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Old 03-01-2006, 04:12 AM   #1
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Default Longevity of LME?

I bought 33lb LME in bulk for my next 5-6 batches; how long will it last?

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Old 03-01-2006, 09:27 PM   #2
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LME gets darker over time. It should last a couple of months, but I would use it as fast as possible.

Switch over to DME, whole hops and liquid yeast. You'll love the difference in your brews. I wouldn't steer you wrong.

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Old 03-01-2006, 09:33 PM   #3
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What homebrewer_99 said. Real good advice.

Especially note that LME continually darkens in the can. There's nothing you can do to stop it. Extract beers are hard enough to make light colored, and LME doesn't help any.

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Old 03-01-2006, 09:39 PM   #4
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...and I must add...use the LIGHTEST malt you can when making your recipes.

You may see recipes that call for like 5 lbs dark malt, but you really only need 1/2 to 1 lb for most recipes. I said "MOST", not all.

In this example you really want to use about 5 lbs light or extra light DME and use the dark malt for the coloring. Too many dark malts CAN give your brew a burnt flavor.

Of course, if you are brewing a doppelbock or a rauchbier you may want to use their style guidelines.

Good luck!

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Old 03-01-2006, 10:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Switch over to DME, whole hops and liquid yeast. You'll love the difference in your brews.
Is the difference your talking about in just the color or in the flavor? I always figured lme must be the best for use in brews since most pre-made recipe kits include lme and not the dried. Any insight?
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atticmonkey
Is the difference your talking about in just the color or in the flavor? I always figured lme must be the best for use in brews since most pre-made recipe kits include lme and not the dried. Any insight?
Yeah but using this logic, prehoppd LME is the best. Dried yeast is the best. And adding sugar is a good idea.

DME is better. It tastes better.
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:53 PM   #7
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Both color and flavor.

Color because of the malt used and flavor because of the yeast used.

Switching over to DME from LME will improve your brews color (lighter than LME).

Using liquid yeast comparable to the style will give your brew more authentic flavor.

Kits are there to make the brewing experience easy for you...to get interested in brewing.

Switching to DME is easier than you think and does not require an investment of all the other equipment needed for all grain.

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Old 03-02-2006, 03:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. The LME I have is in a big plastic jug, 33lbs of Muntons Light. I have noticed that my first couple of brews are darker than is optimal, but I'm honestly not as concerned about color as I am flavor, mouthfeel, etc right now.

I did use DME for my first batch, and, well, it didn't turn out so great...

For yeast: I get yeast from a local micro. They'll give me whatever I need in excess of what they need, and they have more than they could possibly use. Its straight from the fermenter, so I don't even need to make a starter, and it produces some really interesting and delicious flavors.

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atticmonkey
I always figured lme must be the best for use in brews since most pre-made recipe kits include lme and not the dried. Any insight?
The kits include LME because LME is cheaper to produce than DME.

All extract starts out as a liquid. From there it is either reduced in volume (by boiling) and canned as LME or it is sprayed into a hot, rotating cylinder where it crystalizes and is then bagged as DME.

The act of boiling the liquid to reduce it causes it to darken. This is why light LME is darker than light DME.

As for the general question of longevity....

Think of it like maple syrup. As long as you keep it in the fridge, it will last for several months.

I've also got a 30lb jug of LME in the fridge that I bought at the LHBS and about 20 lbs of DME, too. My personal opinion is that DME is superior to LME in many many ways.
(1) DME is lighter in color. I can produce a VERY light colored beer with it, but I cannot do the same with LME. I can always darken a DME batch with specialty grains, so I have a broader range of color possible from DME.

(2) DME stores longer than LME. As long as you keep DME sealed in an airtight container away from moisture, it should last a very VERY VERY long time.

(3) The beers I have made with DME generally have a better flavor than those I produced with LME. (Noticed this after looking over notes from many previous batches and noting that I always raved about the flavor of my DME batches, and even had some batches that I repeated with both types of extract, and the DME had more positive tasting notes.)

(4) My DME beers seem maintain their flavor better in the bottles. My LME beers usually start to taste a little off after about 3 months, but the DME batches are fine for much longer than this (never had one make it past 6 months, but it was very good at 6 months.)
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