Can we address the dry yeast yeast starter concept again?

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Gregory T

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Safbrew be-256 yeast is $6 pack and should contain approximately 110 billion cells. Brewing a 1.065 Belgian Blonde at a 1.0 pitch rate calls for 330 billion cells. That is 2 additional packs or $12. a 2 liter starter is 210 grams of dme. which is $2.99 at Morebeer. It is not just as cheap to buy more packs of yeast. In fact, to this grain bill (which includes expensive candi sugar), it adds 27% to the grain bill

I feel like the concept of a starter with dry yeast needs to be addressed. If the only reason not to do it is cost, than that obviously isn't accurate in this instance
 
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Gregory T

Gregory T

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Starters are not required for dry yeast. They can be rehydrated according to the manufacturer's directions. The latest yeasts from Fermentis require no rehydration https://fermentis.com/en/news-from-fermentis/technical-reviews/e2u-direct-pitching/ .
Required. Such an interesting word. Of course it’s not required, I could just by 2 more packs of yeast. I’m not really surprised the manufacturer likes this idea. I don’t understand why brewers endorse it though

My calculator calls for 333 billion cells. The packs has 111 billion at best. That means either a starter or more yeast. Or ignore the calculator.

why do we blindly say no starter necessary when obviously either a starter or more yeast is necessary.

This feels like a we do it cause somebody said so once and no one knows why thing
 

d3track

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Dang, dry yeast is getting up there in price. If it is no longer financially viable to "just pitch another pack" then there is no reason to not do a starter to propagate to the needed pitch quantity. You have options to get to the outcome, is all it is.
 
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Gregory T

Gregory T

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I've never used dry yeast in 10 years of brewing. I've made a starter for every beer since my first. I can't find Omega Belgian A anywhere and its summer, so I'm gonna give dry a shot. I am leaning towards a starter. The sticky at the top needs to be edited.If the only reason we don't use starters for dry yeast is economics. This stuff is almost as expensive as liquid yeast
 
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Emphasis added for those who skim posts. ;)

tl;dr?: special circumstances (higher pitch rate, desire for lower cost) suggest the need for a special approach to preparing the the right amount of yeast for pitching.

[...] Brewing a 1.065 Belgian Blonde at a 1.0 pitch rate calls for 330 billion cells. [...]

I feel like the concept of a starter with dry yeast needs to be addressed.[...]
Using Brewers Friend pitch rate calculator, there are a number of different pitch rates. "MFG Recommended 0.35" and "Pro Brewer 1.0" appear to be the two immediate interest for this topic. "Pro Brewer 1.0" requires approximately 3 times the amount of yeast as "MFG Recommended 0.35". At the "MFG Recommended 0.35", a single packet of yeast (OG 65, 5.5 gal wort, 11.5 g packet yeast) is one percent short of a recommended pitch.

So for most people, using a "MFG Recommend 0.35" pitch rate, a single package (11.5 g) is a good starting point - just be sure to put the yeast in the wort ;) (pitch it dry, re-hydrate, make a starter, ...).

Making a starter with dry yeast to get the desired cell count from a single packet of yeast seems reasonable to me. Anecdotally, I have read that homebrewers, in places where dry yeast is even more expensive than this, will make starters with dry yeast then reuse the yeast. And, it could be that one of dry yeasts (super hero) super powers is that it ships well in summer heat.

As always, check dry yeast lab product information sheets as dry yeast strain product information varies with regard to reuse. (If one gets bad results reusing a strain where product information sheets say "don't reuse this strain of dry yeast", at least you where aware in advance.)
 
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madscientist451

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With $6 a pack dry yeast, instead of making a starter, brew a 1.5 gallon batch of "short and shoddy" saison and then pitch the yeast slurry into your bigger batch. 1/2 hr BIAB mash, 20 min boil. I just brewed this and the bottling sample was very good.
http://brulosophy.com/2017/11/30/short-shoddy-saison/
I've heard that saving yeast slurry from dried yeast "isn't recommended" but I've done it many times without any issues.
I usually don't re-pitch wine yeast that costs $.99 a pack, but $6 dry beer yeast is a different story.
 

Gnomebrewer

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Anecdotally, I have read that homebrewers, in places where dry yeast is even more expensive than this, will make starters with dry yeast then reuse the yeast.
Yep. It is, and (in my time brewing) always has been reasonably common to use starters for dry yeast in Australia. US05 is about $6 a pack here, so for anything much bigger than a standard 5 gallon batch, a starter makes sense. I've done it many times - the results are good.
 

Dland

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Some of the "yeast calculators" people use seem to over do it a bit. An example being when they come up with 5 gallons of lager needing 3 packs, while the instructions on (Fermentus anyway)packages calls for closer to one pack. And I have even used one pack for 10 gallons and had it working fine by morning after brew day.

I also "re used" dry yeasts sometimes, with no ill effect. I think the longest I went on one pitch was 3 or 4 batches. I'm sure when I "harvest" off a trub dump from one working batch to pitch to another, the yeast count is quite high. I have not been able to discern the difference between the under pitched and over pitched batches in final outcome

If one wants to make a starter to stretch a single pack, there is nothing wrong with it either, heck, one probably could save money and only use 1/2 a pack or less if it is worth the effort to them.
 

isomerization

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why do we blindly say no starter necessary when obviously either a starter or more yeast is necessary.

This feels like a we do it cause somebody said so once and no one knows why thing
Congrats! You just described how I feel about yeast calculators! Not all yeast strains behave the same, and that’s assuming the calculators are accurate.

I haven’t looked for the reference, but my recollection is that repitching dry yeast is not recommended, something about the drying process making them more susceptible to genetic mutations?

With that said, I don’t see why you couldn’t make a starter. I also don’t think you need to for this beer, but that’s up to you.
 

thehaze

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Fermentis came out maybe a year ago saying that rehydration / starters are not needed for their yeast. My experience coincides with their statement. BE-256 is aggressive and highly* attenuating. It will easily rip through 5-6 galloons of 1.060 wort. 1.065 is maybe a bit higher, but wouldn't be a problem. If you want to be sure, pitch 2 sachets. I wouldn't as I always try to underpitch anything belgian and german hefes.
 

mongoose33

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Fermentis came out maybe a year ago saying that rehydration / starters are not needed for their yeast. My experience coincides with their statement. BE-256 is aggressive and highly* attenuating. It will easily rip through 5-6 galloons of 1.060 wort. 1.065 is maybe a bit higher, but wouldn't be a problem. If you want to be sure, pitch 2 sachets. I wouldn't as I always try to underpitch anything belgian and german hefes.
The Fermentis people were at the BYO boot camp in Asheville in March, and I asked about this very thing. Their response echoed what you said, @thehaze. No need to rehydrate, just pitch directly on top of the wort. You don't even have to oxygenate the wort they say.
 

Vale71

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Fermentis came out maybe a year ago saying that rehydration / starters are not needed for their yeast.
Did they also say they were going to give their yeast away for free in the future? Because the OP clearly based his post on the issue of total cost per batch.
Saying "You don't need to make a starter with dry yeast, just buy enough packets!" is a bit like saying "You don't need to be rich to buy a Ferrari, you just need to be able to pay for it!". ;)
 

deadwolfbones

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Did they also say they were going to give their yeast away for free in the future? Because the OP clearly based his post on the issue of total cost per batch.
Saying "You don't need to make a starter with dry yeast, just buy enough packets!" is a bit like saying "You don't need to be rich to buy a Ferrari, you just need to be able to pay for it!". ;)
I think what he was implying is that Fermentis thinks 1 pack is plenty for a normal 5 gallon batch, and that yeast calculators are grossly overstating how many cells you need.
 

mongoose33

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I'm going to throw this out as an extension of the comments on calculators; it's not about dry yeast, but it is something that suggests maybe you're over-concerned about the pitch rate. Bear with me, we'll be back to dry yeast in a bit.

At the boot camp in Asheville I attended two yeast workshops, one put on by Chris White himself (as in the guy who started White Labs). He said he wouldn't make a starter with his yeast, he'd just pitch it in with no starter unless it was a very big beer. Well. You perhaps can imagine my response to this, perplexed as I was.

Fast Forward: my son who is a microbiologist and home brewer was at the same workshop--my wingman you might say--and he says since that workshop, he's just pitched liquid yeast w/ no starter. I've always wanted an active starter going into the wort so it gets going ASAP and can outcompete any nasties in there.

Long story short, made a Kolsch 13 days ago. My son was home and we were talking about this. The Kolsch is a variant of his recipe, and he just pitched the WLP029 in there, no starter. He brought home a growler of that Kolsch, it was great. So, given I was brewing about the same thing, I held my breath and I pitched that White Labs yeast directly, with no starter.

I know, I have lost my HBT membership card and I'm a bad guy.

**********

Here's how this relates to dry yeast, and why I wonder if just pitching one packet wouldn't work: That beer had an OG of 1.055. The yeast was 3 mos old. The yeast calculator at Brewer's Friend suggests this was a gross underpitch.

Well, if it was, I'm doing it again. I fermented that Kolsch at 60 degrees, and kegged it at 10 days. Yeah. I had it about at 7.5psi at 38 degrees, so I force carbed it a bit to bring it to 10-11psi.

That beer is stunningly good. Took it to the homebrew club meeting Wednesday night--at which time that beer was 11 days old--and it was a hit. I asked my son how conditioning affected this beer, and he says he doesn't know--it doesn't last long enough to find out. :)

So--the calculator at Brewer's Friend suggests 36 percent viability, or 36 billion cells total in the yeast I used. A packet of dried yeast would have 3x that amount. So what this then points to is....I think you could just pitch one sachet of dried yeast, and you'd be ok.

Your choice, but I'd do that. No starter, just pitch it.
 

kh54s10

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What calculator did you use? I just used MrMalty which is said to be VERY generous, and it is recommending just 1.1 packs of dry yeast!!
Dry yeast is engineered with a coating of oxidants and nutrients. When you make a starter all this is stripped away.
It has been said that pitching dry yeast in a starter wort may kill 50% of the yeast cells. If this is true, when your starter is done you might be back to where you were before making the starter.
Where does the 110 billion cells per pack come from? I believe that the count is in the neighborhood of 200 billion cells. When pitching dry yeast I always use one pack unless it is a really big beer. - somewhere near 1.100, then 2 packs.

A better procedure would be making a smaller beer, saving the slurry, then pitching a portion of that in the next batch or making a starter for that.

Still most dry yeast packs are $6 or less, so 2 is $12. Most liquid are $9 or more so 2 packs, which still might not be enough would be $18+ and a third would put you over $24 or 4 times what you really need with dry.
 

Big Monk

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The real issue here is one that's been getting tossed around for years: That there is not 20B cells/gram in a package of dry yeast. Even the yeast manufacturers arent on board with this.

We (the Royal We) have basically let Mr. Malty (no sources) and Sean Terrill (limited data set) set the trend for how we estimate cells for dry yeast for years based on what I would consider grossly overestimated cells/gram counts.

to the OP: I would do a starter or make a small beer and repitch the slurry.
 

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My prediction is that 90%+ of home brew yeast will be dry yeast within 10 years. It’s cheaper, simpler, more potent per package and more stable. It’s just better period.

I think the large starter practice is another fallacy adopted from commercial brewing where time is money. At home who cares if it takes two days or five?

There will always be expiremental etc. that don’t get scaled up and packaged dry but that will be the exception.
 

bierhaus15

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While home brewing is largely an exercise in brewing shortcuts, under pitching is never a good thing (<0.5 m/c/ml). Making a dry yeast starter and repitching dry yeast are also not good practices - and you'd be better off just starting with liquid yeast if doing so - but it works well enough most of the time.

If "it works most of the time" is good enough, then either making a starter or only pitching one pack is acceptable.
 

deadwolfbones

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@mongoose33 my experience largely matches yours. I don't think starters are necessary on typical 5-gallon batches. That said, I still often do them just as a safeguard, even if I rationally know (based on experience) that I probably don't need to.

I'd never make a starter with dry yeast, and I rarely even rehydrate, unless it's going into a super high OG or super acidic wort.
 

Big Monk

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Is it not true that for certain styles under-pitching brings out desirable flavors by intentionally stressing yeast?
You seem to be targeting in on Belgian styles, Zee Trappists in general.

Always remember that their yeast is HIGHLY viable and healthy slurry so underpitching in that case is not the same as someone underpitching fresh lab yeast.
 

hopjuice_71

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Making a dry yeast starter and repitching dry yeast are also not good practices - and you'd be better off just starting with liquid yeast if doing so - but it works well enough most of the time.
I'm wondering if you have a source for this information that I can check out?

I'm a microbiologist/biochemist and based on everything I know it makes little sense. While making a starter or repitching has forfeited all the advantages that went along with preparing the dried yeast, as long as the growth conditions are appropriate, the progeny cells should be as healthy as if the starting point were liquid yeast, possibly even more so.

Some dried yeast is very expensive here (34/70 in particular) and I have never had any reservations building cell counts via a starter if necessary (I agree with doubts people have regarding the calculators). I have even streaked out cultures made from dried yeast onto solid media then rebuilt pitchable populations from a single colony. Dried yeast strains don't seem to suffer through generations any more than liquid yeasts if they are handled well.

Of course, this is my anecdotal evidence so I would be really interested to know if there are any proper studies regarding best practices for dried yeast.
 

cactusgarrett

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I've always approached it in the manner of "what's my time/effort worth?"

If i "need" to, i'll do starters with dry yeast to get counts up, with some effort to prep the starter itself.
If i know i won't have the time or the materials to do a starter (or two, to step up), i'll just pop for the extra packet (or two) of yeast. Just means i'm out one Taco Bell lunch.

I'm not one to pine over the concept of "a starter made from dry yeast isn't as healthy as direct pitch" or 200b vs 300b cell counts, or that type of stuff. There's been SO much work and comparisons done, as alluded to by mongoose, that unless you're grossly underpitching, one would be hard pressed to identify the difference in a side-by-side comparison.
 

deadwolfbones

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You seem to be targeting in on Belgian styles, Zee Trappists in general.

Always remember that their yeast is HIGHLY viable and healthy slurry so underpitching in that case is not the same as someone underpitching fresh lab yeast.
Thanks, this is good info!
 
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Gregory T

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What calculator did you use? I just used MrMalty which is said to be VERY generous, and it is recommending just 1.1 packs of dry yeast!!
Dry yeast is engineered with a coating of oxidants and nutrients. When you make a starter all this is stripped away.
It has been said that pitching dry yeast in a starter wort may kill 50% of the yeast cells. If this is true, when your starter is done you might be back to where you were before making the starter.
Where does the 110 billion cells per pack come from? I believe that the count is in the neighborhood of 200 billion cells. When pitching dry yeast I always use one pack unless it is a really big beer. - somewhere near 1.100, then 2 packs.

A better procedure would be making a smaller beer, saving the slurry, then pitching a portion of that in the next batch or making a starter for that.

Still most dry yeast packs are $6 or less, so 2 is $12. Most liquid are $9 or more so 2 packs, which still might not be enough would be $18+ and a third would put you over $24 or 4 times what you really need with dry.
Mr malty doesn’t let you choose a pitch rate or even state what it is. My guess it they use .35. I use 1.0. The calculator I use is brewers friend
 
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Gregory T

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You seem to be targeting in on Belgian styles, Zee Trappists in general.

Always remember that their yeast is HIGHLY viable and healthy slurry so underpitching in that case is not the same as someone underpitching fresh lab yeast.

Boom. This is right. I only brew Belgians and read every sliver of information I can find about them. There is a strategy to underpitch Belgians. I have tried it and always got stuck Fermentations

The 2 most important thing in a Belgian is yeast vitality and temperature control. I typically choose 1.0. Then adjust the starter size to get something close to that pitch rate

I also like to know my yeast is good before I pitch it. Which is another reason for a starter

Granted, I have never used dry yeast, but most Belgian liquid strains are slow to get going. A yeast starter also helps with this
 
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Gregory T

Gregory T

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While home brewing is largely an exercise in brewing shortcuts, under pitching is never a good thing (<0.5 m/c/ml). Making a dry yeast starter and repitching dry yeast are also not good practices - and you'd be better off just starting with liquid yeast if doing so - but it works well enough most of the time.

If "it works most of the time" is good enough, then either making a starter or only pitching one pack is acceptable.

Why is making a starter with dry yeaast not a good option? This is precisely what I’m after. The only reason I’ve read is money. Obviously, that isn’t correct here

Is there another reason not to make a starter with dry yeast?
 

cactusgarrett

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Is there another reason not to make a starter with dry yeast?
The thought is that in dry yeast is manufactured to have all the appropriate nutrients available as-is (glycogen, etc.). Making a starter from it does get the cell count up, but at the same time (the theory is that) it removes these "optimal conditions".
 

hopjuice_71

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The thought is that in dry yeast is manufactured to have all the appropriate nutrients available as-is (glycogen, etc.). Making a starter from it does get the cell count up, but at the same time (the theory is that) it removes these "optimal conditions".
Yes, true, but is the resulting cell population from a dry yeast starter worse equipped to ferment wort than if one started with liquid yeast? I would argue likely not, if your starter was appropriately prepared.
 
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Gregory T

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I’m planning on making at least 3 of these blondes. I’m willing to experiment with this a little bit.

I think for this one I will pitch BE-256 and T-58. If I make a 1 liter starter, that hits my 1.0 pitch rate

Then I could make one using BE-256 and T-58 without rehydrating

One of them I’m gonna use Omega Belgian A. I really want to try this highly flocculent Belgian yeast

I can ducument the OG and FG. A LHBS (local being about 40 minutes each way ) has a get together every 2nd Friday. I can take them there and see what people think.

Obviously the conditioning will be different amounts. Any other variables I’m missing?
 

bierhaus15

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While making a starter or repitching has forfeited all the advantages that went along with preparing the dried yeast, as long as the growth conditions are appropriate, the progeny cells should be as healthy as if the starting point were liquid yeast, possibly even more so.
There is lots of information on dry yeast manufacture and testing, available through IBD, MBAA, WBC, and other journals. You can imagine the allure of using dry yeast among large breweries like ABI, Miller, Asahi, ect, was strong and some like Whitbread jumped in head first; a yeast medium that lasts almost indefinitely, takes little space for storage, easy to move from facility to facility, produces the same results.... it should be a major clue that none of those breweries now use dry yeast for regular beer production, even now that the manufacturing process and cost has been streamlined.

Not to draw the ire of the dry yeast mafia, but the process of producing dry yeast is detrimental to the yeast cell. Most dry yeast is grown in molasses type sugars under the crabtree threshold and as such, the yeast never sees alcohol until the first pitch. Some yeast companies put the yeast through trehalose and glycerol hydrolosis to ensure proper lipids and a healthy start; making a starter completely undoes that process. Hence no rehydration. Also, the drying process both shrinks and destroys cell; most dry yeast contains >25% dead cells by weight. So they add more yeast to make up for that. Think about that for a sec. If you were reusing liquid yeast, would you ever pitch a <75% viable culture with the intention of harvesting.... no freaking way. The resulting dry yeast second gen have more petite mutants and the budding scars take up more of the cell since it is smaller, resulting in less than optimal fermentation in successive generations. Also flocculation is generally impaired, with smaller floccs, and more dead yeast in suspension. This can cause haze issues along with other things like autolyis flavors, ect, ect, one could go on forever.
 

Big Monk

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I’m planning on making at least 3 of these blondes. I’m willing to experiment with this a little bit.

I think for this one I will pitch BE-256 and T-58. If I make a 1 liter starter, that hits my 1.0 pitch rate

Then I could make one using BE-256 and T-58 without rehydrating

One of them I’m gonna use Omega Belgian A. I really want to try this highly flocculent Belgian yeast

I can ducument the OG and FG. A LHBS (local being about 40 minutes each way ) has a get together every 2nd Friday. I can take them there and see what people think.

Obviously the conditioning will be different amounts. Any other variables I’m missing?
I would try Lallemand Abbaye if you can get it. IMO it's the best dry Belgian yeast out there. TRUE Belgian yeast.
 

hopjuice_71

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There is lots of information on dry yeast manufacture and testing, available through IBD, MBAA, WBC, and other journals. You can imagine the allure of using dry yeast among large breweries like ABI, Miller, Asahi, ect, was strong and some like Whitbread jumped in head first; a yeast medium that lasts almost indefinitely, takes little space for storage, easy to move from facility to facility, produces the same results.... it should be a major clue that none of those breweries now use dry yeast for regular beer production, even now that the manufacturing process and cost has been streamlined.

Not to draw the ire of the dry yeast mafia, but the process of producing dry yeast is detrimental to the yeast cell. Most dry yeast is grown in molasses type sugars under the crabtree threshold and as such, the yeast never sees alcohol until the first pitch. Some yeast companies put the yeast through trehalose and glycerol hydrolosis to ensure proper lipids and a healthy start; making a starter completely undoes that process. Hence no rehydration. Also, the drying process both shrinks and destroys cell; most dry yeast contains >25% dead cells by weight. So they add more yeast to make up for that. Think about that for a sec. If you were reusing liquid yeast, would you ever pitch a <75% viable culture with the intention of harvesting.... no freaking way. The resulting dry yeast second gen have more petite mutants and the budding scars take up more of the cell since it is smaller, resulting in less than optimal fermentation in successive generations. Also flocculation is generally impaired, with smaller floccs, and more dead yeast in suspension. This can cause haze issues along with other things like autolyis flavors, ect, ect, one could go on forever.
Thanks for the info. Honestly, I don't think there is a dry yeast mafia :) Most seem to acknowledge that it simply serves a purpose - convenience. Personally, I use mostly liquid yeast (I happen to have full lab I can use for culturing and long term storage of yeast), but occasionally I use dried yeast for convenience.. ..or when I am simply lazy. My issue with the dried yeast, which seems to be the theme of this thread, is its elevating cost. So, I have tried to stretch the value of that yeast when I do use it. My experience doing this doesn't seem to align with the issues you describe, but I confess that I have only ever repitched yeast from beer made with dried yeast for 1 generation (i.e. never repitched a repitch) and never repitched after propping-up the dried yeast with a starter. I didn't experience any performance issues, but acknowledge that maybe would have if I kept going additional generations.. ..I just don't know.
 
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Back to OP's cost concern, which I share...

Does anyone know what kind of sanitary conditions you need to weigh and handle dry yeast? If you don't need to take precautions beyond normal sanitation and vacuum sealing, it may be a good idea to buy a 500 g pack and weigh out what you need.

$6/11.5 g = @0.52/g
$140/500 g = $0.28/g
(first prices I found)

So, if you buy a big pack of 34/70 and weigh out what you need, it costs about half as much as buying the 11.5 g packs.

I don't really need 500 g of 34/70 but I could maybe use half that amount over a year or so. Might be able to split a big pack with someone in my club.
 

Vale71

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Sanitation is not that big of a concern, the real issue is with moisture exposure. Dry yeast is extremely hygroscopic and will absorb atmospheric moisture real fast, once its water content rises above a certain threshold it will start degrading pretty quickly. I belive it would be quite difficult to avoid excessive exposure without specialized equipment.
 
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