can't make a Belgian beer without Belgian yeast.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
This old answer from one of the hundreds of other times this question has been asked should give you some insight.
Holy solid wall of text, Batman!
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:33 PM   #7
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I've always used liquid and then wash the yeast when I'm done. Luckily I've got an extra fridge with one rack of nothing but yeast. Really reduces the cost of yeast.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:37 PM   #8
maltoftheearth
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Thanks Revvy -- I actually searched for the question and found some discussion but not the extensive quote you pasted above.

Is it possible to wash rehydrated yeast as it is with liquid?
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by maltoftheearth
Is it possible to wash rehydrated yeast as it is with liquid?
Yes, after fermentation, you can save the yeast and reuse it. Whether it started out dry or liquid has no impact on that.

 
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #10

Comes down to a lot more choices for liquid. But, until you have the other 1,000 things correct in your process, getting a particular flavour from your yeast is the least of your worries for most new brewers. Add in the cost/trouble of starters, etc. and there are a LOT of good reasons to stick with dry.

Having said that, my LHBS carries both liquid and dry. The liquid strains are updated and rotated regularly--new stock all the time and nothing stays on the shelf for too long. Dry yeast stays on the shelf until it is sold, which can be a long time in our small-ish beermaking market. Plus he doesn't carry a full line of dry yeasts (one lager yeast, which I don't particularly like, and no Belgian strains) but has a great selection of Wyeast and if he doesn't have something you want, will order it in very quickly. Dry yeast he won't order for you. So if I want to use my favourite strain (W-34/70 or Wyeast 2124) I either have to somehow get the dry from Northern Brewer, which sucks b/c they don't ship to Canada), or use washed yeast, or simply use the liquid.


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