A great advantage of liquid yeast is its sheer variety. However, it’s hard to beat the convenience and long-term storability of dry yeast. Even if you prefer making starters, it’s nice to have some different packets of the dry stuff in the fridge, ready for those hastily planned brew days.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we could count the types of dry yeast available to us on two hands. Because of the process involved in dehydrating yeast, fewer dry strains are available. However, recently, some new and unusual types of dry yeast have caught our eye.
This is for lactic souring, but it’s not Lactobacillus—it’s not bacteria at all; it’s yeast. Sourvisiae is a bioengineered Saccharomyces strain with a genetic tweak that enables it to produce lactic acid during fermentation. Lallemand reports that beers fermented with Sourvisiae can reach a puckering final pH of 3.0–3.2, also producing a fruity aroma and flavor. Fermentation can take four days to a week. One advantage of using it: the Sacch yeast is hop-tolerant, whereas hops can inhibit the acid production of lactic bacteria. (Alternatively, Lallemand also sells two types of Wildpitch, its dried Lactobacillus (plantarum or helveticus, take your pick).
Lallemand LalBrew Voss Kveik
Many brewers are now experimenting with kveik. Few may realize that there is also a dry version of this heat-loving, fast-fermenting Norwegian farmhouse strain available. (For more information, see “Kveik: The Ancient and Modern Way to Brew,” beerandbrewing.com.)
Lallemand LalBrew New England
Ideal for brewing those juicy hazies, this yeast produces a relatively high level of b-glucosidase, which promotes the sort of biotransformation that can propel fruit- forward hop aromas and flavors. (Its source may be the “Conan” strain used at Alchemist in Vermont for its Heady Topper.)
Fermentis SafBrew HA-18
Meant for fermenting high-gravity beers, this yeast product includes the glucoamylase enzyme, which breaks down starches and carbs (such as dextrin) into simpler sugars, which the yeast then gobble. Fermentis reports an alcohol tolerance up to 18 percent ABV, with apparent attenuation of about 100 percent.
Fermentis SafBrew LA-01
On the other end of the spectrum, this Sacch yeast (var. chevalieri) leaves malt sugar alone, fermenting only simple sugars for an apparent attenuation of about 15 percent. It’s meant for fermenting low-alcohol beers.
Fermentis SafSour LP 652
This is the Fermentis version of dried Lactobacillus plantarum, ideal for “kettle souring” or including with mixed fermentations.
This is not a yeast, but rather a yeast protein extract. The proteins interact to produce a more stable haze, ideal for brewing some wheat beers or New England–style IPAs.
Photo by Jamie Bogner