Sunday, December 12, 2010

Liquid/Dry Yeast Chart by Style

Homebrewers have two types of yeast to choose from: liquid and dry. Looking around on the web or talking to some homebrewers it's not hard to get the idea that liquid from White Labs and Wyeast are the only options for quality. And looking only at the dry yeast included in canned beer kits, it's hard to disagree.

Despite all you've seen and heard, good beer can be made from both. Liquid yeast has vastly more variety and is the only possible way to go if you're brewing sours. Dry yeast is less expensive, easier to store, and does not require you to make a starter for lower gravity beers. With almost twice the cost and half the cells, liquid yeast is over three times as expensive per cell count. The need for a starter is reduced because 11.5 gram packages of dry yeast have double what liquid yeast packages contain. With twice as many cells, dry yeast will typically reduce your lag time and potentially deliver a better beer as compared to liquid yeast without a starter, assuming the strain you've chosen is appropriate to the style you're brewing.

The problem has been trying to find a good source for translating from one type to another with predictable results. Nobody seems willing to say that liquid yeast "X" equals dry yeast "Y". Hopefully, my previous post is a good start. In some cases the liquid and dry yeasts are the same, so that part is easy. A great example is the Chico yeast strain, which is available from White Labs as WLP001 California Ale and from Wyeast as WY1056 American Ale. It is also available in dry form from Fermentis as Safale US-05. And liquid Nottingham is the same as dry Nottingham, it's just more expensive.

After a few easy matches, the rest seems to be tribal knowledge rather than provable fact. The best single resource I've found so far is Jamil Z's book "Brewing Classic Styles". The following info is mostly extracted from that source. A word of warning, the following chart is only intended as a starting point because some of these matches are only close, not spot on. For example, Saflager S-23 is Jamil's substitute for every liquid lager yeast - which seems unlikely. YMMV. Please post a comment if you have any additional information.

CategoryStyleWhite Labs Wyeast  Dry
1. Light LagerLite American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Standard American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Premium American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Munich HellesWLP838WY2308Saflager S-23
 Dortmunder ExportWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
2. PilsnerGerman PilsnerWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
 Bohemian PilsnerWLP800WY2001Saflager S-23
 Classic American PilsnerWLP800WY2001Saflager S-23
3. European
Amber Lager
Vienna LagerWLP838WY2308Saflager S-23
 Oktoberfest/MärzenWLP820WY2206Saflager S-23
4. Dark LagerDark American LagerWLP840WY2007Saflager S-23
 Munich DunkelWLP833WY2308Saflager S-23
 SchwarzbierWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
5. BockMaibockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 Traditional BockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 DoppelbockWLP833WY2206Saflager S-23
 EisbockWLP830WY2124Saflager S-23
6. Light Hybrid BeerCream AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Blonde AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 KolschWLP029WY2565Safale US-05
 American Wheat or RyeWLP320WY1010Safale US-05
7. Amber
Hybrid Beer
Northern German AltWLP036WY1007Saflager S-23
 Dusseldorf AltbierWLP036WY1007Safale US-05
8. English Pale AleStandard/Ordinary BitterWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
/Premium Bitter
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
 Extra Special/
Strong Bitter (ESB)
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
9. Scottish &
Irish Ale
Scottish Light 60/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Scottish Heavy 70/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Scottish Export 80/-WLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Irish Red AleWLP004WY1084Safale US-05
 Strong Scotch AleWLP028WY1728Safale US-05
10. American AleAmerican Pale AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 American Amber AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 American Brown AleWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
11. English
Brown Ale
MildWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
English Brown
WLP002WY1968Safale S-04
English Brown
12. PorterBrown PorterWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 Robust PorterWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Baltic PorterWLP885WY830Saflager S-23
13. StoutDry StoutWLP004WY1084Safale US-05
 Sweet StoutWLP006WY1099Safale S-04
 Oatmeal StoutWLP002WY1968Safale S-04
 American StoutWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Russian Imperial StoutWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
14. India Pale AleEnglish IPAWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 American IPAWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
 Imperial IPAWLP001WY1056Safale US-05
18. Belgian
Strong Ale
Belgian Blonde AleWLP500WY1214Safbrew T-58
 Belgian TripelWLP530WY3787Safbrew T-58
 Belgian Golden
Strong Ale
WLP570WY1388Safbrew T-58
 Belgian Dark
Strong Ale
WLP530WY1762Safbrew T-61
19. Strong AleOld AleWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 English Barley WineWLP013WY1028Nottingham
 American Barley WineWLP001WY1056Safale US-05

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