White Labs vs. Wyeast

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dcott

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So far I've been using primarily white labs vials. Today I tried out a new LHBS (shoutout to "myLHBS" in falls church VA), and they only carry Wyeast, so I decided to give it a try. Haven't pitched yet, but wanted to see what the general consensus is as to which is the better/more attenuative/easier/more reliable.

My very first batch was a dry yeast and I wasn't totally happy with it, but maybe I didn't use it correctly (didn't use a starter or rehydrate, just pitched into primary)

I'm still a n00b, so I'm just curious as to what everyone here uses.
 

brewt00l

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I vote all of the above.

There are fantastic dry strains and both white labs and wyeast offer some great liquid yeast.
 

Rick500

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I prefer White Labs only because I'd rather handle White Labs' vials than Wyeast's plastic/foil packages. But as far as the yeast, I like either just as well as the other.

I've only used Nottingham dry yeast on one batch, and it was great.

So no problems with any of it, ever, really.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I've used Notty and White Labs just once, but Wyeast many times...and I honestly think they are all good products. However, I like the fact that Wyeast smack packs make a small starter and the yeast is already in production mode by the time you pitch it. I've made a starter before with the White Labs, but I felt like this was just another area I was risking contamination. The Wyeast bag is all closed up, no risk of infection there.
 

shertz

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All are good products. The only time I favor Wyeast over WL is when ordering through the mail during the hot summer. The smack pack will let you know if the yeast is dead or not before you make a starter. The smack pack really isn't a starter because it probably won't give you enough cells.
 

carnevoodoo

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WL and Wyeast are both producing awesome strains. I used Wyeast for the first time on my flanders red because I wanted the Roselare pack. My LHBS carries WL (I think primarily because they're a SD company and secondly because their production brewery uses WL most often too.)

There are a few great dry yeast types on the market as well. I recently used Nottingham and it was pretty great. I find that the limitation in dry yeast is the availability of different strains.
 

beesy

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have used all and they have all worked well. although the smack pack may not be a true starter, should be good to go until you get to some big beers. +1 to the smack pack letting you know the yeast are active. We have 2 lhbs in town, one carries wl and one wyeast. the one that carries wl doesn;t seem to restock often, and has a small selection compared to the other, so i usually end up using wyeast. :mug:
 

Grinder12000

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The smack pack will let you know if the yeast is dead or not before you make a starter
How is that ????

I just had a pack that never ballooned at the 10 hour mark - still pitched and wort is finally starting to ferment after 40 hours.
 

digunderground

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I am just more familiar with whitelabs and most of my reliable beers use them. Also White Labs has a service that you can redeem yeast labels for yeast or other stuff. So for me White Labs.. but both are just as good as the other.

-DIG
 

TimBrewz

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They are both great yeasts, its mostly the packaging that sets them apart. I like Wyeast better because of the Smack Pack, and I prefer Wyeast 1056 American Ale over WLP Calif. Ale, they are supposed to be the same, but my experience is that 1056 is more versatile over a wider temp. range. Just my observations? Also, with Wyeast-my starters have a head start, and that shaves time and worry off my brew.
 

shertz

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How is that ????

I just had a pack that never ballooned at the 10 hour mark - still pitched and wort is finally starting to ferment after 40 hours.

I certainly wouldn't pitch a smack pack if it didn't expand. You may have had success this time, but why take a chance? I would have waited for that pack to expand or else got other yeast. And 40 hours would have had me going nuts, not to mention exposing the wort to those nasties.
 

Jamo99

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I like Wyeast over White Labs because when I open the vial after shaking, I always get spritzed with that yeast for some reason.
 

MNBugeater

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I've no loyalty to either. The vials are just more convenient to me to dump in a flask when making a starter. I have used both and like both. The smack packs arent a starter. They both claim they are pitchable but also encourage making starters.

To the OP: You don't make a starter with dry yeast. If you arent making a starter with liquid yeast, consider it. You will notice the results.
 

ajf

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Which is better? They are both excellent, but if you want a particular yeast that is only provided by one of them, then that one is better.
Which is more attenuative? That is determined purely by the strain of yeast, not the manufacturer, and high attenuation is not necessarily a good thing.
Which is easier? White Labs is easier if you have difficulty in smacking a smack pack. Wyeast is easier if you can't unscrew a vial without spraying yeast all over the place. Dry yeast is easier if you can't (or don't want to) make a starter.
Which is more reliable? They are both equally reliable IMHO. If you're buying in the LHBS, check the date stamps. Old yeast works (and works well), but it can take a lot of TLC and time to get it going.

-a.
 

hook_dupin

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I'm a huge fan of Wyeast Activator packs. I smack it right after I start my mash and its ready to pitch when the wort is cool enough. Every other liquid yeast product requires some kind of starter.
 

Brew-boy

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Both are great products but I prefer Whitelabs over Wyeast. Easier from me to just pour the vial into my starter, plus you get free cool stuff like free yeast when you send your vials back to whitelabs.
 

Bopper

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I prefer White Labs only because I'd rather handle White Labs' vials than Wyeast's plastic/foil packages. But as far as the yeast, I like either just as well as the other.
QUOTE]

+1 - I usually buy white labs just because I like handling the container better - I don't have to get the scissors out to open it and I don't need to deal with breaking the inner pack. Both are equally good yeasts - I do use wyeast sometimes but I just prefer White Labs... It's kind of like picking between Coke and Pepsi. Both are excellent products but people tend to stick with one they prefer.
 

ArcaneXor

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I usually prefer Wyeast for liquid and Fermentis for dry yeasts, but I spread the love and buy the occasional White Labs vial. I like the concept of the smack pack, since it gives me an indication of how healthy the yeast is before I even start the brew, especially during the hot summer months... if the pack doesn't inflate after several hours, I know that the yeast might be mostly dead or severely stressed and needs lots of love (and likely several days) to be nourished back to health before pitching. With White Labs vials, the only indication is color, which is a less reliable guide.
 

carnevoodoo

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I certainly wouldn't pitch a smack pack if it didn't expand. You may have had success this time, but why take a chance? I would have waited for that pack to expand or else got other yeast. And 40 hours would have had me going nuts, not to mention exposing the wort to those nasties.
Sometimes people just don't smack them correctly. The only time I've ever used a smack pack it didn't expand and it was just fine.

Also, if not pitched in optimal conditions, yeast can take up to a few days to ferment. 40 hours isn't a huge deal.
 

bandt9299

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If I'm not mistaken aren't they both about the same amount of cells per package, why wouldn't you need a starter for the wyeast? I can only get WL locally so thats what I use, but would always make a starter unless it's a very low gravity beer.
 

Saccharomyces

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I like the fact the Wyeast packs have the nutrient in the smack-pack, so I don't have to add yeast nutrient to the starter. Both seem to be great products though, have similar cell counts, and in most cases have equivalent strains:

http://www.mrmalty.com/yeast.htm

If you have access to both, I would generally choose whichever is the fresher of the two unless you are going to do a big farkin' starter (2L) like I do in which case freshness is less important.
 

CBBaron

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I prefer dry, but I like wyeast smack packs too. I hate making starters so while labs vials aren't for me.
Whitelab vials and Wyeast Activator packs have about the same amount of viable yeast in them. So if you feel you don't need to make a starter with the Wyeast then you won't need one with the Whitelabs.

For most beers it is a good idea to make a starter with liquid yeast however the Whitelabs vials and Wyeast Activator packs have a decent pitching rate.

Either one works for me. I like the Whitelabs indestructible container, but I also like having the proof of viable yeast when smacking a wyeast pack. However for ease of use, storage longevity and cost I usually just go with dry yeast. US-05, S-04, and Nottingham have all worked well for me.

Craig
 

nathanmunn

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I like the packaging of Whitelabs but I have been really pleased with the results of Wyeast. I did a big Scotch Ale with Whitelabs last year and wanted to ferment it cold to get a really clean profile and couldn't get it below 62 degrees F. I am currently doing a similar Scotch Ale with Wyeast Scottish Strain and it is fermenting at 50 degrees F. I know there are people who say they are the same strains but I would disagree with that based on this test. I did a 5 Gallon Scottish 70/- as a starter for each so there was plenty of yeast in each of the big beers.
 

Brian-d

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I appears a lot of people here do not make starters. Either you are under pitching or pitching many vials or packs. I've done both, and yeast starters kill pitching straight from the manufactures package. Yeast starters are easy to make, vastly expand your yeast count, produce healthier yeast and cut your yeast cost in at least half. There is no comparison. I think White Labs and wyeast both make a great product.
 

tesilential

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If it's 1.06 or less you don't NEED a starter. You won't notice a difference in flavor with a small starter.

Now for a lager I do a 1 gal starter.
 

mthelm85

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I prefer Wyeast for a few reasons. First, I order all of my ingredients from Northern Brewer and they pack my Wyeast smack packs in an insulated envelope with a frozen gel pack that's just about the same size as the smack pack so it keeps it cool during the 4 days it takes to get to my house. Second, the smack pack contains a pouch full of yeast nutrients thereby eliminating the need to add any yeast nutrients to my starter. Third, I can see how viable my yeast is by how quickly the pack swells. Fourth, I've never had a smack pack from Northern Brewer that was more than 1 month old and using the freshest yeast possible is really important to me.

All things considered, you can have great success with Wyeast or with White Labs. Which one is best for you will depend on your particular situation and circumstances. If I had a LHBS where I live that sold White Labs vials that were fresher than the Wyeast smack packs I'm ordering from NB, I would definitely go that route. For me, freshness is the number 1 factor in choosing my yeast.
 

Beezy

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The LHBS doesn't carry WYeast so I don't use it. I did order some for my first batch tho. I use White labs and Safale mostly. Haven't had problems with any of the brands.
 

pm5k00

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My LHBS has both but I've never used Wyeast. I Used Whitelabs on my first batch and just stuck with them, except for when i use dry yeast, i like fermentis us-05. Also i almost never make a starter, or rehydrate dry yeast, and it all comes out good.
 

skibb

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I love them both, both are quality. But I do prefer Wyeast simply for, 3711 and 3725, oh and Roselare. Oh and pacman yeast.
 

bh10

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I love them both, both are quality. But I do prefer Wyeast simply for, 3711 and 3725, oh and Roselare. Oh and pacman yeast.
My thoughts exactly, if I had to use one company it would be wyeast just do to 3711 and Roselare. :rockin:
 

volbrews

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I appears a lot of people here do not make starters. Either you are under pitching or pitching many vials or packs. I've done both, and yeast starters kill pitching straight from the manufactures package. Yeast starters are easy to make, vastly expand your yeast count, produce healthier yeast and cut your yeast cost in at least half. There is no comparison. I think White Labs and wyeast both make a great product.
Why does making a starter cut your yeast cost in half? After reading this thread, I almost hate to say this, but I just open the WL vial and dump it in my fermentor. Seems to work so far. I assumed you were supposed to do the same thing with the smack packs (after smacking of course).
 

Golddiggie

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Why does making a starter cut your yeast cost in half? After reading this thread, I almost hate to say this, but I just open the WL vial and dump it in my fermentor. Seems to work so far. I assumed you were supposed to do the same thing with the smack packs (after smacking of course).
I believe he was talking about compared with buying MORE vials/packets of yeast in order to get to, or closer to, the correct amount of yeast for the brew.

I make starters almost every time I brew. Since getting a stir-plate it's so freaking easy to get a starter to finish quickly, it's insane.

Personally, I've been using Wyeast activator packs from the start, for my beers. I'll probably continue to use Wyeast for the vast majority of my brews. I might use White Labs (their high gravity yeast) for a coming barley wine, but I've not decided on that yet.

The quality of the yeasts should be in line with each other. I would select more by availability where you are, and which offers the features/characteristics you desire. I would also suggest learning how to make starters and doing so when the brew calls for it (whatever size you need to). The Mr. Malty site will give you a good idea of what size start you should make. One of the benefits of having a stir-plate is that you can make much smaller starters. Which means less DME used. They also finish faster than without a stir-plate, so less time involved in getting the starter to finish.
 

kh54s10

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If it's 1.06 or less you don't NEED a starter. You won't notice a difference in flavor with a small starter.

Now for a lager I do a 1 gal starter.
It is true that you don't NEED to make a starter but the current idea is that it is best to make a starter of the proper size for the gravity of the beer. (mrmalty.com) Even 1.060 wants more cells than provided by either WL or Wyeast. You might not be able to tell the difference but starters are easy and give an even better idea of viability than the smack pack. I had 2 Wyeast packs that came warm and already inflated. One actually prevented me from breaking the nutrient pack. Pitched the yeast and the nutrient in the starter - no problem Starter was done overnite. Fermentation in the wort also started overnite. I have used only Nottingham and Wyeast because I have ordered from NB and that is what they offer. I would not hesitate to by WL.
:mug:
 

bechard

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Smack Packs are fun. (* SMACK! *)

That's my reason for Wyeast over White Labs.
 

scottland

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I choose one over the other based on strain variety. WYeast has 3711, White labs doesn't. White Labs has WLP007, WYeast doesn't. No preference really. I use US-05 for anything American.
 
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For me it just comes down to convenience. I shop at two LHBSs, one of which carries both brands, the other of which only stocks White Labs. So I choose based on where I happen to be shopping, what's in stock, and what I am brewing. I think both labs produce equally fine products.
 
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