Originally Posted by burnsjz
I have one for the more experienced brewers out there. I have been brewing all grain for about two years. Early on I used either dry yeast such as Safale or nottingham. With kits from Midwest supplies I would sometimes get the Wyeast smack packs and had wonderful results. Most homebrew stores in the areas that I have lived only stock white labs. I tried several batches just pitching the vial directly into the wort. First batch, undrinkably nasty. It had a rotten flavor like dead yeast and over intense sulfur flavors. Dumped it out (yeah, it was that bad...I'm pretty cheap and won't dump it unless its absolutely undrinkable). I figured it was temperature (too hot as I live in the south and am too cheap to get a fermentation chiller) so we're talking ale yeast temperatures in the low 70's. I tried all kinds of things to cool it and got two more dumped batches. Went back to the dry yeast....just fine. Even at high temps. Then I got brave and made an 800 ml starter with the WL abbey ale yeast and made a thick dubbel. Best beer I've made to date. Repeated that recipe two weeks ago and its disgusting again (not dump it out disgusting but not far from it). I did have a splosion that put beer on my ceiling but didn't think that would ruin the batch.
Is there some special trick to making white labs yeast work well or should I just special order the Wyeast? Any insight would be wonderful.
I've had nothing but great results with WL yeast. So either veganbrewer is right and you're getting old yeast, or there's something in your process that needs adjusting.
By the way, you can get effective temp control for less than $10 (check out swamp cooler threads here) and revolutionize your beer. Are you really that cheap?