Dry yeast vs liquid

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martyjmc

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What yeast is best to use? Wyeast, dry yeast or white labs? Should I invest in a starter kit?
 

Kaz

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Either work great. Dry yeast is fine for most 'normal' brews. Fermentis makes dry yeasts for American Ales, English Ales, Belgians, Wheats and a couple of lager yeasts. That being said, the liquid yeasts give you a little more to choose from and there are some liquid strains that you just can't get dry. If you go dry, make sure you re-hydrate per the manufacturer's instructions. If you go liquid, a starter is a very good way to go. The starter gets the yeast active and lets you know that you have viable yeast. The starter can also be used to step up the yeast cell count so you can get more bang for your buck. I suggest you take a look at Mrmalty.com and the pitching rate calculator to get an idea of how much yeast you should be pitching.
 

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If you are not set up to make starters, then dry yeast is the best. It's the easiest to use and keeps the longest.

However, dry yeast does not provide the flexibility of liquid yeasts. There are many, many more liquid strains than dry. Having said that, the selection of available dry yeasts is sufficient to satisfy many brewers.

I've used both many times.
 

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You'll have people saying either dry, or liquid, or even different makers/labs are better than others. IMO, pick the yeast that will enhance your brew.

I've been using liquid yeast for my beers from the start and enjoying what I get. I've been using dry yeast for my meads (and other fermentations) except for one batch that's in process. I started that last one on 12/5 (target is 21%, using Wyeast Eau de Vie yeast) and it's STILL going. More than one movement per minute.

While I've used Wyeast for every beer so far, I do have a batch on deck (in the line-up) that will be using a White Labs yeast (099 'super high gravity') since it's destined for the 20% range (planning to age for a long time too). I have a second vial of that yeast that I'll be using in a mead (step feeding that to get where I want it, which IS 25%).

One of the reasons I've gone for Wyeast for virtually all my brews is the depth of information I can easily grab (from their web site).

All that being said, I do make starters for my brews. I usually consult the Mr. Malty site and see what size starter I should make. I check a couple of other calculators too, and pick either a happy medium, or as large as I can. I also help my yeast along with nutrient (in the starter and actual brew) and pure O2 (in the brew, before pitching the yeast slurry in).

IMO, even a simple starter is better than nothing, and it's the easiest to make. You just need to give it more time than if you use a stir plate (which I do use). I typically plan to make my starter a day, or two, before the brew day. That way, it can finish and I can cold crash it to concentrate the slurry in the bottom of the flask. I can then decant the spent starter wort, leaving enough to get the cake into solution. I can then pitch that slurry into my oxygenated beer wort and let them have at it. Going with this method, I typically get active fermentation sign in 8-12 hours, often less (but it isn't checked until then). I'm not talking about just airlock movement, but also temperature increases of the fermenting beer. Although pretty soon I'll be able to verify it's going with just airlock movements since there will be no other place for the CO2 to escape from. :D
 

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I would definitely recommend starters. I did quite a few brews when I first started with both dry and liquid with good results. Since I started using starters the quality of my brews has really improved. I think they are cleaner and more refined. I always use a starter now and it pretty inexpensive to get started. Pardon the pun! Oh yea, if you go with starters get a blow off tube!
 
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i use both dry and liquid, depending on what i'm brewing. there's a lot of variety when it comes to liquid yeast, pretty much any yeast you want comes in liquid form from one or both of the manufacturers. i use liquid the most, namely Wyeast, and i always make a starter with liquid. as for dry, some of the classic strains come in dry form; s-05 is the chico strain, s-04 is whitbread (english), etc., and most of the time i'm choosing one of those strains, i'll go for the dry yeast because of cost and convenience. i don't really think one is better than the other, both dry and liquid will make great beer if you give it the proper environment to do so.
 

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I use both. For simple IPA's US-05 is a good choice. Easy to use. Another good thing about dry is you can pull off spur of the moment brew days.

Liquid yeast does offer more variety. I am really liking 1272 for my Pale ales ian IPAs. I brew a lot of Belgians and nothing in dry gives the right flavor profile. Liquid does require a little more planning to make a starter in advance but it is easy..

A stir plate is a good investment. Stir Starter stir plate is avout 40 $ and makes making starters a breeze, but you can make a starter without one by just shaking the flask evry time you walk by.
 

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I use both also. I have just started to make starters and I haven't really noticed a difference. I started to the habit of making starters when I had a 'SmackPack' lying around my fridge for a year and I wanted to make sure it was still good.

Just this weekend, I had to make a starter because I wanted to save yeast (Wyeast 3068). I was making a batch of Apfelwein using 3068 instead of Montrachet but I also wanted to use the yeast in future Weizenbock recipes, so I made a starter so I could pitch half and save the other half. Liquid yeast is expensive and i highly recommend learning how to wash yeast.
 
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martyjmc

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Thanks to everyone for all the valuable info. I guess I'll be buying a starter kit then.
 
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Thanks to everyone for all the valuable info. I guess I'll be buying a starter kit then.
you won't regret it. making starters not only helps with liquid yeast you buy, you can also culture yeast from commercial beer and build up starters appropriate for pitching a batch of beer and you can start reusing the yeast you buy. it's a great investment. :mug:
 

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Thanks to everyone for all the valuable info. I guess I'll be buying a starter kit then.
If you plan to stick with this hobsession, get something decent right off the bat. People often regret they didn't get a better stirplate, or a bigger flask, or a heavy-duty stirbar.
 
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martyjmc

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osagedr said:
If you plan to stick with this hobsession, get something decent right off the bat. People often regret they didn't get a better stirplate, or a bigger flask, or a heavy-duty stirbar.
Ok! Now I gotta ask......What all do I need so I don't sell myself short and regret it later like I did going with extract instead of all grain? :)
 

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Welcome to the Brewvana... Where there's always something great on tap or in glass. :ban:

Where to go next depends on where you wish to focus on next. IMO, get yeast wrangling down. At the same time you can start experimenting with your own recipes. If you're not already using software to help figure things out, get some.

Personally, once I got the stirplate (one from Hanna) I was able to make starters faster, and smaller (and still get the colony size I needed/wanted). I'm getting ready to build another stirplate, so that I have two. Getting the pure O2 setup was another boon. Then setting up my keg mash tun and going with Blichmann burners. :rockin: A refractometer will be your best friend pre-fermentation (and post if you use the software).

Read a few of the more choice books while you're at it. Yeast is a great one, as is Designing Great Beers.

Try some other fermentations such as mead. Do yourself a favor there though, ditch the methods listed in the Joy of Homebrewing book. Read up on the more current techniques followed on the Got Mead? forums. Irish moss/whirlfloc has NO place in mead, as does heat. Keep it under 110F and the mead will thank you with extreme greatness.

Once you get over the fascination of watching your beer/mead ferment through clear carboys, or get over the low cost of buckets, start looking into stainless steel fermenting. You don't need to go for the budget wrecking conical fermenters though. I'm using sanke kegs with great results/success.

I started off bottling my brews, but have since moved over to kegging. There's benefits to both, you need to decide which way to go, or if/when to transition. You don't need to be 100% in either method, you can do both if you decide to. Personally, I like the level of control over the carbonation that kegging (and force carbonating with CO2, but not rapid force carbonating) gives me. I can pretty much nail the CO2 volumes I want in a keg simply by knowing it's temperature (easily done) and referencing a chart to get how much pressure/gas to give the keg. Give it a couple/few weeks and BAM, you've got it nailed. No more worries about bottle bombs, over-, or under-carbonated brews either.

There's more that you can do, but you need to decide where to focus first. It could take years, decades, or even lifetimes to get to it all (depending on how old you are now)...
 

osagedr

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Ok! Now I gotta ask......What all do I need so I don't sell myself short and regret it later like I did going with extract instead of all grain? :)
I'm pretty lucky since a buddy runs a lab so I got an old industrial-strength stirplate, 2L flask, 6L flask, and stirbar for nothing. The 6L flask only gets used for huge lager starters (but I mostly use dry yeast for lagers then repitch slurry). Get a stirplate that will last, a bigger flask than you think you'll need, and a big stirbar for it. I also have a tiny stirbar I use for rehydrating some types of dry yeast.

To be honest I think a great investment, maybe not better than a starter setup but still great, is an O2 system.
 
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martyjmc

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Well here is the scoop. I bought an extract kit with all bottling stuff that goes with it and have brewed a few pretty good beers and a couple of bad ones. I now wish I had gone to all grain but I think I have a lot more to learn before I go that route (maybe next year). I just bought a keg system a couple of weeks ago and still need the fridge to complete it (two tap system). I am gonna make e couple of batches in about a week as soon as I get the ingredients. I will be mostly kegging from here on out. How difficult is this yeast culturing thing? I am a maintenance tech at a factory and am somewhat handy at figuring stuff out (until I have had a few too many). Thanks again for all the valuable info!
 
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martyjmc

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Golddiggie said:
Welcome to the Brewvana... Where there's always something great on tap or in glass. :ban:

Where to go next depends on where you wish to focus on next. IMO, get yeast wrangling down. At the same time you can start experimenting with your own recipes. If you're not already using software to help figure things out, get some.

Personally, once I got the stirplate (one from Hanna) I was able to make starters faster, and smaller (and still get the colony size I needed/wanted). I'm getting ready to build another stirplate, so that I have two. Getting the pure O2 setup was another boon. Then setting up my keg mash tun and going with Blichmann burners. :rockin: A refractometer will be your best friend pre-fermentation (and post if you use the software).

Read a few of the more choice books while you're at it. Yeast is a great one, as is Designing Great Beers.

Try some other fermentations such as mead. Do yourself a favor there though, ditch the methods listed in the Joy of Homebrewing book. Read up on the more current techniques followed on the Got Mead? forums. Irish moss/whirlfloc has NO place in mead, as does heat. Keep it under 110F and the mead will thank you with extreme greatness.

Once you get over the fascination of watching your beer/mead ferment through clear carboys, or get over the low cost of buckets, start looking into stainless steel fermenting. You don't need to go for the budget wrecking conical fermenters though. I'm using sanke kegs with great results/success.

I started off bottling my brews, but have since moved over to kegging. There's benefits to both, you need to decide which way to go, or if/when to transition. You don't need to be 100% in either method, you can do both if you decide to. Personally, I like the level of control over the carbonation that kegging (and force carbonating with CO2, but not rapid force carbonating) gives me. I can pretty much nail the CO2 volumes I want in a keg simply by knowing it's temperature (easily done) and referencing a chart to get how much pressure/gas to give the keg. Give it a couple/few weeks and BAM, you've got it nailed. No more worries about bottle bombs, over-, or under-carbonated brews either.

There's more that you can do, but you need to decide where to focus first. It could take years, decades, or even lifetimes to get to it all (depending on how old you are now)...
OK I just ordered a magnetic stir plate and 2L flask. I read about and watched some videos of yeast starters and I think I will be ready to use it for my next batch. Is the pure O2 setup for aerating the wort? And if so is it a whole lot better than a drill attached mixer? I have a 6.5 gallon glass carboy and a 5 gallon carboy. I am going to read the books that you suggested. I really appreciate all the information, help and advice that you and everyone on here has provided!
 
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martyjmc

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Golddiggie said:
Welcome to the Brewvana... Where there's always something great on tap or in glass. :ban:

Where to go next depends on where you wish to focus on next. IMO, get yeast wrangling down. At the same time you can start experimenting with your own recipes. If you're not already using software to help figure things out, get some.

Personally, once I got the stirplate (one from Hanna) I was able to make starters faster, and smaller (and still get the colony size I needed/wanted). I'm getting ready to build another stirplate, so that I have two. Getting the pure O2 setup was another boon. Then setting up my keg mash tun and going with Blichmann burners. :rockin: A refractometer will be your best friend pre-fermentation (and post if you use the software).

Read a few of the more choice books while you're at it. Yeast is a great one, as is Designing Great Beers.

Try some other fermentations such as mead. Do yourself a favor there though, ditch the methods listed in the Joy of Homebrewing book. Read up on the more current techniques followed on the Got Mead? forums. Irish moss/whirlfloc has NO place in mead, as does heat. Keep it under 110F and the mead will thank you with extreme greatness.

Once you get over the fascination of watching your beer/mead ferment through clear carboys, or get over the low cost of buckets, start looking into stainless steel fermenting. You don't need to go for the budget wrecking conical fermenters though. I'm using sanke kegs with great results/success.

I started off bottling my brews, but have since moved over to kegging. There's benefits to both, you need to decide which way to go, or if/when to transition. You don't need to be 100% in either method, you can do both if you decide to. Personally, I like the level of control over the carbonation that kegging (and force carbonating with CO2, but not rapid force carbonating) gives me. I can pretty much nail the CO2 volumes I want in a keg simply by knowing it's temperature (easily done) and referencing a chart to get how much pressure/gas to give the keg. Give it a couple/few weeks and BAM, you've got it nailed. No more worries about bottle bombs, over-, or under-carbonated brews either.

There's more that you can do, but you need to decide where to focus first. It could take years, decades, or even lifetimes to get to it all (depending on how old you are now)...
I have also been using beer smith and just bought I brewmaster for my iPad.
 

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OK I just ordered a magnetic stir plate and 2L flask. I read about and watched some videos of yeast starters and I think I will be ready to use it for my next batch. Is the pure O2 setup for aerating the wort? And if so is it a whole lot better than a drill attached mixer? I have a 6.5 gallon glass carboy and a 5 gallon carboy. I am going to read the books that you suggested. I really appreciate all the information, help and advice that you and everyone on here has provided!
IMO/IME, using pure O2 to oxygenate your brew wort is much better than any mechanical method. Using atmospheric O2 concentrations, you'll be limited to 8ppm of O2 in your wort. Using pure O2 I believe the limit is in the neighborhood of 20ppm+... Plus, using pure O2 is much less work and effort to get to any level. You can get an O2 flow meter regulator (get one for a standard O2 tank, not the medical type) can be had pretty cheap from either ebay or Amazon. I've seen them listed for $20-$30 on both sites.

Making starters is easy. 100g/1000L of water and you're set. Figure out the starter size you need (Mr. Malty site) and go to it. The most difficult part is getting a decent/good vortex going in the flask. But, that can be easily done with the right shape/size of stirbar. There are other tricks posted in the forums you can pick up too.

I really like the O2 wand setup from Williams. I actually have two wands right now, one at home and one over at my brew-buddy's place. I have two 20cubic foot O2 tanks, one at each location, feeding the wands. Sure, you could get away with cheaper options, but why? The stainless wand on the O2 stone makes it EASY to get the stone to the bottom of your fermenter (or as close as you want it to be) without having to worry about it lifting (such as a stone on a vinyl tube).

As for "brewmaster for my iPad"... I don't have an ipad and won't have one unless it's given to me. I have two tablets already (I'm in the IT field). One runs Windows 7 Pro the other the Android OS (up to 3.2.1 currently, waiting for ICS to be released to it). With the Windows 7 powered one, I can run BeerSmith on it, sharing my recipes directly between it and my home tower.
 
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Ok. Thanks again! I guess I'll be looking into investing in an O2 system next then. I like beersmith better than the iPad app but it's also helpful.
 

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Ok. Thanks again! I guess I'll be looking into investing in an O2 system next then. I like beersmith better than the iPad app but it's also helpful.
Parts for an O2 setup that won't make you replace tanks/bottles often (depending on how much you push through the bottle you get from HD, it could be gone in <10 batches)...

O2 flow meter regulator options:
0-4lpm

0-8lpm


O2 stone on wand
Tubing to connect wand to regulator

O2 tank: Check your local welding gas suppliers/stores. A 20 cubic foot tank usually runs about $100 for the first one (with gas in it). Refills are typically tank swaps, so you don't need to worry about getting them re-certified later.
You should also be able to get a brass fitting to go from the 3/16" ID tubing to the threaded fitting on the regulators listed above. Shouldn't be more than a dollar or three.

Look at this as a set of hardware that won't need to be changed. Once you have the O2 tank, it's just a matter of swapping it as they become empty. With how little O2 you'll use from each tank you should get a lot of batches oxygenated before you need to swap it.
 
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martyjmc

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Golddiggie said:
Parts for an O2 setup that won't make you replace tanks/bottles often (depending on how much you push through the bottle you get from HD, it could be gone in <10 batches)...

O2 flow meter regulator options:
Video Link: http://www.amazon.com/Oxygen-Regulator-CGA540-colored-protector/dp/B006980H1O/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2810UNJ8SQHNW&colid=25ZQ256WPSZH4

Video Link: http://www.amazon.com/Oxygen-Regulator-0-8-Liters/dp/B004UTRP3W/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1Y60HA5JYCFJ9&colid=25ZQ256WPSZH4

O2 stone on wand
Tubing to connect wand to regulator

O2 tank: Check your local welding gas suppliers/stores. A 20 cubic foot tank usually runs about $100 for the first one (with gas in it). Refills are typically tank swaps, so you don't need to worry about getting them re-certified later.
You should also be able to get a brass fitting to go from the 3/16" ID tubing to the threaded fitting on the regulators listed above. Shouldn't be more than a dollar or three.

Look at this as a set of hardware that won't need to be changed. Once you have the O2 tank, it's just a matter of swapping it as they become empty. With how little O2 you'll use from each tank you should get a lot of batches oxygenated before you need to swap it.
You just oxygenate for a few minutes before pitching the yeast?
 
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martyjmc

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This stuff never ends. I will be buying a refractometer and an O2 system very soon. I love doing this stuff! At this rate I will be building a brewing building with all the bells and whistles in a few short years! That's just wishful thinking on my part.
 
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martyjmc

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Golddiggie said:
I normally do 1-1.5lpm for 60 seconds in a 'normal' OG batch (for me, that's about 1.060-1.070). Bigger brews get 1.5-2lpm for 60-90 seconds, depending on the OG and yeast.
Sounds easy enough! TY
 

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It's super easy this way... Plus less chance of F'ing up your back. :D

The only thing stopping me from having my brew shed/shanty/shack is I'm renting where I live and don't have a place to put it. Otherwise, I'd either have one, or it would be going up this year. :D
 
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martyjmc

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Only thing stopping me is money......I have three boys and two of them are chips off the old block as my dad used to say and it cost me money to help them get on their own feet. I have a little over an acre of land in the middle of nowhere so have room for the building.......more money and time and research. I am building a bar in my garage right now! I will post some pics soon. Building mostly from the scrap stuff I can scrounge up!
 
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