Dry vs. Liquid yeast?

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maxamuus

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Did a search as i am sure this has been discussed but could seem to find anything.

Fixing to order beer number 4. I notice dry yeast is quite a bit cheaper. Are there any draw back to using dry vs. liquid? I have only used liquid so far and had great results. Just wonder if the extra money is worth it as dry yeast is inferior yeast?

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Revvy

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It's been done to death here;

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/dry-yeast-vs-liquid-75697/

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/dry-yeast-vs-liquid-yeast-45174/

It's a personal preference, they both make beer....I tend ot use more dry than anything else...it's way more cost effective....but there are more wet strains and you can wash an reuse or store..It's not really a vs question...they both work..It's NOT a superority thing at all....they all are excellent.

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.

Here's some info here, https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/dry-yeast-profiles-descriptions-131810/
 

oceanselv

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As Revvy said it is a matter of preference and when the yeast drives the style. I also like to use a liquid slap pack when I have not prepared a starter. When properly used a slap pack will swell and let you know the yeast is good.
 

SumnerH

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I also like to use a liquid slap pack when I have not prepared a starter. When properly used a slap pack will swell and let you know the yeast is good.
If you're not going to make a starter, dry yeast is almost always a better option.

For a 1.055 OG ale, you generally want to pitch about 200 billion cells per 5 gallons.

An 11.5g packet of dry yeast (your typical US-05, Nottingham, S-04, etc) has about 200 billion viable yeast cells--there's no need to make a starter for most beers.

A Wyeast slap pack or White Labs vial of liquid yeast has about 100 billion cells, though. If you use it without a starter, you're likely to be underpitching by a fair amount. Even with a not-too-huge 1.055 ale, you'll want a 1.2 liter starter in order to get the cell count up to the ideal level (assuming you shake it every 30-60 minutes when it's getting going--more like 2 liters if you're just going to set it aside and forget it).

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html has a useful pitching-rate calculator that helps figure out when a starter is needed and how big it should be.
 

bguzz

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I have a stirplate and can really grow yeast when needed. That being said, I turn to US05 dry yeast for almost all my american ales/IPA's, it works great and I want neutral anyway. I can't see any reason to do starters of WLP001 or WY1056 for those kinds of beers.
 

DrawTap88

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If you're going to use dry yeast, don't forget to rehydrate it before pitching (debatable).

Also, +1 to what Revvy said.
 

mithion

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I got caught in the whole liquid is better than dry thing that was going on a few years back. I recently "rediscovered" dry yeast and found it to be of great value. Unless you're cloning a specific beer with an unusual yeast character, S-04 and US-05 from Safale will get you through most commonly consumed beers with fantastic results. I don't much experience with Danstar but it seems a lot of people swear by their Nottingham strand. However, I cannot speak for other brands of dry yeast like muntons and coopers.

I still use mostly liquid just because I like to experiment with different yeast strands. When I decide last minute to brew a batch of beer, I gladly reach for Safale products to bail me out of having to do a starter.
 

SumnerH

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I got caught in the whole liquid is better than dry thing that was going on a few years back. I recently "rediscovered" dry yeast and found it to be of great value. Unless you're cloning a specific beer with an unusual yeast character, S-04 and US-05 from Safale will get you through most commonly consumed beers with fantastic results
Hmm. I'd say almost no German, Czech, or Belgian styles can sub either of those yeasts (heck, 95% of German styles are either lagers or hefes)--that's a pretty huge chunk of the styles out there. And lagers are certainly the most commonly consumed beers in the world.

I'd say less than half of my brewing could sub US-05 or S-04 pretty well. In reality, I use it more like a third of the time. It's beautifully easy to work with, though, and I always keep it around for emergencies or spontaneous brew days.

Just for fun, the yeasts I used for beers in my .sig:
Little Bo Pils--Wyeast Czech Pils
Oude Bruin--Wyeast Roeselaire + various dregs
Saison Duphunk--Wyeast French Saison + Orval dregs + Roeselaire
Stanley Steamer (Cali common)--Wyeast California Lager
St James Gate Stout (dry irish stout)--Wyeast Irish Ale
Earl White--Wyeast Belgian witbier
Saison Laurentian: Wyeast French Saison
Centennial IPA: Safale US-05
Toil and Trouble (Scottish 80/-): Wyeast Scottish ale
Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale): Wyeast Belgian Strong
Eternale (Barleywine): Wyeast Scottish ale
Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS): Safale US-05

The barleywine, St James stout, and scottish 80/- could've been done with S-04/US-05 and been fairly close. The cali common could maybe sub US-05 but that's really a stretch (and, honestly, the yeast is sort of what defines the style). The Pils, Oude Bruin, saison, funked saison, wit, and belgian strong dark wouldn't be anything like the same beer with those 2 yeasts, though saflager might do okay in the pils.
 

JuanMoore

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Hmm. I'd say almost no German, Czech, or Belgian styles can sub either of those yeasts (heck, 95% of German styles are either lagers or hefes)--that's a pretty huge chunk of the styles out there. And lagers are certainly the most commonly consumed beers in the world.

I'd say less than half of my brewing could sub US-05 or S-04 pretty well. In reality, I use it more like a third of the time. It's beautifully easy to work with, though, and I always keep it around for emergencies or spontaneous brew days.
I get your point, and I agree, but there are a lot more dry yeasts available than just S-04 and S-05, and the variety of dry yeast strains is improving all the time. I think it's now possible to successfully brew most beers with dry yeast, including many German and Belgian styles.

While Safbrew T-58 isn't my favorite of the belgian strains that I've used, it produces classic belgian flavors, and can make a great belgian beer. Safbrew WB-06 has low flocculation and produces lots of banana and clove flavors for a great classic hefeweizen or dunkelwiezen. The Weihenstaphaner 34/70 strain is IMHO among the best yeasts for lagers and pilsners, and it's availble in dry form now too.

I still don't get why people buy WLP001 or Wyeast 1056. Safale S-05 is virtually the same strain, has twice as many cells per package, costs half as much, and has a much longer shelf life.
 

TexMexBrew

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When I first started brewing, dry yeast was recommended to me due to the ease of use and the cost effectiveness of it. I have never had any problems with it and my brews have turned out quite nicely. Rehydrating it is debatable as I have been able to use it both ways, rehydrating and pitching it straight into my brew. My only experience with liquid yeast did not turn out well and due to the cost, I decided I would just stick with dry yeast. Though I may try it again later on.
 

winvarin

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So two questions then (coming from somebody who has been making liquid starters for years; and flying blind for most of it)

1. For a liquid starter, I never understood 100% the volume piece when it came to starters. If you're talking about a 1 to 1.5 liter starter, is that a liter of slurry, or a liter of total volume. I know that I underpitch regularly. But I do it mostly out of fear. I would think that pitching a full liter of liquid (much of which could be heavily oxidized "starter beer" would have a larger impact on the flavor of the final batch. If you're talking about 1 liter total volume but chilling and decanting the starter beer off the slurry, how much should I wind up with? (most of my beers start in the 1.058-1.068 range). If I am making something I know that I need to minimize potential flaws on (a contest beer, or beer for a gift or occasion), I usually go the expensive route and just buy two vials and skip the starter altogether.

2. Dry yeast. I've seen a lot of people advocate using two pouches of dry yeast. But it's stated above that one packet is in the 200 billion cell range recommended for a 1.055 beer. For most of the beers in the range I mention in question 1, do I risk affecting flavor by over pitching with two packets?

Money is not a huge part of the equation for me. I don't want to go broke making beer. But I have enough disposable income for this hobby to spend a few extra dollars here and there to increase the odds that quality is not sacrificed in order to meet some cost goal.

I usually make a starter (albeit much smaller than a liter) for my liquid yeasts because for me it's another part of the process in a hobby I love. But as the flask I currently own is only 500ml, I am limited in space until I drop some of that disposable income on a larger flask.
 

SumnerH

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1. Volume is total volume of the starter. When it's done fermenting, you can cold-crash it and decant the beer off the top, pitching just the slurry. Starters should be in the 1.040 OG range, regardless of the final beer's gravity. For most beers, though, pitching the whole starter is fine--there's going to be active yeast in there to clean up any oxygen left around.

A 500 ml starter isn't doing a whole lot in terms of growing new yeast cells, so that's probably the first thing to consider.

2. I always pitch one packet in a normal beer. The only place I've seen people recommend 2 (leaving aside high-gravity beers) is in older brewing books where they were concerned about whether a packet of yeast was dead or not. Nowadays supplies are a lot more trustworthy; if you buy from a reputable locale and check the manufacturing date, you should have a pretty good idea what you're getting.

Overpitching by a factor of 2 probably isn't a huge deal if you're going for a pretty clean yeast flavor; I'd avoid it personally, but I'd be surprised if it's a massive difference with something like US-05. I'd be more worried with something like a hefe or Belgian strain where I'm going for esters.
 

winvarin

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So if I step up to a 1 liter flask, should that be enough? Make a full 1000 ml of starter medium, or at last 1000ml minus the volume in the white labs vial? Then pitch just the slurry?
 

JuanMoore

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So if I step up to a 1 liter flask, should that be enough? Make a full 1000 ml of starter medium, or at last 1000ml minus the volume in the white labs vial? Then pitch just the slurry?
Yep. You're really just doubling the number of cells, and then pitching the slurry.

Pitching two packets of dry yeast for a medium OG beer probably won't hurt anything, but it's not neccesary either. I usually use one packet for beers under 1.075, and two for beers over. It does help to rehydrate the dry yeast in warm water before pitching. This lessens the stress on the yeast, and also allows you to check it's viability. I've had a few danstar dry yeasts that didn't bloom, but I've yet to get a bad packet of fermentis yeast.
 
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