|Yeast: Liquid or Dry?|
The homebrewer has two types of yeast to choose from; liquid yeasts or dry yeasts. For some this argument is similar to a "taste-great less filling" debate or "Ford versus Chevy" discussion and is just a matter of preference while others are very passionate about their preference. Good beer can be made from both dry and liquid yeast and both have their advantages and disadvantages. While many homebrew enthusiast claim that dry yeasts are a poor fermenter and can produce undesired flavors since they are not as pure a culture as a liquid yeast others favor the convenience and lower cost that dry yeast offers.
Dry yeast is inexpensive, convenient, hardy and does not require a starter. However most experts agree that a starter would be beneficial when using a dry yeast. A simple starter to rehydrate your dry yeast is available right in your brew kettle. A starter will create a larger number of yeast cells that are added to the wort resulting in a more efficient the fermentation process. A more efficient fermentation results in a better quality beer with less likeliness of contamination. To create a starter simply remove 1 cup of wort 30 minutes before the end of the boil and allow to cool in a covered container. Add the dry yeast and allow 10-30 minutes to proof. After this time the yeast should be visibly churning and/or foaming, and is ready to pitch. I also find the addition of a good yeast nutrient to your wort to be very beneficial. The best nutrient is actually dead yeast cells in the form of Vegemite or Marmite yeast extracts. The addition of a yeast nutrient to wort promotes a healthy and hearty fermentation resulting in a beer with a lower final gravity. You can use the trub from your kettle as an excellent yeast nutrient.