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Is Liquid Yeast Better?

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HeavensBrew

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I'm sure this question has been asked many times before, but her it goes again.... Dried yeast is cheaper (if you don't harvest and reuse) and stores easier than liquid. So why use liquid yeast? Is the beer really that much better?
 

Ben034

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Not necessarily better. There's a much wider range of yeast available in liquid form if you want a particular characteristic. The difference between most English bitters for example, is based in the yeast above any other factor. For other styles it may be less important.

There are other benefits such as reduced lag time usually.

I went from dry to only liquid and now back to mostly dry for ease. But if I want a particular flavour (I love wyeast 1469 west Yorkshire in a bitter for example) I wouldn't hesitate to buy liquid and reuse it 5/6 times.
 

Linalmeemow

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I'm sure this question has been asked many times before, but her it goes again.... Dried yeast is cheaper (if you don't harvest and reuse) and stores easier than liquid. So why use liquid yeast? Is the beer really that much better?
Depends what you mean by "better". In the end yeast is yeast, it'll ferment your wort and make beer. The advantage of liquid yeast is the variety of strains available to you - there are far fewer dry strains, so if you're looking to get very specific characteristics from your yeast you may have to go with liquid.

One advantage to liquid (if you get a nice fresh batch) is that fermentation is likely to start more quickly.
 

cushyno

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There are a lot more strains of liquid yeast. If you want to make a true-to-style beer it's more likely that you'll be able to recreate that with the right yeast. For example, there are British Ale dry yeast varieties such as S-04, Nottingham, Windsor, CML Four, CML Beoir, CML Midland, Gervin, MJ have a few too. These are pretty much it with several being very similar strains from different suppliers. You're looking at about 4-5 different strains in truth.

Compare that to Wyeast liquid strains. Alone, Wyeast have 1028 London, 1084 Irish, 1098 British, 1099 Whitbread, 1187 Ringwood, 1203 Burton IPA, 1275 Thames Valley, 1318 London Ale III, 1335 British Ale II, 1469 West Yorkshire, 1728 Scottish, 1768 English Special, 1882 Thames Valley dry, 1968 ESB. That's a lot more choice.

I use dry yeast almost exclusively because I'm happy to be roughly in the ballpark with yeast flavour. I have also brewed recipes that will be OK with dry yeast. On the odd occasion I've used liquid (3068 Weihenstephan Weizen) it took the beer and flavour complexity to a different level.

Dry yeast manufacturing is an expensive business so only a limited range of popular strains will ever be produced. I would also guess that certain strains are chosen because they lend themselves well to the drying process, rather than for their outright flavour.

Some people produce great beers with dry yeast and many commercial breweries use it because it's simple and consistent. Nothing wrong with dry yeast if it suits your recipe and brewing style.
 

NormanHurst

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If making smaller batches (10-12L) with liquid Yeast, can some of it be saved for a future batch (ie use half rather than harvest from FV)

If so, how long does it keep? And does this work with the smack packs that contain Yeast nutrient?

I'm intrigued by liquid Yeast but at double the price to only use half I'm concerned its not worth the extra cash.
 

Covrich

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I am not going to pretend especially with my life circumstances that I prefer teh ease of dry yeast..

Howeevr there have been a few styles where liquid has been the superior option and one I coulnd;t create with dry.

Personally I love London Ale III for ewxample and could never get that flavour profile using dry yeast so far.
 

Steveo666

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I've had good success harvesting yeast. So far the longest I have kept it (4 degrees C) is 3 months.
 

cushyno

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If making smaller batches (10-12L) with liquid Yeast, can some of it be saved for a future batch (ie use half rather than harvest from FV)

If so, how long does it keep? And does this work with the smack packs that contain Yeast nutrient?

I'm intrigued by liquid Yeast but at double the price to only use half I'm concerned its not worth the extra cash.
Best way to save yeast is to use the whole smack pack in a starter. Overbuild the starter and save some of it, pitching the rest into your FV.

This is a useful resource for working it out: Homebrew Dad's Online Yeast Starter Calculator

Let's say you have a 2 month old smack pack, so 60% viability, to use in a 1.050 OG brew. If you did a 1.5L starter made with about 150g of DME, that would give you 1.2L of starter for a 23L batch plus 300ml to save for the next starter. That's assuming the smack pack is 100billion cells.
 

trueblue

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I always go for liquid as I've mentioned before when I've split batches fermenting the same wort with the different yeasts there has only ever been one winner and that includes other people doing blind tasting. If I am going to spend 4-5 hours producing wort I want to treat that worn as best I can. And it works out cheaper.
 

Oneflewover

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I recently received this comment in feedback from a head brewer of a local brewery who told me he is a qualified BJCP judge:

"....Good ferment with a quality liquid yeast. Good pitch rate.
Very well rounded and balanced. No fermentation flaws present......"

It was a dried yeast:laugh8:.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that it's style dependent. I agree completely with @Covrich above. Not sure I'd even bother to brew a yeast driven English style beer with what is available in dry yeast.
 

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