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Old 07-07-2014, 04:54 PM   #1
cornishpasty
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Default Beginner question about dried malt extract brewing

Hello all,
I have been brewing (slowly) for around a year and have done 4 batches and a kit. All my batches I have used liquid malt extract and a small amount of steeped grains (chocolate malt etc.). The kit tasted fantastic but all my brews have had the same strong liquorice flavour which I can't get rid of. I thought at first it was my tap water (which is well treated because it is hard), so I now use only bottled mineral water. But this hasn't made any difference.

I now want to try a brew using dried malt extract. I wonder if the LME I have bought has been past it's best. My question is can I use DME for the whole recipe? I know that I have to take into account the different gravity points DME will give over LME so I'll need a slightly different quantity.

I'm concerned because everywhere I look people only seem to use DME as well as LME, not DME on its own as the main malt. It always seems to be marketed as an "enhancer".

Any help would be brilliant!
Graham

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:58 PM   #2
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You most certainly can use all DME.

I'm not sure what your problem may stem from as I've not heard of that flavor coming through. My outdated and not well kept LME canned extracts tasted like molasses despite my best efforts using DME in place of the corn sugar booster, and using hops at 20 and 5 mins to add to it, as well as ditching the yeast for US-05.

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:59 PM   #3
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And I've been brewing with very hard water that I filter combined with 1-2 gals of RO water to help soften it. It has worked well for me.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

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Old 07-07-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
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Try RO or spring water in place of the mineral water. It could be the mineral content causing the odd flavor. And here's a handy conversion chart for grain, DME & LME; http://www.jaysbrewing.com/2011/11/1...dme-lme-grain/

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Old 07-07-2014, 05:31 PM   #5
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What are the beers you have been brewing? What are the OG and FG of the beers? What was the kit beer brewed?
I would suspect your licorice flavor may be coming from the grains/amounts used.

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Old 07-07-2014, 11:58 PM   #6
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Malt extracts have the salts of the region that they were brewed, so I've found it's best to use RO or distilled water when using extract. I second that LME can get some strange flavors over time. Ray Daniels does a good job of explaining this in his book Designing Great Beers.
If the LME is added to the kettle while heat is applied it can caramelize on the bottom which will add an off flavor.

What are you treating your water with, and how much?

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Old 07-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #7
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Thanks for clearing up that I can use all DME. I was sure I could but wanted to double check.

I've done a very simple brew using the following recipe (it's only a small batch):
0.67lb (300g) light DME in a 1.32gal (5litre) water, brought to the boil.
Fresh Fuggles hops added: 0.7oz (20g) for 20mins, 0.35oz (10g) for 10mins.
(I did some utilisation calculations and this should give me around 41 IBUs) - In hindsight I would have boiled for longer since I like lots of hops...but I also wanted to avoid scorching/caramalising. My previous brews have all had 1hr+ boils (except for the kit which was already hopped), which may contribute to the liquorice taste.
At flameout, I added a further (400g) of light DME, ending up with an OG of 1.063, as calculated.
Wort cooled, yeast pitched (Mangrove Jack's British ale), and it's fermenting very happily at the moment.

I did use the usual bottled mineral water again. If this brew has the same liquorice taste then a) I'll be depressed! and b) I'll conclude that it could very well be the mineral water.

Fingers crossed!

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Old 07-09-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
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Well, if the Mangrove Jack kit is pre-hopped, then using only DME in the boil for the flavor hop additions was the right thing to do. Adding the pre-hopped LME can at flame out is usually best. That's what I always did with Cooper's cans in my recipes. I still think it's the mineral water.

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Old 07-09-2014, 11:19 PM   #9
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Ah, it's only the yeast which is Mangrove Jack. It's not a kit - just DME, hops, mineral water and yeast. Still fermenting away nicely...

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Well, if the Mangrove Jack kit is pre-hopped, then using only DME in the boil for the flavor hop additions was the right thing to do. Adding the pre-hopped LME can at flame out is usually best. That's what I always did with Cooper's cans in my recipes. I still think it's the mineral water.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:42 PM   #10
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I think people don't use DME as the main fermentable because its a pain the ass. LME comes in 3.15 or 3.3 lbs cans and are a pain to split up into smaller quantities which is usually when DME is used. I made a batch with DME about a week ago and I added the DME as soon as the kettle hit to stove. The steam makes it clump really bad and stick to the bag. I boiled the hops according to schedule and the LME wasn't added until flameout. As someone mentioned LME caramels quit easy. Even with all my stirring there was still scorched LME stuck to the bottom of the kettle when I emptied it. I'm getting off topic now...

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