How To Rehydrate Yeast
Posted on July 6, 2010 by mike
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 My brewing practice at the time, outdated ingredients or yeast could be the culprit as well.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.