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Liquid Yeast in the Summer?

I have been extract brewing for a couple of years now. I recently started dong full boils and I am now looking at upgrading my yeast.
I have always used dry yeast and want to start doing a yeast starter. It sounds like it would also be better to use liquid yeast over dry yeast.
What do people do during the summer when it is not recommended to have liquid yeast shipped to you? Do you plan ahead and stock up in the spring? Is it really that big of an issue? I live up in the mountains of central Colorado where the high summer temp is in the low to mid 80s so heat is not an issue on this side but I am sure the package will travel through warm areas.
The closest home brew store is 2 hours from me so I get everything on line. Wouldn’t the local shops have the same issue in the summer getting their yeast supplies shipped to them?
Thanks, Ron

It all depends on how fast they can ship to you. Can you get a package in 2-3 days? If so, then if they include an icepack (NB does) no biggie. Where I live, shipping takes 7-9 days, so I don’t order liquid yeast in the summer. But then again, I do most of my brewing from Sept-May anyways. I also reuse yeast slurries, so one initial packet of yeast will do 3-4 fermentations for me.

I really needed some liquid yeast one summer. Ordered late Sunday afternoon and had it on Wednesday afternoon. I’m only about two hours from Minneapolis though. The yeast pack felt a little warm so I estimated a 20% loss when calculating the starter size.

It’s going on two years since I last ordered yeast. I harvest from every brew and keep the yeast refrigerated in pint canning jars. Almost all the time I over build starters and store the fresh excess for the next starter. This is the calculator I use that has the over build calculation built in.

First off dry yeast has come a long way so don’t feel you have to use liquid.There are many more strains available and some of the liquid versions of a strain are better than dry IMHO though. Hefe Weizen comes to mind.

I have ordered liquid in summer up north and in Florida where it is always summer. Had the yeast and freeze pack arrive warm but the yeast still worked. If you are worried I would call the online shop and quiz them about your chances.

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Also, you probably know when its still rather cool in the late spring, that would be the latest I’d order liquid yeast. With that said, I also do as Flars does and reuse yeast… But one other trick that can be done, is to do a starter a couple of times with your first opening of the liquid yeast. You can then split it into 2 containers, one to use right away the other to use down the line… Sanitation is of the utmost consideration, and storing under a cap of hoppy beer will be good consideration… refrigerated of course… I know you’ll find the hows and why’s of that on the internet… Culturing yeast?? Sneezles61

Thanks for all the great innformation.
I think I will start doing yeast starters on my next batches and play around with the liquid yeast before spring.
It sounds like I should notice a difference just doing a yeast starter but the difference between liquid and dry may be minimal?
Looks like my NB shipments get to me in 3 to 4 days and have been staying on the north part of the US.
I should also look into reusing yeast. I have read a little on that and it does not seam too difficult. My concern is I like to do a variety of beers and only a few seem to use the same yeast. I am afraid of substituting yeast from the kit with my limited knowledge. I will have to figure out how to manage that, start with one and learn before doing others.
Thanks again. Always great advice here.

Me do live on a tropical island have no issue with liqued yeast. Ariving here. Do the yeast starter calculation. Like what flars said. About 25% less viability. Till so far my yeast works. And spoke as well to yeastbay. To pack it with lots of ice bags.

Theres not a problem to find a yeast you enjoy and brew other types of styles… your not bound by what typically is written down in the kit instructions… Dare find a way out of the box!! Sneezles61

Good point sneezles61. I have enjoyed every batch I have made from kits but I need to remember experimenting and sometimes failing can be part of this hobby. Thanks again.

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Just changing the yeast won’t necessarily result in instant failure. In fact you’d be surprised at how many styles overlap each other and the only difference being yeast.
Alt vs Oktoberfest. Cream ale vs Pilsner vs kolsch. Hefeweizen vs Saison. Point is you’ll still make Beer, good Beer at that!


Loopie I agree 100%… I don’t, and won’t abide by the rules… no need… I do like IPA’s but they need to be dry… then the hops jump out!! I don’t care for bitter, but I enjoy the aroma from hops… I don’t care for malty either… But a well crafted ESB with tender loving care… OH MY!!. I’m not about kits, I’d rather try a brew, then do some research and see how I can replicate it… with a twist I enjoy… Do try and break the chains!! Sneezles61

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I got my first liquid yeast from NB, Wyeast, today. The dates on the packs are from mid November so if I understand the yeast calculation website correctly it is already around 65% viability. Is this time frame normal when ordering yeast? I guess I expected something more current.

I am going to do a starter so I can build it up to what is recommended.
I have a flask and a stir plate and plan to build the count to around 100 billion over what I need so I can save that off for a future batch starter.

You know, it all depends… only so much liquid yeast is packaged and is out there… It would be redundant for yeast suppliers to make a new batch every day and send it out to a retailer and not get used, so it ends up in the trash… I think its called… supply and demand. Now, if you know how to make a starter, then keep making it a bit bigger and save some aside, under a beer cap… As long as its refrigerated, and you use a starter before hand to prove its viable, you’ll find what kinda shelf life you have with your yeast… It surely helps to keep costs in check… I wonder how this was done a century ago? Sneezles61

Thanks sneezles61.
This will be my first time with liquid yeast and a starter. In the past I have always just thrown in a pack of dried yeast to the wort. Never had any problems but looking at taking the next step and hopefully improve the beer even more. I may even learn something along the way.

The yeast starter websites uses the date to calculate the viability %. With the extra yeast I store in the refrigerator under a beer cap would the calculation be the same just using the date of the starter? I would think storing it that way may slow down things but maybe the calculation already has that factored in.
It looks like that viability % is critical to get a good estimate of the final growth and know if you have enough for the batch as well as to save some off you want.
Thanks for all the great advice, it really helps us new to the hobby.

I am not of the ability to utilize an online calculator… Through my trial and errors this is an approach I like to use… and have for quite some time… 3/4 cup DME to a quart of boiling water… I get the water boiling, remove it from the heat source, add the DME, cover and let it dissolve and cool… This makes a lower gravity starter, your preparing yeast to bud/multiply… When cooled to 70+/-… time to pitch room temp yeast… Sanitizing all along the way… Star san in a spray bottle, your hands, all the stuff coming in contact with the yeast… Shake the bejesus into your starter jug, growler… You need to cover the opening, not seal it tight as the yeast will appreciate you if you swirl it alot, allowing some O2 into the jug… When all calms down, repeat all this above, but now up the DME to a full cup, this will start the budding/multiplying process… Before you put this round in, do chill and very quietly pour off the liquid, not the whitish slurry, thats the yeast! 2X’s of this and I will save 1/2 of it for future use… In practice, learn to pitch yeast starter when its really active… Your wort will take off very fast! It will take some time, but you’ll find what is best for you… Sanitizing is so important… Sneezles61

I did my first yeast starter. It was the Caribou Slobber extract with Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale yeast.
The starter went very well and the batch took of real well. I pitched about half of the yeast from the starter and saved of the rest.
The krausen pushed up into and our of the air lock. Not too much but enough that I was worried about it clogging so I sanitized and replaced it.

I have done the Caribou Slobber before with dry yeast and did not have this issue.

I would like to know what caused it this time. Did I pitch too much yeast? Is this just more likely with liquid yeast?

I read where others just start off with a blow off tube for the first few days, I guess I need to start doing that.


A few different reasons for krausen pushing through the air lock.

A super active yeast like WY 3068. WY 1332 is not known for super activity. Over pitching usually won’t cause extreme activity.

Too little head space in the fermentor. Happens often.

Fermentation a little too warm. This happens often if the wort is too warm when the yeast is pitched and there isn’t good temperature control ready to go. Happens very often when recipe instructions just say to cool the wort below 80°F. A hot fermentation can produce fusel alcohols which there is no relief from even with years of aging. (I found this out a number of years ago with my first high gravity brew.)

Good you caught it and cleaning the air lock was the only cleaning to do. What was the temperature of the fermenting beer when you saw krausen pushing through the air lock?

Thanks flars.
I have a 6.5 gallon BMB and a 5 gallon batch.
I am doing a full boils and got the wort down to just around 68 with my wort chiller before I pitched. It is nice to have cold well water for the chiller to use.
My basement area is in the low 60s this time of year (9400 feet up in the Colorado Rockies) so with a heat blanket and thermostat controller I can control the temp fairly well. I set this batch to 68 so it will stay between 66 and 68.

Good to know that over pitching won’t usually cause this. Just getting into the yeast starter and learning.

I have swapped out the air lock twice so far and it is looking clean now. Having an extra air lock was a big help.
Looks like the krausen has pulled back from the lid now. I pitched about 27 hours ago.

Do you have a thermometer recording the temperature of the beer inside the fermentor? Yeast produces heat during the first few days of active fermentation. A heat blanket set to hold the temperature between 66° to 68°F would bring the temperature of the beer as high as 72°F during the first couple of days.

I usually get a 3° to 4° temperature increase during active fermentation with a Slobber.

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I have a 1.042 OG bitter in the fermenter currently. The thermometer in my basement is reading 64° and my active fermentation temp is at 68° and has required cooling with my glycol system. Even a small beer will raise 4-5° over ambient temps.

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