My First Lager - Dry or Liquid Yeast

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by DeutschesBier, Jun 27, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Sometime over the next two weeks, I'll be doing my first lager. I'm going to do Kai's Edel Hell recipe (Munich Helles), and I was curious as to what kind of yeast you more experienced lager brewers like to use.

    I have no problem making a big starter if liquid is clearly better. But if dry yeast is just as good, I figure I may as well just pitch a couple packets of that.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (304) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    I vote for liquid and I suspect many other lager brewers do as well.

    dry lager yeast has come a long way over the years, but it does not match liquid lager yeast imo. good, but not anywhere as good as a dry ale or liquid lager strain (20 years ago this was not even open for discussion btw. no dry lager was worth the $1.75).

    a proper lager beer requires careful attention to fermentation and this includes the quality of the yeast. so yes, make a big starter with your choice of liquid culture and pay careful attention to your fermentation temps. then be sure to rack and lager at cold temps for a few weeks or months. if a brewer cant ferment and lager at the right temps with the right yeast, a proper lager is simply not going to happen.
    good luck.
     
  3. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I've never heard anything from the dry camp. I'd recommend that if you go liquid yeast you'll want to over pitch slightly.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,976) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I 'vote' liquid yeast.

    Cheers!
     
  5. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    Some weeks ago, I started a thread on this topic. I'd say the consensus was strongly in the liquid camp. I've been tempted to try dry yeast for bigger lagers, but haven't done it. For a helles, which should take a relatively small starter for a lager, I'd go liquid for sure.
     
  6. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Thanks everyone. Liquid it is!
     
  7. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I did a Helles with WL 830 lager and I did one with 34/70 dry lager. I hear there both the same strain and both came out equally great! That particular dry yeast isn't much cheaper than liquid yeast so I think either way your good.

    I haven't heard anything good about all the other dry lager yeasts but 34/70 is awesome!
     
  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,594) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I've made 3 lagers with dry yeast and here's what I have to say about them.
    • Smoked schwarzbier made sith W34/70. Scored a 32 in a competition. One judge noted slight fruitiness in flavor, but I didn't. Hard to know if this was a yeast problem, given the complexities of smoked beers. In any event, 32 is not an awful score, and the beer went down nicely, IMO. However...
    • Bohemian pils with W34/70. This was a split batch, comparing liquid and dry yeast. The liquid half used WY 2278. Side by side, 2278 made a better beer because it was cleaner, less fruity. However, I may have said W34/70 made a great beer if I hadn't done a side by side tasting.
    • Classic American pils with S-23. This batch was fruitier than the others. Maybe this yeast would work for biere de garde, California common, or cream ale, in a hydrid style where some noticeable fruitiness can be acceptable? I didn't hate this beer but wouldn't offer it up as a pilsner to anyone who has beer style smarts.
    FWIW, I have made other pils and Oktoberfest styles using liquid yeasts and liked the results.
    TAKEHOME: I think one can tell the difference between liquid and dry lager yeasts, although the differences can be slight. My experience is limited, but I think I prefer liquid; if using dry yeast, I think I prefer W34/70 to S-23.
     
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,594) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

  10. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the input, everyone! Decisions, decisions...
     
  11. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    If you care the Canadian Homebrewer of the Year last year (and likely this year)is generally in the dry camp... Two packs cost about what the DME & Liquid pack would and you don't have to build up a giant starter.

    That said I've only used liquid.
     
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,976) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    “Two packs cost about what the DME & Liquid pack”

    The place that I buy most of my homebrewing supplies is Northern Brewer:

    · Two packs of Saflager W34/70 is 10 bucks (US dollars)

    · Wyeast lager yeast is $6.25. I am not sure what 200 grams (or so) of DME cost; a dollar or two?

    There is no doubt in my mind (as an US homebrewer) that there is no material cost benefit to use dry yeast over liquid yeast. If you despise making starters then maybe 10 bucks is a good investment for two packs of dry yeast? I personally am not convinced that dry lager yeast is comparable to liquid lager yeast but take that with a grain of salt since I am not a homebrewer of the year (regardless of country).

    Cheers!

    P.S. The economics of yeast in Canada (dry vs. liquid & DME) could indeed be totally different.
     
  13. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Hmmm. It is Canada Day, after all. Do you know which dry yeast he prefers?
     
  14. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (304) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Lallemand is from Montreal, which still counts as Canada i think. don't forget that they are paying with that funny Canada money too. it's red. there is no direct comparison.
     
  15. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    34/70 IIRC, it's what I have in my freezer. He claims it is quite versatile, having won a range of categories with it.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.