I still add the sugar. As for the beer, it was taught to me, by a Pizzeria Friend that makes his dough this way everyday, to use 60 percent beer and 40 percent water in your total hydration. Also, you need the water part to be at 85 degrees when you make the yeast mixture in a separate glass with the sugar. I try different beers just for the fun of it, but I try to stay away from the darker beers. (although my last beer was pretty dark)
Beers that never miss the mark are:
Samuel Adams Double Bock, or S.A. Cinder Bock
Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale,
Red Hook Extra Special Bitter, (my Pizzeria friend only uses this beer)
Duvel Belgian Golden Ale
Pliny the Elder IPA (if you can find it).
Your other questions, might best be answered by either Peter or Tom Lehman
Hope that helps,
I guess I am approaching the experiment in a slightly different way, trying to see the effect of beer on my standard crust rather than trying for a new recipe that is the best showcase of beer. Have read that the resulting dough should be more supple, which was perhaps true in my case, but I think it was perhaps under hydrated or had too much gluten development, and that changed my dough substantially from the usual.
My two 24 hour doughs were hard to stretch, browned very quickly in contact with the stone, throwing off my balance of top and bottom heat, and had more oven spring than I normally see, again possibly a result of the dough not being stretched as much. The suppleness I felt more when shaping than when I went to stretch it out.
Out of curiosity, have you tried your recipe with water and no beer, to see the beer effects? I assume the experiments you have done, as well as your preferred beers are based primarily on taste. Is that correct? Or do you find any other changes, such as browning apparent as you change the beer you use?
I haven't found temperature a particularly important in any of the doughs I make, and normally use refrigerated water and go straight to a cold ferment. Were you given any reason why you had to prepare the yeast in this way? I did a sort of autolyse with the beer and flour, and mixed my IDY in after.