Beer and Wine making with Dry Yeast!
There are 2 ways to properly use dry yeast in today's beer and wine making world, depending on who you are talking too. Experience has shown that the following 2 methods work, and are what we recommend.
#1 (easiest!) Simply take a package of dry yeast out of the fridge, let it warm to room temperature just like liquid yeast for a minimum of 2 hours. Then, when the temperature of the beer or wine is between 70 and 80, you can cut open the package and sprinkle the yeast in the beer or wine.
#2 (for the person who believes in re-hydration) Again, the yeast must be out of the fridge for about 2 hours, and at room temperature. Now, when your beer or wine is cool enough to have yeast pitched into it (again between about 70 and 80F), take about 4 ounces of water at about 85 to 90 degrees, and sprinkle the yeast into the water. Cover the vessel, and then after about 15 minutes, swirl the starter to mix the yeast evenly, pitch the liquid into the beer or wine. Please note that 4 ounces of liquid will drop in temperature from about 85 to about 75 or so in 15 minutes. Using a larger amount of water will mean a slower temperature drop. Beer and Wine yeast are more temperature sensative than bread yeast, do not re-hydrate above 90 degrees!
What are the wrong things to do?
#1 not pay atttention to the temperature! I would tell any brewer or winemaker that if he or she is not going to measure the temperature of the water they should not re-hydrate. The BIGGEST mistake is for a brewer or winemaker to take hot tap water and re-hydrate in that. Hot tap water is 125 to 140 degrees, and will very likely kill the yeast!
Cool tap water (well water or from above ground storage tanks in the winter months) causes the yeast to go into a temperature shock when transferred from 60 degree water to 80 degree wort. Any temperature swing of more than 18 degrees will shock the yeast and cause for a very sluggish fermentation, one that may not start fermenting for about 2 days.
#2 Poor sanitation. Nuff said. If you do not sanitize, your beverage will reflect your lack of sanitation efforts!!