Monday, April 4, 2016

Dry or liquid yeasts

In the world of brewing I think there are two ends of the spectrum.  There is the Charlie Papizan, relax, have a home brew end, and on the other side is the more scientific, Dave Miller kind of approach.  I think most of us fall somewhere along the spectrum rather than pinned at one end.  I am always interested in learning more, but I am not a scientist.  I have learned a lot just by doing, and then if I am curious, I will go back and try and find out why things turned out the way they did.  I can write down my brews and copy the recipe if I want to make it again, but I find it better to know why things work the way they do.

With wines things can take longer and thus I forget more about what I did when I brewed if I have not written it down somewhere.  In a lot of brewing beer people use liquid yeasts and starters to ensure there is a strong fermentation.  I have read, and found it to be true, that with dry yeasts it is not good to use a starter.  Most wine is fermented using dry yeast.  If you google around you can read about the different processes of getting the yeasts to you, and as I have learned the process of making dry yeast is not as clean and thus any replication (making starters) can amplify (like a copy machine) any imperfections.  When using dry yeasts I have always seen better results using no starter, but a good dose of yeast nutrient.

I prefer liquid yeasts but for wines, there doesn't seem to be as much variety in the liquid category.  Do you have a favorite yeast, or do you use wild yeasts when fermenting, let me know in the comments.