pricing liquid vs dry yeasts

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butisitart

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just curious, maybe i've had a bad run of how lhbs handle dry yeast compared to liquid, so i've been getting liquid and farming it.
first runs are always impressive on flavour eg wyeast yorkshire, ardennes, kolsch and they seem to fade on that punch after a few runs.
dry yeast always seemed pretty bland to start with, and often more in need of a starter than the liquids.
so i've recently re-fired my brew career after a shoulder injury, and bought some lallemand nottingham (big post on that recently), and a lot of people are going on about how dry doesn't need starters etc etc.
the nottingham was impressive, but the mangrove jacks liberty and something english ale didn't fire much at all on just dispensing over the wort. (bought lallemand and mangrove jacks from 2 different lhbs shops). so are some brands noticeably different in quality?? or did i get a lhbs who handled the mangrove jacks badly??
and, has dry improved a lot in the past 10 years??
i haven't tried many new ones, but do eg the belgian, german style yeasts reflect the styles or are they still bland??
why then (if you are more probably going to require starters on a new pack) are liquids so much more expensive?
i assumed it was a quality thing, or is it about handling and transport??
whole bunch of questions, just curious on people's takes
cheers
 

kadmium

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So there is a few things to unpack.

Traditionally, the only way to get specific strains / unique strains was to go with liquid. The increased costs are to do with low shelf life, decreased stability, manufacturing and having to produce so many variable strains.

Dry yeast is fine. I personally don't use it. I like the liquid strains. Can I ask, are you washing your yeast and harvesting post fermentation, or do you harvest from the starter? This makes a big difference in my opinion.
 

Luxo_Aussie

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I keep hearing that people are getting great results with dry yeast and the range is ever-growing. I should give dry a go, but I've got a really good system with my liquids, which I know provide good results. My setup is a bank of 7 liquid yeasts which either need a starter to get going again or can just reuse from the prior batch after washing. Costs this way are low, but wouldn't culture a strain too many times and just buy a new one after a couple of years.

Still, keen to give Kveik go as that seems like another thing altogether!
 

butisitart

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So there is a few things to unpack.

Traditionally, the only way to get specific strains / unique strains was to go with liquid. The increased costs are to do with low shelf life, decreased stability, manufacturing and having to produce so many variable strains.

Dry yeast is fine. I personally don't use it. I like the liquid strains. Can I ask, are you washing your yeast and harvesting post fermentation, or do you harvest from the starter? This makes a big difference in my opinion.
seems i have a similar regime to luxo.
hadn't thought of the specific strains side. and thought shelf life was more equal with dried, and the issue would be more volume handling. in the sense that 1 liquid takes the space of about 20 dry packs. but ok, interesting :)
most yeast comes from post ferment washes. actually it goes like this
buy pack
split pack in 2, store 1 and starter 1 for first brew.
after brew 1, will either immediately recycle half into the next brew (if similar beer-style) and wash the rest to 2 packs or
wash all into 3-4 packs. recycling straight in obviously saves a lot of work, and effectively costs zero.
repeat process with each of those generations.
end date for me is after about 3rd generation of a particular set of yeast, so in theory i can get an awful lot of brews from 1 pack.
however, the flavour impact does seem to go down and then i get bored and maybe keep 1-2 in reserve emergency supply, and go and buy another one. usually use a pack for maybe 18 months. and by splitting that way, i don't get near the '5 uses' dividing line. but a single pack, just looking at my brew history -
1 pack of wyeast ardennes - 17 uses. started on belgians, went to porters when the flavour diminished (and REALLY good there), finished (as most do) on aus sparklings, as the flavour profile dissapated. still plenty of life in them, but i get to the point of wanting to try something else.
yeah, i know, takes money, time and energy, but even with ldme and nutrients factored in, it's cheap and i quite enjoy the process.
got some whitelabs london ale ready to roll out, but i've got 3rd gen lallemans nottingham busily ripping through some stout and strong english ale.
 

Hangover68

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I only use dry for a couple of reasons, i can keep a stack in the fridge and not worry much about shelf life, can buy it a lot cheaper which is a factor for me and it works fine for my brewing.
Might try liquid one day but for now dry works for me.
 

Grmblz

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Are you "washing" Yeast Washing & Yeast Rinsing: What's the Difference? | American Homebrewers Association. or "rinsing"? Makes a big difference.

You don't mention how you are storing your washed/rinsed yeast?

I have a liquid yeast bank, and use the frozen glycerol/glycerine/glycol method, but never reuse first gen unless it's two consecutive brews with the second going straight onto the yeast cake after racking.

Method: make a big starter/mini brew with the new liquid yeast vial, rinse then portion off into 50ml vials, and freeze, then use each vial to make a starter to brew with, ramping up as necessary, I get about 20 vials so about $1 per brew and it's always first gen. The frozen yeast lasts a year or more with some folks claiming 3 yrs.

Dry yeasts have come a hell of a long way in the last ten yrs, a quick look at the manufacturers websites is very insightful, it's interesting that some say a starter isn't necessary but do one if you like, whereas others state categorically do not make a starter pitch directly into wort.

I use Cheap Yeast Store good (not brilliant) selection and have never had a problem with his stuff (high turnover probably) I keep it in the freezer and have had no problems with year old packs. Due to how cheap and convenient the dried yeast is I don't keep any in my yeast bank.

Kveik is a whole different ball game, you can do the glycol thing or after racking just spread slurry out onto a sanitised tea towel and allow to dry, break it up and keep in clip lock bags, treat as any dried yeast but under pitch (7 or 8gms) and ferment at 35deg's C, I keep it in the fridge but apparently room temp is fine.

Try a Belgian with Kveik, you'll either love it or hate it (I love it lol)
 

kadmium

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Hey mate. If you're not into freezing and yeast banking, the most effective way to keep yeast and to ensure you have a good strain that continues on, is to do as follows:

1. Purchase yeast, and determine viability. Easiest way is to use brewdads calculator. Liquid yeast loses around 20% viability per month. Hence 3 month old yeast is around 50% viable.

2. Work out starter size. Usually around 200billion cells for a 20ish l batch. Then, click to overbuild by 100b cells for a total of 300b cell starter.

3. Make your starter. Once its ready to crash, pour the predicted amount out for storage. Then, crash the starter and pop the clean, never been used in a beer yeast into the fridge.

4. Crash the starter, before use take out of fridge and decant off almost all of the clear liquid. Let starter warm to room temp for a few hours. Swirl and pitch.

Then, next time you wish to make a starter, use the batch you had last time and repeat. This way, you never have to wash or rinse yeast, or do anything. Its very simple.

The yeast you harvest from the starter will be viable for 6+ months. Anecdotal evidence suggest 12+ generations using this method with no loss in viability, as you aren't using yeast which has been fermenting active worth with hops etc and getting damaged and mutated. It's always clean yeast from a 1.037SG starter with no hops.
 

kadmium

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Oh and just cause I'm lazy and like repeat processes, I always just do a 2L starter, harvest 500m and then crash the 1.5L and use that.

Lagers different cause you need much more, but 2L on stirplate with 500m harvest is way more than enough.
 

kadmium

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MashBasher

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Some great posts here on liquid yeast and propagation. Grmblz's and Kadmium's method would each bring cost down considerably.

I like to use both dry and liquid. My two best beers so far this year have been a Dr Smurtos Timothy Taylors clone (Wyeast 1469) and a Czech Pils (Fermentis 34/70) Both beers are absolute crackers and absolutely nailed styles I know very well (if I say so myself).

Here's a few personal observations comparing liquid and dry. This is written from my own point of view. Often I'm very time poor and need to weigh up what I can readily buy or keep on hand against opportunities to brew, availability and a few other things I find important.

Dry yeast
Liquid Yeast
Easy inoculation - sprinkle directly on wort in many cases. However, some dry yeasts should undergo re-hydration for certain conditions, e.g, high gravity, or highly acidic wort.Direct pitch quantities of liquid yeast are available to suit @ 25 litres of normal gravity wort. Almost as simple to use as dry on this basis.
Permits ad-hoc brewing.Requires a certain amount of planning if a starter is required, or to get a package to pitching condition in some cases.
Sanitation is easy to maintain.Sanitation is easy to screw up.
Can be lower cost - up to 1/3 the cost of liquid yeast to a similar pitching requirement for @ 25 litres. More packs may be required for larger volumes, lager styles, and/or higher gravity worts. (note: some manufacturers assert starters are potentially detrimental to dry yeast health)Cost can be significantly lowered through propagation. Liquid yeast can also be readily built up to pitching volumes through a starter. Sanitation and ongoing yeast management are factors for consideration using this approach.
A limited number of styles and flavour profiles from a couple of major manufacturers (Lallemand and Fermentis). Other suppliers appear in many cases (though perhaps not always) to offer repackaged versions of yeasts from these two. The available range has expanded considerably in recent years and representative yeasts suitable for many popular and classic beer styles are now available.Largely capable of replicating key flavour characteristics of well known and classic beer styles. A huge number of style and sub-style choices to pick from across several manufacturers. A lot of overlap between these, however, and supposed brewery source may more often be inspired guesswork and internet rumour than fact.
All are generally capable of producing quality beer. Strains are largely selected under the primary criteria of suitability for packaging in dry form. Some strains e.g., 34/70 and US-05 regarded by many to be undetectable from the liquid version of the same strain. Some strains are regarded to be notoriously poor attenuators (e.g., S-04, Lallemand ESB) or others as poorly flocculant (e.g., Nottingham multi-strain).In general, exceptional in quality. Some strains may be difficult to manage in a home brewing environment because they are highly adapted to unique brewery systems e.g., Yorkshire stones. May also have other specific and complex characteristics, and unique requirements.
Generally always available (although 34/70 recently disappeared for a while due to a rumoured infection problem). Long shelf life. Easily handled.Not all varieties easily accessible on-demand in Oz, but some custom order options available e.g., Brewman. Much shorter shelf life. Care in handling required.
Can be re-pitched for multiple generations, depending on the maintenance of yeast health.Same.

YMMV.
 

butisitart

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insanity good posts everybody, fills in a lot of blank spaces, also confirmations of where i am with yeast. so thank you so much.
grmblz - i rinse, not wash, didn't realise the diff, and never heard of 'washing' as such. i thought it was all just 'washing'.
i use a 100ml horse syringe to hoover the yeast layer out from between trub and water. although the 'water' is the last bit of beer that i couldn't get out of the fermenter. saves a step there. got the syringe free from a horse vet after a not overly sober idea i had. i should drink more often.
i'd love to freeze, but my darling is territorial about our only fridge, so it's stacked urine sample jars (the ones with the yellow lids). up the back corner of the fridge so they don't get knocked around. my hops storage in the freezer is already close to the unfriendly line. freezing will come, later.
i GOTTA check this kveik thing out. didn't know about that one either. pretty partial to a belgian.
kadmium's is similar to what i've been doing, but looks way more sensible than splitting the new pack and going down the rinsing road. have to sit down and think through the logistics on that, but sounds way better than what i've been doing.
and great comparison table from mashbasher. wasn't aware of the dry re-packaging and replication part, but fits with my anecdotal experiences You could use that table as one of the untouchable templates on top of some forum lists
hopefully get some more views on here, really good reading.
 
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BrewLizard

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Dry yeast is great. US-05 works for pretty much anything that you want clean. S-04 works well for English styles, and T-58 works well for Belgians. If you're after more nuanced characteristics, liquid is a must. There's also no great dry yeast for German styles.

Either way, if you overbuild a starter or harvest yeast, it's pretty much free after the first batch.
 

Stuart99

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(snip)
end date for me is after about 3rd generation of a particular set of yeast, so in theory i can get an awful lot of brews from 1 pack.
however, the flavour impact does seem to go down
At the rate at which yeast multiplies you're probably looking at generation several million after the first brew and generation several gazillion after the third, so it's not surprising that the yeast has mutated significantly from the original and the flavour profile has changed. The advantage I see of harvesting from the starter is that you're saving yeast from an earlier generation and there's less potential for mutations to dominate.
 

butisitart

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Dry yeast is great. US-05 works for pretty much anything that you want clean. S-04 works well for English styles, and T-58 works well for Belgians. If you're after more nuanced characteristics, liquid is a must. There's also no great dry yeast for German styles.

Either way, if you overbuild a starter or harvest yeast, it's pretty much free after the first batch.
overbuilding is another new technique for me,
a feast of information here.
dry yeast for german styles is another one
 

kadmium

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At the rate at which yeast multiplies you're probably looking at generation several million after the first brew and generation several gazillion after the third, so it's not surprising that the yeast has mutated significantly from the original and the flavour profile has changed. The advantage I see of harvesting from the starter is that you're saving yeast from an earlier generation and there's less potential for mutations to dominate.
No, it's more to do with hops creating a very hostile environment for yeast to live in, this increasing the risk of mutations and stress. This creates yeast cells that divide inefficiently, produce more off flavours through stress and then go dormant. You then wash these yeast cells and ask them to do it all over again. Kind of like asking a boxer after 9 rounds to go back in against a fresh opponent, versus training two boxers and having one wait in the change rooms till the second fight.
 

zoigl

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I lived in the Adelaide and used liquid yeast exclusively, I moved to the country 100+ kms to the LBS, made using a dry yeast a no brainer. I am happy with dry yeast and now would not go back to liquid yeast. Using dry yeast I managed to win a number of first place ribbons in the Grafton beer show. I always rehydrate in cooled boiled water only using a stir plate and 3 litre flask.
 

Grmblz

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^ What kadmium said, plus infection, when you consider the recommendation to sanitise the yeast packet, and the scissors prior to cutting it open you get an inkling of how likely infection is, in reality unless you are operating in a clean room, infection (albeit slight) is almost guaranteed, on a one off brew it's acceptable and probably not noticeable, but consecutive brews with the same yeast compounds the problem eventually leading to an undrinkable drop. Washing with acid (not rinsing) is only able to cope with minor bacterial loads, anything more and it's a hopeless case, now you get into the realms of streaking agar plates, and propagating from a single colony
btw this is not my opinion but fact, plenty of scientific info on the web for those willing to look.
 

butisitart

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on infection, i was teaching a mate how to all-grain, and he's one of those guys who needs to do everything by the book (and thus really anxious about beer infections. so i made a similar analogy to him-
none of us brews in a germfree laboratory with surgical suits on, so let's not get paranoid. but if you follow the basic sanitising regimes, the beer yeasties can probably look after the rest.
 

kadmium

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Yeah but anyone who has done any sort of risk assessment type activity will he able to tell you that you can always aim to mitigate the risks through proper techniques and control strategy. Saying "im not brewing in a hermetically sealed, sterile, UV bathed bubble so why bother" then why bother sanitising at all. Why use specific yeast? Just throw some handfuls of dirt in your beer and hope for the best. Maybe try sneezing into it.

I think it's about minimising avoidable risks through good technique. Be as anal as you want, you're brewing for yourself
 

butisitart

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Yeah but anyone who has done any sort of risk assessment type activity will he able to tell you that you can always aim to mitigate the risks through proper techniques and control strategy. Saying "im not brewing in a hermetically sealed, sterile, UV bathed bubble so why bother" then why bother sanitising at all. Why use specific yeast? Just throw some handfuls of dirt in your beer and hope for the best. Maybe try sneezing into it.

I think it's about minimising avoidable risks through good technique. Be as anal as you want, you're brewing for yourself
if you read what i said, that's not what i said. i said he was anxious, not anal. i also mentioned following basic (or standard) eg sanitizing regimes. the point was to mitigate anxiety over it.
 

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