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Best Dry Lager Yeast? Starter to increase count?

We are likely doing a 14 gallon batch this weekend, either German pilsner or maybe a schwarz.

Is the 34/70 or the s-23 the better way to go? It doesn’t look like we have time for a starter, except maybe one on brewday just to get it active.

I know you typically shouldn’t do a starter with dry yeast, but what if, in an effort to save $10, we just bought 2 packs and did a 2L starter on the stir plate, as opposed to 4 packs direct-pitched?

Definitely 3470, most people say S23 sucks as a lager yeast. Yes you can make a starter from dry yeast, I wouldn’t put two packs in a 2L starter though. Not sure you’d even get a doubling before the sugar was gone. Maybe put each pack in a 2L, or better yet do a 2gal starter and cold crash.

[quote=“Pietro”]We are likely doing a 14 gallon batch this weekend, either German pilsner or maybe a schwarz.

Is the 34/70 or the s-23 the better way to go? It doesn’t look like we have time for a starter, except maybe one on brewday just to get it active.

I know you typically shouldn’t do a starter with dry yeast, but what if, in an effort to save $10, we just bought 2 packs and did a 2L starter on the stir plate, as opposed to 4 packs direct-pitched?[/quote]

Just forget S-23 even exists…you’ll be much happier that way.

Think about the cost of the ingredients and the time you’re gonna put into this…isn’t it worth $10 to do it right? I don’t advise a starter for dry yeast, but if you do one you’ll need it to be much larger than 2L in order for the yeast to rebuild their glycogen reserves at the end of the starter fermentation. More like 2 gal. would be appropriate. Then, compare the cost of DME for that starter to the extra cost for yeast. I know what I’d do.

I would highly recommend the 34/70 over the s-23.

Starters are not recommended for dry yeast, but stepping up batch sizes works. Of course, you need enough time to do that, which takes even longer than making a starter. If the plan is to brew 14 gallons on Saturday, I’d just bite the bullet and buy 5-6 packets of yeast.

Anyone out there try S-189?

I hope someone chimes in about S-189 I’m curious too. I believe 34/70 is the same strain as Wyeast-2124.

Once again,I’m reading several posts here advising against making a starter with dry yeast,and once again,I’d like to know the rationale behind that idea.I’ve never come across that one in any book on brewing I’ve ever read,and I’ve never read any such thing on the packaging of any dry yeast,either.I don’t know why people say this,and I’d really like to.I don’t think I’ve ever done a dry yeast starter,but I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t.My personal favorite is the old reliable Munton’s Gold.I’d put it up against most any liquid yeast any time.I’m pretty curious how it might behave with a starter.If anyone here cares to elaborate on this point,I’d really like to get the lowdown.

Dry yeast survives better on the shelf than liquid yeast, so with dry yeast you don’t have to worry quite so much about trying to revive a slug of yeast that’s already half dead.

Dry yeast is generally pretty inexpensive. Makes it kinda hard to justify the time and effort involved in propagating the yeast, because it really doesn’t save much money when all is said and done. If it saves you any money at all - a lot of varieties of dry yeast cost less per packet than the amount of DME you’d need to propagate a slurry that can do the work of two packets. Munton’s Gold, for example, falls well below that threshold.

Compared to liquid yeast, a quality dry yeast is bursting with nutrition and vigor in a way that only a proper yeast lab can manage. Think Popeye right after he eats his spinach. If you do a starter you can certainly produce more yeast cells than were in the packet to begin with, but they won’t be as viable. So the starter better be big enough to make up for that lost ground.

Since I already had this typed, I’ll add to (and repeat) bunderbunder with my response.

There are a few reasons for not making starters with dry yeast.

First of all, it is usually unnecessary. Most of the popular brands come in 11.5g packages which contains 200+ billion cells. 200 billion cells is enough to ferment 5 gals of an ale at 1.058 OG. So why bother with a starter?

The second reason is the risk of infection. Whenever the yeast is handled, there is the possibility of infection. This is especially true at the homebrew level, where we are rarely working in cleanroom conditions. Because of this, it is often desirable to open a sterile package of yeast and not worry about playing biologist at home.

Third is cost; both in materials and time. If using DME to make your starters, a 1L starter uses about $1 worth of DME. Our host sells US-05 for $3.29/pk. So if using 1 pk to make 2 pks (400 billion cells), for example, you’d spend $3.29+$1.43(for DME per Mr. Malty) = $4.72 vs $6.58 for two packages. In your case, Munton’s Yeast sells for $1.25 for a 6g pk. Using the same logic, you’d spend $4.35 for the initial pack plus DME to get 400 billion cells. It would be $5 to buy 4, 6g pks.

As far as time goes, most homebrewers would much rather spend the extra $1.50 and not have to deal with the time involved to make starter. At least, I know I would.

Cost-wise, dry yeast being cheaper used to be the case but any more its not so different, especially for the lager strains. I think a pack is now the same price as a tube/smackpack. For a buck I’d say its cheaper to double your yeast with a starter if you have the time.

As for starters, yes dry yeast is produced in such a way as to make it able to survive drying and this means its packed with nutrients and glycogen and is uniquely suited to being ready to go upon introduction into a wort. This doesn’t mean it can’t be used to make a starter though. What you’ll end up with is no different than a starter from a liquid yeast. What I don’t know is whether adding a full packet of dry to a 2L starter wort will do anything other than wake it up and cause ti to use up its glycogen stores. I think you’d be better off making a gallon starter with a packet of dry yeast to give it the food to sustain a few generations of reproduction.

34/70 is an excellent yeast. I will be using it a lot in the future.

+1 I just ordered 10 packs for myself. I’m going to spend the winter working on my lager process. This is the now the house lager yeast.

Good riddance S-23.

I got 2 packs of S-23 recently, and was planning on brewing something with it this weekend.

What don’t people like about it?

Huh. A table in his book says you’d need a lot more starter than that - 4 liters - to get from 200 billion cells to 400 billion cells. I wonder why the difference.

[quote=“Worts_Worth”]I got 2 packs of S-23 recently, and was planning on brewing something with it this weekend.

What don’t people like about it?[/quote]

I actually don’t have such a bad opinion of it as some (Denny…), but there are some issues with it.

One characteristic is a fruity ester component which I have experienced (especially when temps were not overly controlled).

I have also found it to be a little rough around the edges (mouth feel / general cleanliness) as compared to a few other lager yeasts I have used. Now that I have access to 34/70, I will not be using S-23.

Not to say you shouldn’t use it (though Denny would definately say you shouldn’t)

[quote=“Worts_Worth”]I got 2 packs of S-23 recently, and was planning on brewing something with it this weekend.

What don’t people like about it?[/quote]

Based on flawed old brain cells (i.e., if memory serves), I think I might have heard that S-23 is actually a steam beer style lager yeast for warm ferments, as opposed to a standard lager yeast intended to be fermented cold. I’ve never used it so I cannot comment on flavor.

My attempts to make a lager with S23 resulted in beers that were fruity like an ale, not at all dry and clean. Plus the ester profile wasn’t all that pleasant either. I did ferment using the traditional lager temp profile of 50F for a few weeks.

I remember a brewer on this forum mentioning that he got more of the fruity esters at a lower temperature - ie lager temps. So maybe stear clear of low temps.

I have mostly used this yeast at ale temperatures (and mostly when I used no temperature control.) Some batches turned out fine, some were definately heavy on esters - among other things.

If I were to use this yeast again, I would likely shoot for 14-15*C, and see how it performs as compared to my previous experience.

Like I said, I don’t hate this yeast, but it I don’t love it either.

hmm–not likin the sound of this… maybe I’ll just reuse some 2124 from my previous batches – want to do a saaz bomb pils – not looking for the yeast to be saying much at all.

Yeah, very good yeast. Although I’ve used it for pils, it really shines in maltier styles like Ofest, bock, and maibock.

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