From the HBD Archive
From: (John DeCarlo)
Subject: Re: Liquid vs. Dry Yeast
Date: 1992-03-06 13:58:48 GMT

>From: matth@bedford.progress.COM

> *Why* is using a liquid yeast *soooooo* much better?

> If you make a strong starter, is there really a difference?

Well, as jack and others have pointed out, there is nothing magic
about the word "liquid" or "dry". The practical difference to
homebrewers falls into two major categories, IMHO <grin>:

1) The liquid yeasts available are specific strains with known
behavior. If you really want something specific from your
yeast, you have a much larger selection to choose from when
choosing liquid yeasts. I would no longer brew a weizen
without at least some S. Delbrueckii. Therefore I can buy a
liquid yeast culture or borrow from a friend, but I can not
buy a dry yeast packet with that particular yeast in it.

2) The major vendors of dry yeast use economies of scale to
produce very large batches and produce it cheaply. As a
result of the common methods used, only certain strains of
yeast are hardy enough to survive both the drying process
and the presumed practice of throwing the dried yeast
directly into the wort (a strain on yeast cell walls).
Another side effect is that every batch is contaminated to
some degree (at least no study has ever found a dry yeast
packet with no contamination). This is not necessarily a
problem for the home brewer, as our beers are also
contaminated from our environment. Some batches are
particularly bad and some batches of dried yeast are much

Why aren't there more strains of yeast available in dry form and
why aren't there purer dried yeast packets? I don't know. I
suspect that the cost (entry cost for new producers and cost to
change production lines in existing producers) is not seen as
worth it, considering the size of the market of homebrewers.

On a tour of the Old Dominion Brewery, outside Washington, DC,
Jerry Bailey told us that they spent a very large amount of money
for a specific strain of yeast. My notes indicate that it was
delivered in a compressed plug about the size of a child's fist.
Obviously it wasn't a small amount and it wasn't a liquid

Anyway, until more alternatives appear on the market, getting the
right strain of yeast for your recipe involves getting a liquid
culture, either from a big supplier like Wyeast or a smaller
supplier or a friend who maintains the cultures.

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