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LME vs DME -- taste difference?

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olie

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This question is not about what can be done or what's "good enough" or what some people's preferences are or what experimentation is encouraged.

This question is about, if I were to run the experiment, what would my expected results be in terms of difference in taste.

The Question: Other than water content, is there any actual difference in the end resulting beer taste to using LME vs DME?

Example: If I have a recipe that says, say, 3.3 lb of Amber LME + 3lb of pale DME, and I make it...

* Batch #1: as written
* Batch #2: 3.3lb of Amber LME + 3.3lb of pale LME (all LME)
* Batch #3: 3lb of Amber DME + 3lb of pale DME (all DEM)

(NOTE: +10% weight for LME to account for the water content.)

...Assuming everything else (water, hops, cook times, yeast, fermentation temps, etc.) was identical, would anyone be able to tell the difference by taste?

Thanks!
~Ted
 

angry_gopher

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I'm not sure, but apparently the answer to 'is there a taste difference' is 'go all grain'. Isn't learning to brew an evolution of skills? There are some very distinct advantages to using an LME or DME, especially when beginning since the all grain process looks to be rather daunting and more time-consuming.

So is there a difference in taste between LME & DME? I think this is a tough one because there are so many other variables. Such as water, yeast, pitching temp etc.
 

RM-MN

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I'm not sure, but apparently the answer to 'is there a taste difference' is 'go all grain'. Isn't learning to brew an evolution of skills? There are some very distinct advantages to using an LME or DME, especially when beginning since the all grain process looks to be rather daunting and more time-consuming.

So is there a difference in taste between LME & DME? I think this is a tough one because there are so many other variables. Such as water, yeast, pitching temp etc.
All grain doesn't have to be more difficult nor more time consuming that extract. Using the traditional mash tun does add equipment costs and time. BIAB reduces that cost and with grains that are milled finely, the time for a mash is similar to the time to steep grains.

Yes there should be a difference in flavor between LME and DME. The processes to make them are different and that makes LME darker which also should change the flavor a little. Whether you can taste the difference depends mostly on your senses. Not all of us are cut out to be beer judges as we don't have the innate ability to detect the flaws that a beer judge needs to have.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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This question is not about what can be done or what's "good enough" or what some people's preferences are or what experimentation is encouraged.

This question is about, if I were to run the experiment, what would my expected results be in terms of difference in taste.

[...]

Assuming everything else (water, hops, cook times, yeast, fermentation temps, etc.) was identical, would anyone be able to tell the difference by taste?
Assuming equally fresh DME and LME, I would suspect that the beers would taste the same (and brewed well, they would both be equally enjoyable).

If you look at the data sheets for Briess DME and LME (http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Products/Extracts.htm) , the colors are the same. This article (http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/secrets-to-keeping-your-liquid-extracts-fresh/) will give you some manufacturers insights into the impact of aging, storage, and handling of LME.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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[...] Isn't learning to brew an evolution of skills? [...]
For some people, it's an evolution of skills ("go all grain and don't look back"). I'm OK with that approach.

For others, learning may be the addition of skills: learning to take advantage of the strengths that each ingredient has to offer; learning that stale (or improperly stored) ingredients (including crushed grains) result in beers that just don't taste good; etc. I'm OK with this approach as well.
 

IslandLizard

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Briess used to have an informative diagram showing that LME is a precursory step to DME. IOW, DME is made from LME at the malting/processing facility. I can't find that diagram on their site anymore. But I found a few other sources:

Here is the process how malt extract is made.
And another one by the AHA* with a nice overview diagram from Muntons.

*Key process information:
The evaporators rid of 80 percent of the wort’s water content, leaving a syrupy, 20 percent liquid malt extract. Dry malt extract requires one additional step where the evaporated malt extract is sent through a centrifuge to further separate water from the malt. What is left is a powder-like substance.
Now since LME contains water, it is likely more suspect to aging effects and spoilage than a totally dry product such as DME.
Since we don't get both products directly from the source the same day or even within a month from when they are produced, differences in aging/spoiling effects will become apparent.

To the OP, @olie, you'll end up with 3 x 5 gallon pretty lackluster amber beer, and may not be able to prove the hypothesis due to process variations.

Maybe limit the experiment to 2 smaller, 2 gallon batches, one with all LME, the other with all DME. Using amber extracts of either of similar age, and a low hopping rate may give you enough evidence for further experiments. You'll need a tasting panel and process the results. Examples of how to conduct such qualitative "exbeeriments" can be found on Brulosophy.com. There are numerous other ways, some requiring access to specialized lab equipment and lab technicians.

If you can also obtain some LME that's been stored for a year or longer, it may be easier to detect effects on flavor due to age.

Use a good DME / LME conversion calculator like the one on Brewer's Friend to obtain wort of the same gravity.

Good luck, keep us posted!
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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Briess used to have an informative diagram showing that LME is a precursory step to DME. IOW, DME is made from LME at the malting/processing facility. I can't find that diagram on their site anymore.
The BrewingWithBriess web site has a couple of articles from late 2015 that may have the diagram / information you're referring to:

For those who haven't "gone all grain and never looked back", there are also some interesting articles here related to DME and LME:
There may be some additional articles / insights in this web search, but the weather is too nice this evening for me to look further.

 

A_McG

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In my experience of using extracts (10+) I've never noticed a flavor difference that was clearly from using dme or lme. I've swapped out dme for lme on a few recipes as the price was right at the time at my local home brew store. Beer came out good, no complaints from my brewing friends.

Use what you prefer, and brew in a way that you enjoy.
 

IslandLizard

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I don't know if there is a flavor difference. I have made very good beer using LME, DME, and BIAB. Everyone should use the method they prefer, for whatever reason. If you do an experiment, let us know the results.
Exactly!
This thread is not about extract vs. all grain. It's to test the hypothesis if using DME vs. LME results in a difference in the final beer.

Although not exactly on topic, since it has been addressed here, extract beers are often snuffed upon as being inferior to all grain.
These 2 exbeeriments try to shine some light on that conviction:
  1. An exbeeriment between beers brewed with LME and all grain.
  2. Part II explores the differences between an extract kit and an all grain kit for the same beer.
 
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MaxStout

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Freshness will differ, as LME tends to have a much shorter shelf life than DME. Unless you can obtain both LME and DME manufactured at the same time, and both having been subject to the same storage conditions, you will have another variable tossed in to your comparison.
 

angry_gopher

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Freshness will differ, as LME tends to have a much shorter shelf life than DME. Unless you can obtain both LME and DME manufactured at the same time, and both having been subject to the same storage conditions, you will have another variable tossed in to your comparison.
The only real issue with LME's are the ones that don't require hop additions. It's sort of like a chef using salted butter. It's giving up control of one element of the recipe process. FWIW, I'm still in the salted butter stage of home brewing.

Edit: grammar
 

JohnSand

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The only real issue with LME's are the ones that don't require hop additions. It's sort of like a chef using salted butter. It's giving up control of one element of the recipe process. FWIW, I'm still in the salted butter stage of home brewing.

Edit: grammar
That's a good place to start Gopher. I started with MrBeer and tried BrewDemon, many new brewers do. It lets you work on process with limited gear while still making beer. Move on at your own pace, keep studying and practicing, and have fun!
 
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