Originally Posted by Ballroomblitz1
I experienced the same with my first batch using liquid yeast (White Labs WLP810 San Francisco Lager) - very little fermenting activity, no bubbling for about 10 hours and then continued slowly for three days. From what I am deriving, this should not concern me, right? My previous batches have all involved dry yeast (Safale 4 & 5 or Nottingham) and the bubbling was much more active, starting after about 8 hours. My current beer on tap was fermented by reusing a yeast cake of Safale 4 and 5. Wow, talk about active! The fermentation was visible (bubbles) within 3 hours and resulted in blowover. The beer (Quad-Hopped IPA affectionately labelled Sonoma 41) has a pretty good kick. I didn't take any OG reads, but I can feel it after two glasses. Will the liquid yeast brew a lower alcohol percentage?
You're comparing apples to oranges – the pitching rate of those two batches was MASSIVELY different. Furthermore, if you simply pitched a vial of WLP 810, depending on the manufacture date, you're looking at ~60 Billion cell pitching rate whereas, by pitching onto the cake of two previous batches, you fermented (possibly) with well north of 1 Trillion cells.
The reason that dry yeast seemingly takes off faster than liquid yeast is that manufacturers have developed a method that gives the yeast all of the necessary sterols that the yeast need to begin replication immediately, that is, there is no need to utilize oxygen to create Acetyl CoA from fatty acids in wort.
It used to be that the bacteria levels of dry-yeast combined with the overall ability of the yeast to replicate while avoiding the effects of alcohol toxicity made dry yeast a non-viable (no pun intended) alternative to liquid yeast. In recent years, however, better manufacturing practice has made dry yeast a sound alternative. The pitching rate of a beer likely has more effect on the flavor of the beer than using liquid or dry yeast to achieve that pitching rate. That being said the fact that dry yeast DOES NOT need to utilize wort acid to create sterols (on the first pitch anyway) leads to an increase in esters over liquid yeasts or vs a subsequent pitch of dry yeast.