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Old 04-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
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Default difference between LME and DME

I'm still a novice and have been making beer from the kits. I was wondering what the difference is between the dry malt extract and liquid? The kits I buy will use both. Does one make the acohol % higher then the other and does it change the taste if they are interchanged? Just curious as I want to venture out and start making my recipes.


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Old 04-01-2013, 04:37 PM   #2
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nope...no real difference in terms of alcohol %. Roughly 1lb grain = .75lb liquid = .6lb dry. people have their preferences, but its all the same in the end. When I used extract I used both, as well as mixing both in recipes. You still would look at the gravity points contribution with whatever extract you choose to build recipes.

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Old 04-01-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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Great question.

Wondering the same thing as it regards ordering DME in bulk. Could save $$ that way, but most recipes call for DME and LME. If I correct for OG, should DME be interchangeable for LME?
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #5
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You may want to account for color as well when interchanging, but you'll be fine swapping the two out if you correct for OG
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #6
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There are differences between DME and LME. Taste, color, and something what I call a malt extract specific "character," a bit of a certain undertone, that you won't get from 100% AG.

Because of stale canned LME warnings all over the brew boards I've been avoiding cans of LME. Who knows how old they are and how they were stored? Instead I've been using Briess or Muntons DME exclusively with steeping grains. The results were very good. Maybe not as good as AG in skilled hands can be, but very appetizing. Like 90-95% of the way there.

When we moved our new local HBS pours fresh LME from 33 or 50 gallon vats. It looks and tastes very fresh and they sell a lot of it, so it remains fresh. I made a couple batches with their LME.

I think there's a particular flavor note ("character") that comes with LME. A sweetish twang. The DME also has some twang, but is a drier and perhaps somewhat lighter one.

The twang I taste is similar to, but much less pronounced than, the difference between powdered instant coffee (compare DME) and liquid coffee concentrates (compare LME). The malt flavor of both extracts is different from what you get with AG brewing (compare freshly ground coffee beans), which if done right can give you the cleanest, freshest tasting wort, with none of that underlying extract twang "character."

Now for the beginning brewer in general I would encourage to brew with extracts first. Once you get a handle on the whole process, and know what to expect from a home brew, and feel you want to make your brew life more complicated, you can decide to step up to AG. The start of a new adventure. I love mashing grains, it is almost more rewarding than the boil itself.

Just to put a perspective on this, I was using extract up to now and have just made the switch to AG brewing.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:34 PM   #7
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Some of the recipes in Sam Calagione's book call for both LME and DME. Most of the time, it is purely practical. If your LHBS doesn't sell LME from a bulk container by the pound, you are buying it in 3.3 pound containers. So a recipe will call for 6.6 LBS of LME and 1 LB of DME, just so you don't have to buy a third can and end up with a bunch of leftover LME. I am pretty sure that Northern Brewer does it the same way- they get you as close as possible with their standard size containers of LME, and then get you the rest of the way with DME. See if the recipes you are using are formulated like that- if so, you probably know that the author is just trying to make the recipe convenient, rather than trying to get something specific out of the mix of DME and LME.

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