Yeast Comparison: Dry vs Liquid

In March 2019, we decided to focus our next comparison on yeast, having already done one for SMaSH (different hops) and Brut IPA (testing amyloglucosidase.) For this comparison, we would pair up brewers with similar brewing equipment, and test a dry yeast strain against the closest match liquid yeast available. Everyone involved would also be brewing the exact same recipe, so that we could also compare different yeast strains. To try and limit as many variables as possible, all brewers would use the same supermarket mineral water with the same salt additions, and ingredients would be sourced from the same place and divided up equally for everyone.

Yeast Strains

The yeast strains we would then compare were:

  1. WLP002 vs Wyeast 1968 London ESB vs Lallemand ESB
  2. Wyeast 1469 W Yorks vs Mangrove Jacks M15 Empire Ale
  3. Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley vs Mangrove Jacks M36 Liberty Bell
  4. Wyeast 1099 Whitbread vs Lallemand Windsor
  5. Wyeast 1335 British Ale II vs Lallemand Nottingham

While not all comparisons were exact strain matches between liquid and dry, the attempt was to keep them as similar as possible using various comparison charts and info obtainable from the web.

Recipe

Everyone would brew the same recipe, with the same source water and treatment. Brewers using similar equipment were then paired up and each given a specific yeast strain.

Batch Size: 20L
IBU: 40
OG: 1.056

Water: Tesco Ashbeck, treated with gypsum (0.11g/L) and calcium chloride (0.08g/L)
Grist:
Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise, 4.25kg, 85%
Crisp Crystal Malt 60L, 500g, 10%
Torrified Wheat, 250g, 5%

Hops:
40g Target 8.2%AA 60 mins first wort (37 IBU)
20g Bramling Cross 6%AA 5 mins (2 IBU)
20g Bramling Cross 6%AA flameout 10 mins steep (1 IBU)

Mash for 60 minutes @ 67C

Ferment at 20C until complete

Tasting & Testing

The tasting sessions were split over two different club nights to make it easier for everyone to get up for work the next morning! Each beer would be tasted next to its partner beer to everyone in attendance, and a simple show of hands as to which was preferred. Taste descriptors for each beer were noted. We also took down information on how the yeasts performed during fermentation – attenuation, days to finish etc.

Martin, Ben & Derek – WLP002, WY1968 & ESB
YeastOriginal GravityLag time (hours)Fermentation (days)Final GravityPitching Temperature Fermentation TemperatureAttenuation (apparent)
WLP002 English Ale1.05610 – 1571.008182086%
WY1968 London ESB1.0553 – 6No data1.002202096%
Lallemand
ESB
1.055No data51.015202073%

All three had flavour descriptors of pear, rum and caramel. Despite having the lowest FG, the WY1968 beer was described as full, and was the preferred beer. It also had the most flavour descriptors, with vanilla and raisin noted in both aroma and flavour.


Dave & Ben – WY1469 & M15
YeastOriginal GravityLag time (hours)Fermentation (days)Final GravityPitching TemperatureFermentation TemperatureAttenuation (apparent)
Wyeast 1469 W Yorkshire1.0574-9121.010222081.80%
M15 Empire AleNo dataNo dataNo dataNo dataNo dataNo dataNo data

Craig & Chris – WY1275 & M38
YeastOriginal GravityLag time (hours)Fermentation (days)Final GravityPitching TemperatureFermentation TemperatureAttenuation (apparent)
WY1275 Thames Valley1.0503-127-91.011202077.30%
M38 Liberty Bell1.0483-671.010202077.60%

These beers finished very close to each other. Sadly, they couldn’t be tasted at the same time, but both had flavour descriptors of toffee and smokiness. The WY1275 beer had more fruity character with a lower perceived bitterness. It was also the preferred beer by one vote.


John & Lee – WY1099 & Windsor
YeastOriginal GravityLag time (hours)Fermentation (days)Final GravityPitching TemperatureFermentation TemperatureAttenuation (apparent)
Wyeast 1099 Whitbread1.0563-1291.014182075%
Lallemond Windsor1.0566-1251.015202072%

Another very close pair, both were described as fruity and had descriptors of pear, banana and toffee. The Windsor beer was considered fuller and more expressive, and was the favourite by one vote.


Dan & Ricki – WY1335 & Nottingham
YeastOriginal GravityLag time (hours)Fermentation (days)Final GravityPitching TemperatureFermentation TemperatureAttenuation (apparent)
Wyeast 1335 British Ale II1.04121131.008251980%
Lallemand Nottingham1.0421681.010242074%

These beers were the only ones not to follow the recipe, instead using Woodfordes Wherry kit and changing out the yeast. Both had descriptors of gingerbread, caramel and honey. The WY1335 beer was described as being more malty and fuller bodied, and was the preferred beer for most.

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