How To Rehydrate Yeast

Posted on July 6, 2010 by

Your house smells of a fantastic brew, boiling a way in your kettle. Your primary is awaiting the glorious pour of freshly brewed wort and you are anxiously awaiting pitching your yeast and watching fermentation take off. What, wait…your smack pack is not inflating or you accidentally knocked your starter over and spilled all of your yeast on the floor…Your wort is almost ready to go…what do you do?

Rehydrate yeast. Rehydrating yeast is a pretty simple thing to do that can maintain quality in your beer. Dry yeast is not always the first yeast of choice. The strains of yeast are somewhat limited, but there is no reason you can’t and shouldn’t use them. I prefer to use them in standard beers like a Pale Ale. But the main advice I can give to anyone who brews, is to keep a package or two of dry yeast on hand. They are small and keep really well in a fridge. If it just so happens that one of the above scenarios or something else should happen, you can still get your beer fermenting without skipping a beat.

It’s not always the main consideration, but dry yeast is cheap. Less than $2 a package, which can save you a few bucks every batch of beer. You sacrifice choice, as I mentioned before because of the lack of different strains, but if your recipe is simple or doesn’t need something special, dry yeast is a good choice.

Why Do I Need To Rehydrate Yeast

In my first batch of beer I ever made, I had a package of Muton’s dry yeast. When I was ready to pitch, I just sprinkled my yeast on top of the wort and waited. Waited, waited and waited. I waited 6 days before anything happened. Sure there are other factors involved with this. My brewing practice at the time, outdated ingredients or yeast could be the culprit as well. But what I do know is had I rehydrated my yeast, I would have either known they were no good or would have had a quicker starting fermentation.

In dry form, yeast are dormant awaiting to be awakened to help you make some beer. By rehydrating the yeast, you wake them up and get their metabolism going. When you just pitch into the wort you run the risk of the yeast not being able to rehydrate because the high concentration of sugars in the wort can make absorbing water difficult. That is probably part of the reason my first brew took 6 days to get started fermenting.

Rehydrate yeast, they will thank you for it.

How To Rehydrate Yeast

How To Rehydrate Yeast

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  • Dan Nisbet

    Interesting that you had to wait so long for your yeast to go. I used Safale S-05 in my last two batches and it's usually kicked in within about 6 hours and I didn't rehydrate it. But good article- I'll give this a whirl for my next batch and see what happens!

  • mikebiewer

    Yea, I think that the first beer I brewed was just bad ingredients. I got them at a local store and I don't think they go through a lot of inventory. Pretty sure my stuff was outdated and not properly handled. I used that as an example though, because that stuff happens. Had I rehydrated that yeast, I may have been able to tell it wasn't in good condition by its color and I could have moved onto plan B instead of making a beer that was really only good for a couple weeks before going bad.

    Thanks for the comment dude.


  • Dan Nisbet

    If I recall right, my package had an expiration date on the back of it. Looking back, it probably was a small leap of faith when I pitched it in there. I did check on the Safale site though to make sure it came ready-to-pitch. I was torn for a moment between the instructions on How to Brew and Safale. In the end, I figured if i was out $30, then I was out $30!

    One thing I was impressed with though, was how long my fermentation went on. I did an American Wheat Ale, and the instructions said to bottle two weeks in, but it was still going pretty crazy. I'm now on week three and things seem to have finally calmed down, so I'll probably be bottling before the end of the week. Overall, I'm looking to use more dry yeast in the future myself (unless I can start figuring out the trick to re-using yeast).

  • Yeast Infection

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  • David

    Great article. I’m new to all this, and learn something almost everyday. I’m on batch 9. Up until batch 5 I never rehydrated my yeast, I always just followed the kit instructions. I stumbled into your article and I now rehydrate. The yeast works without foam overs clogging everything up as well as starting up quicker.  

  • Jared McKinley

    Just want to say thanks, I do this every time I brew now! great results!

  • Assfault

    I just wanna get wasted. Thats all that matters

  • Fred

    Do you put back the Saran Wrap after pouring the yeast?

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