Yeast plays a crucial part in brewing beer, as they start with sugar, break it down, and leaves carbon dioxide, alcohol, and delicious flavors behind! Without yeast, beer wouldn’t be as we know it today. However, the importance of yeast often gets underestimated, but it shouldn’t!
While dry yeast has a longer shelf life than liquid yeast, liquid yeast has more flavor options. Dry yeast is cheaper, eliminates or reduces the need for oxygenation, and has a higher cell count per package. While dry yeast has benefits, some beer can’t be brewed without liquid yeast.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of dry and liquid yeast and how yeast will affect beer will significantly help you in your homebrewing beer venture! Continue reading with us to learn more about successfully using yeast to homebrew your first batch of beer!
How Do Different Types Of Yeast Affect Beer?
While some types of yeast have high flocculation, meaning that it gathers together, others have a low flocculation level. Higher flocculation is generally preferred for a beer with a more professional and clear finish.
Attenuation, which is the number of usable sugars present in a specific yeast, will affect beer. A smoother taste will come from the yeast with fewer available sugars.
A beer with a more full-bodied and bitter taste will have been brewed with yeast containing more usable sugars. Some types of yeasts won’t be able to stand up to the stronger beers, such as Belgium Triples or Barleywines.
Keep in mind that temperature range will play a huge role in which yeast should be used. When you want to brew a larger beer, a larger yeast should be used, which will ferment at lower temperatures. Ale yeasts will ferment at much higher temperatures.
The yeast flavor you choose will significantly affect your beer’s overall taste and flavor. If the yeast doesn’t flocculate well enough and is suspended in the beer, it will also take on a very bready/yeasty flavor.
However, when it does get removed, you will still be able to notice distinct flavors from different yeasts. Certain types of yeast will ferment cleaner, consisting of no fruity esters, while other yeasts will ferment and leave a higher amount of esters.
Additionally, some yeasts will not be susceptible to diacetyl, while others will be.
Advantages of Using Dry Yeast
Although dry yeast was thought to be impure and unreliable, all the technological improvements have made today’s dry yeast reliable and, in some cases, a better alternative to liquid yeast.
Some of the advantages of using yeast for homebrewing beer include the following:
- Dry yeast eliminates or greatly reduces the need for wort oxygenation.
- Dry yeast packages have a higher cell count compared to liquid yeast.
- Dry yeast has an extended shelf life, while liquid yeast doesn’t last as long, even when stored at room temperature.
- Dry yeast is more cost-effective than liquid yeast.
Disadvantages of Using Dry Yeast
Of course, dry yeast has a few disadvantages, but when you compare these disadvantages to the advantages listed above, it becomes clear these advantages outweigh them.
Disadvantages of using dry yeast include:
- Due to many yeast strains not surviving the drying process, many dry yeast manufacturers only have a select few strains, which means you won’t have as many flavor options for your beer.
- Dry yeast must be stored in a dry place at all times, as the smallest amount of moisture could cause negative effects, especially when used for homebrewing beer.
Types Of Dry Yeast
Safale Dry Yeast, Danstar Dry Yeast, and Nottingham Ale Yeast are three of the most popular types of yeast.
Safeale consists of an entire line of dry yeast pouches, and it’s one of the most popular options for beginner homebrewers.
On the other hand, Dansar Dry Yeast carries the very popular Danstar Yeast line. They have a wide variety of yeast, allowing you to choose your beer’s style and flavor.
Nottingham Ale Yeast will be your go-to if you’re looking for a neutral ale strain beer with impeccable attenuation.
Advantages of Using Liquid Yeast
Liquid yeast has many advantages and is often seen as superior. Let’s take a look at why:
- Liquid yeast allows homebrewers to choose from any strain for homebrewing their beer. These same liquid yeast strains are also made available to professionals who only use liquid yeast to brew their beer.
- Liquid yeast has several seasonal strains available, no matter the time or year.
- Some beer styles cannot be brewed without using liquid yeast.
Disadvantages of Using Liquid Yeast
Unfortunately, liquid yeast has some major drawbacks, which may change your mind if you’re a beginner and looking to brew your first batch of beer using it.
The disadvantages of using liquid yeast:
- Liquid yeast is most viable the second after culturing, and its viability decreases over time. Therefore, any brewer using liquid yeast must be constantly aware of the temperature.
- The cell count must be considered when using liquid yeast to brew beer. Each yeast supplier will have different packaging, resulting in different cell counts.
- Liquid yeast is generally more perishable and more expensive than dry yeast. Liquid yeast usually only has a practical shelf life of around three months. When it becomes older, it can either be destroyed or affected negatively when exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Types Of Liquid Yeast
The two most common brands of liquid yeast are Wyeast and White Labs. While White Labs come in a hard plastic tube-like package, Wyeast takes a different approach using large foil packaging.
Either brand is available in different varieties, such as types of Irish, German, Belgian, American, and English styles of yeast!
Yeast should always be considered when you’re homebrewing your beer, especially if you’re a beginner! Ultimately, your success will rely on your type of yeast and whether or not you use it correctly. Once you know the basics, you are ready to homebrew your first batch of beer!
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