Don't drink and post. This is the third time I've attempted this. I keep pressing the "back" button while trying to go from one IE tab to another when I'm grabbing my links!
I've been brewing for 14 years and smoking since my bro bought me a smoker for Christmas. I'll gladly offer brewing advice, but you'll be hard pressed to find me offering advice for smoking!
Liquid vs. dried: Back when I started brewing, the difference was in favor of liquid. Dried yeasts just didn't have the quality to make good beer every time. Shortly after I started brewing the quality of dried yeasts improved dramatically. Now the main difference is that liquid yeast have a greater variety of pure strains, while dried yeasts have the advantage of a lower cost for more cells. The key to a quick start is a higher yeast cell count.http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-5.htmlhttp://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_information.html
:Each vial is equivalent in cell count to a pint starter, or 75-150 billion cells. One vial will usually start fermentation in 5 gallons in 5-15 hours at 70°F. If a faster start is desired, or if initial gravity is over 1.070, we recommend a 1-2 pint starter be made.
Decent info here: http://koehlerbeer.com/2008/05/23/dr...-liquid-yeast/
My recommendation? For specialty beers like an Alt, use liquid w/ a starter. For "common" beers, use dried. The quality that the dried manufacturers are using now is great, there's no reason other than variety not to use dried.
re: racking to secondary: I usually don't. If I'm lagering, I will, but otherwise I give it two or three weeks in the primary, then bottle or keg.