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Mixing DME to avoid clumping

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zbonaker

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Hello! Very new homebrewer here, but have lurked on these forums for quite awhile. Learned just about everything I know, for better or worse, from you all!

This weekend I tried DME for the first time, as I've been using LME exclusively. Could anyone give me some advice for how to better mix DME in the future?

I found it near impossible to mix without severe clumping... both in the pot and around the bag (from the steam I'm guessing). I must have lost a good 1/4 of the bag because many larger clumps quickly became rock hard.

Admittedly, I'm so used to using my stainless steel mixing spoon that I didn't use a whisk. Clearly, that will be a sanitized tool for next batch and should help... but I feel like it wouldn't have been enough.

Is cold water a better idea for mixing DME? If so, can you mix DME in cold water, but still steep grains in the (cold) DME wort?

Any advice on using DME would be appreciated... it was a disaster this weekend.
 

kuphish

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I always just make sure to mix it in very, very, slowly, so I can get the DME mixed well as soon as it lands in the wort. I have used my SS spoon for stirring without problems, but I guess a whisk could make the task easier. If you have problems getting the DME out of the bag without clumping, pour the DME into a large bowl and use a 1 cup measuring cup to scoop it out of the bowl and slowly pour in.
 

cdburg

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A wisk does defiitely help. As was already mentioned though, most of "the secret" is just pouring slowly. If you just dump it in all at once, you're going to get more clumping than if you pour while you stir or wisk.

It dissolves better in warm or hot water. You won't get the sticking to the bag with cold water, but it won't dissolve quite as quickly or well.
 

flyfishnc

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i did my first batch a couple weeks back and i used warm / hot water of my boil. i put it in after i pulled the grains from their 20 minute steeping time. it did clump up a little when i first poured it in. i poured it in slowly and stirred while pouring. after stirring for a few (maybe 5) minutes it was all dissolved.
 

kuphish

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As the others said, add the DME to hot water. I always take the kettle off the element right after the boil starts, then I add the DME. Another reason it's important to remove the kettle from the heat is that, in the event that there is clumping, you don't want anything to scorch onto the bottom of the kettle.
 
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zbonaker

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I think a whisk is probably going to go a long way next time...

But I like the idea of using a measuring cup to pour it... holding the bag over the steam of the pot, I could barely pour it out the clumping (in the bag) was so bad.
 

Grinder12000

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I just dump it in and stir - it dissolves quickly and boiling will do the rest if any clumps are left.
 

BruDaddy

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I always add right after steeping grains so the water is probably in the 140 to 150 degree range. Always just dump it in and it tends to form a big clump. But keep stirring and it always dissolves.

Plus the clumps float, so scorching probably isn't a big risk, but I do it with heat off until they are mostly dissolved.

As a personal preference, I favor DME over LME. The LME is a bit of a pain to get out of the can, sinks right to the bottom so scorching is definitely an issue and it's a sticky as h--- so not all that fun (of course the DME flies all over this place if you're not careful so it's not perfect either)
 

Brewmasters Warehouse

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I agree with everyone else that adding it slowly, while off the heat is the best way you can go. There really is not any magic tricks that help it dissolve any better. You can easily sanitize a SS Whisk to help but warm water, and a lot of stirring will work fine.

Ed
 

springer

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When I did extract I would take out the amount needed and put it in a SS salad bowl and just add and stir from that and even if it did clump up on the bowl sides just dip it into the boil .There really is no reason that the whisk or spoon needs to be sanitized just clean. You are going to boil the wort anyways ,anything that will contact the cooled wort needs to be sanitized.

I still keep DME on hand in case I miss my target gravity and starters
 

ScottM

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I just did a batch last wednesday, that called for LME and DME. I put the liquid in first, then cut just the corner off of the dried bag. I poured a slow stream of DME into the liquid and sirred at the same time with my spoon, and no clumping. I did have just a little stick to the opening due to the steam, but nothing to lose sleep over.
 

jmiracle

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Yeah you can just dunk the bag into the hot wort with tongs if you're worried about the bits left behind.
 

blackwaterbrewer

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my advice is stick to LME. it is cheaper and better quality and easier to use. the only reason to use DME is if you don't have a local homebrew store. i don't know if they can ship the syrup.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I am interested to know exactly how LME is of better quality than DME? I am fairly new to brewing and have only used DME, my LHBS does sell LME by the pound, but I've read more about using DME over LME when possible.
 

SumnerH

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my advice is stick to LME. it is cheaper and better quality and easier to use. the only reason to use DME is if you don't have a local homebrew store. i don't know if they can ship the syrup.
Huh. I'd pretty much say brand new LME is maybe slightly higher quality, but even a couple weeks old and DME wins there; because of that, you can buy bulk DME but not bulk LME, so DME's cheaper. And DME is far easier to work with.

My advice would be the opposite. If I know I'll be brewing in a couple days _and_ I know how long the source keeps LME on the shelves, I'll use it, but generally if you don't have any specific knowledge, DME is more consistent, higher quality, cheaper, and easier.
 

Dextersmom

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I usually steep my grains, remove grain bag and bring to a boil, then flame out and add DME, then return flame and bring to boil.....then add bittering hops and start the clock.

with the flame out it give you plenty of time to add DME and stir off any clumps and no worries of any sticking to the bottom and scorching.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I yet to have any DME scorch in any way, the clumps for the most part float. I have been doing the late extract method due to the caramelization factor, and I am adamant about color. An amber shouldn't look like a porter and a porter shouldn't look like a stout. I kinda eat or in this case drink with my eyes, so although flavor may not be impacted quite as much, color surley is, and frankly I just don't like it!
 

Homercidal

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Well, I just turn off the heat and slowly pour in the DME and whisk. Anything left on the bag comes right off when I dunk it into the hot wort.

I've bought bulk LME before. I have not seen it lately, but there was a brew-on-site store in Traverse City that sold LME by the pound. That place is long gone.
 
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