Top 5 Dry Yeasts?

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Pehlman17

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Even though I've been brewing off and on for about a decade now, I'm one of those guys that started with liquid yeast from the start. And on top of that, I've been pretty much an exclusively White Labs user (for no particular reason I guess). I've been considering venturing into dry yeasts and was wondering what those of you with a lot of experience with dry would recommend. I know there are fewer options when it comes to dry, but that's actually what I find appealing about them. I think we could all do with fewer options to choose from sometimes. (I'm generally a classic styles sort of brewer for what it's worth.)

What would be your go-to for these styles/categories?
1. American Ale
2. English Ale
3. Belgian Ale (Trappist/Abbey styles specifically)
4. All-purpose Lager
5. Random one you just really love.

And if you're willing to share your general process or tips you've found helpful that would be great too!

Cheers!
 

dmtaylor

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1. American Ale - I find S-04 to be very clean, even cleaner than US-05. Notty is a great option too.
2. English Ale - I'm fond of Lallemand London (was ESB). I think S-33 is the same yeast.
3. Belgian Ale - My personal pick here is SafAle BE-134. Several others are good but this is the fave.
4. Lager - Lallemand Diamond is very very good. Fermentis S-189 is nearly as good. Both very clean and rival the liquid options.
5. Notty is a great one to keep around for miscellaneous use. When not sure what to use, maybe use it or S-04. Also Diamond and London. These are all staples for me.

Eventually I want to experiment more with the various Belgian options, and Munich Classic, and Verdant.

Tips: Don't rehydrate, just sprinkle on top. No starter necessary. No need for more than one pack for 5 gallons, except perhaps for a very strong lager (both cold fermentation & high gravity), otherwise no need. Lasts forever in your refrigerator -- don't worry about "expiration dates", they don't apply to dry yeast.
 
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And if you're willing to share your general process or tips you've found helpful that would be great too!

When working with a new strain (or new yeast lab / product line) review the information they offer (product information sheets, other information at their web site, pitch rate calculators, presentation videos, ...).
 
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Pehlman17

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@dmtaylor I went down the rabbit hole of your "Are we overpitching with dry yeast?" thread the other day. Very interesting stuff! I get a bit perplexed at times regarding the actual cell counts contained in these packets. Also, I think I've seen you suggest S-189 when fermenting lager styles on the warmer side, yeah? I've had S-04 in the past and found it was so-so (with the caveat I didn't brew the beer. Just tasted it.), however I've also heard a lot of talk of this yeast being much cleaner in recent years more so than before.
 
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Pehlman17

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@Steveruch What has been your experience with K-97? From my understanding that seems to be a very polarizing strain among the members here.
 

D.B.Moody

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What would be your go-to for these styles/categories?
1. American Ale
2. English Ale
3. Belgian Ale (Trappist/Abbey styles specifically)
4. All-purpose Lager
5. Random one you just really love.

And if you're willing to share your general process or tips you've found helpful that would be great too!
1. US05
2. S33
3. no opinion
4. no opinion
5. Nottingham

I pitch 1 pack on top of the wort at 70 F or below. I do not rehydrate. I do not stir it in.
 
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Miraculix

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1) Nottingham. Works for about everything from hoppy us styles to English bitters. It is clean and floccs like a champ. Clean beer in about three weeks without anything but waiting. It works warm and even close to lager temperature. Greatest allrounder I know of. It might be the case that Notti takes down a little bit more hop flavour and aroma than US05 when flocculating. I only use two additions usually, bittering and dry hopping, so this problem does not affect my beers strongly. My experiments have shown that the dry hopping flavour and aroma is superior to boil additions anyway (at least for non-noble hops).

2) Verdant IPA as it is the only really expressive English dry yeast available. It should also work well for an US-Style IPA or PA, as it is SOOOO SOOO fruity. The downside is, it is SOOOOO fruity. It can be too much for some. I am experimenting with a copitch 50/50 Nottingham/Verdant IPA. If this controls the fruityness, we have an overall winner. This yeast should work wonders in a tropical stout, I am having one in the fermenter right now, will let you know if it works.

3) Lallemand London for English bitters and IPAs. Different flavour than the above, less expressive than Verdant, more expressive than nottingham, does not flocc so well. Good yeast though.

4) US05. It is THE classic. Can do pretty much everything, but does not do anything REALLY well (except for American IPA or PA maybe, i'd still prefer notti over us05). It is a good yeast, hard to make a bad beer with it. Flocculation takes a bit longer, but once it is settled, it sticks to the bottle.

5) I honestly don't know. Maybe Lutra, becasue it can ferment at ANY temperature and stil produce a relatively clean ale-like beer. If you do not have temp control and have summer temperature, it is either lutra or a saison yeast.

edit: Little update on the Nottinghma/Verdant co-pitch: I cannot believe it myself, but there is almost zero fruityness of the verdant left. Notti took over completely. Very interesting. There is a faint fruityness somwhere in the background going on though..... I will try again, next time only half a pack of Nottingham with a full pack of Verdant.
 
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Garage12brewing

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1. American Ale : no opinion never used much of them...
2. English Ale : S-04 or London ale from Lallemand
3. Belgian Ale (Trappist/Abbey styles specifically) : no opinion
4. All-purpose Lager : Diamond lager from Lallemand ( especially fermented under pressure at 20C its magic )
5. Random one you just really love. : Verdant IPA from Lallemand also CBC-1 to bottle high gravity beer or beer that conditioned in the fermeter for a long period...

I started to like using dry yeast when I started to hydrate them ( Lallemand )... I guess the viable cells are greater when you hydrate the yeast before pitching. It takes a few extra minutes that I take when I start cooling the wort...
 

AlexKay

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American ale: Lallemand Nottingham. Safale US-05 is perfectly fine, but I find Nottingham to be cleaner over a wider temperature range, plus better at dealing with high gravity.
English ale: Lallemand London. Only used it a few times, but with very good results.
Belgian ale: Lallemand Abbaye. Just enough but not too much Belgian character.
Lager: I started using Saflager W34/70, and it’s been so good I’ve never been troubled to find anything else.
Other: Safale K97 for altbier, cream ale, gose, and Grodziskie. I’ve also used it in some British styles, despite it being nominally a German ale yeast, and gotten results I’m happy with. Oh, and Lallemand Philly Sour is interesting, and I’ve made some good beers with it.

I still haven’t found a dry wit yeast I’m happy with, or a dry weizen. (I made a good beer with Munich Classic, and then a couple of bad ones.). Most of the other bases are covered.
 
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Pehlman17

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When working with a new strain (or new yeast lab / product line) review the information they offer (product information sheets, other information at their web site, pitch rate calculators, presentation videos, ...).
Definitely! I usually tend to trust the manufacturers recommendations on most strains. I just know some people have some “off-label” techniques with some strains that they’ve had success with.
 

Miraculix

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Little update on the Nottinghma/Verdant co-pitch: I cannot believe it myself, but there is almost zero fruityness of the verdant left. Notti took over completely. Very interesting. There is afaint fruityness somwhere in the background going on though..... I will try again, next time only half a pack of Nottingham with a full pack of Verdant. I wonder how my ropical stout is going to be... pitched that on the yeast cake of the bitter I am just drinking..... The kräusen looked much more like verdant though, it generates this massive Kräusen.

Btw. the beer is like 95% of perfectly clear, in under two weeks after pitching... Nottingham ftw!
 

Spundit

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Fun topic!

1. American Ale : US-05 at 66ish. I suspect there may be better options but I have not done much experimenting.
2. English Ale : S-04 (clean) or Verdant (some fruit and vanilla). Both are great.
3. Belgian Ale: ?
4. All-purpose Lager : W 34/70. Really really good.
5. Random: Verdant is great in NEIPA (I think its Boddingtons), Belle Saison makes a good cider
 

TheMadKing

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US-05
Lallemand ESB
T-58 (I like the flavor of Belle Saison better, but it is a diastaticus strain and I got an infection from it once so I'm gun shy of using it)
W34/70, you can ferment it really warm and quick and still get a clean lager out of it
Random Lallemand Koln Kolsch makes a fantastic fruity kolsch and a good NEIPA
 

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1. Us-05 I've read many dissatisfied reviews of this yeast on this site but I'm always extremely happy with the results I get from it. It's nothing fancy (that's why it's so great) but does the trick for American ales

2. Haven't had a good result with brittish ale dry yeast. I've tried s-04, but have had tart results...

3. For a golden strong or triple I like mangrove Jack's M41 Belgian ale. I just recently brewed a Belgian IPA with BE-256 With good results.

4. Haven't done a lager yet but my next brew will be one with 34/70

5. The only dry yeast I've had success with heffewizen is mangrove Jack's M20. I also quite liked my Belgian wit with mangrove Jack's M21.

Note: I've only used dry yeast in my home brewery. Brewing already takes up a significant amount of time, and dry yeast without need of a starter (or even rehydration) is a time saver.
 
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Pehlman17

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Note: I've only used dry yeast in my home brewery. Brewing already takes up a significant amount of time, and dry yeast without need of a starter (or even rehydration) is a time saver.
I’ve noticed quite a few recommend dry pitching. I think many of the yeast manufacturers suggest the same now. I definitely like the idea of not having to oxygenate or make a starter. I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?

I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm. Does this help with potential lag? Or at this point is it just not worth worrying about?
 

Miraculix

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I’ve noticed quite a few recommend dry pitching. I think many of the yeast manufacturers suggest the same now. I definitely like the idea of not having to oxygenate or make a starter. I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?

I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm. Does this help with potential lag? Or at this point is it just not worth worrying about?
I pitch dry in general. Lag time can be decreased considerably by pitching two packs. Don't fear over pitching, this doesn't really exist.

Lag time can be eliminated completely by directly pitching the next beer on the resulting yeast cake on bottling day. My current beer started bubbling in about one minute after dumping the wort on the cake.
 

Velnerj

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I’ve noticed quite a few recommend dry pitching. I think many of the yeast manufacturers suggest the same now. I definitely like the idea of not having to oxygenate or make a starter. I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?

I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm. Does this help with potential lag? Or at this point is it just not worth worrying about?
My lag time is usually 24-36 hours. That might bother some brewers but it always finishes in 2 weeks or less. If you're sanitation practices are good you don't have to worry about lag.

My extra lag time might be due to the fact that I pitch slightly below fermentation temperature and let it rise with yeast activity.
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

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1. American Ale - Laerdale
2. English Ale - Midtbust
3. Belgian Ale (Trappist/Abbey styles specifically) - Jovaru
4. All-purpose Lager - Skare
5. Random one you just really love. - Laerdale again
 

Yesfan

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I'm going to flip the script. Which dry yeast do you all prefer for my top 5 beers? I'll list commercial examples, to try to narrow it down.

1) IPA (Bell's Two Hearted and/or Founders All Day IPA)
2) Stout (Guinness Extra and Foreign Stout)
3) Dunkel (Yee-Haw or, for more traditional Warsteiner)
4) ESB (Redhook)
5) Brown Ale (Redhook and Newcastle)

There's some local breweries' versions of these I like better, but I tried to list something that probably could be found anywhere.

Honestly, I've not brewed much outside US-05, S-04, and Notty. I tend to stay with those yeasts. I used 34/70 on an Oktoberfest that was ok. I've got a German Alt beer that I used K-97 on. It's good enough to not throw out if that tells you anything. I think that was more me than the yeast. My luck with German beers hasn't been great.
 

Spundit

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I’ve noticed quite a few recommend dry pitching. I think many of the yeast manufacturers suggest the same now. I definitely like the idea of not having to oxygenate or make a starter. I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?

I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm. Does this help with potential lag? Or at this point is it just not worth worrying about?
For the vast majority of my brews I just pitch one packet of dry yeast into the wort. I usually see activity in 18hours or less.

Exceptions... I will pitch 2 packets into big beers (OG over 1.080) and lagers when fermenting at traditional Temps (50-55). Fermenting at lager Temps sometimes increases the lag time.

I also use a yeast nutrient with ciders otherwise I have noticed a longer lag time (24-48 hrs).
 

balrog

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I like dried Voss for tangerine/dark-orange hoppy beer.
I was unimpressed with Lallemand Koln and K97 when compared to my fav WY1007 but they were passable
Notty to me was slightly metallic when fermented near 60F, and tart when done in the upper 60s, but it clears so much better than S05

Not really a screaming indictment, nor rabid praise for anything, but I'm still learning this stuff at only 230 batches, and 8 yrs, into this hobby obsession brewing.
 

dmtaylor

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I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?

I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm. Does this help with potential lag? Or at this point is it just not worth worrying about?

No lag time. Unlike liquid yeast, dry yeast is always very healthy vigorous yeast.

Rehydration and Go-Ferm and any babying of dry yeast is a waste of time IMO.
 

dmtaylor

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I'm going to flip the script. Which dry yeast do you all prefer for my top 5 beers? I'll list commercial examples, to try to narrow it down.

1) IPA (Bell's Two Hearted and/or Founders All Day IPA)
2) Stout (Guinness Extra and Foreign Stout)
3) Dunkel (Yee-Haw or, for more traditional Warsteiner)
4) ESB (Redhook)
5) Brown Ale (Redhook and Newcastle)

There's some local breweries' versions of these I like better, but I tried to list something that probably could be found anywhere.

Honestly, I've not brewed much outside US-05, S-04, and Notty. I tend to stay with those yeasts. I used 34/70 on an Oktoberfest that was ok. I've got a German Alt beer that I used K-97 on. It's good enough to not throw out if that tells you anything. I think that was more me than the yeast. My luck with German beers hasn't been great.

See my recommendations above, same ones apply.

I am NOT a fan of K-97 at all. Bready, yeasty, murky, for the very long term = no thanks.
 
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Pehlman17

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No lag time. Unlike liquid yeast, dry yeast is always very healthy vigorous yeast.
Not to stray too far from the original topic, but I suppose my other question/concern regarding dry yeast would be how often I hear people mention weird unwanted characteristics that often pop up with these dry strains. Especially when speaking in the context of a dry strain compared to its liquid counterpart. Often it’s mentioned as a form of tartness, a sharpness, or a fruit component. I feel like the same sort of feedback doesn’t pop up when discussing/comparing liquid strains. However, I can totally see this being a remnant of the “liquid is better than dry” stereotype of the old days. If anyone still finds this to be true however, are there process-related solutions or ways to avoid these troublesome characteristics of some dry strains?
 
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I also still see recommendations for not just rehydrating, but also for using a product like Go-Ferm.
I use RO water + sprinkled yeast + beer yeast nutrient that contains zinc (link). I haven't tried it side-by-side as the beer yeast nutrient is inexpensive. On the other hand, if you get good results without beer yeast nutrient, it's one less thing to deal with.

how often I hear people mention weird unwanted characteristics that often pop up with these dry strains
Those topics are interesting. I'm not convinced that I taste what they taste; but everyone tastes beer differently.

are there process-related solutions or ways to avoid these troublesome characteristics of some dry strains?
Some of the topics I read also talked about differences in the yeast when re-pitching. Brewers would get the undesirable flavor in the initial pitch (yeast was dry) but not in the re-pitches (yeast was liquid).

I’m curious about the lag time with dry yeast though. Has this been an issue for anybody?
I do not record lag time for my batches. At around 65F, they start within 24 hours; for some strains I try at 60F, with 48 hours.
 

Yesfan

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See my recommendations above, same ones apply.

I am NOT a fan of K-97 at all. Bready, yeasty, murky, for the very long term = no thanks.


That's a start. Huge thanks. This will probably be what I keep on hand for my house beers.

Interesting a lot of you all are sprinkling vs rehydrating. My rehydrating process isn't too long compared to suggestions I found on YouTube. I'll probably go back to sprinkling on the next few batches and see what happens.

David Heath, who I have been watching a lot of, seems to do a bit of both. Once he's cooled to pitching temps, he transfers and pitches at the same time, so the wert is getting aerated and yeast rehydrated at the same time.
 
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I keep the following on hand:
US-05
04
BRY-97
Belle Saison
London ESB
Abbaye
T58

I started with Wyeast 12 years ago but I no longer have a convenient LHBS and I’m very hesitant to order liquid yeast online.
My LAST purchase from Northern Brewer arrive late and the interior temp of the package was almost 100°F despite having paid for Overnight FEDEX!
The included “ice pack” was half the size of the yeast packs with no insulation!
 

dmtaylor

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Not to stray too far from the original topic, but I suppose my other question/concern regarding dry yeast would be how often I hear people mention weird unwanted characteristics that often pop up with these dry strains. Especially when speaking in the context of a dry strain compared to its liquid counterpart. Often it’s mentioned as a form of tartness, a sharpness, or a fruit component. I feel like the same sort of feedback doesn’t pop up when discussing/comparing liquid strains. However, I can totally see this being a remnant of the “liquid is better than dry” stereotype of the old days. If anyone still finds this to be true however, are there process-related solutions or ways to avoid these troublesome characteristics of some dry strains?

This is a great point. I find that in general, yes, it is true -- as a very general thing, for whatever reason, many dry strains do tend to lend an additional tartness or yeastiness that you don't usually get from most liquid strains. It is a common occurrence, that only seems to happen some of the time, to some dry strains, not all. On the other hand.... if you have experienced this in any strain several years ago, I suggest trying the same strain again. It seems in recent years, this stuff hardly ever happens anymore, compared with 5+ years ago. I honestly believe that the dry yeast manufacturing and packaging have truly gotten that much better in recent years.
 

grampamark

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I only use dry yeast, partly for convenience, but mainly because I’m far enough off the beaten path that I can add a day, or two, to the estimated delivery time, in a place that’s as hot as Phoenix in July, as cold as Fairbanks in January, and delivery trucks aren’t climate controlled.

I went through my yeast stash before posting and found US-05, S-04, Nottingham, K97, BRY 97, Munich Classic, 34/70, and Diamond Lager. And, way in the back, a pack of T-58 which expired in 2013. I’m tempted to make a starter with it and if it takes off, brew a Wit.

If I had to limit myself to 5 dry yeasts I could probably brew everything I like to drink with Nottingham, K 97, BRY 97, Munich Classic and 34/70. If push came to shove, I could use Notty for ales, 34/70 for lagers and Munich Classic for wheat ales. I don’t brew Belgians; never developed a taste for them.
 

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1. American Ale - US05
2. English Ale -Liberty bell
3. Belgian Ale - no comment
4. All-purpose -no comment
5. Random one you just really love - Verdant
 
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For those who do follow yeast lab / product brand information, it may be reasonable to consider the web site to be the primary source of current information and the sachet as a 'point in time' summary.

At the Fermentis site (link) with emphasis added:
Note that you could find different temperature recommendations on our 11,5grs sachets or on an old version of our TDS. [..] For sustainable reasons, we made the choice to use our remaining stock of printed sachets before we re-print new ones, this is the reason why you could find differences on usage recommendations between sachets (or older versions of our TDS) and our website.
 

bwible

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I’ve also been a liquid yeast guy since I started 25 years ago. I use Wyeast 99% of the time. So following with interest.

The one dry yeast I have used and really like is Saflager 34/70. My club did a presentation at one of our meetings on warm fermenting this yeast at 65 degrees. I tried it and loved it. Eliminates the need for the controlled 50 degree primary place. You still have to lager though. Just primary doesn’t have to be 50 degrees.
 
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1. US-05
2. S-04
3. S-33 for Wit only ( it is a strong starter and quits early, so with bitter and sweet orange peel and some residual sweetness this hits the spot on this 1 style for me,
, think no orange slice needed aka blue moon add on) otherwise liquid
4. I don't typically do lagers unless I'm gonna hybrid with liquid for flavor profile and co-pitch with a US-05 so I don't have to make a starter.
5. Kveik Voss or Lutra because who doesn't want the option of grain to keg in a week or less. Got to mention Verdant also as I like it as an option for NEIPA's.

Edit: I rehydrated for years but eventually switched to just sprinkling in the fermenter and pumping the wort in on top splashing it around with the same results and less effort. I do use yeast nutrient every batch dry or liquid.
 
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Pehlman17

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Edit: I rehydrated for years but eventually switched to just sprinkling in the fermenter and pumping the wort in on top splashing it around with the same results and less effort. I do use yeast nutrient every batch dry or liquid.
I was just thinking about this very idea! I wondered if you could just empty the packet into the fermenter and just transfer the cooled wort on top of it. My ground water here in SoCal is fairly warm and my beer is typically still around 80F when it goes into the fermenter. I usually let it cool in my fermentation chamber until it’s below 70 and then I’ll pitch. For most ales, would there be any foreseeable problem with pumping 80 degree wort over dry yeast and just putting the whole thing in my ferm chamber set to 66F?
 
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