Do you need a starter for Dry Yeast?

When I was doing the chili and oak experiments I was brewing two batches of the Nutcastle clone.  I was using Nottingham Dry Yeast for both batches.  I decided to make a starter with one packet and rehydrate the other.

Experiment

  1. Make two of the same batches of beer with dry yeast.
  2. Hydrate one packet.  Because of some other factors I wound up rehydrating for 4 hours.  This may have skewed the results (but made better beer).
  3. Make a starter with the other.
  4. Look for difference in fermentation time, power, or flavors.

Results

No difference.  Both beers were bubbling strongly in less than 12 hours.  No flavor differences that I could attribute to yeast.

Conclusions

Dry yeast will do wonders if rehydrate it for a long time, and creating a starter will not help for a 5 gallon batch.  Jamil’s show on Mead covers rehydrating in detail.

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