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Old 07-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #1
jphalabuk
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Default LME versus DME

Hi All,
I have been brewing for exactly one year, and I have made a lot of beer that I like very much. I am beginning to get a bit more serious about it: develop my own recipes, buy in bulk to save some cash, etc. I have a question that will inform that process.
I know that if I use DME in a recipe developed for LME, I have to covert the amount (80%, as I recall). No problem. How would that affect the taste? Could the average beer snob tell by taste whether I used dry or liquid?
Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-17-2013, 02:01 PM   #2
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Most likely not but you will find it easier to get fresh DME vs fresh LME and it is less expensive as well. You may also find the color of beer to be more true to style as IME LME would typically make a slightly darker beer regardless of when it was added in the boil

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Old 07-17-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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LME tends to develop a metallic sour twang to it if it sits around for any length of time, especially in dusty cans on the LHBS shelf. If you're serious about saving money and using the best and freshest ingredients, you need to start all grain brewing. This is very easy to accomplish even with a minimal equipment upgrade if you start with BIAB brewing (boil in a bag, just buy the re-useable bag). A 42 quart kitchen pot has enough volume for small 2-3 gallon batches of all grain.

Using extracts can get very expensive and they have no diastatic power, so they aren't good for converting sugars in your mash. You'd be stuck with using roasted grains and not much else if you stick with extracts as your base malt. There's nothing wrong with that but it does limit your brewing options and increases the price. When you consider a 50 lb. sack of 2 row grain might run you about $50 on the high side, and figure you'll get at least seven to ten batches of beer from it (YMMV), you're looking at approx. $5 a brew for base malt. Compare that to what you're spending on LME/DME and it begins to sink in how much you save with all grain.

For bigger beer batches in the 7-10 gallon range, you'll need some bigger equipment such as your average big turkey fryer kit. Check craigslist as used ones go up for sale fairly often, or buy a new one just after Thanksgiving or Christmas during clearance sales. They're not super efficient but for BIAB brewing outside, they're perfect and inexpensive.

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Old 07-20-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphalabuk View Post
Hi All,
I have been brewing for exactly one year, and I have made a lot of beer that I like very much. I am beginning to get a bit more serious about it: develop my own recipes, buy in bulk to save some cash, etc. I have a question that will inform that process.
I know that if I use DME in a recipe developed for LME, I have to covert the amount (80%, as I recall). No problem. How would that affect the taste? Could the average beer snob tell by taste whether I used dry or liquid?
Thanks in advance!
Im surprised you havent tried both extracts in a year of brewing, but nothing wrong with sticking to what works for you. Really you have to make that call of what you like better. Fresh is key really. If you get it from a source with a high turnaround and you use your extract almost immediatly or shortly after purchasing it then you may see great results(not that you cant with semi-aged extract either) and may not even notice any difference between the two. If the ingredence are fresh I doubt it would be noticable to any so called "beer snob" In fact uless you told a beersnob whether it was brewed with extract dme/lme or all grain and assuming it was a well made batch then he/she probably would never have known or could tell. And I doubt one could tell much difference between a same fresh extract beer vs. a well made all-grain beer either(with the same grain bill). However certain base malts may be more distinguishable between each other so maybe that statement isnt so black and white.

Make the same beer with exact ingredience temps/pitch rate etc.. except use LME and DME in different batches and see if you notice a differece. You probably would or could start noticeing a different taste between different brands/sources of extract also, eventually the more you brew with them. And you may not.

I dont really care for how they dont put a date on extract either,that and you may not know how they were stored,same as hops-you dont know how aged they are exactly,at least in my experience.
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Old 07-20-2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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As an extract brewer years ago I used a lot of LME. It was cheaper than DME, and was readily available. I even bought bulk LME in 33 lb and 60 lb containers. Then about 3-4 years ago the price of extracts went through the roof, almost doubled so I figured rather than give up brewing I would try AG brewing. What I have learned is that AG can be very simple, and is not nearly as daunting as a lot of the posts here make it sound.

Getting back to extracts, if anyone in your area is running group buys, sometimes 50 lb sacks of DME, or 60 lb pails of LME are available at decent pricing.

Cheers!

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Old 07-21-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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DME is such a hasstle to deal with. I always have a few pounds on hand for starters and a booster. There are tricks to dealing with it but I prefer good LME. Useing late addition and ultra light extract. Then use specialty grains for the color and flavor. I tend to stay away from flavored extracts.

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Old 07-21-2013, 04:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by aiptasia View Post
LME tends to develop a metallic sour twang to it if it sits around for any length of time, especially in dusty cans on the LHBS shelf. If you're serious about saving money and using the best and freshest ingredients, you need to start all grain brewing. This is very easy to accomplish even with a minimal equipment upgrade if you start with BIAB brewing (boil in a bag, just buy the re-useable bag). A 42 quart kitchen pot has enough volume for small 2-3 gallon batches of all grain.

Using extracts can get very expensive and they have no diastatic power, so they aren't good for converting sugars in your mash. You'd be stuck with using roasted grains and not much else if you stick with extracts as your base malt. There's nothing wrong with that but it does limit your brewing options and increases the price. When you consider a 50 lb. sack of 2 row grain might run you about $50 on the high side, and figure you'll get at least seven to ten batches of beer from it (YMMV), you're looking at approx. $5 a brew for base malt. Compare that to what you're spending on LME/DME and it begins to sink in how much you save with all grain.

For bigger beer batches in the 7-10 gallon range, you'll need some bigger equipment such as your average big turkey fryer kit. Check craigslist as used ones go up for sale fairly often, or buy a new one just after Thanksgiving or Christmas during clearance sales. They're not super efficient but for BIAB brewing outside, they're perfect and inexpensive.
The only ones that I see developing metallic flavors would be from unlined cans. I know Cooper's cans all have liners. Then their are the LME's in plastic jugs. I toss'em in the fridge when they come in. And you don't have to go AG to get the freshest ingredients. Grains can sit a long time seled up in the pantry,true. But buying extracts from places with high turnover can be just as fresh. And there are extracts with diastatic power,but they're bloody hard to find over here. I brew pm/pb biab beers & the mash being some 50% of the fermentables allows me to add the extract at flame out. I've gotten great color with both LME & DME this way. no twang either. A 42 QT pot is 10.5 gallons. You don't need a 10 gallon kettle to do a couple gallon batch. A 5 gallon will work fine. I do 5 or 6 gallon batches in the same 5 gallon SS stock pot I started with. 3.5 gallon boil volume after mash & sparge. Top off in fermenter with really cold spring water that's been in the fridge a day or two,preferably two days.
Yes,AG can be cheaper,but with washed yeast a 5 gallon PM batch costs about $15.50 for a simple pale ale or the equivelant,like a wheat beer. I've done AE IPA's for 57c per bottle.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:22 AM   #8
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If you are going to go bulk DME is the way to go. Honestly I use both. I like to make beer generally a little higher in ABV so I would use 6lb LME then some DME to get me up where I want to be. You can't really adjust the fermentability of extracts but you can add simple sugar if you want to get a lower FG. Just don't go overboard with the sugar and you are ok. LME is difficult to deal with in non standard weights.

I don't buy bulk because I like to use at least 3 different base extracts with regularity. Pilsen, Marris Otter and Gold. I don't use any one of the enough to buy in bulk.

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