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Liquid yeast

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Liquid yeast is available from two main laboratories: White Labs and Wyeast.

While generally more fussy and harder to store than dry yeast, it offers the brewer much more flexibility. Dry yeast comes in a few basic strains; liquid yeast strains number in the hundreds. Many of these strains are very specialized, and lend particular characteristics to beer. Most traditional beer styles of the world have special characteristics that are only achievable by using the specialized yeast strain meant for that style. For example, a German Hefeweizen would taste completely different if it wasn't fermented with Hefeweizen yeast strain, and instead, a Belgian Abbey yeast strain were used. Since many yeasts lend subtle flavors and aromas to beer, liquid yeast allows the brewer to control yet another variable in his/her beer. The other drawback of liquid yeast (aside from the shorter shelf-life) is that the cell count in most commercially available yeast packs is inadequate for inoculating 5 gallons of wort, thus creating the necessity for a starter. However, even given these drawbacks, most advanced homebrewers use liquid yeast in their brews.