From the HBD Archive
From: oconnor@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (donald oconnor)
Subject: liquid vs dry, ale vs lager
Date: 1992-03-06 16:27:05 GMT

for those who are still debating the value of liquid vs dry yeast, a couple
of facts are worth noting.

Not a single winning beer at the 1991 AHA national used dry beer yeast.
two, barley wine and stout (which is more of a barley wine than stout) used
dry champagne yeast. All others, about 20, used liquid yeast cultures and
most of those were Wyeast. it's interesting to note that the percentage
of winning beers using liquid yeast has grown steadily every year.

dry yeast always have some bacteria and/or wild yeast. aaron b. essentially
stated why this is so yesterday. in simple terms, if you start with
a pure liquid yeast culture and muck around with it (i.e., dry it), it will
no longer be pure. It's very important to note that the zymurgy article
that ironically is referenced by the dry yeast advocates, clearly shows
that only the liquid cultures are free of bacteria and that all dry yeasts
including whitbread have bacteria.

this does not mean that you cannot make good beer with dry yeast. if the
level of bacteria is low and you take measures to minimize their growth such
as lowering the temperature, then you can make good beer with dry yeast.
but all other things being equal, you will never make better beer with the
dry yeast rather than the liquid.

I'm sure there are some who will argue that POWDERED MILK IS BETTER THAN THE
LIQUID STUFF, TACK IS BETTER THAN BEEF FROM THE BUTCHER, TANG IS BETTER THAN
FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE, INSTANT COFFEE IS BETTER THAN FRESH GROUND, AND
PERHAPS, YOU CAN IMPROVE THE FAMILY DOG WITH A TRIP TO THE TAXODERMIST.

the responses regarding ales vs lagers have been quite good. a couple of
points have been left out of the discussion however. one reason lagers
are so popular with breweries worldwide is the essentially competitive
advantage they have over ale yeast. lagers can eat sugars at low
temperatures while ale yeast and bacteria generally like warmer temps.
prior to pasteur, brewers didn't know what the hell was going on.
they were just glad to make good tasting beer with lager yeast rather
than sometimes good tasting with the ale yeast.

it is also worth note that lager yeasts will make good beer at ale
temperatures. as someone mentioned yesterday, Anchor is a good example.
generally, all good beer yeast will make good beer below about 75F.
ales essentially shut down around 55-60 while lager yeasts will
keep on working down to 40 or so. some of the confusion about
lager vs ale lies in the fact that lager means to cold age or some
such thing in german, while at the same time lager yeast is
a different critter than ale yeast.


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