Wyeast vs White Labs

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

What brand of yeast do you prefer?

  • Wyeast

  • White Labs

  • Dry yeast

  • Depends on the beer style (post below)


Results are only viewable after voting.

skibb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
597
Reaction score
106
Location
Lexington
I'm really just curious what you all prefer. Are you a patron of one brand and not the other, or does it depend? How come?

Personally i like the Wyeast - something about the smack pack is just really neat to me.
 

Splangy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
50
Reaction score
0
I like White Labs because their packaging is much easier to store (I have a rack in my kegerator to store it).
I can reuse the vials for washed yeast.

Yeast viability is not much an issue for me since I always make starters.
Also, one of the local brew stores usually has some discounted White Labs vials (past the sell date).
 

OMJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
575
Reaction score
19
Location
Camp Hill, PA
I use whitelabs but really that is just cause my lhbs doesnt sell wyeast
 

TexLaw

Here's Lookin' Atcha!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
3,673
Reaction score
36
Location
Houston, Texas
I'm a White Labs man, myself. I like the vials better (they are useful), they are usually $1 cheaper than the smack packs, I don't have to fool with the smack pack thingy, and they've been pretty good about supporting Dixie Cup (until they stiffed us this year).


TL
 

Joeywhat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
203
Reaction score
9
Location
Dearborn Heights, MI
I had always used White Labs in the past as they were what was available. I didn't even know of Wyeast until just this past week when I started brewing again...new brew shop, better yeast selection.

I needed a weihenstaphaner yeast and couldn't find a White Labs offering so I grabbed the Wyeast. I think I'll still go with White Labs again if possible for ease of use and peace of mind...the Wyeast packaging just seems...like it's not enough or something. I'm sure it doesn't matter but it makes me sleep better at night ;)
 

hal2814

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
555
Reaction score
20
Location
Commerce, GA
I put that it depends on beer style but really it depends on availability. I remember a stand up comedian referring to Coke vs. Pepsi. He was talking about how they spend all this money on advertising and all they get out of it is:

Customer at restaurant: "I'll have a Coke."
Waiter: "All we have is Pepsi."
Customer: "OK, whatever."

I feel the same way about Wyeast vs. White Labs. My LHBS carries Wyeast. If they carried White Labs, OK, whatever. When I'm shopping at online sites that have both, I'll go with the cheapest option.
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,324
Reaction score
5,801
Location
Reed City, MI
I prefer White Labs for several reasons;

1. Little Vials. I love these things. I can harvest some yeast and keep it right in there.
2. I make a starter anyway, so why mess with the smack pack?
3. I got a White Labs Shirt and Hat for winning 3rd at nearby homebrew competition.
4. I like the little vials...

I'm not sure why I started using White Labs. I have tried the smack pack and it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I now make starters for all liquid yeasts, so what's the point. I'm not saying Wyeast is worse, I just prefer the White Labs.

And I generally use dry for anything that I can get dry for. It's even easier and generally cheaper.

I'm not saying I'm picky, but if they only had Pepsi, I'll have water...
 

android

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
3,060
Reaction score
50
Location
Ames, Iowa
Wyeast because that's what the LHBS stocks. i've used WL before and they're both great yeasts, but i'd rather not have to order yeast online.
 

Scimmia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
959
Reaction score
5
Location
QCA, Iowa
Eh, whatever's available. Occasionally only one or the other has a specific yeast, otherwise it doesn't matter a bit to me.
 

greenbirds

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
443
Reaction score
9
As far as the yeast itself goes, I think both companies' products are about equivalent. As for the packaging, I prefer White Labs. Smaller, easier to store, easy to sanitize the outside, old tubes are useful. And while I think the smack pack is a very good idea for people pitching straight into wort, it really doesn't make a difference if you're going to build a starter.

Oh, and the White Labs numbering system is much easier for me to remember as well. But that's more a limitation of my own brain I guess...:cross:
 

samc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
5,369
Reaction score
72
Location
Portland OR
Normally I would not slip in the dry vs liquid yeast thing but you did add that to the poll.

1. Dry first
2. White labs as I don't really like the smack pack - too hidden, I want to see the little guys before I smack em.
3. Wyeast if I did not have the time for a starter.
 

PseudoChef

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
3,401
Reaction score
117
Location
West Chicago 'Burbs
I prefer Wyeast. I like the packaging better. Resuspending the yeast in those little vials is a pain for me. I can just shake the Wyeast package and don't have to worry about it blowing up at me.

I also like the varied VSS from Wyeast while WL just seems to recycle the same Platinum strains.


2. I make a starter anyway, so why mess with the smack pack?
So don't. I don't. I just open the package and dump into the starter.
 

JuanKenobi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
384
Reaction score
5
Location
Martha's Vineyard
I used to always use White Labs, but now I tend towards Wyeast. I have to order everything online as I live on an island and have no LHBS, so they are the same price for me. I'm not sure why I switched. I like the Wyeast website better, not that that matters much. I think this may be the reason:



However, I did chose the 'depends on' option in the poll. I do use a lot of dry yeast as well. Lots of US-05 for IPAs. I don't see any reason to use WLP001 or Wyeast 1056 when I can use US-05 instead.
 

ChshreCat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
11,520
Reaction score
578
Location
Camano Island
Either dry or Wyeast, mainly because I've never seen White Labs at any home brew shop I've been to.

I'd probably still use Wyeast over WL anyway because it's a psychological thing. Little tiny vial... big smack pack... I feel like I'd get more yeast with Wyeast. :D
 

hal2814

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
555
Reaction score
20
Location
Commerce, GA
Wyeast...they make 2112 :)

I never really noticed before but is all makes sense. Ferment a lager at ale temps and have a viable product in two weeks? 2112 has assumed control... of my pipeline. Out of 6 viable kegs, 3 are 2112 "pilsners," 1 is an IPA, 1 is Apfelwein, and 1 is sucking air. I have 3 jars of washed 2112 remaining in generation 1, more than any other strain right now.
 

ottobrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
121
Reaction score
0
Location
Pittsburgh
I normally use White Labs just because it's easier to get, but I use Wyeast for their lambic blend and Roeselare ale blend.
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,324
Reaction score
5,801
Location
Reed City, MI
I prefer Wyeast. I like the packaging better. Resuspending the yeast in those little vials is a pain for me. I can just shake the Wyeast package and don't have to worry about it blowing up at me.

I also like the varied VSS from Wyeast while WL just seems to recycle the same Platinum strains.




So don't. I don't. I just open the package and dump into the starter.
Your vials explode on you?
 

Rhoobarb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
20
Location
Gainesville
I like both. I believe some company's strains are better than others, depending on the style. For my Dry Irish Stouts, Irish Reds, my house ale and a couple of others, only WLP007 will do. For my O'Fest, bock and a couple of other German lagers, I really prefer WY2206. For my La Fin du Monde, WY 3864 Canadian/Belgian Ale is my only choice. For some, I like Notty.

I used to go to an HBS that only sold WL. Now I work closer to an HBS that only sells Wyeast, so I tend to use them. But I'm not adverse to traveling or going mail order to get WL yeast.
 

craigd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
315
Reaction score
2
Location
Central Florida
I use wyeast mostly because that's what the LHBS carries but I do like the viability test inherent in the smack pack. Given the choice I would probably still use Wyeast for that reason - it just gives me a good feeling about the yeast before pitching. I would use dry as my first choice buts it's rare that I make a beer that has a dry choice available...
 

rico567

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
3,016
Reaction score
97
Location
Central IL
I put down Wyeast simply because that's what I started with, and except for a few flings with Nottingham or S-05, I've never used anything else.
 

Zen_Brew

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
26
Location
Seattle
Basically from a quality and performance perspective the two yeasts are both top notch. So for me, like several others it comes down to packaging. While the concept of proofing the yeast with the smack pack is nice, I make a starter anyway which accomplises the same thing. So I find the big packs annoying. I like the White Labs plastic vials, which I also sometimes reuse to store small quantities of my starter for later use on other batches.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Messages
106
Reaction score
3
Location
Bellingham
I tend to think of the smack pack as a viability test, not a tiny starter
It's both. The smack pack just contains yeast nutrient. I have never had to make a starter with a Wyeast smack pack, and probably never will. I've used White Labs too, and it worked out fine; guess I just prefer Wyeast. I think people make too big of a deal about yeast (starters really) in general. All yeast does is eat, fart, and multiply. In theory, even if a single yeast cell makes it into your beer, it will eventually multiply enough to totally ferment your beer. Wyeast smack packs pitch 100 billion cells. The only time I make a starter is in a very high gravity beer where the sugar content is so high it can actually overwhelm the yeast. I suppose with a starter you reduce the chance of infection by bringing up the alcohol content more rapidly, but you also introduce other potential problems like blow-off, etc. Just my two cents.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,278
Reaction score
855
Location
Southwest
I strongly prefer dry yeast, so I use it whenever it fits the bill. However, there are definitely times when liquid yeast is the only way to go (Belgian styles, hefeweizens, and many others). In those cases, I use whichever liquid yeast I find first/cheapest. I'm not very brand loyal.
 

Zen_Brew

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,852
Reaction score
26
Location
Seattle
I think people make too big of a deal about yeast (starters really) in general. All yeast does is eat, fart, and multiply. In theory, even if a single yeast cell makes it into your beer, it will eventually multiply enough to totally ferment your beer. Wyeast smack packs pitch 100 billion cells. The only time I make a starter is in a very high gravity beer where the sugar content is so high it can actually overwhelm the yeast. I suppose with a starter you reduce the chance of infection by bringing up the alcohol content more rapidly, but you also introduce other potential problems like blow-off, etc. Just my two cents.
Actually each time the yeast split off in a reproduction they surrender a certain percentage of their nutrient reserves. Eventually they become far less healthy, and can lose the ability to maintain a proper cell wall structure.

So the theory about a single cell reproducing into an entire colony that will ferment your beer is not entirely correct. A single cell could be nurtured over time and many nutrient enriched step ups into a colony. Basically underpitching a moderate to big beer causes undo stress on the colony by requiring to many reproductive cycles. The result is longer lag times, and less healthy yeast, which do not produce a top quality clean fermentation.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
3,949
Reaction score
52
Location
Chico, CA
I used to prefer Wyeast, just because I could "proof" the yeast with the smack pack before pitching. If it didn't expand, I'd take it back to the LHBS and get a replacement or refund. BUT, now that I make starters for my beers it's not as critical. Now I pick the yeast that best fits the style of beer I'm brewing, and if there is a tie between vendors I'll take the cheapest one. For instance, when brewing up a American Pale Ale Wyeast 1056, White Labs 001, and Safale US-05 are all pretty much the same strain. I go with the US05 which is $3.50 vs. the others which are almost twice as much.
 

the_Roqk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
941
Reaction score
2
Location
Central Florida
I started out using Wyeast because that's my HBS had. Now depending on the style I want to brew I mainly use dry yeast. I've never used White Labs yeast. Just never seemed to matter to me.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Messages
106
Reaction score
3
Location
Bellingham
Actually each time the yeast split off in a reproduction they surrender a certain percentage of their nutrient reserves. Eventually they become far less healthy, and can lose the ability to maintain a proper cell wall structure.

So the theory about a single cell reproducing into an entire colony that will ferment your beer is not entirely correct. A single cell could be nurtured over time and many nutrient enriched step ups into a colony. Basically underpitching a moderate to big beer causes undo stress on the colony by requiring to many reproductive cycles. The result is longer lag times, and less healthy yeast, which do not produce a top quality clean fermentation.

Well I stand corrected. Good info. Not that I would ever try pitching a single cell, but I've had good luck with the smack packs without ever making a starter.
 
Top