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Yeast Options

Stupid question here: what are the differences in the yeast options for the various extract kits? I’m a novice so I have no idea which ones to choose.

Thanks!

There is dry yeast and liquid yeast. Dry yeast has much more viable cells per pack and is kind of a less fuss option. Just rehydrate (or not) and pitch. BUT dry yeast strains are much more limited. Over the last few years there have been more dry yeast strains made available, but the overall choices in dry yeast strains is much less than liquid. Dry yeast is cheaper.

Liquid yeast is a little more expensive and contains less cells than a pack of dry yeast. You generally need to make a starter (if pitching anything over 1.050 or so) with liquid. BUT the major plus with liquid is the numerous different strains to choose from.

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain.cfm

I prefer liquid because I like the idea of using the right yeast for the job. IMO, yeast strain choice and how you handle it (cell count, fermentation temps, etc) is the biggest factor in getting a beer to taste the way you want.

Thanks so much for the information.

Another stupid question: what is a “starter” and how is it prepared?

Read how to brew, look for yeast starter, great step by step

Bottom line: yeast starters are used to increase cell count. They are not necessary to make beer, but having the right amount of healthy yeast will usually improve the overall quality of your beer. You don’t generally need a starter for low gravity beers when pitching a very fresh (i.e., packaged a week or two ago) package of yeast.

Here is a good overview video featuring a microbiologist from White Labs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zUYxb- … e=youtu.be

There are plenty of online calculators you can use to figure out what size starter you need. A lot of people like this one: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html. Personally I use the starter calculator in my brewing software (Beersmith 2).

As stated above, you do not need a starter when using dry yeast.

A perfect example of differences in yeast is the hefeweizen. I have a friend who used the dry yeast (Danstar) and I used the Wyeast liquid. Both extract batches(same ingredients except for yeast) following good brewing procedure and temp control. These were 2 Totally different beers. The liquid yeast produced the classic hefe flavors(clove, banana) reminiscent of Weihenstephaner, while the dry produced a decent wheat beer, but none of the esters you’d be looking for in a hefe.

[quote=“dobe12”]
I prefer liquid because I like the idea of using the right yeast for the job. IMO, yeast strain choice and how you handle it (cell count, fermentation temps, etc) is the biggest factor in getting a beer to taste the way you want.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more^^^^.

Cheers,
Ron

I use dry yeast most of the time these days. Reasons: It’s very reliable, you don’t need to make a starter, and it keeps for several years in the refrigerator without much loss of viability. Also, now in the 21st century, there is a great dry yeast for almost every beer style conceivable.

There is rarely a need to go to liquid yeasts anymore, which only keep for 8-9 months and almost always require a starter. I’m sure there are a few style examples where the best yeasts are still in liquid form.

However that is changing very quickly. In the next 5-10 years, there will be millions of homebrewers using nothing but dry yeast.

My advice is, go with the dry yeast, whenever possible. Support these suppliers, as they are growing, while the liquid yeast guys, well… they should be getting into dry yeast as well, soon, methinks.

Lots of great information. Thanks so much for all of the help.

Cory

My 2 cents worth Cory and I 'll say it for all of us, there is no “stupid questions” because we all want new brewers to be successful. Homebrewing is the Best Hobby, just IMO.

[quote=“Frenchie”]A perfect example of differences in yeast is the hefeweizen. I have a friend who used the dry yeast (Danstar) and I used the Wyeast liquid. Both extract batches(same ingredients except for yeast) following good brewing procedure and temp control. These were 2 Totally different beers. The liquid yeast produced the classic hefe flavors(clove, banana) reminiscent of Weihenstephaner, while the dry produced a decent wheat beer, but none of the esters you’d be looking for in a hefe.

[quote=“dobe12”]
I prefer liquid because I like the idea of using the right yeast for the job. IMO, yeast strain choice and how you handle it (cell count, fermentation temps, etc) is the biggest factor in getting a beer to taste the way you want.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more^^^^.

Cheers,
Ron[/quote]
Your friend ran into a problem that plagues a lot of products: just because it is labeled as something doesn’t always mean it is what the buyer thinks. I ran into that with the Brewferm Blanche, which says it is a Belgian Wit yeast, but it didn’t taste that way to me. Next time try Fermentis WB-06, makes a GREAT Bavarian hefeweizen.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]I use dry yeast most of the time these days. Reasons: It’s very reliable, you don’t need to make a starter, and it keeps for several years in the refrigerator without much loss of viability. Also, now in the 21st century, there is a great dry yeast for almost every beer style conceivable.

There is rarely a need to go to liquid yeasts anymore, which only keep for 8-9 months and almost always require a starter. I’m sure there are a few style examples where the best yeasts are still in liquid form.

However that is changing very quickly. In the next 5-10 years, there will be millions of homebrewers using nothing but dry yeast.

My advice is, go with the dry yeast, whenever possible. Support these suppliers, as they are growing, while the liquid yeast guys, well… they should be getting into dry yeast as well, soon, methinks.[/quote]
Yes and no. Every advantage listed for dry yeast is accurate. BUT, I’ll be surprised if the companies supplying liquid yeasts transition over to dry any time soon. It is a very different technology, requires a lot of expensive equipment that is not needed for making liquid yeasts, and needs to be done in very high quantities to be economical. That means that yes, in the near future there may well be a dry yeast available for every popular beer style, but there may not be more than one. So some of the nuances you can get for example in a bitter by choosing one of the two dozen or so easily available British liquid yeast strains would not be possible when each company only supplies one “British” yeast.

[quote=“Frenchie”]A perfect example of differences in yeast is the hefeweizen. I have a friend who used the dry yeast (Danstar) and I used the Wyeast liquid. Both extract batches(same ingredients except for yeast) following good brewing procedure and temp control. These were 2 Totally different beers. The liquid yeast produced the classic hefe flavors(clove, banana) reminiscent of Weihenstephaner, while the dry produced a decent wheat beer, but none of the esters you’d be looking for in a hefe.

[quote=“dobe12”]
I prefer liquid because I like the idea of using the right yeast for the job. IMO, yeast strain choice and how you handle it (cell count, fermentation temps, etc) is the biggest factor in getting a beer to taste the way you want.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more^^^^.

Cheers,
Ron[/quote]

I had a different experience comparing liquid and dry Weizen yeasts. The Fermentis WB06 produced excellent clove and low banana flavors when fermented at 62 F. Excellent beer. The liquid (sorry, I’ve forgotten if it was Wyeast or White) was like an American wheat.

I’ve brewed the same ESB recipe with 3 different yeasts now. Notty, Wy1469 and Wy 1318. Notty is the cleanest and enhances the bitterness. Same for 1318 but it’s more complex as the beer warms and has a better mouth feel. 1469 is my favorite for my ESB. It has a great full smooth mouth feel, it brings out bread flavors and aromas and kind of takes the edge off the bitterness. Probably makes it more of a pale ale than a bitter but it’s a very easy drinking session beer.

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