Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

The hobby of homebrewing beer

Liquid Yeast Shipping and Viability Issues

Liquid yeast is a popular choice for homebrewers because it offers a wider variety of strains than dry yeast. However, liquid yeast can be more difficult to ship than dry yeast, and it can be more susceptible to losing its viability during shipping. These Brew Dudes tell a tale of woe about liquid yeast shipping and some thoughts about it all.

The Tale of Liquid Yeast Woes

I ordered the ingredients for a Munich Helles, including the Munich lager strain Wyeast 2308, for my beer from the Jar of Destiny 7th pick. Despite the careful packaging with ice packs, the yeast shipment must have encountered hot summer temperatures during transit. When I received the order, the yeast smack packs didn’t inflate as expected, hinting at potential viability issues. Undeterred, I decided to proceed with a starter, hoping to salvage whatever viable yeast remained in the packs. However, my efforts yielded minimal activity and no noticeable fermentation.

Shipping Challenges And Yeast Viability

My experience raises an important question about the viability of liquid yeast strains, especially when shipping long distances. Mike spoke of the difficulties in transporting yeast across the country, emphasizing that the stress and temperature fluctuations during transit might compromise the yeast’s health.

He thinks yeast companies like White Labs, Wyeast, and Omega focusing on higher yeast cell counts in their packages to combat viability issues that underline the industry’s ongoing efforts to address shipping-related problems. Even though liquid yeast quality has improved over the years, a solution to the challenges posed by shipping remains a concern.

Dry Yeast Alternatives

Mike talked about the idea of using dry yeast strains as a potential solution to shipping-related liquid yeast issues. The quality and variety of dry yeast have significantly improved, providing homebrewers with a reliable alternative. We both have had positive experiences with using dry yeast and and maybe choosing a reliable yeast strain for all our brewing may be a solution. If dry yeasts continue to expand their varieties, then I will be more than happy to use them.

Yeast Starters and Freshness

We still value the making of yeast starters to promote healthy fermentation. They can help you understand if your yeast is viable enough for your beer’s fermentation. If you’re lucky to get liquid yeast that appears fresh from the “Best Buy” date, a yeast starter may not be necessary but it is a nice insurance policy.

We wonder about the viability percentages and how they apply to the “Best Buy” date. We are starting to explore the idea of conducting yeast cell count experiments to better understand the impact of freshness on fermentation success.


Carbonating Multiple Kegs From One CO2 Tank

We got a question from one of our viewer that asked us to discuss the topic of kegging beer and the process of carbonating multiple kegs simultaneously. I was on vacation when this video was shot so a keg filled in for me. Here’s Mike going alone and taking on the subject like a champ.

The Wonderful World of Kegging Beer

Mike first outlines the basic kegging homebrew process. You need a keg – Mike has a nice 3 US gallon Torpedo keg but you can get an soda keg too. They come in 5 US gallon sizes. You will also need a CO2 tank, a regulator, tubing, and a gas connect. Our general advice is to connect the CO2 tank to the sanitized keg filled with cold beer and setting the pressure to 10-15 psi for a week or two carbonates the beer.

For carbonating multiple kegs, Mike shows us how to carbonate two kegs using a T-fitting to split the gas line from a single CO2 tank into two.

He emphasizes using a check valve in the gas manifold to prevent beer from reaching the regulator in case of any issues.

Now, if you have more than two kegs, Mike has another piece of equipment for you. For that set up, you will need a CO2 manifold. This manifold has multiple shutoff valves and check valves to prevent gas leaks. You can buy one that has valves that matches the number of kegs you have.

Mike discusses the challenges of maintaining different carbonation levels in multiple kegs. There are manifolds that have separate regulators on them. They will help you carbonate different kegs to different levels. Also, he tells us about the need to adjust beer line lengths for balanced dispensing.

In summary, we hope you learned something from this video. Mike does a good job with an outline of kegging beer. If you want a deeper dive, check out our YouTube Kegging Homebrewed Beer playlist. Once you learn how to carbonate one keg, carbonating multiple kegs isn’t that difficult.


Pacific Sunrise Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

We are back with another SMaSH beer and another New Zealand variety. As mentioned in our Riwaka hops post, I choose to buy a bunch of packets from Yakima Valley Hops since they had a sale on their 2022 supply. Because we didn’t know much about Pacific Sunrise hops, we brewed a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hops) beer to get a better sense of it and talk about it on the internet. Use our thoughts presented here in your own homebrew adventures. Enjoy!

How We Brew The SMaSH Beer

For this beer we used of two pounds (0.9 kg0 of Rahr 2-row malt. We mashed at a temperature of 150°F (66°C) for an hour with 2 gallons of spring water. After mashing, we boiled the wort for an hour. Our first addition took place with 10 minutes remaining in the boil, adding 7 grams of hops. After boiling, a hop stand followed, where the beer was cooled to 180°F (82°C) and 14 g of hops were steeped for 10 minutes. Then, the beer was chilled to the fermentation temperature, and yeast was added to initiate fermentation (3 g of US-05 dry yeast). On the third day of fermentation, an additional dry hop of 7 grams was introduced and we carbed it up in the uKeg.

Pacific Sunrise Hops Thoughts

Assessing the aroma, we found a range of impressions including wet raisin, wet plum, and a hint of canned lychee. Alongside these notes, there is a creamy caramel aspect and a subtle tropical salad note.

Moving on to the taste, the creamy sweetness dominates, accompanied by a plummy essence and slightly subdued tropical undertones. The aftertaste introduces a burst of citrus pithiness, enhancing the flavor experience. On top of all of these flavors, an intriguing butterscotch-like quality surfaces.

We think these the hops are defined by sweet fruit, citrus, and a woody aromatic nature. We think these hops should be used as a background hop, its potential to complement brighter varieties becomes evident. Pacific Sunrise hops present a certain level of complexity that make them better to blend with other hops to accentuate their qualities.

If you have a chance to brew with them, be sure to let us know!


Riwaka Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

Yakima Valley Hops had a sale on a bunch of hops from New Zealand. One variety has been on our minds for while because we have received many requests to review it. It took a discount to do it, but we finally brewed a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hops) beer to learn more about it and talk about it on YouTube. Check out the video of our Riwaka hops experience!

Our SMaSH Beer Formula

In case you’re new to the game, our SMaSH beers for hops analysis are all one 1 US gallon batches. We use 2 pounds (.9 kg) of pale malt (Rahr’s 2-row) and 1 ounce (28 g) of Riwaka hops. For this brew session, we added the 7 grams of hops at 10 minutes left to go in the boil. Then, we added 14 grams after chilling the wort to 180° F (82° C) and letting the hops sit for 10 minutes before chilling to fermentation temperatures. During fermentation, we had a dry hop addition at day 3 of 7 grams.

Our Riwaka Hops Review

We are both impressed with the results of the beer. We thought the aroma is “bright and citrusy,” with notes of lime, grapefruit, and melon. The flavor was also citrusy, with a slight herbal note. We feel that the Riwaka hops are a good fit for a SMaSH beer, as this variety is able to stand on its own without being overpowered by other flavors.

Mike thinks this variety reminds him of Sabro hops. It has tropical fruit flavors that are more in the realm of coconut. I thought that you could brew a hop-forward beer that has the presence of strong grapefruit beers like the US Pacific Northwest hops.

They would definitely recommend this hop variety to other homebrewers who are looking to brew a beer with bright citrus notes.


American Wheat With Idaho 7 & Zythos Hops

Summer beers are great. It is even better when you are inspired by the season to brew something that will pair well with the long days and the high temperatures. In this post, we chat through Mike’s thought process where he

Summer American Wheat Recipe

The beer is a hoppy wheat ale designed for summer, targeting a fruity and refreshing character.

Water Profile:

  • Spring water
    • 2 grams of calcium chloride
    • 1 gram of calcium sulfate
    • 1 gram of magnesium chloride
    • Lactic acid for pH adjustment

Grain Bill:

  • 46% Belgian Pilsner Malt (5 pounds)
  • 23% White Wheat Malt (2.5 pounds)
  • 23% Flaked Wheat (2.5 pounds)
  • 8% Honey Malt (12 ounces)


  • 10 minutes boil: 1 ounce each of Idaho 7, Zythos, and Mosaic (3 ounces total)
  • Dry hop: 1 ounce each of Idaho 7, Zythos, and Citra Lupamax


  • American Wheat Ale Yeast (WLP 320)


  • Mash at 149°F for 60 minutes
  • Ramp slowly to mash-out temperature
  • Chill wort after boil and ferment at room temperature


  • Starting Gravity: 1.044
  • Final gravity: 1.005
  • Approximate ABV: 5%

Did It Hit The Mark?

Well, while the beer was enjoyable and had tasty hop characteristics, it was not entirely what Mike had in mind in terms of fruity hop flavors. The beer showcased some pungent and green onion-like notes attributed to the Idaho 7 and Zythos hops. We were thinking we would get some fruity and tropical flavors from the Mosaic and Citra, but we didn’t.

We chatted about the possibility of the hop quality being a factor in the flavor profile of the beer. Mike has stated in the past and in this video that the best lots are taken by the commercial breweries. What we get at the homebrew level may never come close to what a big brewery can get.

As we say, Brew On! I think there will be more beers like this one from Mike in the future.

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