The advantage of liquid yeast

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At Jasper Yeast we believe strongly in liquid yeast and have summarized the benefits of liquid over dry in this post. We are not arguing that dry yeast is bad. We think it is not always the best choice.  
Vitality is higher
Yeast cells are in a much better shape when compared to dried yeast cells. The cells in a liquid pitch are healthy and full of fluid, their membranes are intact, and the cells are stocked with glycogen. The drying process is very rough on yeast cells, cell damage is unavoidable. This can result in the production of off-flavors and aromas. For yeast, drying means that a lot of energy has to be spent on surviving, not fermenting. This will lead to over-pitching and the typical mineral taste and dry finish of beer fermented with dry yeast.

Viability is higher
Liquid yeast has a viability of close to 99% if grown and stored well.  The process of adding liquid yeast to wort has no real effect on the yeast percentage. The number of living cells per gram of commercial dry yeast can on the other hand be highly variable. Variation can easily be 5-fold per gram of dried material between different strains and brands. Most of the dry matter in dry yeast can be a combination of dead cells and emulsifier. Rehydration of dry yeast needs to be done very precisely, cells are extremely fragile when they enter a liquid. Rehydrating dry yeast directly in wort of 55-65°F  will result in the death of roughly 30-60% of the cells. It is therefore almost impossible to pitch the appropriate number of cells and people throw way too much (dead) yeast into their wort to be on the safe side.

Risk of infection is lower
It is difficult to physically dry yeast and keep it 100% contaminant free. The number of bacteria per gram of dry yeast can fluctuate between 50 and 3000. Liquid yeast is in general cleaner - the processing is one step shorter - and can also be tested for contamination much more easily due to the state it is in. At Jasper Yeast we use qPCR to detect contaminants in our propagations. We can detect the presence of 1 bacterium/diastaticus cell in 1 ml of slurry. With liquid yeast you start on the right foot and you can reuse it more easily.

The number of strains that can survive the drying process is very limited. As a result there is not much choice and everyone uses the same handful of yeast strains. Your beer always tastes a bit like the beer from another brewery. The variety in strains for liquid yeast is endless. You can give your beer the place it deserves: head and shoulders above the rest.

Reuse is easier
Because liquid yeast starts in better shape it is perfect for reuse. Taking good care of your yeast means endless fun, not only for the yeast itself but also for the beer and your wallet. You really have control over what happens in your brewery and with good yeast you take your beer to a higher level.

Costs are much lower with repitching
Dry yeast is often advertised as cheaper. Indeed, a block of dry yeast is about 50% of the price of a liquid pitch. However, dry yeast might be less suitable for reuse, unlike liquid yeast which can more easily be repitched several times. When you take this into account, liquid yeast becomes can become more affordable in only 2-3 subsequent fermentations.

Liquid yeast is more sustainable
Drying yeast takes a lot of energy. It is also unnecessary because yeast immediately becomes liquid again when you are using it. The drying step is purely for convenience, and not necessary in countries where they have good cold chain shipping. By skipping the drying process reusability is much better, which also saves a lot of energy. Not sending your yeast down the drain, but "recycling" it within your brewery is truly the best way to sustainably brew.

Shelf Life
Ok. We admit. Dry yeast has a longer shelf life over liquid yeast. Fortunately, since the invention of the refrigerator, cooling in the US is no longer a problem. At Jasper Yeast we nailed cold-chain shipping so your pitch will arrive nice and cool. For countries where refrigeration and ordering is not always available, dry yeast can be a great solution. 

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