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Old 11-20-2012, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default How to determine the corresponding extract when converting from all-grain to extract?

So I am aware that in order to convert base malt from an all-grain recipe to LME, you multiply by .75 and to convert to DME, by .60. However, what I am not aware of is how do you determine the correct, corresponding LME or DME to replace the base grain from that recipe.

There are so many different kinds of extract (Light, Extra Light, Amber, and so on). How does one determine which type of DME/LME to replace the base grain in a recipe? Thanks!

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Old 11-20-2012, 10:04 PM   #2
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BeerSmith can take at least some of the guesswork out of it for you. Simply enter a recipe into the software, then click on the 'Convert' item/button on the 'Home' tab and give it a twirl...

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Old 11-20-2012, 10:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by thehopbandit View Post
So I am aware that in order to convert base malt from an all-grain recipe to LME, you multiply by .75 and to convert to DME, by .60. However, what I am not aware of is how do you determine the correct, corresponding LME or DME to replace the base grain from that recipe.

There are so many different kinds of extract (Light, Extra Light, Amber, and so on). How does one determine which type of DME/LME to replace the base grain in a recipe? Thanks!
"Light" and/or pale are two-row base malt, generally US two-row for American style beers and Maris otter or other UK two-row for English styles.

Since amber and dark extracts have other things in it besides base malt like crystal malt, that would be a guess and there isn't a direct conversion.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:15 PM   #4
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BeerSmith can take at least some of the guesswork out of it for you. Simply enter a recipe into the software, then click on the 'Convert' item/button on the 'Home' tab and give it a twirl...
I have been messing around with BeerSmith and it does a great job, but I was hoping to determine the theory behind it so that I could learn which base grains correspond to which extracts. However, when I click "Convert", the base grain box always defaults to "Pale Liquid Extract". I was under the impression it would auto select the corresponding extract for that base grain. Am I missing something? Shouldn't it be selecting the right extract and not Pale LME every time?

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"Light" and/or pale are two-row base malt, generally US two-row for American style beers and Maris otter or other UK two-row for English styles.

Since amber and dark extracts have other things in it besides base malt like crystal malt, that would be a guess and there isn't a direct conversion.
Thanks for the explanation!
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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Amber and dark extract do not correspond to base grains.

Amber=base grain+Xmunich+Ycrystal (Z lovibond) [the letters are variable amounts].
Dark=base grain+Xcrystal (Y lovibond)+Zroasted/chocolate/roasted+chocolate

This is why Yooper said you can't guess how to convert them.

Recipes are made of mostly base grain and a little flavor grains. Stouts don't use dark base malts, they use the same with little bits of roasted barley, choc malt, etc. If you want to get really specific, use extra light/sparkling light for pils base malt, light for plain 2-row base malt, and and English brand (Muntons) light for Maris Otter.

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Old 11-20-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by thehopbandit View Post
I have been messing around with BeerSmith and it does a great job, but I was hoping to determine the theory behind it so that I could learn which base grains correspond to which extracts. However, when I click "Convert", the base grain box always defaults to "Pale Liquid Extract". I was under the impression it would auto select the corresponding extract for that base grain. Am I missing something? Shouldn't it be selecting the right extract and not Pale LME every time?
It will make other changes as needed for the recipe. Such as reducing other grains that could be present. You can also select something else for the extract to use for the conversion. Click on the LME and the entire grains list will show up. Select the one you want to use, such as extra light DME, and have it convert.

Personally, I've never gone that direction for a recipe. Since I went all grain, I've only used one other person's recipe (a clone brew) one time. Otherwise, I create my own recipes for my brews.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:46 PM   #7
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Cool, thanks for the replies. That all makes a bit more sense now. Cheers.

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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As others have said, it's easier to convert an AG recipie to extract and steeping grains, since in the AG recipie you kow what the grains are. Nost extract manufacturers do not publish their grain bills.

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:56 PM   #9
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I would also add that to make the best beer, with as much control and repeatability as possible, you should use as light an extract as you can vet and get your color and flavor from steeping specialty grains. For example, even to make a stout, start with light extract and then steep the crystal and roasted malts. You'll end up with the correct color and flavor, assuming you use the right amount of specialty grains. For converting an all grain recipe - just convert the base malts to extract and steep the same amount of specialty malts as indicated in the recipe.

Do you have a recipe you are working to convert?

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Old 11-21-2012, 07:31 PM   #10
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I would also add that to make the best beer, with as much control and repeatability as possible, you should use as light an extract as you can vet and get your color and flavor from steeping specialty grains. For example, even to make a stout, start with light extract and then steep the crystal and roasted malts. You'll end up with the correct color and flavor, assuming you use the right amount of specialty grains. For converting an all grain recipe - just convert the base malts to extract and steep the same amount of specialty malts as indicated in the recipe.

Do you have a recipe you are working to convert?
Good advice, thanks! I don't really have a specific recipe as of right now. I am more just looking into the process because I will most likely be doing so in the near feature. That is, until I eventually make the switch to all-grain down the line.

Couple other questions, if I may:
1. Are there any quantifiable differences between choosing to use DME over LME, or the other way around? Will one have noticeable taste or other differences over the other?
2. When you say aim for the lightest extract, would this be like a Breiss Golden Light?
3. When would one choose, say, an Amber or Dark extract over a lighter extract since you were saying to aim for the lightest you can?
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