Switching from dry yeast to liquid yeast

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davidgrace

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For a few years, I have used dry yeast for my beers brews, but I’m now considering switching to liquid yeast. I only do American IPA, English 1PA, English Bitters, and some clones, so I’m wondering if switching to liquid yeast will make any real difference for those styles. I only do 11.5L batches so I’m wondering if I can just pour the liquid yeast directly into the fermenting bin without creating a starter.
 
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For a few years, I have used dry yeast for my beers brews, but I’m now considering switching to liquid yeast. I only do American IPA, English 1PA, English Bitters, and some clones, so I’m wondering if switching to liquid yeast will make any real difference. I only do 11.5L batches so I’m wondering if I can just pour the liquid yeast directly into the fermenting bin without creating a starter.
My only experience of using a liquid yeast was Wyeast1469. This didn't need a starter as it had some sort of blister pack in the package to start the yeast pre-pitching. It was very easy and worked well. Not sure if other liquid yeasts from other companies also use this process. I used the whole pack I think, but I can't see why you couldnt keep half the pack in the fridge (in wort?) to be used with a subsequent brew - tho a starter is probably needed then?
 

obscure

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I primarily do 11L half batches and when I use liquid tend not to bother with a starter and it’s worked well.

However I think it’s worth saying that dried yeast is not inherently inferior, the real advantage with it is the sheer variety available. My personal view is it’s not worth using liquid on America IPA’s or anything where you primarily want a neutral flavour from the yeast for which I would say dried works fine. It’s not that it won’t work but its just not worth the premium. I often use the Greg Hughes book, which tends to recommend a yeast for each beer typically liquid, and while in some beers it does make a difference personally I think the Yorkshire bitter made with Wyeast West Yorkshire was superior to the same beer when I made it with S-04. Other beers for example Mild which calls for London III I have also made with CML Beoir and would say they are largely the same beer.

Basically feel free to experiment with liquid, for some beers it defiantly does give better results, especially when a lot of the flavour comes from the yeast for other beers it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference so I have stuck to dry which is both cheaper and easier to handle than liquid.
 

An Ankoù

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My only experience of using a liquid yeast was Wyeast1469. This didn't need a starter as it had some sort of blister pack in the package to start the yeast pre-pitching. It was very easy and worked well. Not sure if other liquid yeasts from other companies also use this process. I used the whole pack I think, but I can't see why you couldnt keep half the pack in the fridge (in wort?) to be used with a subsequent brew - tho a starter is probably needed then?
I always think that these liquid yeasts, unless really fresh, are drifting towards the edges of viability and I certainly wouldn't recommend using half a pack, even in a small batch. Far better to use the whole pack and then harvest the yeast from the beer either from the yeast head or from the slurry when it starts to drop out.

There are some great dried yeasts around now and it's worth remembering that if you crop and repitch from successive beers, the yeast will take on a "house character" anyway. Of course, there a some strains you just can't get hold of in the dry range.
 

davidgrace

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Did you make good beers with dry yeast?
Did you use a half package?
If yes why bother going to liquid yeast?
I am happy with the American IPA brews, but not the British Bitter brews. I use the whole pack of dry yeast in my 11.5 batches.
 

moto748

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My only experience of using a liquid yeast was Wyeast 1469. This didn't need a starter as it had some sort of blister pack in the package to start the yeast pre-pitching. It was very easy and worked well. Not sure if other liquid yeasts from other companies also use this process. I used the whole pack I think, but I can't see why you couldn't keep half the pack in the fridge (in wort?) to be used with a subsequent brew - tho a starter is probably needed then?

I've used 1469 too, and another Wyeast one time for a Weiss, and both worked well with the blister pack, I never used a starter, I figured following the instructions on the pack should be good enough, and it was. But I mostly use dried yeasts for convenience, I can buy them (well,most of them) from my local homebrew shop.

As for seeing whether liquids would make a better beer, I am planning a repeat of my Grey Sheep bitter, which I previously brewed with Verdant dried yeast, with the 1469 I have in the fridge. I was pleased with my first attempt, and it will be interesting to compare them.
 

obscure

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Anofher thing you can do is use your batch of session bitter as a starter for a stronger beer, i.e. I made Barley wine with the yeast slurry from a batch of Bitter made with West Yorkshire yeast, (and you get a batch of bitter out of it too).
 

Dorst

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These are golden ages for dry yeast users so you need a good reason to switch in my opinion.

I used to brew exclusively with liquid yeast because of the variety in choice. In the last few years the selection of dry yeast has increased so much that most of the advantages of liquid yeast are getting smaller. I now almost exclusively use dry yeast for my brews and only switch to liquid yeast when there are no good alternatives (mostly brettanomyces and bacteria).

My rationale:
Liquid yeast is more expensive and have a shorter best before date. The most important downside is that you need to make a starter since the viable cells in a vial is always lower than optimal. This means you need to plan your brew several days in advance, not to speak of investing in DME, erlenmeyers, stirplates etc.

What are you currently missing that makes you consider the move?
 

Jim Brewster

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I have only ever used dry packs and was wondering if liquid would give me better beer, but I've seen professional craft breweries that don't have their own yeast strains using dried yeasts such as Nottingham, US-05, 34/70 etc, and if they make good beer and it's good enough for them, then it's good enough for me. I'd probably only switch to liquid if it was a specific yeast for a style or clone that wasn't available dry.

Is there a reason why using a liquid yeast would be any different in principle to re-using a yeast from a previous batch that was originally dry packed?
 
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For a few years, I have used dry yeast for my beers brews, but I’m now considering switching to liquid yeast. I only do American IPA, English 1PA, English Bitters, and some clones, so I’m wondering if switching to liquid yeast will make any real difference for those styles.

+1 to what others have said - the really fussy will detect a bit of extra fruitiness from eg US-05 compared to WLP001, but for the average person who just wants a clean yeast for American styles then BRY-97,US-05, M54 or 34/70 are fine. But as has been mentioned you get more choice with liquid and so something like WLP090 San Diego is a "better" version of US-05 in that it flocculates better.

Historically English styles weren't particularly well served by dry yeast - strains like Nottingham were selected for ease of use (stickiness) rather than flavour. By all accounts Lallemand Verdant is much more characterful and so works much better in English styles (as well as hazy NEIPA-y beers) but I haven't used it myself. So it's worth a go.

But yep, something like 1469 is probably your best bet from the US companies for trad bitter. WLP041 is an underrated yeast that gives an easy drinkability, particularly for golden ales. OTOH, in the UK we have easy access to "the real thing" in cask dregs from our nearest pub, or beers conditioned with production yeast like Proper Job and 1845. Or some of Brewlab's library are available as slopes...

Don't sweat too much about starters, they're not as complicated as some people make out. Especially since you are only making half batches, you should be fine with retail packs within their BB date. But I've revived 3-year-old packs with no more kit than a bottle and some DME - some people will argue that you're actually better just shaking the bottle occasionally rather than using a stirplate.
 
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I've used 1469 too, and another Wyeast one time for a Weiss, and both worked well with the blister pack, I never used a starter, I figured following the instructions on the pack should be good enough, and it was. But I mostly use dried yeasts for convenience, I can buy them (well,most of them) from my local homebrew shop.

As for seeing whether liquids would make a better beer, I am planning a repeat of my Grey Sheep bitter, which I previously brewed with Verdant dried yeast, with the 1469 I have in the fridge. I was pleased with my first attempt, and it will be interesting to compare them.
My decision to use 1469 was to replicate TT landlord as best as possible. I now have top skimmed yeast in the fridge for another brew, but haven't managed to use it yet. Like others here, I will use dried for most beers and maybe buy liquid again if I really want to get something different/special. Although it was very good, I'm not going to rush to get another liquid soon.🍻
 

MickDundee

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Switching to liquid yeasts isn’t some kind of “upgrade” that some people will have you believe.

Some liquid yeasts I’ve found make a better beer than their dry equivalent (bitters, Belgians, Hefeweizen); whereas some I’ve found to be no different (APA/IPA; most lager although I often go with a liquid because you need 2 sachets of dry so the cost is similar). I would even say that I made better witbiers with MJ M21 than I did with WLP400, and Belle Saison is such an absolute beast that it has given me no desire to try a liquid saison yeast.
 

MickDundee

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These are golden ages for dry yeast users so you need a good reason to switch in my opinion.

I used to brew exclusively with liquid yeast because of the variety in choice. In the last few years the selection of dry yeast has increased so much that most of the advantages of liquid yeast are getting smaller. I now almost exclusively use dry yeast for my brews and only switch to liquid yeast when there are no good alternatives (mostly brettanomyces and bacteria).

My rationale:
Liquid yeast is more expensive and have a shorter best before date. The most important downside is that you need to make a starter since the viable cells in a vial is always lower than optimal. This means you need to plan your brew several days in advance, not to speak of investing in DME, erlenmeyers, stirplates etc.

What are you currently missing that makes you consider the move?
I agree with my this for the most part, but in terms of equipment you don’t really need any more than a plastic drinks bottle to make a starter - that’s all I’ve ever used anyway. A few years back Coke were selling 3L bottles for a while and they were ideal for a 2L starter.
 

davidgrace

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I quite like Belgian Blonde ale but have never brewed one because I understand that this style requires liquid yeast to contribute to flavour. Is that correct or could I use dry yeast for this style?
 

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