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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > DME/LME comparison
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default DME/LME comparison

Hola, y'all:

I'm not yet doing All-Grain brewing, and only now beginning to explore recipes *other than* the pre-made kits sold at my local home brew supply store.

Reading some of the recipes here, I see most extract recipes call for dry malt extract, and few (if any) call for liquid malt extract. Any particular reason WHY this is the case?

Is there any difference between the two (other than, of course, one being dry and the other being... well, liquid)?

If a given recipe calls for XX pounds of DME, is there a conversion I can do to LME? Say, 1 pound LME = X pounds DME?

Or am I just over-thinking this?

Thanks, everyone.

-- Jeff

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Old 05-10-2012, 04:28 PM   #2
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Converting one-pound grain/dme/lme

1# grain = 0.75# LME = 0.6# DME
1# DME = 1.25# LME = 1.67# grain
1# LME = 0.8# DME = 1.33# grain

Dry is known to affect the color more than liquid. Also, some people don't have access to fresh LME and prefer the dry because it keeps better than the cans of LME.

You can definitely substitute one for the other.

Also, consider a late addition of LME to achieve a lighter color and use fewer hops.

I have access to fresh LME, so the only reason I would use dry is if I'm really trying to keep the beer light in color
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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I always use DME, I just think its way easier to work with than the syrup. I always spill or burn the liquid. Dry just floats on top of the water, and all the clumps melt out by the time I hit a boil.

Freshness is key too, I don't ike the bite you get from old lme

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Old 05-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by no_borders View Post
Freshness is key too, I don't ike the bite you get from old lme
Man, I feel terrible for everyone that gets these bad batches of LME. I must be really lucky, or my LHBS is on point. Never had a nasty twang or bad aftertaste or anything from my LME.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:27 PM   #5
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Man, I feel terrible for everyone that gets these bad batches of LME. I must be really lucky, or my LHBS is on point. Never had a nasty twang or bad aftertaste or anything from my LME.
My LHBS must be rockstars too. I have never had any issues with their LME and actually prefer it over DME. Makes a lot less mess and easier to manage for me personally.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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I like to get bulk DME too, so I can brew whenever i feel like it. Its easier to weigh out than LME so IMO its easier to control the OG. Plus, having some DME kickin around is always good for starters and such

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Old 05-13-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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Since were talking extracts....does LME make more abv than DME or are they equal???
And if you use both in the same recipe is it high proof? Lets say 3.3 lbs of LME and 2 lbs of DME (standard Ale) and some hops of course -- will it be 7 or 8%????

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Old 05-14-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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Since were talking extracts....does LME make more abv than DME or are they equal???
And if you use both in the same recipe is it high proof? Lets say 3.3 lbs of LME and 2 lbs of DME (standard Ale) and some hops of course -- will it be 7 or 8%????
Using the recipe above that calls for 3.3lbs of LME and 2lbs of DME the ABV will be the same if you convert the liquid/dry extract to what you want. So if you only want to use DME, you'd convert the 3.3lbs of LME per the ratio in the post above. So you'd take (3.3lbs LME x 0.8 conversion factor) = 2.64lbs DME. So then your recipe would use 4.64 lbs DME and zero LME and be the same ABV.

You could reverse this, using the chart below to convert DME to LME. So (2lbs DME x 1.25 conversion factor) = 2.5lbs LME. In this case your recipe would have 5.8lbs LME and zero DME and you'd have the same ABV.

If you want higher ABV, you'd just use more...

If you're wondering why a recipe would call for both, there are a few reasons. With the example you gave, the recipe seems to assume the only LME available to you is canned. Those cans are almost always 3.3lbs. If you bought two, it would be too much extract, so using some DME, which is sold by the pound, you can get the right amount of extract without overbuying. The other reason a recipe might call of DME is to keep a lighter color. LME always turns out darker than DME. In general, I would think most buyers with access to fresh LME sold by the pound would use 5.8lbs LME and no DME in the recipe you mention.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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progmac...thanks for that...maybe thats why the recipe calls for both(lighter color). Its not my recipe, its one that I'm trying of uniondr's (Sherries Summer Shandy) it just seems really easy and simple so I'm trying to build my confidence in brewing and who does'nt like Linny's Summer Shandy. N E way the abv question...if the recipe called for all LME would that make higher abv and is the DME just there for flavor??? I use DME in starters but never thought about the proof of a starter. You said if you want more abv just add more ..... LME or DME or are they equal???
Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by heeler View Post
progmac...thanks for that...maybe thats why the recipe calls for both(lighter color). Its not my recipe, its one that I'm trying of uniondr's (Sherries Summer Shandy) it just seems really easy and simple so I'm trying to build my confidence in brewing and who does'nt like Linny's Summer Shandy. N E way the abv question...if the recipe called for all LME would that make higher abv and is the DME just there for flavor??? I use DME in starters but never thought about the proof of a starter. You said if you want more abv just add more ..... LME or DME or are they equal???
Thanks in advance.
LME and DME serve the exact same purpose, they are the foundation of your beer and contribute almost all of the fermentable sugars which lead to alcohol.

the discussion in this thread is about how to substitute one for the other...for example maybe you only want to use LME or only want to use DME because of what your local brew shop stocks. but you can't just take a pound of LME and substitute it for a pound of DME. you have to use the conversion factors above, which show that a pound of DME is the same as 1.25 pounds LME, etc. the reason is because DME has no water weight, so you use less to achieve the same ABV as you would with LME.

if you're wanting to increase ABV, you need to increase fermentable sugars. you can do this by adding either DME or LME, whatever you have on hand. a pound of DME will give you more fermentable sugars and more alcohol than a pound of LME. That is why if a recipe calls for one pound DME, you'd sub it not with one pound LME but with 1.25 pounds LME.

If you're looking at a recipe and want it to be higher alcohol, you have to be a little careful because a recipe is typically pretty balanced and things might get screwy if you just jack up the amount of extract. but within reason, you should be okay. for example, if you throw in an extra pound of extract (liquid or dry) you'll get higher ABV without any huge issues. you'd get more alcohol with the pound of dry versus the pound of liquid for the reasons mentioned above.

You can also add half to one pound of ordinary table sugar or honey or syrup or lollipops or anything with sugar to increase the ABV. but this will change the beer (although not too drastically if you are adding less than a pound), so make sure you know what you're trying to do before changing a recipe.
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